Words: Yasi Salek
Photos: Alice Baxley
I love a good acronym band name. INXS, UB40, EMF (“Unbelievable” is a REALLY good song, okay?), AFI (but just the first album before Davey Havoc went all SWF on Danzig), the list goes on. But in the world of “WTF does that band’s name mean?” (See what I did there?), FIDLAR is more than just a band: it’s a spiritual philosophy. The letters stand for Fuck It Dawg, Life’s A Risk (actually I think it’s Dog, I just happen to prefer Dawg and I’m writing this so suck it, dawg), which I am very into as I already practice the glorious ways of DGAF and YOLO and SMD and the like (I’m very devout).
FIDLAR worships at the joint altars of no rules and no fucks given, and makes fuzzy garage-punk that sounds like Blink-182 on a bender, catchy and dark and hook-ridden and boozy and blood-stained and totally fucking awesome. Let me put it another way: one time I was fighting with this dude I was in an emotional-holocaust of a relationship with and I was high on Jack Daniels and adrenaline, laying on the sidewalk out in front of the bar, concurrently laughing hysterically and screaming at him that I wished he would die. FIDLAR sounds like that.
I went over to their house and had a cup of tea with Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel, and Elvis and Max Kuehn (no seriously, it was chamomile) as they geared up for their Altamont-sponsored tour with Pangea and Meat Market. We laughed, we cried, and we talked about this stuff:
How did you guys all meet?
Brandon: I met Zac when we moved to LA through his brother in law Ryan Baxley who now does a lot of our videos, and then Zac met Elvis at studio they were working at, The Ship in Glassel Park, and so that’s the chain. We all basically met from them working at that studio.
Zac: Chain of creation.
So what spurred you guys to form a band together?
Zac: We just jammed for like three or four hours straight one of the first times we met, and then we just thought, ah this works. We liked the same kind of music, and we played the same way, kind of, and wanted to play loud stuff. We’d just get really drunk and jam. Before it was even a band, it was just us jamming.
Brandon: It was us going into the studio they worked out after hours and just fucking around and making songs.
What was the first band that changed your life?
Zac: Blink-182. Dude Ranch man, that’s why. Dude Ranch is amazing.
Max: Green Day.
Brandon: Pangea. They just changed the way I view the world, in general.
For better or for worse?
Brandon: For sures, they did.
Max: Oh for sures they did, dude.
Ok then. What was the first CD you ever bought?
Zac: Probably Dr. Dre The Chronic.
Brandon: I can’t remember the first one but I remember stealing Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashmouth from Target.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik?
Brandon: No, it was Californication. And the other Smashmouth one with “All Star” on it.
Zac: Do you remember Tower Records?
Yeah, for sure. I had one by my house in Torrance. I lined up to buy Bush tickets there when I was like 12.
Max: You must have been a Machinehead.
More of a “Glycerine”. Anyway, back to CDs.
Max: I don’t know … I’ll just say Dookie.
Elvis: I have a memory of buying The Marshall Mathers LP. I also remember having Cake Fashion Nugget. The one with “I Will Survive”.
What are the best and worst parts about having a dad in a band? [Max and Elvis’ dad is in T.S.O.L, FYI, NBD, ETC.]
Max: Best is getting to go a bunch of cool shows, and the worst is uh … he comes to all your shows.
Elvis: Yeah I guess best is getting all of his old records and seeing old punk bands and the worst is … I don’t know, just having a dad in a band.
Let’s talk about touring. Who is the most annoying person on tour?
Who picks the music in the van?
Zac: We all rotate.
Max: Whoever is driving.
Is there something that gets played the most, regardless of who is picking?
Zac: Marc Maron.
Max: WTF Podcast.
Who changes their clothes the least often on tour?
Zac: Yeah definitely me. But I shower a lot.
What’s the best made-up genre name that has been attached to your band?
Zac: Bukowski punk.
What’s the worst?
Zac: Someone compared us to Red Hot Chili Peppers one time.
And you were not psyched?
Zac: It just doesn’t make any sense.
Brandon: He was a little psyched.
What are the top three best shows you have ever played?
Elvis: With Black Lips at The Observatory, that was one.
Max: This last show we played in London at Dingwalls.
Elvis: And our record release show at The Echo with The Shrine and Pangea and Meat Market.
Speaking of that line up, what’s going to happen on this FIDLAR, Pangea, Meat Market tour? Give me your predictions:
Zac: Danny’s going to die.
Brendan: I think fourth quarter we’re going to pull it out in the last two minutes.
Max: Uh yeah, Danny’s probably going to die.
Elvis: A lot of farting.
Who is going to make out?
Zac: I’ll probably make out with Will. It’s happened before.
Brandon: I probably won’t make out with Will.
Max: I probably won’t make out with Will. That’s my prediction. No Will make-out.
Elvis: Not gonna make out with Will.
Say something nice about Pangea.
Zac: Fuck them.
Brandon: Pangea are fantastic dressers.
Max: They whip up the best cream cheese.
Elvis: Danny puts beards on keyboards. That’s how he explained his art to me. He said “I just take keyboards, and I put beards on them.”
If Meat Market had to say something nice about you guys, what would they say?
Brandon: They would say that we are … nice boys.
Max: And we whip up a fine cream cheese.
What’s up next for FIDLAR?
Zac: Japan Feb 1, after this tour, then Europe.
Brandon: Album comes out January 22nd, shit gonna drop.
Max: It’s a Tuesday.
It’s always a Tuesday, Max.
Max: I know dat, but they don’t know dat.
Brandon: It’s called self-titled. No it’s not called self-titled, but it IS self-titled. And then SXSW and US tour, and then some other tour, and then another tour, and then probably another tour.
ALTAMONT PRESENTS the FIDLAR/Pangea Tour:
Thursday, January 17th - Davis @ House Party at Babeylon All ages
Friday, January 18th - San Francisco @ Amoeba in store at 6:00 PM Bottom of the Hill All Ages
Saturday, January 19th - Santa Cruz @ The Atrium (inside the Catalyst) 16+
Sunday, January 20th - Santa Ana @ Constellation Room (inside the Observatory) All Ages
Tuesday, January 22nd - LA Show @ location TBA
Thursday, January 24th - Amoeba in Store in LA at 6:00 PM
Friday, January 25th - San Diego @ Che Cafe. All Ages