I did this interview along with my buddy Markos, from Through The Eyes of The Underdog Blog, a couple of hours before the first No Use For A Name greek show, that took place on Sunday, 15th February 2009, in Athens.
We had a great friendly conversation with Tony Sly, vocalist/guitarist of NUFAN since the beginning of the band. Tony was kind enough to share with us his thoughts about NUFAN new album, the Californian scene and even Barack Obama!
Enjoy the interview!
We would like to ask some questions about you and the band, the new album and the Californian punk rock scene in general.
Let’s start from the last one.
Is it true that the Californian punk rock scene has gone through a crisis lately? I mean it’s been a while since we last listened to a good album. For example, your latest one, the last Lagwagon and Pennywise albums are some good ones after a long time. Is there any crisis that the scene is going through?
But this is what the scene is all about, isn’t it?
Yes but they don’t get to experience all that ‘cause when you’re a teenager and have a punk band you’re not looking for Fat Wreck or Epitaph but you’re looking for Sony and above and so your first tour is on a big giant bus. It’s not the same as it was when we were kids.
We see… What we really liked was the communication with Fat Wreck; it was really easy. All we were asking for were some promo records and the company asked “What about an interview, too…”!
Yes that’s the way they are (the company), they suggested it that way because they want the press ‘cause it’s an independent label, they don’t have all this money behind them so they want this.
Let’s get to the music. Personally, maybe because I’m most into hardcore, I do prefer the old NUFAN albums like the first three of them. Of course the rest are really above mediocre, but they just have some melodic stuff and they are slowed down a bit.What is it that changed the sound from the straightforward punk rock to this?
Well I don’t know it’s just a musical preference and there’s no real explanation. Maybe because, since I write the songs, I feel mostly responsible for the change of the sound.
No, no, no (laughing), I’ m not saying I’m responsible for a disaster; I’m just responsible for the band’s progress. I didn’t set out to do anything like “now we going to change everything this way, this way or this way”. It’s just influence creep and melody creep that comes in and the 90s when more and more melodic things started coming into my life. And as you get older, anger becomes less a part of your life and you start fighting so there’s more pain in melody. And as you said if you listen to the first three albums they’re really adolescent and immature and things get better as you get older because you learn more.
You get more emotional, I see... Is it due to raising a family? For example having a child & stuff…
Yes. I mean having kids changes your life completely not just because of the obvious like changing diapers and stuff. It changes your life as in the outlook on life you have, because you realize that people that come in this world are born, grow up and the way that they’re formed defines what they become. For example they become part of a society and that society can make or break the world.
Would it be foolish to ask you which is your favorite NUFAN album?
You wont get away that easily (laughing)!
Alright! Let’s have some discuss about the new album. I like the production a lot. Do you have any hints for a good production?
Bill Stevenson was our producer and he keeps all that kind of stuff secret so I don’t even know what he does. He sets up the amps just like this and says “Does that guitar sound familiar to you? It sounds like the Rise Against album”. And I’m like “That’s exactly the guitar tone I wanted”. And there were like 6 different amps.
Do you like Rise Against?
Yeah. They’re my friends and they’re a good band and they’re very big now. They’re famous all over the world.
Then why don’t you take them and come here to play together for once?!!!
THEY have to take us (laughs)!
I personally liked the new album really very much just because it is just NUFAN! I mean that it combines the straightforward So-Cal punk-rock and the more emotional route you followed later on. What are your thoughts upon the new album?
There were some thoughts on that yes. I mean I really like specially the first song “The Biggest Lie”. The riff is a bit reminiscent like “Justified Black Eye”. I knew that but I had that riff so I started writing the song and I thought it was a nice melody. At first I thought I did something just for the sake of doing it but in the end I thought that it is a good song.
It HAD to be the first song in the album.
Yeah! That’s what I thought.
Some songs in the middle of the album (“Sleeping between trucks”, “Domino”, “The trumpet player”) provide a brief interval of slow songs and a song of them is an acoustic one. Was that on purpose?
It was the hardest record I ever had to sequence. At first we had all the slow songs at the end of the album and I was like “Well no cause it’s like its goes boom”. So we had to put “Sleeping between trucks” like fifth to space it out evenly, you know. It was hard to do.
Let’s get to the lyrics in this new album? What’s the concept? All songs are written by you, right? You cover issues like human relations with a dose of sarcasm sometimes or something more?
Well on this album I have put some everyday thoughts that many times may mean nothing to someone who listens to the song while it means a lot to me. Many times though I listen to my lyrics too after some time and say think “What was I thinking”?
I would like to know your opinion upon the new election of Barack Obama.
Well I think it’s a really big deal for us because George Bush is such an idiot and it took 8 years of George Bush, you know, so anybody that comes in is good. But the most important thing is that you know America tends to have a very racist history and a very sexist history and we are ready to vote in a woman (Hilary Clinton)- if she won she’d probably be a president- and Barack Obama, an African-American. But right now he says “We’re gonna fix this, we’re gonna fix that” and he’s all talk cause it’s what he has to do in order to win the election but I think that if there’s somebody, it’s him. I think John McCain is too much like George Bush. So I’m happy that Obama’s a president.
Last words are yours.
I’m happy to be in Greece, I’m happy to be here for the first time, you know our original bass player was Greek, his name was Stavros, it’s too bad he couldn’t be here ‘cause he’d love it. Thanks!
Photos taken from: