Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interview with Billy Jeans of the Mean Jeans

The Cover of Mean Jeans' Newest LP
Mean Jeans are a band from Portland, OR that plays a punk-tinged brand of garage rock n' roll. They recently released a new album on Dirtnap Records called On Mars. The album art looks about like the band sounds. One part mars. One part jagermeister. And then there are some dudes inside the bottle that has actually become a spaceship. Plot twist. On Mars is completely solid - it's a garage record, so naturally it has 13 songs over about forty minutes and each song is a blast, which isn't to say that the lyrics are all positive - if you look to the interview, Billy Jeans (frontman/guitarist) of the Mean Jeans talks a bit about the record and its subject matter. He mentions going forward from their first record and from where the band comes.

From what I've heard, the band rips it live. They recently played Chicago at a show that I could not attend, but heard was very good. THIS is an example of the raucous shows that they play live. I would highly recommend checking out their records, which you can find HERE. To learn more about the band, you can check them out on FACEBOOK or see where they played HERE

Here's the interview:

Jordan: So how mean would you say your Jeans are on a scale from 1 to Mean Joe Green?

Billy Jeans: 69. I have no idea how to answer this question, but I've been asked it 20 times!

J: What was the basis behind your name?

BJ: It was spray painted on my parents house by Jr. Jeans' bitter ex girlfriend. We stuck with the name cuz it had already built a reputation for itself, spray painted all over the suburbs of Washington, DC. 

J: Who all is in the band and what are your roles?  Does one person write most of the songs or is it collaborative?

Mean Jeans at a Show
BJ: Billy Jeans on guitar/voz, Jeans Wilder on Drums/vox and Jr. Jeans on bass.  I write most of the songs, Jeans Wilder writes some, and we put it all together… together. In leather. Whatever. 

J: What do you all do when you aren't playing or recording?

BJ: I like to draw, collect records, swim in rivers, eat mexican food, see bands play portland and experiment with drugs and alcohol. 

J: How did you all originally get connected with Dirtnap?  Did you have releases before your first LP?

BJ:  We recorded some songs on my ex girlfriends laptop, using no microphones, just placing the computer in the corner of the room and hitting record on Garageband.  We posted those on Myspace and were contacted by Rehab Records who wound up releasing them as our first seven inch, the Stoned 2 The Bone 7".  Ken from Dirtnap saw us play and one time when I was buying records at his shop he said he wanted to do a record.  So we did our second single with him, the License 2 Chill 7", and next did the LP. I think.

J: How was the process recording your first album?  Has it changed much or do you have a routine down?

Mean Jeans with some goo or something
BJ:  We just showed up at this gross house where a friends band had recorded and played every song we had.  There was very little effort involved. Since that first record, we've recorded with several people, in different places.  Our 2nd LP was actually recorded at that same shitty house but with completely different people who rented that same space.  So we've spent a lot of time drinking and getting covered in mildew on the corner of NE 17th and Ainsworth in Portland.  To be completely honest, I am not satisfied with any of the recordings and am still looking for more options.  Or maybe I just need to accept that we are a shitty band. 

J: What was the writing and recording of the new album "Mean Jeans - On Mars?"  Would you say that you wrote with a theme in mind?

BJ:  If anything was predetermined, it was that we didn't want to just make the same record again as Are You Serious?.  Cuz that would be really easy. So we tried to flip the script, and go a little popper.  I don't spend much time at all listening to music made after 1990, and not much of the fast punk / pop punk that's come out of the past 20 years.  We were listening to more 70s and 80s pop like Rick Springfield, ELO, Dwight Twilley, the corny shit.  Not to say On Mars sounds like any of those bands, but we wanted to give it more than just 3 power chords, a verse and a chorus.  So it is what it is.  

Thematically, the album talks about flying to mars to get away from our lives, creepy slugs, self-loathing, day to day disappointment, and of course partying. 

J: How has touring your new album been?  Have you seen an increase in crowd-size?

Another Bit of Mean Jeans Art
BJ: Yea we just did a US / Canada tour and it was the best one we've done yet.  I had a great time and more people were at the shows, which is always nice when you are playing a city you've never played or been to. 

J: Do you all play in other bands or have other projects?

BJ: Jr. Jeans plays in a punk band called Freedom Club.  Well it sounds punk to me I don;t know what other people think it sounds like. Jr. and Jeans Wilder did a US tour as bass and drums for Peach Kelli Pop.  At the beginning of August we are playing as the Groovie Ghoulies with Kepi Ghoulie. I am stoked.  We all play in another group called Junior Membah as well.  You'll have to see it to get it. 

J: Do you all have any plans for the future in terms of the band (I know you just finished a full-length album)?

BJ:  See what we can get away with before we're old. Skate the line of total implosion until it happens. Terrorize the world. 

J: What other music are you guys listening to or excited for in the future?

BJ: New bands I am digging: Big Eyes, Dancer, Bi-Marks, Audacity

No comments:

Post a Comment