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Stubble TV: The Protomen Interview at Warped Tour

7 July 2014 No Comment

The Protomen
06-21-2014 @ Van’s Warped Tour
Mountain View, California
Interview/Photos by Jeff Longo & James Kelly

The Protomen sat down with Stubble backstage at the Vans Warped Tour in Mountain View, California, dressed in black uniforms with faces covered in silver space rock makeup reminiscent of Ace Frehely. Certainly one of the more unique acts on the Warped Tour this year, The Protomen discuss their synthesizer-heavy rock opera experience, being on Warped Tour, and their biggest fan, Gary Busey.

Photo Slideshow – The Protomen at Warped Tour in Mountain View, CA. – CLICK HERE

Stubble: Welcome to the Bay Area, quick introductions?
MURPHY Weller:
The Gambler: The Gambler…
Commander B. Hawkins: Commander B. Hawkins.

Stubble: First of all, how do you explain a band like The Protomen to the uninitiated?
I play bass, synthesizer-bass particularly, Let me tell ya. We’re like synthesizer dominant. That’s how it started, basically, with synthesizers being distorted and beautiful and then guitars on top of it being distorted and beautiful. So I play syntesizer-bass predominantly but sometimes you need a bass guitar and not a synthesizer.

Stubble: Got it. Like Geddy Lee.
Geddy Lee! Best bass player. Ever.

Stubble: And keytar player…
The Gambler: I play vocoder and sing.
Hawkins: I am also a synthesizer player. I vocode a little bit as well! How exciting it that?

Stubble: There’s what nine people in the band?
The Gambler:
There’s nine of us, yes.

Stubble: So who’s the gentleman that looks like Jason Voorhees that stands in the middle of the stage?
That’s K.I.L.R.O.Y.!
Weller: That’ll be K.I.L.R.O.Y.
Hawkins: He’s our…he’s a robit.
The Gambler: He’s a robit.

Stubble: Alright, so how are the shows going so far?
The Gambler:
Uhhh they’re going well…
Weller: Good! Been hot. This is the first day where I don’t know if any of us are gonna break a sweat on-stage. This is weird. Some days have been hot and the scheduling of Warped makes things, what’s the word, adventurous?, for us and everybody.

Stubble: What stage are you guys on?

Stubble: So what time have you guys been going on?
The Gambler:
We’ve been playing more early…
Weller: Yeah, probably second or third band on our stage…

Stubble: But today you’re going on at 4:45?
Yeah, 4:45, which to most people out in the world are like “4:45?” but you know what I’m saying this whole thing starts at eleven.

Stubble: So you guys do like a rock-opera type of deal, which we love. Are you guys touring anything? Do you have a new album out?
We have an EP out this summer. It’s just like four songs that’ll be on our full-length coming out in the fall. It’s called “The Cover Up EP” and you can only get it at Warped Tour.

Stubble: What’s on it?
It’s actually a full covers record that has uh, Iron Maiden…

Stubble: Oh, which one?
It has “The Trooper” and um, we might play that today. And then it’s got “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. It’s got “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper, or by us. And it’s got “Drove All Night” by Roy Orbison. And the full length album has about six more songs. Seven more songs?

Stubble: How did you get your big break?
We’ve been bustin’ ass for about ten years now. We haven’t really gotten a big break.

Stubble: How is that possible? I have my ear to the…
You don’t have your ear down low enough!
Weller: [laughs] It’s not low enough… [laughs]

Stubble: We are Stubble Musiczine. We are top of the bottom.
You need to get further down to the bottom to find this kind of gold.
The Gambler: Crawl a little more. We actually just hit out eleven year anniversary.

Stubble: Have you guys ever played in the bay area before?
Oh yes. We did Slim’s last year. Kimo’s the first time and that was insane.
Hawkins: That was the worst thing ever.
Weller: Slim’s was last time and then before that, a couple years ago, was some club that they rented out just for our show and they sold way over capacity. San Francisco’s really good for us, one of the best markets in the whole country.

