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The Coolest Thing In The World

(Interview With Will, Damon, Chris & Adam Taken From Black Velvet 31 - Feb 2002)

By Shari Black Velvet

Picture the scene. It's just over a week before Christmas and FENIX*TX are on the road in England supporting New Found Glory. It's a bitter cold Sunday evening. We catch the train (which thankfully does not break down on the way) up to Birmingham to meet the band prior to their fantastic performance at the Academy, midway through the tour.

As it's Christmas we decide we shouldn't make the band work too hard so we just pop a bunch of questions that have been written onto paper into the ol' velvet bag. It's been a while since we did an interview like this and with it being Christmas we figured it was a good excuse for an easy life - it's less informal and more 'fun'. In fact, we got the guys to read the questions out as well as replying to them (ok, so maybe they did do a little bit of work). One bandmember would ask a question for either the next one to him or whoever wanted to answer. All sorts of questions were written down, ranging from Valentine's Day to the current Fenix*TX release 'Lechuza'. Typically the guys end up picking the crappest questions out but there you go.






We also come prepared for the festive season with a couple of Christmas crackers. You see, in America, there is no such thing as Christmas crackers. Or at least it's not a tradition as it is in Britain. So nothing could be more amusing that watching the guys looking puzzled wondering what the hell they're supposed to do with their crackers! Hahaha. This was funny. Adam took one cracker and Willie took another. Willie just ripped his open! Adam said he pulled his but we heard no bang. In fact, it was a few minutes later when he found the banger inside. I did try to tell them that they should have pulled the cracker with someone else (ie. Chris and Damon) but it was too late. Adam appeared not to have found his little gift inside the cracker either - although Willie got a miniture pack of playing cards - and was messing with them sporadically during the interview.
So to the interview then. Damon… Pick a question for Willie.

Damon: Willie, James left the band a few months ago…
Willie: Correct!
Damon: Did you know he was going to leave?
Willie: Yeah, we knew probably about a month before he actually left.
Damon: How were things going before he left?
Willie: Things were always the same with James. He wasn't really so into the music or into being in the band. He was kind of our last hope of finding a guitar player between the time we needed to go on tour. We had pretty much a week to find somebody who was going to learn all the songs and go out on tour. And he came out on tour but he wasn't really excited about being in the band, wasn't really having fun. But he stayed because he wanted to. But when we started touring more and more and never got a chance to go home he was like 'ok'.
Damon: What's the plan regarding getting a full time guitarist?
Willie: I think we've found one (he says looking and pointing over to Chris Lewis).
Adam: But he's got a fucking attitude problem (laughing).

Shari (to Chris): Where do you come from then?
Adam: The bowels of Hell!
Chris: I live in San Diego.
Damon: One night we were playing with the Ouija board and they told us where to find him.
Chris: They were having an audition in San Diego and I was playing in another band.
Adam: He tried out more than one time and we thought he sucked.
Chris: I did not like you, man!

Willie: What's been the best day of your life so far?
Adam: Let's see. I really liked that one time when we played that New Year's show. In that big ass arena for the first time. It was huge and it was the first time we ever did it. It was the place where the New Year's Eve show always is.
Willie: On the Blink tour?
Adam: I think so. It's huge and it was the first time we'd ever done it. I don't know if that was the best day but I remember that being a big day.
Chris: I couldn't say the best day.
Willie: Hopefully there will be better days.

Adam: Tell us something about yourself that a lot of people might not know.
Chris: I put baby powder on my balls.
Willie: I do that too.
Chris: Even over the top, like porn stars.
Willie: He even shaves the tip.
Damon: The shaves go straight down.
Adam. Oww! That sounds bad!

Chris: How did the terrorism of September 11th affect you and do you remember what you were doing on that day? How did you find out about the planes crashing?
Damon: I was sleeping and a phone call came and said "we're under terrorist attack" and I said "wow". I turned on the TV and I was like 'Holy shit'.
Adam: I was in San Diego and I was sleeping and I woke up and our business manager called me. He told me to put the TV on. He wouldn't tell me what was wrong, and I saw that shit and it's gone crazy. We were supposed to go to the East Coast to play two days later but we didn't. We stayed home for a while. It's bummed up, bummed up.
Willie: We were supposed to come here actually.
Chris: If you hadn't I wouldn't have come. I was in San Francisco recording still. I couldn't get out of it. We'd already paid for our studio time. I'd already gone down and tried out once and then when that shit happened and cancelled the tour over here, they had more time to have a second audition. Terrorism worked out well for me.
Willie: I don't know if it affected our lives other than just business-like, but personally... Things like that happen on the other side of the world every day and nobody says anything about it. But then it happens in America and it's a bit deal.

Damon: It's almost Christmas. What do you think of Christmas in England so far?
Chris: Booooo!
Willie: I can't wait to get home for Christmas because that's where our family is and our house is and the Christmas presents.

Shari: Are you having much time off?
Willie: We'll have Christmas through the New Year but not like months and months off, but a little while.

Damon: Since this issue of Black Velvet is out in February, the month of Valentine's Day, are you a romantic? Do you send Valentine's Cards? Do you receive many Valentine's cards from fans and other admirers?
Willie: You know what? I never received a Valentine's card from a fan.
Damon: Me neither.
Willie: But yeah, I send Valentine's cards.
Adam: Actually I haven't been home for Valentine's Day in about three years.

Willie: If someone offered you $1,000,000 to quit the music business, would you do it?
Adam: Nah, I can't do anything else, I wouldn't want to.
Damon: With a million dollars I could do a lot of shit.
Willie: A million dollars isn't that much money. A billion dollars maybe.
Adam: I'd think about it and I'd build an underground dwelling where I could play music. I'd say "yeah I quit, cool, give me the billion dollars".
Willie: Just the business, not quit playing.
Damn: Oh yeah, I'd quit the business for a billion dollars and just play music and be in a band and not worry about the business.
Chris: You got a million bucks? We can do this right now!

Adam: If you could play one song from 'Lechuza' to someone who's never heard the band or album, which one song would you play and why?
Willie: It depends on the person.
Chris: I think 'Pasture Of Muppets' though, just 'cause I think it's the coolest one.
Adam: Maybe 'A Song For Everyone' because it's a song for everyone. Anyone can enjoy it.
Chris: All the songs are way different. They'd have to listen to 5-7 seconds of each song.
Willie: It's hard to say. I couldn't just pick one song to almost tell you what the album is going to be like.

Chris: Willie has Dave Matthews on a list of his favourite bands on his profile on the net. What is it with the US's fascination with Dave Matthews?
Adam: He's bad.
Damn: He's crazy.
Chris: His whole band are perfect at their instruments. He's surpassed good and they're over here on the other side of it.
Willie: You know what's weird? He writes everything! Everything!
Chris: Dave Matthews is the kind of band that happens when you're too good. You don't write the greatest songs in the world, you just write. You are in awe of them.
Adam: Yeah, like I respect him, but there's not one song I'd go 'man, turn that shit up'.

Chris: The new album is a harder-hitting, heavier sound. What brought about that change?
Adam: Damon. Drugs. The smog in LA. No, actually we didn't mean to change our record at all, we just had a better drummer so we can make better songs and different days we felt different ways, so… I don't know, we wrote a lot of stuff in the studio.
Willie: I think we got pigeonholed in one type of music because our drummer was stuck in that realm of music. He could only play certain beats with certain time signatures, but with the new drummer, with Damon, he could play all kind of different beats and take the same old songs and turn them into songs that sounds like a totally different band just because of the song.

Willie: Do you stay in touch of your old school friends and what do they think of your success?
Adam: Yes, I stay in touch with my old school friends and they're just like "wow, that's cool man, good luck" but it's not like "oh my God".
Damon: But then they call and say "hey man, put me on the guestlist".
Adam: They're still our friends, they're just "cool, you got a better job than we do".

Adam: How come I lent my vocals to 'Lechuza' for the very first time?
Adam: They made me, they forced me to. I didn't want to do it, we were running out of ideas. I was writing lyrics to give to him (pointing to Willie)…
Willie: I thought they were stupid! Hahaha.
Adam: Yeah, so he said "sing 'em". I said "I don't sing" and they said "just scream and be pissed off"' and I said "no" and they said "do it now".

