So yeah, some readers might not realize this, but the last time I talked to you guys you were called the Riot Boys... What happened?  Why the name change?

We were kinda seen as a joke when we were called "Riot Boys". Nobody took us seriously, not even us. We didn't write songs for the longest time, and would just play way too many garbage shows with bands we'd never see again and still haven't. Then we started to take a break from shows and write all new songs, got a new drummer, kicked out our backup guitarist, and decided to change the name. Setbacks was perfect because EVERYTHING was setting us back. We couldn't achieve a single goal, we couldn't make a dime, and it took us almost 4 months just for the studio to squeeze us in for only 3 six hour sessions.

The new album sounds real good.  So wait - Evan wasn't on that?

Thanks a lot!  And kind of.  He recorded with us during the first recording session, which was the instruments.  Then we kicked him out, because he'd never show up to practice, and he had other "priorities."  He doesn't know this, but [for] the second session, our guitarist, Mike, went back and re-did his tracks, because Evan messed up a lot, and we couldn't really tell at the time because it was recorded live.  

Well he'll know now, won't he? (laughs)

(Laughs) Yeah, if he reads this.  I think he forgot how to read.

(More laughter)

Actually, take what I just said out. (laughs some more)

Oh no, I don't edit content, boyo!!  You'll just have to apologize later.  But back to the first question... are we not going to talk about the other Riot Boys' legal threats?

Oh, that was a complete lie because some people were pissed about the name change.

Wow, I'm learning.

The only threat we got wasn't legal, the Canadians just threatened to stab us... through MySpace, of course.

Those pesky internet tough guys!

Their painful intentions hurt my feelings more than a knife ever could.

I would've kept the name at that point, just to be an asshole.

(Laughs) Good point.

So what's the status with the epic Joey Moonchild saga?

It's definitely epic.  He plays in our ska band still, even though we practice (on average) once every six months, and we're working on a more simplex, hardcore side project with him right now, called Sweatshop.  His legacy will never die.  Except when he does.  The first Sweatshop EP is called Through the Viewpoint Of A Punk Dog.  The first track is called "Pit Bull Shit".

Sounds wholesome.


So I saw this blog on your MySpace about bands who support the scene, and I noticed my band wasn't on it.  What's up with that?

You guys are from Pennsylvania, and I guess it was just local bands.  I didn't even make the blog.

Even more apalling was the absence of Nightmare Mode, who are also from around Clevo.

Yeah, I've never played with them or met them before, so that'd be kind of awkward.  We're playing with them for the first time on Wednesday.

(Laughs) Look at you getting all serious and shit.


You're in for a treat. Those guys (and girl) and real good people to develop a friendship with.  Very supportive.  Nikki, the drummer, actually filled in for our drummer about a week ago in Pittsburgh.  She never even practiced with us before.

Yeah she's a girl, that was interesting...  (Pauses)  I'm eating a popsicle.  




Thanks, man.

I'm eating whatever I can scrape off my teeth.


Okay that was gross.

I agree.

Times are tough.  (Pauses)  Maybe I will edit for content.

Yeah.  Can we start the interview, though? 

I thought we had...  I hear that all the time, though.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

You aren't doing anything wrong.

So hey-- What's this Strength In Numbers thing you guys are playing?

It's almost every good band in Cleveland playing.  And a few extremely shitty ones.  So did Nathan send you the whole album?

Sure did.  I got it in my ears as we speak.  I like to set the mood when I'm chatting people up on here.

That's cool.  I'm listening to Dead To Me.  What song are you listening to?

"I Don't Need It".  It's at the breakdown.  

Moms and Dads aren't allowed to listen to the "I Don't Need It" breakdown. 

You guys did some massive facelifts on some of these songs.

Yeah, we added a lot to the old ones!

A lot of the songs that used to be under a minute are slighly longer now.  Was that a conscious thing?

The only one [like that] I think was "I Don't Need It", the breakdown was just something we did live, and we never want to record the same version of a song twice, so we just decided to keep it that way.

Who's the girl singing for 2.3 seconds on "A Fact That You're Not Willing To Accept"?

Oh that's Katie Merkur!


Yeah, she's good friends with Nathan, and she has a really cool voice, so we just asked her to do it.  It was fun, and it's a cool song.  She's actually dating the singer of local alternative band, Driver Side Impact.

I was gonna reprint something from one of Katie's blogs, but then I got backed-up on zine shit.  She was all about the idea, I was surprised.

About doing the vocal track?

No, the reprinted blog.  Well, yeah, that too.  I don't know how I knew it was her.  

Yeah, she has a pretty distinct voice, really good though.

I guess she has a distict voice or something--  Yeah, exactly.


(Laughs)  Too bad you're too young for me to buy you a beer.

