Interview: Glassjaw

Interview Glassjaw

Lauren, GlassJaw’s tour manager, took me from the Warped Tour parking lot into GlassJaw’s tour bus. Inside is the usual touring paraphernalia: Playstation 2, Southern Comfort, and cases of Yoo-hoo. The band is roaming the sweaty grounds of the LA coliseum while I wait, watching Godfather II with Lauren, who has never seen it. Larry, their drummer for the last two years, stops by just in time to catch Michael Corleone get shot at in his bedroom. Larry digs the HBO’s Sopranos and OZ, and highly recommends watching Six Feet Under. Lauren hasn’t said anything.

At around 3pm, vocalist Daryl Pulumbo bounces through the bus door. Brief concern over the air conditioning settings arise. “I’m turning it down” says Daryl. Lauren quips back “It’s at 65, leave it.” “It’s fucking hot, I’m taking it to fucking 60,” exclaims Daryl. Almost immediately, it’s fucking freezing inside the bus. Daryl takes off his shirt and sits down. The interview begins.

Hi, I’m Eric.
Hey, I’m Daryl.

(A brief discussion over our June cover band, Hot Water Music – also on the Warped Tour. Daryl calls out a members name in recognition, rather than the actual band, as he’s admittedly not too familiar with their music…) That’s pretty odd, but probably typical on tour, huh.
Daryl: It’s actually like a paid vacation, just hanging out with other bands. Well, it’s not like paid, because I don’t get paid shit.

At the end of the last Warped Tour, does someone hand Glassjaw a check?
No!

There’s no promotional funds or-
We’re paying for this!

I’m sure Bad Religion get’s a little something out of this.
Hey, they’re like 40 something years old. You think they would be doing this each year and not get something out of it?

So no big Glassjaw check?
Like Publishers Clearing House? (laughs) Yeah, right.

You guys are on this years Warped Tour AND Ozzfest.
We go home for three weeks, and jump on Ozzfest.

So is it the same deal as this tour?
Actually, we get paid off of Ozzfest. There are only two stages, and we’re higher up on that second stage..
(Vinnie from the Movie Life walks in)
Vinnie: Hey.
Daryl: Are you done with press?
Vinnie: Yeah.
Daryl: Sit down! It’s yo nigga’s from Modern Fix.
Vinnie: Hey, I know you. (points to me)

(I was first introduced to Movie Life by means of their Revelation Records release, “This Time Next Year,” an excellent album. They played at the Che Cafe on the UCSD campus in San Diego, a show unfortunately marred by Vinnie’s broken and scratchy voice, something in which he remembers to this day about.) San Diego.
Vinnie: Oh yeah. What’s up.
Daryl: (to Vinnie) Sit down! He’s going to sit in on this piece. I was trying to pitch that dual band thing to Eric, having Glassjaw and Movie Life on the cover at the same time.

You brought that up in San Diego. Two bands is chaos for a cover.
Daryl: Kerrang! does it.

Fuck Kerrang!.
Daryl: (laughs) Kerrang! does it! Kerrang! does it!

I know Glassjaw’s been through a couple of band members-
Just a couple!

So what’s the bands history?
I ain’t giving it. We’ve been thru 20something members since we’ve been a band.

That’s, what, 10 years? Glassjaw was started in ’93?
Yeah, I was 13, my friend Beck was 14. We’re the only original members, and we’ve had 20something members in-between then and now.

Who was the last member to join?
Dave Allen, our bass player, who has been in the band for 5 months.

Great bass player!
Yup. He was in the band Tripface before, a hardcore straight edge vegan metal band from New York back in the late 90’s, and we we’re friends with him for a while.

Probably one of the best bass players I’ve seen.
Really.

That San Diego Warped Tour was the best that I’ve seen of your set. You said you weren’t feeling it.
No, I wasn’t.

You guys went off.
Yeah? Thanks.

