8 Clip Online's interview with Chris
Interview with Chris Conley
Saves The Day interview by Amy Jones August 26, 2000 House of Blues, Los Angeles CA Special thanks to Katie Gilliland
So when sitting down with Chris Conley, singer from Saves the Day, I had promised myself to keep it shorter than the Bane interview for the sake of our readers. Well, it's shorter. Not THAT much shorter- but I think that if you take the time to look at it- you will find out a lot about Chris that maybe you didn't know (I certainly learned a lot) and I think you'll enjoy it too. ***********
Amy: First of all just to get started, I was talking to my friend the other day and we were driving and listening to one of the CD's- and he's like, "do you think he knows how talented he his- how good he is?" speaking of you- "do you think he has any idea of how far he's gonna go?" how does that make you feel as far as knowing do you have that feeling?
Chris: In the last three months to be completely honest I was listening to one of the songs that I had recorded- I have like a studio in my basement- I was just like, I don't understand that I write songs. It doesn't register in my brain- I just sorta do it and never think about it. But lately, especially with the new songs that I've been writing for Saves The Day- uhm, the guys have been giving me really good feedback and we've been having talks about where we want this album to go and they have all been really honest with me- with how they think about me in the band, and what they think about when they think about Saves The Day- is they told me this- they think they're like lucky to be in a band with someone like me. And that- blows my mind. These are my best friends. In the entire world. And they're telling me that they feel lucky to be in a band with me? But at the same time, that's what I have been thinking the whole time [being in a band with them]- cause I know that I write songs, but they don't really become anything good until these guys put their input into it. And that's a really amazing thing to hear from them because they are the people that I am creative with- and creativity for me it's an amazing way to vent- I can't even describe how amazing it is to create with these guys. It's awesome. And I never think about how talented I am- I just think of how perfect it is that the five of us are in a band together- it's like- think of it this way. John Lennon was an awesome song writer. Paul McCartney was an awesome song writer. But after the Beatles neither of their solo careers never had that much success. It was them in the context of the Beatles and that's why they were amazing. That's why the Beatles were so good- the four of them. It wasn't just because of one good song writer- ya know? So I think of it more as like I'm in Saves the Day. It's not like- I'm writing the songs for Saves The Day, I'm in Saves The Day and we're making this. That took like three years to answer.
Amy: For this last album, the dynamic of the band changed very much as far as people coming in and out. And there have been rumors that you kicked people out, and then you got new people in, can you kind of just clear the air once and for all?
Chris: Yeah, yeah. Justin our first guitar player- Bryan and I have been in a band with since we were 15- 14, 15 years old. Justin, Bryan, and I always played together. And then it turned into Saves the Day- we got some people. Dave, our guitar player now was in our second band- this band called Sefler. That was Bryan, Dave, Justin and me. So Dave wasn't in the band anymore, Dave wasn't in Saves the Day. It was Bryan, me, Justin and then Sean McGrath and Anthony Anastacio. And it just like, I dunno Justin lost interest and he was being really surly at practices and stuff and we just couldn't deal with it. And we were talking about with someone and that person told him- so he quit. And then Anthony Anthony quit too. Anthony quit after the first summer tour, before Can't Slow Down came out- actually right as Can't Slow Down came out. He quit. Just cause he wasn't having any fun. The first summer tour was complete hell. And then we need a new guitar player so we called David. Bryan and I have been best friends with David since we freshmen in high school. So we called David and he came and played for us. And that was natural because we had been in Sefler together. And so it was Sean, David, Bryan and I and Sean and David had serious issues- and Sean was just not working out. The chemistry was all wrong- and Sean; he wasn't the greatest musician- he wasn't adding anything. And the bass guitar was never an instrument we'd really explored, in terms of dynamics. So we wanted to get a really good bass player. So we kicked Sean out. Then we got Eben, from this band called Yearly. They were a band we used to play with all the time- we'd always admired his bass playing. And he was friends with us- oh before we kicked Sean out we got Ted. Bryan and I went to arts camp when we were 15 and met Ted and had an awesome time, became friends, we had been contacting each other ever since and Ted was the roadie on the first summer tour for Saves The Day. So we called Ted because he knew all the songs cause he had learned them on tour. Yeah, so then Sean quit and then we got Eben. And that's where we are now. And it's amazing we're lucky.
Amy: What was it like as far as going in with the second album- Through Being Cool- it was a bit of a different sound, it was more polished- what was it like going with producers and having people work with your stuff?
Chris: The only reason the sound change was because we had a different core. And it was more of a band effort. I write all the songs, but everyone else now that we have better musicians in the band- every one else can put in their ideas, you know? The first record was just me and Bryan, the other guys didn't play on it- it was just me and Bryan. Actually Sean played on it a little bit he played on like 8 of the tracks, anyway. So we knew that it was gonna be the entire band playing, so then the mentality changes and I could write different songs. And it was just a natural progression. Our producer Steve Evetts didn't engineer the sound- you know? I mean we wrote all those songs, the producer just helps you with an overall view of how it's gonna end up sounding when you put it in your CD player. So Through Being Cool all I can say about it- it was more of a it was more us. And you know people ask us why we don't play the older songs much now- and that's something we've been trying to do- bring back the ones that still mean anything to us- but it was a totally different band. Like, totally, totally different. But we can't forget about fans that have liked us since that album so we try to tonight was different cause we had a short set, but anyway.
