Christiane and Neil, November 10, 2003

 

Written & Photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Jason: So, a few things have happened to me over time by being a photographer in the past, I got my nose broken. I’ve had all kinds of stuff happen but this is one of the few shows where I’ve actually had to pay attention to what’s going on stage and not get killed. Which is a good thing. Where does all that energy come from to...
Christiane J: Honestly, I don’t know where. It’s different for each of us. For me, there’s just a burning in my belly and when I get up there it just explodes and...
Neil Spies: My answer would be like our accomplishments that we’ve done together, that we have a reason to do it. It just fills us up with electricity. We’re creating a freedom for ourselves and other people and it’s very electrifying.
Christiane J: You just get excited.
Neil Spies: Why else would you be born? But to play music!

Jason: Well I can’t play, both my brothers play, I have no...
Neil Spies: It’s never too late

Jason: No, I got no....they wouldn’t even let me sing at my Bar Mitzvah I’m so tone deaf so that’s how bad I am...but...
Neil Spies: Look at Tom Waites

Jason: So, that’s why I write about it...But you know my day job is for a Union so I’m out there fighting the fight against ya know..worker’s making $7 an hour with no healthcare...and that whole thing and...
Neil Spies: (applause) We salute you man..

Jason: It is very refreshing to come hear music that is more than just about how much pussy can I get and how high can our song get.
Neil Spies: (laughter) and how much pussy you can’t get

Jason: And you know obviously there’s gotta be comparisons to Rage Against the Machine and all that but musically you’re so different and...
Neil Spies: Thanks for saying that (clapping)
Christiane J: Yeah... We get that a lot but we are so different.

Jason: Where does all that anger and just ya know play and come within to write about it and to go out there in front of fans who listen to for the most part pop music and driving their SUV’s here to the show and to do that in front of them isn’t always the easiest thing I wouldn’t think.
Christiane J: I don’t think we care. We want to play for all audiences. If you look at the tours that we’ve chosen, they’re all different types of audiences and different types of music and for us we’re playing music that has something to do with everyone. Our music has the...we have a reason to play within ourselves together and for everyone else so, it’s even better playing for all these different types of audiences cause you’re reaching all these different types of people and that’s our goal.

Jason: I think it’s kinda ironic that to get this message out you have to use probably one of the most cliched and commercialized industries in all of America and the music industry and entertainment industry and to be able to get your word out ... you almost have to...it sounds like the infiltrate and destroy within kind of thing but..
Neil Spies: We’re all slaves to the system. Somebody starving has to fucking work to get some food um..to get a message out to the masses you have to work with the corporation. You have to use the corporate world against the corporate world against itself. You gotta sneak attack in..so, it would be different if I didn’t feel that we had something to offer the masses but we feel that we do. We feel it’s time for it. There’s been bands like the Refuse that reaches a smaller audience but brilliant work to open the doors for this type of thing and that’s why we’re doing it.

Jason: How weird is it for you to see this? I know the town so I can see anybody wearing a Dublin shirt is from the most affluent way suburb in here, got their teased hair and with their $200 outfits on and...
Neil Spies: That’s the people you want to reach though. You want to reach the people that are in the worst suppression, people that go to the mall and people that aren’t commodity to buy all that support these corporations. Those are the people you want to be able to speak to. If you only speak to the guy on the street that’s pissed off, hates everything and knows about everything, that’s not the place you want to use... you want to be able to reach him and the person that shops at the mall.

Jason: So, you’re done preaching to the choir and your trying to...
Neil Spies: I think it’s time. We’re in a position as a world where we need a mass awareness. A mass awareness of simple facts. We need to take steps towards change or we’re all going to be dead soon, ya know...so..it’s time for that.

Jason: One of the cool things that happened tonight was the one thing you said was that the one thing you don’t want is people to be bored, it doesn’t matter if you like it or don’t like it whatever but,
Neil Spies: Get a reaction.

Jason: It sounds like your just provoking thought; whether they agree with you or disagree with you. But to start a debate and to start a conversation about something sometimes is better than to tell them straight out.
Neil Spies: If you notice in our lyrics we’re actually challenging the listener to make an opinion. That’s the goal is participation..so...we’re wanting to... I think any artist wants to get a reaction out of everyone because so many...it’s like the lyric in Love and Chaos, the living are, ‘Walking around like the living dead.’ People are walking around, but they’re not alive. They’re not thinking, they’re not challenging anything and they’re completely slave to what they do everyday. They get up, they drink coffee, they go to work, they make money, they’re married to someone that they don’t have a choice to get away from and if they do they have to call their lawyer. We need to get a reaction out of people.

Jason: So you think kids are being raised to be bored?
Christiane J: I was the only child for a long time because my parents got separated and remarried and I had some step-brothers and sisters but for a long time my mom just put me in front of the television and I used to be on Ritalin and whatever...
Neil Spies: That’s fucking wrong...
Christiane J: I was bored for so long that in some weird way when I’m bored, I’m almost more comfortable because that’s how I was forced to be for so long and I...but it’s also my biggest pain and my biggest, not fear, but I’m still bored...
Neil Spies: He gives it away every night like he’s screaming out, ‘Don’t be bored!’ But he’s for real. He’s not just saying it as a slogan but he’s giving himself, what he’s been through, to other people so they can react...they should.

Jason: Is there, obviously anytime you write this kind of music there comes an impression of what you guys are like and you can only tour with this band or you can only tour with that band. And you mentioned you’d go anywhere, the Campfire Girls a good example, who nobody would see as a match with S.T.U.N. How do you see yourselves as a touring band?
Christiane J: Believe it or not, people don’t think of us as a political band really. Audiences are like, they know we were saying something that has a message but I think it was because...
Neil Spies: Cause they don’t know about politics but their minds are challenged one way or another.
Christiane J: Yeah, but I think musically we can tour with anybody and...(laughing) we want to tour with . There are obviously some bands we don’t want to tour with..

Jason: Is it weird to have to use a system to set on commercialism and really stands for just about the opposite of all your lyrics to reach people?
Neil Spies: I’ll speak for myself on this one but you guys need to agree. I rely on justice to propel and reach out to the masses. To have success and I realize we work hard, we give everything we have but I rely on the message and the justice of it that we’re doing something for other people that we’re challenging. We’re using the system against itself. I rely on that because any success that we have without that I would not accept, I would not be happy at all.

Jason: Are you politically influenced by music or can you just listen to music for music’s sake without it having a message?
Christiane J: - There’s bands we love that sing nothing about politics. I’ll take you in the back right now and we’ll have a few beers and listen to Lemonheads all night long and sing...
Neil Spies: Sure, but that was a different day and age. We’re in the day and age of that I think politics are very much needed right now.

Jason: If you were given the option to have your political beliefs come true, but in return, you could never play music again or pick up an instrument, would you drop music?
Neil Spies: I will answer this one. I don’t want to Jake you, but this is probably the best question we have ever been asked. But the answer is, ‘Yes.’ Without a doubt. I would drop my guitar today if that meant a better world.