Have you ever run into someone from high school or something, that hasn’t seen you, and they ask what your doing now?
Everyone in my high school knew. I went to a college preparatory academy, with 55 kids total. Every kid was the reasonably same entity. All from wealthy families, people who were trust fund kids, from actors, mafia, politicians etc.

Anybody notable? Off the top of your head?
Yeah, I went to school with the sons and daughters of the Gotti and Gambino families.

I bet nobody picks on those kids.
Once! Once, my mother hung me on a hook… once. The fuckin’ Gambino kid was on the ferris wheel, and my boy Matt threw a football at the ferris wheel and hit the kid in the face. The son of the Gambino family, the kids father, comes over and picks Matt up. Now my boy’s mom is fucking the dean of students, and that didn’t do anything. So he got picked up and told “don’t ever fucking touch my son” so that type of shit happened. And there was all sorts of coked up, drunk crazy kids at the school, kids that never even got to meet their parents because they lived in a different wing of the house.

How old were the kids there?
Nursery school to 12th grade.

What brought you there?
Well, I was a fuck up. My parents figured that I was going to be a real juvee if they didn’t send me to private school, and since they wanted the best of me, they sent me there. They weren’t wealthy, they’re just parents that would sacrifice everything just to help me out, so they sent me there. Hey, where you going?
Vinnie: I’m going to see Shelter.
Daryl: Where is it?
Vinnie: Punkrocks.net stage, I think. Sorry.
Daryl: When do they start?
Vinnie: 3:30
Daryl: It’s 3:13, sit down.
Vinnie: I’m going to go out there.
Daryl: Cool. This is obviously way more important. So yeah, that was that. I don’t talk to many people from my school now. I hear that people talk about me, or about Glassjaw, but we aren’t at a point yet like Incubus or something, where we are on TV or whatever.

E: I’ve seen the commercials on TV.
D: I’m sure heads know, but I don’t give a fuck, because they weren’t with us when we were here.

So you missed out on all those social pressures and situations with a thousand other kids in public high school.
Yeah. I think it’s better that way.

How do you explain what Glassjaw is, to somebody that doesn’t know?
You can’t. You can’t, can you?

Nope.
And that’s good, I think. If people ask me what my band is like, like some idiot in a 7-11 “Hey dude, you’re in a band? What’s it about?” I would say heavy rock, or metal. Probably metal. But, how would I explain to someone that knows what’s up?

Like, someone that is into more underground-ish music.
We’re fucking metal, we’re rock.

Erratic.
And totally random. The term I’m most fond of is post-hardcore, a phrase named for the post-hardcore bands of the scene in the mid nineties going on in New York. Stand Off, Quicksand, Shift, Burn and all those other bands took hardcore and fucked with it.

Would you say Rival Schools is post hardcore?
Sure, but it’s a broad term. So I think Rival Schools is really badly wanting to recreate that whole Nirvana grunge thing.

They are pretty commercial indie rock.
Like that whole Nirvana thing.

It’s pretty good, but it’s a little scattered.
Yeah.

Why the name Glassjaw?
Who the fuck knows. Thought of it when I was 12.

Everyone asks you that. Way sick of hearing it. Sorry.
My pops was a boxer, so I thought it would be cool to use that.

He didn’t have a glass jaw, did he?
No, he didn’t. It’s such a stupid name. I think it’s stupid. Every band around us was like Split Lip, Uppercut, Choke Hold, Slug Fest, Clockwise, blah blah blah. Every band we played with and wanted to be like had those names.

(Daryl has a X shaved into his chest hair) Do you and Beck still live the straight edge life?
Yeah. I will never not be straight edge.

Have you always?
Right before we started the band, I wasn’t.

Was it because you were 13, and the opportunities weren’t there?
No, I wasn’t straight edge, and I did things… that kids like to do.

Naughty things.
Naughty things! This is my 11th year of being straight edge.

I’m surprised it doesn’t come out more in your music.
Oh, it’s there, but I’m not being that obvious. We’re not a straight edge band, per say, but most of my songs have something in them.

