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"Remember Right Now"
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Spitalfield / DWAI
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interview by: Craig Sinister November 2002

Craig: Can you please give us a brief history of the band and members previous bands?

Spitalfield started playing together in early 1998, with the original four members all being freshman in high school. The band was started as a side project to the current hardcore bands that we all played in. Mark (vocals/guitar) and Blake (guitar) were both in the three piece Landmine, and JD (drummer) was in Strength In Numbers. A few line-up changed occurred over the years, and now we have Daniel on second guitar, who played bass for Don’t Worry About It, and TJ on bass, who has played in many bands, including Kill The Slavemaster and Knockout.

Craig: What have you released?

We just recently released "The Cloak & Dagger Club EP" on Sinister Label in October. Before that we did a split label release for our first full length "Faster Crashes Harder" on Walk In Cold Records / Sinister Label. Previous to that, we had our first release, a split 12" record with our pals Don’t Worry About It on Walk In Cold Records. Before that, we only released a few demo cds.

Craig: You guys have a new bass player, can you talk about that and how TJ came to be in the band.

Through the release of "The Cloak & Dagger Club EP" at the Metro this past September, our bass player had always been Terry Hahin. He was with us for over five years. The change from Terry to TJ came about slowly but surely over the previous spring and summer. Terry studies film at Columbia College in Chicago, and found himself out with the band every weekend playing shows, both near and far from home, and practicing with us a couple times a week, and not dedicating any time to his dream of film making at school (which was fine for a while, but an expensive dream to be studying). So we mutually decided that after the summer touring & the release of the last record we worked on together, that Terry would leave the band. This is when TJ stepped up to bat. We had seen TJ play a few times when we played with Knockout. He was a super nice guy, and we seemed to share many musical interests and views. When we heard about him leaving Knockout, we all got a little more serious about finding out more about him. And since he rules, it didn’t take much before we asked him to fill the shoes of Terry. And everything has been going super well thus far, and I can only see it getting better.

Being in a band is like a relationship. The band becomes one person with many different working parts. Everyone can have their own opinions, needs, beliefs, desires, and habits, while everyone needs to be on the same page in the grand scheme of things. I think we’re a very close band.

Craig: With only two original members in the band, how do you see this line up as opposed to others?

The difference between the current line up we have, and any other combination of line ups we have had is the over all level of heart we’re putting in to what we’re doing. The commitment is there in full form from everybody. We had never had full force from every angle of the band. Also, with the addition of TJ came the addition of another voice at the microphone, which takes some pressure off of Mark, and adds some cool harmonies that we couldn’t otherwise do live. We all feel very positively about the direction things are heading.

Craig: You guys could potentially fit into the whole pop/blink 182/Atticus debacle. What do you think of this consumerist phenomenon?

I don’t know what debacle means. Haha. But I can assume where you’re coming from with this…

I think, like anything else, it has pros and cons. We just like to make music that we love playing live and recording. We have influences all across the board, and if kids tap into that, and like what we’re doing, who cares who they are? Sure, there is something creepy about the complete commercialization of punk rock, but it will come and go. The music, and the scene in Chicago, will always be around, and will always be evolving. We plan to stick this out, and push as hard as we can to see where this can take us.

As long as we continue to make music that is fresh to us, we’ll let the cards fall where they will. Classification isn’t important and only limits your growth as a band as musicians and people. We just want to have fun and rock out.

Craig: On that same note, 5 years ago some of the bands around today would be considered sellouts, the Lawrence Arms having a Video on M2 while the singer once sang a song called "fuck you alternative radio". Do you think it is a progression of openness to commercial success or that bands are conditioning their fans to accept the fact that it is ok to do things that were totally unacceptable 5 years ago.

It’s kind of a tough thing to reach a complete conclusion on. In one aspect, I think it is super cool and exciting for bands from the scene to gain so much speed and support that they can even do something like M2 and be on commercial radio. But then there is the obvious down sides, where somebody in an office thinks they can make a lot of money, and the music becomes the 2nd most important thing. I could care less how big a band gets if they write good music. I don’t think it’s about "selling out" anymore, it’s about "quality as a band" and "making a living", which can mostly be based on live show and the records put the band puts out.

Craig: Some punk bands glorify drug abuse and that sort of lifestyle, how does Spitalfield as a band feel about that type of aesthetic that is actively installed into bands messages and meaning.

Since Mark writes the majority of the lyrics, he generally has the control over the message being sent out through our music. Of course, the live show is the four of us together, where we can all make impressions and send out vibes. In general, our lyrics are personal, about relationships with friends, family, and of course significant others, and while we don’t often tackle anything political, the lyrics are usually universal enough that the listeners can relate in some way to the message and thoughts of the songs. There examples that lean other directions as well, but that is just an overall outlook. Having fun is he most important thing to us, and putting on a fun live show is equally important to all of us. When kids take the time to drive out and see us play, we want to make it worth there while. That’s what we all look for when we go to see bands play, so why wouldn’t we carry that same standard to our own band when we perform?

Craig: Fireside Bowl now has rules and policies and regularly charges more, being a staple in punk rock for so long how does a band that plays there feel about these changes?

