Interview with Against Me!: Without Comprimise

Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Some stretches, a few push-ups and sit-ups.

How many push-ups can you do?

I’m gonna sound like an asshole if I answer that question. I don’t know, like a thousand. No I’ll do like 100 push- ups before a show to get warmed up.

Do your fans realize how ripped you are?

I’m not ripped. I’m scrawny. I can just, you know, do a couple push-ups.

What’s been the worst injury one of you has sustained during a show?

You’re setting us up for serious injury here. I’m gonna go ahead and knock on wood. There’s been a fair share of blistered, bleeding fingers, getting smashed in the face with microphones, but thankfully up to this point, there’s been no major injuries.

This one time we were playing a show in Seattle and I had done an overnight drive from Idaho. I drank probably three or four Red Bulls on the drive so by the time we got there I was just so wired I couldn’t go to sleep before the show and just kept drinking Red Bull. During the show I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe.

Immediately after the show I was rushed to the emergency room and the doctor’s like, ‘Have you had any alcohol this evening? Have you smoked any pot? Have you taken any cocaine?’ I was like, ‘No,’ and he was like, ‘Well have you had any caffeine?’ ‘I drank like seven or eight Red Bulls.’ I haven’t had a Red Bull since.

Is there a message on New Wave that’s the most important to you?

Not necessarily. I think that we weren’t going for a specific message. Each song individually is supposed to have a message and its own thing that it’s trying to say. As a whole I really wanted the record to be a snapshot in time of the world today and of American life today.

Is it okay if they just think ‘cool song’ instead of taking a message away from it?

It depends. I think sometimes when you listen to music even if you aren’t paying attention to the lyrics you get something really positive out of it. It puts you in a good mood and that empowers you in your own life, and it does good things for you.

So, maybe you didn’t hear what was being said, but still the music changes something in your life. Subconsciously, whether you realize it or not, something is slipping in there and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Was it a conscious decision not to have any acoustic tracks on this album?

Yeah. We recorded a few as b-sides and they’ll see the light of day eventually. It’s tough because I feel like the last few records have had a formula as to where the acoustic songs have gone and I wanted to get away from that this time.

Are you disappointed that the record leaked early?

You can’t really do anything about it, is all I can say. It’s frustrating in a lot of aspects because despite whatever arguments are out there and despite whatever you would say about file-sharing and downloading music, whether it’s right or wrong—and I don’t have answers for that—when it comes down to it I feel like something has been stolen from me. So to whoever did that, fuck them! I hope someday somebody steals something from them.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a physical copy of your record?

I would ask people to open their eyes and see exactly what’s happening here. Record labels have realized they can’t make money off CDs anymore. Why? Because of file-sharing and people aren’t going to buy them. So CDs are dying. What are the major labels going to do? Close up shop and stop making money off of music? Of course not.

Someone is always going to be making money off music and someone is always going to try and capitalize on that. They’re going to get rid of the CD altogether so you can’t share music at all. The only existence of the music will be a file online that’s protected against you sharing it. It will be the death of the album. You won’t even be able to collect music anymore. Why not support music and musicians? Support music!

Does it ever bother you that something you’re creating as art becomes such a commodity when it enters the public sphere?

Completely. That attitude is such an American attitude. It’s this ‘I’m entitled to this’ attitude. It’s so selfish and disposable and consumer-oriented. ‘I don’t have to be respectful of what someone created and the context in which they created it; I’m just going to get it now because I fucking want it.’

When you signed with Sire did you ever feel like any of your ideals would be compromised?

Nope. If you look at the history of the label and the artists they’ve worked with in the past and the artists they continue to work with today I think they really seek out bands that will continue making good music for a long time, and they’re not really concerned with whether that’s commercially viable music. Of course they’d like for their artists to do well and sell millions of records, but they’re going to continue putting out albums they believe in even if no one really gets behind them.

Do you feel like your band is something that could catch on with the masses?

I don’t really know. I hope so. I’m sure that every artist hopes that. Why wouldn’t you?

New Wave is available now. For more info and performance dates visit

Photo Credit: Janette Beckman