Washed Up Emo

#13 - Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes)

July 25, 2012 Tom Mullen Episode 13
Washed Up Emo
#13 - Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes)
Chapters
Washed Up Emo
#13 - Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes)
Jul 25, 2012 Episode 13
Tom Mullen

We return from our summer vacation with an episode featuring Mr. Bob Nanna of Braid. Bob and I discuss his influences growing up and why Braid is back at it again to rock us all. I hope you enjoy and share with your friends. 

Show Notes Transcript

We return from our summer vacation with an episode featuring Mr. Bob Nanna of Braid. Bob and I discuss his influences growing up and why Braid is back at it again to rock us all. I hope you enjoy and share with your friends. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/washedupemo)

Tom Mullen:

What got you into music?

Bob Nanna:

My family wasn't crazy about music, but it was really my neighbors. They had a kid who was my age and they had a jukebox in their basement, and I just was crazy about this jukebox. His parents were crazy about music too, but he was crazy about sports, so it was like they mixed up kids or something at the hospital. So they just noticed that I was in love with the juke box, and they loved The Rolling Stones. And that was around the early '80s. So we were watching like Friday night videos and seeing like Mick Jagger and stuff. And I was just completely hooked. I constantly was over there listening to music and thankfully my family was like, we need to get this kid some piano lessons or something. Yeah. So they did. And that was really it. I was really, really young when I realized I just have this in me, and I had to play music and loved it. And I'm glad they got me piano lessons because it really taught me a lot. Even at the time I hated practicing. I hated a lot of theory stuff about it. I just wanted to play and write my own songs or something. But in the end I'm glad I have them, that I was able to do that. And drums were pretty much the first instrument I played in a band. And that was in high school.

Bob Nanna:

The first band I was in was called Slaphappy and we were just crazy, stupid kids. And it was a lot of covers. We played "Louie Louie" a lot. It was just like the easiest covers we could do. Just sort of testing the waters with what sounded good and what we were comfortable doing, too.We had on one seven inch comp. The comp was called The Decline of the Western Suburbs. The song was called "Gangway." Good luck finding that one.

Tom Mullen:

With The Stones and that kind of thing, was it something that you felt that you could play multiple instruments? Like you're like, wow, I want to play drums. I want to play guitar. I want to sing.

Bob Nanna:

No, not really because of the fact that it was The Stones. It was like they were playing on TV. They were in my friend's jukebox. They were completely untouchable — they were in magazines and stuff. But when I was in high school and sort of started hanging out with the punk kids and started going to local shows and seeing that there were people — my peers at age 15, 14 — that were playing shows in basements and stuff. It was then that I realized, shit, I could actually do this in front of people.

Tom Mullen:

Were your parents cool about you kind of doing the shows? My parents were completely against most of this. They were like, I don't know why you're playing this music. Was it kind of, they knew where you were going and that was okay?

Bob Nanna:

Yeah, they were pretty upfront with me about it. They were totally cool that we even practiced at my house, and I mean, I played the drums, it was loud. I'm sure it was just hell, but they were cool with it. All they really cared about was me finishing school and getting a degree. They were like, it's all we want you to do, otherwise go crazy, tour, play music, we support you on this. Just do us this one favor. We let you practice here. Just go to school.

Tom Mullen:

Nice. And then do you remember the first record that you ever owned, that you went and bought?

Bob Nanna:

I don't remember the actual record. I remember having like a bunch of 45s when I was very small. I remember having an Elvis Presley 45. I remember having an ELO 45. It was the song Rock 'N' Roll Is King from like the '80s. But I do remember very specifically the first CDs I bought, and those were Def Leppard's Hysteria and John Cougar Mellencamp's The Lonesome Jubilee.

Tom Mullen:

That is a fantastic double shot right there. I was just thinking of the first kind of records that I'd had. And with the Beastie Boys I remember thinking I got Check Your Head, which was like the BMG 12 for one. I think Hysteria came with all those CDs. And you were like, all you have to do is tape a penny to this? I'm good to go! We were dumb. Do you remember your first kind of show? Was it a basement show? Like the first show you attended. Was there anything like was Fugazi there and you had no idea or something awesome?

