Lethal Injection Zine's Interview with Chris Conley
Interview with Chris Conley
Lethal Injection Zine
This interview was done with Saves The Day's singer Chris Conley on Feb. 4th, 2000 on the Snapcase tour.
So who all is in the band?
Bryan Newman plays drums. Ted Alexander is the guitar player. David Soloway is the guitar player. Eben D'Amico is the bass player and I sing, my name is Chris Conley.
In the "Through Being Cool" booklet you guys looked pretty young. How old are you guys?
I am 19 and Ted and Eben are also 19. David is 21 and Bryan is 20.
How long have you been playing together?
With this lineup we have been together for almost a year. Actually about 10 months as this lineup. But Saves The Day has been together for about three years, almost three years.
How did you guys meet?
Bryan and I have been going to school together since we were like 8. And we met David in High School so we were friends with David for a long time. And Bryan and I went to an arts camp with Ted so that is how we met Ted. Then Saves The Day played a bunch of shows with this band called Yearly (spelling) from Long Island and that is how we met Eben because Eben was the bass player for Yearly.
What bands did you listen to growing up?
Oh god, I think the first tape I ever bought was the Soundtrack to Cocktail. It had "Don't Worry Be Happy" on it and like the Beach Boys. And then I bought like a Billy Joel tape and I really liked Billy Joel. This was when I was like 8. The first real music I ever bought and really loved was "Appetite For Destruction" by Guns And Roses. That was my favorite album for a long time. It was my favorite record for years. And then I got into punk music. I listened to like Screeching Weasel, Jawbreaker, and stuff like that.
Over your band history is there any show that totally sticks out in your mind?
We had one really terrible show in NYC. It was just a disaster. Our ex-bass player Sean was ripping David's cables out of his amplifier on stage like during a song. And I was yelling at the sound man and ugh, it was just a disaster. And we have had a bunch of really good shows. Philadelphia, on this last tour with A New Found Glory and Piebald, was incredible. It was sold out at 600 people but there were like 300 people outside and it was just insane for all the bands.
How did that tour go?
It was awesome, it was really fun. It was good to get to know those guys. And we played some good shows.
Do you feel out of place on this tour being with Snapcase and stuff?
Umm, not really. I think our music compliments Snapcase's really well. We are definitely extremely different then Buried Alive but I think it's cool. Variety is a good thing.
What's your favorite CD you guys have put out?
"Through Being Cool". For sure, it is just way more mature and way more awesome then "Cant Slow Down." "Cant Slow Down" was just me and Bryan, the other guys didn't do a thing. They didn't write anything, neither of the guitar players played anything. I played all of the guitar tracks and a lot of the bass tracks too. That was just me and Bryan, it wasn't really Saves The Day.
What's your favorite song you guys have written?
Oh god, I have no idea. I guess one of my favorites is uh, I really like "Holly Hox Forget Me Nots"?
Who is Holly Hox?
That is a made up name. But Holly Hox is a type of flower and Forget Me Nots is also a type of flower. So I just put the two together.
What inspires your music?
As a band we are definitely inspired by other bands and by playing with other bands, like Snapcase. Snapcase is one of the most inspiring bands we have ever played with. You know, just to watch them perform is incredible and they make us a better band. For me, because I write all of the songs or most of the songs, I am inspired by books I read, Ernest Hemingway is amazing, Raymond Carver is also amazing. People in my life like my mom, dad, girlfriend, some of my best friends. Ya know, the guys in my band inspire just as musicians and terms of day to day thing that we deal with. It's even more basic like my emotions and stuff inspire me.
What made you choose the title of "Through Being Cool"?
We stole that from a Devo song. They have a song called "Through Being Cool". It just seemed to fit because all of these things that I was thinking about at the time that I was writing all the songs, I was sick of being noticed for being in a band. Just because I am in a band that gets heard or whatever people feel like they can criticize me for the type of person I am. I didn't want to deal with any of that, and it just fit perfectly because I wanted to be through with being recognized or whatever and through with all the bullshit terms of the hardcore scene or the punk scene or whatever like, all the image crap. I feel like we a really honest band. It's all about the music, which is clich?à but whatever.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a band?
I think we will still be making music, we will probably have put out two more records by then. We are just building our way, we want to be as big as we can be. We don't want to stop at any point and say "Ok, we are big enough. We can stop now or we can stop trying to be bigger." I cant predict commercial success, I mean it might happen it might not. Still making the music we want to make.
What brought you to Equal Vision Records?
