40oz of Spite Interview with Dirty Dave and Tommy Gun

 

What can I say about the band 40oz of Spite? They are definitely one of the craziest (and I do mean mental), most energetic bands around. I think the best description I have ever heard someone say about 40oz’s, was after one of their shows at the Breakroom in Grand Rapids, when this guy comes up and tells the band, that they’re like the one night stand that didn’t suck. I have to say, I agree. With first glance, you would expect them to be just another pop-punk band getting on stage to sing about love lost, and how the government has wronged us in one way or another, but once they start playing, its safe to say that isn’t the case. With songs like Bucky’s Doing Heroin and Drink it Down, it’s easy to start singing along. I have yet to see a show of theirs where half the crowd doesn’t end up on the stage to chant along. Watching Tommy Gun and Dirty Dave on stage, is like watching kids with ADD try crack for the first time… Never are they standing in one spot for more than a second. Combine that with Dave blowing fire balls over his massive mohawk, and there is never a dull moment to their set. You can download their whole EP for free on Reverbnation at http://www.reverbnation.com/40ozofspite. Check them out and see for yourself!

Amanda: How did you guys all meet each other?

Tommy: I got into contact with Dave at first. I was doing an acoustic solo tour with Adam Shadows actually, and this was before Dave even knew who Adam was, and I contacted Dave about a show in Grand Rapids, and he was going to book one but the tour guy canceled. Then when I moved to Grand Rapids, I met Dave like the second day I was here. That’s when we robbed the liquor store; the day Nicole brought me over to Dave’s house.

Amanda: How about Rob, how did you guys end up meeting him?

Dave: I met Rob when he was in Sacramental, when we first started 7 Letter Alphabet with Jeff Baird, Tex, and Adam. They had this practice space behind Dodd’s Record Shop in this abandoned warehouse, and they used to throw shows in there, and that’s where I met Rob.

Amanda: How long ago was that?

Dave: 1999 I think?

Amanda: What the hell kind of space is behind Dodd’s? That place is like the smallest record store I’ve ever been in.

Dave: I know, but behind it there’s a bunch of abandoned warehouse stock rooms, where they used to hold shows, and they had this really cool bucket that sat over a drain with holes drilled in the bottom so you could pee in it. But yea, we played and Tex and Rob really fell in love with 7 letter and started putting out some more shows, because we were a new band, and not only that, we were basically from Battle Creek. They put us on a bunch of shows, and the bass player for 7 Letter ended up punching the drummer, and we had already had a couple shows lined up. Rob at this point was dating one of my really good friends that I went to junior high with, so I went over there in the middle of the night and knocked on the door. I asked if he’d fill in on a couple of shows, and he said ‘dude, I just want to be in the band,’ so I said alright.

Amanda: Haha, in the middle of the night?

Dave: Yea, it was seriously like 3 in the morning, and I just drove over there and asked him.

Amanda: Amazing! You actually had a car and drove?

Dave: Yea, I used to own a car, and could actually legally drive at one point.

Amanda: I never knew you as ‘the driver’.

Tommy: Dave can still drive; I’ve had him drive to the house before when I’ve been too drunk, even though he doesn’t have a license.

Amanda: What bands have influenced you guys in the making of 40 oz’s?

Dave & Tommy: Every band.

Amanda: No way, that’s a total cop out, you have to at least narrow it down to a few.

Tommy: I think we each have our own influences in the band. Rob came from more of a hardcore kind of background, and Dave and I have always played in more of the pop-punk bands. I think in this band though, we kind of wanted to do something different, but all of our old influences are still there. We always listened to Screeching Weasel, and the Queers, and bands like that. I think with this band we decided to combine all our influences with those bands, and maybe mix it with other bands we were into.

Dave: I think when we actually started the band, it was Far From Finished; they got us to write more intricate songs than we did in the Beat-Ups.

Amanda: So would you say that you consider more local bands as your influences as opposed to nationals?

Tommy: Local bands have always influenced us, as we’ve all grown up listening to the Krabs. The Krabs were ‘the punk band’ back in the day, There was no one better than them. When I turned 16 and got my license, we decided we wanted to leave town for the first time, so I played a show in Grand Rapids. We were from Alpena originally, and my band Switch 76 came down here, and we played at Arco Iris with the Krabs, and Misled Youth, and since then, the Krabs have been one of my favorite local bands for sure. For 40 oz’s, I think Black Flag was one of our main influences national-wise. We wanted to do something a little more hardcore and something a little more meaningful, as opposed to just writing about girls all the time. I came from the Hubies, and Dave and Rob both came from 7 Letter, and then Dave and I also did the Beat-Ups together. Mainly every song that we did were about fucking relationships.

Dave: The only outlet we had musically to do that together was the Necrophilicons, where we just actually had to play fast.

Tommy: When we did the Nechros together that’s when we found out that Dave and I write hardcore songs really well together.

Amanda: That was the first band you guys were in together, right?

Tommy: Yea, and then Dave asked me to be in Beat-Ups, probably about a year after I left. They were doing these shows where it was Dave and Flappy (from Ten Second March) on guitar, and then Chris Makin on the drums, but they didn’t have a bass player, and they would play shows that way. There was one show where Flappy had something going on, and he couldn’t do it, and I said I can learn your songs, and I’m going to play bass instead of guitar, and then I was just in the Beat-Ups, and I never left.

Amanda: What Grand Rapids band, any genre, do you think is the most talented Grand Rapids band?

Dave: Rattle Candy.

Amanda: Even if you weren’t like super sound guy for Rattle Candy, you’d still have them as your top choice?

Dave: Oh, now I’m super sound guy? No, I would absolutely pick them.

Tommy: Them and the U.S. Beat.

Amanda: Yea, I would have to say that the U.S. Beat is one of my top picks as well. How about your favorite Grand Rapids band, but not necessarily the most talented?

Tommy: Favorite Grand Rapids band? U.S. Beat, or the Squints.

Amanda: Haha, the Squints? Aww, I’m sure Skip would be so thrilled to hear that!

Tommy: Squints are a great band; they write the best pop-punk songs out of anybody.

Amanda: What about Chernobyl Babies?

Dave: Well seeing as to how both of us have already been in the band, we can’t count them.

Amanda: That’s a good point. I want to know what pisses you guys off the most about our local scene, and what would you guys do to try and change things.

Dave: That bands don’t promote their shows.

Amanda: I would totally agree with you on that.

Tommy: They don’t promote their shows and they’re too busy fighting over petty bullshit. Everyone says they care, but they really don’t fucking care at all.

Amanda: So do you guys not include yourselves in that situation then?

Dave: No.

Tommy: Well, we all have our moments.

Dave: I mean I don’t understand what like you’re talking about including myself in, I am not a punk, and I will never claim to be one.

Amanda: I mean, more like when it comes to band drama.

Dave: The only band drama we have is when one of us gets too drunk, and that’s it.

Amanda: haha yea, like when you get all wasted and try to blow fire inside of Jukes Bar, and get banned for life?

Dave: Yea, but that’s just outside drama, not actually any issues within the band.

Amanda: So are you saying that the two of you have never fought or had any kind of issues in any of the bands that you’ve been in together?

Tommy: Who, me and Dave? Yea we fight all the time. Me and Dave have been in quite a few like, physical fights with one another.

Dave: He tried to kill me with a post-hole digger!

Tommy: I did, I seriously tried to kill him.

Amanda: Whatever, I don’t believe you.

Dave: Seriously!

Tommy: Yea, the last time we were in Illinois; call Adam Shadows right now, he was on the roof when that happened!

Amanda: Was that the night you slept under the tree in the rain, Dave?

Dave: Yea, it was under the trampoline, actually.

Amanda: Oh, I heard it was under a tree, and then under a car, and I even head you laid in the middle of the street at one point – You were a busy boy that night!

