Red, Blue, Green and YellowFat Wreck Chords
By Pete Bataillon on November 21st, 2013 at The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE
Masked Intruder are on the run for the law. What for you ask? Details are murky, but its safe to assume it’s something related to stalking, breaking and entering, stabbings and theft. Allegedly anyway. No one really knows for sure. All we know is that the balaclava-wearing pop-punkers are always one step ahead of the law, and their always present cop Office Bradford.
In a world where every nothing remains secret, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow have managed to keep their identity a secret, all the while delivering some of the best pop-punk tunes around. Two weeks into the Fat Wreck Tour with Less Than Jake, Anti-Flag and Get Dead, the masked foursome took a break from their criminal ways to set the record straight: Home Alone is actually a horror movie and Police Academy is a documentary.
You have your own fan base that has grown over the last few years. How long have you been a band now?
Blue: We’ve been a band for about three years, but it’s only been a little over a year since the record came out. The full length came out in August of 2012.
Green: That’s what the internet says.
There are a lot of people coming out to the Fat Tour for Less Than Jake or Anti-Flag that may be hearing or seeing you for the first time. How has the reception been for you in that regard?
Blue: I think it’s been pretty good. We’ve got a lot of new friends and new fans. You know, we’re selling a lot of CD’s and stuff, which is a good sign. It feels to me like it’s been a really good response. We’re pretty happy with it. I would say we’re very happy with it.
Red: I would definitely say that’s the case. I’ve had quite a few people come up to me and actually say that you know, I’ve never heard you guys before and I came to see Less Than Jake or I came to see Anti-Flag but you know you guys are really good and stuff and I’m gonna pick up your stuff. So yeah, it’s real good expanding the fan base and it’s lots of fun.
Oh shit. Where’s my wallet?
Red: That’s cool, I got it. No worries.
Your popularity has grown exponentially in the last year. As an example, last year at The Fest you played one of the smallest venues, Durty Nelly’s. Which was a crazy show.
Green: One of the best shows we’ve ever played I think.
How no one was decapitated by the ceiling fans, I’ll never know.
Blue: I don’t know either.
Red: I’m not entirely sure that didn’t happen.
This year you jumped up to the largest venue both at Pre-Fest in Ybor City at The Ritz, and then also the largest venue at The Fest at The Florida Theater. How has that rise been for you and how have you handled the transition?
Red: It’s been real cool you know. Like we basically got that slot in a game of dice. We rolled and we got the bigger venue. That’s how it came about.
Green: That’s how business works right?
Blue: Tony, he’s a gambler, and we’re gamblers so it worked out pretty good. The rise has been great. We’ve been ecstatic, that’s the only way to put it; to see how much stuff has grown over such a short amount of time. We got the fans to thank for that and we couldn’t be more happy about it really.
Yellow: Yeah, we’re static.
Red: Yellow, you ain’t static. Static is like that electricity stuff that zaps you when you touch the doorknob.
Yellow: Yeah, we’re electricity.
Red: Well I guess you got me there. Yeah we’re static.
Since you don’t have Maura from Mixtapes on tour with you, how do you handle the second vocal on “Heart Shaped Guitar” live and have there been any interesting experiences with that?
Green: We’ve had lots of interesting experiences.
Blue: When we do the song live we try to pick girls out of the audience and bring them up on stage. Sometimes it could be somebody that tweeted at us and was like “I wanna sing the song”. Sometimes it could be a random stranger. Sometimes it’s a dude that says he wants to wear a wig and come up and sing. But we usually try to get actual ladies to come up and sing. We got enough of dudes in wigs in prison.
Red: Yeah, you know if there’s a lady that we know that’s a good singer in a band or whatever that we’re friends with and stuff sometimes we’ll have them do it and stuff too.
Blue: We have had some interesting experiences of course. Some people getting up there to sing it then don’t actually know the song.
Green: Yeah they go up there and then they’re just sittin’ there looking pretty and I’m like, “yeah, you’re real pretty but you’re supposed to sing the song.”
I’ve seen video of the singer from The Pillowfights with you.
Blue: Danny Bailey
Green: She’s a great girl.