Bob Nanna:

I'm probably echoing a lot of the people you've interviewed already, but there were two shows in particular that I saw very, very early on and one was Fugazi, and I remember the date because it was my birthday. It was 6/14/1990, at a place called Medusa's here. And what's crazy is Trenchmouth opened and the drummer of Trenchmouth is Fred Armisen. It was just completely life changing. That show was just incredible because it was big show, bigger than any show I'd been to, and it felt so comfortable, so intimate, even though was a huge show. For part of the show, they brought people on stage to play their instruments. It was just complete madness. I looked on the Fugazi live archive. I don't think they have this show recorded and up yet. Because when it's up, I want it.

Tom Mullen:

That's awesome. The two shows that I went to, they're not up yet either. Now Trenchmouth, I was fascinated when he did the Fistfight in the Parking Lot song for the SNL skit. And I have the seven inch — I bought it from Drag City — and supposedly he's around my neighborhood, and I've been hoping that I see him and be like, can you hang on like five minutes? I gotta go get my seven inch.

Bob Nanna:

When he was here and before he kind of blew up, I had spoken with him a few times, but I saw him recently. I was in New York, and I went to an SNL show, and I went to the after party and I saw him and had to stop him and I was like, "hi, I've met you a few times from blah, blah blah, but I just wanted to let you know that I saw Trenchmouth play on 6/14/1990 with Fugazi and it just changed the course of my life." And he was like, "it changed the course of mine, too." He remembered that. Like he totally remembered that show.

Tom Mullen:

And learning about bands, like from that, was it the very catalog? Was it the back of the CD? Seeing who thanked who. What were some of the things that kind of helped you to learn to find more bands?

Bob Nanna:

Definitely zines. Definitely Maximumrocknroll at that point in time was like the way. And it was reading all of the columns, reading all the interviews and articles and the scene reports that they used to do, to see what was going on in like Austin and what was going on in Berkeley. What was crazy about it is my friend and I would get the Maximumrocknroll and just completely comb it for ads for records that we wanted or thought we might want. I still remember all the Dischord ads were so iconic in the Maximumrocknrolls and we would just pull our money and order stuff from every magazine. You get an ad in there and we would buy it if it looked cool. It was all Dischord and Lookout with stuff. We were just buying all that stuff, like Sam I am and that first Green Day record and Jawbreaker, too. Basically anything that came out on Dischord we were buying and it was awesome because we were kind of opening up to new music. Like Shudder to Think when we first heard it we were like, what the hell is this?! And it turned out that we ended up really getting into it and really liking it. There's a record store here called Reckless that we used to frequent all the time. And same thing, I would just go through the seven inches and just pick out stuff that I liked and just buy it.

Tom Mullen:

And it was all about the artwork, too. It should have a really cool thing on the front, you can't be minimal. Like you need to get me. It was like marketing right there, just your image.

Bob Nanna:

That's true. That's so funny because all of the bands were probably like, fuck marketing, we're doing this DIY. But in reality it's just like the same old thing, they're selling themselves. I mean, that's the same thing. I was so drawn to the ads. It's kinda funny.

Tom Mullen:

Yeah. I just remember going through the CDs and seeing who they thanked, and it just seems like you were kind of doing it in the same sense. Like, I see this ad, it looks cool, I'm buying it, I trust Maximumrocknroll, I trust that this advertisement is legit. And then from that, I hear that you found your first drummer through Maximumrocknroll.

Bob Nanna:

Yeah, I graduated high school and then I went to college in Champaign—Urbana and immediately wanted to start a band, but I didn't want to bring my drums. And I had this sort of chunky guitar that a friend's dad had given me, and I brought that along and I thought, you know what, I'm going to play guitar now. At the time I was trading videos of bands playing and this guy Ray, I think it might've been the Sludgeworth video or something. He wanted to trade for it and he had some video of a band playing in Champaign and we hooked up, and I'm like, hey, I'm actually going to be there, let's hang out. And he's like, I play drums. And that was pretty much it.

