MusicI am Jeff Rosenstock, my new record is called WORRY., I do Quote Unquote Records, did Bomb the Music Industry! and occasionally produce records, AMA
Jan 18th 2017 by JeffRosenstock • 15 Questions • 779 Points
My short bio: Hey everyone, My name is Infidelix.. I am the rapper from the subway video... I am setting up this AMA so I can talk about what happened with the video and the girl.. what I do as a street performer... and talk abit about my new album...
Still loving the new album, and stoked to come out to see you in March in LA.
How have your views on the punk scene changed as you've aged/matured?
What is one trend that you wish you could see scene-wide, among audience members, bands, venues, labels, etc?
How involved were you in the production of Never Get Tired? How'd you feel seeing it once it was done?
What's been your favorite non-musical thing that you've made?
Who's an artist you feel deserves more attention than they get?
Thanks for the music and the candor, my friend.
Alec / A Fistful of Vinyl
edit: Open invitation to come do a session with us. you know that.
Why did you pick Berlin?
Beastie Boys is my gut answer.
My stance on "free/donation" house shows has changed a little bit because I quickly realized people have $5, they'd just rather spend it on beer which in most circumstances supports a big corporate beast instead of a small artist. That said, I'd never be down with turning someone away just 'cause they had no money so maybe WHO KNOWS NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
I think our scene has been doing a great job at being a safe inclusive space over the last few years, but obviously it's hard to ignore that there are people who get groped/harrassed at every show and that fucking stinks. I'd love to see 2017 as the year where it doesn't happen at all, where people going to see punk bands respect each other's bodies. Punk has always been the only place I've really felt comfortable in my skin and it bums me out that at some of those formative shows I went to as a kid, there was likely someone having a way different experience.
I wrote all those graphics out. I tried to stay out of it and just answer questions honestly. It was pretty insane seeing it when it was done, I was mostly very proud of Sara, Amy and Adam who worked their buns off on the movie.
I thought the artwork for Famous Graves by Cheap Girls turned out real good.
i didnt really pick berlin..berlin picked me. i was backapacking europe for a few years and once I got tired of living on couches..I wantedto realy.. I happened to be in berlin when I made that desicion. This city has shown me more love then anywhere and I love the people and the place because of that
WORRY. got a lot of end-of-year love from unlikely sources. Which praise was most surprising?
I love Berlin man. People appreciate uniqueness and creativity there. There's a super interesting mix of business and pleasure there too.
When we found out we were going to get a Pitchfork review, I was pretty shocked, especially since Ian seemed to really like it. I've put out and worked on a lot of records at this point and none had ever made it up there.
But, I think obviously, #1 record on USA Today is a pretty fucking insane thing to see happen.
so many cool start up companies and such. its like a hub of creativity
hey Jeff ... is the recording from the final BtMI! show ever going to be released? was such an amazing show, i would love to experience it again!
To me the situation speaks to how relationships in life can be. You met a stranger to collab and you made beautiful music together, but for some reason things just don't work out.
It's nice to think that music surpasses the bullshit that life can bring, but sometimes it's not enough.
I think eventually, we had a really hard time mixing it and then it got pushed to the backburner, sorry!!!
beware of snakes. they are all around us.
What are your thoughts about drinking milk on stage and how do they differ from Chris's?
Also, when you were starting up Bomb, what did you feel was the hardest part about being as close to no-profit as possible? Like, what was the biggest hurdle?
Thanks for 2 decades of solid music.
Why did u choose U-Bahn Warschauer Straße? What took you to Germany? Are you going to try to rap in German at some point to?
Huge respect to you my man, rarely seen someone with so much passion
I think the biggest hurdle for me was trying to record albums that sounded as good as a real studio with like, one microphone and a laptop. I don't think I ever quite got there on my own, but I think constantly facing that challenge taught me a lot more than if I had not done it on my own.