Stubble: So when are you guys coming back?
There’s the slight chance that we’ll come back in October. That’s being discussed.

Stubble: Halloween, perfect time.
It’s near then that we’ll probably come.

Stubble: Would you guys be headlining?
I don’t know. That’s the discussion. We’re trying to team up with some other bands and ya know, you never know.

Stubble: How is the Tennessee music scene?
It’s pretty good…
The Gambler: Yes, it’s wild.
Hawkins: It’s Nashville, really. You got Nashville for music and then the other towns don’t really do a lot. There’s stuff there but it’s not as, I don’t know, productive.
Weller: Nashville’s awesome ’cause anything we need to do, to get done, to get made, whatever you can do it. Somebody right down the street in your neighborhood does what you need to be done. You can do anything there.

Stubble: What do you think of religion’s place in rock music?
The Gambler:
Weller: Which part of rock music? That’s a long-winded answer.
The Gambler: That’s a loaded question. [laughs]
Hawkins: I think it can do whatever it wants to. I think you can do anything you need to with rock ‘n’ roll, as long as it stays rock ‘n’ roll and you actually focus on rock ‘n’ roll instead on everything else around it.

Stubble: I believe you. You know why? Because you look like Jesus.
That’s true. That’s true.

Stubble: What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
You’re lookin’ at it. [laughs]
The Gambler: [laughs] I was waiting to say that. [laughs]
Weller: There’s not much money here though so we’re not doing it wrong enough.

Stubble: Do you think Courtney Love did it?
I don’t think she specifically did it…
Weller: She had a hand.
Hawkins: She had a hand.
The Gambler: She did. I’ve seen enough documentaries and seen enough TV to know that Kurt would still be with us had she not…
Hawkins: Here’s the thing. I don’t care how crazy a girl is, it’s still your decision.
The Gambler: I don’t know. I think she whacked him.

Stubble: Do you write better music on heroin?
I believe….yes, yes.
Hawkins: The real question is: if he was still alive, would he still be relevant? And that’s the question.
Weller: Right…
Hawkins: That’s the question. If he hadn’t died then, would he still be making music now and would the music suck and would everybody go “Oh, god”.
Weller: “The first three albums were good!”
Hawkins: It’s like Metallica. It’s like man, they started freaking strong as shit and what happened?
The Gambler: We’re gettin’ off the rails hear.

Stubble: The “Black Album” happened.
Hey! Don’t trashtalk that record! You can trashtalk anything post.

Stubble: Have you ever autotuned one of your songs?
The Gambler:
Hell to the no!
Weller: Nope…

Stubble: Would any of your songs be better if they were autotuned?
All of them.
Weller: Hell no.
Hawkins: All of them.
The Gambler: Hell to the no.

Stubble: If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and nobody hears it…
The Gambler:
Can you still autotune it? [laughs]

Stubble: Would Justin Bieber still be an asshole?
The Gambler:
[laughs] Yeah.
Weller: Probably so…
The Gambler: You can probably still autotune it. [laughs]

Stubble: Would any of you be a better choice to play Batman than Ben Affleck?
The Gambler:
Def. Most def. We’re in California so we have to abbreviate everything right? Do your best Batman, like say a Batman thing.
The Gambler: You sound a little bit more like a cave troll but I’ll take it. [laughs]

Stubble: Have you ever considered throwing pig’s blood on your audience?
I have! I have considered it. Haven’t done it, but I’ve considered it.
The Gambler: I love the movie Carrie…

Stubble: Is Playboy a thing of the past?
Are you kidding? Boobs are never a thing of the past! Don’t you ever say that!
Weller: Boobs are forever, man.

