Interview with School Damage

Pre-CURSE-or: This interview was originally filmed and it was hilarious.. we drank, we joked, we rambled on about nothing for a good 30+ minutes.. but unfortunately the "Sarah Curse" reared its ugly, wort-ridden head, AGAIN, and the camera failed to capture a large portion of the interview. I think at some point in my life I must have knocked over some gypsy woman and broke her camera causing her to place a hex on me. Now every time I use a camera something goes wrong. Luckily I have learned to counter my curse by recording the audio as back up.. but that meant I had to spend 4 hours transcribing it last night. Sigh. BUT it was worth it! Whether on paper or on video this interview is entertaining as shit. The only thing really missing from this typed version is footage of Brad bursting out laughing, choking and spitting out his beer all over the place because some little kid was riding his bike up a hill mid-interview and toppled over. That was golden. Just picture it in your head instead and enjoy the interview!

Why the name School Damage? Do you enjoy damaging school property or are you really big gaming nerds?
BRAD: Neither actually! We were thinking about Teens In Heat before we started, because it's a Misfits reference and a Screeching Weasel reference, and then I was listening to a live Dead Kennedys recording and there's a song "Straight A's" and before the song starts he says 'school damage!' and I asked Jon if he thought that was cool and we took it! That's it!
JON: He actually just walked in and said 'we're naming the band School Damage' and I said 'fuck, I guess'.
BRAD: Yeah I came into work, he sat right across from me then, and I said 'hey can we call the band School Damage, that's it' and he was just like 'I guess so'... and then I got fired.
JON: Ha, that's why you got fired.
CURTIS: At least you got a sweet band name out of it!
BRAD: That's all I got, no severance.

What's the worst thing anybody has ever said about your band?
JON: Uh, the bass player pounds the bass like a 4 corner pussy...?
CURTIS: That's not a bad thing! I mean 4 corners is a weird pussy but..
BRAD: Our old drummer was not very good, people said he was the worst part of our band.. uhh we had a lot of drummers though.

What's the best thing?
BRAD: The best thing anyone has ever said is that we were better than The Queers.

At the Masked Intruder/Queers/Bottlerocket show?
BRAD: Yeah.
JON: I thought it was pretty rad how the dudes in Masked Intruder were like *in Masked Intruder accent* 'I wanna know who the fuck that fuckin' super power band was!'
CURTIS: Super powers!?
JON: Yeah they were like *in Masked Intruder accent*  'who the hell was that band before us who had the super powers? I dunno but they sure fuckin' showed us how to party!'
BRAD: That was nice of them to say that!
JON: They might have not exactly said that.. exactly like that.

Who shot your video for "Checking Out"?

JON: A dude named Jesse Bennett
BRAD: Jesse Bennett and a dude named Godfred Adjei.. Jesse is my roommate, he actually just texted me if he I could send him $60 cause I owe him money for internet. 'Hey buddy, internet bill's due!'
JON: Jesse plays in a rad band called Teeth Marks and he works at the Toronto Film School.
BRAD: Yeah so it was a freebie. We didn't pay a cent for that shit.
CURTIS: We got good quality cameras and everything.

Is it about your quest to find Curtis?
JON: Yes it is!

So you're searching for a drummer.. did you post flyers around town?
JON: No no
BRAD: Curtis worked out really well actually..
CURTIS: Should I say something?
BRAD: Shut up new guy!
CURTIS: Okay so I was in another band called Toxic Deathula, I still play with those dudes, and we were playing at JangBang which was a Korean taco bar at College and Bathurst, School Damage played and we had a great night and I was like 'hey great set' and he said 'same to you, you guys fuckin' ripped it', then he said something that I did not understand at all, and then that night was over with... two days later this other band Brad was playing in, Bombay, were playing at the 460 and he called me and said 'hey dude are you coming down, I have to talk to you about something'.. and I was like 'okay' and kind of had that funny feeling like oh well maybe..
JON: Maybe the dream will come true!
CURTIS: Yeah, maybe this sweet band will want me to play drums for them and then it happened and it's been nothing but titties and beer bongs since!
BRAD: Curtis does really well for himself these days! Me and Jon go home to our... whatever we go home to.
JON: My lovely girlfriend!
BRAD: Yeah, you have your girlfriend, I've got nothing dude! My life sucks!
But yeah our drummer quit at band practice and I had to play a show right after with my other band and I saw Curtis... there was literally only 2 hours with no drummer, Curtis was into it. We did try out other drummers though, Cindy Caron from Plan 37, who is playing drums in the video, tried out for School Damage! Jon was in the UK and I was trying out drummers without Jon. I tried out this other guy who was like 40 and he was really slow, the kind of guy who puts drumming shorts on and has drumming shoes and had like Lars Ulrich style metal drumsticks... he was fucking old. He had a car though so whatever... but it didn't pan out. Curtis not only jammed but he wrote songs as a band together and then when Jon got back the rest as we say is mediocrity.

So how long has School Damage been around for?
JON: About 3 years.
BRAD: I didn't know that until Jon just said it.

And how many lineups have you gone through?
*long burp*
JON: It started with the original drummer and Brad, they jammed for maybe like a day and then Brad said he was starting a new thing and asked me to play bass, so it's been pretty much Brad and I since the beginning. We had another drummer, fter about a year, got the previous drummer, lost him after a year
CURTIS: Now I'm just waiting...
BRAD: It's almost been a year buddy! It's right around the corner! haha, but yeah Gregg from Brutal Youth plays guitar for some shows

Was he playing the show at Bovine when you performed with a broken wrist?
BRAD: Yeah, he replaced me when I broke my wrist, that's how it happened. We had all these shows booked then I broke my wrist and Gregg stepped in for 2 shows, then we started playing with him on guitar 'cause it sounded A-OK, eh?
CURTIS: No doot aboot it.

I read something about the worst shows you've ever played (Brad) - strip club in Kingston, paid with a G of weed in Montreal, a dog in a mosh pit - were any of those School Damage?
The strip club in Kingston was my old band, getting paid with weed in Montreal was School Damage, and the dog in the circle pit was when I was on tour with another band in sort of a crust place and somebody brought their dog and this dog just kept running around the circle with everyone, that was the funniest thing I've seen in my entire life!
We, School Damage, played this place called the Death House... we had a show booked in Montreal and figured we might as well get another show out of it because it gives us more reason to drive up
JON: Yeah it'd be stupid to drive up to Montreal for just 1 show
BRAD: Yeah we'd only get like $100 bucks out of it.. so we did that, played the Death House and that is the last time we'll ever play the Death House.
JON: Yeah it was a grind night and they just threw us on the bill so there were 4 grind bands and School Damage.
BRAD: I think we just played a 10 minute set and that was it. We played a Circle Jerks cover
CURTIS: Yeah that was the only thing that got the crowd going
BRAD: 3 guys were like 'whoa!'. The coolest thing about the Death House is they serve beer and speed at the bar.

So people are just doing lines sitting at the bar!?
Yeah! So when we were carrying our gear out we had to step over a row of like... remember that episode of The Simpsons when they got a trampoline and Homer puts a sign out that's like 'caution' then it cuts to that scene where it's like a thousand kids injured..

That's the Death House. We walked out carrying our gear and it was just like people from 17 to 24 passed out the entire path to the car, we had to step over teenagers and shit. It's nuts man. It was cool because it was this secluded venue by the railroad tracks and the guy did a fucking great job of cleaning it up and they have a great PA system and whatever.. Lord love the guy for what he does... but they charged $5 at the door, and only had one out of town band, and when we said 'hey man we have to split can we get paid'  he says to us 'oh uhh here's the thing man, we uh didn't really make a'much money at the door but uh, you guys smoke the weed?'...  I mean of course we do, so he takes this like fucking garbage bag full of weed, pulls out ONE gram and was like 'here ya go!' And I think Jon was just like 'oh good! yeah the car runs on weed so that actually works out pretty well'! But we smoked it so whatever.
JON: We smoked it like a good band
BRAD: That was the long version of a really short story.

You guys are on My Fingers! My Brain! Records, how'd you hook up with them?
BRAD: OK, here's the truth. Doug is actually sent from the future to destroy us but the thing is we became buds.
JON: He's like a T2
CURTIS: It's like a Terminator 1 meets Judgement Day and he got a sweet motorcycle out of it.
BRAD: He signed Brutal Youth and Kyle told him to check us out, we sent him our demo and he emailed me saying he'd put out our CD. That was that!
JON: He used to play in a band called Black Jacket, didn't you play with them?
BRAD: My old band used to play with them quite often, and Doug used to have really long dreads and he was like this vegan hardcore straight edge dude!

He doesn't look like that at all now!
BRAD: No he's super straight now! He's the manager of a book store and his girlfriend is a school teacher! She's a high school teacher.
JON: She teaches french.
BRAD: It was cool playing with Black Jacket though because they didn't drink so we'd get their drink tickets all the time. That's the Doug that I know!
JON: The non-drinking, dreaded bass playing Doug.
BRAD: He's the shit, he's putting out our 7".

When will that be out?
July or August.

What's it called?
We still don't have a name for it yet. It's going to be 4 songs, 3 will be off the full length that's coming out whenever... what, like fall time at the latest right?
JON: The full length? The full length will probably be out next year.