Also, we kinda treated it like vacation when we had started touring... it wasn't meant to be a thing, so we worked day jobs and dipped into our own money to go on short tours. Once touring became regular, and it was harder to hold down jobs, we had to make little concessions like selling shirts and stuff like that... but that was only cause we were starting to look at it a little more full time.
berlin is so multi culti. if i perform at warshauer... i can target people from all over the world. when people stop to listen...they are from italy, spain, etc..
Hey, Jeff! It's that one girl who played "Teenager" with you on stage when you came to the HiHat last May(never got to tell you what I go by, I was too shy and in shock ahaha.), but I'm super stoked that you're doing an AMA again! I wanted ask you these both times when you came, but I was too shy.
Anyways, these are the 7 biggest questions that I've always wanted to ask you.
I've always wondered this ever since I started listening to you, but why do people not consider Summer to be an album? Every time I read an interview about you, they almost exclusively only mention I Look Like Shit, We Cool?, WORRY.M and even some BtMI!/ASOB albums, but never Summer! Why? I love that album!
Why did you stop making song titles long/funny? Like "Pizza Claus Is Coming To Town?" Do you feel like you outgrew that stage of songwriting?
Your DIY ethics have had such a big impact on my music and life, teaching me that I need to be self-sufficient. Do you have any advice to give on doing things yourself? Where to start?
I've described you to my friends who don't really listen to you as "a dude you can just chill with with a 6-pack until 5 in the morning just talking about nothing." Agree/disagree?
Backstory on Blink 182 Reunion? I always found the name funny for some reason, since I was a pretty big Blink 182 fan in my middle/early high school days.
SKA CHORDS! HOW DO YOU PLAY THEM? I CAN'T FIGURE THEM OUT!!!
And finally(WHEW!), that one part in Side Projects Are Never Successful, "They wanna rise when it's done, be a leader with a gun. Be a leader of what? Like a hundred and one?" Is that a Fallout 3 reference, the 101?
Do you enjoy eating Subway?
first off - MY BAD! Thanks for understanding!!!
I dunno, I kinda consider Summer and I Look Like Shit more mixtapes than full records. Summer is especially weird, because a lot of those songs are covers, one is a demo and it was released one song every two weeks. I'm glad you like it though, I do too! Maybe the lack of attention will avoid future copyright law suits!
Ummmmm, I think "HELLLLHOOOOLE" is pretty funny and "Staring Out The Window At Your Old Apartment" is pretty long. Maybe I've done a lot of longer song titles and thought it'd be fun to challenge myself into being succinct.
My only advice is to just do it, try to be ok with and learn from your mistakes and don't worry about anyone else telling you that things are impossible.
Maybe not FIVE IN THE MORNING COME ON NOW. Honestly though, my wife and I both have a serious problem with staying up late talking and hanging out. So yeah, sometimes. Or put on a Built To Spill record and a basketball game.
It made sense at the time, but I forget a little bit. That song is about growing up, so I think since they wrote the "I GUESS THIS IS GROWWWWING PUPPPPP' song it's likely a reference to that!
You can do them playing normal bar chords, but the trick is the articulation with your fretting hand. A lot of the time I've done them with just the top three strings to make them real trebly.
No. It's like there's gonna be a very small amount of people on the earth if the sun explodes. FACT.
yes, but the ones here are weak. in the states you can make them dope... and quiznos is better
When's the buddy cop comedy with you and Chris Farren coming out?
I'm one of the randoms that stumbled upon your subway song, and was drawn to the depth and sincerity of it. You definitely have an incredible talent, but then I saw some of your other stuff about how weed is your first bitch, how big your dick is and how you're a real G. Can you comment on the disparity between Anthem of the Lost and some of your other material?
my music is about half and half. have real and important issues, half nonsense and bullshit..
i just like to write songs and make music.. i dont really follow any particular style or way of doing things
Hey Jeff! Been a big fan ever since BTMI! split (bad time to become a fan of that stuff huh?) I wanted to ask, how did you meet Sean Bonnette, and how would you rank AJJs records from best to worst?
