Jason Black – a man of very few words.
Just before the gig at the lovely Leeds Irish Centre, situated in the middle of fucking no-where, we got to have a wicked cool chin-wag with How Water Music bass player Jason Black. We asked him about touring, Against Me! and, Ian’s new best friend, George Rebelo.
Ian Critchley: First of all, how’s it going?
Jason Black: Good, well.
IC: Is the tour going good so far?
IC: Is it good to be back in the U.K?
JB: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a long time. So we’re happy we could over here, we’ve been trying the last couple of times we came over to the mainland, but it just didn’t happen so it’s nice we could fit it in. For sure.
IC: Is there anything happening with the Draft?
IC: So that’s all done and dusted?
IC: We spoke to George on the Against Me! tour, and he told us to say hi to you.
IC: Are you totally pissed off that he sold you guys out for AM?
JB: No, because we’ve all been doing other stuff for longer than he has, so it’s kinda like, you know.
IC: That’s actually one of our other questions, what are you doing at the moment, other than HWM?
JB: Oh, I play in this other band called Senses Fail.
IC: Oh! Do you play is Senses Fail?
IC: Aww, no way, I never knew that! I read an article saying that you and George came up with the original style for HWM?
JB: Err, not really, I think it’s different for every song. It’s a pretty organic process, it just kinda depends on the song really. It could start anywhere or end up end where, it just depends on a whole number of things really. Kinda whoever has a good idea, we just take it and run with it.
Anthony Barlow: Speaking of song writing, how do you write the lyrics? Is it collectively?
JB: Nah, Chris and Chuck just handle that. I mean, they work together on stuff to make sure that it makes sense for both of them but I kinda leave that to them.
AB: Do you consider this a full HWM reunion or are you focussing on other projects more?
JB: Both ya know? I think everyone’s gonna keep doing as much other stuff as possible, but we’re gonna keep doing this too, so as much as we can. It’s complicated to get everyone’s schedules worked out but the more we’re doing, it’s starting to get a bit easier. I think we’re making a little bit of headway in figuring out how to do a few more things in the future hopefully.
IC: Are we going to have a new HWM record soon?
JB: Yeah for sure.
IC: Is there any material so far?
JB: There’s a little bit. Nothing that’s very far a long.
IC: So there’s nothing being played tonight?
JB: Oh no, no, no, no. No way. No way. We just really, in the past couple of months, decided we were going to make that happen and now were just in the stages of trying to figure out how to schedule that with everyone too.
AB: You’re playing the Irish Centre, but you were originally playing a different venue in Leeds, why was the venue changed?
JB: I think for size. We needed a bigger place I guess.
IC: How come there isn’t a Manchester date?
JB: We only had time for, originally three shows, then we added the Portsmouth gig on at the end because we were going back down into Europe.
IC: We spoke to Chuck last time, when he was on the tour with Frank Turner, and he said about a collaboration album with Brain Fallon from the Gaslight Anthem, how come you guys didn’t tour together, seeing as your tour schedules are pretty similar?
JB: We just kinda wanted to do our own shows, because we haven’t been over here yet. I think going out with other bands is something we’ll do more off when we get a new record out. Because right now, we’re not promoting anything new, we just kind of playing shows for the people who want songs.
AB: It just came out of the fact that, Chuck said he wanted to do a tour with Brian to promote their thing and then, when we found out you two were touring.
JB: We saw a couple of guys at the show in London, we’ve run into them a bunch of times so far.
AB: Frank was at the show last night wasn’t he?
AB: Thought so.
IC: Has George officially left?
JB: No, no. He’s still 100% in the band.
IC: Is it the drummer out of Lagwagon whose playing with you?
JB: Yeah. Dave’s playing with us, he has been doing as far as we have it planned now, because Lagwagon doesn’t tour a whole awful lot.
IC: I think the last time they did a U.K tour was about four years ago.
JB: Yeah. I know they’re coming back over in July, but I don’t know if they’re coming up here or not. So he’s in a bunch of bands that don’t tour a ton, so it works out. So far it’s worked out well to where he’ll be able to do what George can’t do for the time.
IC: Is he better than George on drums?
JB: They’re both good. They’re both awesome and they’re both different so it’s been cool to play with a different drummer and I mean he’s definitely doing an awesome job and killing it. Everyone whose seen the show has said it’s totally awesome, no ones said that’s been weird or feels different.
IC: Leatherface (though I actually said Leatherhead like a fucking moron) are kinda like a major influence, is that the main influence for Hot Water Music?
JB: No, I think, we came into even a few years after we started the band. I mean, everyone listens to drastically different stuff. I think the whole kind of deal with our sound is that everyone’s coming from pretty different worlds, as far as our “go to” stuff is to listen to.
AB: A lot of bands say that Hot Water Music are an influence, how does that feel?
JB: It’s cool!
IC: There’s a band from near us that must be about 10, 20 years older than you but are totally influence by you. They’re called the Great St. Louis. Does it now feel weird influencing people older than you?
JB: Yeah, that’s a first I think!
AB: A lot of people say that your version of Radio is better than the Alkaline Trio version?
JB: I don’t know about that. I think their version is pretty good.
IC: Why was Till The Wheels Fall Off released on No idea and not Epitaph?
JB: We’re out of contract with Epitaph and we’d put most of that stuff out on No Idea over the course of the years so it was easier to kinda throw it together.
IC: Who does the artwork for Hot Water Music?
JB: Our friend Scott Sinclairs done all of them.
IC: Even on The New What Next because that’s kind of a different style
JB: Yeah, it’s the same guy though.
IC: Is he a just a friend of yours, is that how it came about?
JB: Yeah, we’ve known him for for a long time and he’s a super killer artist so it’s works out really well.
IC: Finally, we’ve got kind of like, a joke question.
IC: We ask everyone.
AB: It kind of ties in with what’s going on actually.
IC: If Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and shark had a fight, who would win?
JB: I think I’m gonna have to go with Rollins on that one.
JB: He’s straight edge! He’s definitely got the edge on everyone else.
AB: Is this some kind of Hot Water Music backlash on Chuck? You and George both said Rollins!
IC: This is mutiny!
JB: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s be a nasty fight, but I’m gonna to go with Rollins on that.
AB: You all secretly hate Chuck is what it is.
IC: We’ve got two readers questions as well and then we’re done, a guy called Ralph said, what do you feel about Georges drumming on the new Against Me! record? Do you like it?
JB: I think it works really well with the songs. If he played that for us, I’d kill him! Like dude, spice it up a little bit! But I think that’s the nature of their band. It sounds great and it works really well with the songs and I know he worked really hard on it. I think they made a really good record and I’m stoked for him!
IC: A guy called Dan asks, are you playing any covers tonight?
JB: I don’t know. I haven’t seen the setlist yet, we do a little bit different every night.
IC: Well thank you very much!
JB: Yeah yeah! No problem!