PZO: As a band, what are your best qualities?
Ben G: Our live show. It’s all about the live show.
Jerad: I second that because we all switch instruments and so it’s something unique and different. We all have instrument ADD, so it’s fun.
PZO: What’s a common compliment people give you as a band and individually?
Jackson: “We love your live show.”<laughs> It’s always amazing, you know, after the show we see people and they tell us how much they had an amazing time and how they met a new best friend of theirs or I think one of the best compliments we ever received was a CD from a fan who had been inspired by us to form her own band and that was a huge compliment right there.
Ben G: The Oh Noz!.
PZO: That’s what they’re called?
Ben G: Yeah, N-O-Z.
Jackson: Well, I’m not wearing a hat right now, but usually they say that’s a nice hat.
<Jerad puts his hat on Jackson>
Ben J: Nice hat.
Ben G: People always tell me to change my clothes. I have a very slim selection of t-shirts that I wear.
Jerad: I thought he was going to say distinct odor.
Ben G: Well yeah, that too.
Ben J: They kind of go hand in hand.
Ben G: People are always like, “Oh man, you’re wearing the skeleton shirt again?”
Ben J: I haven’t taken it off, man.
Ben G: I get a lot of skeleton t-shirts. I’m very thankful for them all.
Jackson: I’m kind of jealous of that actually. You get all these awesome skeleton t-shirts.
Ben G: I got a stuffed animal today.
PZO: What’s the last good deed you did?
Ben G: We were lucky enough to play with this awesome art school down in Baton Rouge, Louisana. We were just there for four months working on our album, Liquid Zoo. It’s called Runnels High School and we played this show to benefit their arts department and their drama department. We played in this theatre like a playhouse theatre and some bands that were made of students that attend the school opened up for us and they made all of these hand drawn unicorns and griffins and what else was there? There was all sorts of cool mythological creatures, so we taped them all over the instruments and the stage. It was a great night all together. It was really cool.
PZO: What event in your life had the greatest impact on you?
Jackson: That’s a hard question. I guess being born. <silence> Yeah, but no.
Jerad: The day I learned how to drive. It changed my life.
Ben J: That’s a game changer right there, the day when it all clicked.
Jerad: When I first stole my buddy’s guitar from him because he never played it. That was a game changer.
Ben J: I guess maybe the day you first start playing you don’t necessarily realize the big impact it will have, you know, until you look back at it ‘cause at the time you’re not necessarily planning on it.
Uncle Larry: The spirit of music, the spirit of music. All the rest follows.
Ben J: Yeah.
PZO: What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?
Jackson: Skydiving. I really want to go skydiving. Every time I get an opportunity I have to do something else. Something else comes up. I hate that. I want to jump out of an airplane.
Ben J: I want to travel the world. I’ve never really gotten to go across an ocean yet.
Ben J: Yeah, not all the way across, some of the way, but not yeah.
Jerad: That’s a little known Ben Johnson trivia.
Ben J: Been all over this country, but..
Jerad: I thought he had a lot of culture behind him, but I was fooled.
Ben J: Nah, just a dumb American.
PZO: What’s the best lesson you’ve ever learned?
Jackson: Best lesson—my dad always taught me “You give love to get love and you give respect to get respect.” That’s one of the best lessons I have learned and I learned the hard way. <laughs> When I was young I always, in golfing terms, I played it in the rough. That’s what my dad says. I don’t golf. I don’t know how. That’s one thing I might, should do whenever I get some time—take up golfing, so I can golf with my dad. That’s kind of cool.
Jerad: Or you can teach him guitar.
Jackson: Or I can teach my dad how to play piano, teach my dad to play drums.
Ben J: That’d be pretty sweet.
Jerad: We can call him on stage tonight. Teach him in front of everybody.
Jackson: Here you go, dad. This is a G chord. Sorry audience, this is going to take about five minutes to get this song off.
PZO: Would he do it?
Jackson: Would he do it? Oh yeah. Yeah, probably. He’d probably do it. It’d be funny.
PZO: Given the opportunity, who would you kidnap for a day and what would you do? Cool kidnap, nothing violent.
Jackson: I don’t know. I might cool kidnap Clint Eastwood. Be like, “Teach me how to be so cool.” That’s what we would do. Spend the day—he would give me <imitates Clint Eastwood> lessons on how be like Clint Eastwood. Or I’d get him kidnapped to play jazz piano because he’s an amazing pianist. It’s ridiculous.
Jerad: I would kidnap my late Grandfather, I’d have to d—nevermind I can’t do that.