Tom Mullen:

And starting Braid was it Jawbreaker, was it Fugazi that was the mindset, because I didn't grow up in the Midwest and I'm so fascinated with that little subset of the scene and what kind of came from it, and the bands. Can you kind of talk a little about obviously starting Braid, but then all the bands swirling around it kind of all sort of had the same mentality.

Tom Mullen:

Yeah, absolutely. Jawbreaker and Fugazi without a doubt were the bands for us and sort of guided anything we tried to do. It was the really kind of confessional, straight forward lyrics of Jawbreaker with sort of angular crazyish guitar music of Fugazi and the angst, for lack of a better word, of Fugazi, too. So it was that that was sort of directing what we were doing musically. And everyone else in the scene, you mentioned like, all the other bands. There was this band Gage, and Cap'n Jazz, of course. There were a lot of bands in the Western suburbs of Chicago, at that time, that were all sort of helping each other out and playing that sort of similar music. So once we started writing songs it was like that was just what came out.

Tom Mullen:

It totally makes sense. I know you said it, but just hearing you guys and what you did, it wasn't straight ahead but you still heard hooks, but it wasn't like the verse, chorus, verse. And I think so many bands, gravitated toward that after sort of took it and you guys obviously took it from somewhere else. And in the scene, were you hanging with the hardcore bands? Were you hanging with the punk bands? Were you like, well that band sounds like us, we should be friends?

Bob Nanna:

There really wasn't too much cross-genre stuff. There was a little bit. Because we were in the suburbs, we would occasionally end up playing shows with a Victory band back there. Victory was a different label back then, it was way more straight edge, hardcore. But my first band ever, we played at Tony Brummel's house. He used to do shows at his house and we opened some show — it was my very first show ever — and I don't know the date. But I guess in that sense there was that sort of cross-scene sort of thing going on. There was a club there called McGregor's that was the place to play. Like if you were a touring band coming through Chicago, you wouldn't play the city, you would play McGregor's. It was in Elmhurst. So the dude who was booking there would put us — at that time it was Friction — with Cap'n Jazz opening for Sam I am, if they were coming through, or Jawbreaker or Smoking Popes would play there, too. But we weren't really playing with like Screeching Weasel when they played there, or the Vindictives because they weren't really our scene. I mean, the crowd was exactly the same at these shows. And I love Screeching Weasel, so we were always at the shows, but for some reason we didn't end up playing with those bands a lot. It didn't happen until we started going on tour that we started playing with more hardcore bands or just different sounding bands.

Tom Mullen:

And then touring, obviously early on there wasn't the buses. What were some of those feelings that you see now? What were some of those differences that you were like, god, I wish I knew that. It's like early on it is just the five guys at the show, and then the next time you come through it's 10 and 20 and now it's so much easier to get your name out before you even play a show. And you guys were doing this dirty work.

Bob Nanna:

It's true. It's true. I mean, there's still dirty work now, but it's a little more sitting by your computer doing the dirty work instead of grinding it out. But I didn't mind that at all because I love traveling so much and just hanging out and meeting other people. When we started touring it was just like a drug. We wanted to be out touring all the time. So when Chris and I were on spring break or something, we were immediately on tour, and there were times when we were playing like over almost 200 shows a year because we were just touring, touring, touring, and it helped us become a better live band and got us out in front of more people. But you're right, the first West coast tour we did, I remember, we played, this place called Al's Bar in LA and nobody came. There was zero. Zero paid attendance. It was a little discouraging.

Tom Mullen:

When did you kind of, were you sitting in the van and driving and you're like, this is gonna last for a bit? Everyone seemed to work together. I mean, there were changes in bands, but overall. And it's obviously still going on.

Bob Nanna:

It didn't really cross our minds. We were just doing it. It wasn't like, hey, we're gonna do this forever. We just loved doing it. And we had this sort of nonchalant, very unorganized way of touring and recording. When were there at home, we would just go to our friend's house and practice a little bit, and he had the recording set up, so we would just record some stuff and then we would book a tour and Todd, the bass player, would get on the phone and book shows and stuff, but were just psyched to be doing it. There wasn't really a point in time when we like sat back and thought, hey, this is really working. At least for me. I never really felt that way.

