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SXSW 2004 : Interviews Lawrence Arms

By Jenifer Hanen

Chris from Lawrence Arms Omni Hotel Brendan from Lawrence Arms

DIY Punk Rock Bowling 2002 - The lovely ladies of bowled right next to the nice young gentlemen of The Lawrence Arms. Neil, Chris, and Brendan were freshly signed to Fat Wreck, very excited, and very nice. When was given the opportunity to interview The Lawrence Arms fellows at SXSW 2004, we jumped on it to see how they have faired and if they have survived the rigors known as touring...

Well, we are here to tell you that the Lawrence (Larry) Arms are just as nice and lovely as they were two years ago, a wee bit more tattoo'd and road weary, but still a lot more fun than the average bear or band for that matter. As I was waiting for a Fat Wreck staffer to escort me to the interview location, Neil the drummer stopped me to say hi and ask how things were. He asked after Bowling this year, as he went off to find some lunch.

Fat Wreck's Vanessa gave me Chris and Brendan of the Lawrence Arms to interview. We walked down to the end of the hallway and sat on the floor near the window, as Brendan showed off his new tattoo that he had gotten the night before. I was nursing the remanants of a nasty migraine headache that rendered me unable to ask a coherent question and was with out a tape recorder, thus I took handwritten notes of our short interview and here it is:

Ms. Jen: What has been new in the world of Lawerence Arms?
Chris: We have a new record and lots of touring. We have been on the last 2 weeks of their first U.S. headlining tour and will be headlining in Europe in April.
Brendan (joking): Chris and I recently became common law spouses. Now I am under his health plan, which is a good thing since he me me a host of STDs.

Matt Sciba walked up at this point of the interview to see why we were sitting on the floor and if anything interesting was happening, and I asked him if he was able to get to the Communique show that I gave him directions for after the Supagroup show the night before. Matt said yes and, “It was weird ‘cause I got totally fucked up but I remember everything.” Back to the Larry Arms...

Ms. Jen: How do you like being the headlining band on this last tour?
Brendan: About the same. Its cool.
Chris:Headlining sucks, because all the pressure is on you. If no one comes…. Opening is easy.

Ms. Jen: Ok..When you were 16 and dreaming of being in a band, could you have imagined what it would be like reach your current stage of band world (i.e. headlining through the US and Europe)?
Brendan: Yes, this is everything I dreamed of, perhaps more.
Chris (sarcastic): We’ve done all the painful parts – sitting in vans, sitting in hotels, clubs, and meeting a lot of weirdos.
Chris: Actually, it is a lot of sitting. It is easy to develop a substance abuse habit. Ludes are back.

Ms. Jen: I am sorry, but my head is still evil and I can't think of much more to ask, so how about the creative aspects of the band?
Chris: The creative force is the driving force of what we do.

Ms. Jen: What is a better high? Drugs or playing live?
Brendan : The best is both.

Ms. Jen: What are you listening to in the van?
Chris: Very little.
Brendan: Against Me, No Means No, and Manu Chao.

Big thanks to Chris and Brendan for being gracious in the face of my headache and lack of preparedness.