|Cover by Jason Frederick|
From a town without mercy
Interview by Joey Germ
RW: Some of our readers may be unfamiliar with Federation X so let's clear a few of the particulars up, shall we? What is Federation X and who are it's members?
FX: It's just a band and our names all start with B. (Roadie included).
RW: When was the Federation Empire first established?
FX: 1998, unless you're talking some sort of nerdy George Lucas lore.
RW: What is the Molasses Manifesto? It puts out records does it not? Tapes, some records, shirts, etc. Started as sort of a collective thing. It remains so on the basis that no one has money to put out anybody else's records. It's do-it-yourself, as in no one is going to do anything for you. Is there a copy of this manifesto in a desk drawer somewhere that lay down the principles in writing.
RW: I'd like to read it.
FX: It's completely illegible.
RW: Bellingham, huh? That's damn near Canada ain't it? Were you dropped off there? Born there? Exiled to those parts?
FX: This could be a funny response, but I'll just tell you the pathetic truth: We wound up here do to school, etc., and got too stoned to leave. How did Federation X get signed to Estrus Records?
RW: I heard from somewhere that you practice next to the Estrus Headquarters and Dave Crider heard you practicing and so on and so on. You know you hear things floating in the ether . . . sometimes on the Internet...
FX: Actually, we started practicing on the Internet at inception. We were e-jamming in this "Rawk 'n' Total-BlowoutMotherfuckin' Chat Room" when Dave forwarded this hilarious mocked-up photo of a kitten. It's pretty much self explanatory from there.
RW: You've made a lot of claims, boys, any of 'em justified?
FX: Our names really do all start with the letter B.
RW: Charlie Jackie Freedom Pride, know 'im?
FX: He's from the Lummi Nation five miles north of B'ham. If you asked Bill, he'd say it was the Yakima Nation. Six years ago I might've said Nisqually. Washington State's reservations are a depressing yet intriguing reality here that most us latte-guzzling Northwesterners try to ignore. At least until Sherman Alexie makes it to Sundance.
RW: So you use bass amps, low gauge guitar strings--four of them per guitar--but no bass players. Bad experience?
- It was an accident.
- We're too bad to play the high strings.
- Beau and I have never played with a bass player.
- It's sloppy enough as is.
- It sounds fine without it.
- We hate other musicians.
- We're way too dorky to invite someone else in to our secluded little pendejo-ville.
- We have a bass player, his name is Dan Neighbors, he plays a seven string, invented the "Sienfeld Sound" in the mid eighties, is 6'6", forty-three years old, 300+ pounds and has jammed with Miles. (Take your pick.)
RW: What's a slice in the daily life a Bellingham three piece rock band?
FX: Me? Wonder how the hell I live without any money in this town. Thank God that I'm living in a town where you need no money. Find some beers and drugs. Bitch about how there's no good movies in this artless little town and about how we should all do more here to participate, then smoke some more weed and watch the Simpsons and miss the all-ages show cause I'm just pretty damn lazy. Then I go see the Reeks and Wrecks or the Narrows, look at the mountains, the Puget Sound, and all the evergreens, visit with all my old friends and then go play music with Bill and Beau in whatever little practice dump we find ourselves in.
RW: Day jobs?
FX: Manual labor, restaurants. We all have college degrees.
RW: Do you ride bicycles? Yes, mine was just fucking stolen.
RW: Please tell me you live in the house on the cover of American Folk Horror?
FX: Oh the places we rent . . .
RW: You at least carry shotguns around with you wherever you go, right?
FX: We ain't ignorant hicks, but Zorbatron has been seen at the Bellingham Public Library looking up gun permits on the Internet . . . repeatedly.
RW: What's a Bambooza, or more specifically, what's a Tonkified Bambooza and why does he have a rooster for a cat?
FX: 'Cause he had to eat the cat to get all tonkied out.
RW: How did Dirty Bill get so dirty?
FX: Listening to grunge records.
RW: What was for lunch today?
FX: Tuna on white.
RW: Whose the biggest Jerkpants you know and why?
FX: That dude that lives in Seattle with dyed black hair, white belt, and horn rimmed frames, tight black shirt and nice shoes-or does that guy live in Toronto? Brooklyn? Oh yeah, Phoenix!
RW: What's the next course of action for the Federation? Write better songs than before, record them, work out tons at the gym, then try to take 'em to battle with the Cherry Valence and Drunk Horse.
RW: Shout outs, plugs, put-downs, put-ons, lay 'em on the Reglar Wiglar, baby!
FX: The soon-to-be-released Cherry Valence (recorded by Tim Green) is top notch, and the best album I've heard in a tonkatime. Bellingham also brings you the motherfucking Cheeps! Justin Narrows and I are recording their full length this month in the same basement studio that produced the amazing Six-Ten by the Narrows.
RW: Then that's it then ...