Tell us a little about yourself, for the readers who
don't know who you are.
Jason Chandler: Hi Lis! Thanks for having me over. I grew up in
Massachusetts, which for a young guy was very hard to spell.
I've always been in bands since 6th grade, most of them were a
lot of fun and destined for obscurity. I graduated high school
in 1987 full of schemes, some of which have actually worked out.
I live in San Francisco now. I make my living drawing pictures
and telling people how bad their websites are. About 10 years
ago I got into a band called "The Frustrators." If that hadn't
happened this interview would be highly unlikely.
Punk Globe: When & how did you form the band? How did you come
together as a band?
Jason Chandler: I only know it from my perspective. Most of my
life I've been the guy who starts something... but this time
around my good friend Art asked me to come try out for vocals
one night at Mike's house where his new band was practicing. The
band didn't have a name yet, hadn't been rehearsing very long,
only had a couple of tunes, and "I Slept With Terry" was the
only lyric they'd written by then. Apparently Terry and Mike had
the initial idea to do a rockin' little project. Art and I had
played in bands together since high school, and I was just glad
to be hanging out with a familiar face out here in CA. So it
felt like a regular band practice I guess. We ran through some
covers -- maybe Crazy Train? Sheena is a Punk Rocker? I don't
remember but we had some fun. After that we had band practice a
night or two a week as I recall, drank beers, made noise, until
we had our first set of 8 songs basically written and ready to
Punk Globe: My Favorite Frustrators song, which was a single, is
Trout. Tell us about The Frustrators albums & other singles they
Jason Chandler: Our first record was "Bored in the USA." It was
8 songs that pretty much showed the world what we were about and
how to avoid us. Very soon after that Adeline asked us to put
something on the comp "Might As Well... Can't Dance" so we spent
some time writing "Trout" for that. A little while later we all
decided to do another record, which ended up being "Achtung
Jackass" which had 10 songs if you count "Tuort" (which you
shouldn't because it was literally Trout backwards. If anything
it should have counted as a negative number, so 8 songs?).
Punk Globe: Did you play Gilman with The Frustrators?
Jason Chandler: Yep. The big photo on the back of "Bored in the
USA" was from that show. I think Gilman was our 2nd show, and
maybe the first one where we called ourselves the Frustrators.
... I just Googled it, yes indeed it was our 2nd show and the
first one where we used the name "The Frustrators." It was in
1999. At that show we handed out hand-burned copies of our
unmastered "Bored in the USA" which had just been mixed. It
was our first indoor show so it was nice.
Punk Globe: Did you ever wanna make the band bigger and tour?
Jason Chandler: Nope. We once did a mini tour down to L.A. after
"Achtung Jackass." But overall I think we've played a total of 8
shows in our history as a band which is weird. Your band should
never have more songs than shows. So it's not anything like a
desire to make the band "bigger" but it just would be nice to
Punk Globe: Do you have any funny memories or any funny gig
stories to share?
Jason Chandler: The craziest part of this band is all the
attention we've gotten because of our bass player. If this was a
video game it's like we typed in a cheat code and got unlimited
bass player power. People literally copy his tattoos. I'm used
to playing loud little songs in rooms full of scruffy proto-
adults where some people like it, some people don't, but most
people are just trying to have a beer in the dark. If I can get
one person to laugh or heckle me I feel like it was a good show.
But by literally the 3rd show the Frustrators played very young
people were pressed right up to the stage. They were singing
along and seemed to know every word better than I did, which was
creepy but pretty convenient.
Punk Globe: The Frustrators have been very quiet for a while
now, do you have any plans to produce anything new?
Jason Chandler: Well actually we've hung out a bit recently and
there were instruments involved. It would be awesome to come out
with another record. I'll warn you if anything happens...
Punk Globe: Tell us about Stanley the chicken.. how did he come
Jason Chandler: He never knew his real father. He saw his mother
loaded into a shipping carton. He was the accidental product of
biological engineering, a unique mutant step along the way to
the development of the boneless chicken... but he escaped, and
now they're looking everywhere for him. Actually I don't know.
