About a month ago, I walked into Cobra Lounge on a rainy night. With a pint of ice cream, I bellied up to the bar, grabbed a drink and sat down with three of the four Bollweevils. While these interviews normally take about twenty minutes, I chatted and laughed with Daryl, Ken and Pete for almost two hours as we tossed back drinks, talked music and went off on hilarious tangents. If you’re in Chicago for Riot Fest this weekend, you can catch The Bollweevils (along with Break Anchor, Hot Lips Messiah and Nervous Passenger) at Liar’s Club later tonight!
Can you guys go into how the band came about? A long, long time ago in a Chicago bar far, far away?
Ken: Me and Bob, our old bass player, started a band. Bob was singing and we sucked. We were really fucking bad and we decided that we needed a new singer. We used to go see Naked Raygun and we’d see Daryl and his buddy Paul; they would stand in the front for every Raygun show. We’re like, “One of these two is going to be our singer.” I was like, “I think Paul should do it because he looks cool.” Daryl didn’t look so cool.
Daryl: I thought I did look cool!
Ken: Nah. You had one of those baseball hats with the flaps on the side.
Daryl: I only wore that one time! It was the 80s, dude. What the hell, man?
Ken: Well, ultimately we decided on Daryl. We gave him and tape and were like, “Hey, do you want to be in our band?”
Daryl: So the tape had Bob singing all the songs. It had Bob’s number to call. His parent’s house! I called his house after I listened to it a couple of times and we decided I should come over and practice and see how it all goes. It was good and they had a few other songs they had written. I think “Finale” was one of the first songs. “Unrespected Peggy Sue” came later.
Ken: We didn’t have any shows. I had written Naked Raygun to tell them that they inspired us. That’s they were the reason we became a band. And could I get a couple guitar picks? Whatever. I never heard from them and then, two months later, I get this letter in the mail from Naked Raygun and Jeff’s ex-wife Karen, who was managing them at the time. She said “You didn’t leave any number. Your tape was great.” They asked if we wanted to open up for them at the Metro for their 9th anniversary. So Daryl’s first show was at the Metro opening for Naked Raygun.
Daryl: Yeah, we were at practice and they said that we’re going to play a show and I thought “Cool!” thinking that it was going to be some kind of basement or something. Then they told me and I thought they were lying. It was unbelievable.
Ken: The next night Soul Asylum opened for Pearl Jam. The third night was also something good. I think Urge Overkill. But the poster for all three shows is in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. So we technically are in there.
Daryl: That night I got a taste of being on stage in that venue that inspired us all. There were always all these band we’d see there. Raygun, Sludgeworth, and then we’re playing there! And the next thing you know, we’re back to church basements.
I’ve been asking the bands to come up with a personalized genre to describe themselves and their music.
Ken: I’d say we’re Asshole Core.
Pete: Or Jackoff Core.
Daryl: The funny thing is that all of these genre creations are kind of weird because before it wasn’t that way.
Ken: *sigh* I thought it was supposed to be a fun question, Daryl!
I enjoy both sides of the spectrum. There is no wrong answers here at the Ice Cream Anti-Social.
Ken: But yeah, back in the day every kind of band played with every kind of genre. You were just lucky to have a fucking show.
Daryl: The emo band would play with the kind of scummy rock band. It was Punk and we all played music together. Ska was a kind of punk. Hardcore too, even. Now, it’s like you have to have these little microcosms of genres.
Pete: You now have like eight bands that all sound the same on one bill. That’s boring as hell, man.
Ken: That’s why I like playing with a band like Nervous Passenger. They’re not like us.
Daryl: We still try to do that, play with a diverse group of bands. You like the people in the bands so you want to play with them and be able to expose them to different people. Why close your mind off to just one sound, one type of music? It’s like Pete said, it’s boring to do that.
(The band went into a story here about a bar they just played and won over in the Chicago suburbs. Ken mentioned taking Little Dave’s [The Arrivals] money in Flippy Cup, a game they invented).
Wait, what IS Flippy CCup?
Ken: Everyone throws in a dollar. The youngest person starts out the game. You take your finger and flip a bottle or beer cap and catch it. It can’t bounce off your body or anything.
So it’s kind of like Jacks… but drunker?
Ken: If you catch it, you win the pot. If you don’t, it goes clockwise to the next person. If you miss, you drink and if it goes around the original starting person, everyone had to put in a dollar. So once we were in Detroit and we’re playing it in the bar. There’s like eight of us and people are the bar were like “What are they doing?” Next thing you know they are playing with us. But they’re getting taken because Tommy (AKA Joey Pockets, the band’s roadie and all around merch guru) keeps taking them for money.
Ken: We’re working on getting official Bollweevil flippy cap bottle caps.
Daryl: So, we’re Game Core now. We’re breaking into a new market.
If you had to invent an ice cream flavor that represents each member of the band as a composite-
Ken: Are we just coming up with insensitive flavors to represent ourselves?
Daryl: *points at self* Chocolate. *points at Ken* Boozy and Bitter.
Ken: I was thinking more Butter Pecan. Sweet and Smooth with some Vanilla.
