Shawn Guilloteen takes a shaky step back and surveys the crowd. His cowboy outfit's covered in saliva, beer and sweat (some his, some other people's), and he's panting like a cross-country runner. There's what looks like blood trickling from his mouth, probably from when that asshole picked him up and dropped him on his head about fifteen minutes into their set. He's standing on the edge of an empty circle in the middle of Emo's, not on the stage, but on the ground, with the people in the front of the crowd barely a foot away.
"This next song," he says, slowly and deliberately, "is going to fuck you." And he's right; it very nearly does. The crowd explodes into motion as the band attacks their instruments; Shawn howls into the mic as he throws himself at innocent bystanders, flailing wildly at anyone within reach. It's chaos.
The Fatal Flying Guilloteens are nice guys. Really. If you see them live or listen to the stories, like the one about their drummer beating up the drummer of a fairly well-known indie-rock band (see below for that), it might sound hard to believe, but when I sat down with them at guitarist Brian Guilloteen's house, the guys were smart, funny, even soft-spoken. The four members of the band kindly agreed to talk to yours truly about their bad reputation, their new record (The Now Hustle for New Diaboliks), lighting guitars on fire, and different people's interpretations of time, among other things.
SCR: So, I was looking at the sleeve of the new record, there, and saw the "Kiss to Kiss Off" thing -- does that have anything to do with the Kiss-Off thing we were talking about earlier?
Brian: I dunno...Mike came up with that.
Roy: [laughs] Ask Mike, our drummer!
Shawn: A lot of our answers are going to be, "yeah, Mike came up with that."
Mike: The truth of the matter is that whenever we, ah, come up with songs, oftentimes whenever we record them, we don't have names for them. And for this record in particular, we came up with all the names the second night of recording, 'cause we figured we'd probably need them for track listings, because, like, this song was named "Roy's Part." [laughter]
R: The last song was called "New Song," "Newer Song," "Newest Song," "That One You Came Up With On Thursday" -- those're hard to keep track of.
M: "The One Brian Hates," yeah.
I was wondering how you kept them apart when you put out that first tape, 'cause I noticed all of 'em were called "Yeah Yeah Baby Yeah Yeah"...
B: That's because we didn't have song titles; we thought it was funny.
I kinda liked that, actually. I was kinda bummed to get the 7"s and find out they actually had names.
B: For the record, that song title ["Kiss to Kiss Off"] has nothing to do with The Kiss-Offs; I've never even thought about that.
M: Yeah, no, actually, no.
R: I didn't think about that 'til actually, uh...
B: 'Til you said it.
Yeah; it's just because we were talking about it earlier.
S: I thought about it. I was hoping it wasn't...I was actually afraid that people would think that.
B: But if you listen to the song, the song is about a breakup, so it's like "I'm kissing you off..."
I also wanted to ask...the last time I saw you guys was a very, very long time ago, and Roy there wasn't actually in the band. So, I wanted to ask just in general, what made you go ahead and get a bassist, after playing without one?
S: Uh, that was Mike's idea. [laughs]
B: Well, when we recorded, we played with C.J. of The Drags, who is a band that's on Estrus, as well, and when we played with them live he said, "y'know, if you guys ever record and you want a bass player, I'll do it with you and whatever." And we said "okay, sure," and he came down and recorded with us the first time, and he learned the songs over the course of the weekend at ClubSafeParking, Gram's place, after hours. And, uh, we recorded with it, so all the songs at that point had bass in 'em, and we needed somebody to fill where he left off. Roy's like, our friend...and lover...and a bass player, who we knew could learn the songs, so...
S: Have you ever heard of a band called Cedar Of Lebanon?
B: Yeah, well, we knew that band kicked a lot of ass, and we knew who the bass player was in that little particular ditty, so...
M: It also helps that Brian's particular style of guitar playing is notoriously sporadic, and just kind of like "jumps." So it would be myself and Brian that would be carrying a part of a song, and then he'd want to do like these twangy, y'know, skips, and it'd just kind of drop out, where it'd just be drums, and there wouldn't be anything that could kind of back that up, so... After playing with a bass, we were pretty much sold on the idea.
R: I just bring more balls. [laughter]
M: The balls of the band.
B: Nah, that'd be me...
R: I think Brian's more the ass of the band.
B: He probably would be the balls; Shawn would be the hair of the band, and Mike would be...the punctuality of the band, I dunno.
[to Mike:] He was making fun of you before you showed up.
