In keeping with the Rooftop Vigilantes' aesthetic, we tried to keep our interview with band members Zach and Oscar short and raw and ragged, but it still ended up being longer than most of their albums and more polished than their live performances, with no injuries involved. The Vigilantes Weird Adventure EP arrives in May and their third LP, Let It Be, is coming soon too (do they know that both the Beatles and the 'Mats beat them to that title?). They've got a huge show this Friday at the Tap Room with Mouthbreathers and Dry Bonnet (surely the most incestuous overlapping band-member show of the year!).
Listen to the Vigilantes new single "Movie Music for Assholes" via a recent Pitch piece here and enjoy the interview!
Richard: I’ve always liked the name Rooftop Vigilantes. What’s the origin story?
Zach: We needed a name for the band, but we're all terrible at band names. I mean, come on, Oscar's old band "A Girl Is The Ghost" How emo is that? So we called some friend of Seth's in Iowa, and said he had three chances to give us a band name. He is also apparently not so hot at naming bands because the first two he gave us were so bad I can't even remember them. The last he gave was Rooftop Vigilantes, and we've been stuck with it ever since.
Oscar: Sure, Zach got the name of my old band wrong, but he really fucked up by opening the can of worms that is his ska-infested high school music career. Unfortunately I took a bunch of acid in the Grand Canyon yesterday so I can't really remember the really funny ones. Citrus Kill was the one that got the gym teachers all hot and bothered I think. Maggot Rash is the one I'm pretty sure never existed. Whoever gets us the most wasted at the show (and whoever develops the metric by which this can be tested) is welcome to give us a new band name, as long as its worse.
Richard: Can you describe the band’s sound using one of those “we sound like _______ meets _________” comparisons that music critics love so well and ideally filling in the blanks with obscure bands that most of our readers have never heard of.
Zach: Slade meets Status Quo.
Oscar: The more honest answer is probably the Muppet Babies Star Wars Episode meets Thee Strapping Fieldhands and they don't get on at all
Chip: On record, I like your lyrics. But at your shows I can never hear a single fucking one of them. Is this a problem, or is the live show just a whole different beast (a very, very loud beast)?
Zach: Maybe you're just not paying attention? haha. Well, if you think about it, it's totally different!! Imagine putting on our record at a very crowded party. How audible would it be then?
Oscar: Only 40 percent of our songs have lyrics anyway, in the traditional sense. Usually we trawl the top 40 for the most popular vowel sounds in the country and then deploy them haphazardly, knowing that the hubris of bloggers will ensure that they consider their interpretations both clever and correct. Such sophomoric games are behind us as we approach the release of what all music guides tells us must be our mature and tentatively-stodgy 3rd LP, of course, so expect a full lyric sheet in Esperanto for Let it Be.
Richard: We dig the new single “Movie Music for Assholes.” Tell us about that title, and also give us an idea of what else we can expect from the album.
Zach: That title came from an ill fated Bandit Teeth tour. I wrote it basically right when we got back from that tour, so it's been floating around for awhile. We just got around to recording it. The EP Weird Adventure is 4 songs that we really really liked but didn't seem to fit the flow of Let It Be (the new LP we are still currently trying to make sense of). So the EP itself is slightly schizophrenic. It goes anywhere from shredding guitar solos, to drunken country songs sang through a broken amp. So in other words it was a lot of fun to record. Ask our livers, they loved the process.
Oscar: Let it Be is the double album we were too lazy to actually make. It rules pretty hard and mostly pulls off every 3rd album trope we could think of. My biggest aspiration for the record is that it enables us to reach a level where we can actually talk to some of our musical heroes, or at least their copyright lawyers.
Chip: I like to believe that Rooftop Vigilantes' gigs tend to be followed by completely debauched parties where you guys fill a hot tub with a mix of PBR and Hamm’s and bang your way through most of LFK’s scenester chicks. How right am I? And I want details.
Zach: Well...... there are a couple of holes in this scenario.
1. None of us own a hot tub
2. We would rather just drink the beer
Oscar: Zach's being coy. While I've never known it to be hot, there is a filthy bathtub adjacent to the 'Placement (our underground afterparty lair) that gets filled with ice and beers which we consume while talking about how we're totally gonna make out with all the hot scenester girls when they show up at the party (they never do; they're all dating blog contributors).
[At this point, Oscar adjourns to go play a gig somewhere, perhaps at Studio B in No Law over by the Burger King].
Richard: You guys have certainly played some drunken shows for drunken fans. Tell us about one of your most memorable gigs.
Zach: The one that Oscar knocked me out cold from throwing his guitar at my head. Maybe the one where I sent Seth to the emergency room from hitting him with my bass? Well, I guess I prefer the shows that go well as compared to the ones that we have derailed. From what I remember though, both of those shows were a lot of fun until one of us got hurt. Our shows from tours for the most part were great and hilarious too. I don't want to go there though. That would take forever to explain all of them.
Chip: Your song titles always make me giggle with titles like the aforementioned “Movie Music for Assholes” as well as stuff like “Love Garden Hold Policy” and “Desperately Seeking High School On Ramp." But at the same time I sort of miss the days when you just named songs after your band members such as “Charley Want Mario Chalmers,” “Zach Want Glove,” “Oscar Want 7’, and “Hanna Give Haircut.” Can you talk a bit about the process of naming songs?
Zach: I'm not sure we have one. It's just whatever sounds cool, or stupid. Mainly stupid I suppose. Worst thing anyone can do is take themselves too seriously.
Richard: Besides permanent ear damage, what else can our readers expect from the May 4 Tap Room show with Mouthbreathers and Dry Bonnet and what else is on the horizon for the Vigilantes in 2012?
Zach: The show is going to be a blast! I love playing with Mouthbreathers and Rooftop. Seth's band Dry Bonnet is one of my favorite bands in town. Dry Bonnet has a new EP out, so you should pick it up. Mouthbreathers has an LP coming out this fall, and we're recording a single for Replay Records!! Rooftop has "Weird Adventure" coming out at the end of the month. We also have another EP called "Party Animal" coming out soon. We're finishing up the "Let It Be" LP. We're recording 2 songs for a split with Mannequin Men for ReplayRecords. Also, when we can I want to get started on the writing process for the next LP "Even Babes Get Old". We're busy for as lazy as we are.
We like this image from their Scion Garage Fest interview. They look so...professional! Watch the Garage Fest interview here .