Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Interview: the Mean Reds

By Marcos Hassan

Out of the bored-laced suburban landscapes sometimes come forms of expression that are hardly healthy or safe, one of them is the Mean Reds. Formed in Tucson, Arizona a few years ago, the band has been able to build an image very few bands can live up to, yet they do just that; their stage shows are often compared to those by legends like the Germs and even the Stooges (shocking people in new millenium, no less), playing excitedly in crazy outfits that often get teared up as the band plays on with such aggression and adrenaline that people often leave thinking they saw some kind of homoerotic hardcore band. The musicians they call heroes are the very distinctive and very different Hillary Duff and Children Of Bodom, but the music, while it sometimes resembles some kind of bubblebum thrash metal, is far more difficult to point out, like if a mix cd with very diverse music (including classical, techno and carnival/circus music, along with metal, hardcore punk and hip hop) got scratched up and sped up while becoming the soundtrack for wild, crazed kids tearing down everything inside a fun house at a theme park (not as strange as you think, one of the agreements in their first contract was a year-long pass to Disney “for inspiration”). The band has become to being a necessity these days as a non conformist entity in a world of ass licking punk rockers, having proving this by getting kicked out of the Warped Tour last summer, and while it may seem like the band is just a fun loving prankster crew, the band does have a very oppositional message against capitalism and banality. A not so simple band playing hardly simple music making it seem really simple. Last year they released the Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP on the Record Collection label last year.

Marcos Hassan (The Obsolete): Please introduce yourself

Anthony Anzalone, Mean Reds, vocalist.

What inspired you to play music?


I can relate; i guess that has to do with where you grew up. So how did life in Tucson impacted your life as people and as a band?

I dunno, there’s not a lot to do here, so playing music was a good way to waste time.

It doesn’t sound like you’re just “wasting time”; in fact, your music is like a mixture of fun and anger. How do you make it work?

It’s not really a conscious thing, i mean you talk to us, you can see that we basically are a mix between a fueled hate of the world and it’s greed and bullshit but we take nothing serious.

What's the Mean Reds' mission?

Basically trying not to sound pretentious; we want to make music that’s interesting and will get minds active, I mean, we know that the world needs to change,especially the USA, and this is just one way we felt like we could contribute to that.

Do you consider yourselves musicians?

Yeah sure, why not?

How much time do you dedicate to practicing/rehearsing, and how much time do you dedicate to partying?

We try to practice/write songs everyday or every other day when we aren’t touring. As far as partying goes every one’s different, some of us party every night, others only on rare occasions.

Will you ever make a long player instead of only EPs? or do you think the EP is the best format for you?

We actually haven’t wanted to release any EPs haha, they both have been under weird circumstances but this july/august, our full length is coming out, we’re excited about that.

Cool, looking forward to it. Now, here’s an idea: If you could release a 7" called Children Of Duff, what Children of Bodom song and what Hillary Duff song would you cover?

Woah!! That’s a pretty good idea!! Hahahaha. I guess we would have to go with more so than doing straight covers, maybe mixing the songs together; maybe (Children Of Bodom’s) “Red Light In My Eye Pt 2” or “Children Of Decadence”, “Bed Of Razors”, (Hillary Duff’s) “Love Just Is”. So it would be called "Love Just Is A Bed Of Razors". I dunno, i would have to work on it.

To you, is Hillary Duff a saint, a muse or a centerfold?

I dunno, the infactuation is more with Lizzie Mcguire than Hillary Duff, I mean, the show represents how fucked up and normal everything is and is easy for us to relate to, hahaha. Uh, i mean... fuck.

On that note, a lot of older people compare you to stuff they grew up on like the Stooges, Germs and GG Allin, for example. Do you think these comparisons are fair?

I don’t think that our performance or sound resembles those bands and we are trying the best we can to make something fairly original but I hope that we can supply an energy that all those bands had or (something) similar to it. So i am glad if people leave feeling effected somehow.

You got kicked out of the Warped tour, how punk is that?

Well, i’m really tired of telling the story so to sum it up, the people who run it are capital whores selling out kids and so I pissed my pants in protest of it and they felt that a "punk" festival didn’t need things like that.

But did you al least make any friends at the Warped tour?

I guess. My Chemical Romance would give us their beer and cigarettes which was friendly.

Yeah, it’s kinda friendly; it’s fucked how things like the Warped tour try to market something that means or meant something so big to so many people and now they’re just shrink–wrapping it and selling it like bags of chips, that’s fucked. So what does punk mean to you?

Punk is something that can’t be defined and when it is, it’s no long punk, if that makes any sense.

More than you think, now i want to ask you about something that’s either very punk rock or the opposite of punk, depending on who you’re asking it to. What's with the stage clothes? Where do you get ideas to wear that?

We always try to wear a different outfit and the ideas come from joking around mostly. We wear them to show the sillyness of caring about style and thinking it’s important, like we try to look stupid so no one walks always thinking: "that band was soo cool, they dressed so cool..."

A very punk answer in my book. How often do people get naked at your shows and why do you think is that? How sexual do you think your shows really are?

It’s never on purpose getting naked, someone just always seems to depants me, its kind of like gym class. I don’t think the shows are sexual at all, I mean when i am naked, I think of it as more akward and mildly disgusting, never sexual.

Have you ever got distracted for watching someone cute get naked in the audience while playing?

No, i’m more likely to spit on someone getting naked sexually than be attracted to it.

So what are you digging musically right now? What are you listening to lately?

Lately, I have been trying to find a record of this band called the Maids from Japan in the 80’s (if any one has it, contact me), but a lot of Japanese hardcore i guess, the Hold Steady, 77-ish LA shit and weird jazz my friend turned me onto.

What's next for you guys?

We have a tour in June with Wires On Fire and then in July we’re going to Japan and we basically want to stay on tour as much as possible and get our record out.


Octopus Too.mp3
both from Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP

The Mean Reds' page: http://themeanreds.net
The label - Record Collection: www.recordcollectionmusic.com
Buy Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP at Amazon

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