April 1, 2009
"WHEN THIS BAND BREAKS UP I WILL JUST DO KARAOKE." INTERVIEW WITH JASON MAZZOLA (CLOAK / DAGGER)
First time i’ve ever seen some of these guys was when Count Me Out played their one and only european tour at a small town near to my hometown. It was on my birthday and to prove Steven Patrick’s right the show just wasn’t that fun. The turn out was weak and the whole night suffered the lack of the goood vibe punk/hardcore shows most of the times have. At that time i wasn’t already into Count Me Out. What proved that i should pay attention? They soundchecked with Lose Yourself from 8 mile’s ost (what was coming out that time). And it was funny. And cool. So Count Me Out broke up and i got into them. How typical? Then i got into some of the bands their ex members had featured in. And finally one day i discoverd Cloak / Dagger. For the first it was just an awesome punk/hardcore band that has more what they show. And i was right. The fucking lp is a killer! It puts together everything i like in music everything and everything i like in punk. I’ve listened to it countless times when i was walking around, taking the night bus drunk, dish washing, laying on my bedroom’s floor. There is no mood they don’t fit in. It has noise, energy, paranoia and fun fun and fun. I was siked when they first came to europe and more siked when i had the opportunity to see them in Vienna and Budapest. It was one and a half year ago but i would still say it was the last real punk show that happaned here (in budapest). Crowd went crazy, danced like they don’t care and also on drugs, confetti and candy were flying, drinks were spilled, summersault were thrown. Watching that was like the perfect pictures for the music and it just felt so right to be a part of it. And then it was over. They have gone further and here was just no band that i could care to go, see and get crazy.
The weird thing was: I’ve found a picture from the vienna show of my friend and i are screaming in front of the stage C/D is playing. And i sent it to him. He responded with dates what the Daggers are playing in the uk within two months. And at that moment it just became obvious that we have to go. I had to finish my thesis to get a diploma but to be honest i cared and wondered more about the shows. We flew in, ate and drank everything overpriced, slept on the streets in november, saw homeless fights, got yelled at, had long distance train and bus rides but it worth it. Totally! We saw them 4 times and whatever happened after and before the shows it just doesn’t matter now and didn’t matter then. In whatever situation we were we just waited for the show to kick in. So i say it without hesitation Cloak / Dagger is one of the best bands of punk rock ever!
Ps.: Needles to say the members are pure awesome! Why? Because they gave me free beer!
This is an e-mail interview with Jason Mazzola their singer. He fronted Count Me Out as well. He’s a pretty good drawer, writes awesome lyrics, wears decent shirts and says milky almost as cool as LL Cool J.
How you doin'? What are you up to these days?
I'm doing good today. I just saw Cro Mags this weekend. We just practiced for a few hours and have written 17 songs for our next lp over the last year. We are recording it next month back in Kentucky where there is one of the best skate parks I have ever been to or seen, can´t wait.
What did you do and what were the things you most missed while you weren't in a band?
When I wasn´t in a band I tried my hardest to get a normal job and be happy making money and being bored. It´s hard to not have anything to look forward too. When I was working 50 + hours a week and making good money I still didn´t have anything to keep me going. Now I can look forward to playing shows or going on tours or just writing and recording songs. It keeps me creative all the time and I missed that a lot when I wasn´t in a band. I even jumped in with friends bands just so I could travel but it´s a lot more fun actually playing shows.
How important for you to be in a band? In point of you have to put on shelf sometimes even give up lots of other things what ordinary people would find important in life or goals to achieve.
It´s definitely hard to be as old as I am and to have no money saved up but I have seen and done a lot of things I would have never seen by being in a band. You meet people all over the world and some are the best people you will ever meet and some of them are the worst you will ever meet. I would have never seen Europe and the US like I have. Even if I went on my own it wouldn´t be the same as being with a band. I think that to most people money and material things mean the most so they have something to show for their work. I have good memories and no money. It´s still worth it.
I've read an interview with you in the reflections 'zine couple years ago where you said you don't want to be a singer who lives from his ex-bands, and in music you respect dudes who like to move forward do different things and then retire. was it important for you that cloak / dagger plays much different music than count me out did? how far would you go with experimenting new things in playing music? And when would you retire?
I think that cloak/dagger is going to be it for me music wise. I was really proud of what CMO did as a band and I wouldn´t want to try to recreate what we did before since it wouldn´t be as sincere as it was when I was in that band. I am proud of the lyrics and songs this band has and we have some songs on the punk/core side of things and some on the rock side and I see this band as way more experimental then a standard punk or core band. I don´t have any interest in trying to be in an indie rock band or start rapping yet. When this band breaks up I will just do karaoke. We tried to stay away from ex-members promo when this band came out and it made things harder for us at first but now I´m glad we didn´t hype that up.
That is a long list of your ex bands but in most of them two or three of you played with each other. So when should a band broke up if the members are still friends and like to hang with each other?
That´s a hard thing to say but you know when the time is right. With CMO we were all good friends and loved hanging out but Pete and Colin wanted to start writing for Renee Heartfelt and you could tell that´s where all their energy was going. Garth was gone a lot with Strike Anywhere and Colin was gone with AN a lot so it just seemed like the right thing to do to end things on a high note. With Cloak I want to call it quits when it stops being fun or when we start writing bad songs.
