Currently on tour in support of their latest release, “American Apathy”, I got a chance for a phoner with the man himself. More often then not, a very outspoken front man that doesn’t really seem to give two shits about much other than having a good fucking time. And giving the fans a serious dose of rock-n-roll. Now for some reason, I was a little hesitant on interviewing Edsal, as I’d read some articles/interviews on him prior to our talking. Frankly, I was a little nervous. Not real sure why. And after a minute or two, I already knew was one of the most laid back and easy going musicians I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to in quite some time. This is the jest of what is going with Dope as of late.
Edsal: Hey man, I’m running about ten minutes behind. Can I call you right back? Like in about ten minutes?
E: Alright thanks man.
(And about five minutes later.)
J: Hey how you doin’?
J: Thanks for taking the time out to call.
E: What’s that ?
J: I said, thanks for taking to time to call.
E: Ah, no problem dude. Sorry, it’s kind of loud here right now. I’m walking by the tour bus and the generator’s on and a cloud of shit and ah…
J: So you’re currently on the Jagermeister Music For Freedom Tour. How has that been going?
E: It’s going great. It’s been about a week now. We’ve got the new record out, the new Mushroom Head DVD just came out. The tour’s going really good. There was a bunch of chaos getting everything put together, but now that we’re actually out here and all the bugs are worked out, everything is settling in nice.
J: Yeah, I caught you last Wednesday in Fort Wayne.
J: Now the premise of this tour was set up for the support of the troops? (Armed Forces)
E: Yeah, it’s obviously in support of our new album and Mushroom Head’s new DVD, but both bands have a really strong following from the troops. We get a lot of letters from the troops all over, and they love to stick our music in the headphones late at night when all shit is about to hit the fan and it really seems to help them get through. Dope has always been in the hat to be able to go over to Iraq to play, I don’t think it’s because of our name, but, well I guess I understand all that so we just decided to put something of our own together.
J: So now you’ve just started this tour? How many more shows/weeks will it run?
E: Yea so I think we’ve got like six and a half more weeks left. With shows just about everyday.
J: Besides being the vocalist/guitarist in the band, on “American Apathy” you are also the producer, mixer, principle songwriter, packaging layout. Is this how most Dope albums go for you?
E: Umm, yeah you know. I’ve always produced our records. I’ve always had a hand in the mixing. On this particular one, I pretty much did everything. I mixed the record without another guy there like on the other records, but songwriting. Me and my guitar player do most of the songwriting and I’ve just been spending a lot of my time trying to produce other bands and develop other acts so that I can continue to express myself outside of Dope. When I’m not making Dope records.
J: Tell us about the new release, “American Apathy”.
E: What do you want to know? It’s hard. It’s loud. It’s angry. I think anybody that has ever seen Dope live, and liked the energy and the vibe we have up on stage, which has really kept us alive through the years, that this record is really made for them. The whole idea of how we wanted to produce and record this album, was not to make a live album. But to make an album that makes this band feel live. It’s got that dirty, raw, groove oriented approach to the production. We wanted to make a record where we could call out any song on any given night and it would fit into our set list.
J: Is there an overall message you’re trying to come across with on this album?
E: I think fuck off is probably the theme.
J: Now I might lose you on this one. With the title being “American Apathy”, are you trying to say A) Americans these days are apathetic? B) that the album is by an American who is apathetic? C) or just an artists view of American Apathy?
E: I don’t think I even put that much thought into it. It was more about touring the country so much, and talking to kids and just getting an understanding of where I feel ourselves and our fans are really kind of at. And was thinking about it and thought, what one word describes how all these Americans are feeling. And I thought apathetic was very much where this country was at. So that’s really what it was. Plus, I thought it sounded good.
J: Now do you have any worries that some one may take this the wrong way?
E: How so.
J: I don’t know. Everyone has there own interpretations about anything and everything. Maybe that it is a non-patriotic statement? Just that in these times if say the wrong thing, everybody is on your ass about it whether that’s how it was meant or not.
E: If you read the liner notes of the album, I basically say fuck everybody. Fuck me. Fuck you. Fuck George Bush. Fuck the IRS. Fuck everyone. That’s really the message behind this whole thing. As stupid and juvenile as it may sound, it’s a record you’re suppose to put in your cd player. It’s not going to change your life. We’re not going to change the world. We’re not trying to. And not taking ourselves too seriously. We’re playing songs that we believe in the meaning behind them, and we’re playing rock shows to give people a good time every night. You come and see us live, you’re going to have a good time. That’s all rock-n-roll is all about.
J: I just got a rushed promo copy today so there is no inlet. Just the disk. What I witnessed, everyone seemed to be having a good time.
E: Yeah, that’s what it’s about. It’s about fun man. Even though some of the subject manners in some of the songs may be meaningful or political, the number one reason this band goes out and plays live is so people can go out and get drunk. Have a good time. Get laid. Just have a good fucking time. That’s all rock-n-roll should be about. And I think in an apathetic country, with an apathetic state of mind, that’s what everybody needs to do. Just go and have some fucking fun already.
J: I get to that point sometimes and will just go to a show and not do any interviews or take any photos. I totally agree.
E: Yeah, you know what I mean man. You know we have enough things in our lives that are let downs. You should never go to a rock-n-roll show and be bummed out.
J: At the show you mentioned a couple different formats of “American Apathy”, and some low dough prices. Can you tell us about that?
E: Well, I know if you buy the album at Best Buy, you get the regular album which is like 17 songs, with another 6 or 8 bonus tracks. It’s like 23 songs and they’ve got a little DVD with a few of our videos and some behind the scenes stuff. About 20 or 30 minutes worth. And that’s just about $10 or $12 , and I know Circuit City was carrying the regular version which is just the 17 songs or whatever it is, and it’s just $6.99. But you don’t get the DVD that way. We sell the record at our shows for $10 cause that’s just always been the way we’ve done it. I can’t see charging people more than that for a record. As much as we can control it, we try to keep the prices fan friendly.
J: Well that’s about all I’ve got for you this time around, anything you want to end this with?
E: Not really. I mean you got the tour, you got the record, and we’re just doing our thing. Once again the most important part of this band , is coming out to a live show and having some fun. And there’s chicks, and there’s dudes, and there’s beer , and there’s fucking rock-n-roll man . I’m so fucking tired of people going up on stage and being depressed. And being upset about everything. There’s a time and a place for everything and a rock-n-roll club with 600 to 1000 people jammed into it is only about a good time. That’s what is important to us.
J: Cool, keep up with that attitude. And try to spread it around some.
E: Thank you much brother, I will and I’ll talk with you again soon.