Does that ever conflict with other band members who aren’t straight edge?
Nope. I don’t have a problem with people that are not straight edge, and if your not that’s fine. It’s cool.

glassjawpic

So you’re not a preacher.
No, I’m not a preacher, but, but! If you are a sellout, fuck you. If you were straight edge, and you sold out, then fuck you. If you were claiming straight
edge, and then fell off, then your a fucking bitch and you should have never tried. It hurts because it discredits everything that we worked for as a straight edge community that’s been around since 1979.

Are you vegan?
No, I’m not. I would like to be, but I’m physically unable to. I suffer from certain ailments, but whatever.

I know you were sick for a while with Crohns disease, for a couple of years?
My whole life. It’s genetic.

Sorry, I don’t research anything, so I know nothing about it.
Nobody does, not even the doctors.

But you’re healthy now?
For the most part. I would probably look totally different had I not suffered from the disease my whole life. I’m healthy now, but it doesn’t go away. there is no cure for it.

I want to get into it without getting into it. is it physically ailing? Like, do you have to take a bunch of meds each day?
Yeah. It’s like a cancer in your intestines, so I take a bunch of medicine each day, so it goes in submission with the medicine I… remission. Submission? What am I, dumb wrestling? Remission. Basically, I would get ulcers in my intestines that would get so big so fast, that it was like slitting my wrist when it hit an artery. Like if it got bad enough, I would just fucking die. I’ve had surgeries and all sorts of things. So it’s a big deal when I see blood coming out of me in, well, you know, not off a cut or something.

I got the picture. Has this humbled you?
I’ve been dealing with it my whole life, but it got serious in eight grade. I was diagnosed with it officially in 1996.

I would assume that the straight edge life style has had an influence with this.
Not at all. My father was an alcoholic with major chemical dependency problems, and I knew that I had inherited that. Nobody should be 12 years old and smoking cigarettes and weed and learning about that shit. It’s fucking asinine. No one should smoke cigarettes in the world. If you do, you are a fucking fool.

Right.
That’s not me being straight edge, or cooler then thou. That’s me saying if you smoke, you are a fucking idiot. It says right on the package that if you smoke this, you will die. There’s nobody that smokes cigarettes that doesn’t die from complications due to smoking. It’s gonna have to do with you dying.

Have you ever seen a pregnant mom smoking?
Absolutely. I think it should be an allowable defense for the human race that anyone can just kick her in the fucking abdomen because that will make it a lot quicker on the kid. I think the people that drive drunk are deserving to die.

But they don’t deserve to kill other people.
Not at all. I think if you get in a car with a drunk driver, you are deserving whatever happens to you. There are so many horrible things that can happen as a result of smoking and alcohol.

Pot?
Well, if you smoke cigarettes you smoke cigarettes. I think it’s stupid. I like the way pot smoke smells… but I don’t smoke it. If you smoke weed, you smoke weed. If you smoke cigarettes, you’re a fucking idiot. I don’t give a shit.

If you’re looking at the range of bad things… I’m a defensive pot head. Pot smoking is way down on the list, yeah?
Yes, I do. There’s a lot of gray areas.

I do think that if you smoke pot and go driving, it can be the same as drinking and driving.
Me too. And it has nothing to do with being straight edge. It’s the same shit you probably think, and you’re probably not straight edge. It’s just saying that you are fucking retarded if you do those things. If you are a pregnant mother, your kid is going to come out looking like a fucking prune, on life support and shit for it’s first year of it’s life. And all because you needed to be a social butterfly with a cigarette in your hand.

So, Glassjaw isn’t sponsored by Marlboro.
Uh, no. It’s weird though, a while ago I think we did end up playing on something like that, a sponsored stage or something. Maybe the Snocore? Something we did that I was totally unaware of.

It’s hard, especially since those cooperation’s have so much many in so many places. How about playing at a Miller Genuine Draft Blind Date concert?
I don’t think do. That’s just so silly. It’s the culture that I don’t support. Two members of my band drink, and I don’t care.