Dave: I slept everywhere that night.

Tommy: I shoved his head through the wall at the radio station once.

Dave: It was when we were playing Al & the Black Cats, and 5 minutes later we just look at each other and go, ‘are we ok now?’

Tommy: Yup.

Amanda: Aww, you guys should just get married already.

Dave: We probably will one day.

Amanda: I’m not surprised at all by that. So, I want to know what cover you guys plan on playing next, and if you’ll take requests?

Tommy: Oh I don’t know, why, what do you want to hear?

Amanda: I didn’t say I was requesting anything; I just want to know whether it’s an option.

Tommy: If someone requests something worth covering we’ll do it. The reason we covered Cop Killer is because Dave got pulled over leaving work one day, just because he was driving a shitty car and that’s the only reason, and he was totally a victim of a hate crime.

Amanda: Haha, why do you say it was a hate crime?

Tommy: Just because it was a shitty car, and he wasn’t actually doing anything wrong at the time.

Dave: Next cover we’ll probably end up doing will be Rock Lobster.

Tommy: Yea, Rock Lobster for sure.

Amanda: But you’re open to suggestion?

Tommy: We only do cover songs when we feel a connection to those cover songs; we only have two covers, and we have a connection to both.

Amanda: Well that’s why I’m saying, you’ve already done two, why not throw out another one just for fun?

Tommy: We’ve covered other songs before; we did a Screeching Weasel song once.

Dave: Yea, we played that in the beginning.

Tommy: That was a cover of a cover, and that was just because we felt some sort of a connection to it at the time; we just don’t cover songs because they’re good songs.

Amanda: So it doesn’t necessarily have to even be a national band or anything either then?

Tommy: No, not at all.

Dave: I mean our newest cover song is from Al & the Black Cats.

Tommy: And they’re a local band.

Amanda: Very cool. I want to know who your guys’ favorite super heroes are.

Dave: I don’t get into that shit. I don’t do video games, I don’t read comic books; I don’t do any of that shit.

Amanda: What?! How is that even possible for a guy?

Tommy: Dave’s favorite super hero is Howard the Duck.

Dave: Ok, I will totally agree with that one.

Amanda: Alright I guess that counts.

Dave: Hey, if you think about it, Marty McFly is a super hero too, because he changed the fucking future.

Amanda: How the fuck does that count as a super hero though?

Dave: He changed the future AND the past; you don’t just have to fight crime, he changed the world!

Amanda: I don’t know, I don’t think that counts.

Dave: You don’t think that counts? Why, because he didn’t wear fucking tights?

Tommy: He’s a hero, and he did do something pretty super.

Dave: I’m not saying Michael J. Fox is my favorite super hero, I’m saying Marty McFly.

Tommy: Michael J. Fox is my super hero; I don’t know, Bucky is my favorite super hero!

Amanda: Haha, Bucky doesn’t count, he’s a dog.

Tommy: But he does heroin.

Amanda: Oh wait, I guess there’s underdog, so maybe.

Dave: Exactly, come on!

Tommy: Mighty mouse!

Amanda: Mighty mouse?

Tommy: Yea, because he’s a fucking mouse, and he’s pretty mighty, and he likes to fight and shit. No, in all honesty, it’s probably Batman. Batman is pretty awesome.

Amanda: Yea he’s definitely my favorite too.

Tommy: Not because he’s like a super hero, but because he’s a normal dude that can kickass, and he’s a really fucking good detective. Reading a Batman comic is like reading a detective book.

Amanda: Yea, but he also had a few assistants to help him along the way.

Tommy: Yea, he had like Alfred.

Amanda: Yea, but there was more than just Alfred.

Tommy: Robin, but Batman treated Robin like shit.

Amanda: Well yea, but that’s his sidekick; that’s what sidekicks are for. If somebody had to be a sidekick out of the two of you, who would it be?

Tommy: We have our moments where sometimes I’m the sidekick, and sometimes Dave is.

Dave: Yea, we switch it back and forth.

