You just released the new album
entitled Two Years To Never, the fourth Tooth & Nail release for the band. When I
listen to it it strikes me that the band sounds more mature then on a previous album like
Banana Man, that sounded like high energy poppunk, funpunk. Now the band seems to have a
serious approach to the music. How do you feel about the new album?
I'm really happy about how the songs on Two Years To Never turned out. I think the new
Ghoti Hook songs are really a reflection of the last three years of this band. There have
been changes in the band's lineup, as well as changes in the influences and personal lives
of the members. We thought we'd try to really express ourselves and be honest on this new
record rather than be jokesters. We wanted to make a record that would stand the test of
time and not get old after a couple of listens. We wanted to make a record that people
would hear and go, "Whoa! This is Ghoti Hook? This is way better than their older
stuff!" I think for the most part we've accomplished that.
Just before the release of the album original
member Christian Ergueta left the band to move on to personal aspirations. Does his
departure also have to do with the new direction you're moving into?
No, because he was there when we wrote all these
new songs and recorded them. He was definitely into the songs we were writing for Two
Years To Never and supported the broadening of our sound.
And what will he be doing in music or did he quit
I'm not really sure if he'll still be involved
with music or not. He's a skilled business man so I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up
managing bands or being a booking agent.
There's also quite some variety in sounds and
ideas on the album. One song might be heavy, another one more like powerpop with punkpop
roots. What's the idea of doing such an album?
One reason for the sound change is that I sort of took (former guitarist) Conrad's place
as main co-writer (with Joel being the other one) so of course my style's going to be a
bit different from Conrad's. Jamie and Adam each contributed a song as well which they
hadn't really done in the past. There was one rule we had when writing this record and
that rule was "Anything Goes". We just started writing without regard to what
people would think of these new songs. If we wrote it and it was a good song, then it
stayed. There was no intention on writing another Banana Man, although I'm sure there's
some people out there who would have liked that more. Listening to my favorite albums, I
notice there is almost always a variety of songs on those albums. Every song may be
different, but they all sound like they came from the same band. That's what we were
trying to go for on Two Years To Never.
With the variety on the new album I wonder what
your main influences are. What kind of bands inspired you or do you write whatever comes
Some bands that everyone in Ghoti Hook is happy
when their CD's are popped into the car stereo include the Pixies, the Dead Milkmen,
AC/DC, Weezer, and the Supersuckers. We each have our own different musical influences
though. Jamie's into a lot of the current rock 'n roll stuff, Joel listens to the radio a
lot, Adam's into more obscure types of bands, and my tastes go across the board but my
favorites are guitar based bands from the 60's through the 80's. The way we normally write
songs is Joel will come up with a verse and chorus, and then I'll come up with a bridge
and arrangement ideas or vice versa. However, this band is a writing democracy and Jamie
and Adam share their ideas about how the songs should go as well, so it's never really
just one person's vision in any song.
The album was produced by Sean O'Dwyer. He worked
with bands like Blink 182 and Pink Floyd too. How did you get him involved?
After being really disappointed with the way
Banana Man ended up sounding, we knew we wanted a big, thick, rock sound on our new album.
Our friend Jay Jay is MxPx's guitar tech, and he had met Sean through his engineering work
on their latest album, The Ever Passing Moment. Jay Jay sent Sean a demo of some of our
new songs and he really liked them. He ended up doing the record for us for much less than
he usually earns just because he liked us so much, plus it was his first widely
distributed record that he produced as well as engineered on. We got along with him really
well and he had some cool ideas to help enhance the songs.
What are some of the best things you've learned in
The most important thing I've learned is what NOT
to do in the studio next time around. There were just a few things that I did on the
record that I thought were good ideas at the time but now I don't like that much when I
listen to it. It's probably nothing that the average person would notice but since I was
there for the whole process, I completely notice.
I have a promo-copy of the CD without lyrics so
can you tell something about the lyrical content of the album? Is there a song that's
special to you?
Like I said before, the lyrics are very reflective of the last three years of this band.
There's only one funny song on the record, which is Chevy Nova and it's about Jamie's old
piece of junk car. I also think there's some songs that are really spiritual. Whereas
before there were songs like Spice Drops from Sumo Surprise, we decided to go with a more
personal approach this time. I always tend to like those lyrics better anyway. You have to
dig a little deeper, but the outcome is more satisfying.
Is there a song that has a special meaning to you
because of its contents?
Not to me personally since I didn't write any of
the lyrics except for a couple of lines in Campbelltown. However, I can definitely relate
to the feelings expressed in the lyrics.
What kind of feelings are expressed then?
There's a few songs about not being satisfied with
who you are and wanting to
change. That's an issue that I deal with all the time. There's a song about the loss of a
loved one, which I had to deal with for the first time about two years ago. Finally,
there's a couple of songs that are based on experiences we've had as a band and they serve
as a general commentary on those experiences.
What are your expectations for this album? What do
you hope for?
I hope that people who liked our previous albums really like this new one and that people
who didn't like our previous albums would give this one a chance since it is a bit
different. I also hope that it can get out to more people this time around, which we'll be
trying to accomplish by getting out on the road as much as possible in the next year and
through grassroots advertising.
In the past some of your songs were used
for commercials and advertisements and for MTV Sports. How did that happen?