It’s one think to do it on your own, but turning it into a lifestyle is something your against?
Yeah, that date rape frat boy Cancun spring break culture is something that we don’t support.

Your band is currently working with Ross Robinson, your producer.
Yeah, he’s one of our best friends.

Did he ever persuade you into going in area’s that you as a band didn’t want to be in?
No, never.

Did he bring out things that you didn’t think you could do?
Hell yeah. He’s the reason we’re on Warner Brothers right now.

I think everyone is familiar with your story, how your tape was pulled from a bunch of others and you were called in, eventually signed on the spot. It’s getting to a point that since he touches so many bands, you might get that nu metal sound, due to his production?
He knew that we were hardcore kids that thought the shit he did was a joke. He knew that. He just started telling people that Glassjaw will be the destroyer of Adidas rock. And our first record went unnoticed. Which is cool, because I feel that our first record came out yesterday. I feel good about that. Rap metal was a fucking joke. What’s metal about rap and bitches?

No love for Limp Bizkit?
No love. I don’t even care. I don’t even think about it. It was printed in Spin Magazine, in our interview, that “Fred Durst doesn’t exist in my world.” It was taken out of context, and everyone’s like “you dug a hole,” which is funny because I don’t care.

You know it’s funny watching those videos.
He’s a dildo. He’s not in my vision. I fucking tour, and listen to indie and hardcore bands, and personally listen to hip hop bands for the most part. I’m not going to hear it. I don’t know what Mushroomhead (they will be on Ozzfest) sounds like. I hear they wear costumes. I don’t know what these bands are about. I don’t care.

I don’t think Mushroomhead will want to kick your ass over it.
I think I’m on the Ozzfest with them. Maybe they’ll be mad at me because I never heard them. “Hey dude, I heard you said we wear costumes!” think that’s silly. But if you need to wear a costume, wear a costume.

When you got yourselves out of the local scene, was there any bad blood with the bands? Calling you a sellout?
Well, we were signed to Roadrunner first.

That’s what I mean.
There was a certain guy, a friend of mine, who I haven’t talked with in a while but he was like, “congratulations, I liked you so much better before you sounded like the Deftones” which is such a joke. We don’t even sound like them.

This was after your tour with them?
No, before! So I was like, don’t be bitter. Don’t be bitter about a guy who is five years younger then you.

He was in a band, huh.
Yeah, and also, this band Indecision from New York talked mad shit about us. Saying that we changed our sound to get signed. I think we are the least commercially acceptable band on our label. We don’t wear tight pants, have afro’s, have dyed black hair. We don’t look like The Hives.

“Whose your favorite band?”
Not you! We don’t look like AFI, we don’t look like the Misfits; there is no gimmick. We’re the sum of our eclectic lives. For that band Indecision to say that… fuck you. Fuck you. Who are you to tell me I change my sound? Why, because you are stuck in the same band with the same crowds, playing the same tired screamy hardcore? Don’t get mad at me. Don’t be bitter. Don’t hate me, hate the game. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Do you think there are sellouts in the hardcore community?
I think there are people that have completely joked themselves. I think that whole ‘I’m singing about being on a date, and my first date’ and ‘this is me and my heart and my studded belt and my Diesel jeans and my greased up hair,’ I think that shit is totally contrived.

(laughs) Well, you ARE on the Warped Tour. A couple of bands on here sound like that.
Oh, just a couple! But, it’s like, spare me. I don’t want to hear a 28 year old man use the phrase ‘making out.’ I don’t want to hear about you being sad. I don’t want high school pop punk emo shit. That shit is contrived.

Speaking of, didn’t you tour with New Found Glory?
You know, hey. Those guys are friends, and friends of our friends.

How’d you deal with that crowd?
There were kids that would bludgeon the 15 year olds in the pit. It was hilarious. We would get on stage just going crazy, and there would be like 13 year old girls that would be saying “You suck!”

Ever have any 13 year old girls on the bus?
No, never! We hardly ever have girls on here.

No Glassjaw groupies?
There are. Not that we’re attractive or anything. I don’t think we are. We’re a band though, and that attracts girls. Girls will be all, “you’re so cute” which is so funny. Any why would I want my dick anywhere a dirty metal heads dick has been.

So you write everything about Godzilla?
Yes!

Everything!
Yes! Basically, bands like AFI use real life and the Misfits as an influence in their writing. (tape stops, flip to side B))
Hi, my name’s Daryl. (we shake hands) I use real life as a metaphor for Godzilla.

Preconceived?
There’s a lot of shit that I write that most people won’t get. It’s part of what’s in my head. I’m a huge, huge fan of Japanese culture. I’m obsessed with it. Members of my family were in World War II, and my mothers side had a fixation on Oriental things. So, growing up, I had a total fixation on that. Growing up, I loved the Japanese animation and live action television. Pop culture from Japan is so huge to me.

Which is weird, because people in Japan are so obsessed with America.
That drives me crazy, since I talk to people in Japan who love American bands and pop culture, and I’m like, why? America’s culture is such a joke! But then I look back, and I see why.

So you get Godzilla stuff from fans?
All the time. (starts digging through a box full of Godzilla stuff)

“Ry Ry’s Song” didn’t really seem to fit your style. Is that why you don’t seem to play it live?
It can bring down a show. It’s just not at the same pace as our music.

I saw you made some guest vocals on Finch’s album. Is that the only band you’ve worked with? When are you going to be on a MovieLife track?
I’ve been saying! I want to be with MovieLife. Their my fucking best friends. Every time they record for an album, I’m out of town. Hopefully, they will get the budget to fly me in. You should do something with them!

I’m a big Movielife fan.
There’s a metal band who we are friends with, called God Forbid.

We put them on our cover.
Really? Cool. I’m going to be on their upcoming album.

They’re not very straight edge,
Not at all! Those guys are fuckin… yeah. (laughs)

You a big internet guy?
A little. I check out www.glassjawband.com to find out about news about us. That website knows shit before we do.

That’s up to date.
Up to date as fuck!

Who did you vote for in last election?
I didn’t; I wasn’t in the country.

Who would you have voted for?
Marx.

Okay. What’s the best band nobody knows about?
J Majesty. www.jMajesty.com. Them and MovieLife are my two favorite bands. movielife.com, jmajesty.com.

Who is J Majesty?
They are on Some Records, which is Walter and Sammy from Quicksand and Rival Schools. It’s Drive Like Jehu meets Shudder to Think meets Janes Addiction meets Hendrix. It’s an amazing band. Them, and a UK band called South.

Worst band nobody realizes?
Disturbed? (laughs) It’s not cool to say bands are bad, but hey. Those type of bands are part of the problems. Any band that is the KROQ band of the moment is a problem.

Last words?
jmajesty.com, movielife.com

glassjawband.com?
glassjawband.com! Oh, and our record’s out. Just came out yesterday.

We went out and caught up with Vinnie and the rest of the MovieLife crew. Shelter was still setting up. The crowd for the band was small, mostly members of other bands on tour – Glassjaw, MovieLife, and H20. The actual set was terrible. I know Shelter has gone through some members, but their current set of replacements are awful. One of the guys jumped, grabbed and bent one of the aluminum beams of the set structure. It’s a tiny under-funded stage, and you just fucked it up. Vinnie and Daryl were pretty embarrassed that Shelter performed like they did.

Glassjaw is an honest, hardworking post hardcore band. When listening to their music, if you’re not feeling it, don’t force it. It’s really music for the people who love music, and can initially be hard to swallow due to it’s somewhat frenzied song structure. If you’re looking for simple hooks and pop punk, you won’t find it here. These guys are an excellent fucking band; set aside some time to listen to them and expand your musical spectrum.

Modern Fix interview with Daryl a few years later

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