B: No, what he said, he said "well, Mike said '10-ish'," and I'm like, "'ish' is how Mike gets out of everything." "Look, bitch, you can't hold me to 10, I said 'ish'!" [laughter] It's 11:45 -- "I said 'ish.'"
B: I was hanging out with Gina today, and she said something about, "You guys are all so touchy-feely," and I'm like, "what d'you mean, like we touch you a lot?" "No, you touch each other a lot." [laughter]
I have to admit, the in-person persona is a lot different from the stage persona. I remember the first show I saw you guys, you [to Brian] hit me in the head with your guitar when I was trying to take a picture.
B: Oh, God... [laughs]
You chased me under the table. [laughter]
S: Holy shit...
I remember Mike, you had to move your drums up to the front and nail them to the floor, and you guys were out in the crowd.
B: Was that when we had the chef hats on?
B: Oh, man. That was an awesome show.
I remember somebody almost kicked somebody in the head, and...
R: Yeah. I can't think of another time when we're throwing projectiles at people, or throwing punches, and getting in fights, other than when we wear those masks.
An evil metamorphosis comes over you.
I just thought it was entertaining, 'cause I remember talking to one of you after --
S: Mike said you wanted to interview us for that show.
M: Did I tell you to fuck off, or...?
B: "Can I get an interview?" "Fuck off! Good, you can quote me!" [laughter]
The Fatal Flying Guilloteens -- http://ffguilloteens.tripod.com/
Estrus Records -- http://www.estrus.com/
Photo #1 by Lenigradskoje Optiko Mechanitscheskoje; photos #2-8 by Cindy Polnick, taken at Emo's, Houston, Texas.
Is that an intentional thing, or is that just kinda the way it happens?
S: It's beer.
B: Yeah, it's more beer and what rock's supposed to be, I think, than like, I dunno.
R: Well, it's just a chance to cut loose, because, ah, it's your one chance to act like a jackass and not feel bad about it.
B: The more you chase people with ponytails under tables, the hotter people think it is. It's like, "yeah! That guy was takin' his picture, and he hit him with his guitar!"
I love those pictures, even though the only thing you can see are blurry strings and the guitar.
M: I know for a while there we were kinda getting a reputation that we were kind of like, shit-starters, where we were gonna come up and there was gonna be eighteen fights or whatever. Which...
S: I'd like to see that happen. It never happens.
B: Yeah, it never really materializes, and I get depressed about it.
S: I know, we always talk it over -- "are we starting a fight tonight? Alright!" And it never happens, and I'm always disappointed.
B: And it always happens, a lot of times, too, with bands that we hear are famous for starting fights, like Le Shok and The Makers. We're like, "I think we shouldn't even play tonight; we should just beat these guys up."
M: Yeah. There's a lot of speculation on what exactly is going to happen, and then it never happens, but the ones that we're not even looking at, that's where it happens.
B: Like fuckin' Rainer Maria.
I heard about the Rainer Maria show. I hadn't seen you guys in forever, and I was talking to somebody, and they told me, "oh yeah, did you hear Mike from the Guilloteens beat up the drummer from Rainer Maria?"
S: He didn't even do that.
M: I didn't even touch him.
So, what was the deal? I wanna get it straight...
M: Art-fag retaliation. That's what it was; it was just unreal. [laughter] Brian had been in Chicago --
B: New York City.
M: New York City, and he was at a club where Rainer Maria was playing, 'cause he was there with some girl that dragged him to the show. And apparently one of the members of Rainer Maria was very excited because he thought James Iha, of Smashing Pumpkins fame, had shown up.
B: It was the drummer who thought that. It was just like, "Ohmigod, James Iha's here! You think he's here to see us?", and blah-blah-blah, and I was sitting on the stool next to the guy while he's telling his bandmates -- [whispering] "Don't look! He's right in front of us...oh my God!" Which warrants making fun of. I'm not even exagerrating. [laughter] And then he found out it wasn't him, so now he was just like, "Fuck. Fuck!" So I told that story at the show, and he didn't think it was funny at all.
R: Well, you told the story five times, with different celebrities.
B: Well, I told the story, and I told it kinda just like that. "And I saw you in New York City, at the," whatever place it was, y'know, doing the whole thing. And I did the whole act, and he's just like, "Yeah, whatever..." I saw I got a rise out of him, so I told the story between every song. But I was like, "He saw Gwen Stefani of No Doubt walk in!" I kept on changing it -- "He saw Don Henley of the Eagles walk in!" I kept on changing it up, and before you know it, he was throwing tables at us.