Daryl: VANILLA BEAN!
So we have a Ginger, Chocolate, Vanilla Bean combo?
Daryl: Well, Ken’s more of a Rocky Road.
Pete: Oh, that is the BEST way to describe him!
Is there a band or artist that your fan base would be shocked to find that you love and draw influences from for the band?
Pete: Yeah, U2.
Ken: The Smiths.
Daryl: I mean, we could name a lot of bands that we each draw from. INXS would be one.
Pete: I don’t think that anyone would be surprised by anything that I like because I’m into old classic rock and hardcore. Some metal. I was listening to Foreigner on the way here.
Ken: Johnny Cash, because I like to tell stories in my songs.
Daryl: I mean there’s some 80s New Wave stuff –
Ken: Like a-ha. We’re really all over the charts.
Do you guys have a weird tour story that –
Pete: Yes, but we can’t tell you! *laughs* Turn that thing off and we’ll tell you. Okay, which one. We have many.
Daryl: Oh, I think the one with Pete and the edibles…
Ken: That one *begins to laugh* that one is so good. Can I tell it?
Pete: Can I tell my side at least?
Daryl: You don’t remember what the fuck even went on!
Ken: You were on the floor having a seizure. How do you know what was happening?
Pete: I remember plenty! Well, some things…
Daryl: So, we were in San Diego for a show and we were visiting a friend. This gentleman happened to have some edibles. He said, “Don’t take a lot. Just take a dime size of this chocolate bar.” We’re about to head to the airport and get on the plane. This moron takes like a third of the bar and we’re looking at him like “What are you doing?” He’s like, “I’m fine. It’s going to be fine.” So we have to take the car back and Pete’s like, “I’ll go with you, Daryl.” We’re in the rental place. It’s fine. He’s talking. We’re waiting for the bus to take us back to the airport where they are with the bags. We get on the bus and head to the back.
Pete: By the way there were like a million people on the bus and it was hot as fuck.
Daryl: Pete is sitting on my left and he starts talking really low. And he’s saying that he’s going to pass out. I’m like, “Yeah man, we’re all tired.” He’s like, “No, I think I’m actually going to pass out.” I turn to look at him. He’s pale as a ghost, his lips are all blue, and I was like, “Fuck, I have to do medical shit now.” He’s all wobbly and green looking. I put my arm around him and he’s like, “I’m going to have a seizure.” I mean, I was just waiting to lay him down on the bus floor. He kind of loses consciousness for a few seconds. He started to shake. He didn’t go into it, but he was just not right. We have to go through all these stops and when we FINALLY get to ours, I get Pete up and he’s walking like a fucking zombie. He’s moving all over the place, hitting every fucking person in the head as we exit the bus. I’m holding his shoulders to keep him up like a fucking marionette. So I get him off the bus and we meet up and everyone sees how fucked up he is. Now, we have to go through this big fucking line. We’re surrounding him, trying to keep him upright. He’s like, “If I keep moving, I’m fine.” We can’t keep moving! The line stopped!
Ken: I’m laughing my ass off the whole time, by the way.
Daryl: He’s walking all weird like his legs are rubber bands. And he’s looking all around. He’s like the Unabomber – he’s got his hood up and we have to go through security.
Ken: We figured that TSA would just not let him through.
Daryl: And if there were dogs there, he would be eaten by the drug dogs. Somehow, he gets ahead of us. He’s like three people ahead of us now.
Ken: And like a zombie, he stumbles into the X-Ray machine.
Pete: Oh, that’s the best part. They tell me to go into that thing and put my hands up. And they scan me and I’m still standing there and I’m standing there and I’m standing there. They’re like “Sir. Sir! SIR! You can come out now.”
Ken: So he slowly walks down to the terminal and we’re all kind of holding him up. And Tommy is like, “He’s fucked up. He’s so fucked up dude.” In the terminal, there was a chair for him to sit in. We’re like, “Pete, sit in this chair.” But instead he sits on the floor, flips his hood up and curls up into a ball and starts rocking back and forth. So we’re in the LA airport and all these animals start getting off the plane. There’s this dog that gets off the plane with a sweater on. Not on a leash, not in a cage, just walks off the plane like a passenger. And we were like,”Fuck, what is Pete seeing at this point?” There’s bird flying around the airport, just birds. What the hell?
Daryl: So he gets up, does his little walk, get on the plane and is just out. You woke up at the weirdest fucking moments, too. You woke up at like three times on the flight, only when they came down the aisle with food.
Pete: What can I say? I like to eat!
Daryl: We get home and he’s STILL mashed in the brain.
Pete: I was high for like 28 hours. But the cool thing was the 35-40 mile drive home from Daryl’s to my house. It was like I was driving a space ship. I thought I was flying, but I was probably doing like 40MPH. I’m a father of three, by the way….
The Bollweevils last released an EP entitled Attack Scene in August of 2015. Check it out HERE.
And don’t forget to head over to Liar’s Club tonight (9/16/16) if you’re in Chicago for the weekend to catch The Bollweevils with Break Anchor, Hot Lips Messiah and Nervous Passenger! Check out the event page HERE!