Interviewed by: Sharla Cartner
T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty) have signed to the kickass DC Jam Records Label to release a limited edition colored vinyl, "Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Free Downloads." This will be their 30th Anniversary Album, recorded at Hurley studios and produced by Grammy award winning producer David Bianco. 300 of these hot limited edition LP's will contain hand signed inner sleeves. It will be available everywhere around mid November, but for now, I was extremely lucky and honored to put some questions to Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L,!
Punk Globe: Hey Jack, thank you so much for taking the time to answers some questions for Punk Globe Readers. This is T.S.O.L. 19th release, on this new release what kind of expectations if any are you trying to fulfill? Is this T.S.O.L. album going to be a hardcore punk album to call us to arms, to unite us or is it more of a reflection on what is happening in the world today?
Jack: First of all Iíd like to thank you for including us in your publication, and Iíd like to apologize for the lazy ass that I have sewn around my lower section. As for expectations, we lost those along time ago. I don't expect anything when recording a new record including actually finishing the fucker. Iím not sure what hardcore or punk means now-a-days so Iím not sure where 5 pushing late 40's juvenile delinquents fit in with the rock world. I'm also not sure if anyone besides my mother is still tuning into our channel.
Punk Globe: Could you please explain the title of the forthcoming album "Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Free Downloads." to us?
Jack: It was a joke, a takeoff on the whole founding fathers bit with a nod to what's important to kids now. "Hey, whateverís going on in the world is cool, but don't fuck with my down-loads"
Punk Globe: T.S.O.L. formed back in 1979 and like many bands have had its drama's, with band members coming and going, a lawsuit to fight for the band's name and drug problems. Share with us a good time you remember with the band in the early years of T.S.O.L.?
Jack: It was all good times. I was an 18 year old fucked up surfer kid who'd just been given a free ticket to sex, drugs, destruction, and piracy; whatís not to love. Iím sorry that I wasnít as socially minded as some of my 'colleagues' but I didnít give a fuck. I was a punk, not a crusader.
Punk Globe: As I mentioned before about the dramas T.S.O.L. has endured, tell us how heart wrenching was it going to court to fight for the bandís name?
Jack: It was a drag. Drugs can be good and they can be so very bad. The name T.S.O.L. should never have been used as a bumper sticker for that shitty rock band they slapped around it. I left and in a straight move to make money they kept the name-selfish gets what selfish gives and that turned into to an ego sucking pile of shit. It was awful and I still have to defend myself to people that Think I was involved in that joke
Punk Globe: Then you had another court case for basically what I understand was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, back in November of 2002 when there was a shooting on stage at the House of Blues in Hollywood while you were playing on stage. Did you ever feel like saying enough is enough, I am over this?
Jack: Everyday. I'm a Hypnotherapist now and its way less heartbreaking.
Punk Globe: The two guys who got shot received $2 million dollars and TSOL received a $14,000 bill to pay. How hard was it to pay off the Attorney?
Jack: Thankfully friends donated money to help us. Two million huh? And those fuckers couldnít even kick in to help us out. I demand a re-shot!
Punk Globe: I also believe you weren't allowed to tour until the bill was paid. It must have been extremely hard times for T.S.O.L.. I mean really how on earth did they expect you to pay the bill without being able to tour, did they have any logical suggestions?
Jack: Be careful what you hear especially if it comes from us. The first rule of T.S.O.L. is to lie about T.S.O.L.. The second rule of T.S.O.L. is to continue lying about T.S.O.L..
Punk Globe: Ok this was a long time ago but one of my favorite movies of all time is Suburbia what was it like to play on the set of this movie and did you have any idea how this movie would influence people in the future?
Jack: Had no idea. I was wrapped up in so much ego that I had no idea it was even a real movie.
Punk Globe: Does T.S.O.L. have plans to tour with this new album?
Jack: We donít tour far. I would rather be close to my family than be off playing rock-star games. Lots of musicians talk about love and family but their kids only see 'em once every few months.
Punk Globe: I really love the song Code Blue, tell us what song you love hearing the crowd yell out, for you to play live?
Jack: I love hearing yell out anything they want cause it makes no difference to me. I write the fucking set-lists and I take orders from no man!
Punk Globe: You have been touring for many years now, what kind of audience shows up at your gigs these days? Is there any resemblance to the audience that you use to play to back in the 80's?
Jack: Itís crazy. Generations of people show up at all ages shows. If a man or woman was 30 when they saw us play in 1981, theyíre 58 now. If they had their first kid when they were 20, the kid is now 38, and if he or she had their first kid at 21 that kid is 18. I had a guy tell me his grandfather got him into us!
Punk Globe: Take me back to an early 80's T.S.O.L. show. Describe to me what it was like.....
Jack: Sex-booze-destroy property-more sex-more booze-40 minutes of music-more sex-more booze-jail...repeat.
Punk Globe: What is your opinion on punk rock over the last ten years? Do you feel it has been exploited beyond recognition and now more than ever, what being a punk is about, is how a person lives, their beliefs and behavior instead of what they are wearing or what band they are listening too?
Jack: Iím not sure what punk is now. There is no style to define it because styles can be imitated. Music does not define punk rock, music can be copied. I think we need an eye test. Strap Ďem down in a chair, and ala Blade Runner, we run them through a series of questions. There were guys in the 80's that sure as fucked couldnít of past that test and kids today call them punk legends and heroes.
Punk Globe: What bands do you enjoy listening to these days?
Jack: Top forty cover bands.
Punk Globe: Offspring name you as a huge influence. Have you ever listened to their music or met them before?
Jack: Yes I've met everyone. Iím a real nice piece of furniture you'd like to bring out and show your guests. Most of these guys realize I got teeth though so they donít get too close.
Punk Globe: Guns n Roses drummer Steven Adler (at the time), wears a T.S.O.L. T-shirt in the video clip Sweet Child of Mine, you personally weren't in T.S.O.L. at the time when T.S.O.L. played hair metal music. How does it feel as an original band member, to know that T.S.O.L. has influenced so many different bands over the years?
Jack: I was more stoked to see it on Obama's T-shirt.
Punk Globe: How did you get into punk rock music and what made you decide to be in a band?
Jack: I liked to cause trouble and at the time Punk rock was like the rotary club for trouble makers. It was a great place to network.
Punk Globe: What inspires your music? Do you have a writing process of any kind?
Jack: Mostly fucked up relationships...itís what Iím best at.
Punk Globe: What are your thoughts on how America has embraced President Obama and the expectations that Americans and even the world have of him to "fix the problems"?
Jack: Americans have always been smart decision makers, I mean look at American Idol, that Randy Jackson is one cool cat.
Punk Globe: What are the most important things to you in life?
Jack: My staying clean-my children-my friends-my world
Punk Globe: You cleaned up your act in 1989 and became sober, how hard was this to do and what motivated you to do so?
Jack: My life had become a self absorbed joke. Get a good look at yourself when you live like that, and the reflection is enough to sicken anyone to change. After waking up, the rest is just filling in the blanks.
Punk Globe: I also hear you help others to become sober, tell us a bit about that?
Jack: I donít help anyone, they help themselves. The greatest misconception of 12 step programs is they want you to be weak and mindless; itís a lie. We want you to look inside yourself, tap an inner resource of power, and then live your life as a free thinking individual that thinks on a global level and contributes to those around you. My job is to be a transmitter and lay down a message of change.
Punk Globe: Thank you once again Jack for the interview. Can you leave us with any words of wisdom?
Jack: Yes....if you think of this (blank space) be sure to counter it with this (blank space).
Punk Globe would like to thank Jack Grisham for taking the time to answer theses questions!
Update: June 11
Word on the street is that punk rock legend's T.S.O.L., are headed back to the studio in August to record another new a new full length release with DC-Jam Records. According to frontman Jack Grisham, "The music will be a little heavier than our last record and more remenicant of the band's early days". Look for a late 2011 or early 2012 street date.