Destined: Friends Forever
Friends Forever's Joshua Taylor replied entirely in capital letters to my emailed interview questions, appropriate in light of his band's brazen, unselfconscious manner, and I feel I would be loath to alter his punctuation for fear of misrepresentation. Friends Forever, from Denver, Colorado and presently signed to Load Records, are bound to offend and annoy some people, but for those who sense the value in musicians unafraid to shout, as it were, FF must seem like the most necessary band in the world.
With respect to the assignment at hand, they are easily the best known act in the "Destined" series, and their long term destiny is likely that of cult figures, but as Taylor suggests in this interview, their influence may have more to do with attitude than music.
In summer of 2003, Friends Forever released their first album, Killball, an ode to violence and the Denver Broncos. They also have toured tirelessly, with their Volkswagon van serving as vehicle, sleeping quarters, and concert venue. Load bands as a general rule prefer to play in unusual spots--witness Lightning Bolt setting up in the middle of the audience or in an empty alley-but Friends Forever take the idea much further, flatly refusing to play any place where the ceiling isn't the sky. Pending releases include a split 7" with Young People, a split LP with Football Rabbit, and a new full-length by next summer.
Dusted: Do you think that playing in a van is an important part of who FF are, or would you play more clubs if you had the chance?
Joshua Taylor: I THINK THAT PLAYING IN THE VAN IS TOTALLY IMPORTANT BUT NOT JUST TO WHAT FF IS. THE REASON WE STARTED PLAYING IN THE VAN IS THAT WE WANTED A CHANGE. WE WANT OTHER KIDS TO TRY TO CHANGE THE IDEA OF MUSIC PERFORMANCE TOO. PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE CHANGED MUSIC SINCE FOREVER SO IT'S NOT A NEW IDEA, BUT IT SEEMS AS IF PEOPLE KINDA GOT LAZY. WE JUST FINISHED A TOUR OF THE USA AND WE PLAYED WITH A BAND FROM TAMPA THAT PLAYED OUTSIDE OF THEIR VAN AND IT WAS AWESOME. I WAS SO HAPPY THAT THE IDEA WAS BEING USED AGAIN. I MEAN, WE OF COURSE WERE NOT THE FIRST KIDS TO PLAY IN A VAN. AND HERE WERE SOME REALLY YOUNG KIDS DOING IT TOO. YEAH!!!! THE LAME PART WAS THAT I GUESS THESE KIDS GET A LOT OF SLACK FOR 'RIPPING US OFF.' YEAH RIGHT! IT IS A FREE IDEA! THESE KIDS JUST WANT TO ROCK AND THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO. I DON'T REALLY HAVE FUN PLAYING INSIDE. I LOVE THE OUTSIDE SO MUCH."
Dusted: On the strength of Killball, are you considering turning music into a full-time career?
JT: WOW. WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO LIVE A LIFE THAT YOU COULD DEVOTE TO MUSIC? I REALLY AM HAPPY WITH THE WAY THAT KILLBALL CAME OUT. I LOVE MY BAND MATES SO MUCH. BUT I FEEL THAT EVEN THOUGH WE DON'T MAKE MUCH MONEY DOING ALBUMS OR PLAYING LIVE WE PRETTY MUCH HAVE MADE MUSIC OUR 'CAREER'. AT LEAST IT SEEMS THAT WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC. WE RECORD A BUNCH AND IT SEEMS THAT AT MY HOUSE WE HAVE BANDS PLAYING HERE FROM OUT OF TOWN ALL THE TIME. BUT WE DO ALL HAVE DAY JOBS. SOMEDAY, YEAH, IT WOULD BE GREAT TO GET TO NOT HAVE TO WORK SOME BORING JOB AND TO BE ABLE TO OVERWHELM MYSELF IN PROJECTS. BUT ISN'T THAT EVERYONE'S DREAM? I WOULD HOPE SO. I THINK IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO MAKE FUN A FULL TIME CAREER.
Dusted:What cities have given the best/worst reception to your shows?
