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Interviews Conducted by tick

"Slappy"

Introduce yourself . I'm Jay Slappy, lead guitarist and vocalist from Slappy.

What are you doing right now other than the obvious? Trying to convince myself to gather up the ambition to go back downstairs to the kitchen to get another Wild Cherry Pepsi. So far I haven't been successful.

What is the hardest part about being in a band? The fact that we can't hold down a drummer. Been together almost 5 years now and have been through 8 of 'em. It really puts a damper on trying to play gigs. That's so very frustrating. I feel like I'm in the Fastbacks or something.

When did you and what propelled you to start a band? I've been in many bands over the years, and the original reasons were along the lines of nobody else around, that I knew of at the time, was playing the kinda music I wanted to hear, so I figured fuck it, I'll make the music myself. That and pretty much doing it as a form of keeping my sanity. This happened more years ago than I really remember.

How serious are you about your band? Extremely serious. It's my life's work, my legacy, my story. That's not to say I don't have fun with it, but yes, it is my very being.

What have you learned from being in a band? What it takes to convey your ideas and sonic imagery to a few others and have them translate it to an audience with you, what it takes to put on one fuckin' killer show, you know, giving people their money's worth, how to be a stronger individual mentally and emotionally, the extreme joy of starting and maintaining your own record label, and how to fly in the face of fashion and not give a shit about what's cool and what isn't and just do what makes you happy. All this and so much more...

What is the message your band is trying to convey? I never really thought too much about the message we convey. I'm too busy working out my own problems through musical conceptual continuity than to worry so much about our "message."

What do you think your sound most resembles? Live, I'd like to think it resembles the musical muscle and sheer wall of sound attributes of the Ramones, Misfits, and Husker Du all rolled into one....with a little Replacements, Screeching Weasel, and Heartbreakers thrown in there for good measure. I'm so bad at answering questions like this. Usually I just say it's a somewhat poppish, as in Ramones, punk wall of sound created by a few guys too sarcastic for their own good.

Do you have any best/worst experiences playing live? One really horrible experience was when Drummer #7 had a mental breakdown on stage in the middle of a gig. He wasn't wrapped too tightly to begin with, and during this show he just started to fuck up like crazy. Every song, even the one's he's been playing for months now...so in between songs I just kept telling him to calm down, don't worry about it, we'll get it back.....so we keep going and he fucks up some more, then the drums just stop. Next thing I know he's out from behind the drums standing at the edge of the stage ready to jump off and go into the crowd that was watching him slowly lose it. My bassist Mel just stared him down. I guess realizing he was risking a beat down by Mel, #7 reassumed his post. So as he sits behind the drums we try to continue. He then PURPOSELY fucks up the next song. We all turn to him and all he said was "Well, if we're gonna fuck up...might as well fuck up totally." It was then that the urge to kill had subsumed the rest of the band. I called for one more song and then ended the disaster. #7 then proceeded to go into the backstage area and trash the drum kit and freak out. Needless to say it was not a good night. He was gone pretty soon after that.

What were your primary influences? My primary influences are the bands I listed above and so many more, the TV, but most importantly it's the people I know. I write more songs about the people I know and how I see or feel about them than anything else.

What equipments do you use? I use Crate amplifiers. I don't like Marshalls, which most guitarists seem to think I'm on crack for. As for guitars, more often than not I use a Gibson Les Paul Junior, or this amazing Series 10 Les Paul copy that I got for $150 bucks. It's the first guitar I ever bought, and still the most amazing sounding, comfortable guitar I have ever played. It is also the source of the feedback blasts the have become our m.o. So don't let anyone convince you to be a guitar snob. Cheap stuff rules.

Did you release an ep/lp/7"/demo? If so, how did you go about distributing it? I have personally put out three 7"s, and I'm about to put out a CD/ep myself. We have stuff on various comps as well, but that's another story. As for distributing it...I sold them at shows, through mail order, distro'ed them at the record stores in my area and beyond myself, traded with other bands, and only recently started into getting them to other distro's, such as Interpunk to make the 7"s more easily and readily available to people all over the US, and world for that matter. As far as advice goes, all I can say is don't wait for anyone to do it for you. Don't sit on your ass and say "When are we gonna get signed?" Screw that. Go out, record and put out a demo, press up a 7", run off CD's if you have to and get them out at gigs. Cause no matter how great you play, if someone doesn't have something of yours to take home with them the memory is gonna fade. If they have a tape, etc., they'll listen to it, play it for their friends, and then it'll just build from there.

Where are you from? Describe your 'scene.' The "scene" here in Central New Jersey blows. It's all emo, hardcore, NOFX double time stuff, or political punk. And very "clique" orientated. If you don't know the "right" people, or play whatever is "in" you get no respect. Which is pretty sad considering the music is taking a back seat to the popularity quotient. Which is not to say that those forms of music are bad, it's just that it's very close minded here, which I think is the antithesis of what most of those bands are supposedly are trying to accomplish.

How hard is it for you to get gigs there? Depends on what you do and who you know. Which again is pretty sad.

What kind of sacrifices did you have to make for this band? Any obstacles? More sacrifices than I care to list, as well as more obstacles. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and continues to be. But on the same token, it is also the most gratifying, amazing and fulfilling thing I've ever done and continue to be a part of. It's definitely the love of my life, and I don't regret it one bit.

How are you making ends meet? Working shitty jobs. But they allow me to pay my bills and to keep this band going, and putting out records as often as money allows, so it's all good.

Random Question: What zines do you enjoy? Jersey Beat is really good. Other than that most have gone down the shitter in recent months. Anything Rev. Norb from Boris The Sprinkler writes I thoroughly enjoy, even if it means picking up a shitty zine.

Thank you for your time; it was appreciated. No, thank you. Snail mail us at

Slappy

PO Box 2223

Edison, NJ 08818 USA.

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