Interview with The Isotopes !

How and why did you decide on the baseball theme?
We never decided on it. It was decided for us by the Gods of punk rock. I was outta song ideas and really outta good song ideas until one day at my beer league game I found myself heatedly explaining the infield fly rule to an unworthy team mate who had just fought with the umpire as to why he was out after popping a ball up with the bases loaded and none out. I wrote our whole song Infield Fly in my head on the bus home from that game and realized I knew a lot more about baseball than anything else so I might as well stick to what comes naturally. Shortly after that I crashed my dad’s car into a telephone pole and experienced the life-flashing-before-your-eyes phenomenon and my last thought before my head went through the wind-shield was “I can’t believe I died before starting the Isotopes”. I think I wrote Around The Horn and You Gotta Freeze right away after that and on we went.

I am an avid baseball fan so it’s really cool to hear songs combining my two favourite things: baseball and punk! … Is this going to be a constant theme or do you think you’ll run out of ideas for baseball songs and start writing regular songs eventually?
The Isotopes is all about one thing and one thing only. If we did anything else or started writing regular songs we’d suck just as much as everyone else.

Who are you guys cheering for in the World Series?
Well I really hoped the Reds would be able to pull it out in 7 over the Yanks but it did go that way. Going into the series Dan and I were rooting for the Giants and they’re up 3-0 on the Tigers right now so it looks like a lock.

Who do you normally cheer for? 
 Pirates. I gave the Marlins a shot last year and this year. I thought the rebranding, as awful as it is, new stadium and the addition of Ozzie would revitalize an already very strong roster. WRONG. Ozzie’s already fired, they traded their team away, the stadium is harder to watch on TV than Skydome games and the unis look like a fucking Holiday Inn workout jumpsuit. Meanwhile, the Pirates put together a better season than they’ve had in years.

What do you think of the Jays letting John Farrell go to the Red Sox?
 I don’t give a shit about the Jays anymore. I was born in Toronto and was fresh to Vancouver in the WAMCO days – 92/93 – but since then they have been one of the least exciting teams in baseball. They wanna pretend like they’ve got some kind of relevant rivalry with the Sox? Let them have it, but who really cares? John Farrell is gonna go do what, swap the Red Sox and the Jays in their 5th and 6th place standings in the East next year and anyone is supposed to take issue with it?

What’s your opinion of the Jays after this season?
They still fucking suck. Lawrie’s a great player but he could use an English tutor if he intends to keep his Twitter account active in ’13, and he could use a smack upside the fauxhawk for not insisting Vizquel wears number 13. Do you guys play a lot of baseball? This year we only played pick-up with our pals in East Van, but before this season I hadn’t missed playing a whole season in 23 years.

Have you ever covered the “Dancing Away My Hunger Pains” song from the Simpsons OR the “Talkin’ Softball” song at any of your shows?
 No. I don’t think anyone in the band has ever watched the Simpsons more than few times.

You have 3 EP’s, any full lengths on the way? 
We’re hoping to write and record 9 new songs for a full-length to be released by the 2013 all-star break. So far we have about 12 titles we’re working with and I’d like to have about 15 titles before we start working out any music. It’s been something I’ve been avoiding until now, but it seems like the time to make that leap.

Is there a reason for sticking with EP’s?
Personally, I think they are cool, and with little EPs it’s easier to keep your batting average up over .900. Also, 7”s keep the guys interested. Waiting around to have enough songs and money for a full-length can be a serious momentum killer for a club like ours which has in the past, made a point of playing very seldom at home.

Sorry to hear about your van, any plans yet to reschedule the US dates you had to cancel?
Thanks. Yeah we are going to make up the East Coast and Mid West dates as soon as possible. I think we’ll fly out this time though.

How bummed are you about missing Fest? Was this your first time playing?
 Really bummed to miss Fest. It was our first time headed down there but I hope we get to do it again properly next year. And I hope the Criminals and FYP play again. #Fuck.

Seems like every band van has broken down within the last couple of years, think it has something to do with the lack of money bands that aren’t mainstream are making now or just the rise in media coverage and easier access to band news of the sort through twitter/facebook/punknews?
I think vans breaking down is just part and parcel of being in a touring punk rock band. If we’re hearing about it more, that can probably be attributed to the ubiquity of today’s media, sure.

Will Dan Undahand be drumming for the Canadian dates?
 You better believe it. Dan’s been cleared for domestic travel and we’ve had him working out all month to get back into shape enough to rejoin the big club as an everyday guy and we look forward to having him in the fold for the upcoming road dates.

Why the change of bass players?
 Including myself, we’ve had 8 bass players. All 8 have played live for us, and 4 of those have played on a record. I’ve played bass on the majority of Isotopes recordings; but as far as who we send out there live, nobody’s spot is guaranteed, and the bottom line is that if a guy is gonna complain about having to wear a hat at every fucking show, he’s eventually gonna get his hat revoked. That’s what happened with JR High-Life. He didn’t wanna be in the Isotopes, ya know? A guy like that is tough to work with. So I pink-slipped him.

If another band came around with the same kind of baseball themed idea and also claimed to be ‘the world’s greatest baseball punk band’ would you challenge them to a baseball game battle of the bands to decide who rightfully deserves that title?
No. I mean, gimme a break. First of all, as the defenders of the title the onus of presenting the challenge would be on the challenger – those guys, not us. Second, we would decline the challenge with harsh prejudice, and as punishment, we’d extort them until they agreed to be an Isotopes franchise club; at which point they’d tour relentlessly doing all our songs as well as their good ones if they had any, all under the name the Isotopes. We’d retain creative, branding, merchandising control and they’d send us a % of their gross merchandise and ticket sales. It’d be a 5-year deal and after that they could reassess their priorities as far as who is fucking who in the baseball punk game.

Can I have a hat?
I’ll give ya JR High-Life’s.