Hey! I enjoy some of the stuff you're putting out there. Are you guys selling merch online?
I met Sean when our bands got "signed" to Asian Man around the same time. I booked them a house show, they were late cause Sean had an allergic reaction to a cat, the show got moved 'cause too many people came, the new location was a punkhouse called "The Cat House" which obviously was full of cats, and Sean couldn't go inside. When I went to meet him I was very drunk on 40's of malt liquor. Someone (possibly Joe from Silent Barn) set them up a last minute show at a bar on Grand Street, that I can't remember the name of but I know lets you drink free on your birthday. I was pretty scared to show my face after kinda screwing up the show by not following the one rule I needed to when I moved it, but I went and met them and we became fast friends and the next show we played. Then we toured together and became besties.
Me and Sean are close, but I love all of the people in that band. They all came to my wedding straight from Europe. They are constantly inspiring to me.
I can't rank AJJ records because from "People..." on I believe they been batting 1,000 but I definitely have the most personal attachments to Can't Maintain and Christmas Island.
i have a tshirt to this viral song availablew at www.fundrazr.com/keepinfidelixindependent
Hello, Who is your favourite wizard? Cheers!
i dont have one. haha. i like astronauts tho
Where did you go and what did you do when life was hard for you personally?
Merrymakers, but I started with King James and that is a very very very hard call.
i ran to the ubahn station in berlin haha. thats where all problems get sorted. lol
Hey Jeff! Big fan.
What have been some of your biggest obstacles/setbacks in your life thus far (musical and/or otherwise) and how did you overcome them?
Sincerely, The drummer from that band you pulled up on stage in Ottawa back in December 2015
Ps you make dreams come true <3
OH ALSO what kind of chords do you use at the end of the intro to The Lows?? I absolutely adore them
Probably the biggest one I've had has been my social anxiety. In ASOB, my dear friend Dave did most of the show booking, talking to the promoters, making friends, that kind of stuff. That gave me ample time to warm up to a situation if I wanted to, or I was allowed to just not talk to anyone that day 'cause I didn't really have to.
When that band broke up, and Bomb started to be an actual thing that meant I would be the one booking the e-mails, I'd be talking to all the promoters, talking about money at the end of the night, all this stuff that I had a really hard time with. I also did a lot of solo tours, some of them in other countries, some of them had me spending weeks with total strangers, just in their vans and cars.
It took a lot the first time to force myself to be in those situations, but the alternative just seemed worse. I started reminding myself that there are things in my life that could turn out amazing if I could make that first step to talk to people. When that concept fails, I try really hard not to let it get to me. This all kinda forced me out of my shell, and I made most of my best friends through tour.
That said, I'm still not great with it. I still get anxious talking to people at shows and not at shows, I still put off replying to e-mails and texts... I wish I didn't but I do. But I try to catch myself if I know that I'm doing it, and push myself to go for it, 'cause I know that good stuff has happened the times that I have.
Jeff! At some point on some social media platform you mentioned you wanted to drive around Australia with Wil Wagner and do some shows at some point. Has that ever gone beyond the "yeah man that'd be siiiiiick" stage?
Cheers for occasionally visiting us on the other side of the planet anyway.
Yeah, we played two shows together in Sydney and Melbourne last year!!! It was sick.
Also, I LOVE AUSTRALIA AND MISS IT FUCCCCCKKKKKKKK IT'S COLD HERE
What is something you wish your fans better understood about you, personally or as a musician? Conversely, what do you wish you better understood about the fans that love your music?
I don't think I could really ask for more supportive fans... for example, I was starting to get really anxious about taking pictures when I'm walking around at shows and stuff, to the point where I wouldn't leave the green room or talk to anyone. So I tried just asking people "hey, is it okay if I say no? It makes me feel weird." And nobody gave me a hard time. Small things like that are very very nice. And I'm starting to get better at being around and talking to folks and stuff because of it. So yeah, nothing. 99% of the people at the shows kick ass.