Tom Mullen:

And I think, too, that's maybe coming from the right place where it wasn't like you got in the van and you're like, right we're going to do this, and then we're gonna add lights, and then there's going to be strippers on stage. I think that's partly why you guys are put in those top 10 lists and always brought up in the same little pocket. It's because of that. You played so many shows, you were out there, you were doing it. I personally think that's partly why.

Bob Nanna:

I mean the bands we were playing with were all doing it too. Bands like At the Drive-in and Hot Water Music and Get Up Kids. The first time we played El Paso was with At the Drive-in, and they were about to go on a like a six month tour. I don't even think they had a record out. We were just like, wow, you guys are nuts. The same with this band Sweep the Leg Johnny from here. I remember them just being like, yeah, we're going to go on a six month tour and then we're going to Europe for a month. They didn't have any record. It was awesome, but that's nuts.

Tom Mullen:

I was lucky to see Sweep the Leg Johnny. They played in Vermont, and I bought both records. They were so different, so different from every other hardcore band that I was seeing at that damn venue. So when was the first time you heard the dreaded word? The "emo."

Bob Nanna:

It was pretty early on at the time. At the time we were hearing it. I was throwing it around like anyone else, even in describing what we were doing because at the time it was being thrown around it meant Jawbreaker and Fugazi. Like if Jawbreaker and Fugazi are emo, then count us in. Or like Hoover was another band that really tried to emulate. But there were also bands from San Diego like Swing Kids and stuff that were very screamy, they were called emo too. So it just seemed like this general term. Everyone knew what it was, but no one could really describe it. At the time, we were embracing it, you know, we dug it.

Tom Mullen:

For me, it came from a screamo kind of part where I was like, they're screaming, but it's kind of melodic and it's heartfelt. And then it kind of turned into pop. I mean, there was like a second wave third wave. With you guys, did you guys see that scene, emo, and were like, yeah, we're like totally part of it? And then was there a day when you were like, oh hell no. Nope.

Bob Nanna:

The one turning point that sticks out in my mind very clearly is Maximumrocknroll at one point did this sort of purge where I guess Tim, the founder, just one day said no more emo in Maximumrocknroll. It was a punk zine. Like it should be punk, punk, punk. And at the time I think Kent McClard was one of the columnists. And so he was like, well that sucks. And so he started HeartattaCk which I think was direct result of Maximumrocknroll sort of shunning this whole genre of music. And so it was at that point in time where I thought like, wait a minute. Like why do people hate this? I didn't get it at the time. Like what do punk kids have against emo? Because emo at the time, it was like punk, this is just all punk, you know? So yeah, that was really, I think, the turning point where I was like, huh, there's a backlash. So yeah. And then it sorta got worse and worse and sort of had these little factions that came. And then what's crazy is that HeartattaCk wouldn't review your record if there was a UPC code on it. It was like, oh, this sucks.

Tom Mullen:

And then going through it, obviously the Get Up Kids and Sunny Day, all of these bands, were kind of coming and going. I think each band had a different feeling toward it. And some of them were completely, like, we're an indie band. But for some reason this still stayed together and it still was connected. Do you have any insight on why it was there? It went away, people went away. And then now it's 2012 and it's the year of the reunion. I'm in my thirties, so I don't care anymore. I will go see Ani DiFranco if I want. I don't care. What do you think?

Bob Nanna:

One of the reasons Braid got back together was that I reconnected with Chris. I really hadn't even talked to Chris. There was a span of maybe three or four years where we just completely lost touch. And then we got back in touch and then started doing these DJ nights together. We were doing sort of a punk emo DJ night. Sound familiar? So we were playing once a week at this bar here and I'm like, what if we got together and just tried to write some Braid songs? It might be fun. So that was really where that came from. But in terms of all the reunions and stuff, it's interesting. I think definitely the internet has a lot to do with it because of how easy it is for bands to get their music out. And also there's sort of like a new school of labels coming out now that sort of are catering to like a similar sort of scene that we were a part of way back when. I'm thinking of labels like Top Shelf or No Sleep where the bands are playing house shows. They're going on tour and they're grinding it out, they're screening shirts. This is so familiar. It's all the same. It's the exact same thing again. I mean it's cool. It's a new crop of kids that have learned how to use the tools available to them now, like the internet and MP3s and digital stuff to revive that sort of DIY feeling. And it's a cool scene. I'm gonna go to a house show later this month. And they're gonna be like, who's dad is this?