Chris: Towards the end of the Blink-182 tour you were selling 10,000 copies of the album a week. How did that make you feel?
Adam: Actually it only happened, I think. One week when we did 13,000.
Damon: We did 17, 14, 9, 6. If you're on a big tour people tend to see you live and they'll go and buy your record. The record sales grow when you tour. It's cool, for sure. I never thought we'd sell, what is it - 17 or 16 - the most we did in one week.

Shari: Do you pay a lot of interest in the sales?
Willie: When it first came out, yeah.
Damon: That's pretty much the only time I pay attention to the record sales - when they call us and tell us "wow you did this", 'cause we don't know where to look. We just hear about it.

Damon: If you were taking someone on a guided tour of Texas, where would you take them?
Willie: Places in Texas that we'd take them? The Alamo maybe. That's supposed to be a big deal. The Astrodome, 'cause that's one of the wonders of the world.
Adam: Just drive real far down the 45 until you hit the country and just show people the country.
Willie: The prairies.
Adam: I don't know, there's not much in Texas. It's flat and desolate. It's like you see in the movies.
Willie: Take them to Austin and get them fucked up on Sixth Street.

Willie: Do you know many of your fans? How much contact do you have with them? Do you ever email fans etc?
Adam, No, no and no.
Willie: There are lots of fans in the States that we know are gonna be there. We can hang with them any time they come. They try and make contact with us. None of us are untouchable. We hear that from the fans that we're cool guys for hanging out with them. After every show we go to the merch booth and hang out and say thanks for coming and thanks for buying our records and thanks for buying our merchandise and all that other cool crap. As far as emails, I don't stay in contact with people just 'cause I don't have a laptop. So it's hard to hang out like that on the net.

Shari: Do you ever look at your message board?
Willie: Every once in a while. But then again, we're never home so… We hear about things on the net. If they're bad we hear about them! When it's good, it's just like another day.

Chris: You have a song called 'Speechless'. When were you last speechless?
Willier: Erm… right now!

Chris: You have a song on the current album called 'A Song For Everyone'. Which song from another album would be a song for you. Which song most fits you?
Willie: 'Can't Touch This'.

Chris: Hey dude, this one's cool. Damon was inspired by Mötley Crüe early on. Were you ever really into glam as a genre? Did you ever wear make-up or PVC/vinyl? What bands are you into now?
Willie: No, I never wore make-up or anything. It was just what was big when I was growing up.
Chris: He loves Tommy Lee.
Damon: Yeah, Tommy Lee is still one of my very favourite drummers. They were one of the first bands I ever saw live and got me into music. But yeah, I liked a lot of that stuff… Mötley Crüe… Dokken was alright, I thought. There wasn't a whole lot of them that I thought were really, really good. Then I started getting into Metallica after that.

Chris: What sort of buzz do you get when you're on stage playing? How would you describe playing onstage to someone who's never done it and what are your feelings prior to hitting the stage and when leaving the stage straight after a gig? Stage… stage… stage!
Willie: Playing is fun.
Damon: Yeah, there's nothing like it. For someone who's never done it, it's really hard to describe. There are probably different stages to it. When I play I just zone out and just play really hard.
Chris: I know I've played in bands since I was 14 and it was always different 'cause it'd be 10 people and you know them. When I jumped on this last tour, it wasn't like I was used to. I'd played big tours with my other band before but it wasn't every day. When I was with these guys for the first week or so it was like 'wow'. I'd be up there and get some of that nervousness back.
Damon: That's what's cool. All that stuff mixed together - before you go on, while you're on and after you finish - people screaming, the lights going off... Man, it's the coolest thing in the world.

We left the band to warm up for 'the coolest thing in the world'. And it was. Sandwiched between Rx Bandits and New Found Glory, they rocked the house and really went down a treat. Fenix*TX - the coolest thing in the world - check them out. 'Lechuza' is out now on MCA Records.



Copyright: Black Velvet Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Please note that all articles, photos and other items on this Black Velvet website are owned and copyrighted by Shari Black Velvet/Black Velvet Magazine unless otherwise stated and must not be used elsewhere under any circumstance. Articles in Black Velvet Magazine should not be put online without the express permission of the editor.


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