Modern Fix

UP SYNDROME – interview by skye


It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, I feel rushed, a little behind, and in the mood for a good laugh with Up Syndrome, the band worth a thousand laughs. Their new EP, “Erase the Past” on Criterion Records, describes the bands attitude accurately, they don’t want to talk about what they “have done” instead they want to focus on the present and even more so, the future.

Stepping into the home of Big John, Up Syndromes guitarist, with their bass player, Dominic while waiting the arrival of the other two members, we carried on mindless chit chat, listened to music, and since I felt sick, them eating Mexican food in front of me wasn’t helping me out at all.

It’s 3:30, where the hell are the other members?

At last, Up Syndromes front man with bright blue hair, Chris Marrs Piliero shows up. Deciding not to wait on their drummer, Andrew, we settled down in Big Johns living room and started the interview off arguing about Alien Ant Farm. Then we were attacked by a large, very noisy bee that was bound and determined to kill us all if we moved. As the brave boys screamed like 10-year-old girls, I suggested we kill it before it killed us. Bravely, Dominic took care of the situation and we were able to finally start the interview.
Chris: Up Syndrome is not afraid of bees alright! You can quote me on that! In fact, this interview is over!

Skye: So where’s the drummer?
Dominic: He got killed by the bee.

Skye: So are you ever going to tell me why your bands name is Up Syndrome?
Dominic: Well our friends in 1208 and us were drinking it up and the name just came up.

Skye: Yeah okay.
(Band starts taking about a million different things at once and arguing over Goldfinger.)

Skye: Can we get back on track now? Hello? So why did you guys change members in your band? What happened to that crazy other guy?
Chris: We’re not talking about it; this interview is over, so just go home.

Skye: It’s not over ‘til I say it’s over!

Chris: Okay fine, look, we’re not going to talk about the past. We want to “erase the past.”

Skye: Oh yeah? That wasn’t an album plug or anything was it?
Chris: Okay seriously, Dominic is our new bassist and I’ve known Dominic for like 8 or 10 years and we met in Maryland, and this is a totally true story, I’m not making it up. It’s weird cos tons of people from the town that we were in, all just happened to move here. So we moved out here to make a band, but yeah dude, Dominic, remember when we used to rape pigs together?
Dominic: I just remember when we used to experiment.
Big John: Weren’t you in like a Duran Duran cover band?
Dominic: No that was Depeche Mode.
Chris: But we never raped the pigs because like on Monday, we’d let them know we were going to do it on Wednesday, but then on Tuesday, we’d sneak attack them. See how that works?
Dominic: So we used to hump pigs together, now we hump each other.
Big John: Yeah, I wasn’t around when all this was going on.

(If you want to stop reading now, I completely understand.)

Chris: You might want to note that Big Johns work thinks he’s on break, they’re still waiting for him to come back.
Dominic: He’s been doing lunch for like a week.
Big John: Yeah it was a very traumatic experience since I did my hair in a Mohawk and made it pink my boss was like, either cut it or go bye bye. Then he said I was ‘working for the man now’ so I went on break, and never came back.
Chris: But his parents still don’t know.

Skye: Ohkay. Chris stop muting me with the remote! Chris, why are you so obsessed with Britney Spears that you wrote a damn song about her?
Chris: Me and Britney are destined. Bear in mind, March 2, Up Syndrome CD is released the following week, rumors of Justin and Britney breaking up. Coincidence? I think not! Seriously since that “Hit Me Baby one more Time” video, I would seriously turn on TRL to see her everyday.

Skye: Grrrrrreat.
Chris: It’s not like I made this crazy song, like no one actually knew the song was about Britney until you brought it up. You were the first person to listen to that song and right off the bat ask if it was about Britney.

Skye: Because I am so smart. Duh, plaid skirt, brown eyes, blah blah.
Big John: There’s nothing about brown eyes! You’re talking about yourself!

Skye: My eyes are blue!
Dominic: Is that what “Stimulant” is about?
Chris: Yes!
Dominic: Holy shit, sorry I’m a little slow.
Chris: I wanted to make the song more about any girl, not just Britney. I didn’t want to say something like ‘oh I’ll hit you one more time baby.’ It’s about any girl who wears a short plaid skirt.

Skye: Are you obsessed with Guns n’ Roses too? What’s with the “Patience” cover?

Chris: They’re a rad band. Lyrics wise, it fits in with the overall tone of the album. “Patience” is a song we could have wrote ourselves, I really relate to it, so we would have written it, but then we realized they already did, so we covered it.

Skye: What are you thoughts on the new release?

Dominic: It’s great, but I’m not on it, so I think it sucks because Big John did the bass. I would have made it jazzier, cos I’m a jazzy kinda guy. I’m sensitive; I cried at the end of the Lion King, I’ll admit it.
Chris: I did it, I ate the last of the ice cream, I admit it.