M: Yeah, he actually threw furniture.
B: He threw a table at us, and he threw a big garbage bag full of beer bottles at us. Which we thought was fine -- I thought it was funny -- but the table smashed everywhere...
It was at ClubSafeParking, right?
M: Yeah, and we had the fog machine, so you could kind of see what was going on.
B: Gram [Lebron, ClubSafeParking owner] loved it, 'cause it was the last show there, ever; he wanted us to rip the place apart.
M: Which is kind of hard to do when there's like five people there; it was like five people and Rainer Maria, because it was the kind of event that, at that time where...we had just kinda got tacked onto that, and it was pretty much primarily kind of like an "emo"-type thing.
I was surprised y'all were playing with them; I didn't figure they were anything like you guys, so...
B: Well, [Gram] asked us to do it because it was the last show ever there, and we'd played the first show ever there.
M: Kind of like the alpha and the omega.
B: So we were like, "let us play before these guys, 'cause everybody's going to leave 'cause nobody knows we're playing" -- "No! You guys have to tear the place down!" And so Rainer Maria...and people were fighting each other to get out the doors, Gram was like "Everybody, uh..." -- and by this time, everybody's gone -- "...the Guilloteens're about to come on!" It was pretty bad.
M: But, ah, yeah, the guy from Rainer Maria just got more progressively aggressive...
R: "Progressively aggressive"?
M: Progressively aggressive. And the short of it is [name withheld by the band's request] kicked his ass and we got blamed for it. [laughter] He actually kicked him in the face, and to this day [he] swears up and down, 'cause I think he's got indie-cred to protect, but he kicked him in the face. I'm just sayin'.
B: Now that they're touring with 'em and shit...
M: Now that he's suckling at the indie teat, yeah.
That was exactly what I'd heard, except I'd heard it was you [to Mike]
M: No, it wasn't me! I actually...
B: Mike was tired, 'cause he smokes and he's a bitch, and he can't play more than ten minutes without being like, "give me a break!"
S: I thought it was 'cause we wanted to play a song, and Mike didn't remember the drumbeat.
R: It was "Electrified," and John was on it and remembered how to play it.
B: Then when Mike got off the drumset, James Iha Guy was like, "I wanna play with you guys; I wanna play a song," so he gets back there and we're like, "okay, just play a drumbeat, and I'll play along with you." So we're trying to play the song, and he's doing it way too fast; we're like, "this isn't working," and he's like, "no, let's go!" And then [name withheld], who knew the song, was like, "give me the sticks," and kicked him in the face.
M: And then they get into it...
B: He said "give me the sticks," and [the Rainer Maria drummer's] like, "no! I wanna play with you guys! You guys wanna see punk rock, I'll give you punk rock," and [he] goes, "Shut up!" [pantomimes someone kicking] And the guy's like, "dude...fuck Houston!" [laughter]
M: So, and the girl from Rainer Maria comes in crying, and she's saying, "stop the fight! It doesn't have to be like this!"
B: She was great, she was so great -- "It's just a fucking show! It's just a fucking show!"
M: That kinda stopped the whole thing, 'cause we're all just looking at her -- "What's happening?" And then, apparently, the last time we heard, the James Iha guy was talking about...
B: Yeah, he tells the story in Florida about how he kicked our ass, shit like that.
B: We're here to put it down that we beat his stupid ass. [laughter]
M: But you see, the only person who got in a fight that night wasn't in our band.
S: He's not proud of it.
M: No, he felt really bad, he felt really bad. He'll deny it...but it's absolutely true.
Maybe I should edit that out later on.
M: Yeah, you really should; any people's names and where we're just talking shit, you probably should.
It's more entertaining, though...
R: Makes for a better read. [laughs]
One other big, burning question I was going to ask is, how you guys got hooked up with the whole Estrus thing, 'cause I was really, really psyched to hear about that. I'd heard rumors about it for a while, and then saw the 7", and then I didn't know what was going on from there.
S: That's just Tim [Kerr]; he's the one that hooked us up with Dave [Crider; Estrus Records owner].
Where'd you meet him, though?
S: Tim...we played with the Lord High Fixers, that's how we met Tim, here in Houston, at Mary Jane's, and I think from when he first saw us, he fell in love with us, like everybody does. [laughter] And we found out, I think, that he wanted to record us from somebody else...
M: Yeah, he came up to me; I actually didn't know who he was at the time, and he was just like, "yeah, you guys were great, blah-blah-blah; I really like your music." And he's like, "the next time you guys record, just let me know, and I want to do it. I want to do it." And I'm like, "and you are...?" [laughter] "No, man, my name's Tim!" -- "Okay, Tim, that's great," and then he just gets up on stage and I'm all, "Tim...oh, okay..."
B: "Get away from me, baldy!"
Did you call him afterwards and apologize profusely?
B: "Listen here, dreads: I dunno who the fuck you think you are, but you better take yourself and those tats, and that attitude..." [laughs]
R: Everything ever good to happen, it goes to him...
M: It is true, though. No, but he is a really sweet guy, and he talked a lot, and I didn't know who he was at the time, and I was just like, "o-kay..." And then we pieced it together, and he wanted to record us, so we recorded with Tim. That's when we talked to C.J. and he flew down -- quit his job and flew down -- to record with us, and at that point, Dave knew that C.J. was coming down from Albuquerque, he knew that Tim wanted to record us, and he was like, "who the fuck are these guys?", basically. And he wanted to hear the stuff, y'know, that we recorded, so it went from recording to him; Tim sent it out. Then he decided to do that [7"] record. Later...he'd never seen us, and he usually -- I think it's the rule that he has to see a band before he puts out a full-length. So he put out the 7", and he was like "okay," and we played with the Lord High Fixers' last show, at 33 Degrees. We showed up, and again, it's the same thing; like, I'm walking in with my drums, and he's like, "you the Fatal Flying Guilloteens?" And I was like, "yes...?", and he's like, "oh, yeah, hey -- I'm Dave!" I'm all, "Hi, I'm Mike...thanks a lot!", and just walked away. And then: "Dave"...Crider. So, everybody that I've had a brush with that has any type of influence on what could happen or any type of say that's good in my life, I just kinda walk away from, initially. [laughter] And he showed up at South by Southwest, to do the Estrus showcase, and we just happened to come along to support the Lord High Fixers, and after that, he was really impressed, apparently. He didn't seem...he's like a hard guy to read.
Are you guys playing South by Southwest again this year?
B: No; they have Garage Shock in May, so they don't wanna do an Estrus showcase in March and then Garage Shock -- which is the Estrus showcase -- in May.
M: Which kinda sucks, 'cause there's more bands worth seeing this year than there were the year we could get into anything for free. 'Cause y'know this year it's like XBXRX and Unwound, and...
B: And, yeah, $45, right?
M: But we got a call, regardless, a week or two later, saying "I'd like to do a full-length." "Cool, okay..."
B: "Okay, well, we'll write the songs for it."
B: And then he's like, "How much money do you think you'll need?", and we're like, "Hell, yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about!" And Mike was like, "some other guy I ran into at the show, he's like, 'my name's Dave,'" and I'm like, "David...Geffen! Fuck me!"
M: Yeah. I told David Geffen to go fuck himself, so y'know... [laughter] I should probably just quit while I'm ahead...
Are you guys planning on doing another one with Estrus?
S: Oh yeah...yeah.
R: We gotta get this one out.
This one's just coming out, so you're gonna be busy...
R: Nothing's for sure, but...
It looks really good and sounds really good, by the way.
B: I think it's an amazing record. It really is.
I was especially impressed by the "art" photos on the back.
B: Yeah, well, that's pretty un-"us"; I was pretty nervous about those. [laughs]
S: Are you making fun of us?
B: He just called 'em "art" photos.
M: We're trying to take a new direction; a more serious approach...
B: Mike tricked us into that.
S: I like the pictures.
R: I like the pictures, too.
B: I don't think they should be our first national statement as a band who dresses in public as Lone Rangers...
M: I think it's a good thing, though, if we show up and...it's like a surprise.
B: All of sudden we come out in cowboy gear and they're like, "Who's the Goth-looking guy? Which one's that?" Yeah, that's a character Roy's getting into: Evil Roy!
Are you guys happy with the record, then?
R: Oh, totally.
M: I'm kind of sick of that record, actually, I've heard it so much.
B: I'm not, dude; I want to hear it every day. I listen to it on CD, and then on vinyl, and then I record it down to tape. [laughter] Then I see how it is there, then I bring it up to work... No, I like this album. I'm totally into it. I'm glad that...I can't imagine, even when we started out as such a joke or whatever, that we'd ever do anything like this, so I totally love it.
A pretty far step from the first tape.
M: It's a different animal entirely.
B: Well, yeah, and even from the first concept and from the first show -- we just started as kinda like this "add-on" 'cause Junior Varsity was gonna play a show in Kingwood and, uh...
