Californian touring animal Lagwagon show no signs of slowing up as bassist Jesse tells True Punk.
Interview by Steve Tauschke with bassist Jesse Buglione.
You guys are on the road at the moment .. how's it all going?
"Great. We've been to Spain, Slovakia, Italy and England. The first three and a half weeks were with Blink 182 and then Guttermouth but their singer ending up getting throat nodules and having to go to the hospital to have surgery on his vocal chords. Now we're playing with a band from Berlin called the Beat Steaks who have some really raw, screaming punk rock songs as well as some almost progressive metal stuff and even some emo-core."
There was another time Lagwagon toured Europe and you wanted to meet Slayer .. tell us about that?
"Well, we tried to meet them! We played this festival with them, this was about three years ago, and we were really set on meeting them but basically their tour bus drove up to the stage and they got off and played and after they finished they left their guitars against the amps. We're all in the photo pit ready to meet them and but when we went up they were already on he tour bus driving away as their guitars were still feeding back. But we did meet Dave Lombardo. He was probably the coolest metal rock star I've ever met. Much cooler than Dave Mustaine."
Dave Mustaine snobbed you off didn't he?
"He just gave me probably the dirtiest look I've ever had in my life! It was great, much better than an autograph - I loved it! I was trying to walk up these stairs the same time Mustaine was trying to walk down and I was wearing a blue garbage bag over my head because it was raining. So I think it was a combination of the bag and the fact I was going up while he was trying to come down. When I got to the top he gave me a really dirty look. But it's really strange, we seem to be playing with all these metal bands in Europe, like Megadeth and Saxon which was really funny because they were just really old and wouldn't let any of us on stage."
Any other metal dinosaurs you played with?
"Um, Napalm Death, Grip Inc, Alice Cooper twice. One show he sounded great, the other show it wasn't too good. I was a little disillusioned about how old he looks just because he's not wearing his make up anymore."
So as a bassist are you fan of any metal bass players?
"I guess when I first started playing bass it was mostly heavy metal guys like Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) and Cliff Burton from Metallica. I really admire Joe from RKL, he's probably the most amazing finger player that I've heard, in this scene at least. I like the guy from Morphine too, just because he has a completely original style. He plays a two-string fretless bass with a slide and when they play live he pretty much changes the tuning for every song."
Last time I spoke to the band Joey mentioned he had no home due to your heavy touring schedule .. are you of no fixed address too?
"No, I pay rent on a place for about four months of the year. I've got friends who look after my cats. It's good to have your own bed to come home to."
Who genius idea was it for the title of the new album Double Plaidinum?
"That was Joey. We were kind of pressed to come up with a title at really short notice and one of them got arbitrarily chosen. We were originally going to call it Even Smart People Sail and the cover was going to be a B&W photo of Einstein in a sail boat!"
Ha! You managed to hook up with former Posies guy Ken Stringfellow on the record .. was he a hired gun for the sessions?
"He was basically doing a favour for us at the time. Our old guitar player quit a week before we were going into the studio and so we were hard pressed to find a new guitar player. Coincidentally, my girlfriend's sister lives with Ken in Seattle and he had heard of our records through her. So he was really enthusiastic about it. He flew down when we were already in the studio and he basically learnt all the songs in the studio. He had a lot of input on the guitar tones and the backing vocals on one song. We covered No-one Like You by the Scorpians for a heavy metal compilation too."
He's a great songwriter, did he help at all in co-writing any of the songs?
"No. At the time, we were really anxious to work with him on songs because his band the Posies had just been dropped from Geffen and he was looking at us as a long term project. And then the Poises ended up getting back together and they've just finished recording a new album. So now we have Chris Rest from Rich Kids on LSD on guitar. They're one of our major influences so it's really cool to have him."
Is your former guitarist Shawn still with Buck Wild?
"Yeah, that's actually the main reason he left this band. Two weeks after he quit, while we were in the studio, he went to Europe with Buck Wild. I think they're counting on recording an album."
Wasn't your second guitarist Chris Flippin also in Buck Wild?
"He was, for about 8 months and it came to the point where Shawn quit and went off to Europe but Chris wanted to stay. It was kind of an ultimatum thing."
What about Joey, is he still toying around with Me First & The Gimme Gimmes?
"Yeah, Joey and our drummer Dave are both in that. I think they're planning to record again in December."