I wish that I knew at every show what would be the best thing to do to make everyone enjoy the night as much as possible.
What inspired you to write/what the story behind Darkness Records? I love the explosion of sound and then the wave of calm in it. It's quite possibly my favorite song. Keep on being fucking SIIIIIIIIICK.
Lyrically, it was heavily inspired by the Atmosphere song "Little Man" which is basically him writing a letter to his son, his dad and then himself. For me that song is talking about art, love and the future - and trying to tear it all down to build something better... that's what that sound explosion's all about!
Why is there two different versions of Bomb The Music Industry! (and Action Action) (and Refused) (and Born Against) Are Fucking Dead.? One of them starts with a guy in a job interview, the been there, done that, bought the t-shirt stuff and the other one starts off with someone talking about asking to be the godfather of someones child. From which movies are these quotes, and why are there two different ones?
They're both from The UK Office. I think there are different ones because it was put out on vinyl long after it was recorded, I didn't have the original sample and thought it'd be a cool easter egg to have two different things.
Hey Jeff! Worry was my favourite album of 2016 and I wanna say thanks for making perfect music and being endlessly inspiring. My question is, which song(s) from Worry do you most enjoy playing live, and why?
And also, do you have any plans to play any shows in the UK this year?
I realllllly like it when we play the last half of the album into each other because it is SO INTENSE. Maybe "Bang On The Door" or "Pash Rash" are my favorite to play live.
AND YEAH WE'RE GONNA BE IN THE UK IN SPRING!!!
Yo Jeff any advice on recording diy with limited gear and musicians?
Don't give up until you make it sound the way you want. If you have limited gear, a lot of that can be in mixing, can be in mic distance, how you EQ it beforehand. Just don't settle for something if you don't think it sounds rad, 'cause YOU CAN DO IT!
How much has your life changed since A.S.O.B. to currently?
What are you're 3 most influential artists?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My life has almost changed entirely except that I still make music.
Beach Boys, Green Day, Elvis Costello
Right now probably Melbourne Australia because it's cold here, it's a great city and I miss my buds on the other side of the world!
hey jeff!! a couple questions if you want to answer any of them: 1) what's your favorite track off of worry? 2) what would your dream tour lineup be? 3) any advice for music business in nyc?
I have no idea. While You're Alive maybe?
First off, huge fan.
Is there any reason you don't frequently play covers at shows? Your set of covers with AJJ for the AV club is probably my favorite cover(s) and I think you have an amazing approach to music. Thanks!
Thanks!!! I don't think that's true! We played "Police on my Back" a lot on this last tour, we played "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star on a tour with Dan Andriano and on a tour with MOBO, PUP and Tiny Moving Parts in 2015 we played a different cover every night that we learned that day! Look at this list! That's a lot! They were sometimes not good!!!
- Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
- Nelly w/ Kelly Rowland - Dilemma
- Alkaline Trio - Radio
- System of a Down - BYOB
- Elvis Presley - Can't Help Falling In Love
- FIDLAR - Cheap Beer
- Seal - Kiss From A Rose
- Toto - Africa
- Blink 182 - Dammit
- The Weakerthans - Aside
- Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
- Against Me! - Walking Is Still Honest
- Operation Ivy - Jaded
- 4 Non Blondes - What's Up?
- The Cardigans - Love Fool
- Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
- Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy
- A-Ha - Take On Me
- Ke$ha - Die Young
- Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We're Going Down
- Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On, Eileen
- The The - This is the Day
- Josie and the Pussycats - Three Small Words
- Elvis Costello - Radio Radio
- Hall And Oates - Rich Girl
- Abba - Dancing Queen
- Remember the Arcadians
- Bruce Springsteen - No Surrender
- Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
- Smash Mouth - All Star
- Van Halen - Jump
- Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
- PUP - Reservoir
What was the recording/writing process like for the last half of Worry, where the album basically turns into one huge melody?
How do you think you've grown as a musician?
What was the reason for making This is What You Get, the Radiohead cover album you did with TASOB?
