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members present:
 Jon Berndtson
conducted on:
October 2002

by: Stephen Bronner
official website
shout-out to PZO


PZO: What question comes up in every interview, that you are tired of being asked?
Jon: Oh, I think everyone always asks us if weíre an emo band, if we would classify ourselves as an emo band. And I donít care whatever people want to classify music as if they would say weíre an emo band thatís fine, if thatís the way someone can classify a genre of music whether itís one type or another when heís not even into emo or indie music, heíll listen to it and be like, hey you guys sound like Korn or something. People donít know you know what I mean, thatís what Iím saying people have different ways of classifying music.
PZO: People always have to clump bands together.
Jon: Yeah exactly.
PZO: I donít like when people do that, itís like every band does their own thing unless theyíre copying off someone else.
Jon: Yeah, I think thatís the question we always get asked though if we consider ourselves an emo band, and Iím just like whatever if you want to consider us that thatís fine you know, but I definitely think weíre a rock band playing music. Itís not like we set out and said weíre going to be an emo band, weíre just going to play music.

PZO: What do you have in your pockets right now?
Jon: In my pockets? <laughs> I got a pack of extra gum, I got my wallet, my CMJ pass and my cell phone thatís pretty much it.
PZO: No lint or anything?
Jon: Actually, these pants I havenít washed them forever cause weíve been on tour for a long time. Letís see I got cash, which is very slim to none, and I got some Tylenol pills because Iím sick. And a guitar pick.
PZO: You have a cold?
Jon: Yeah a really bad one.
PZO: I had it last week and I couldnít even talk.
Jon: Itís been killing me lately.
PZO: Everyone around me has been catching it like the whole cold thing.
Jon: I havenít felt sick in a long ass time, and Iíve been really sick lately.
PZO: You donít sing do you?
Jon: No, I just play bass so itís cool. I do screaming off the mic, but thatís not important.
PZO: Probably sounds even better.
Jon: <laughs> Iíll be like <screams> yahh.

PZO: What is the worst advice youíve even been given?
Jon: I think just from talking to people not necessarily others, people who I grew up around who found out that Iíve wanted to do music as a thing and stuff. Itís something that people shied away against; itís just something that you shouldnít do.
PZO: Itís not a real job and stuff.
Jon: Everyoneís just like well if it doesnít pan out then you got to go back to school, and Iím just like no, this what I want to do with my life for a while. And I guess thatís one thing thatís always ends up getting brought up, especially with family sometimes. My family is really supportive but thereís times when they get frustrated like when money gets rough and stuff.

PZO: In your press release it said you still have your day job when you go home, what do you do?
Jon: I work at this company, itís actually a staffing service called Four Legs Staffing Service, itís when they place you in temp jobs so I work for this company called Century Mortgage, itís seriously, it was literally a Office Space job, like Iíd sit in a cubicle all day. So would Josh, the singer, his desk was five or ten feet away from mine. And it was total Office Space, I remember one time my job was like, I was supposed to have email and they never set me up an email system. So they would have all these meetings I wouldnít know about and theyíd be like did you get the email memo. And it was so Office Space you know what I mean.
PZO: That movie was one of the greatest
Jon: It ruled, but I like it itís a really good job, but itís really flexible.
PZO: And they let you go on tour and stuff?
Jon: Yeah I doubt weíll be able to go back to the same job after this tour cause itís been so long and then weíve got so much more stuff coming in the next couple of months. Theyíre definitely supportive and I know the staff and service will help us out and stuff like that. Yeah I donít want to work my day job anymore I just want to play music.
PZO: Thatís everyoneís dream.
Jon: Yeah exactly. <laughs>