M: I learned all the songs like two days before the show.
B: Right. He didn't even want to do it; "this is fuckin' stupid." We're like, "it's just a one-time thing, Mike, and we need a drummer." -- "Whatever. It fuckin' sucks." And then like everybody fucking loved it, and he's like, "ooh, there's a party tomorrow and one Tuesday, and I think I can get us on a show Thursday..." [laughs]
M: Yeah, okay, bitch. I don't remember that.
B: Yeah, I remember your ass running out to Randall's to buy more masks, 'cause we had that party to play.
M: Oh, that's right... [laughter]
B: "Where'd you get the masks?", 'cause these guys wanted us to play a party on a whim...
You destroyed the original masks?
M: There aren't a "standard issue."
B: Just like Lassie, there's a thousand masks...
I meant to ask, who came up with the original idea for the masks and cowboy thing?
S: Me. I did. I don't know why I did. [laughter]
M: 'Cause it stuck. Dear Lord, it stuck.
B: Well, we knew we needed a theme to open up for Junior Varsity, since they were the cheerleaders, y'know, and what can we do that kind of fits the name?
S: Brian did think of the name.
B: Yeah, the name's my baby. And then Shawn, I think, was at Toys'R'Us or something, and he saw a little kid's set of guns, and he's like, "this fits me!" [laughter]
M: Like everything else in the kids' department.
B: "This fits me, so we'll do this." That's how, kinda, it started. And actually, the first show all we had was like white shirts on --
You didn't have the real cowboy shirts or anything?
S: We had hats.
B: We had red hats, and like white button-up shirts and black pants, and then we had the masks. We actually wore the masks, then; we didn't take 'em off the second song. We actually played with them.
Have you been taking 'em off, then?
S: We have to.
I would imagine it'd make it hard to see, and it'd make it kind of hot...
M: I come with it on, and then immediately, it's off, 'cause I can't see anything.
Especially in a nice, dark club.
B: Right, right. It was easy to play the songs that were three chords in the beginning, but now that it's like more parts --
S: Now we're prog-rock, and so... We're "the Gang of Four of garage rock, with a Can influence." [laughs]
I have to say, what I've heard off the new album sounds a lot different from the old stuff. It's a lot more complicated.
B: Right, it's a lot different than, like, the 7" on Twistworthy.
M: I think it's along the same lines as the first 7" on Estrus, but after we got the interest and "I want to do a full-length record" -- 'cause there's a lot of speculation on whether or not our music would be good on a long-playing record. Like, too much...
B: Too much of the bad joke.
M: So, we had to actually start sitting down and writing a record, as opposed to three songs we can put onto a 7" together. So, whenever we wrote the album, it started becoming longer, y'know; you just start focusing on it.
Do you still play the old songs, now, or...?
B: One or two, every once in a while. Depends on how drunk we are. And how drunk the audience is.
I really like "Electrified."
M: Yeah, okay, you know something? I have no idea how the hell I ever played that.
S: That's probably the only song I'd like to play. Some of our old songs, they're not -- I don't feel 'em anymore.
M: Ah...how many years has it been, now? [laughs]
S: I don't feel 'em anymore, I just don't.
B: You don't feel what you wrote, or just the songs in general? You don't feel those feelings anymore?
S: No, no. Just don't feel 'em.
B: You don't feel like you have a new iron fist anymore? [laughter]
S: There's no point even trying to define it. I just can't.
B: Well, I can remember 'em. It's not a thing... Roy never had bass parts to 'em, either. So, it'd be almost like writing new songs, like we showed him what to do, and him being like...
M: Well, we played those songs so many times, too. I mean, this new record now, it's songs I've played so many times, and it's almost like I'm already kinda tired of playing these songs. I want to write new songs, play new songs.
B: There're songs on the record we haven't played live yet.
M: Half that record we haven't played live, because we went and recorded the record in two different sessions; we recorded it over the span of two days and came back a month later, and recorded two more days. And what'd happened was that we had all of these new songs that we'd been working on, and by the time we hit the studio, we knew how to play them, but we weren't very comfortable. So, the month really helped out a lot, where we could come back and throw those on, as well, to make a whole record. 'Cause originally, how many songs were we thinking were gonna be on it?
M: And we called and we're like, "we think maybe eight might be on this." And he was like, "eight's not a good number."
R: "Eight's a bad number."
B: It's just not long enough, just not long enough.
I guess the songs're pretty short to begin with.
