Posted: June 24th, 2009
"Drugs, alcohol, violence, 16-year-old girls with fishnet stockings, drinking Strawberry Hill in dark alleys, and insulin."
Photos by Schmitty | Words by Mumma
What year did the band start?
How have things changed since the early days ’til now?
We have no original members, including me. There aren’t any 25-year-old-kids on speed and booze smashing each other in the face when we play any more. There’s 15-year-old kids doing it, but the generation that followed mine must’ve missed something along the way. Maybe there was no outwardly violent music to listen to. It was all soft, emo stuff, and the only dance moves they picked up on was “the Linus.”
Did the Gonz knock your teeth out? What’s the story?
Yup, I’m pretty sure. Simply put, I’m an asshole and I got punched in the mouth for it. I suppose Mark would be the best one to tell the story. I’ve only seen him once since the punch-out and I failed to ask him what happened and why. I was blacked out, so I don’t remember the details, but what I know of it is this: I went to Reno to skate in a contest. We left the night before and drank the whole way out there. The security guys were dragging me out of the fairgrounds and I got socked in the choppers—knocked ’em out clean. I woke up in jail and had no teeth and a microwaveable hot dog for an upper lip. When I got outta the can, my friends told me Mark did it. I can’t blame him, really. Without a doubt, I deserved every ounce of ass-kicking I’ve ever received. On a positive note, he did me a favor; I busted my teeth up at skateboard odyssey when I was nine. They were broke off about halfway down and one had turned black. I’d been runnin’ a full snaggle for over a decade and he cleaned that mess up for me pretty good, free of charge.
How often do people confuse you with the NY Stitches?
Not very often.
Have you ever had words with them about having the same name?
Yeah; I went to New York in a failed attempt to kick dope and did a bit of sipping down in the Lower East Side. Mick, the singer, was working at the Continental as a bartender and asked me what I was doing in town, and I told him I was there with some lawyers to sue ’em about the name. “Nothin’ personal Mick, just business, ya know?” He said, “No way man, we changed the name to the LES Stitches!” I told him I was kidding and we had some drinks together; laughed about it some. They’re a good bunch. Later on that night, this girl who played in Blanks 77—I can’t remember her name at the moment—came in and gave me a handful of pills. I thought they were downers, but turned out they were uppers. The exact opposite direction I wanted to go. So, after about 12 more shots I went back to my hotel and ordered a pizza to try and mellow it down a bit. I had a severe case of the cold sweats, so in an attempt to ease my situation, I cracked the window and sat out on the ledge. Back east they’ve got the AC/heaters in the window. So when I would get hot I’d lean out the window, and when I’d get cold, I’d lean back over the heater. I hear this knock at the door; I go over, look through the peep hole, and it’s the pizza man. When I open the door a bunch of dudes in white suits come rushing past the pizza guy and tackle me to the floor. I’m all shackled up like a pig, face down on the floor, going, “What the fuck?” Turns out it’s the looney squad. Somebody saw me rocking back and forth on the window ledge, 15 stories up, and thought I was a jumper. The pizza man shoveled a slab down my gullet and they hauled me off to Bellevue. They dropped me in the day room with these full-blown One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest types, and I’m all speeded out just thinking, “No way, I’ve gotta get the fuck outta here. This ain’t me…” So I pound on the glass and the director comes over and pulls me outta there. We go to his desk and I explain my situation to him, that I’m just kicking dope, had the hot and colds, I’m not a jumper, and that I just need some rest. He says he’d go look into a bed for me and walks outta the room and around the corner. I get up, in my fuckin’ Bellevue gown, and stroll straight out the front door. It’s like 4 in the morning, it’s snowing, and I’m in a hospital gown with no shoes, about 154 blocks away from where I wanna be. I had to walk through Harlem like that. These black dudes totally trip on me, being a Bellevue escapee, and they flow me a bunch of crack hits. I make it back to the hotel and knock on the door. There’s police tape up and shit; full-on crime scene. My long-time friend Rudy opens the door, punches me square in the mouth, and yells at me, “You’re a fuckin’ idiot! I thought you were dead!” His girlfriend’s on the bed crying. He gives me a hug, rolls one up, blasts into it, and grabs a slab of cold pizza. Right back to normal. It was quite a night. I love New York.
Did Dustin Dollin’s part to ‘My Baby Hates Me’ give you a big spike in record sales?
It did give us a big spike, but not in record sales. I like Dustin and I’m stoked he put us in his part.
How did you guys end up playing Jason Adams’ wedding party?
The Adams’ like the band. They called us up, asked us to play, and we obliged. It was a lot of fun. Johnny almost fought a bunch of black dudes down on the street after the show. He was out by the van goin’ “What up, pimp?” to every black guy that walked by, and one didn’t take a liking to it. A whole herd surrounded him and he grabbed his skateboard like he was gonna start swinging it, so we pulled him in the van and punched it. He’s an idiot.
Highlights of the Stitches career?
On our first Northwestern tour, I made Pete sit in the little cab part of the truck with Paul Kelly for the entire trip. Pete and Paul played in Corrupted Ideals together and did a little wife swapping. Casey, Paul’s wife, liked Pete more I guess—so she divorced Paul and started going out with Pete. We had already booked the tour with the three bands, UXA, Corrupted Ideals, and the Stitches. Our bass player couldn’t go on the road, so we canned him and got Pete, who recently quit Corrupted Ideals due to the aforementioned affair. Tension was high and space was limited, so I figured the best way to keep myself entertained was to pair these two up together in the back of the truck, hoping things would get weird. We were all jacked on speed and drunk the whole time, verbally beating each other down in the worst ways possible, ya know? All the forbidden ammo was being thrown around. They never came to blows, but it came close a couple of times. When we were driving back over the Sierras it was snowing and hailing, and we’re pulling a trailer with all the equipment with Johnny was behind the wheel. He’s going like 70 mph. I’m rollin’ up a joint and I look over to see the trailer slidin’ sideways right next to my window, so I ask him, “You got this?” He goes, “Yeah, we’re cool.” Right then the truck spins a 540 from the fast lane and ends up facing oncoming semi-trucks, in the slow lane. Everybody’s screaming, freaking out, I could hear someone in the back praying… Johnny punches it forward, chicken-style with a semi, and pulls to the side of the road, safe and sound. All we lost was the bumper, and Johnny’s position as driver...
How long have you been sober?
How has sobriety changed the band?
I show up to the shows now, and that makes a difference. Most of the time I can remember the lyrics and use the microphone. I don’t feel like a burden on the band’s life and vice-versa. I prefer playing all ages shows now, rather than hating them for their lack of a bar, and Johnny hasn’t punched me in nearly seven years.
Top five influences on the band?
Drugs, alcohol, violence, 16-year-old girls with fishnet stockings, drinking Strawberry Hill in dark alleys, and insulin.
Are you guys working on any new material?
No. We don’t even practice. Although we should have a 7” coming out soon that was recorded in 2005. That’s the usual pace of output for us, so we’re right on schedule.
How’s life in the OC?
Why don’t you twist up a k-cone and answer that one yourself, dickhead?