Joey Cape / Tony Sly


Arguably two of the most influential front men from Californian punk bands since the 90’s, Joey Cape (Lagwagon) and Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) are about to start their first ever solo tours in Australia. Joey and Tony both took time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions for us before their tour kicks off here next week.

                                                                 JOEY CAPE

Start off by stating your name and the record that influenced your musical taste to this day?

Joey Cape. Too many important ones for me to choose 1. I have to choose a few. Beatles: Every Beatles album. Elliott Smith: Either/or. Simon and Garfunkle: Bridge Over Troubled Water to name a few.

What made you decide that you wanted to start releasing solo material?

I have a always written my songs with an acoustic. It is the most natural of all of the music I am involved in.
Playing an acoustic show is a rite of passage and a fear I needed to conquer but, really nothing new for me.

You are about to embark on your first solo tour here in Australia. What are your expectations for this tour?

Fun and fun. Oh and some fun. No, I love Australia. I always look forward to the positive energy of the shows, the friends and the food.

What are you looking forward to the most about touring with Tony Sly?

Well, we just did a month in Europe together recently and it was great. Tony is a down to earth and hilarious guy. We also share a lot of history. I love touring with him.

You’re releasing one new song a month this year from your newest record "Doesn’t Play Well With Others". What is the reasoning behind doing this?

I have felt for some time that given the direct line of communication with people who enjoy your music via network sites it makes sense. I also feel it makes more sense creatively to work on 1 song at a time. It allows you to offer music more frequently and give proper attention to each recording. Nowadays it’s more and more difficult to reach people with your music. I’m really into it. It works.

What was the writing and recording process of this record like?

Well, I was far enough along toward completion of a record to begin with so the idea was less intimidating but, I just approach every song and each month as it comes, looking over what I have and either completing an existing song or rerecording one of them. I’m writing all the while, so, in some cases I just start from scratch. It’s great. I still look at it as something that will be somewhat conceptual at the end of the year when I compile all the tracks for the actual physical release which effects my decision each month as well.

Do you think your writing has evolved much since the release of “Bridge”?

Quite a bit. I am a better player now after a lot of touring and more comfortable writing for an acoustic track. With "Bridge" I over thought a lot of the record. This time I am more comfortable with my whims and reactions in the process

Was there any main reason behind releasing “Bridge” through Suburban Home Records rather than the likes of Fat Wreck?

Yeah. I like the roster SH has and wanted to give this music an home unrelated to what I have done in the past. I have been friends with the owner Virgil for about 15 years so it’s also great to work with him. He really embraces and loves the people and their music he is involved with. A great guy with great integrity.

You last visited Australia in November 2008 with Lagwagon, what was that tour like?

Weird. We had to ask Lindsey from Frenzal to fill in at the eleventh hour so it was a bit strange chemistry wise but, he is obviously great player so it was fine. Also great guy. A lot of fun. Still it was unusual.

What is the set list looking like at the moment? Mainly solo material or can we expect to hear a few Lagwagon songs?

A mixed bag. Lag Wagon, Bad Astronaut and solo stuff and Tony and I play together most of the time. There are usually some covers as well.

The Revival Tour just visited Australia this month and those guys got up and played some songs together, are you and Tony planning on doing that? If so, what songs are you considering?

Well, we play together as I said most of the time. It makes the set more interesting. We also bring a Keyboardist to add instrumentation. It evolves and keeps it inspired. The Revival tour is the ultimate that way. Lots of great writers and players all there for the same reason, to make music and have fun doing it. I suppose we do a mini version of that, Tony and I

How do you approach writing solo material compared to when you’re writing with Lagwagon or one of your other bands?

It’s really subtly different. I always write the same. Usually where a song goes or to which project is just formatting after that, although if I know it is for my acoustic record it allows me total freedom in time signature and expression.

Speaking of writing with Lagwagon, where is the band currently at in regards to writing the new album?

No where near. We are trying to train a new Bass player and get the vibe back for an up and coming tour. That is enough right now. We’ll see what happens after we get the ball rolling again.

Who would you consider to be your main influences musically when you are writing solo material?