Skye: What the hell is wrong with you?
Dominic: Seriously, Chris what do you think about the CD?
Chris: I like it because, I don’t know. I’m proud of it; it’s the best work we’ve done so far. It’s our debut and it’s only going to get better from now on. People said our CD was fun and that’s all we want, they say it’s a good driving CD. Lyrics wise, “Next Song Forever” was written in my van, while we were driving. We have some sad lyrics but that doesn’t mean we have to make these sad depressing songs.
Dominic: Everyone struggles with shit.
Chris: That is true because last night I had these prunes…

Skye: Stop, please stop.
Chris: So the Maryland thing was a lie, damnit!

Skye: Did you enjoy the process of recording your album?
Chris: Yes, but me personally, singing wise, I was sick. I like playing live, so I need the audience. I’m not used to being in a studio without anyone there.
Big John: So we invited about 5,000 friends into the studio to cheer him on, mostly midgets.
Chris: That’s the one thing I needed to work on, because it was like being in a box. I did a better job at the end, but it took me a while. We are a live band, that’s why we’re stoked on touring. On the CD, we did a good job on getting our personalities in it.

Skye: Yeah, I listened to the CD and “The Jackson Five were Wrong” captures a real live show feel, then I went to song two and heard all about Chris’ cum-shot.
Chris: Hey I got mad props on my slick clean way of describing a blow job.
Big John: Yeah people commend us because they say we’re the only band that uses the word cum shot in a song. Maybe we should do it more.

Skye: Now that is something to be proud of, something you want to share with mom and dad.
Chris: No, no that’s alright. Yeah I got an email from a girl saying that it was cool how I described it, but didn’t just say ‘blow job.’ And I was like, wow, thank you, we are Up Syndrome everyone.

Skye: So what is your favorite song to perform live?
Dominic: “Expectations” without a doubt. It’s not on our CD, it’s a brand new song and I love it. I like “Nothings Gonna Ever Change.” I like doing the cannon ball on the ass move into the pit on that one.
Big John: Can I name more than one? “Expectations,” “Mouth” and “Textbook of Our Lives,” and only one of those is on the CD.
Chris: I really like to do “The Jackson Five Were Wrong.” I would say “Stimulant,” and I’ll get back to you…but I like “Expectations” too.

Skye: How did you choose the songs to go on the CD?
Chris: Me and the big Johnster over here, were online, cybering and I was like, alright, I’m taking off your thong now…and “The Jackson Five” should be our first song, and he was like “yeah you’re right” then we started talking. Mostly the whole line up of the CD was Big John’s idea.

Skye: What kind of music does Up Syndrome put out?
Chris: We’re niggaratchi punk.
Dominic: We’re hip core punk core. We’re an energetic fun punk rock band. We might not be hardcore for some punks, we might not be too soft, or bloody wankers. Everyone has their definition of punk, and we’re one of them.
Chris: The reason our bio doesn’t say we’re pop punk is because that’s defined as like Blink 182 and New Found Glory and we don’t sound like either of those. We’re a different story, so I would say we’re more like Greenday, NOFX, or Goldfinger.

Skye: So do you all listen go the same records or what?
Big John: No, we listen to stuff on the side. I’ve got my regular stuff, then I’ve got my hoes on the side.
Chris: I listen to other stuff like Gin Blossoms. One hit wonders I love them all. I love crappy sappy songs like that.
Dominic: You guys are J.A.Y.

Skye: We’re jay?
Dominic: I mean gay. I listen to Country. I love country, if you speed up any country song, it’s a punk song.
Chris: Oh please!

Skye: What band would you like to tour with? Pick one, only one.
Chris: Goldfinger.
Dominic: AFI, because they are the shit and they go to all these other countries.
Big John: Greenday.

Skye: What can people expect from an Up Syndrome live show?

Chris: We have real lyrics and we write about real emotions. One of the things we have is a live presence and people come to our shows and have a lot of fun. They might not necessarily like our music, but they come and have a good time. We have fans that bring their parents to our shows, and despite stuff, a lot of parents that come have a good time at our shows. I might write a sad song, but hell no are we going to sit there on stage and cry. It’s all about forgetting about problems and for 45 minutes we have fun.

Skye: If you could be on any TV show and make a guest appearance which show would it be?
Chris: “Friends” or the “Simpson’s.”

Dominic: “The Cosby Show.”
Chris: Dude what are we going to do, bring it back?
Dominic: I love that show, just put me into an old episode.
Chris: We could digitally enhance ourselves into our favorite Cosby show.
Big John: “South Park,” I’d hang out with Cartman.

Skye: If you were to go on “Survivor” and bring one luxury item what would it be?
Big John: I was gonna say CD player but then I couldn’t bring CD’s.
Dominic: My guitar.
Chris: A microphone. No! A cell phone!
Big John: Yeah but you don’t have a charger.
Chris: Oh God no! Wait…what happens when you break a guitar string! What are you gonna do then buddy!?
Dominic: Use your cell phone to order more strings!
Chris: Fine I’ll bring a Styrofoam cup and a really long string and hope to God someone on the other side is listening.

At this point, things got violent, the guys started touching each other, a pillow was thrown at me, and I felt it was a safe time to end the story. So what did we learn here today? Probably, nothing. But admit that it made you smile! Definitely check out their new EP “Erase the Past” and visit their crazy little website at On one last note Chris would like to say: “Don’t make us sound stupid.” To that I reply, “Too late.”