We were caught by surprise when we received the new EP, Fibia Slicker, from Judge Nothing in the e-mail box back in July. Right then we knew we had to schedule an interview with the boys and find out what they had been up to for the past 12 years.
After exchanging a few e-mails Andy and Flea checked in with their answers from the Metro-East after having a few cold pale ales and Doug responded from his current home in the Chicago area. Here's what they had to say -
What sparked the interest to get the band back together?
Andy: We always talked about it, but only recently were able to dedicate the time.
Doug: Ditto. It just made sense. How could we not take advantage of a bond that's really never separated?
Did you find it easy to work together again as a band or was there a slightly strained feeling getting back together to play music again?
Andy: We just picked right up where we left off. It was like we had never stopped playing together.
Doug: I think the only strain, and I use that term lightly, was deciding what song from our library to start off with. For 3 different personalities, we have quite a unique chemistry; that feeling of effortlessness.
How was recording in 2010 different from recording in the early to mid '90s?
Andy: It was much more casual. We used DogBite Studios and Rick [Harmon] made it very comfortable and stress free.
With Doug in the Chicago area, this might seem out of the question, but does the band plan to play any live shows in the future? If so, a small tour or just a few select dates?
Andy: Who knows? It depends on if anyone would want to come out and see us and if we could schedule time for it. Millions of dollars would definitely help as an incentive.
Doug: Hmm. Millions...yeah, that's not asking for too much is it? It's my dream to play a show(s) again, but we all have to be on the same page too.
The new Fibia Slicker EP came out in the digital format. Are there plans to press a limited run of vinyl copies or plans for another type of release (i.e. video, etc.)?
Doug: Other formats? Depends on the demand and money. I'm currently gathering footage from old to new in hopes of putting together a video. However, I'm quite a novice in the field, so I hope to get some assistance from co-workers.
Do you plan to record or release any more new material? Can fans expect a new full length album or was this a one time thing?
Andy: I hope so.
Doug continues to compose music. What projects are you working on now? Do you feel more comfortable as a writer now than you did back then?
Doug: Right now, I have many irons in the fire, so to speak. My job requires me to write certain styles and I love that challenge. I continue the rock with PET LOVER - a little different from Judge Nothing, but still my angst outlet and fortunate to have it. And, now that I have a son (5 1/2 mos), I've gone back to my piano roots and have written nearly 20 lullabies. So as a writer now, I think the biggest difference from years back is that I'm doing so many different projects. For the rock, I was probably most comfortable back then. My brain was geared and focused on just that - the rock. As a group, we were locked in and it came so naturally. I wasn't thinking about how to write music to trussing a chicken. Don't get me wrong, that comes to me just as naturally as "Aug Mouth" or my son's "You won't let me eat my dinner." It was just a different time back then. I must say, I am a better musician now - lot's of practice.
Do Andy and/or Flea continue to play music today too? If so, in what capacity?
Flea: Andy does odd performances here and there. I am a hermit.
Does everyone in the band still listen to music and pay attention to current trends? Are there any bands that have caught and held your attention in the last 15 years?
Flea: Following music "post-Judge Nothing" isn't as easy since we are not actively in the business, so not as much.
Doug: I'm with Flea. It's not been easy. However, before I moved to Chicago, I was very influenced by the Foo Fighters and what Grohl was doing on his own before the band blew up. I definitely hear Judge Nothing in all his music. It's kind of eerie sometimes and I continue to be a huge fan because of it. For the first five or six years in Chicago, I felt a continued connection to the scene. But as of late, only a few new bands like Paramore, Eisley, and our old friends from Kansas City, The Life and Times have peaked my interest. Pandora and LastFM have been my friends recently too.
Do any younger bands playing now remind you of yourselves back then? Why?
Doug: I mentioned Paramore earlier as an example. they definitely have that pop/punk edge that's caught my ear. maybe they're a bit far removed from us, but not that much. Very melodic, honest and very commanding for their genre. They're just very good and solid for their age.
What other band(s) from the scene (Alton, St. Louis, Midwest, etc.) back then would you like to see playing and making new music in 2011?
Andy: All of them. In fact, it seems like most of them have already had a couple of reunion shows in the recent past.
What are your fondest memories of playing in Judge Nothing? (i.e. favorite shows, meeting other bands, etc.)
Andy: It was all one giant surreal musical freak show. I am fond of all its bits...
Doug: ...all of it's dirty, smelly, naughty bits. I don't think the three of us could clearly explain our story - our fondest memories. That's a whole other book.
Can you please explain the circumstances behind the band breakup/hiatus?
Andy: Doug and Flea had a sordid love affair which ended badly. Flea was our non-Asian, male Yoko Ono.
Flea: What Yoko wants, Yoko gets!
Doug: I still love you Flea. Wives aside.
In hindsight, was it the right decision to stop playing and recording as a group?
Doug: Right? Wrong? Hard to say. I do know that at the time, certain things needed to change both in our personal and professional lives and we believed that the personal changes took precedence. That being said, I truly believe that even though we haven't played or recorded together for 13 years, we could easily get together and write songs just like we use to. We proved that last year and proved how magical our camaraderie and chemistry can be.
How do you (i.e. all members) envision the future of the band?