PZO: Given the opportunity who would you kidnap for a day?
Jon: Dude I think Iím not gonna mention girls, so Iíll probably mention guys so Iíd probably kidnap Matt Talbott of Hum because Hum is probably my favorite band of all time so Iíll probably kidnap him because Iíve never met the guy and this band that we know Hopesfall, they recorded with him and stuff like that. I donít know, itíd be a dream of mine to like meet that guy and talk to him and find out what the hell is in his mind.
PZO: Get free lessons.
Jon: Yeah exactly. That band influenced me more than anything yeah thereís tons of metal bands I listen to but heís got to be the one person Iíd kidnap.
PZO: You have a vast influence spectrum; Iím not going to ask that question though.
Jon: Yeah itís very, a lot of people are like, this guy we did a radio interview at WSOU I forgot the frequency.
PZO: 89.5?
Jon: Yeah 89.5.
PZO: Itís the best station and I donít get it.
Jon: Yeah it rules, everybodyís been there like Thursday were there... trying to think of other bands.
PZO: A lot of bands like Face to Face, AFI.
Jon: Yeah Sparta, Face to Face, AFI all those bands started out there before they made it big and stuff and for us to be able to go in there and be like whoa this is such a privilege and the guy when he was interviewing me and the band he was just like I was looking through the website and stuff and just looking at the music you guys, we do a curved play list at our website and you guys styles ranges from Dido to In Flames and stuff. You know what I mean. Or like Green Day or something like that. I listen to everything.
PZO: I think you can hear it in the music.
Jon: Yeah I like Natalie Imbruglia a lot and I love Rush and Hum, tons of metal like In Flames. Then thereís punk, dude I love Face to Face, Green Day I love Green Day. Green Day and Soundgarden are the two bands that I picked up on my own when I started to get into music. Like when I started to listen to music for myself it was Soundgarden and Green Day. Those were the two first bands I listened to.
PZO: Yeah Green Day led me into punk. I love them.
Jon: Yeah thatís awesome.

PZO: Whatís one slang word that you canít stand?
Jon: <laughs> Well this guy named Rory he runs our record label of the Militia Group. And Rory always says this word chill. Itís chill itís chill donít worry bout it itís chill.
PZO: Yeah, they say that a lot here.
Jon: In California everyoneís starting to say it and I just think itís funny I think itís hilarious just out of the blue.
PZO: Trying to rip off the New Yorkers?
Jon: Like Rory heís hilarious but heís the kind of guy like someone is pissed off and heíd be like oh itís chill itís just hilarious cause you just laugh at him, it gets annoying after a while but whatever.
PZO: Thatís one of my least favorite oneís also. Like trying to replace cool and all.
<Itís chill is repeated several times after>

PZO: Well being that today is Halloween, what was your favorite costume from when you were a kid?
Jon: Letís see, probably the grim reaper.
PZO: Actually my horoscope said to dress up as either the grim reaper or a serial killer; I think Iím a serial killer now.
Jon: I donít think you have the grim reaper look with you right now.

PZO: As a band what do you think your best qualities are?
Jon: I think we are just real people; weíre not trying to be cool or impress anyone. Like weíre just playing music and we meet new people every single day; regardless of if popularity grows or people catch on the band we could care less. It would be cool to succeed and stuff like that. We just want to play music and we just want to be real with people, be friends with people. I just think thereís lots of people who take music in the wrong aspects like to impress girls or whatever for money. Itís good to make money and make a living off playing music; Iím not trying to bash that. I just think thereís a lot of people who lose the fact of what music should be about, itís about community and having fun, thatís what it should always be about.
PZO: If you make money you can make more music. Most people donít understand especially in the punk community the whole selling out thing, I think thatís ridiculous, if a band makes money itís more power to them.
Jon: Yeah exactly, like Green Day is seriously one of the most punk bands I know, their roots have always been grounded and still are. And they look they are having the time of their lives because they are. They had the time of their life when they played music in front of 15 people because they played music you know what I mean. Theyíre that kind of band and thatís what they still are.
PZO: Thatís why I love them.
Jon: Thatís exactly what we want to be too.

PZO: Who is the most famous person you have programmed in on your cell phone?
Jon: I just got it so.
PZO: Youíre going to say Josh.
Jon: Yeah Josh <laughs>. Letís see, Scott from the Lindsay Diaries, no <laughs><phone rings> Oh shoot thatís Josh actually, hold on, hello?
<Talks to Josh on the phone about interviews>
PZO: Just remember itís all on tape. I wonít put it on.
Jon: Oh great <laughs> The most famous person I have on my phone is Chad, he runs Militia Group. I know thatís pretty sad.
PZO: Get like the lead singer of Mustard Plug or something. <laughs>
Jon: But I know my best friend Chandler had, when Hopesfall went to record with Matt Talbott he had to have the number of the studio in order to get a hold of him. And they actually recorded at Mattís house for a while. So he had Matt Talbottís phone number programmed in his cell phone and I looked at it, and Iím like oh my gosh. If you ask Scott from Lindsay Diaries he has Chris from Dashboard Confessional so I definitely think that beats Chad from Militia Group. <laughs>

