Interview with Darius from Swingin' Utters, formerly referred to as $wingin' Utter$

before all the rappers stole their $$.
It was actually Ke$ha.

I sat down with Darius before their FUCKING AMAZING show at the Horseshoe in Toronto. I already interviewed Johnny a few years back so basically we just shot some shit. Not literally.

How was touring through Australia?
It was really good! Great, but strange because we did four shows and were only there for five days, so it was really quick. We flew across the country as well so it was a really quick thing. It was cool but I would have liked to spend more time there, I want to do more of the country some day. We saw Sydney, we saw a lot of Sydney and that's kinda the city I wanted to see anyway so that was cool. We didn't see any of Melbourne really, Sydney is pretty much the only city we saw. But it was cool, everybody was super nice, it was good! I've been wanting to go there forever so it was pretty cool!

After Australia you guys hit up Punk Rock Bowling.. who is the best punk rock bowler?
Me and Johnny are relatively even, he's usually a little bit better than me but the last couple years we've been pretty even.

Who is on your team?
It's me, Johnny and our wives, and we're called The Filthy Thieving Bowlers, and there's another team that's called The Swingin' Gutters and that's Greg and our old merch guy and a couple of our friends. We kinda have two teams, but we've been doing that for like forever, we played the first one and we've probably played four or five of them. I'm really close friends with who puts it on so yeah I love doing it, it's really cool!

Who is the best team out there?
BYO is pretty good actually! They have won more than once. You know it's funny, there's a lot of Sterns, there's four brothers and they've all won. So BYO's always good, umm Epitaph in the past was really good. Fat Wreck Chords get really far, I don't know if they've ever won but they're usually pretty good.

Do you get to bring your kids with you, is it a whole family affair?
Nooo.. we would technically get to but we don't really want to, haha! It's like a little vacation. I get to do that type of stuff all the time but my wife doesn't get to do anything because we have two kids so it's kind of the one time every year that she gets to go somewhere, even though it's Vegas which is kind of lame, but we go camping and we go to Vegas. That's the only things she ever really gets to do so we don't bring the kids with us!

How old are the kids now?
I have two boys who are 14 and 11!

Do they like Swingin' Utters?
Um, yeahhh... it's one of those things where it's almost too close to home, you know? But my older kid plays guitar and he's into metal right now, whatever, he went through an Eminem phase where all he listened to was crap and hip hop and now he listens to nothing but metal! Which is great, fine, it's good metal it's not bad metal, it's like Metallica metal, old Metallica which was good. They both know their stuff, my younger kid likes punk rock more than my older kid, his favourite band is One Man Army so.. !

The band has been around since way before they were born, are you any more conscious of what you put out there as a band, now that they can understand what you're talking about?
No, no. The only thing I'm a bit more conscious about maybe is things I say in interviews and it's usually concerning drugs.. that's what I'm more conscious about. But they pretty much know where I'm at with everything to a certain extent.. we don't generally hide stuff from our kids, they watch stuff they want on TV, I don't feel the need to censor any of that. I grew up with immigrant parents who were pretty conservative.. not politically, but you know, Europeans, my mother is Iranian and my father is Finnish and they aren't nearly as freewheeling as Americans are. Iran was obviously a super rigid kind of society and Finnish people are just, sullen and silent people. But it's funny they never held any of that stuff from me either, I could see graphic crazy horror movies when I was a little kid, they let me watch anything, and I think that's great. I am a huge supporter of that way of raising kids and my wife feels the same way I guess so, I mean they started watching South Park before they understood the jokes! They watch Family Guy... and that stuff is actually, when you watch it, it's pretty gnarly! It's crazy! But yeah they watch whatever.

Yeah I was raised the same way, always watched crazy horror movies... it's funny because my friends couldn't even watch The Simpsons but my oldest memories are sitting down with my parents and my grandparents to watch it even though I didn't understand most of the jokes. I turned out OK I think...
Yeah, exactly!

Jack writes a lot more on Poorly Formed, why didn't he write this much before?
He's just a weird, flaky dude basically, haha! I've been telling him forever.. a part of it is that I think he almost felt nervous because, like when One Man Army started he was a fan of our band, and then we got to know each other and our bands were friends and we toured together and were really close to him, and when he was in the band I think he just thought it was weird that he would write for us.. but then I think he finally got, I mean he's been in the band for about 10 years now and nobody really seems to know that.. I think he just finally felt comfortable enough maybe? And then he just went on this song writing tear and wrote a bunch of songs so I think that was also a part of it, he had so many songs so he's like OK that's it. And it's really good, it sounds really cool, different than anything we've done. I love it!