You guys have a lot of funny song titles like "Mary Tyler Morgue" and "Husker Don't", why did you name the EP's so basic? (self-titled and Demo or EP)
We're not thaat creative! It takes Brad months to come up with song titles let alone album titles!
BRAD: No I think of song titles first then I write the song
JON: Noo...
BRAD: No that's not true, you're right..
JON: We've had songs that have just been "Untitled Song"
BRAD: Or like "New Song 1", "New Song 2"... Our new album is going to be called Get Weird.
JON: I guess we never really needed a name, it all just worked out.
BRAD: In my opinion everything is just called "School Damage".

Are you guys getting less or more responsible with age?
I'd say it's a healthy mix of both.
JON: Hanging out with these guys has made me less responsible.
BRAD: Jon is suuper responsible!

More or less Burger King?
I've had more Burger King since I've been with these dudes!
BRAD: Yeah we had Burger King the other day!
CURTIS: And fuck McDonalds!
BRAD: He'll eat Burger King but he won't eat McDonalds.

What's the best gig you've ever played?
I'm going to say the Masked Intruder/Teenage Bottlerocket/Queers show
JON: Yeah I'd have to say that one as well.
CURTIS: That was the most memorable.

Are you guys huge Masked Intruders fans / Teenage Bottlerocket fans / Queers fans?
I grew up listening to the Queers.

What did you think about Joe Queer's N-Bomb at that show? Appropriate or no?
BRAD: Fuck it! That guy can do whatever he wants man! I mean I'm not saying it's 'cool' to say that obviously but he's in a band called the QUEERS, he's married to an Asian girl, he's obviously not racist he was just trying to get a reaction out of people, it's all he's trying to do.
CURTIS: I think people are just taking it in the wrong context..

It seemed like he felt he was just talking to his friends, not an audience..
That's how I feel too! Not to name drop but I was talking to Ray of Teenage Bottlerocket about it and he asked me what I thought about the whole N-Bomb shit and I was like yeah you know what man it was obviously inappropriate but I think that people are blowing it out of proportion.. and I'm not saying that it's not a powerful word, it's a fucking hurtful shitty word.. but he's from Atlanta first of all, and second of all what he said was like, if I can reiterate it, 'I'm more messed up than a *bleep* tacklebox', and first of all that makes absolutely NO sense! Obviously I'm not cool with it but at the same time when you've been touring for 30 years under the banner 'the Queers'... you know?

What's next for School Damage? You have Pouzza coming up..
Yeah we have Pouzza coming up, and we have a few other shows that we're working on in May, and then we're trying to book an East Coast tour in August.
BRAD: In April we're playing with Brutal Youth *burrrrrrp* and !Attention! for the Brutal Youth album release show, and then in May we're playing with Mikey Erg at a sushi restaurant!
JON: At the Izakaya, that will be fun! (check out the event here)
BRAD: And then we have some out of town shows in May as well, we're playing London at the Dude Ranch.
CURTIS: It was actually a decent venue back in the day, bands like the Cobra Skulls played there
BRAD: I've only heard legends but never been before. But yeah, I don't want to sound like we're tootin' our own horn here but we've got fucking shows out the wazoo for May! We're busy in May, we're actually playing shows every weekend. And we're recording the album in May. Here and there, not the whole thing.
JON: Probably May and June.
BRAD: And theeeen 7" in June or July and then tour then the full length in the fall/early winter then Jon's going to quit and I'm going to get super into heroin and Curtis is going to be standing behind me the entire time and we'll have a revolving door of bass players and then Curtis will get really tired of me going Scott Weiland on him like back and forth and then he's going to leave the band and I'm going to join a band where the backing band is members of Rage Against The Machine.. and uh that's not going to go very well, we'll only have a few hit singles.. then I'm going to join a band with Slash and Duff McKagan..
JON: *whispers* that's Chris Cornell..
BRAD: Oh, yeah, you're right.... We have a 7" coming out in July.
JON: whhiskey!

What's your big dream for School Damage? Where do you want to go?
The States.
CURTIS: I want to go to Europe.
JON: Yeah, Europe. We just want to tour, play as many tours as we can.
CURTIS: We want to throw out a sexy slab of wax, tour a bunch!
JON: Yeah, a full length record that sounds fuckin' balls would be awesome.
BRAD: It'd be nice for once to have 7"'s.... I meant my dick you guys
JON: I think we could reach that combined! A combined 7"'s!
BRAD: But yeah tour as much as possible. We all have so many friends in bands and they just tour excessively and I just envy them for it and I fucking love it, the fact that they do that, that's what we want to do. Sometimes we're too careful with what we do and I want to throw three shits to the wind and go broke. And then go home.

Let's hear it for School Damage!
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