PZO: What event in your life had the greatest impact on you?
Jon: I think like most impact on me personally nothing to do with music. My brother used to be a severe drug addict like extremely bad to the point he almost died, and like right before I moved to California he went to rehab. I didnít know if anything would work out of it I didnít know if he would get better cause a lot of people go in and come right back out. But he went in and came back out and totally decided to quit. Which I thought was awesome because for me Iím not used to that, I wasnít used to, I had friends who were into that, Iíve had friends whoíve died from stuff like that. But I guess since it was family, it brought us a lot closer. Me living in California and my family living in Minnesota itís like knowing that everyone is tight and close through an experience makes it a lot easier to live in California and do music and stuff like that. I definitely think that had the biggest impact on my life because I look up to it so much to do something like that is huge, I respect that more than anything and thatís awesome.
PZO: Something positive always come out of negative stuff, thatís the way things work.
Jon: Yeah exactly.

PZO: Do you have any superstitious beliefs?
Jon: Oh man, I donít know not really. Our guitarist Shawn, we always say like bad karma. Cause weíll be driving in the van and something will happen and heíll be like oh we need to make sure we do this or else next time itís going to be even worse. Itís just funny we kid around with him and stuff like that. I donít think we have any superstitions or anything like that; weíre not freaked out by anything like that.
PZO: Well superstitions is, like you step on someoneís foot so they have to step on yours or else youíll fight later or something like that.
Jon: Yeah nothing like, no nothing like that.

PZO: What is one thing youíll do no matter how much money someone paid you?
Jon: Man these are great questions.
PZO: Thank you. <laughs>
Jon: Okay, we went up to Crush, our management office today cause theyíre right off of Broadway. Theyíre on this huge high rise and seriously I donít know how many stories it is, but itís far. I went out on the balcony and was like oh my gosh. But I guess if someone paid me any amount of money to bungee jump from there down. There would be no way possible I would do it. I used to be afraid of heights but Iím not as afraid anymore but still there would be no possible way. Looking out there I was like oh my gosh Iím getting back inside this is freaking me out so.
PZO: No sky diving anytime soon?
Jon: Actually itís weird, I want to sky dive but something like that because of the buildings right next to it freaks me out, well youíre used to it.
PZO: I think bungee jumping is more dangerous than sky diving for some reason.
Jon: The freakin chord breaking or something.
PZO: Yeah or your leg breaking you know. I'd think I bungee jump but not around the leg, the belt around the waist. But then again if the parachute doesnít open
Together: Youíre pretty screwed. <laughs>
PZO: Splattered all over the place.

PZO: What is your best caught in the act story, and you better have a good one.
Jon: Oh my gosh, I canít think of one, I canít think of a crazy one.
PZO: Just anything.
Jon: Anything? Oh okay. Well like some kids, in the hardcore scene the whole straight edge thing is pretty big, Iím not ripping on it or anything. I used to claim, I still donít drink or smoke or anything like that. Maybe if I wanted to then whatever but right now I just donít want to, I guess after a while I felt the whole tag was kind of a ďIím better than youĒ kind of thing.
PZO: I definitely feel that.
Jon: Yeah thatís kind of why I got rid of it, most of my friends are into that, which is fine. Iím not gonna not hang out with someone, thatís ridiculous, itís retarded. But I think the caught in the act thing, everyone kind of knew me to be that way and stuff and we were on our last tour, I was in Washington, no I was in Idaho. And I was trying to get us a show and I went to this bar and I was sitting at the table. I guess someone saw me there and they posted on the message board that Iím a drunk and stuff and that they saw me at this bar. I was like what the hell. I didnít even care I was like whatever, but I think considering the circumstance, people know me as someone who wasnít in to drinking and smoking thing and then sitting there at the bar.
PZO: So you donít consider your band straight edge?
Jon: No no not at all, some of us drink and smoke so weíre not affiliated with that at all. I just brought it up personally because I thought that was pretty funny because the internet spreads so fast man, seriously the internet is ridiculous. People blow things out of proportion because they can hide behind a keyboard. I think that was the most caught in the act story without being gross.
PZO: Well gross is good.