Blue: She is great. She’s a friend of ours. She’s sung it with us a couple times. We’ve had Rachael from Lipstick Homicide sing it with us, just to name a few.
Green: Danny’s in a new band Jabber too.
Red: Yeah, you should check out Jabber.
Blue: Miski from City Mouse has sung it to.
Red: The girls from the The Bombpops have done it.
You premiered two new songs at The Fest. Can people expect those on this tour and will new material be finding it’s way into the set?
Blue: Yeah, absolutely. We actually have a bunch of new songs because we’re working on the second record. So we are rotating them in and out of the set and performing them at different shows. So pretty much every show of the tour people can expect to hear one or two new songs.
You have the Christmas 7-inch coming out December 10th. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Blue: Yeah, we got two songs on there. One is “Under The Mistletoe” which is an original song and we’re really proud of that one. Then the other one is “Silent Night”, the traditional song there, but it’s not the same because we changed the lyrics. So our version is more cooler.
Red: Fat’s doing a real cool thing with that. I don’t know if it’s just the pre-order or whatever, but it comes with a box set of ornaments. Color coded Intruder ornaments for the holidays.
Green: Yeah, they got some Christmas balls.
Blue: Yeah with our ski masks on there. We are also doing a special thing for the record too. If you have those ornaments on your Christmas tree we will leave your presents unmolested.
Blue: Yeah cause allegedly we do like Christmas a lot because it’s nice to break into a house and you got the presents under the tree and you never know what you’re gonna get. But we will not take those if we find the ornaments on your tree.
What’s Christmas time usually like for you?
Blue: When we’re not in the clink it’s one of the better times of the year. The only thing that’s bad about it is when you try to run away from the cops and it gets so slippery on account of the wintery conditions. But other than that everyone’s in a good giving spirit. We figure giving and taking go hand in hand. We love it.
Red: The cookies are always good too. That’s a good part of it. The cookies. We don’t have a problem taking those cookies from Santa…..I mean finding those cookies.
Green: I like the candy.
Blue: Yeah plus the candy. Green is a big fan of the candy too. We’ve always idolized Santa Claus. The ability of his to hit every house in the whole world in one night, which is something we’ve always dreamed about but never been able to pull off.
Red: Yeah, you know that movie The Grinch? That’s actually like the true story of Santa ‘cause he takes everything, everything, everything. Every house in a night.
I heard Green had a little bit of trouble. Maybe slipped or had some difficulty.
Blue: Oh you heard about that huh?
Green: He’s got the inside scoop here.
Blue: Yeah he does.
Green: Yeah, but I’m OK.
Blue: He’s OK.
You mentioned some of the new songs. When can we expect a new full length?
Blue: We don’t have a release date yet, so I can’t say when it will be. I can tell you it will be in 2014 and we have been working on it already and we are going to continue to work on it as soon as we’re not on tour.
You’ve been doing the Fat Wreck Chords tour for about 2 weeks now. How’s that been going?
Blue: It’s been really great. We’ve become fast friends with everybody on the tour. Everybody in Less Than Jake, everybody in Anti-Flag, everybody in Get Dead; we’ve all been getting along really well. It’s really great for us especially with a band like Less Than Jake where we all grew up listening to it. So it’s cool to meet those guys and have them be cool to us and welcoming to us. We get to talk to them about the business and talk to them about music and just hang out and get wasted. It’s been a blast. Until Get Dead unfortunately flipped their van on the way to this show and unfortunately missed the show, we haven’t really haven’t had too much of a hiccup on the tour at all. We’re glad that they’re only missing this one show and they’re going to meet us up in Denver.
Obviously you’ve all got your identities as colors. How did you each of you end up with your color?
Blue: That’s just like asking somebody how they ended up with their name. It’s before you can remember. As far back as I can remember I’ve always been blue. We’ve seen alleged security camera footage of Red as a toddler ripping off candy bars. As far as we know, we’ve always been this way.
Red: We were born this way man.
Green: Like Lady Gaga.
Blue: Yeah, like Lady Gaga. She’s hot.
Green: She’s born this way.
Blue: She’s great.
Red: I thought that was a dude?………I guess it says it in the name “Lady”.
Yellow: Dude looks like a lady?
Red: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking you know.
