Chris Matulich of San Francisco melodic punk rock heroes NOTHINGTON answered some questions for us. We discussed their recent European trek, differences between the U.S. and Europe, their future plans and more stuff. There is no need to introduce these guys. Just press the play button and dive into this.
Hey, guys! Good to have you here. What’s up? Where do I catch you at the moment?
Well you found me just as we got home from our European tour. Back in San Francisco California.
Perfect! You’ve been touring heavily this year. How have the Europeans treated you so far?
Europe is always great for us. The fans are great, the hospitality of the promoters / venues is great, and the free beer is great! I love touring in Europe.
Great to hear that. Tell us about some of the best moments on this trek.
Well, this trip was different than others in that we were not headlining small clubs the whole tour. We opened up for THE DONOTS on about 12 shows all over Germany. I think the best moment of tour for me was our first show with THE DONOTS because we didn’t know what to expect. We were 3 hours late and showed up about 30 minutes before our set time. The band before us let us use their gear so we had just enough time to set up the merch table, get a drink of water and then hope on stage. Totally disoriented, we stepped on stage in front of about 1000 people that had no idea who we were, and I just remember looking over at Jay and saying “what the fuck are we doing here?” We were so excited and so surprised to see so many people. It was an awesome moment that I will remember for a long time.
Another great tour moment was the day we all woke up hung over with “Euro cuts” in Poland. Don’t remember the end of the night, but apparently we asked someone to give us hair cuts that look like you guys wear them in Europe – shaved sides all the way up to the part line, then comb it over. I actually look kind of good with that hair cut, I still have it [laughs].
[laughs] Welcome to Poland, dude. Damn, I wish I met you during your trek. Have you done any sightseeing? [smiles]
We didn’t get to do much sight seeing this tour because the drive times and the load in times were very early for THE DONOTS shows. Big shows like that you have to show up a lot sooner than small clubs. In the past we have seen a lot of cool things, but this tour we didn’t see too much. But we did go to Octoberfest in Munich Germany. That was fun. I ate a huge pretzel and drank a huge beer.
Cool. What’s the best part about touring Europe?
The best part for me is the nice sleeping arrangements we get. We hardly ever have to sleep on the floor in Europe. Sometimes we even get nice bed and breakfast places where they have breakfast in the morning. But really, it’s the fans that are the best. Always as excited to see us as we are to see them.
And what are the biggest differences in touring between the US and Europe?
In the US you get 2 drink tickets for the bar and a few hundred bucks from the door… In Europe, you get a place to sleep, dinner, breakfast, a case or sometimes two cases of beer and better pay at the end of the night. Europe really takes good care of touring bands. People ask me all the time “you are going back to Europe to tour again??? Why?” And that’s why – it’s more fun when you are comfortable and not broke. Oh and also we have a driver and a nice van we rent in Europe. I like not having to drive all day.
Again – good to hear that, man. But you did another huge European trek back in May. What’s different this time?
It was different this time because we were opening for a much bigger band on most of the dates. It’s interesting to play for bigger crowds that don’t know who you are, and that was the big difference on this tour. We were always trying to win them over. Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn’t. It’s a gamble to open for a big band, but I think in the end we won and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Ok, you hit the Fest 11’s stage this year. Tell us, what’s so special about this festival. It seems that hundreds of bands are sooo excited about having a chance to perform there.
The Fest is special because it’s not like a “festival” that you would have a bunch of big stages set up on the grass or in a parking lot. It’s about 10 venues within walking distance of each other. The bigger ones hold about 1500 people, and the smallest hold about 100, and everything in between. So many people from around the country and Europe come to this festival that it’s a mixture of all your fans from around the world in one place. So when small bands play this festival they might get to play a packed club to 500 people even though a normal show for them on tour might only have 50 people at it… So for bands, it’s the best show you play all year round and it happens every year! For fans, it’s great because every small band that you like that never comes to your town is gonna be there playing an awesome show.
We played at about 8pm at High Dive and it was amazing!
What are some of the best festivals in the Bay Area?
Not really any good festivals in the bay area for punk rock but the Hardly Strickly Bluegrass Festival happens every year on Golden Gate Park right near my house. It’s fun if you like folk or country or bluegrass.
What other shows do you have coming up this year?
We are done for the year!
Booo. What about 2013? Any plans yet?
Playing some festivals in Europe in April / May. Then just writing and recording new music.
[laughs] Great, I’ll try to catch you somewhere near.
Ok, enough about touring [smiles]. Let’s talk a bit about “Borrowed Time” released last year. How do you see the most mature release of yours from today’s perspective?
I’m still proud of it. I worked really hard on it and I’m glad that people seem to like it so much. I think it’s my favorite record we have recorded.
How has working with Red Scare source benefited you and helped you develop? How did that come about?
I have known Toby from Red Scare for a very long time and have always wanted to work with him. He’s done a great job of getting us reviewed and seen all over the internet. I think he helped to expose us to a lot of new people and I’m very thankful for that.
Alright. Here’s what makes me curious [smiles]. Have you begun writing for the next record?
I have a few songs written and a lot of ideas. It will take some time before we will know what it’s gonna really sound like though.
Do you have any other future NOTHINGTON projects besides a possible release and more touring?
Not really. No broadway musicals for Borrowed Time [laughs].
Are the jobs that you have totally separate from music, just to pay the bills?
Just paying the bills with other jobs. We get by however we can and hopefully we can continue to play music and tour for a little bit longer.
I hope so. Who will you vote for in the 2012 presidential election? Are you tracking the polls? Do you care?
Obama for sure. The republican party is full of jokers right now.
2 days left. We’ll see [smiles]. Thanks so much for your time! Please promote anything you would like to promote here [smiles].
www.nothingtonsf.com See you in April!