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The Honor System
interview by: Mike Alfini November 2002

Mike: So what have you guys been up to lately?

Rob: We've basically just been home working and practicing. We're almost done writing a new record. We've been playing only a minimal amount of shows, so as to not sacrifice time that we could be practicing.

Mike: I see that you just re-released your last CD on 10" form. How is it working with Grey Flight records?

Rob: Grey Flight is really cool. We've known Grant and Julie for a while, and they've done all kinds of things to help us over the years. They're great people. Their philosophy on running a label, is that they only put out bands that they like, and that they make the records look as cool as possible. That's it. They're not worried about profits. I think that's really commendable.

Mike: I heard you guys are toying with the idea of releasing your next feature
yourselves is that true?

Rob: We're definitely talking about it. It's something that we've always wanted to do. We all pretty much share the "record label=unnecessary middleman" theory. Of course there are a handful of small labels, such as Grey Flight, that aren't looking for a piece of the profit. We just want to try doing it ourselves, so that we can be held responsible for everything. We've had our share of "mishaps" with our previous releases. If we do everything, we have no one to blame for mistakes but ourselves. Also, if it does well, we know that people are buying it because they actually like the music, not because it's on a certain label.

Mike: What is the main drive of the band these days?

Rob: Our main drive? I guess to put it simply (and kind of generically), we try to have fun playing our music and make ends meet at the same time.

Mike: Do you guy prefer to play inside Chicago or out?

Rob: That's kind of tough. It totally depends on the individual show.

Mike: Where are some places the Honor System likes to play in Chicago?

Rob: The obvious answer is the Fireside. That's kind of like a home for us. Also Dan's basement. Those shows are always a lot of fun. We've had mixed feelings about all of the other Chicago venues that we've played.

Mike: Where are some places the Honor System likes to play outside Chicago?

Rob: St. Louis is always great. Austin, New York City, Montreal, Boston, San Francisco. There's a lot. St. Charles...

Mike: Does the Honor System prefer to play all ages shows or 21 and over ones?

Rob: We almost always prefer to play all ages shows, but we still do the occasional 21 and over show, usually just in Chicago. We play here enough that an age restriction won't ruin anyone's chances of seeing us.

Mike: What do you think of the Chicago scene nowadays compared to other cities?

Rob: The Chicago scene, like the scene in other big cities, is comprised of a lot of different smaller groups of bands/people. There is no single "Chicago scene," whereas in a smaller city, you'll find more of a close-knit independent community where everyone knows everyone.

Mike: You guys were being booked by a booking agent and now you are doing it yourselves. What do you think of the idea of booking agents for punk bands?

Rob: Actually, we do have a booking agent helping us again. For us, booking shows is a lot of work, especially considering that we all work during the day. As long as the band stays involved with the process, I think it's fine. On the other hand, it sucks when a band uses a booking agent to do all of their dirty work, so they don't have to look like the assholes.

Mike: What do you think is important for punk or independent bands to still do themselves nowadays?

Rob: Same as the old days? I don't know. It's hard to set any kind of guidelines. I personally feel that it's more gratifying for a band to do things on their own. However, I think it's up to each individual band as to where to draw the line.

Mike: Do you think a lot of bands are forgetting why the started and just searching for fame lately?

Rob: It's probably always been that way. You just start to see it from a different perspective after you've been involved with it for a while. It definitely seems that bands aren't too worried about "selling out" anymore. But, when I was 16 and I thought that everyone was doing it for the right reasons, there were probably plenty of 25 year olds saying "nobody cares anymore." I like to think that there are lots of bands that are still doing it because they love playing music. We just don't know about them.

Mike: What bands do you respect that you think still keep it real?

Rob: Any band that manages to exist for a long time without writing straight-up pop is probably keeping it real. Those are the bands I tend to have a lot of respect for. Some names that come to mind are No Means No and the 4-Squares. Or Knuckleduster. Those guys have been around forever.  

Mike: Are there any bands that you just dont see a point for?

Rob: Halfassed Jackson, the PiRitz, Bumblefuck, and their contemporaries.

Mike: Have you guys ever lost friendships because of band politics?

Rob: Not to my knowledge. I don't think that we would ever let that kind of disagreement escalate to a point where we stopped being friends with someone.

Mike: What was the best experience you guys ever had with the band?

Rob: It's hard to narrow it down to one single experience. We've met lots of nice people and been to lots of interesting places.

Mike: Any last words?

Rob: Nice work with Redline. You guys have a cool thing going. The System wishes you well.

for more info on The Honor System please visit: http:

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