JT: OH MY. THE BEST CITIES ARE ALWAYS CHANGING. WE TEND TO BE SUPER LUCKY IN PLAYING SUPER AWESOME SHOWS WITH SUPER AWESOME KIDS COMING TO SEE THE SHOWS. SO I GUESS THAT AMERICA HAS GIVEN US THE BEST RECEPTION. EXCEPT MAYBE DENVER. YEAH, IN FACT I WOULD SAY THAT DENVER GIVES US THE WORST RECEPTION. BUT WE BRING IT ON OURSELVES FOR SURE. I JUST THINK THAT WE GET BORED HERE IN TOWN THAT WE END UP PLAYING SOME TEDIOUS SHOWS FOR AUDIENCE MEMBERS TO WATCH. WE EXPERIMENT WITH OUR LIVE SET A LOT WHILE WE ARE IN TOWN WHICH MAKES PEOPLE HATE US HERE. BUT WE LOVE DENVER!!! IT'S THE BEST TOWN EVER!!!
Dusted:What has changed with your live set-up since the documentary?
JT: WELL AS SOON AS WE WERE FINISHED BEING FILMED FOR THE DOCUMENTARY WE ASKED OUR BUDDY JASON TO JOIN THE BAND. HE SAID YES AND THANKFULLY THAT CHANGED US A LOT. WE WERE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE BETTER ON THE MUSIC AS A THREE PIECE SO I THINK OUR LIVE SOUND WAS VASTLY IMPROVED. JASON RULES!!!!! WE ALSO KEEP TRYING TO COME UP WITH MORE FUN LIVE STUFF FOR THE VISUAL END OF THINGS. WE CAN GOOF OFF MORE WITH THREE OF US. I DON'T KNOW HOW WE EVEN SURVIVED WITHOUT JASON. EVERY YEAR WE TRY TO HAVE A DIFFERENT ASPECT OF OUR LIVE SHOW TOTALLY CHANGE JUST SO KIDS DON'T GET BORED.
Dusted:Anything about the documentary you're especially proud/embarrassed about?
JT: NOT REALLY. I MEAN IT IS EMBARRASING TO HAVE PEOPLE WATCH A PART OF MY LIFE OF COURSE. IT SEEMS SO EGOTISTICAL TO EVEN PROMOTE THE MOVIE. I AM PROUD OF IT ALL AND EMBARRASED OF IT ALL TOO.
Dusted: Do you feel that politics influences your music?
JT: YES AND NO. I THINK OUR PERSONAL POLITICS ARE RAMPANT IN OUR MUSIC. WE TEND TO NOT PUT IT IN ANYONES FACE SO CLEARLY. I NEVER LIKED BANDS THAT FORCED THEIR OPINION INTO THIER MUSIC AND LYRICS. I THINK WE TRY TO HIDE IT ALL BEHIND SOME ASPECT OF OUR MUSIC AND LET IT CREEP OUT NICE AND EASY. BUT THIS DAY AND AGE IT'S TOUGH NOT TO BE A LOUDMOUTH ABOUT U.S. POLITICS. I DON'T KNOW. IT CHANGES EVERYDAY IT SEEMS. SOMEDAYS IT FEELS LIKE YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP CHANGE ALL THE CRAZINESS BUT THEN YOU SEE SO MUCH CRAP THAT IT GETS DEPRESSING TO EVEN TRY. BUT YOU HAVE TO. WE NEED A LEADER WHO ISN'T AFRAID TO CHOP GEORGE W. BUSH'S HEAD OFF. THAT GUY IS EVIL!!! OH MAN I AM TRYING NOT TO OPEN ANY CAN OF WORMS HERE!!!!
Dusted: Do you ever meet people who are afraid of your music, who view it as a threat?
JT: NO, IN FACT IT SEEMS THE OPPOSITE. I HAVE A FEW LITTLE NEPHEWS THAT ARE 3 AND 5 YEARS OLD AND THEY LOVE OUR SONG 'CARNISAUR'. THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW I HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT SO I DON'T THINK THAT THEY ARE JUST BEING KIND AND TELLING ME THAT THEY LOVE IT. I THINK WE ARE TOTALLY NONTHREATENING. WHICH IS FUN. UNLESS FUN IS THREATENING.
THANK YOU! I HOPE I DID OK FOR YOU! IF NOT THEN LET ME KNOW AND I'LL DO BETTER. LOVE JOSH
By Ben Tausig