Amy: There's a quote that says, "everybody wants to be a star but nobody questions what it takes to get that far" is there stuff that you feel like you have had to compromise creatively or have you run into any problems?
Chris: Creatively I guess not. I also don't think of myself as [a big rock star] but that's weird to think about.
Amy: Like the tours are getting bigger.
Chris: Yeah we're playing to more people and more people know us and with that level of success or whatever, it's definitely I don't know- the weirdest thing- the weirdest thing is when you go to another city, maybe you're never been there and someone comes up to you and acts like they know you. That is insane! Like think about going to a city and just having multiple people come up to you and instantly think that you're best friends. That's insane! That's so weird! It's also completely amazing. I appreciate every single compliment; I appreciate every single criticism. But when people feel like- to be honest the lyrics that I've written up to this point- haven't been that much inspired by fact- a lot of them have been fictional. And people don't understand that- they just think since I wrote them- that's me- that's exactly my life- you know? But mostly it's just a flow of emotion or whatever. I mean that sounds really like banal or trite or whatever you know? But it's really cool, but at the same time it sucks because like now-no it's doesn't suck. It doesn't suck at all. Let me just change my vocabulary there- the only thing I wish I had were more time at home. Cause I miss people there. Yeah I miss my mom- I love my mom. I miss my dad, I miss my dad, you know? I miss my lady friend, I miss my friends.
Amy: [I laugh] your lady friend?
Chris: Yeah I miss her! That's a bummer, but I mean the year before the band went full-time, I was in school. I was going to NYU, and I was writing three papers a week and I mean, don't get me wrong, I really like academics. I really love to learn, I am totally a book nerd- without a doubt. That was rough, I mean that was some serious stress- and that's just not something that I wanted to deal with. I would have continued if that band hadn't gone full-time, but we did and I appreciate this life SO MUCH. Not only this life- but just life in general- you know? But my lifestyle is amazing. I get to be on the road, I get to be out seeing amazing landscapes- and with my best friends- and I get to play music for people every single night- and I get to see people singing words that I wrote. Every night! That's insane! And you're paid for it! Like I'm getting paid to do it- so I mean I love it. I love every ounce of it.
Amy: That's awesome. Ok I have kind of a random question for you. This tells a lot about a person.
Chris: I like non-sequitur things.
Amy: If you could have genitals smell like anything in the entire world, what would you have them smell like and why?
Chris: You mean someone of the someone that I was close to- in close proximity to their genitals?
Amy: Yes. What would be your preferred scent?
Chris: Uhm. At times, let me, ok at times- I really like that animal- the animalistic undertones of sex- so at times I would like it to smell like foul- you know? But at the same time- you asked for smell right? K. But at the same time if I want to be slow and nice to my lady friend- you know? I want to take my time- and be you know precise and like, sweet? So I'd like to have maybe like -watermelon? I don't know- if it could taste like watermelon that would be really cool.
Amy: Good to know! Are there any bands out there that you would like to see get more exposure or that you would recommend?
Chris: Underground bands?
Amy: Yeah, just like any little gems out there that you'd like for more people to listen to.
Chris: I actually don't think that enough people appreciate Jets to Brazil enough- I wouldn't have said that just on their first album- but their new album is monumental. It's unbelievable. Like I can't- I listen to this thing- and I can't I don't know. I almost can't believe it. It's so developed, so complex, and the lyrics are so, so good. And I wouldn't know, but they feel just really honest. But at the same time I wouldn't know if they are honest or not. They certainly are a successful band but I don't think that they're appreciated enough. I can say this now, because Tom Waits is now officially on Epitaph records and he's now officially underground. Tom Waits certainly needs some more attention, some more appreciation. His newest album is incredible. It's so good. It's so interesting- and the musicianship and the instruments that he picks they're totally out of nowhere. The Beatles are my favorite, favorite band ever- and they used a lot of really creative instruments, different ways to make music, cause music is so universal, there's so much out there to be played. And I like it when people take advantage of that. It's sort of hard in a format like ours because we're, you know two guitars, bass and drums.
Amy: Yeah Tom Waits is completely amazing. My friend and I have this thing- where we talk about how there are certain people in our lives where we wish we could just have them in a closet- and open the door up and just have them there- there's just like one way that you think of them- and you just want them there all the time- it could be someone that you meet for 3 seconds, like on a toll bridge or something- anybody are there people in your life that you just wish you could have them there all the time?
Chris: Oh of course!
Amy: Or just have it there when you need it? Just like a little shot of something?
Chris: Of course!