Buka, who plays in AP2 (also known as Argyle Park), does production work for MTV. He would
often put songs from various Tooth and Nail bands into shows like MTV Sports, Road Rules,
etc. I'm not quite sure how we got into those commercials, nor have I seen any of them.
On the improved website I read that you
do this full-time now. How do you manage that? Do you sell enough CD's? Is it easy or is
there need for part-time jobs to sustain?
We're actually a semi-full time band. If
we were on the road consistently, then we could be full time but since we haven't done any
serious touring as of late, we have to get temp jobs while we are home to pay our bills.
We don't make any money through album sales except when we sell our own CD's at shows.
Contrary to popular belief, a touring band who is on a bigger label is not always a rich
band. In fact, it's usually the opposite. If I wanted to be making money, I'd go get some
computer job somewhere and do a band on the weekends. We're trying to do this full time
because we feel that God has called us to do this, and because we love music and meeting
people across the world. It truly is a labor of love.
With other jobs you might be doing
something others could do as well, perhaps even better. Does doing Ghoti Hook give you
more than that? I mean, you're doing something unique in a creative manner. I can imagine
that it makes you feel doing something worth doing, or is that not a motivation?
Being in Ghoti Hook does give me an
outlet to create, and also to let out my pent up feelings in a positive way. I think if I
stopped doing music altogether, I'd be pretty unhappy. It's also cool when you put on a
good show and someone's really impressed by you and then when they find out you're
Christians, they are amazed. There's just been so much garbage put out by Christians like
about 95% of "Christian Rock" and those shirts that rip off all the corporate
logos. I'd like people to know that you can follow God and still write good music. I think
MxPx and P.O.D. are doing a good job of that these days.
So, it makes you feel happy. On the other
hand, being in a band you're on public display. Being a Christian there might be all kinds
of people expecting you to behave in a certain way, say certain things, etceteras. Have
you ever experienced that?
I've experienced that from both
Christians and non-Christians. There's obviously the non-Christians, who think that all
Christians are self-righteous hypocrites who want to shove their beliefs down your throat.
At the same time, there are the Christians who come down on you because they don't think
you're "Christian" enough and that you're setting a bad example. It can be
discouraging at times but the bottom line is that as long as we know we're alright with
Jesus and are doing our best to follow Him, then it doesn't matter what other people
think. Look at Jesus' life for example. All of the religious leaders hated Him and talked
trash on Him as much as possible, and those who didn't care thought he was crazy. Do you
think He would have stopped what He was doing just because those people didn't agree with
Him or believe in Him? Not a chance. The bottom line is that we don't put up a front with
people. What you see is what you get with Ghoti Hook. Some people like that and some have
a problem with it, but that's how it is and we're not going to change.
And what do you like besides playing in
My main hobby is collecting vinyl records and low budget movies/DVD's. I love to travel
and check out different sights, stores, amusement parks, etc. I like skateboarding a lot
too, but I'm not that good at it. Jamie likes fishing, camping, and hiking, Adam likes to
draw and paint, and Joel likes to read books.
With the new album out one might wonder
about touring plans. I found out there's a tour scheduled for this fall. Can you give a
little insight into those plans?
So far, the fall tour is looking like it'll be about 6 weeks long starting in early
October, with Hangnail opening up half of it and Element 101 and Calibretto 13 opening up
the other half. The tour will most likely just cover the States, with maybe a show or two
in Canada. We'll be posting all the tour dates on
our webpage at http://www.ghotihook.com as soon as
we get them.
In the past the band toured with the Smiley Kids and also with MxPx. What would be your
biggest wish as it comes to touring now? Playing in a certain country or with a certain
band or doing a certain festival or maybe something extravagant like playing on top of the
pyramid of Cheops?
My biggest realistic wish is that another
big band would take us out on the road with them. The tour we did with MxPx was pretty
amazing. There were about 1000-2000 people at every show and we got a really good
response. We also got along very well with MxPx and The Hippos. I would also really like
to go overseas again. We played a few shows in Germany, Norway, and Denmark last year and
it was great. I'd love to play many other European countries and Japan as well. My
ultimate dream tour would be to open up for a band like Kiss or AC/DC and play huge, sold
out stadiums. That would be the ultimate. I actually just saw AC/DC on Saturday and they
Finally I have one question that I personally wonder about. I read the biography on the
band's website and I couldn't find something written about the recording of Stryper's
First Love. The band did this cover in 1996 for Flying Tart Records for the Stryper
Tribute CD. Do you have any idea why it isn't mentioned?
It was mentioned on the bio before the old website got wiped out, but when we put it back
on the new site we decided to scale down the bio a bit and we ended up taking out the
story about that Stryper tribute CD. We'll probably list it in the Discography section
later on. I think the Ghoti Hook song on there is really good and so is the Alexia song,
but most of the other ones are really bad. We heard that Michael Sweet listened to the CD
once and hated it, so that goes to show you how much of a quality tribute it is. :)
Some people wondered whether the bands on
that CD really wanted to pay tribute. You weren't in Ghoti Hook at the time but can you
tell what the background is of the band doing First Love?
You're right, a lot of the bands on the
tribute didn't take it seriously. Conrad, Jamie, and Christian were big Stryper fans
growing up. Flying Tart Records was interested in signing Ghoti Hook at one point, so
that's probably how they ended up on the tribute. I don't know why they picked that
particular song, but the song was meant as a tribute and to this day it's still one of the
only good songs on there.