Stubble: Butcher knife, machete, or chainsaw?
Dude, Michael Myers, dude. I don’t care about any of those other ones. Friggin’ butcher knife all the way.
The Gambler: Machete don’t text. [laughs]

Stubble: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever been thrown at you on stage?
I have an answer for this. One time we played, a few times actually, but. This little bitty place in Greenville, North Carolina called The Spazzatorium and man, stuff just got crazy there. Little bitty room, like we’re on the floor, there’s like a little balcony thing around us, kids in the front, kids just partying everywhere and we were just slammin’ in the set, going nuts and everyone’s fist-pumpin’ and you know, just anarchy and fun. A plastic horse [laughs] a plastic horse landed on my synth. I have an old 80’s synth and it’s anaolog so it breaks all the time but it sounds the best. It put a dent into the framework or into the top and hit some buttons and my stuff was all messed up and we had to take buttons out that night. I was mad. I threw that horse back out at some kid.
The Gambler: We get lots of interesting gifts from people.

Stubble: Like what?
The Gambler:
Um, I don’t know if you wanna know about some of it. But, seriously, honest to god, one of the weirdest things we got was a baby wipe thing that somebody turned into a weird terrarium with like…
Hawkins: Oh shit, I remember that thing!
The Gambler: Yes, with like fake spiders and cotton in it. And there was like notes too. I really don’t know what was going on.

Stubble: Do you have stalkers?
Ehhhh, who knows? [laughs]
The Gambler: [laughs] We have…we have very passionate fans.

Stubble: Do they name themselves like a collective?
They’ve got a name…
The Gambler: They’ve got a lot of online stuff going on. They’ve got a lot of, what do you call it, where you write the fantasy stuff…?
Hawkins: EMAIL!
The Gambler: Yeah, well, there’s that. The fan-fic stuff. That’s what I was trying to think of.

Stubble: Is Colorado the new breeding ground for evil in America?
Because of the pot? Because of the weed? People are just the smokin’ pot.

Stubble: The pot, the deaths…
Oh, that’s right! Yeah that is the one thing, the death stuff.

Stubble: The uranium.
Blame South Park maybe?

Stubble: South Park or Family Guy?
The Gambler:
South Park!
Weller: South Park, by far.

Stubble: Is it a choice or can two coexist? What about them both. I love ’em both.
Seth McFarlane does his best when he’s not censored. Like, Ted and I watched the new movie he did. His humor and profanity can only go so far with Family Guy.

Stubble: Well that’s all I have. Is there anything you want to add?
The Gambler:
Gary Busey.
Weller: Oh, I forgot about Gary Busey.
Hawkins: Do we wanna talk about Gary Busey?

Stubble: Yes we want to talk about Gary Busey!
I guess. Mind as well keep it goin’.
Hawkins: Gary Fucking Busey was at our show in Houston…and he loved it!

Stubble: Of course he did!
Look at me! Look at me Gary Busey! You loved it. Don’t let ANYBODY ever tell you otherwise!
The Gambler: Thanks, Gary.

Stubble: So he just showed up? You could see his teeth in the audience?
I was playing synthesizer and I’m just like rockin’. All of a sudden I see this big giant Gary Busey smile and I’m like “that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life” and I cried on stage, ’cause the Buse was everywhere.

Stubble: Is he still crazy?
He’s gotta be…
Hawkins: He has never been crazy. He’s just been awesome!

Stubble: What happened to him? Did he have a head injury?
Yeah, he had a wreck or something. But basically it broke the filter that says “don’t say something”, which is even better because why have that filter man? Just let it go. He lets it fly. Doesn’t hold anything back. I respect that. I respect you, Gary Busey. I like your face.

Stubble: Would you fight Gary Busey for a charity thing? Like a wrestling match?
I’d let him whoop my ass for charity.
Hawkins: Whoop my ass.
The Gambler: I would let him let them get their ass whooped by Gary Busey. [laughs]
Hawkins: I wanna arm wrestle Gary Busey.

Stubble: There it is. Exclusive. Gary Busey, the challenge is out.
It’s out. Gary Busey, you and me, arm wrestling. Don’t beat my ass.

Stubble: So where can the fans find you?
Protomen.com! You can find everything.

Stubble: And what stage was that you’re playing on again?
Warheads: the sour candy stage.
Hawkins: Right next to Journey’s, the place where go to put stuff on your feet.
Weller: The food has been amazing here but we also can have Warheads candy if we want and beer.

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