It's in Our Band Could Be Your Life that Deep Wound broke up after all of them lost their virginitis. Is there any sexual act what could trigger such schocking change in the life of Cloak / Dagger?
If we were to all sleep with each other that would just make things awkward at practice but we all have girlfriends.
You're from Richmond and if my geographic skills don't cheat me it's on the east coast. but in your lyrics you're refering often to the west coast (LA, Hollywood). why is it? Is it conscious? For an outsider of american politics like me it looks like the east controls politics (Washington DC), economy(New York), etc and the west is responsible for the media. You're more pissed about the brainwashing what comes from the tv more than about what comes from the white house or i just overthought this and it's simply a rivary between the two coasts like in hip hop?
When I was writing for We Are I was really into how much the media effects what people think. People try to recreate the lives of famous people and live like they are in a movie and that´s all from California mostly. That´s where all the famous people live and they report all the entertainment news from. Anna Nicole Smith died and it was on CNN all day long and every other news channel and there´s a lot more important things going on. DC has a lot of politics going on that I don´t agree with that I´m not smart enough to address so I sometimes touch on it if I feel that I can back up what I´m saying. I watched a lot of TV so I know a lot about that brain washing. East Coast rap is so much better then West Coast. The Notorious movie is so much better than 2 Pacs. His sucked.
For me cloak/dagger seems to wraped around with sarcasm. but also dealing with more serious issues than most of your previous bands. Why is it that you became more serious but also more fun?
It´s true. When we started this band I always said I would want to keep it fun. I loved CMO but it was a very serious band and hard emotionally to sing some of those songs. Now I can be serious but be sarcastic at the same time to make a point. Live shows can be a lot of fun with this band and I think part of that is the lyrics are fun at times.
Most of the lyrics seem to me as they born in a period or in state of mind when you become old enough that you have to start to fit in with your punk attitude to the world of grown ups. But it’s more usual that you start giving up the attitude you’ve formed during most of your life rather than caring less about what to do in the real life. And thats when i fill the power of your lyrics. The hessitating between what should us do, which way will worth it more?
So the questions are. What does to be a grown up mean to you. Does it go along with giving up something and does punk equal youth?
It´s hard growing up and there´s young until I die and other songs that make you feel proud to be young and core but not many songs that tell you how hard it is to grow up and be punk or it´s alright not to believe in buying into the American dream when you are old so that´s where we come in. I definitely think that hardcore and punk is a youth thing but that it´s also an all ages type of thing to. It´s hard sometimes to watch someone who hasn´t experienced life as much say they will never do this or that. I have a lot of respect for people who still believe in the power of this music but are older.
Is there any agreement within the members what cloak / dagger should be about? Or do you have a collective attitude, principles like Black Flag had the ?°?play as much and as hard as we can” thing?
Operation shock and awe!
Lots of people talking about this theory that due to the economic meltdown music will be more interesting again. And i also think it’s true cause if the circumstances are worse people get more inspired. Even though it’s kinda sad and lame as well that people need an economic meltdown to be interesting or have something real to say. What’s your opinion about this?
I think that things are really bad here right now. I´m trying to find a job and it´s near impossible and that anger is going to come through in a lot of music. They are also saying that the crime rate is going to jump up since everyone is poor so it could get bad.
What features make a band to a really good band?
I think good bands don´t try to stick to a formula and play with good intentions. People that are in bands to make money and think they are going to have a career are very easy to see and honest bands are just as easy to point out. It also helps when bands are in tune.
While technology is improving independent bands have more and more opportunity. but punk rock still has it's traditions heavly rooted in old fashioned things like fanzines, demo tapes, vinly. These things are better than a blog or an ipod it’s beyond question but with social networking sites more bands have the opportunity to tour and with file sharing sites it’s getting easier to show the world what you’re doing. So are you pro or against this process? what do you think in what point should technology stop in punk?
I think that right now it´s as far as it should go. It´s great to be able to e-mail a band directly you like to try to play shows or to get to hear you. At the same time there are so many bad bands going on tour and promoting their music that the good ones get over looked.
Also with this easiness punk rock lost it's risk and it's such romantic feeling. In your mind is it bad? Should we miss the risk?
It is a bad thing when I can go to a blog and download 20 bands and then listen to just 1 or 2 of them. I think that with everything so easy to come by people don´t appreciate music as much. It used to be really hard to find records or tapes of bands you liked. I think people take that for granted these days and that is definitely a bad thing.
Have any of you dated close-to-be famous models since pitchfork gave a positive review to your record?
Our guitar player Collin went on a date with some coc heads in bright colored shirts after that. I´m too hardcore but he´s pretty.
Csongrád and Szentes are two cities here in hungary. But their hardcore scenes are not supporting each other. What would be your suggestion? John Joseph adviced unity and Mike from Fucked Up suggested war but neither of their messages worked out. So what is your?
Virginia Beach is about 2 hours from Richmond and there was a lot of fights between the two cities years ago. Big fights, people chased around the city by 20 to 30 kids. People hit with pitchers of beer. Then after a while people moved here from there and everyone became friends and everything was cool. After that everyone joined forces and started fighting with jocks. I would go with that. Fight to unite.
Whats your favorite dinosaur?
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