Now We Can See
WW: Are you physically claustrophobic?
Oh yeah, some knock out pills?
So, has the tour bus gotten a little bigger over the years?
You can almost stand up.
So it's still not a glamorous touring experience?
Can you talk a little about when you and Kathy started this band and went from doing softer stuff to being in a punk rock band? About why you wanted to do that, what kind of itch that scratched for you guys?
So that's with the first EP?
More Parts Per Million
Was there ever any talk about a plan with the band, like a long-term plan from the beginning?
Yeah, that's like the apex for when you're trying to get your name out there in the Northwest.
It must have been a lot of fun just breaking out of doing more acoustic stuff.
I was hopping around, doing my research the other day, and I found in two separate spots, I heard you using, more or less, the phrase that you wished you believed in God.
When you were a kid growing up Catholic, did you have that comfort, or was it more of a fear?
So you were going through the motions a little bit as far as you liked the group of people and what they were doing.
Did writing songs help you through that?
It's still just as much of a question?
The Body, The Blood
Do you mostly write [Thermals] songs on acoustic guitar and work them out yourself?
So, for this record, you sat down in a room with Kathy and worked through things and talk it out, even as far as the lyrics are concerned?
Your comfort level has to be pretty high, so is it easy to write songs with her? How deep do you guys get in that process?
The Body, The Blood, The Machine
And that extends to lyrical stuff and not just the musical stuff?
For me, my barrier to a lot of punk rock is often the lyrics. And that's why a band like the Thermals is more special, because you balance those things. You worry about the lyrics. What were the bands to you that were like that for you growing up? I know Bad Religion was sort of an influence in there somewhere.
From the Cradle to the Grave
The Body, The Blood
Yeah, and they have that balance of socially aware lyrics, but it's really personal. A lot of the songs are about their scene, their friends.
Yeah, more than you get in the newspaper really...I was thinking about when you guys go on tour you miss a lot of the Portland summers.
Do you ever feel like just staying home? [Laughs]
Spinal Tap
A Mighty Wind
I wonder as somebody who's been in Portland bands here for longer than I've been here, if you think that all these transplant bands and people moving to the city is overall a good thing for Portland still at this level that it's at now, or if it's having any adverse effects?
Have you and Kathy every talked about relocating the band for whatever reason?
Do you do most of the press because you like doing it, or because Kathy doesn't like doing it…
As far as the ego thing, it seems like it'd be a little tougher in Portland, because it's a small pond in a lot of ways. So, I think, when you go out everybody kind of knows who you are.
I'm sure you've had interest from major labels.
Is that something you ever see yourselves pursuing?
That's the thing—you go to a lot of major label rosters, and you go, “Who the fuck are these people?” You go to Merge's website or Sub Pop's webiste or Kill Rock Stars's website and you're like, “Oh yeah, these are bands that are cool.”
Did you sign a multi-album deal with Kill Rock Stars?
You thought about even putting it out yourself?
So owning it means that down the line, if you want to re-release it or something you can, it's just the initial print and everything is on Kill Rock Stars?
How old were you when you and Kathy met?
Is it weird for someone to step into that third role, that dynamic must take some getting used to.
Would you say it's the hardest job in Portland, to be the Thermals' drummer?
Is it like a brother/sister type relationship with you and Kathy?
How did you come to that decision, to manage the band?
It's really awesome for to see you guys find success and find a crowd, but that elusive stadium band level, that would be a strange fit.
And as far as what you want?
It seems like if you get to that point and your anxieties haven't disappeared, maybe you start panicking about what is going to fix this?
But the creative process that happens, you try to help yourself through that.
I don't think anything really prepares you to grow up. When you're a kid you see adults that look like they have it together, and you assume that you're going to hit an age where everything is going to come together, and it just never happens.
And then you're just getting chased by something.
Photo by Alicia J. Rose