S: For an LP, he didn't want to put out eight songs for an LP. Apparently LPs don't sell that well.
Eight times three minutes is only twenty-four minutes.
M: Yeah, exactly. I think that one clocks in at, what, thirty-six?
M: Thirty-three, twenty-two...it's one of 'em. So, ah, that record was I think the most... We worked really hard on that record, and it was kind of frustrating at times, where's it just kind of [throws up hands]. "What the hell are you doing?"
B: It was frustrating when you couldn't get your shit down.
M: Yeah, I know, there were a couple of run-outs, and it was mostly me.
B: "Argh!" [pantomiming drumming] I think the word "mostly" is "all." "It's all me."
M: Brian's particularly impatient.
B: Now, I'm impatient after take twenty-four, when you fucking mess up.
R: What song was that? "Take It On The Teeth"?
M: Yeah; I just couldn't hit this one mark.
B: It's a dramatic change in the song, and he'd be like, "Fuck! Fuck!" It's the last part of the song. And even the sound engineer was like, "Look, dude, we can just take it from there. Click it off, and I'll fucking dub it, so I don't have to listen to this fucking song from A to B again."
M: Yeah, that's pretty true.
R: And then finally, Tim was like, "look, let's just go get something to eat." So we ate, came back, first take, [snaps fingers], and as soon as we came back, that was it.
M: That happens, though, whenever you've been recording for twelve hours straight.
After a while, you just can't do it anymore, period.
M: I mean, we played fourteen, sixteen...the first day we were there we played sixteen hours, and it just kind of accumulated. The whole thing took probably about, I dunno how many hours, but it was just from the morning 'til late at night when you're just lying on the floor -- "my brain is broken, 'cause I just can't handle it!"
B: That's why the song titles are that bad. "My brain is broken...we need to write the song titles." [laughter]
Are you guys touring?
M: Estrus is making us tour.
B: We were gonna talk about that after you leave, dude, about what we we're gonna do on tour.
M: We have to tour, now.
B: Well, we wanna tour; I don't want it to be perceived as "we have to."
You all have day jobs, don't you?
B: Well, I have a night job.
Well, regularjobs, at least?
S: Yeah. I think that's the big obstacle.
B: Shawn's just started a new job, too.
You guys are chefs, right?
B: Shawn's retired. Shawn traded in his knives for printers...and e-mail. [laughs] It's hard trying to build a career in it, 'cause you have to give your whole day to it, and they expect you to be on call, work six-day weeks, and... Yeah, it's really nuts; it's almost being like an intern for a hospital. If you're an exec chef or whatever, you're there four hours a day, and you're kinda like, "everybody down here cool? Alright, I'm upstairs," y'know? But for the grunt workers, who're working their ways up, it's like, "we have a party for twenty people on Monday," and this and that. It's really hard, but they're really supportive over there at my new job. I'm like, "look, we're gonna be in Austin this-and-that a day," and I was able to get a Saturday off to play a show in Austin, so they're a little better about it. [Mike and Roy] are both managers at Borders.
R: We sling books, and that's actually really difficult, both being managers, so...
B: It's gonna be really hard to say, "two of your managers are leaving."
S: There's a lot of factors going into this.
M: It's always been a big issue, because we've wanted to tour, and we've come really close to it.
B: Yeah, we almost did. We played a show in Albuquerque; we were planning on touring, and it ended up us playing one show in Albuquerque without Mike. That was our tour.
M: 'Cause my car blew up in the middle of the desert in Indio, California, on the way to Albuquerque. But that's a whole other story entirely.
B: Do you have our split-7" with Scared of Chaka?
No, I don't, actually.
M: Maximum Rock & Roll liked it quite a bit.
B: Did they?
R: Yeah, MRR liked it. MRR said that "the Guilloteens are everything Scared of Chaka wishes they could be." [laughter]
B: That's fucking insane. So, what issue is that?
R: I dunno. I didn't even see the cover, Bucky just showed it to me.
S: Is that all it said?
R: Well, that, and it said that we sound like a "Circus Lupus Richard Hell on a gameshow"...
B: Yeah, we're like Can. Or Faust.
M: The best part of being in this band is reading the reviews, 'cause we are never compared to the same person twice, and it's always the most outlandish.
B: And it's always, "art-band this..", and we're like "what?"
B: Yeah, we've been called "art band" before -- "a little jerky and arty for me."
M: Those're all garage enthusiasts that think we're supposed to be a garage band.
R: They think we're an art-rock band.