At The Fest Officer Canon came on board. Officer Bradford couldn’t handle you on his own?
Yeah, you know, one of the functions that our police officers serve is not just to keep us in line and pursue us, but also to make sure that people are having a good time and partying. As party officers of the law, it’s good to have an extra officer there for a bigger show like at The Fest. So we got in touch with Officer Canon and he actually came out with us for a few. He actually was with us just yesterday in Minneapolis when we played. We love having him out. He’s a great dude…..for a cop.
Red: Yeah, you can maybe plan on seeing him from time to time in the future. Every once in a while. You know, he’s just backup for Bradford. Bradford calls him in when he needs some help.
When you’re practicing or getting ready for a new album or tour; how do you get time to practice and write in the joint? Do you get extra time in the yard for good behavior?
Red: Solitary confinement my friend.
Blue: Yeah, you don’t really get a lot of time to write in prison, unfortunately. We did write some stuff before when we were in prison. But haven’t actually been in lockup since the first record, which is good. We’ve been able to stay on the road and evade the authorities well enough to not be back in the clink. So we found time outside of the pen to get all that stuff done. Which is good.
So if it is in solitary, it’s more like quad solitary?
Red: Yeah, you pluralize it. So it’s like solitaries.
Blue: Quadritary or something,. Quadritary confinement?
Red: Yeah, I would have said solitaries but you know, whatever.
Red: Fouritary. That’s it. Quaditaries? Something like that.
Officer Bradford gets a little distracted during your sets. Do you ever consider dropping the instruments and making a run for it when he’s busy?
Blue: Not until just now, but that’s a good idea.
Red: Yeah, I never thought of that before.
Green: I don’t know why we never thought of that.
Blue: We’d have to leave our instruments though and then we’d lose those. But we could just get new ones. Lift new ones.
Red: Yeah yeah. We’d “find” them.
Blue: “Find” them of course. Allegedly.
Red: The problem is that it takes a long time to find the right color instruments. You know what I mean?
Green: Yeah you know like green guitars aren’t that common.
Red: Thievers can’t be choosers or something like that.
Blue: No, beggars can’t be choosers. Stealers can be choosers.
Red: Yeah, I was getting that mixed up.
Does Officer Bradford enforce lights out every night?
Blue: Yeah, he does pretty strictly. Which is unfortunate because we like to party and stay up as much as we can. So the trick is, you get them drunk, and then he’s a little fast and loose with the rules. You and then maybe you see a lady of the night, you know you might slip her $40 to hit on him, to pretend like she likes him or something, to keep him distracted. Then we can sit in the bar and stay out late and everything. So you know, you gotta play it by ear and do whatever you can when you get a chance. Another trick is to get a box of donuts and leave it out but put Benadryl in the donuts. Cause you know he’s gonna eat the whole box. Then you figure you got twelve Benadryls in that dude he’s gonna fall asleep.
Red: That leaves us free to eat pizza and watch Robocop 2 all night. Terrifying.
Blue: Terrifying movie. It’s very scary.
Green: That’s why we stay up so late. I can’t sleep after I watch that movie.
Blue: Robocop and Robocop 2 are both scary. Not necessarily the scariest movies. But we feel the Police Academy movies are pretty much the most terrifying ones.
So do you fear a real Robocop in the future then?
Red: Wait, you’re saying that could be a thing!?
Blue: We were apprehensive about going to the joint because we didn’t know it wasn’t a thing already.
Yellow: You told me it was just a movie.
Blue: It is just a movie Yellow. It’s just a movie. It’s just a movie.
Red: He’s extra scared.
Yellow: Was it a documentary?
Blue: No no no.
Green: Not like Police Academy.
Blue: Yeah. That’s a documentary.
Red: That’s an actual documentary.
Green: That’s why it’s so scary you know. Robocop is all science fiction. It’s still terrifying but you show the real stuff in Police Academy it’s like “Wow. That stuff actually happens.”
Blue: How you gonna fight a cop that can make all those sounds with his mouth? Cause he could sneak up on you pretending to be a pony.
Red: Maybe he’s like the first Robocop, cause he’s got like a robo-mouth.