You can totally feel a bit of One Man Army in that album!
Totally! It's all his music, his music and Johnnys lyrics and all the vocal melody is Johnnys but the music.. it's all his stuff! I've always loved One Man Army too, best punk that you can get.

Swingin' Utters still does the full CD booklet thing, with lyrics and everything even though it's all so accessible online, why is that?
I think as long as somebody is willing to do it we're going to do it. I know [Fat] Mike feels the same way about albums and just that part of having a record. He still put out vinyl when it wasn't that popular and now it's more popular than the CD which is crazy to me but it is, but he likes that aesthetic and always did and I think he always will so I think somebody is willing to do that we're going to do that. I don't want that to die, that's super important to me. And just the LP in general should never die. Nobody has the attention span anymore they just buy one song at a time... doesn't anybody get any record on, open it and read the lyrics? I don't even do that anymore and I miss that a lot.

Yeah I would just sit on my bed reading all the lyrics while I listened to the album until I learned the words to all the songs! It's awesome though, when I was reading about your album on there were a bunch of commenters who were just super stoked on the booklet alone, I thought that was really cool considering how many people just download shit now.
Oh yeah!? Yeah we always have it! I was just thinking about this today or yesterday while I was driving, thinking about how there's just sooo much more shit to do now. I mean, it's really crazy, we used to run around and play outside and do physical stuff, just be outside all day, but my kids don't do that! One of them plays organized sports but that's about it, otherwise it's like video games or watching one of the ten million channels we have on TV, watching something on Netflix or doing something on their computer.. there's too much of that crap going on! I was thinking I really want to try to, well I think my old one is too late, but I want to get them record players.. get them their own like old school stereo systems, the receiver and the record player... they have nooo idea about those things. I have like a thousand records and I could be like 'if you like Metallica here's a Metallica record' and I just wonder if they would appreciate it at all, if they have the patience. They know about records and how they worked and stuff but they've never put a record on, they don't know that feeling... it'd be really cool if they did that and.. I don't think they'd be into it, but I want to try.

So I wanted to interview you specifically this time because, well, I have another website called 'Dirtycans' where people sometimes send me in pictures of gross bathrooms, and since you are a plumber I thought you'd be the best person to ask this to... Is there any bathroom that sticks out to you as the worst thing you've ever seen?
Wow man, yeah!! ABC No Rio, I think that's the worst bathroom I've ever seen in my life! It's reeeally awful. CBGB's was really bad too, but yeah ABC No Rio was the worst ever. I remember I didn't wanna even piss in it, it was really bad. Those two stand out. But definitely ABC No Rio, whoogh!
Wow, after like 25 years of pissing around the world that came to you in less than a second!
Oh yeah. Yeah I remember that bathroom it was really bad. At least on that night it was really terrible. But there is a lot of terrible ones all the time, just awful. You try to do your business in the hotel room or wherever you're staying!

Are there any Toronto bands that are on your radar right now?
Probably but I can't think of off hand who they would be, but I bet there would be! I know they're a mega band now but aren't Arcade Fire from around here.. or Montreal? I loove that band. Yeah, I don't know, I don't always know where bands are from, I'm always interested where they're from, but I don't always find out.

Any bands that have caught your ear recently, from anywhere?
I listen to a lot of dead people, haha, seriously, I listen to so much dead people music! Like Elliott Smith, people like that, that's some of my favourite stuff to listen to. Um, I just like really good well written songs.. I like Elvis Costello, The Attractions as a band are probably my all time favourite band, like just how awesomely they play and I dunno, if you give me Elvis Costello And The Attractions, The Beatles, The Kinks... Elliott Smith and maybe some Johnny Cash, that's all I need. But as far as punk bands ... I like Off With Their Heads, I like Cobra Skulls, what else, Modern Action.. a band that doesn't really get out that much, one of The Briefs guys, one of The Bodies guys, they're really good you should check them out, Modern Action Records, they have their own record thing. And then another band with sort of the same members, Sharp Objects, they're really good too. There's so many bands! Tons of good punk rock out there and I don't always know about it. OH, this is what you need to check out. This is really good! I just saw them at Punk Rock Bowling, it was their first time and the Sterns told me to go to the show, they were like you have to see this band, they're called Tarter Control. Have you heard of them?

Ok you need to check them out! You need to go on YouTube, there's two videos that I saw, anyways you need to check those out! Them live is amazing. I wanted to take those guys on tour, they totally blew me away. Check that out! You really gotta check that out!