Tom Mullen:

During the time in the bands Braid and Hey Mercedes, you're getting stopped. Now are you stopped like at the grocery store with the guy's who got the stroller and the two kids, and he's saying hello because it's that time, you know?

Bob Nanna:

Yeah, definitely. A ton of my friends from back then have families. I mean Todd has a daughter now and Damon's got a son, but yeah, I mean, everyone's grown up. I'm getting there. I'm not totally there though, but I'm getting there too. But you're right. I mean all of the people that were coming out to shows and doing shows for us now have families and kids and stuff, but they're still coming out.

Tom Mullen:

I joked at the Promise Ring show that there's a lot of people here with babysitters. Not that that's a bad thing, but I just kind of thought ahead like 20 years, like, is there going to be an amphitheater or something where it's "the sounds of emo!" And then all the bands come out and it's one remaining member.

Bob Nanna:

Like state fairs or something. Like The Stix and Foreigner and all those bands play like state fairs now.

Tom Mullen:

The thing I noticed too is that the people went to that show and they were like, this is my one night out. And I think they connected to it in such a positive way. And for them to say, I'm going to go out to this and I'm going to see this and I'm going to support it, it must feel good. I saw Maritime play and there was a kid yelling Red & Blue Jeans at them the whole night. I think I've told the story before, but Davey wasn't mad. Long story short, they played in New York and I bet that kid was there. But just that whole thing of where they're reliving it in their own way and wanting to connect. And from your vantage point, yes, there's the metal community that's still around, there's a lot of genres. But it's still so strong with so many people, and I get people hitting me up, like, hey, you should interview this guy. I feel like if they threw out all their CDs, they kept 10. I'm just trying to still figure out in my head why that happened and why it's still so prominent today.

Bob Nanna:

Well I think it was just a formative time for a lot of people. There were all of these bands like The Promise Ring and Jimmy Eat World at the time there were like touring, touring, touring. You would go and see these bands and they were right there. There was no barricade or anything. After the show, you could go talk to him, you could go hang out with them, maybe they were staying at your house. You just developed this bond with certain bands that just doesn't exist, that I didn't have with Mick Jagger. You know what I mean? It lasts. Even if you don't listen to your Promise Ring record all the time, you don't want to sell it because it reminds you of this really great time when you went to see them play and you sang along and you took them out to eat and they stayed at your house or whatever. And then they thank you in it or something. It just touched people differently I think.

Tom Mullen:

I didn't really think about that. About the moment in time, like there wasn't a barricade there, you could go up to them after at that time when you were trying to figure out what you wanted to listen to and play. So now it's 2012 and when I'm like, hey, so what bands do you like? They mentioned every band from like 1998. So it's this obviously 10 year, 15 year sort of loop.

Bob Nanna:

I would hope that the kids that are into the bands now will come see us play too. I don't want to play to a bunch of 37 year olds like me. You know, maybe I do. Forget I said that.

Tom Mullen:

With Braid, I felt I was collecting with you guys. Like I found out there was a new seven inch or there was a compilation or you're releasing this on this other label, and it was that sort of joy of collecting that you had to kind of do.

Bob Nanna:

We weren't putting out any challenge to people. On the Frankie Welfare Boy CD, there was this thing under the other lists that said we want to be on your comp. I mean, that was it. We just started to put out stuff whenever anyone asked us to. Whenever I knew anyone who needed a song for comp or asked us, we were like, alright, we'll just record the newest song we have and give it to you. It wasn't a conscious effort to confuse people, but yeah, I like the fact that there are so many records out there, and I don't even know if I have them all. I've really tried to keep them all, but Todd's a record collector so he's probably to blame for a lot of that.