A lot of those songs started to feel too long, so I was kind of lost for a while with them. I basically had like fourteen songs that didn't sound better when they were longer. My buddy, and occasional Death Rosenstock drummer, Tim Ruggeri suggested smashing them all together at a New Years Party and immediately it all kinda clicked in my head. Oddly enough, I found a note in my wallet from my honeymoon where I mapped a lot of it out as a potential concept record. So I kinda followed that when I got stuck. But yeah, I demoed the whole thing and tried to make it flow real good, and then laid face down on my bed for a few hours one day and rounded out the rest of the lyrics... I had parts and concepts, but hadn't written them all out.
It feels more like evolving. I'm listening to more kinds of music and trying to interpret those influences in my own way. I also know that I've drifted away from a lot of the really chaotic stuff that was on early Bomb records, so I try to find clever ways to sneak that shit in.
We were playing a Halloween show and we wanted to cover a band that cool indie rock kids would think were untouchable. Man, that was fun. I was wish did it more than one time.
Hello Jeff! I’m so happy you’re doing this AMA, I missed the last one you did. Let’s get straight to the point:
What is your vocal range? Sometimes I feel disadvantaged since my singing voice is in the lower register, but then I remember I can sing along to most of your / BtMI!’s music with little to no problem, and I don’t feel bad anymore.
Do you remember the first gig you played? Was it with ASOB? How was it?
Do you still maintain the notion you expressed in the Myrtle Beach video that ”all opening bands are terrible…”? If not, what is the best opening act you’ve either seen or has played before you?
(bonus question): Do you still use your email@example.com address? For about 2 years ago, when I just started writing and recording songs myself, I sent you a fan mail to that inbox. I totally understand if you didn’t have the time to answer it, but I just wanted to know if it got delivered and you read it, or if it went to an outdated email address (or, ya know, got caught in the spam filter).
I give a thank you to you for doing this (and answering my questions, hopefully), and I give a finger to the one who invented time zones, because here it’s 1AM and I need sleep. Yes, that was an AJJ reference, and yes, I know it was poorly executed. I look forward to the day you come to Sweden.
I have no idea what my actual vocal range is, I think it's arguable that there's no notes that I sing particularly well, ha. I think it's all about working with what you got... the dudes in MOBO sing low as fuck all the damn time.
It was in my parents backyard with The Poseurs, The Swifties (i think!) and a Nirvana cover band my friends had called Top Sync Bottem Jerrold. I was around fourteen, we were very bad, our drummer quit mid-set, the rest of the show was good.
Hahaha... I think when you're drunk at a ska show for about a dozen people in South Carolina for the first time, yeah, all the opening bands are at least going to seem kinda bad. We're an opening band sometimes, so, ya know, I know we're terrible to some of the people in the crowd.
Our bands selected a bunch of openers on that last tour and off the top of my head my favorites were Shortly, Early Bird, Teenage Bigfoot, Shutup and Canker Blossom.
- LET ME GIVE YOU MY REAL EMAIL ADDRESS ON REDDIT. HAAAAAAAAAA NOOOOOOOOOOO.
Thanks, thekatt08, we're gonna try to get over to Sweden this Spring... that area is kinda far from everything huh?
Hey Jeff! Thanks for doing this, and also double thanks for swinging by Toronto and doing that PWYC acoustic set. That was so fucking rad and saved my holiday season.
Two questions! At least one of em quick! 1. What's yer favorite Cribs album? 2. I really want to get into home recording. If you were just starting out again with solo recording, but armed with yr current knowledge, what would you want to nab / set up / prioritize first?
- Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever
- Some means of recording (I did computer + interface + credit card DDDDD-:), then one decent large condenser mic. I started with the Okatva MK-319, have been borrowing a Rode NT-1A from my friend Craig for about six years ha and it kicks ass, and I've always wanted to get an AKG-414. You can put any of those on anything and it'll sound good.