PZO: I was looking at your CD booklet the artwork is sick itís awesome.
Jon: You like it? Sweet, awesome.
PZO: Have you seen Bad Religionís Process of Belief booklet by any chance?
Jon: Nah uh.
PZO: Itís very similar with the transparents. Whereíd you get that idea from?
Jon: Well this guy named Don Clark he works at this thing called Asterik Studios they did layouts for Poison the Well and a bunch of different bands. He was really into the record; he was like hey I want to do the artwork and we were like okay. And he came up with a couple of different ideas and after we looked at it, it really fit the theme of the CD Light A Match, For I Deserve To Burn the cover has the peoples heads ignite on fire. Itís kind of cool, yeah but I mean its kind of interesting itís a very diverse layout. Itís a lot of different steps when you look at it its very artsy.
PZO: It fits the music; I think the music is artsy also. You can just look at the images while the music and bring it to a whole new level. With mp3 sharing nowadays I think bands should have cool booklets to encourage people to buy the CD. I wanted to ask you about the title, Light A Match For I Deserve To Burn. As soon as I read that I was like whoa.
Jon: The meaning behind it kinda? Well basically its based on the song Light A Match on the record. That song was inspired by our friend Josh Ressle, we call him red monster. Heís from California, heís a very good friend, the whole band knows him, me and Josh are very good friends with him. I guess it was just a poem that Josh wrote to our singer Josh send it on email and Josh read it, and they put the two, he kind of used that then put the theme in it like looking at the meaning behind it. If you look at the world in itself and people, sometimes we do so many things that pisses us off and weíre like why did we do that? Why am I such an idiot? Itís not in a morbid sense like I deserve to burn or something like that. Itís just like looking at yourself and looking at
PZO: Sort of like kicking yourself or biting your tongue.
Jon: Yeah, some of the choices you make it your life. I donít think the song leaves a negative note I think it leaves a positive note because itís, not trying to be weird but our singer used this before, sort of like a planting kind of thing, you know you go through stuff and just like you said good things always happen through bad experiences usually.
PZO: You learn through your mistakes and stuff like that.
Jon: Yeah exactly itís basically a basis off that, good things happen out of bad experiences regardless of how bad things get. I mean thereís a lot of things thatís happened in our lives that were extremely bad but regardless of what happens and how bad we look at ourselves itís like why the hell did I do this to myself. I guess you look at it like light a match, if you light a match and burn yourself things are going to go away. To get rid of things, but itís just like when you look at it good things always happen out of the bad experiences.
PZO: I think itís a very awesome poetic title.
Jon: Sweet, our singer is a very poetic guy, all the guys in the band read a lot but our singer is really into poetry and reading. I think it really stands out in the music; I donít think things are subliminal on the record I think it makes people thing and thatís what you want.
PZO: Itís not like straight out there girl broke my heart sort of thing. I canít listen to that type of stuff; I like music with deeper meaning.
Jon: Yeah Iím not a vocalist or anything, but if I was a vocalist Iíd take the same approach that Josh does, and Shawn because they both co-write a lot of the lyrics I think itís one of those things where youíre gonna say something why donít you make it profound or intelligent because if youíre going to say things for the sake of being stupid itís kind of pointless you should put thought behind the things that you say and I think that should be the thing with everyone. Music should be serious and it should be fun. But I definitely think we take a serious approach to every aspect of the band whether itís the artwork or the website.
PZO: I havenít checked out the website yet.
Jon: Yeah okay its actually going to get redesigned, our friend Chandler does graphic design for Hopesfall, heís going to be redoing our website. Heís actually doing the new layout now though.
PZO: Itís up now though?
Jon: Yeah we have our old one up now at www.thebeautifulmistake.com Yeah the new site will be awesome though the guy who is doing it is amazing, the guy who is doing it is very credible, heís awesome so.
PZO: So everyone should check that out.
Jon: Yeah totally.