Jackson: Go back in time.
Jerad: Yeah, I would have to take a time machine. I would have to steal him from back in the day and then he would take me fishing and we would talk about life.
Ben G: I want to kidnap the mothman.
Ben G: and stare at him and get to see the mothman in full detail.
Ben J: Then you’re going to feel that ultimate evil.
Jackson: You’re going to look into the eyes of evil?
Ben G: Yeah, I’m going to look into his deep glooming eyes. You don’t even know if mothman is evil that is just—
Ben J: But everyone says that they feel this like evil presence.
Ben G: Everyone can be wrong sometimes, you know.
Jackson: About evil presence? When have you been like, “I think it’s an evil presence—oh wait, no. It’s an angelic presence.”
Jackson: I mean sometimes it goes the other way.
PZO: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
Ben G: I can give you some.
Ben G: I’m really good at bad advice.
Jackson: Oh man.
Ben G: There was the one time that I advised we put the snow chains on the front of the car instead of the rear of the car.
Jackson: Oh my god.
Ben G: Which doesn’t work.
Jackson: He’s like, “No no, it’s on the van, the front wheel drive” and I was like, “Nah, its back wheel drive, man.” Then we like go up the mountain and start sliding like this, sliding like that and I’m like, “Ben, you’ve got to pull over, dude. You’re going to kill us both. This is not cool.”
Ben G: Then we changed the things in the snow on the side of the mountain.
Jackson: We like brushed the snow aside to find the chains.
Ben G: Definitely not good advice.
PZO: What was the last meaningful thing you did?
Jackson: Last meaningful thing. That’s a good question. Well, depends what’s of meaning. But you know, I think just seeing my folks. My folks came into town this weekend and just spending time with them last night was very meaningful. That was amazing.
Uncle Larry: Being here to perform again all together in a brand new year.
Ben G: Yeah, it’s good just being back in town. Just got back to L.A. after being out of town for a long time. Getting to see everyone you haven’t seen in a long time. Celebrating birthdays with your friends and stuff is good stuff.
PZO: If your home was on fire what’s the one thing you’d make sure to save?
Jackson: My cat. Yeah, it would be a really tough decision between the guitar and the cat, but I would choose the cat. But I would stand there for at least a couple of minutes thinking about it.
Ben G: My toothbrush, you know, because you never really think about grabbing your toothbrush when you’re leaving unexpectedly and then you go to sleep in a hotel.
Jackson: Hotels usually have--
Ben G: You have to use those little toothbrushes.
Ben G: You’re going to be having a tough night and a long morning. So get your own toothbrush.
Jackson: Well, in that case you might as well steal a bottle of whiskey too.
Ben G: That’s true and take the liquor.
Jackson: Take the liquor.
Jerad: I have a lot of candid photos of Ben. He’s wearing like a sport coat and he just rolled out of bed and he’s travelling somewhere and he’s got his toothbrush in the front pocket, it’s like a thing.
Jackson: It started out really nice though. I have a lot of candid pictures of Ben.
Jerad: Just out of bed.
Jerad: In the morning wearing nothing, but a sport coat and a toothbrush in the front pocket.
Ben G: Let’s be serious, like four in the afternoon.
PZO: Tell us 3 random things about yourself that most people don’t know.
Ben G: My favorite color is blue, I’m left handed and I was born in Texas.
Jackson: I was born in Singapore and I uh can’t grow a mustache.
Jackson: and I’m color blind, so yeah I can’t see rainbows very well. No double rainbow for me.
Jerad: I have issues paying attention to my surroundings, so I bump into things a lot. I’m fluent in sign language and I like to draw cartoons. <laughs>
Ben J: I bite my fingernails a lot, I’m left handed and I never had a television growing up.
Jerad: Wow, I didn’t know that.
Uncle Larry: Well, I like chocolate ice cream.
Jackson: I did not know that!
Uncle Larry: I’m going to start there. I’m very conscious of what I can’t see and let’s just say I used to play the oboe.
Ben G: Another fact about the group that most people don’t know is that we are authors.
Jackson: Oh yeah.
Ben G: Celebrated members of the literary world is in the near future for us.
Jackson: Our first novel, highly acclaimed actually, is being considered for a couple of awards and it’s going to a bunch of different literature festivals and publishers around the world. We’re actually going to have it available on our website very shortly, I think.
Ben G: Very shortly. Early April we’re going to have our book done.
Ben G: Yeah, it’s got a foreword by Brady Bell.