When I met Mike he had a very special rubber chicken named
Stanley. I ended up incorporating a surly plucked rooster with
the same name into some comics and drawings (like the cover of
Achtung Jackass). I've been noodling an animated video for Trout
starring poor Stanley. So far I've got a pretty workable
storyboard but don't hold yer breath waiting for me to finish
Punk Globe: What made you wanna be a musician and get into The
Jason Chandler: I never really thought about it. I played music
with my parents when I was a kid. They were heavy into bluegrass
and festivals and partying and so by the time I was 8 I'd been
in plenty of situations where the only way out was to play some
bluegrass music. By the time I was 11 I decided that the only
way to move forward was to make the loudest, ugliest music I
could. So near the end of 6th grade I got into "the music scene"
of Norfolk Massachusetts playing a self-wired old Sears Harmony
electric guitar in a band with my brother who played a little
Casio CS-01. Over the next few years I figured out how to rent
Knights of Columbus Halls, build speaker cabinets, write songs,
etc. I never really understood the idea of a music scene. I was
pretty much an outsider among the outsiders. Oh well. You just
keep doing what you do and eventually you either become world
famous or you go on to other things. I personally benefit from
the fact that the first band I've been in that sounds really
great (The Frustrators) is also the first one to exist during
the Internet Age. So nobody can search for all the embarrassing
old crap I did. And yet people all over the world are able to
hear about this one good band of mine. It's pretty convenient.
Punk Globe: What was the last music CD you bought?
Jason Chandler: Jimi Hendrix Live in Stockholm. It's working
for me. I'm glad to know that even at my advanced age there's
still huge veins of untapped music for me to like.
Punk Globe: I hear your other band member Mike Dirnt has a
passion for vinyl, Do you also collect vinyl, or have any cool
Jason Chandler: I don't really collect things. I've got lots of
vinyl, usually ones I can get for a dollar but a few that are
just meaningful relics. I love listening to records. The time it
takes to play one side of an LP is about the right amount of
time a person should pay attention to something.
Punk Globe: You're a busy man hiding in your bunker these days,
with your drawing/art/Horrible Comics projects what are your
plans are with those, and where would you like to take them?
Jason Chandler: Drawing is like being in a band all by
yourself. On the one hand you've got nobody else to bother you,
nobody to set your schedule, nobody to fart while you're in a
van with them. But on the other hand you've got nobody to bounce
things off, keep you focused, hand you a beer. For me making
comics is the most complex thing I've ever tried to do but it's
like I finally plugged myself into the right outlet. I spend
literally every spare moment of my life on this open ended
project... a series of short stories about zombies, mutants,
robots etc. called "Living It Up at the End of the World". It's
taking forever. By the time I finish it I'm sure everyone here
will have completely forgotten about it. Maybe I'll be able to
sell it to your kids.
Punk Globe: You designed the Foxboro Hot Tubs artwork for the
"Stop Drop and Roll" album. I love the 60's style to it all,
what gave you the inspiration and ideas?
Jason Chandler: The 60's idea was all theirs. The guys in the
band sent me a book they'd been reading about what was happening
on the Sunset Strip back when the music was popping off and
leading up to the riots. I think they knew I was the right guy
to design it since my style is a lot like that: all wacky and
manly and scrappy. To me it's not "retro" (which makes me
cringe), it's just the way good things should look. I even got
to work with Julian Wasser, a photographer who was down there
snapping the party people back in the day. In the beginning it
was just going to be a web site which my pal Greg Schneider and
I worked on together. I wanted the image on the screen to feel
as real and scratched and worn-by-use as the tracks sounded.
Then when it turned into design for a physical CD I wanted to
keep that feeling going by doing everything in my power to make
that CD felt like a tiny, old, vinyl LP. I'm really happy with
how it all turned out -- when I pick it up I feel like a giant.
There's some bits from the development of that design on my
facebook page (facebook.com/horriblecomics) in one of the photo
Punk Globe: Do you think you can live the punk way of life when
you're an artist as much as when you're a musician?
Jason Chandler: Yep. It's just the way you approach your life
without compromising your individuality or your efforts to shock
the world into becoming a better place.
Punk Globe: How did becoming a dad affect your art and music?
Jason Chandler: Honestly I don't notice any difference since my
son came around. But a lot of things kinda changed focus in the
years running up to that. It's not like I write stuff that needs
a Parental Advisory -- my instincts are to surprise and annoy
people into action, not to disgust them or dwell on death or
anything that kids shouldn't see. But things have gotten more
complicated now that I'm what you'd call an adult. The hardest
thing is to offend just the right people. When I was at the
height of my hormone-drenched, poverty-stricken, angst-ridden,
gleefully-cynical, post-high school rebellion I realized the
amazing power of offending EVERYBODY. It was the antidote for
what I'd absorbed from a lifetime of exposure to mass marketing
(those guys try to offend NOBODY, which is itself somewhat
offensive if you think about it). But these days I've realized
there are real villains and enemies in this world, people who
spend a lot of effort and money directly trying to turn back the
clock. So you have to pick your battles, and it's wasteful to
attack your fans (but it sure is fun... I mean c'mon they're
sitting right there!!)
Punk Globe: If you had tomorrow afternoon off what would you be
Jason Chandler: Working on about 100 things that I've promised
to do for people that are already behind schedule. Or reading
Saga of the Swamp Thing. Or sleeping.
Thanks Lis and Punk Globe! Yer pal, ~JasonC