Amanda: Who’s the sidekick out of the two of you tonight then?

Tommy: We’re pretty much equal generally almost always; sometimes Dave will take charge because he’s more comfortable with whatever we’re doing, and sometimes I’ll do it, it just depends on where we’re at, and what we’re doing at the time.

Amanda: I want to know what your favorite movie trilogy is.

Dave: Back to the Future.

Tommy: Yup, back to the future.

Amanda: Second best, what would you pick?

Tommy: Man I don’t know, Back to the Future is the only one that matters. Dave hates Star Wars, and I hate Lord of the Rings.

Dave: I fucking hate Star Wars.

Amanda: If you could dig up one dead person and bring them back to life for a day, who would it be?

Tommy: One dead person to bring back to life for a day? Joe Strummer. He would say a bunch of shit that I probably totally wouldn’t understand, but I still would think it’d be the coolest thing in the world, just to have been able to hang out with him.

Dave: Anybody? Wow, that’s a hard one. Can I kill them again after I bring them back to life?

Amanda: No! They’d only be back to life for 24hrs before they’d croak again anyways.

Dave: I really can’t kill them again?

Amanda: Well I guess you could if you really wanted to.

Dave: I’m gonna go with Richie Valens.

Tommy: Just to hang with him for a day?

Dave: Yup.

Amanda: That would be cool; what about like Buddy Holly? I think he’d be pretty cool to hang out with as well.

Tommy: Buddy Holly would be cool, although I wouldn’t want to kill Buddy Holly again.

Amanda: Who would you guys bring back strictly for the purpose to murder them?

Tommy: Bob Hope! Hahaha!

Dave: Can I just bring back one hot dead chick for a day, just so I could bang her?

Amanda: Funny that you mention that, because that was the other version of the question I was going to ask.

Dave: I would bring back Princess Diana, not because she’s hot, but just because then I could say that I banged Princess Diana.

Amanda: Oh my god, you would.

Tommy: Yea, Dave would bang a lot of things. I’ve seen him bang things that you wouls not even begin to imagine.

Dave: Green Peppers, all sorts of shit; pizza dough – pizza dough actually feels pretty good.

Amanda: Really now?

Dave: Oh yea! A can of pork and beans, umm what else? Oh, a bag of powdered donuts, and one of those Halloween squishy things.

Amanda: And a turkey, right? Which I think you’re full of shit, by the way.

Tommy: No, the turkey thing is real!

Dave: I fucked a turkey in front of 60 people, in the middle of the woods!

Amanda: Oh you did not, come on admit it, you’re full of shit!

Dave: Bullshit! Go inside and ask anybody in there right now.

Amanda: The only thing I ever seen you fucking was Tommy, on that video that ‘lil Jeny made of you guys.

Dave: Ask anybody in that bar right now. Heidi Hawke has all the pictures.

Amanda: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Dave: It wasn’t a live turkey, it was a butterball.

Amanda: Haha, of course it was! You guys always make it sound like it was a live turkey running around in the wild or something.

Dave: Todd from the U.S. Beat and the Krabs brought this turkey out to this thing we used to do, called punks in the trees years ago at Doug’s, who is the bass player for Vacant’s property. His parents got divorced, so they had to sell the property or whatever. So what we did was went to the Maistee National Forest, and just had this big campout. It was like everybody from Grand Rapids, and all these Milwaukee punks and shit like that, and there were like 60 or 70 of us. Doug showed up like the second day, and he came with a few other people and a huge butterball turkey, and this tri-pod that they set up over our campfire, and put this turkey on it. Well, nobody would let me drive because I was wasted, and I was out of beer, and I was a vegetarian so I was like ‘dude, that’s so disrespectful man, fuck that turkey!’ My friend Ryan goes ‘dude, I will give you a beer if you fuck that turkey’, so I was like, are you serious? So I grabbed it, and called my mother and asked her to talk dirty to me, so I could get a boner.

Amanda: Whatever, shut up!

Dave: Dude, I swear to fucking god!

