Articles - Interviews - "We Need to Get Some Tri-Chloralmethylene Before the Shows - The A Frames"

It was a cool spring evening in mid May of 2003 when I went down to see the A Frames’ first show in NYC. These guys bombarded the house with angular art-punked rock n roll that shows innovation and repetition can walk hand and hand. I had a chance to sit down with them in their van to talk about how the revenge of the nerds all began.
 
BG – Okay, A Frames, who plays what instrument in the band?
 
LARS – Erin plays them all, and he teaches us our part; and that is a 100% true.
 
MIN – Well, Lars plays drums and I play bass.
 
BG – So when did you guys form the band?
 
MIN – Like ’99… Well we were playing together since ’98, but we were called Bend Sinister and we decided to scrap that band and start A Frames.
 
BG – And the name “A-Frame,” is that an architectural reference?
 
ALL – Yeah.
 
LARS – On our last tour we did a tour as Bend Sinister me and Erin were driving along, up the coast, and we looked over to the right and there was this a-framed house that had tons of bikes leaning against it and it looked really horrific with such a picturesque setting that we laughed and wrote it down in our little book of jokes, and then changed our name to that.
 
BG – Yeah, the only a-framed house I’ve ever seen is in the mountains of Vermont, by this lake I vacation at.
 
LARS – Yeah, we’d rent those for skiing and shit in California.
 
ERIN – They’re simple fuckin’ archetecure.
 
MIN – Just like our songs!
 
ERIN – Although we had no idea it was going to make such a strong connection when we started out.
 
BG – Hmm…okay, so yr from Seattle, right?
 
MIN – Well, none of us are originally from Seattle, but…
 
LARS – We got our ten year membership.
 
BG – And, I have to ask, how is the grunge scene going on out there nowadays?
 
MIN – It’s strong.
 
LARS – There’s a band called “Grunge” that’s a grunge cover band out there that fuckin’ rakes in the bucks too.
 
BG – Do you see a lot of Pearl Jam shirts or Motherlovebone?
 
MIN – Every once in a while you’ll see a dude that looks like he just woke up from ten years ago. (LOL)
 
BG – A relic.
 
LARS – You don’t see as many longjohns and shorts, that’s for sure. That fuckin’ look died, thank god…
 
BG – Is there a strong punk scene over there?
 
LARS – It’s getting better.
 
BG – Now didn’t that one record shop close…what’s the name of it?
 
ERIN – Oh, Fall-Out…
 
MIN – Plus the economy sucked.
 
LARS – He was rad because he wouldn’t sell, like Modest Mouse, or any of the crap, like all he had was, like 180 gram, fuckin’ $20 jazz records, and reissues, and just great shit.
 
MIN – And just local independent stuff.
 
LARS – He was just super picky and could stand behind almost any record in that store. And we all got laid off from the internet jobs and that store folded.
 
BG – Yeah, you know the lyrics on yr songs, I like to call yr music “scientist punk,” are you guys college grads who work in some sort of pharmacutical companys, or anything like that?
 
MIN – No…we like Revenge of the Nerds a lot. If you haven’t seen that movie, yeah, do it.
 
BG – My favorite part of that movie is Takashi on the tricycle…(Lars starts singing in Japanese to Takashi’s theme)…That is the highlight of that movie.
 
MIN -  So we need to get some tri-chloralmethylene for Lars before the shows. (LOL)
 
LARS – You fuckin’ nerd!

BG – Okay…so is there a progressive sound you guys have with the A Frames opposed to Bend Sinister, or did you want to do something totally different?
 
ERIN – There was some evolution, but there wasn’t anything drastic.
 
LARS – Yeah, I think, if you like the A Frames, you’d like that stuff too. It was two guitars and a whole bunch of stuff and we just watched Erin leaving the parts out that didn’t need to be there until it was nothing.
 
MIN – We just stripped it down further, I guess.
 
BG – Is there any records with Bend Sinister, or is it all just demos?
 
ERIN – There’s a 7”.
 
MIN – We did two 7”s and some demo cassettes.
 
BG – Cool. Is this yr first tour?
 
ALL – No.
 
LARS – We’ve done the west coast a few times. This is the first one on the east coast, so…we went out to the Midwest and Chicago…
 
BG – It’s going well?
 
LARS – Yeah, it’s going fucking amazing.
 
BG – We’re at yr second show in New York tonight, did you enjoy last night’s show in Manhattan?
 
LARS – Fuckin’ A, man.
 
MIN – It was good. This is our first tour were we haven’t had to spend any of our own money yet. We’ve been able to make money for gas and food out of shows and records, instead of our debit cards.
 
BG – And have the people been hooking you up with places to stay?
 
ERIN – Yeah, we always have a place to stay, at whatever house; met some cool people.
 