Jackson: Yeah, Brady Bell is our resident writer. He’s been a big mentor for us in our writing process because it’s very difficult.
Ben G: It’s incredibly deep and intelligible story with unbelievably thought out, geniusly thought out plot.
Jerad: There is even illustrations in it.
PZO: Did you guys do those?
Jackson: Everything is original. I mean Oprah is considering it for book of the month, so.
PZO: How long did it take?
Ben G: Well, it’s still a process we are still in the middle of. It’s been a labor of love that’s lasted over, well it’s hard to tell. When you sit down and actually put the pen to paper and then there’s the lifetime of experience that feeds it.
Jerad: <laughing> Put the pen to paper.
Jackson: Put the pen to paper?
PZO: What’s one thing you would not do for any amount of money? Aside from anything illegal.
Jackson: Oh, the illegal stuff I would do for money. Yeah, all of it. Yeah, I don’t know. I probably—you couldn’t pay me any amount of money to eat gum off the sidewalk. I’m not like a germaphobe, but I’m not into doing really stupid things. That’s the only really stupid thing I can think of. I’d pretty much do anything else, so.
Jerad: You’d eat poop off the sidewalk?
Jackson: No. No, that kind of goes along with the sidewalk area. Pretty much not eating things off the ground unless it’s the five second rule. I’ll even extend it to 15 seconds. I don’t really care, but if I didn’t drop it there I’m not putting it in my mouth.
PZO: What if someone spits in a cup?
Jackson: Spits in a cup? Oh yeah. Yeah, why not.
Jackson: I once drank an entire cup of dip spit. Oh yeah, it was a dare. It was mine and I abruptly vomited.
Ben J: Yeah, I’d imagine that was pretty abrupt.
Jackson: It was abrupt vomit.
Jerad: I don’t think you could pay me to kill someone.
PZO: How about anything not illegal?
Jerad: Oh, I guess that’s illegal, huh? I mean in this country it is.
Jerad: I don’t think I would want to punch an animal especially a cute one.
Jackson: See, I would. I would do that.
Jackson: It would be a lot of money, but I would totally punch a kitten.
Ben G: Pay top dollar to punch a cute bunny rabbit.
Jackson: I will pay you one billion dollars if you punch this baby bunny.
Ben G: Hit this rabbit.
Jackson: You wouldn’t do it for a million dollars, Jerad?
Jerad: I would crush a hamster with a hammer.
Jackson: What? But you wouldn’t punch it?
Jerad: No, I wouldn’t.
Ben J: Wow, that’s kind of dark.
Jerad: You know, I would take a jackhammer to a cow, maybe.
Jackson: Is that to tenderize the meat? I mean, what is that?
Jackson: PETA is going to try to kill you.
PZO: What’s your best childhood memory?
Uncle Larry: Picking up my first instrument.
Jackson: First time I ever was on stage. First time I ever got on stage I was in first grade and I was living in Norway at the time and I performed a lip-sync because I was this kindergartner, almost. Just out of kindergarten—first grade and I lip-synced to “Chantilly Lace” - The Big Bopper. <deep voice> “Hello there, baby.”
Ben J: Nice.
Jackson: That was my first time on stage and my parents still talk about it and we don’t have the tape or anything, but somewhere in like the boxes of storage there is a tape of little tiny me lip-syncing The Big Bopper. I’ve never seen it, but I remember it when I was a little kid like really excited about rolling my sleeves up and gelling back my hair, then I get up on stage, I’m wearing sunglasses and I turn around and I <deep voice> “Hello, baby.” Everybody went crazy because it was like a high school. It was The International School of Stavanger, so it was like first grade all the way to high school. I was one of the first acts to go on and then high school bands performed. It was awesome.
Ben J: When I was in kindergarten—you remember that book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs that was told from the perspective of the wolf?
Ben J: It was a big picture book and it’s from the wolf’s perspective, so—
Jerad: It’s so much better.
Ben J: Yeah, the pigs screwed him over and he was trying to be nice and these pigs just cooked him up and I like loved that book.
Ben J: My parents read it to me a few times and I got up in front of my whole class and read it to them, but I couldn’t actually read. I just memorized the story.
Jackson: You couldn’t even read. That’s awesome.
Ben J: I was like insisting they read it to me every night. I like pretended to read it and turned the pages and recited the story. I was like obsessed with it.
Uncle Larry: That’s cool.
Ben J: It was fun.
PZO: What’s one life experience you would like to relive?
Jerad: These are tough questions, man.