Blue: Yeah he does. Cause he was like shaving and he was like [makes sound with his mouth] “Brrrrrrrrrr” but it wasn’t even an electric razor.
Do you have fears of Officer Hightower?
Blue: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Green: Of course.
Blue: Green in particular has a recurring nightmare where Officer Hightower wads him up into a ball and slam dunks him.
Green: Yeah. It also goes into my fear of basketball.
Blue: Yeah, Green’s definitely afraid of basketball.
Red: Then there’s that Mahoney with all his trickery. He’s so clever.
Green: Oh yeah. He’s a tricky guy.
Blue: You know what, speaking of clever; he’s like that boy Kevin from Home Alone, which is another terrifying movie.
Green: Yes it is.
Blue: Very scary Christmas time movie about a boy that decides to wreak havoc on a couple of honest working men.
Do you fear paint cans to the face?
Blue: Of course.
Red: Who doesn’t?
Blue: Who doesn’t you know?
From a 10 year old?
Red: Especially from a 10 year old.
Blue: You get hit in the face by a paint can and you’re like “Ow that smarts”. Then it’s like there’s the 10 year old boy that did it to you and it’s like embarrassing.
Red: You don’t see no grandma ladies throwing around paint cans like that.
Yellow: It hurts your pride and your face.
So there’s a pretty deep seeded fear amongst the group of Steve Gutenburg?
Mahoney I should say.
Red: Oh yeah.
Blue: Absolutely. But I think he vanished from the Earth in 1989. I think we’re fine there. I pretty sure he’s been a missing person since at least the early ‘90s.
Are you aloud to drive on tour or are you cuffed until show time?
Blue: Red does most of the driving.
Green: Red’s the wheelman normally. He’s pretty good behind the wheel so he gets to drive.
Blue: We do get cuffed a lot of the time when we’re not on stage unfortunately. But there’s ways around it. We try to figure out how to massage the situation. Cause your wrist gets real tired in those things.
Red: You know sometimes Officer Bradford, he gets pretty lazy, so we kinda worked out this loophole where he just kinda sits in the backseat so that way he’s still in pursuit of us technically. So I’ll be in front seat and then he’ll wake up from his donut nap every once in a while to yell at me to keep it under 55.
Was there something that happened that you got into a little more trouble? I saw you had to come out in cuffs and jumpsuits at Fest, which is a little different than what I’m used to seeing from you.
Green: You know, it’s an extra security situation at Fest because there’s so many extra people around.
Blue: They’re worried that we could give the slip I think is the main thing.
When you’re out on tour are you on parole, out on good time served, or are you on work release?
Blue: It’s like a mixed bag there. You know the law is very complicated. I don’t know exactly how it works but I can tell you that it works out one way or another, which is all we really care about. It’s somewhere in there. Some kind of special work release program or something. I don’t really understand it. But that’s why we got lawyers you know. Public defenders I mean.
Red: We don’t really know the law mumbo jumbo and stuff. They keep telling us we gotta listen closer and learn about that stuff but I don’t know what they’re saying. I wasn’t really paying attention.
Blue: I don’t know neither. I don’t know either. Legal jargon is impossible to understand. Fingers prints? DNA signature? Video evidence? What does that even mean?
Red: Is that some kind of like VCR or DVD or something? I don’t know.
Blue: Yeah, cause that kinda stuff I understand.
Green: They keep telling us we gotta clean up our act and stuff; and I’m like “Well, we keep practicing. I think our songs are real good.” So I don’t know what their problem is.
Blue: Does that mean we should swear less I guess? But then the kids won’t buy the records.
Green: Fuck that.
So you go with the public defender. You can’t afford your own lawyer?
Blue: No, we’re not KISS or nothing.
Red: Like Blue said, we’re not kissing nothing.
Blue: I don’t even know what you mean.
I don’t know that means either.
Blue: Does that make sense to anybody here?
That doesn’t make a word of sense.
Red: I thought that’s what you said. We’re not kissing nothing.
Green: He didn’t have no spaghetti today. He’s hungry.
Is Spaghetti the main meal?
Red: Oh yeah.
Blue: Red’s favorite food is spaghetti.
Red: Yeah. Pretty much anything that’s red is pretty good.
Blue: Thanks for the interview man.