L.A. stooges the Bronx declare punk dead
Turn down major labels, stay DIY
Let's say you're in a band. Your band has only been in existence for a short while, even though you and your bandmates have been playing music for what seems like forever. You play two shows in your hometown of Los Angeles, and suddenly the record label bidding war begins.
It seems unlikely, right? Most bands struggle for years on the road before getting noticed by the labels, particularly by majors like Island Records. But this story is the true tale of L.A. rockers the Bronx, a band whose creation myth has had the music industry buzzing for the last year.
The Bronx, a foursome who formed in 2002, was offered countless signing deals after playing only two shows - a phenomenon that is largely unheard of. After refusing giant amounts of money from the majority of these labels, including Island, the Bronx opted to take a do-it-yourself approach and record their debut without label backing. With help from their friend Gilby Clark of Guns N' Roses, the band recorded their self-titled debut, and eventually accepted a record deal with indie label Ferret Music in May 2003. The album was released as a joint effort between Ferret and the Bronx's own label, White Drug Records, in August of that year.
Now the Bronx is on tour with screamo heavyweights the Used, as well as Head Automatica and the Bled. Guitarist Joby J. Ford took some time to explain his band's album, signing and penchant for underwater basket weaving in a rather sarcastic e-mail interview.
The Eagle: I read that you recorded your album in a live setting, how did that work and why did you decide to record that way?
Joby J. Ford: Every band makes the same record it seems. We just didn't want to do that. Music is boring enough as it is. Our next record will be recorded underwater.
Eagle: Why did you decide to only record three takes of each song? Are you concerned that makes for imperfect recordings?
Ford: No. We just rule.
Eagle: Are you happy with how the album turned out? What will you do differently on your next album?
Ford: Record it underwater. And only use instruments left over from rap metal's glory days. We like it. It sounds original. I think that to sound original these days is an accomplishment in itself.
Eagle: Why did you name yourself the Bronx?
Ford: Because we are from L.A.
Eagle: How does your hometown of L.A. influence you? Was that a difficult scene to be musically involved in?
Ford: It influences us immensely. Everything about L.A. is difficult. It's just like everywhere else.
Eagle: How did you guys meet and form the Bronx?
Ford: Been friends forever. Wrote a few songs. Made a few phone calls. Practiced a few times. Then took an underwater basket weaving class to form unity between members. Then showered.
Eagle: It's rare that a band gets signed after only playing a handful of shows, can you explain how you got signed and what it feels like to be signed that quickly?
Ford: We got signed just like everyone else. Flown to NY. Went to some dinners and some strip clubs. Did some drugs, drank some drinks, nodded our heads. It felt awesome to get signed quickly. I wish I could get signed everyday.
Eagle: Has anyone criticized you for not "paying your dues" in the industry before getting signed?
Ford: The music industry? Who fuckin' cares what those monkeys think? When I was in college I was an athlete. The people on my baseball team that were terrible and couldn't play worth a shit always talked about baseball as to appear talented. Just as a music journalist speaks of unnecessary information to appear informed. A cover up for sucking.
Eagle: What is one thing you think people should know about the Bronx that they probably don't already know?
Ford: We hate answering the same retarded questions about useless shit that has nothing to do with our music. But scenesters need to be informed about everything else about a band before they can like them. Let's face it. The most important thing about a band is which label they are on and their appearance.
Eagle: Do you consider the Bronx to be a punk band?
Ford: No. But I make an insane barbequed shrimp wrapped in bacon smothered with homemade marinade. Recipe to follow in another question.
Eagle: What does "punk" mean to you? Do you think it's become commercialized, and if so, does that bother you?
Ford: Punk hasn't existed for roughly 20 years. Any band that calls themselves punk has no grasp on reality.
Eagle: Are you excited to be on tour with the Used?
Ford: Sure. Excited to know that Used fans hate us. Which is a compliment.
The Bronx will be playing the 9:30 club on Wednesday, Nov. 10 with the Used, the Bled, Head Automatica and No Warning. The show is currently sold out, but if you go bang on the Bronx's tour bus and tell Joby J. Ford you like his style, there's always a possibility he will get you into the show. Just don't call him a punk.