Jackson: <laughs> It’s…<laughs> I know mine, but I shouldn’t say it.
Uncle Larry: Mmmm. <silence> Mmmm.
Uncle Larry: Two chicks at the same time.
Jackson: Uncle and I are on the same brain wavelength.
PZO: I think we all got it.
PZO_Camera_Friend: I think everybody got it.
Jackson: Got what? Oh.
Jackson: My first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Jackson: <sigh> No, not that.
Uncle Larry: Mmmm mmm.
PZO: So that’s what the kids are calling it these days.
Jerad: Yeah, they’re getting younger too like in seventh grade.
Jackson: Yes, wait ‘til you’re married.
Uncle Larry: Yeah.
Jackson: Before you have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together.
PZO: Does everyone have the same one?
Ben G: If I could relive that moment right before you fall asleep when you’re starting to kind of dream, but you don’t know if you’re totally asleep yet. But you only get like three seconds of that every day. This way you’d get like an hour of that. That would be pretty killer.
Ben J: and remember everything from it too because that’s always when you have the best ideas, you know. You’re like, “That’s such a good idea. I should write that down before I fall asleep.” <dozes off>
Ben G: A good solid hour of that would be pretty sweet.
PZO: What’s one question you’ve never been asked in an interview that you would like to be asked?
Jackson: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
PZO: What is it?
Jackson: No, that was the question. You can’t ask the question.
PZO: That’s the point of asking the question to get the answer.
Jackson: <sigh> Okay. My favorite cartoon character is probably Eric Cartman.
Ben G: Damnit.
Jackson: I’m sorry. Yeah, well it’s just South Park in general. It’s such an amazing show and the character of Cartman makes me laugh a lot.
PZO: Which song are you guys most proud of out of all your songs?
Ben G: Well, we are pretty proud of our new song, “Animals” that we’re going to be playing tonight. We haven’t played it..
Jackson: In L.A.
Ben G: We haven’t played it yet. It’s brand spankin’ new. It’s got that new song smell.
Jackson: It does.
Jerad: Nevermind the sound. It smells great.
Jackson: I think it’s always the newest song. It’s like your baby. It’s like if you have a dog and then you get a puppy. The puppy’s cuter. Still love the dog, you’re going to do anything for the dog, but the puppy’s cuter.
Jerad: Yeah, it’s got that new puppy thing.
Jackson: New puppy smell.
Uncle Larry: They do have one.
Jerad: It still makes mistakes though. It pee’s where it’s not supposed to.
Ben J: Right. <laughs>
PZO: Right now you’re working on your upcoming release, Liquid Zoo. How’s that coming along?
Ben G: Liquid Zoo is almost completed and we’re going to be announcing our release date very soon. We’re really excited for it.
Jackson: We were recording that album at Scott “The Scientist” Coslett’s studio in Van Nuys, CA. Down the street was a fantastic bar. The first time we went in there there’s like a band jamming on stage in this little bar and we were like, “Ah cool, this is nice.” It turned out to be an open jam and they invited us up to go play. So we kind of just jammed there and it became our bar to go to. When we were working on the album when somebody else was doing a vocal take, say Johnson was doing a vocal take, Grauper, Jerad, Uncle and I and whoever else was around would run down to the bar and have like a beer or two and come back and listen to the take. It was amazing. The bar was called Liquid Zoo. It was one of the inspirations. I remember standing there after a couple shots of whiskey and being like, “Liquid Zoo, man. That’s a great name for an album.”
Jackson: “Dang, that’s great.”
Jackson: “Yeah, yeah.” But it was fun. It’s a really amazing bar and it’s run by some really extremely, extremely nice people.
PZO: What would be your pitch to get people to listen to your music?
Jerad: It would be like this. <grabs Jackson’s neck and starts shaking it> Listen to our music!
Jackson: Okay, fine I will!
Jackson: It’s effective.
Ben G: Give them a CD and be like, “Hey, you should listen to this.” They might like it. That’s usually the pitch I use. I don’t want to say you’re going to like it.
Ben J: Like “Hey! You should check it out” is usually what Ben says. <laughs>
Jackson: I think handing them the music really helps. I think that official gesture.
Ben J: It really puts it on them at that point.
Jackson: It’s kinda like, “Yeah, I’m not really into unwrapping plastic.” “Okay, I’ll unwrap it for you.” “Yeah, I don’t really take CDs out and put it in the CD player. I have a USB drive in my car.”
Ben G: The future.
Jackson: The future.