Amy: Closet people is what we call them.
Chris: Anytime. I would love to have my lady friend here all the time and not because I need her, but because I really respect her. And because this is how I think of love. I think of it as something that, this is something that Ted and I were talking about the other day Ted's theory is that love is something that we give off all the time to everything, everything in the world because every thing is energy, whatever. Everything's energy, so the energy that we give off is love that's Ted's theory but anyway, this is what I was thinking about love. It's- someone that I love, like my lady friend, she makes me enjoy existing that much more when she's around, like three times as much, I don't know. And since I am so like Zen or whatever, I am a total hippie I enjoy everything. Not necessarily enjoy, I love experiencing things. Like life or whatever, I mean I am totally out there right now. When's she's around maybe I will see things in a different way, like maybe I will hear music in a different way. And generally there are more smiles on my face when she's around. So that would be amazing, that would be totally amazing. I really wish that this was something that you could do. I wouldn't mind. I wouldn't mind having my dad around. I don't know I'd really like to get to know my dad I love my dad- we have an awesome relationship, but I would like to get to know him, I'd just like to ask him questions and stuff.
Amy: Another little saying that I enjoy "Everybody's a prostitute you just have to name the price" what is your price? Like your weakness?
Chris: What would I? Hmmm. What would I climb over other people for?
Amy: Or the one thing that someone could take from you that you would kill to get back your vulnerability.
Chris: My parents. I'd really be upset. I mean if I could sell my soul to keep my parents alive, I'd do it. Deal with the consequences.
Amy: This was something that I came across not too long ago, and I just thought that you might have a few things to say about it.
Chris: Oh man. (Chris sees it)
(We show Chris a 1998 Seventeen Magazine special edition GUYS issue which features an article about a panel of "bad boys" that includes our own Chris Conley his comments are outstanding)
Chris: Look at me, that's insane.
Amy: Yeah look at you.
Chris: You want to know the story behind this?
You know, we dragged it all the way here. We're like Riiiighht... Chris (cause this article's quote makes him sound like a complete asshole)
When I was 17, I got admitted to this school for gifted kids in the arts. And I went for creative writing; it was called the governor's school. And I went- and it was fucking amazing. One of the best experiences of my life- I learned so much and I made some of the closet friends- ever. So it was the layout of the school was like this it was a month long- you go the first week you have one teacher, second week you have another teacher, third week you have another teacher, fourth week you have another teacher. And the third week we were writing short stories and the teacher was named Ben. And it turns out that Ben was a writer for Seventeen- he writes there's like Ben's Column or something- (he starts leafing through the magazine) it's like somewhere in here I have no idea where it is- well you can find it later- it's somewhere. So Ben and I hit it off and we were friends- and he thought- ok- there came a time in his company where they were gonna do- every year they do this bad boy interview, interviewing the bad boys or whatever- so he called me because he thought that I was like a bad boy- and I was like, 'I'm not really like that at all' and he said. 'Well, maybe you could pretend' and I was like, 'ok- maybe I could totally pull it off- like theatre of life shit- making people believe that you are someone totally different- so I was like 'yeah I'll do it.' So I went and I was without a doubt the best kid out of all these guys- so I was like; I wanna see if I can become the worst. And so I made up a lot of shit. But yeah that's totally me! Doesn't look anything like me (cause there are hand drawn cartoon like people) well maybe, I don't know. But anyway- yeah, that's the story- I just faked the whole thing- I mean I know what guys think- yeah this is funny. That was at a time at my life where I was ironically funny like that all the time.
Amy: That's awesome
Chris: I was totally wondering, cause everytime I go home I see it there- and I was totally wondering when the person- when someone was gonna come up to me at a show with one of these things.
Amy: We're the first one?
Amy: I got my last question for you, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
Chris: What gets me out of bed in the morning, uhm you know what? Like everything. And I am not even trying to be one of those- like some dude you know? Some that says, 'man life's awesome.' I mean, it's seriously awesome. The entire spectrum of emotions are amazing. If I'm pissed off- that's cool! I am gonna experience being pissed off- that's an awesome emotion. That feels really good like next time you're pissed off just sort of experience it, you know? Ted has this book, it's called Be Here Now, and I've been reading a little bit of it in the van, and it's all about appreciating the moment. People- I feel like especially Americans, are so caught up with the past and the future that they never really stop to be where they are. You know what I mean? I get up in the morning like one thing that I have been doing recently- one things that's been really, really exciting and turning me on- has been just walking down the street or whatever and just listening. To everything- people's foot steps, birds, things that I don't see, that I will probably never see being aware of my senses. Your senses are how you register the world, like how you take in the world- and people take for granted taste and smell. Sight is the only thing that we don't take advantage of that much- so yeah I don't know. And that'll change, I am sure that it'll change within me. In two months I probably won't be getting up for the same reasons- I will have something else in life. But for right now, it's just about sorta being here.
Amy: Thank you very much!
8 Clip Online for that one. Go check it out!