BG – Any great bands you’ve been playing on tour with?
 
ERIN – Life Partners are probably my favorite so far.
 
MIN – They’re from Boston. They reminded us of, like, the East Coast Piranhas, but the don’t even know who the Piranhas are,
 
ERIN – And they wear costumes.
 
MIN – They were kinda just chaos.
 
LARS – Who else did we play with, the Clone Defects were rad.
 
BG – So who in the band has a side-project?
 
LARS – Uh, well we have a band called the Dipers that’s coming out soon, that’s me and Erin and Dean from Double Fudge (who also just quit the Intelligence). And then Min is going to play bass in the Intelligence again, until Erin gets back, and he’s gonna play bass again.
 
BG – Okay, so to recap, how many bands are you guys in?
 
MIN – I’m in one, Lars is in three, and Erin’s in two.
 
BG – Are you guys holding together the Seattle scene?
 
ERIN – We’re trying to keep it from moving, yeah. (LOL)
 
ERIN – Fuckin’ stranglehold that shit, motherfucker.
 
BG – Okay, you have some records out, two full-lengths, and two 7”s, right?
 
ERIN – Yeah, we have three more 7”s coming out soon.
 
BG – And who’s releasing them?
 
MIN – Wait, I know Royal, but who're the other two?
 
ERIN – Royal, S-S, and Omnibus.
(Random guy enters the van with A Frames records to be signed w/ A Frames art)
 
MIN – Now we have an art project assignment.
 
BG – Do you guys sign autographs often?
 
MIN – No, this is the first time.
 
BG – So what happen with this first album, sold out? How many copies did you press?
 
ERIN – 500. It took, like, three years to finish those covers. (LOL)
 
BG – Was it hand-maded?
 
LARS – Well, we had to fold ‘em and glue these fuckers, and that’s why this cover (pointing to the signed A Frames LP) looks like this, cause we were like, “Fuck that!”
 
MIN – The guy we had do it, took forever just to print them, so we realized at that pace we were never gonna get ‘em, so we had him deliver just the printed stuff all huge and flat and we would just spend a couple hours ever week just trying to fold ‘em and stuff, and we realized, “Fuck this cutting and gluing,” cause that took a long time too…
 
LARS – Yeah, when Min would call me up and ask if I wanted to make record covers we’d end up just smoking and drinking all night.
 
MIN – Oh yeah, if there’s anyone out there who has those original vinyl jackets, there’s some that we wrote stupid messages on the inside of the cover.
 
BG – The ones that are glued?
 
MIN – Well, they might be glued, they might not. You might have to destroy your album to read it.
 
LARS – But there’s really important, secret shit written in there. (LOL)
 
BG – Trash Talkin’!? (Random guy #2 AKA the guitar player from the Country Teasers stops in to give the A Frames a “package”) Okay, where were we with this interview…okay, so yr not repressing the vinyl on that first album, right?
 
MIN – No.
 
BG – But it is on CD now on Dragnet?
 
MIN – Yeah, and S-S.
 
BG – And the new record, a little bit of a departure from the last album. A little less rockin’ and a little more introspective…whatta ya think?
 
MIN – Yeah, I agree.
 
BG – Is that how it played out, out is that the direction you wanted to move?
 
ERIN – It’s just how it played out.
 
MIN - It was not a conscious decision. There are no conscious decisions.
 
BG – Have you heard good responses to the new album?
 
MIN – Yeah. We heard that Larry Hardy didn’t like it.
 
LARS – Which is a compliment comin’ from that dude.
 
MIN – Yeah, I…yeah, no comment.
 
BG – You put both albums out on 180 grams, right? Is there a reason you go with the higher grade?
 
ERIN – It just sounds really good. The guitar experience just sounds better.
 
LARS – Well, it just feels so good to pull a heavy record out, like those thick-ass 7”s, and go, “Fuck! This is gonna be good.”
 
BG – Alright, what about Europe? Have you thought about touring over there any time soon?
 
ERIN – No, not ‘til we could have a really good tour there. I'd be fun…
 
BG – Well, I guess that’s all the questions I have here with me. What’s the A Frames' plans for the future? More touring?
 
LARS – To play the Blackout every year.
 
ERIN – We’re gonna take some time off…then hit it in September and, hopefully, record the next record in October.
 
BG – For a full-length?
 
ERIN – Yeah, another full-length. But there’ll be three 7”s before then…
 
BG – Any last words?
 
LARS – Just fuckin’ thanks to all the awesome towns like Chicago and Detroit, and New York, and all the awesome people that have stayed up with us all fuckin’ night.
 
ERIN – It’s been cool.
 
For more information about the A Frames please go to: www.dragnetrecords.com
 
Interview and pictures by Joe Domino.

 
 
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