Our ex-bass player Sean McGrath was in a band called Hands Tied on Equal Vision and Sean knew Steve Reddy who runs Equal Vision so Steve Reddy called Sean when he heard about our band and asked Sean to give him a demo so Sean gave him a demo and he came to see us play and they signed us.
Do you do anything outside of the band like a job or any hobbies?
I read a lot. I write songs and I hang out with my girlfriend all the time. The band is full time, we quit school for this.
You were in a band called Sefler, right?
Yea. Bryan, Dave, and I were in a band called Sefler. At first it was called Indifference which was when we were like fourteen and then it turned into Sefler. Sefler was just a band that we didn't think we were going to do anything with it we just played anything we wanted to play. It wasn't a specific style of music, just anything that came out of my guitar we would play. And it went from like really weird like Superchunk/Sunny Day Real Estate stuff like really weird stuff and turned into punky stuff like Jawbreaker meets Rancid. And then we started playing faster songs and started writing songs in the style of Saves The Day but we were still called Sefler. And we really liked that style so we recorded a demo and the day we recorded a demo we decided that the name Sefler kinda sucked so we changed it.
What brought on Saves The Day?
Well we were recording the demo and our called our ex-guitar player Justin called Sean McGrath because he was friends with Sean and Sean came to the studio to just hang out and hear the songs and he thought the songs were really good. He said he really wanted to play for us but he also said we should change the name because Sefler is just to weird. He always wanted to call a band Saves The Day because one of his favorite bands growing up was Farside and they had a song called "Hero" and one of the lyrics is "I want to be the one who saves the day" or something. So Sean came up with that name.
Are you guys going to do any music videos? I heard you were going to done one.
We are shooting one September 12th with Darrin Done. He directed "Dammit" and "Josie" for Blink 182. He did "Chick Magnet" for MXPX and all of the Promise Ring videos. He does a lot of punk videos. We are doing "Shoulder To The Wheel."
What is the theme of it?
It is really literal. Dave and I are driving around trying to find like a cool party. Or no, we are supposed to be playing at a party but we don't know what party it is so we are driving around to all these parties trying to find the party we play at. And there are all these crazy parties. And every party we leave we have someone from that party in the back seat so, we finally get to the party and we play for a little bit.
Speaking of themes, why did you choose the party theme for "Through Being Cool"?
Oh, I don't know. Dave and Bryan had the idea for the layout and I dunno, it seemed like we could express the theme of the album through a party. Like we don't care about being in this scene at the party. In the layout its supposed to be like we're not really into being there at the party but we are there anyways so we are doing our own thing at the party because we are all about doing our own thing.
What are your views on MTV?
MTV Sucks!! 120 Minutes is great because they play the videos that they want to play. If they like the music and they like the video they'll play it but MTV is just more evidence of how fucked up the music industry is. There's no heart in popular music anymore. No one has a fuckin backbone, the Foo Fighters is a real band because they don't care about radio or whatever they are just writing songs that they think are good that represent the band. They are honest about, that is all we are trying to do is be honest. But there is so much crap, everything sucks in my opinion. Not everything, I like a number of major label releases but there is just no soul, its horrible. It is so diluted, its just terrible. It is all created, there is nothing real.
What is your favorite soft drink?
I like root bear and cream soda.
Do you have a favorite food?
I like this place called Vegetarian Paradise in NYC, they are really good.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Um, let me think. "Magnolia", it is unbelievable. It is just so well done, it is emotionally draining to watch it. It instantly became my favorite movie. I like dramas and fantasy movies like "Death Stalker" and stuff. We watch them because they are hilarious.
What about a favorite band?
I have lots but my favorite band would be Jawbreaker because I think they are amazing but I have a number of favorite songwriters. Joanie Mitchell is unreal. Tom Waits is a genius and so is Bruce Springsteen, he is a genius. Guns And Roses is like up there, they are so amazing. I never stopped liking that album since the day I bought it when I was 8.
What do you think of Britney Spears?
I think she is cute. She is really cute and her songs are really good but its just more bullshit ya know? Shes not real, she doesn't write anything. If you ever see her on tv performing her songs its just like they play the track of her singing on the cd and mix in her live vocal so its like half cd and half live vocal and she is just not powerful at all. If you are going to be a performer, perform and show off your talents. If you can sing like that on the record why cant you do it live ya know? That's why I honestly have a lot of respect for Christina Aguilera. Even though she doesn't write any of her songs, but neither did Madonna and I think Madonna is a genius, when she performs she sings her heart out and she sings amazingly. She is beautiful and she doesn't lip sink at all and she has this booming voice. She is such a good performer, she just draws you in. So I have a lot of respect for her even though she is more of the crap, I think she will last longer.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Everybody in the entire would should read "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway.