Tag Archives: Lagwagon

Interview: Joey Cape (Lagwagon, One Week Records)

Joey CapeFest. Fest. Fest.

I was not there, so I interviewed Joey Cape.  I guess that is the next best thing, right?

Cape and his band Lagwagon just stopped at Fest in the middle of their tour to play a Halloween show.  Based on the photos and videos I saw on the good ol’ internets, they donned King Diamond’s look and played a killer set.

Now, many of you know that Cape is a busy guy.  Not only is he touring with Lagwagon right now, but he released  Stitch Puppy, an all new solo album on Fat Wreck Chords that has really exceeded my expectations.  Seriously, you should probably check it out before you read my interview so you know I am not just kissing booty throughout.  I sincerely enjoyed it.

For a guy that is pushing 50, he does not seem to be slowing down one bit.  Not only is he focused on his music, but he is also still continuing with One Week Records.  On top of that, he is a family man.  A true hero if you ask me.

I managed to get Cape’s attention the other day and was able to chat about Stitch Puppy, Lagwagon, and even other avenues.  At the end, I was even able to get some fanboy questions answered.  Let me just say that the final question was answered amazingly.

Check it out, and enjoy:


BHP: Man, Stitch Puppy was beautiful. Was the concept of this album leaning towards a darker path? I am not saying all tunes were gloomy, but it certainly had a somber feel to it.

Joey Cape:  Well, I just decided to make it somewhat conceptual in a very broad sense. It was all written within the idea of the doll Stitch Puppy itself. It’s a victorian morning doll my daughter and wife made me. I had had a tough couple years with the death of a few friends, a falling out with an old friend, and a friend going to prison for a capitol crime. The lyrics simply represent the last couple of years of trauma in my life and the lives of others. In that way, the lyrics are no different than what I always write about. I guess I have always been most inspired by the dark side of life. It rings more true to me.

I loved the piano playing in “This Like IS Strange”. It seriously intensified the song for me, especially towards the end. Tell me, who is the monkey in this song?

I’m glad you like it. The piano is my friend Brian Wahlstrom. We have been working together for the last 5 years. We have co-written music together, his and mine and done extensive touring. I just love the way piano fills up the sound and adds tone. Brian and I have a great musical report. I am not going to share the “Monkey” name. Haha. I make an effort now to be discrete. I have gotten into a lot of trouble in the past for being too transparent.

You took a great song from a totally underrated album of yours, re-recorded it with Chris Creswell, and more or less blew my mind. Why did you select “Spill My Guts” off of that The Playing Favorites album?

I have done very little touring with that band and always wanted to play the 5 songs I wrote for that record. It just seems like the best way to re-introduce them by recording them acoustic. I don’t think any of them would work for Lagwagon.

“Moral Compass” was more folky sounding than the other tracks. Who helped you out with this song?

It was a song I originally recorded with Lagwagon for the “Hang” album. It didn’t really fit that record so I decided to do the Stitch Puppy version. The solo was written by Chris Rest of Lagwagon. I asked him if it was cool to use it. Otherwise, it was mine but, I think the reason it sounds a bit different is because I wrote it as a letter to a child and that effected the overall tone of the song. It’s supposed to be a soft delivery I suppose

“Tracks” was so emotional. Seriously, I just got chills listening to you sing “he would lay down on tracks for you”. Who was this song about?

“Tracks” was originally entitled “I Would Have Laid Down On Tracks For You”. A better title but too long for the layout. Haha. I wrote it in third person because it felt more like a story with empathy and less defensive that way. I wrote it as a letter to an old friend. Someone I knew for 30 years and recently had a falling out with. As far as I am concerned I was a scapegoat. Sometimes couples choose that “Me against the world” role in their relationships. They just have to cut friends almost randomly to keep it together. It’s a shitty move and difficult to forgive.

Back_Cover_Photo_450Tell me more about your daughter and the doll that inspired this release.

Yeah, it was all her doll and catharsis. That doll is my most prized possession and it speaks to me. There is something about a child’s ability to give a pure uninhabited view through their art. That sort of thing gets forced out in my cases by this overwhelming world. It’s beautiful and sad but vital to site and source.

I take it the cover art for this album is a representation of said doll? It’s like Powder meets the Nirvana smiley face, but different.

I thought it would be a good idea to embody the doll. It was fun to play the personality I imagined Stitch Puppy would have. I made a video for “This Life IS Strange”. I walked all over San Francisco in that get up. People starred. It was unnerving.

Can I ask, did you treat Stitch Puppy like a One Week Records recording and left it completely raw, or was there some mastering involved?

It was raw at its base. Brian Wahlstrom and I recorded the basics live at my studio just as I do the One Week Records I produce. It was aesthetically inspired by those records. I did bring some additional instrumentalist in for overdubs and had some guest singers lay down background vocals. I like the idea of not being precious with the production and going for the stripped down vibe. I like the idea of a more pure performance.

Were you able to get a lot of friends to help you write this album, or was most of it done by yourself?

I wrote the songs very quickly, then took them to my writing partner Brian Wahlstrom. Brian calls me out when I’m doing the same old same old. He’s the best sounding board I have worked with. We added a few parts, bridges, etc. and we tightened the arrangements up.

How tough is it to balance all you have going on in life? You have your solo material, Lagwagon, and One Week, plus a family on top of that. How do you do it?

As far as music goes, I just keep working and whatever is in front of me is what gets my full attention. It looks more difficult than it is. I don’t like down time. My family is of course, the most important thing to me and I would spend more time at home if possible. Unfortunately, we all need to work. At least I have a great job that I love even if it takes me away from them.

This was your first solo release in 5 years. Can we expect another one in the future?

I hope so. I just write songs and make records accordingly. It’s hard to calculate the best home for the songs. Lagwagon always gets the first right of refusal.

How’s touring going? Do you prefer the solo route or do you enjoy being with Lagwagon?

I like them both. They compliment each other. They alleviate the tension that either can bring. Sometimes a song gets lost in the band dynamic and that is where my true love lies. Doing the acoustic thing keeps that aspect alive. But I need the energy of the band too. They are both like addictions.

What does it feel like to be on an independent label that just passed the 25 year mark?

It feels great. I can’t say enough about the subject. We are so lucky to have foregone the drama and ups and downs of label change. Fat is an absolutely awesome label and they have always respected us and our wishes. We haven’t never had our integrity challenged by them. They support us unconditionally. We are the fortunate ones.

What’s one thing you can tell me that Tony Sly taught you about yourself musically?

Tony reminded me that it’s okay to do anything you want to do in songwriting. I think I reminded him of that fact too. We both recognized each other’s go to chords and melodies and I believe we both reminded each other that it’s okay to have them. They become your personality as a songwriter, your style. They can be a gift if allowed and appreciated.

Did you ever think you would be where you are today? Look at all you have accomplished as an artist. I seriously doubt you have even reached your peak.

Thank you. No, I am always surprised by every step. It’s just one of those things you are gracious for or not. I am very aware of my fortune, to be doing what I love and the ability to nurture it. I know how lucky it is to be able to spend nearly all my time doing this. I used to paint houses for a living. That is a great job and I loved that too but, this is better.

Not everyone can get into your solo stuff. I think sometimes as we grow older, our tastes change and we appreciate a good sounding acoustic track. I guess what I am asking is, which do you prefer more, Lagwagon or your solo material?

I have always loved both but I am a song guy. That’s what it’s about for me. I don’t really care much about the format. I listen for the hook, the lyric and want to identify. That is the universal language we all can speak.

What is this Cape karaoke that I keep hearing about?

I have no idea. Maybe it stems from the few shows over the years where I got sick and lost my voice. When that happens, we opt for Karaoke rather then cancelling the show. It sucks but it’s fun.

What’s next for Joey Cape?

Good question!

BHP FANBOY QUESTIONS:

I was hoping to talk about Bad Astronaut for a quick moment if you are cool with that. How did you get John Popper of Blues Traveler to play harmonica on “Our Greatest Year”?

My wife and him grew up together. I met him through her. I asked. He said yes. That simple. I doubt that will ever happen again.

So what is the fate of Bad Astronaut? Grated you stated there was no Bad Astronaut after Derrick passed on, but reforming in 2010 to play the band’s first live show as well as hints of a b-side album have gotten some of us fans curious.

Well, we still have a bunch of unreleased material but I have used many of the song ideas for other projects over the years. We have done a few tours but have had some drama with drummers and other members life schedules. We are all still very close and I imagine we will eventually record together again. They are amazing musicians and some of my closest friends.

Have you, Wahlstrom, and Snodgrass ever talked about maybe continuing with Scorpios or starting another project collectively?

Funny you ask. We are talking now. Jon and I are going to start working on some stuff in February and there is a new Scorpio in town. His initials might be C.C.. I’ll leave it at that.


Stitch Puppy is available on CD or LP at Fat Wreck Chords.

Cape and Lagwagon are currently on tour.  If you have never seen Lagwagon live before, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Date Location Club Details
10/30/15 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
10/31/15 Gainesville, FL The Fest 14!!!
11/2/15 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall w/ Riverboat Gamblers, PEARS, Runaway Kids, Broken Gold
11/3/15 New Orleans, LA Parish at House of Blues w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/4/15 Houston, TX Warehouse Live Studio w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/5/15 Corpus Christi, TX House of Rock w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/6/15 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/7/15 Dallas , TX Club Dada w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/8/15 Austin, TX FFF Fest Fun Fun Fun Fest
11/10/15 Scottsdale, AZ Pub Rock w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/11/15 Las Vegas, NV Fremont Country Club w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids, The Breifs
11/12/15 Santa Barbara, CA Velvet Jones w/ PEARS, The Runaway Kids
11/13/15 West Hollywood, CA Troubadour w/ Bobgoblin
11/14/15 San Diego, CA The Observatory w/ Runaway Kids
11/15/15 West Hollywood, CA Troubadour w/ PEARS, Runaway Kids
11/23/15 Tokyo, Japan Makuhari Messe Fat Wrecked for 25 Years in Japan w/ NOFX, Strung Out, Good Riddance, Snuff, Swingin’ Utters, Western Addiction, Masked Intruder, toyGuitar and more!
11/26/15 Byron Bay, Australia The Northern w/ The Flatliners
11/27/15 Brisbane, Australia The Triffid w/ The Flatliners
11/28/15 Sydney, Australia Metro Theatre w/ The Flatliners
11/29/15 Central Coast, Australia The Entrance Leagues Club w/ The Flatliners
12/2/15 Geelong, Australia Barwon Club w/ The Flatliners
12/4/15 Melbourne, Australia Max Watt’s w/ The Flatliners
12/5/15 Adelaide, Australia Unibar w/ The Flatliners
12/6/15 Perth, Australia Amplifier w/ The Flatliners
2/26/16 Curitiba , Brazil Music Hall
2/27/16 Sao Paulo , Brazil Clash Club
2/28/16 Rio De Janeiro , Brazil Teatro Odisseia
3/2/16 Buenos Aires , Argentina Groove
3/4/16 Santiago , Chile Teatro Cariola
3/5/16 Lima, Peru Festiva
3/6/16 Bogota , Colombia Festival Skate Punk

Interview: Joey Cape (Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes)

Why bother hiding it, the 15 year old in me is freaking out.  I got to chat it up with Joey freaking Cape.

I have been a fan easily for over 20 years now with everything Cape has done.  From Lagwagon to his solo material, I have always appreciated what Cape has brought into the music world.

Recently I heard about a new project Cape has created called One Week Records.  You see, Cape decided to turn his home into a studio where he….you know what?  Let’s just have Cape explain it.  Trust me, it is a hell of an idea…

One Week Records

BHP: Let’s talk about your all new project called One Week Records. To my understanding, this is a label you created where you invite an artist to your home to record an album in a week, right?

JC: Yes. That’s it.

Where did you come up with this awesome idea?

It is an idea I had a few years back and have been considering how to do it since.  It stems from my love of the honest production and approach of demos. Also, I am not a fan of the fact that albums and their romance are pieced out into single tracks falling into the shuffle of a chosen device. I believe an album should be heard as a whole and in the intended sequence of the performer and producer. That is why we sell them as one event and the reason we do not own certain mainstay editing tools such as pitch correct plug-ins.

How does your family like you turning your home into a bed and breakfast of sorts?

Haha. Yeah, My girls are cool with it. It allows me to be home with my wife and daughter and also marries my 2 very different lives, Home and tour. For many years I did not enjoy the thought that my wife did not know so many of my long term friends and my daughter may never know them. One Week allows me to bring these people to my home. They have meals and morning coffee with us and it is exciting for my daughter especially. She doesn’t know the difference between Chris Cresswell and Iggy Pop, so in her mind these famous people are coming to stay. It’s sweet. I’m careful not to invite anyone I do not know well enough of course. So far so good.

That is great.  Is One Week limited to just one artist at a time?

Yes, but some people choose to bring accompaniment

Cool.  So is the goal to record a song a day? Would you ever surpass the 7 song mark or would that defeat the purpose?

It’s actually 10 songs in 7 days with a One Week Record and 5 songs in 3 days with something we are calling a One Weekend record. The limitations are purposeful. There is not enough time to second guess everything and because of this there is a more raw and true outcome I think.

Brian Wahlstrom’s session is absolutely amazing. In fact, I encourage anyone reading this to go out and download it right now. I know he was part of a side project you worked on called Scorpios that sadly went on a hiatus due to the loss of a great man (RIP SLY). Did you pick Wahlstrom to debut on your label because of this?

Brian is a very close friend and incredibly talented. He is my latest musical soul mate. We work on everything together now. We co-wrote much of his record and he even worked with me on the new Lagwagon album. I knew he would make a great one week record first because we had such a great report. There was little pressure and plenty of chemistry and I love the idea that One Week gives me the opportunity to expose songwriters that many otherwise would never hear.

Chris Cresswell also released an album through One Week that is just incredible. How did he become involved early on?

Well, I have toured with Chris a bit with the Flatliners and I played an acoustic show with him and loved his voice and songs in that setting. Chris is one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met. I can think of no one more pleasant to be around. Honestly, I was just as excited for him to meet my family than to record but, yes, I am very proud of his record. He is such an amazing song writer and has an exceptional voice.

Do you have anyone out there in the music world that you really want to record?

The list is endless. I have a sort of faith that these people will come to me like in Field Of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come”. Hahaha. I’m really biting my tongue and hoping for some of them to reach out. It’s better that way. I don’t ever want to solicit them because as friends it puts them in a position where they might feel they are disappointing me if they are not into it.

So how does someone become considered in being a part of this project?

Well, I have to really love the music. Otherwise, I don’t feel I would have much to offer other than engineering and that results in a poorly produced album. I met a few of the people I am doing records with on the road. For example, Brian and I ran a sort of contest. Don’t like that word. We chose a person in each city we played over a year to join us on stage during our set and play one of their own original songs. It’s better than an opening set because often people are not in the venue earlier to see the performance. This guaranteed them and their respective cities to meet. I loved each and every night we did it. People submitted YouTube videos and this was in the end a cleverly disguised and more so unintentional sort of scouting for One Week. So far I am recording three of the artists I found this way. I just finished a record with one of them, a guy named Jo Bergeron from Quebec City. He is amazing I think.

Hell yeah.  I can’t wait to hear what is created.  So, who is behind the artwork on each of the releases?

Each artist is asked to draw their own cover. Black sharpie on white paper. For better or worse it continues the emphasis on the individual personality of each record. I love it. If I every did one it would be really bad. I can barely write my name. Haha.

Ha. Will this strictly be online or do you think maybe one day you might put some of these songs on vinyl?

Each artist is allowed to print vinyl with anyone they choose. It’s kind of a joke but the contract reads that the artist simply has to give One Week one copy if they press. I collect vinyl and love it but I really just want to focus on the creative side of things and not physical manufacturing or the marketing of those things.

I like that idea. Win, win. So I have to ask… What happened to My Records? I was a huge fan of the only release on that label.

Wow. Well that was something completely different. I just found it to be too painful trying to distribute physical merchandise though the channels. too many middle people and when those people didn’t respond to the albums the way I did it was sad. One Week Records is B2C (business to customer). No issues here. If somewhere here’s a song streaming or whatever, they just buy it and again, they have to buy the entire record which is nice for both the artist and consumer I think. The events are inexpensive due to the low cost of producing them. I’m certain there is and will be many more labels doing this sort of thing in the near future.

Speaking of Nerf Herder, any chance Parry Gripp be recording anything with you soon?

He just might be on my list. Hehe

Do you have long term expectations with One Week Records or will you just take each week as it comes?

The latter. I have learned to simply enjoy the process and not set your self up for disappointment by having goals and expectations. My only goal is to make great records with great people.

I have the feeling that is going to happen over and over… So, what’s next for Joey Cape?