I’m not sure. I have fairly collective taste in music. I have always enjoyed folk and country music and the craft of song writing. I love the feeling a song’s melody and lyrics can leave you with. That is the goal, to achieve the emotion you were feeling when you wrote the song and that hopefully it translates to others. There have been so many great songwriters that have effected me in my life from Willie Nelson to Elliot Smith

What do you like to spend your time doing when you’re not on the road?

Eating without rushing and watching movies. 2 luxuries I rarely have at home given my 6 year old daughter and her nearly complete control of my time and space. Ha ha.

When you first started playing music, did you ever expect to be where you are today?

No. I still feel lucky and am excited every time I do tour, perform or make a record. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Ha ha

What is your favourite tour you have ever been a part of?

A Europe/U.K. acoustic tour in 2009 with Jon Snodgrass and Chad Rex

Are there any bands that you have been enjoying lately that we should be checking out?

Dead To Me, The King Blues, Frank Turner, Teenage Bottle Rocket to name a few

What are your plans for the rest of 2010?

Tour, tour, tour. Canada acoustic tour in June with Tony Sly, Bad Astronaut mini tour in July, then Lag Wagon Europe August, then Me First and The Gimme Gimmes U.S. tour in October, then back to Australia with the Gimme Gimmes in November

Thanks for doing the interview mate, any last words?

Be kind

                                                                 TONY SLY

Start off by stating your name and the record that influenced your musical taste to this day?

Tony Sly. My most influential record is Rubber Soul by the Beatles. It’s a tie actually, that and Bad Religion, Suffer.

What made you decide that you wanted to start releasing solo material?

No Use had a break and I tested myself to see if I could come up with a song a day for one month. So I ended up with this record. I recorded in 2 weeks. So the reason I did it was that it was very convenient and easy.

You are about to embark on your first solo tour here in Australia. What are your expectations for this tour?

I don’t know, I just know that the show we do is fun. It’s an hour and half plus of me and Joey playing a lot of our bands songs and a lot of out solo stuff as well.

What are you looking forward to the most about touring with Joey Cape?

We did this in Europe. He’s a friend and really easy to tour with. But what I look forward to most is when we play every night.

You released your debut solo album “12 Song Program” in February this year, is this something you had been planning on doing for a while now?

Not really, I always wanted to but never had the time. When No Use took a long break in the middle of our last records touring cycle I was still in a creative mode.

What was the writing and recording process of this record like?

Easy. Very simple song structure and melodies. I wanted it to sound like it was old too. Like something from the 60’s, a different twist, not just “the guy from no use put out a solo record”.

Do you think your writing has evolved much since the release of the split with Joey Cape in 2004?

Yes but not because of that. I like to think that the writing is always evolving .

Was there any main reason behind releasing the album with Fat Wreck?

Yes because Fat Mike loves the songs so much. He really had an interest in it.

You last visited Australia in June/July 2008 with No Use For A Name, what was that tour like?

Great. We were out with Strung Out. It was a really good time. I always have fun in Australia and there’s always a bit of sight-seeing too.

What is the set list looking like at the moment? Mainly solo material or can we expect to hear a few No Use For A Name songs?

Lots of No Use songs. I don’t have enough new material to do that.

The Revival Tour just visited Australia this month and those guys got up and played some songs together, are you and Joey planning on doing that? If so, what songs are you considering?

Mostly, yes. That’s what we do. I know a lot of his songs and he knows a lot of mine.

How do you approach writing solo material compared to when you’re writing with No Use For A Name?

Just quick and easy. No Use is a lot more technical when it comes to the record making process.

Speaking of writing with No Use For A Name, where is the band currently at in regards to writing the new album?

I’m working on bits and pieces.

Who would you consider to be your main influences musically when you are writing solo material?

Beatles, Dylan, Van Morrsion, Springsteen, the oldies.

What do you like to spend your time doing when you’re not on the road?

Being with my family whenever I can.

When you first started playing music, did you ever expect to be where you are today?

Not at all. I thought it would last for a year maybe.

What is your favourite tour you have ever been a part of?

So many. There are so many good memories about so many tours with so many great people that I have met through music.

Are there any bands that you have been enjoying lately that we should be checking out?

Teenage Bottlerocket. Banner Pilot and the Spits.

What are your plans for the rest of 2010?

No Use tours, Solo tours and more writing for both.

Thanks for doing the interview mate, any last words?

Can’t wait to be back in Australia!

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