You owe me a Pepsi or something-- No, Pepsi.

Pepsi works (laughs).

I'm straight edge anyways.


Awesome.  I'd gargle that shit.

How long ago did you decide to be straight edge?

Probably a couple years ago, I never really did anything.  None of us are "hardcore" straight edge at all, considering straight edge people can be major douches.  We just aren't really around it, and don't believe in it, and I guess we match the label.

You wear the X's on your hands and all that?

No, not even close, we just don't drink or smoke or whatever, but I don't want to speak for everyone.  Not all of us are.  So... back to the CD.

I saw YouTube videos of a documentary or something about the recording of it..  Wanna talk about that?


Is that something you're going to release with the CD?

No way, we just thought it was funny to make those, and the studio got really boring at times.  We also did that so people could hear little snippets from our songs.

You guys should totally enhance the CD as an extra bonus.

Yeah, it's not mastered yet.  That's why the songs aren't downloadable or anything.

So the version I've been listening to is the rough cut?

It's mixed, just not mastered yet.  So I suppose you could say it's rough.  It'll sound the same, only louder, once it's mastered.

I didn't notice, but then again, I play everything way too loud anyway.

Yeah its weird, the levels are turned up, but it isn't mastered, so it doesn't sound as good as it can.  It's confusing and kinda hard to explain, I don't really understand it.  All I know is that it's really expensive.

I think it's a scam.  Like car insurance.

We figure since it cost over $900 to record, we might as well do the best we can with it.

Or gas prices.  Anything having to do with cars, basically.

Yeah, cars are worthless.  That's why we have wagons.

Like radio flyers?

Yeah, that's how we carry around Joey Moonchild and Katie Merkur.  Just kidding, we shove them in the trunk.

(Laughs) So, where'd you record the album?

We recorded at Ante Up Audio, in the east side of Cleveland.  Apparently Dave Matthews, and Lynyrd Skynyrd and shit have recorded stuff there, as well.

Did you have a producer, or did you guys do all that yourselves?

It's all completely by ourselves.  There was no outside help at all.

Not even like an engineer or something?

Oh, well yeah.  Jimmy Frysinger (ex.Radikills, now plays with Nicholas Megalis) worked with the mic's and shit, and tracked everything.  And other stuff that recording engineers do.

Okay.  So what was the band line up exactly for these sessions?

It was Nathan on bass, Mike on lead guitar, Evan on rhythm, and Eric on drums.  And me on vocals.  But Evan didn't know how to play a couple songs, and fucked up on some others, so Mike ended up re-doing his rhythm track.  And stuff.

You guys are currently looking for a new rhythm player, right?

Nope, not really.  We're fine with how things are right now.

You guys don't really have a ton of solos anyway.

I mean, that doesn't even matter.  Having a rhythm guitarist makes the music come off a little stronger, but Nathan has enough overdrive on his bass to make up for it.  Only huge fucking douchebags has rhythm guitarists. (pauses)  ...I'm kidding.


I used improper grammar, as well.

I know, nice touch.


I don't know... what else would you ask yourself if you were me?

Ask us something based on hearing our album.  What did you get out of the music?  Individual songs, etc.

I did a lot of that already, I think...  Is there going to be a lyrics sheet with the CD?

That's something we're not really sure about.  Probably not, it's just something else to spend money on.

Is there anywhere on the web that people can read what the hell you're saying?  I suck at being able to tell what a singer's saying most of the time.

Ah, yeah.  Well we're working on a website right now.  The lyrics should probably be posted once the CD is done.  We also write a blog about every show we play.

That's pretty awesome.  More bands should do that.  Although-- couldn't you just do that with your MySpace page?

I can't take MySpace that serious.  We only have it to promote ourselves.

It's good for meeting other bands from your area, too.


And venues.

I don't like meeting people through the internet much...  Yeah, it's handy for setting up shows.

If it wasn't for the internet I wouldn't know anyone outside of my small town.

I live in Cleveland.  Home of Rock.

Yeah, okay. That's what they say. (laughs) Alan Freed had his first DJ'ing gig in New Castle.

I honestly don't even give a shit.

Cleveland smells like sewage.

Pittsburgh smells like Sam Sinister.

They wish.


I'm not from Pittsburgh though.  New Castle has nothing to do with Pittsburgh.  It's its own thing.


Maybe if I was from Pittsburgh I wouldn't suck at interviews.

You just have to ask questions.  I'm an open book.  About the Sex Pistols, of course.

So what about the Sex Pistols?

What about 'em?

You just said "About the Sex Pistols, of course".

(More silence)

How do you feel about the Sex Pistols.

I hate em.

Good enough.  How long is this fucking thing gonna be anyway?  Any last words for our 3 or 4 readers?

Yeah.  See ya.

--Sam SInister