Lagwagon has a new album almost complete. So lots of touring I imagine and One Week Records in the in between tours whenever possible. Still, have my day job. Haha


Joey Cape is currently in the middle of recording and all new Lagwagon album that should be dropping later this year.

Check out One Week Records.

Check out Cape talking about his project:

Chris Cresswell and Cape cat:

Album Review: Joey Cape / Tony Sly – Acoustic Volume 2

Has it really been been 8 years since Tony Sly and Joey Cape released their first solo album collectively?  I can remember the day I heard cuts off that release and bragged to my close friends about it.  Soon they were just as hooked as I was with the acoustic renditions of Lagwagon and No Use For a Name (NUFAN) songs.

Hearing those punk rock songs acoustically was just something so new and exciting for this listener.  Keep in mind, this was before many of the punk musicians started their acoustic projects.  It was a new method of sorts and would pave a side road for punk rock music forever.  It’s save to say the revival was made possible by Cape and Sly.

Cape and Sly would continued with their solo careers separately after the release and both dropped some remarkable albums, but nothing was as memorable as their first attempt.  Over the past 8 years, Cape and Sly really built their reputation as solo artists and decided it was time again to take some of their classic songs and create acoustic renditions of them for all to head.  Needless to say when I found out via Fat Wreck Chords that Cape and Sly were releasing Acoustic Volume 2, I got a tad excited.

Once again the duo took 5 songs each from their back catalogs and turned them into acoustic masterpieces.  To keep with the idea of their original attempt, they both wrote and recorded brand new tracks to add to the mix.  The result is a sequel to an amazing release that follows the same path of awesomeness.

Cape took the first half of the album and started it with “I Must Be Hateful” taken from 2003’s Blaze. The already amazing song sounded more powerful than ever when broke down into acoustic form.  Cape loses the rasp in his voice and gently sings with assistance from soft piano.

“Know It All” was one of my favorite tracks off of 1994’s Trashed, and 18 years later it continued to impress me on a different caliber.  “Alison’s Disease”, originally found on Live Fat, Die Young, was a tearjerker to listen to.  I remember the original on the Fat Wreck compilation, but this round was almost as hard to listen to as Fat Mike’s acoustic version of “My Orphan Year”.  Amazing on how slowing down a song can unleash so much emotion.

I was so happy to hear “Resolve” on this release.  Listening to Cape play a more folky version brought a smile to my face even though the track pays homage to their drummer Derrick Piourde who passed in 2005.  “Broken Record”, Cape’s all new track, followed the same path as previous tracks with a mellow mood.  The song perked up half way through but ended just as soon as it started.

Sly took over the remainder of the album with a powerful version of “Black Box”.  Maybe it was the accordion in the background with piano and a strings section, but the new and improved version taken off the 2005 NUFAN release Keep Them Confused sounded better than ever.

“Soulmate” was my choice track off this release.  The track was already one of my favorites in the 90s on Leche con Carne! and hearing it all over again in a different way was just refreshing.  A new take on an old classic was just what I was looking to hear.  I could not help but feel the same way I did when I heard “Justified Black Eye” for the first time in acoustic form back in 2004.  It brought a smile to my face and I instantly sung along.

“Chasing Rainbows” was a fun take on the original found on More Betterness!, but overall I still preferred the 1999 original.  “Pre-Medicated Murder”sounded nothing like the version found on Hard Rock Bottom. The slowed down version was eerie in a sense to listen to and enhanced the lyrics so much more.

Sly’s original, “Liver Let Die”, was a barroom masterpiece in it’s own carried by strumming acoustic guitar.  The song was likable and held out an instant invite for me to learn the chorus and sing along.  The track ended with a crowd chanting “one more song, one more song” and to me was a perfect way to put this release to sleep.  It also provided for a taste of what Sly has in store for his listeners in future releases.

What happens when punk musicians age?  They grow up, maybe have a family, live life, but never put down the guitar.  If you are thinking that this album is “just another punk rock side project” you are wrong.  This album is a celebration by two men and their career featuring some classic songs.  I am glad I only had to wait 8 years for this because honestly, 10 years might have been too long.

If you like NUFAN and Lagwagon, chances are you already know about Acoustic Volume 2.  If you dig acoustic music, check it out, you will not be disappointed.  Punk rock or not, this duo make for some amazing renditions of classic cuts I feel many can appreciate regardless of what genre of music is preferred.