PZO: What song has been stuck in your head lately?
Jon: Oh man, trying to think of the name of it. Okay weíre on tour with this other band called All American Rejects, have you heard of them?
PZO: I was actually supposed to interview them but theyíre not on the show tonight right? Theyíre doing an in store tomorrow?
Jon: Yeah the in store. I have a very vast musical variety but I remember when I heard the record for the first time I wasnít a huge fan or whatever. Then we went on tour and I started seeing them live and thereís this song on their CD called Happy Endings and it sounds kind of weird but itís an awesome song, those guys rule.
PZO: I have their CD.
Jon: Yeah their band rules and that song is catchy as hell. The chorus on it rules.
PZO: I got to check out it.
Jon: Yeah I always, Iíve been listening to the CD a little bit more lately so I have to say either that or thereís a couple of songs on the new Hopesfall CD that stand out to me too. Thereís a song Waitress that I really like a lot. Tons of different stuff too like <laughs> but I have to say that All American Rejects album has been stuck in my head like crazy since that all of us have been listening to it every night.
PZO: So check that out.
Jon: Yeah, cool.

PZO: If you could eliminate one band off the face of the earth, who would you get rid off and how would you get rid of them?
Jon: Okay Iím not going to say this is a collaborative effort, but I think everyone kind of has had a problem with this band. But like when we were on our last tour, our alternator went out in our van so we were really selective of the power we could use in the van so we couldnít use a CD player because we had to plug it into the lighter input, punk rock rocks <laughs>. So we just listened to radio and we turn it on and thereís this band Nickelback, I canít stand that band.
PZO: Yeah, how you remind me?
Jon: Oh my gosh dude like
PZO: I used to like that song but then they played it about 3 million times.
Jon: We turn on the radio; just turn the knob on in the middle of nowhere
PZO: And it goes on
Jon: And it goes on to Nickelback how you remind me. You know itís fine -
PZO: I think they finally stopped playing it.
Jon: Like Iím fine people can listen to whatever they want because I listen to totally different things that other people would make fun of me for you know what I mean. For me personally that band Iíd wipe them off the face of the earth, I donít know how I would do it. I donít know dude I donít want to be mean but itís just like I look at the singer and his hair and it just drives me nuts like right off the bat. So I donít know whenever I see the video I kind of want to take the guitar and smash it over his face. <laughs> So like I guess thatís the way I kind of feel about all this.
PZO: The first time I saw the video Iím like what the hell is wrong with this guy.
Jon: Yeah I mean they might be the greatest guys in the world thatís why I feel bad cause Iím not like a -
PZO: Watch you open for them next time.
Jon: <laughs> Weíll play with anyone so but I think one band that we can definitely do without would be Nickelback so, everyone say Nickelback.

PZO: If you were given the opportunity to be a spokesman for any company, which company and product would you choose?
Jon: Iíd probably, this will sound so stupid -
PZO: Donít say toilet paper
Jon: Iím not going to say toilet paper; Iíd probably say Iíd probably be a spokesperson for Gap or something.
PZO: Gap?
Jon: Yeah for like Gap jeans. <laughs>
PZO: Youíd do the Gap commercial?
Jon: I donít know if Iíd do the commercial cause I can not dance.
PZO: Yeah but you can play bass for it.
Jon: Yeah yea of course, Iíd probably say something like that, just because a lot of my clothes are from it.
PZO: Cover the gap song tonight, you should.
PZO: Pitch that idea over; freak a lot of people out. Make it all artsy and crazy.
Jon: Iíd probably get my ass kicked. Itíd be something like that, or else something stupid like me and Shawn and Armin are way into Arizona ice tea. Weíd probably do something like that, like freakin doing the product of that stress iced tea.
PZO: Iíve never seen an Arizona commercial I donít think they advertise like that.
Jon: Yeah, but if they can pick anyone to do it, it would probably be us. Itíll either be that or some form of clothes whether itís Gap or Diesel or something like, I donít even have Diesel jeans but theyíre nice. <laughs>

