If you listened to modern rock radio in the 1990's, chances are you know "Bad Reputation," the hit single by
Yes, that's right, indeed. And of course, Butch played drums on that. It was a song we put together at the end of the session. We kind of ran out of songs, and Butch said, 'we need more songs!' And so I said, "Ok, I have this stupid song, but I'll play it for you.' I had different words for it back then, and I really just didn't like it.
I played it there in the kitchen of the recording studio, and Butch said, 'Ok, that's the one. We've got to record that right now.' But the band was already gone. The only people there were Butch, an engineer and my manager. So Butch agreed to play drums and the engineer, John Yates, played bass. Butch's drums gave the song a great, driving feel.
Did you know that Death Cab for Cutie recorded a cover version of "Bad Reputation?"
I've heard about that.
Have you ever heard their version?
I haven't. Is it any good?
It's really good. I would think their popularity could bring some new exposure to that song. Their latest album was a Billboard #1 this year.
Their album went to #1 on the Billboard charts? Man, I am so out of touch. I don't even know what's on the charts.
It's a wide open time in the music business. Have the changes in the industry helped or hurt your career?
I've been on the other side of the biz for awhile now. I mean, I haven't recorded an original album in seven years. That's as many years as I spent on Elektra (1994-2001). I'm working on a new album now. Five of the songs are recorded, and it sounds fantastic.
I read that it's going to be a double album.
It was going to be. Now it's just going to be an album that will be released.
Has your approach to songwriting changed since your last album?
No, I don't think so. I think it will be in a different place once I'm done with this. But I've been carrying these songs around for a long time.
I'd like to talk a little about the Know It All Boyfriends (KIAB). They've become something of a local phenomenon. What's your earliest memory of KIAB and how the band came together?
Well, BV's [Butch Vig's] brother Chris was having a Christmas party, and the band that was supposed to play had canceled. A bunch of us met up at Genna's before the party, and Butch was like, "We're going to start a band tonight!"' Yeah, a cover band. BV had drumsticks. The band didn't even have a name, you know.
So there we were in the kitchen of Chris' house right before we were supposed to perform. Butch asked what we were going to call ourselves. And I said, "Well, I had a band that played a couple of gigs back in Hoboken in the 1980's called The Know It All Boyfriends." So that's what we decided to call it.
Playing in that band has been really fun. We've gotten better. Last time we played, which was at Chris Vig's son's graduation, we were really tight. I've learned a lot from that band. You learn other people's chord changes, and you think it's crazy, but you learn it works.
Will KIAB continue?
I hope it does, but BV is in L.A. now.
So you're playing the new Frequency club tonight.
Yes, I knew it as the Slipper Club.
Do you know Darwin Sampson, the club owner? He used to book the Annex.
Oh, he booked the Annex? I just met him tonight. There's a need for a club like [The Frequency]. The King Club is like that.
Except the King Club closed.
Oh, it closed. See, there's just no profit in that. There's got to be a way, but it can't be easy. There's too much overhead. But thank goodness people do it. Like Darwin, he's doing it for the love of music.
You keep coming back to Madison. Do you think you'll ever move here?
Well, I have at least a couple of dozen friends here. It's crazy. I think I'll end up here some day, at least part time. Yes, I definitely could see living here, if I ever settle down. I'm just especially happy, every time I'm here.