What are you guys supposed to be?
B: I don't know. Rock'n'roll. Just things that we think work.
S: "Songs that we like playing, and that other people like to listen to."
B: That's gonna make people call us art-rock...
M: I had talked to Brian before, and I think that the best bottom line for it, the reason we are a band, is that... Primarily, it's really hard to deal with the fact that people are getting away with what they're getting away with, and with what people decided to put time into, into being bands.
Is this the Fatal Flying Guilloteens Manifesto, here?
B: If it is, we've never heard it, so...
S: It's news to me. [laughs]
M: No, but I mean, it's true. I've talked about this before, and it's...and I get made of about all this, but that's fine, because, ah, I dunno.
R: He just wants to be quoted in an interview, is all.
M: This is why I always, whenever we do interviews, I'd always like to do it separately.
S: What're you talking about?
M: I've been up since eight this morning, so fuck you.
B: Well, let's qualify it -- "it was eight-ish." [laughter] Finish your thought, dude. I wanna hear what you're saying.
M: Whenever we first started doing this, it was very difficult to do, because we could play garage shows, and that'd be fine. But then, eventually, y'know, you don't necessarily want to be a "garage band," and then you're just kind of doing like the rock business. And at the time, hardcore was the big deal, and we would crash hardcore shows, and kids would just be like, "what is this?!" Which is kind of amusing, because now it's kind of turned where everyone turned into a rock band, which has nothing to do with us, but I mean... Whenever you're doing what we were doing four years ago -- which was nothing innovative at the time, don't get me wrong -- it was just difficult to do, especially in this city. Because eventually we kind of saw that we were...after the first record, we had figured out that there were kind of a "sound" that we were working with; y'know, it's like, "this sounds like a Guilloteens song." Because Lord knows that all of us have been in bands together that no one will ever hear of, because we never made it out of the practice space. And it was always because, "oh, that kinda sounds like a Guilloteens song." "Yeah, maybe we should save that," and then we'd end up writing like three Guilloteens songs. As much as you try to abandon the concept, it's always there.
You're drawn back to it.
M: I know it bothers Shawn, because Shawn actually plays guitar quite well, and y'know, he's just the voice, the frontman.
B: I think he's grown into it. Before, when we first started, he was like he didn't want to do it. 'Cause he didn't want to just be a singer, or whatever, but I think now you're really, you really like doing it.
S: Right. I think I've put myself more into getting stuff done, since this record's been put out; I really put a lot of energy into getting it out. As well as everyone else.
B: I haven't done shit. [laughs] I keep expecting for you to call me and be like, "I got the record!"
S: Well, we were; me and you were doing something about the record, or maybe it was me and Mike. I dunno, doesn't matter. It's just, yeah, I have kind of put more energy into doing it and accepted the role. But I'd like to...I know we're planning for this next show, I'm going to try to play guitar. We're just gonna do it on this one song. I'm kinda excited about that, and hopefully maybe that'll lead towards doing stuff like that, bringing in other things.
M: I'm kind of eager to see what people will think of this record, because it is kind of a departure from the three-minute clips off the records, for someone who's been unfortunate enough to follow each record. Every review I've ever read has been like, "I've never heard of these guys, and this is the first thing..." No one has ever been like, "so, I have all of their records." So, it just kind of happens that they hop in at this point, and they weren't released in sequential order, y'know. The last record was from an older recording that came out, 'cause this guy wanted it put out... So, I'm kind of interested to see the responses of people that we know have heard it that aren't necessarily our friends; it's been particularly positive. I'm kind of excited about it because after we finished it, I was talking to Roy, and I was just kind of like, I don't really know what sounds like this right now, or who would want to go in this direction. But I was kind of wondering if it's gonna pick up and people'll like it, or if people'll just be like, "ah, I'm gonna buy the new Tortoise, instead."
R: Because it's not rock, it's not hardcore, it's not math-rock. It's fucked-up. And it's beautiful. [laughter]
M: That's why we're called an art-rock band.
B: "It's fucked-up...and beautiful...I like to do Whip-Its to it."
R: It's a great coke record. [laughter]
M: We're trying to reach "Behind The Music" status.
B: Right, one of us has to bottom out.
M: "Brian McManus was doing lines out of the small of Roy Mata's back..."
B: No, a more likely story would be, "Brian McManus just gained too much weight. As Roy withered away, due to his coke habit. And Shawn bought yet another dog." [laughter]
The only other question I had that I was thinking about asking was "what're you guys going to do next?"
