L.A skate-punks FIDLAR (“Fuck It, Dog, Life’s a Risk") epitomise the live fast, die young maxim. Wielding a mix of gritty weed-bleached punk and summery Californian jams, their debut self-titled album is crammed with raucous tales of getting pissed, getting high, doing drugs and generally not giving a shit. We sent a few questions to FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel and got some short, snappy responses back.
Hey, it’s Jack from Killyourstereo.com. What’s your name, role in FIDLAR and the worst haircut you’ve ever got?
Brandon (Schwartzel). I play bass and sing sometimes. I cut my own hair so it’s usually pretty bad.
If FIDLAR’s music was a smoothie, what would its ingredients be and why?
Cocaine, Sriracha hot sauce, and ice.
For the past week, your self-titled debut has been the feature album on triple j, which is a national Australian youth radio station. What’s it like knowing your music is being beamed into houses and cars all over Australia?
It’s fucking awesome!
“Fuck It, Dog, Life’s a Risk" – nice maxim. Do you live your life by these words?
I’d say so.
How did FIDLAR form and what bands or musicians influenced you to begin with?
Well Zac (Carper) and I met in prison. We were doing a nickel for bank robbery. One day out in the yard, we saw Max (Kuehn) getting roughed up by some tough guys, so we stepped in a helped him out. Elvis (Kuehn) was doing a month in solitary for beating a prison guard. Then we all got together one day in the mess hall, planned an escape, broke out of prison, and started a band.
Black Lips, Queens of The Stone Age, The Stooges, Jay Reatard
What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever got stoned?
You guys have been kicking around since 2010, yet people have only really started raving about you lately. When you started, did you ever think you’d end up in the pages of Rolling Stone and on Pitchfork? Is that something you aimed for?
We didn’t really have a plan at all when we started. We just play shows, write/record songs and be a band. That’s still all we do. It’s just now more people wanna know about it and we get to play and release music in more places.
Do you pay much attention to what the press have to say about FIDLAR, or do you not really give a shit?
Both. I read it but don’t give a shit what they’re saying.
Why do you think skateboarding, surfing and punk rock go so well together?
Cause all three are better stoned.
What’s better: skateboarding or playing music?
Ever banged yourself up real bad skating?
I think we all have. That’s why we don’t skate as much as we used to.
The music video for “Cheap Beer” is gnarly. Who’s the bad arse bikie in the clip?
Our friend James Claeys. He’s a teddy bear.
Given Elvis and Max’s father is Greg Kuehn of T.S.O.L., we’re guessing they grew up going to gigs and living the musician lifestyle. Would this be right?
You’ve covered the Descendents and Blink-182 in the past. What do you look for in a song when you decide to cover it? Are they just bands you like? Do you have any more covers planned?
We cover songs that we like and are fun to play. We cover some Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fear live. Maybe we’ll record them someday.
If you could organise your own music festival anywhere in the world, where would it be held, what would it be called and who would play?
Bell’s Beach Australia (during the 50 year storm); Bodhisattva Fest; Keanu Reeve’s band Dogstar and The Shrine.
What’s the most fucked up thing that’s happened at a FIDLAR show?
Someone shit off the roof while we were playing.
When are you guys coming to Australia?
Hopefully in May 2013.
And a few quick ones to finish up on…
What’s your favourite movie of all time and why?
Point Break (1991) starring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Gary Busey because we only live to get radical.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
What are your top five songs to play while getting high?
Sleep “Dopesmoker”, Frank Ocean “Novacane”, The Black Angels “Black Grease”, Electric Wizard “Dopethrone” and Leonard Cohen “Everybody Knows”.
Most embarrassing album in your record collection?
Hall and Oates’ Live At The Apollo Theater.