Hey Jeff! Long time fan of ASOB and BTMI. Last time I saw you was at a Bomb show in a church in Eagle Rock, CA and it was a great show. Couple questions:
- Do you plan on bringing back Ipod shows? Those were great!
- Any future plans for another Kudrow record?
- How do you feel about other artists embracing the whole "pay what you can" for a record philosophy that Quote Unquote pioneered?
Thanks again for doing the AMA!
I retired the iPod shows after Bomb played our last shows, I felt like I needed to force myself to try something else. Glad you liked 'em! I'd never say never, iPod shows are pretty easy to do!
Oh man, I'd LOVE to do another Kudrow record. We're all real busy these days, but I bet it'll happen.
I think it's great, it's crazy to think that for a few years there the main goal in the biz seemed to be to keep music away from the people, either through high prices for bad products, or LAWSUITS. It seems a lot more evened out now, and when Chance The Rapper can get nominated for Grammy's for putting out a free record, I am STOKED.
Hey Jeff! You've written a lot of songs throughout your career about drinking too much. Is that something you still struggle with? Or has growing older evened your keel regarding that kind of thing?
I've definitely evened out with drinking, but I think when you're a touring musician you still drink more than most other people. I think I always wonder what it would be like to be a person who exists without any sort of chemical boost, but whenever I dry out it's not very fun haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Hi Jeff! So I'm a college student with very little time but a lot of songs I have written. I don't have enough time to start a band and keep up with that at the moment, so I'm thinking about just producing my own records. That begs my question - how did you create Album Minus Band, all the chiptune stuff on Vacation, etc? What software did you use, and what might be a good place to start?
Thanks so much, love ya dude!
I use ProTools and Reason, but there is a great open source program called Reaper which is free to use for 30 24-hour days, which is a ton of time. I did all the chiptune stuff in Reason using their "raw synth" sounds but honestly, if you look up chiptune tutorials you'll probably find way better answers! I am constantly looking up YouTube tutorials to learn how to mix and mic stuff better. Also, Tape-Op is a great magazine about recording that is completely free to subscribe to and also very inspiring!
wagwarn Jeff, my band are looking to take a BTMI-esque approach to releasing our music and handling business(??) and all that sort of stuff. Can you give any advice on doing this and still being able to live comfortably and put food on the table? Thanks
PS, are you ever coming to England?
We all managed to find jobs that were pretty lenient with letting us leave to go on tour. I mostly did temp graphic design stuff, John does event production, Mike worked at a deli, Tom recorded bands and Matt gave private lessons. The less financial stress you give the band, the better... that way you can just enjoy being in a band! When we eventually got to the point that we could tour and come home with rent money, that was a surprise and a mega bonus.
- How did you and Christine meet, and how long have y'all been together? Yr wedding cracked my heart of coal.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
xoxo we love ya deathenstock!
Christine was a friend of my friend John, who played bass in Bomb and plays in the new band. I met her at Warped Tour when ASOB was sneaking on every day in order to make our way back home from the west coast. We didn't talk much, but we got along and liked each other. Then I played a show at John's school, got really sick, ended up at a party feeling weird and sick and she came over and talked to me and we are still having that same conversation today THIS ISN'T A WARM SENTIMENT OR A JOKE WE ARE HAVING A VERY LONG CONVERSATION THAT JUST WON'T END.
Probably flying. Classic.
HI JEFF! How do you think the concerts with The Menzingers are going to be compared to a concert that you headline? OHHH, and what kind of microphone did you use to record Bomb records? I'd like to know more about low budget recording. I just bought tickets and I'll be seeing you in Chicago :)
We were playing like, over an hour on our last tour. Our sets on The Menzingers tour are around 45 minutes I think? So hopefully you'll see less talking, but probably not ha. I don't ever know how the tour is gonna be different until we're on tour and find out how we play together in that situation. I'm stoked to tour with them though, they are rad guys.
I used an Oktava MK-319 to record the first three Bomb records, all the rest have a handful of mic's on them but my main go to has been a Rode NT-1A