No, I mean, like, what're the grand plans for the Guilloteens on down the road?
R: Are there grand plans for the Guilloteens?
B: No, there's no plan.
M: It's all completely accidental, except for the record recording stuff.
B: Well, Mike said he's gonna move to San Francisco in September.
M: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
S: We're gonna be on a Judys comp.
R: David Beebe's putting out a twentieth-anniversary compilation.
Like, tribute bands, tribute songs?
M: Yeah, he picks the bands and issues them songs. And we got...what song?
S: "Man on the Ledge."
Don't know that one.
B: It's real dancey. [The Judys] are pretty good. Y'know, they played with the B-52s, at Jones Theater, the same place I saw the Power Team at.
What the hell is the Power Team? Oh, no -- that's not the Jesus wrestling guys, is it?
S: Yeah. They don't wrestle; they break things.
B: He'll break a Louisville Slugger or a plunger over his leg.
With the power of Jesus?
B: Right. The Holy Spirit's in his leg. [laughter]
That's a pretty guitar, by the way.
B: It's a cheap old one. I have to get cheap ones, 'cause they don't stay together too long, usually.
M: He had to get a new one after he lit his other one on fire. We went to Denton, to Rubber Gloves, 'cause this girl kept calling me, "oh my God, you have come out here, and blah, blah, blah, I've set up this show." So we finally went out there. We drove...to Denton from here it's like six hours? It was ridiculous. We get there, and Brian had been talking on the way out, 'cause his guitar had been completely fucking up.
B: It cut in and out of sound. It was just terrible.
M: There was a point where he was sitting there, looking at his guitar, and he's like, "I swear to God, if you fuck up, you're done. You're done, do you hear me?" And I was just like, "you should light it on fire." "That's a good idea."
Sometimes you just have to show the appliances where they stand.
B: Yeah, that's what I'm saying.
M: So we're at a drugstore, and I handed him the lighter fluid, and I was like, "just in case." "Badass!" So we played that show, and it opened with a guest Goth-horror band, it was like a fake Goth, like a Halloween band, and there was this other garage band. Anyway, we were just being silly. I had an eyepatch, and I was there with a girl, and she was wearing a pink wig, and they were like "who the fuck are these people?", when we were just walking about. Then we finally got to play. First song in, the guitar starts fucking up, so he makes it through the set... And then he tried to light his guitar on fire. For some reason, it took --
B: It took like an hour and a half. [laughter] I told Jeff that story, and he was like "you have to have heat to start." "What?" "Yeah, jackass. Lighter fluid has to be hot; you can't just light it cold." It took forever, but once it caught, it was the biggest fire ever.
M: And he was like fucking Hendrix. He starts spinning it around, we're actually on the floor, and some people were running, and he pissed off some girl.
B: A flaming part of the guitar almost touched her guitar case.
M: But the funniest part of that whole deal is whenever he smashed it, 'cause he smashed it, and there was just flaming bits everywhere, and we just walked out. And people like cooled 'em off, and were taking off with 'em. They were like fucking rats, and then it disappeared, it was gone. And they had the body of the guitar, which I gave to [Brian], 'cause it's all kinda charred, and I had to almost get into fisticuffs with the girl. She's like, "it's mine!", and I was like, "it's our fucking guitar!" Fucking little tramp...
You guys've gone down in Denton rock history.
M: We've never been asked back, amazingly enough, not that we'd ever go back.
B: The lady who asked us took a lot of pictures of us, I remember...
M: The Fort Worth Telegraph called me, and was like, "I heard you guys were coming in, we'd like to do an interview." And I was like, "you're with a newspaper?" He's like, "yeah!" I called him back two days later, and he was just all "I called you like a week ago, man!" "No, you called me two days ago." "Are you drunk, man, I called you like three weeks ago!"
R: It kept getting longer.
M: "You guys aren't even playing here anymore, that was a year ago!" "I'm hanging up now." He was such a total dick: "you guys have a press pack?" "No." "Do you guys have records, do you have CDs?" "No, we have records." click!
B: Fort Worth Telegraph?
M: It's a big paper out there. And that kind of thing is redeeming for whenever someone calls on the answering machine and my mother is hearing the fact that a newspaper is calling about the Fatal Flying Guilloteens. My mom is a lot like [Brian's] mom, in the fact that she's like, "You're wasting your life! Why do you spend so much time and energy?" And it's like, "look, these are postcards with our pictures on it, and they sent it to us for free!" "Oh, that's nice...you're wasting your life!" END