The benefit to the Fireside becoming more strict and serious is that the shows seem to run more smoothly, and bands have more of a commitment when playing there to try and be there on time, and keep there sets to a set time. It just seems more organized. But on the flipside, there was something to be said for $5 shows that started whenever they started, with little to zero consequences for anything happening. Because the Fireside was the slightly more punk rock alternative to the Metro, where touring bands good play with a stage, sound system, and a crowd (if the show was promoted well or at all). But even still, it is still one of our favorite places to play, and especially lately, we have found ourselves on some excellent bills there, including The Exit, The Casket Lottery, and The Stereo. And it’s almost scary to think that over the years, we have all been there hundreds of times to see hundreds of bands. The Fireside will always be the Fireside.

Craig: Most memorable show, biggest show, worst show?

I think as a whole, our most memorable show was a toss up between the first time we played the Metro, which is an experience in that of itself, and our release show for "Faster Crashes Harder" at a small venue (that is now gone) called the Velvet our in the suburbs.

Our biggest show would be the insane show that we got to play at in St. Louis at Washington University’s Spring Wild put on by the school. We shared the stage with Jurassic 5 and The Black Eyed Peas, as well as a local punk band from out there which we have now become friends with, Form Follows Failure. There were 30 kegs, and over 9,000 people spread out on the crowd. That was big. That was crazy. There was also a tornado, and a beer riot in the middle of the field the show was in. JD also lived out Motley Crue-esque fantasy’s in the fake back stage area of the Black Eyes Peas room (which was way better than the mini-room they gave us with the big picture of Mark McGwire.

The worst show ever goes to Lincoln, Nebraska this past summer while we were on tour with Fall Out Boy. We played to the sound guy, and three girlfriends from the local band. We couldn’t hear anything in the monitors, the bass amp was exploding, we had our roadie play drums, and terry’s pants ended up around his ankles. Oh yeah, there was also the "slayer intro" given to us by our roadie who had been drinking since noon at a local bar, the show started at 9pm. Then we had a 9 hour drive to Fort Collins, CO straight the night.

There was also a non-existent show in a big field in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we were paid $.85 cents to take us to take us to our next stop Houston, Texas. In between Tulsa and Houston = tattoos, a land locked hurricane, and a broken trailer. But it also involved 100 hot wings from Hooters and a pregnant Hooter’s waitress.

Craig: Aspirations for the future?

The one thing we can all agree on is that we want to tour full time. The support we’ve been receiving around and about Chicago-land has been wonderful. And after touring this past summer, we would love to take it to the next level, and forget about other commitments, and just go out and do it.

Craig: How is it working with the Sinister Label? I hear Craig is this alcoholic cut throat power monger, is this true?

Sinister Label is like putting out records with your best friend’s label, who just happen to be really good at what they do. We got lucky with them, because they haven’t just put out the records, they have helped promote them all over the place, from record stores across the country, to zines and distros. Not only that, but they are always looking out for us, and helping us to get shows, and interviews, and all that sort of stuff. And the best part is that they still come out to see us play, even though they have to be extremely sick of us by now.

Craig isn’t as much a power monger as he is a power lifter.

The thing about Craig is he has this attitude of "Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I’ve got, I’m still Jenny from the blocks".

And have you heard about the Ben Affleck thing? It’s all the rage!

Craig: Who would win in a grudge match Mike Alfini of the 4 Squares/Quincy Shanks or Mike Bachta of Sinister Label?

Mark: I think Alfini would win solely due to the help he would receive from Kirk Cameron. Sure, Bachta has bigger weapons and more coffee, but Kirk Cameron has the entire cast from Growing Pains to back him up. However, the more I think about this, the more even of a match is becomes. Bachta has the Cobra on his side. The Cobra! I don’t think Alfini would be able to handle to many Cobra chops. I’ll think about this some more next time I am in the shower.

Daniel: I think Alfini would just groan, and it would be at such a low frequency of pitch, like whales communicate, it would simply explode Bachta’s head. However Bachta could fight back by drinking numerous pots of coffee eating at least sixty 98% fat free blueberry muffins.

Craig: How would you feel if one of your fans told you that you and the Blue Meanies changed his life from being a gothic kid that made jewelry to a crusty punk that makes his own punk rock patches?

I would feel great, and then go to Hooter’s for some hot wings.

Craig: What bands would each of you want to play with for the awesomest show ever?

We’ve thought about this before… it goes like this….

We open for the following bill:

The Who
Dismemberment Plan
Braid/Hey Mercedes

This list combines that we can all agree that we love from the past and present. It would be the awesomest show ever.

Craig: Local bands you enjoy playing with? Local bands that most impress you?

Mark’s favorite local band at the moment is The Moped Band out of Naperville. Dan’s favorite is Chicago’s very own Owls. JD’s favorite local band is White Castle, and TJ is from Canada, so he likes Avril Lavigne.

Craig: Top five records currently listening to for each member.

1) The Stryder "Jungle City Twitch"
2) Hey Mercedes "Everynight Fireworks"
3) Motion City Soundtrack "I am the movie"
4) AFI "the art of drowning"
5) Glassjaw "worship and tribute"

1) The Used
2) Brand New "your favorite weapon"
3) Glassjaw "worship and tribute"
4) Lawrence Arms "Apethy and Exhaustion"
5) Hey Mercedes "Everynight Fireworks"

1) Pele mix cd
2) Interpol "turn on the bright lights"
3) Pavement "wowee zowee"
4) Owen "no good for nobody now"
5) The Supertones - ALL

for more info on Spitalfield please visit:

The Owls
The Lawrence Arms
"Ghost Stories"
Logan's Loss
"Riot Like"
"Chicago, Arise..."
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