PZO: What keeps you grounded and optimistic?
Jon: Just like me personally? Okay, I definitely think friends and family for sure. Like weíre all about touring, we want to tour eight months out of the year and stuff like that. It gets hard doing it; I wonít say being more than four months at a time. Cause after you doing four months at a time you start going crazy. I definitely would say friends and family, because when you go home those are the people waiting for you. Once the band is done you donít have anything else. Thereís people that will remember you for playing in a band and stuff like that but when it all comes down to it your family and friends are more important than your music know what I mean? Weíve had family problems before and of course we set aside the band, this can wait, this is more important. And it doesnít clash in if we allow music in or anything like that. I definitely think our friends and our families are the things that definitely keep us grounded because sometimes it gets really crazy with so many different things to do and like especially when we used to do, we did so much do it yourself stuff like this entire tour I booked it myself you know what I mean. It gets crazy and really busy, now finally starting to have people to do that. All the time you were all stressed out thinking the only thing you can get away to is your friends and family and stuff those are the only people that are always constant, especially all the members of the band would say that definitely, respect that.
PZO: Theyíll always be there to support you.
Jon: Yeah itís just sad when people lose the fact of where they started out from and the fact of whatís really important in their lives. Music is important but those are the people that supported you and helped you get there. Those are the people that watched you play in front of ten people in some shitty bar. Those people will support you always.
PZO: Donít forget your roots.
Jon: Yeah exactly donít forget your roots.
PZO: The great words of H2O. <laughs>
Jon: Yeah <laughs> <coughs> Excuse me.
PZO: Itís okay; Iím doing it too.

PZO: In what ways would you to improve as musicians?
Jon: Oh man, weíre always trying to improve, we really push each other a lot. Recording with Ed Rose, was probably one of the hardest experiences of our life. He really pushed us to become better musicians, so thereís definitely a huge respect for that, and that really fields us when we go to practice, itís like weíre going to practice on our own, whether thatís practicing other bands CDs, or what you know. But itís always a thing of trying to improve, trying to become better. So definitely, its definitely like something thatís discussed in our band weíre always trying to improve, weíre never satisfied with how our work performing as musicians. I donít think there will ever be a time you know, if there was if there were a time where we became stagnant, became stagnant in how you are as a musician how do you expect yourself to expand especially musically like how do you expect your music to grow, evolve. If you think -
PZO: You canít play the same thing over and over again.
Jon: Well yeah if you have the attitude, you should have a positive attitude and you should go on stage thinking you are for that thirty or forty five minutes that you should. I think it comes down trying to grow as musician and stuff. If you have the attitude that you donít think youíre going to improve, like itís good enough the way it is, then things are going to go downhill the music will never progress, the music will not get any better because youíre going to think that youíve already reached a point that you need to get to. You should always be improving.
PZO: Shoot high.
Jon: Yeah exactly.

PZO: I was going to ask you about the EP, the first CD, is it being re-released or something?
Jon: Do you have the one that has the girl on the cover?
PZO: No I have the new one.
Jon: Yeah I wasnít actually in the band at the time but they put out a December EP which is an original demo. I think they pressed 2000 copies or something like that. And then the record label SideCho Records a branch off of Militia Group, they wanted to re-release the CD so they put it out with new artwork and stuff like that and we rerecorded it and the recording quality turned out really bad.
PZO: Same music?
Jon: Yeah songs with an added song Disclosure. Thatís still out in stores right now. And actually what happened was they talked to Militia Group and they wanted us to re-re-record again before we left on this tour because the recording was really bad and they actually distributed it so we recorded it again before we left for this last tour and I think in the summer or spring its going to be re-released but the recording is awesome. It sounds more current and thereís a lot more new features to it, I definitely would say that anyone who has it already should buy that one because itís...
PZO: Sounds better?
Jon: Yeah definitely.

PZO: Okay hereís the lightning round. In sixty seconds tell everyone why they should buy the album Light A Match, For I Deserve To Burn.
Jon: I definitely think it has awesome artwork, I think it was well produced, I think anything Ed Rose does is extremely good, and I donít know. I just think itís definitely something people should always open their ears to. I think Iím a very open minded person as far as much goes Iím open to anything so I definitely think itís a record that anyone can pull some kind of aspect out of it whether youíre an hip-hop fan, an R&B fan, or a rock and punk or a hardcore kid regardless youíll be able to find something that you can enjoy out of it.

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