H20 Do you feel like that’s the ideal length for an H20 record? Adam: “I think so. It’s the same with the live show, you know like. Maybe if you’re like The Grateful Dead or Phish you can play for four hours. H20, we’ve got 60 hard-felt, hard-fought minutes, you know what I mean.” Toby: “If you think back to our other releases, we had so much filler on there.” Adam: “We had two songs off ’Nothing To Prove’ that never got played live. On this record, so far we don’t know but the goal is to eventually - apart from maybe ‘Still Dreaming’ which is a little weird for us - probably play everything live at some point.” Toby: “I feel like looking back on the Epitaph records, we had so many extra songs on there. People love those records but for me, 18 songs is a lot of songs.”
You’re mates with the actor Michael Rappaport, who was in the film ‘True Romance’, written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott. What does he think of your ‘True Romance’ song? Adam: “Mainly this guy here. We all love Mike.” Toby: “Yeah, that’s my boy. Good friend of mine. He loves the song. He also breaks my balls a lot because me and my wife are completely obsessed with that movie. He calls me out on his podcast about how sometimes me and my wife think we’re Alabama and Clarence and he’s really Dick Ritchie. He loves the band. When I first met Mike he’d never heard punk or hardcore, he was a hip hop New York dude, so I brought him to a Bad Brains show and played him other stuff. It’s not his cup of tea but he likes H20. I met Mike maybe eight or nine years ago. We met each other jaywalking. We both got jaywalking tickets in Los Angeles. We’re both East Coasters and I heard a commotion and he was yelling at the cops, it was crazy. Then I started seeing him at clubs and we started going to the same skate ramps with our kids and started hanging out. Two dads hanging out. He’s a great dude.”
While on the surface ‘True Romance’ seems like a song about Toby and his wife’s relationship, it could also be interpreted as a love letter to Toby’s bandmates. That wasn’t the inspiration for the song though.
home-grown bands, you know what I mean. It seems that for a scene to sustain itself, it can’t sustain itself on national and international bands coming through, you have to have a local grassroots thing. In Europe, there seems to be a lot of that. A lot of local bands, kids are really passionate about it. In the States in certain cities - like I say, Richmond is really good for that, Long Island is great for that. They have a home-grown scene and it brings in new kids but then some places, where no one started bands, no one really did anything, it dies out. But it ebbs and flows too, it picks back up again. But Europe seems to consistently to be, for all the bands we’re peers with, seems to be the place, you know.” Todd: “I think in America you’re oversaturated too, you know. There are so many tours, so many shows, everywhere you go. Kids have so many more choices. Over here, kids don’t get to see bands as much as they can. Maybe they appreciate it more here. I don’t know.”
You’ve had long gaps between your albums since your MCA release ‘Go’. Are you planning on releasing material more frequently or do you feel the current rate has suited you well? Adam: “It all depends. We won’t just make a record just for careerist purposes. When we feel like let’s make a record or something cool is going to happen, then we’ll make a record. Or not.” Toby: “I think we’re going to go some places we haven’t been yet on this record. We’ve finished 20 years, now 21 years, released a couple of videos, and just focus on that.” Adam: “See what happens.” Toby: “We did it because we were inspired and we were sick of playing the old songs and now we’ve got new songs that we can play. I’m really happy that it connected and people waited that long once again and the reactions has been really PIC BY TODD POLLOCK
positive, which makes me really happy.” Adam: “Joe Strummer said ‘the future is unwritten’. He could have been talking about us. The future is unwritten so who knows?”
What were you doing in the years between the albums? Toby: “Playing.” Adam: “I mean we all have lives at home but band-wise, playing, touring, constantly.” Toby: “Even in that hiatus between ‘Go’ and ‘Nothing To Prove’ we toured a lot. We just didn’t put out new music, you know what I mean. We were out there. We never stopped touring.” Adam: “We might be slow workers in the studio but we’re fast workers on tour, you know. We were out a lot. We were constantly on tour for years.” Toby: “Somebody said we toured so much, they didn’t know how we had the time to make that record because we did tour so much. We were actually touring around making the record, going to Nashville and doing the vocals and then going back on tour.” Adam: “So we’ve been busy, you know.” Toby: “I’m so happy we did other records after ‘Go’. I’m so happy.” ‘USE YOUR VOICE’ IS OUT NOW ON BRIDGE 9 H2O PLAY DOWN FOR LIFE’S PINS & PIN-UPS BOWLING ON OCTOBER 9TH.
Toby: “No it isn’t. People thinking that shit? It could be a love letter to my band, a love letter to my wife, to relationships, yeah. More than four times people have asked about what the thing was. Someone asked me if it was a love letter to music. It could be anything. I mean I know what it was meant to be but interpret it how you please. ‘No one believed in us’.” Adam: “You’d have to change the lyric to ‘21 years’ [from ‘20 years’].” Toby: “It’s true. ‘No one believed in us/As we did each other’.”
You’ve said that you’re more successful when you tour in Europe than when you tour in the US. What do you attribute that to? Adam: “Yeah, for sure. One thing I’ve noticed and you’ll notice it in cities - in the United States, you’ll see this too it in certain cities. Richmond, Virginia is a great example of where they have
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