Amanda: That is so not even right.

Tommy: Yea, that happened.

Dave: I called her from Rachel’s phone actually, and that was back when you still got roaming charges and shit, and I racked up a 40 dollar phone bill just with that call.

Amanda: All so you could fuck a turkey! I hope to god you at least got sick from like salmonella poisoning or something.

Dave: See that’s what’s fucked up, because my mom was telling me they have this thing that she couldn’t think of the name at the time, but she was like ‘you’re going to get turkey brain disease!’ but I never got anything.

Amanda: Well yea, it’s a raw fucking bird for Christ sakes, you’re pretty damn lucky.

Dave: I didn’t actually fuck it, I just stuck my dick in it long enough to take a few pictures, and that was it.

Tommy: That reminds me of this show we played years later at the Corner Bar in Kalamazoo – We’ve denied this for a long time, but I think it’s time to finally fess up.

Dave:  This was when we were in the Beat-Ups; before we played the show, we said we’d come out and play, as long as we got gas money. It was me, Tommy and Chris Makin. Flappy was there too, but he drove by himself. This guy walked up to us during our last song; the sound guy, and he puts 13 dollars in my hand, and part of was even in quarters and shit. I looked at it, and I was like you know what dude, keep it. As he walked away from me, I just fucking threw it out in the crowd, and everybody that was there, really only came to see us, so we just sat around afterwards, and the bartenders just kept giving us free drinks all night. I was sitting underneath a peanut machine, like those one things that keep the peanuts warm.

Tommy: It was you me, and this giant skinhead dude, I forget his name.

Dave: Matt something- We were all just sitting there talking and eating peanuts, and I sitting on the table the peanut machine was on, and I look up, and I’m sitting underneath this huge giant stuffed turkey. I was like, you know what, we didn’t get paid, so we’re taking that turkey.

Tommy: I was like, let’s steal it dude! We ended up having to go through the whole damn bar without being noticed or stopped.

Amanda: How big exactly was this turkey?

Tommy: It was fucking huge!

Dave: If it was sitting on this seat, it’d be touching the ceiling.

Tommy: It was riding Kurt Cobain, fucking behind shotgun.

Dave: The seat behind shotgun?

Tommy: Haha, yea, get it?

Dave: We were talking about it, and planning it out for a while, and we got the Matt dude to just act like he was wasted drunk, and cause a scene.

Tommy: He went over and like kicked a table and shit.

Dave: Yea, he fell down, and they all went over to see what he was doing, and Tommy just looks at me and goes, NOW! So I ran up and I grabbed the fucking thing, and Tommy had the side door open and ready to go, and Chris was in the car with it running, and I just ran and dove with the turkey into the car, with the door still open, as the bartenders beating on the car, we peeled off down the street. We went home, took a bunch of fucked up pictures with the turkey and they’re actually still up on myspace.

Amanda: So obviously the bar knows who you guys are; wouldn’t they come asking for their shit back?

Tommy: Yea, we never played there again after that.

Dave: Random people started myspacing us, back when that was the thing to do, asking for our phone numbers and our real names, saying that they wanted to book us, but we didn’t know who they were, so we just said fuck it, we knew what it was about.

Tommy: What happened to the turkey was a bunch of frat guys at Dave’s ex girlfriend’s house destroyed it.

Dave: I left it in the living room when we went to bed, and when I woke up, there was just like feathers everywhere, and they had cut the head off of it, and stuff, because apparently I was a dick to them.

Amanda: No surprise there!

Dave: Oh, and since Rob isn’t here to do this interview with us, he wanted me to make sure I said his favorite quote, which is ‘I’m a drummer, and I like to suck dick’. He made me promise to say that.

Amanda: Before we say goodbye, what do you guys have coming up here in Grand Rapids?

Tommy: We are playing the Breakroom February 11th, with D.A., and Cheerleader. Doors are at 9pm, and it’s only 3 bucks to get in!

(All photos taken by Taylor Harris)