It’s impossible for me to get a great interview with Scott Lucas. It’s not his fault. It’s mine. I’ve been listening too long during too important times in my life to every accurately converse with the songwriter about his songs. The interviews we’ve done aren’t bad, but they’re far from great. Our non-recorded conversations are much better but that’s not helpful right now.
We talk about Cheap Trick every time. In 100% of my interviews with Scott Lucas, Cheap Trick comes up. Sometimes he brings them up, sometimes it’s me. This time, it was him.
Enough of just me. All I’m trying to say is if you like Cheap Trick, you’ll like Local H. And you should see them tonight, Friday, June 19 at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 20 at Rock & Roll Hotel in D.C.
Brightest Young Things: The record (Hey, Killer) is very good, and it’s the bands 25th anniversary, and I’ve been following your band a lot, really, for at least half of that time, and it’s weird because I’m just now seeing the 25 years of Local H on the website and it’s giving me this new weird perspective on the group.
Scott Lucas: Yeah, me too! It’s one of those things you don’t really think about and I never really, I think of band’s like Cheap Trick that way, I don’t think of us being around for that long.
BYT: But there’s a big difference between you and Cheap Trick. You’ve had 12 and a half years of being very open, your fans know exactly what’s going on. Before that was 12 and half years of the indie rock, DIY zine culture where it’s less focused on band’s personal lives. Now people live on Twitter and know everything about every band as they’re playing their entire tour. When I got into you fans would just not hear a band for four years and have it completely out of your life. Do you guys have to approach that new lifestyle or that new musical landscape, or does that even come into play?
SL: I think it was and I think it always is, whether or not we’ve got material. For a while there in the middle there’d be four years between a record and I never wanted it to be the way, but we’ve be working on stuff and then talk to labels, and that would take more time, then they want to get their two cents in and you’d be writing more songs… yeah you don’t really have to do it that way. I guess that’s not really your question but, I don’t know.
I wish that we could dial back the whole thing about 50%, with people online and people living on social media and through their phones and watching TV shows and watching concerts through their phones, it’s not all bad but I just wish we could take it back about halfway, then I’d be totally down with it and I’d think it be cool. I don’t think we need to know everything, and I think it’s not healthy, it’s not cool.
BYT: When the No Fun EP came out in 2003, it wasn’t that easy to find. This is before there were digital music stores so I just had a burned copy of that record for like a year before I even saw it in store. Now it’s pretty much the opposite where your cover of “Team” I just have it on Spotify instantly, you know what I mean?
SL: Right, but do you think that’s better or do you think that’s worse?
BYT: I think it’s different, I mean the music doesn’t have the myth anymore, I don’t wonder what your next song is gonna sound like, I just have the record all of a sudden.
SL: Right, I remember growing up my favorite group was Pink Floyd, and they weren’t around, and by the time I started listening to them they had stopped making records except for years later. And I didn’t even know what they looked like. When there was a song I was looking for I basically had to buy all their records before I heard the song to find the record it was on. So there was just hunting going on and it was just like “what do these guys look like?” And you know, and if I was a fan of them today I’d know everything right away. And on one hand it’s good and on the other it isn’t.
BYT: Would you like AC/DC if you knew how they were as people? If you knew one guy was a murderer, would you have liked them when you were 13?
BYT: Well yeah, but you didn’t think one of the guys in the band would do it.
SL: Yeah I’m not so sure it would’ve made much of a difference. I mean, we know a lot more about Bill Cosby than we did before and that is a good thing, but it’s not a good thing if you want to put your head in the sand and just dig on Bill Cosby all day. But you could hear it in the lyrics of Led Zeppelin. There’s a bunch of fucked up things, and I sort of had this dumb, idiot idea of women that was based on those lyrics of those records, you know. “The soul of the woman is created below.” You know, it’s nonsense. But it’s one of those things we didn’t want to do, and a lot of bands that were coming up around us, we didn’t want to perpetrate that idea. So, yeah, you pick the good, you pick the bad with that stuff, and it’s still that way.
BYT: Do you think your band has suffered from regionalism? Like if you guys were not from Zion, would you have gotten that Matador [Records] contract you wanted? And if you were from a city, would the majors even have considered you?
SL: Um, maybe. If you take it back to Cheap Trick I’m always certain that’s why they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Kiss is, because Cheap Trick is from Rockford, Illinois. You know, I think their songs are just as solid and their concept and look are just as solid as the Ramones, but the Ramones got it the first time out, we’re still waiting for Cheap Trick. Green Day is there, and the first time I saw them [Billy Joe Armstrong] was wearing a Cheap Trick shirt. None of it really makes sense to me but there is regionalism, and I don’t blame it on us, I blame it on, what’s-his-face from Rolling Stone.
BYT: Jann Wenner?
SL: Yeah, Wenner.
When you look at who gets into this thing, that museum, it’s in the Midwest, but it’s still a very coastal type of club. When you go there, you’re like, “Why isn’t this band here? Or that band? What about all the midwest punk bands?” Where’s that? And it’s just not there. And you wonder if it’s ever gonna be there; I think it’s just a matter of time before Cheap Trick, but there’s a lot of midwest punk rock you wonder if it’s ever gonna get in there.
BYT: Do you?
SL: Think it’s a matter of time? Yes.
BYT: I’ve been hoping that for years but the longer and longer it gets the less likely it seems.
SL: I think it’s gonna be next year. They can’t hold off anymore, it’s ridiculous. It’s like a slap in the face.
BYT: I really hope you’re right. I don’t think it will be, but I really want you to be right.
SL: I’ll bet you fifty bucks.
BYT: I will sadly take that bet, and I will buy Cheap Trick shirts with my winnings. I will bet you fifty dollars.
I really do like the new record and is not a concept record for the first time in what seems like a very long time, so it seems like it was easier to write that way.
SL: This record was really easy to write, whether or not that was because of lack of a concept, I don’t know. But it was easy and it came quickly and we really like it. And that kind of was strange. We booked studio time to make the record, and I didn’t really have any songs, and I thought I was in trouble, and we started working on it and I was like, “oh, I have songs.” And we started recording and the songs were really good. It was this thing that I was able to pull from all these scraps and ideas that had been sitting around that I had been stockpiling the year before we started recording, and lyrical ideas, and when we put them all together, I didn’t really I have time to overthink it, and I surprised myself. And there are themes, it’s not a rigid concept record, but there are themes and ideas and things about religion and the blues and death, and those three things are kind of all over the record. Every song mentions one of those things at least once.
BYT: Do you feel like a listener has any right to know about your personal life, in terms of relationships, considering some of the songs on this record and especially 12 Angry Months?
SL: No, not at all. No one has the right to know anything about me other than what I put in the songs, or what I choose to divulge in an interview. I don’t think I have the right to know anything about anybody. It’s not that people shouldn’t, I just don’t think they have the right. There’s a difference between it being OK knowing something about somebody and having the right, you don’t have a God given right to know the personal business of people that you listen to. Or anybody.