Speaker 2:

How did the one with Tree Records and the Post-Marked Stamps comp happen? Was it just, hey, we have a comp, we want your song. Was it as simple as that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Ken from Tree was doing those Post-Marked Stamps seven inches, and we had met him around that time. And it was around the time when we were touring a ton with Get Up Kids, and he just basically asked us to do it. We were psyched. That dude, he now does Numero Group. It's an awesome label, check it out. They research and dig up old solo records and old forgotten records from like the '60s, '70s, et cetera, from different pockets of the US, and then just do a ton of research, contact the families of these old musicians and then rerelease their records with photos and sometimes DVDs. It's really, really cool. Got a great aesthetic and just an awesome story.

Tom Mullen:

There was a request on Twitter for this next question. Is there any backstory to the song Forever Got Shorter?

Bob Nanna:

I really don't remember exactly what my mindset was at that time. It's crazy because I probably still have all of those lyrics. I keep all that stuff cause I'm a maniac. When you play it now it's sort of like you think about other things that really weren't the original intent, but I really don't know. I remember where I got the name for the song. It was from the movie, About Last Night. And it's not even like my favorite movie. I just thought it was a fun line that Rob Lowe says, "Well forever just got shorter." That's why I keep all this stuff, so I don't have to remember it.

Tom Mullen:

Well that's what I was going to ask. Like I collect all my tickets. I have pretty much every ticket I've ever went to. Are we crazy? I wrote down every show that I saw. Is there a support group that we could join? What is this?

Bob Nanna:

Yeah, I really don't know. It is a problem. We should, yeah, we should take it offline. I don't know. I've always had this problem with documenting things and listing things out. When I was a kid, I used to write down the top 40. Every Sunday I would get up and listen to it and write it down, and then I would make my own top 40. I still have sheets of like a few months worth of weekly — I would do top 75, like my top 75 of the week. What's crasy is I kept them to myself. Like, what the hell is my problem?

Bob Nanna:

It's fun now because I'm going through all that stuff and am selling stuff finally. But it's critical to look at, to be like, wow, I loved "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford so much, it was number one on my charts. There are a bunch of songs on there like, I don't even remember. I don't even know some of these songs. I think I'm going to keep them and sort of track down some of these songs to see just what the hell I was going through.

Tom Mullen:

I started scanning a lot of things to digitize and then get rid of. T-shirts, I did it first, I took photos.

Bob Nanna:

Maybe it's this sort of weird collector gene that's in us or sort of this need to prove that I was there sort of feeling. But it's so funny because it never comes up. It's never like, where you really there?

Tom Mullen:

And then the same thing with all the Braid shows, correct? There's a list of every show.

Bob Nanna:

Yep. Same with Hey Mercedes. I have them all listed out.

Tom Mullen:

And with Hey Mercedes, you were getting into more melodic stuff? Was it like another side to you that you said, this is what I kind of want to write?

Bob Nanna:

No, not really. At the end of Braid we weren't getting along so well with Chris and we mutually decided that we should stop playing shows together, stop doing Braid. And so Todd and Damon and I still wanted to play together. So we just kept going and at no point in time did we think, oh, this is our chance to do X, Y and Z that we couldn't do in Braid. We just started writing songs. I mean if we just replaced Chris in Braid, basically the next album would be the Hey Mercedes album. We never consciously said, hey, let's do this, this and this. We brought in Mark Dawursk and that's what we wrote.

Tom Mullen:

"Bells" is probably one of my favorite songs from all the songs you put out for Hey Mercedes. I liked that it starts out with a breakdown. I'm always a big fan of breakdowns. I did a top 10 breakdowns every year on my college radio show, and so I was always really fascinated with where people put the breakdowns. And that song was, I think it's at the start. I think it's fantastic that it just kills it right at the start. You could do a stage dive in the first four seconds of the song. So there's been starts and stops with Braid. And why again now? You said you were talking to him again. Was it writing that EP and now you're like, fuck, let's do more. Let's tour. Let's keep doing this.

Bob Nanna:

Even while we were writing the EP, we all were very cognizant of the fact that we like doing this. So if we can get together, let's just keep doing it because we work really well together, when we get the four of us get in a room. It's fun and easy to an extent to write songs with those dudes. We were always like let's do an EP and maybe we can record another EP in the next year or do a record or something. And we never really want to tour nor do we want to tour full-time. Especially like how we used to because we've got other responsibilities. So after we recorded the EP and did those shows, Chris and I just kept writing stuff.

Tom Mullen:

This is I think a great thing for people to hear because that's all that I think people want. If you keep playing music that's like the one thing I tell bands. And I think for you guys to still do that, and there's people still buying it, there's people still going. What keeps you guys motivated to do it? Because I know there's a ton of people out there that love it and enjoy that you guys are still going. What else kind of motivates you guys to keep doing it? Was it just you guys in a room and it's fun?

Bob Nanna:

Exactly. And it's just this constant need. Maybe it's the work ethic that's been drilled into our heads since the day we started playing. It's like you can't sit still, you've always gotta be making music and writing stuff. I feel that way, and I always felt that way. So any downtime, you know, I was doing The City on Film, and it's Jack & Ace now. There was never a point in time where I wasn't writing music because I just had to do it. I don't know, it just makes me happy. If I'm not doing it, I'm unhappy and it doesn't matter. It almost doesn't matter if I'm recording records or playing shows. I mean, for a long time I was just writing songs for fun, like just kind of quick two minutes songs because it just made me happy. So that's why.

Tom Mullen:

That's great to hear because it's coming from that right point. And I think through all the reunions and stuff, there's all these, oh, why are they coming back? It's like, no you want to do it. The Texas Is the Reason reunion, you saw that they wanted to be up there. Promise Ring, you see Dan losing his mind playing those songs and that's why it matters.

Bob Nanna:

It's not like about money. Like none of us need money. Like we all have jobs, we're all happy. But I just can't stop doing it. Like even if no one comes, if we never write another album. I'm still going to be writing songs, probably with those dudes, you know?

Tom Mullen:

Sometimes people throw that out there and I'm like, the situations are so different in each band. The true story sometimes never gets out or whatever. Looking into the future, anything else that you're super excited about? Obviously the show is coming up. Anything else that you're super stoked on that people might be interested in?

Bob Nanna:

There is something. Again, because I constantly need to be busy with shit all the time, whether it's just like personal things or songs or whatever. But one thing I'm really excited about that I wanted to mention is my friend Mark Rose, who was in the band Spitalfield, and Dan Reed, who used to do a zine called Rocket Fuel a long time ago. So the three of us are starting this website called Downwrite. It's not up yet, but the idea behind it is sort of like feeding, not literally, but feeding the sort of like crazy need for songwriters to create and write. So basically what we want to create is like an artist-centric custom song shop. So instead of some musician being like, hey, I'll write you a song for 10 bucks — which always felt dirty to me and weird — what I want to do is create a place where that sort of thing can happen, but there's not a weird stigma because I want the artists to have a little more control in it. Like for instance, I could say I want to write 10 songs about cities or something, and then people could basically sponsor songs and basically do online albums. I also want to cater to people who need songs for certain situations. Like if Mike Kinsella wanted to say, hey, I'll write instrumentals for your YouTube video or something. Our friend Joel who got married, had Mike do an acoustic version for him of the song "One of These Days" that they walked down the aisle to. I feel like there's all of this opportunity for bands to do this and really connect with the fans in a way that doesn't exist right now. We're still working through all the legal junk. But we hope to have that launched next month or within the next few months for sure. And at that point I probably won't really shut up about it. It's one of those things where I want this site to exist so I can use it. If it doesn't exist, let's just make it.

Tom Mullen:

You're trying to make fire right now cause you need to eat.

Bob Nanna:

Damn right. [laughs] No, I need to write music.

Tom Mullen:

Thank you for doing this. As a person who has watched from afar and seen you guys live and now this. You motivate me a little bit just because of how much stuff you're doing, and obviously this is all outside of my normal job kind of things and for you to have all these things going on. I think a lot of people are happy that you are motivated because they're interested in what you're doing.

Bob Nanna:

That means a lot. And I hope people keep creating and keep making music too.