CB: You dont eat
Andee: I dont. I like corn enough, so I
dont have to like any other vegetables.
CB: Does this go back to your childhood?
Andee: Yes, childhood trauma.
CB: Did your parents force you to eat
Andee: No, but at least twice I sat at the dinner table
till 2 in the morning because they said, "Youre going to sit here until you eat
all these vegetables." I just sat there till they gave up and sent me to bed.
CB: So since youre vegan, Erik, what do
you guys eat in common?
Andee: We meet at Dennys for french fries.
Erik: French fries.
CB: That sounds kind of scary. Dont you
get kind of unstable existing on nothing but french fries?
Erik: One time I took a rice cooker on tour and I would
make rice and lentils and vegetables in it. Id just plug it in, even on stage or
CB: But it was just once?
Erik: I had to give the rice cooker back to my mom.
CB: And your food orientation John?
John: Vegetarian. Well, I eat pretty much anything
thats meatless and free.
John: Im frequently seen climbing out of
Andee: And fish sandwiches.
John: Anything without a central nervous system.
CB: Fish dont have central nervous
John: Well, shellfish.
Andee: And McDonalds fish sandwiches dont.
CB: Whens your next tour?
John: We talked about going to Europe in May.
Thats kind of in the works right now. Well see what happens. Were doing
a quick trip out to Chicago in a couple weeks for some recording.
CB: Who are you recording with?
Erik: Brian Paulson (Slint, Spinanes, Uncle Tupelo)
CB: How did you end up putting out a record on
Erik: We just toured a lot before we had any real
releases. And we played at the bar in Chicago where Bettina worked. She saw us play there
incidentally and came to see us again. Then I spent about two years trying to convince her
to put out our record.
CB: You had to convince her?
Erik: Up until very recently shes been a very
small operation. Basically it was just her. Taking on a new band was a big commitment.
CB: So is there a label unity? Do you play with
the other bands on Thrill Jockey when they come to town?
Erik: We played with Trans Am a couple of times.
Andee: But that probably would have happened regardless
of being on Thrill Jockey.
CB: Whats your other band?
Erik: Threnody Ensemble.
John: Im in this band with Andee called The
Ticklish Warrior. Tic-War. Weve done five or so shows and each one has been
John: And Im in this goth band the Amber Asylum
where I play bass, cello, violin..
Andee: ...Eyeliner, black velvet cape...
CB: What makes it a goth band?
John: Its neoclassical.
Erik: Id probably describe it as 4AD.
John: Its Relapse, a black metal band label.
Erik: You play a lot in San Jose?
CB: Andee, tell me about your other bands.
Andee: Im in a band that used to be called Pee.
It doesnt have a name.
CB: Do you have a symbol?
Andee: So anyway. Yeah. And for a while Ive been
playing drums for J Church.
CB: How did you end up in J Church?
Andee: We were befriended one day by Lance at the
Chameleon when we played, and in a drunken stupor he came up to us and suggested that all
of A Minor Forest should play with all of J Church on the next J Church record.
"Yeah, two drummers, two bassists, two guitar players! Im not even
kidding!" I think that was the first time Id ever talked to him. And then later
when I talked to him about it he A) denied being drunk and B) told me he was still
CB: Like that Screaming Trees, Beat Happening
Andee: Kind of. But probably a little bit more
problematic. So then I just started playing with them when their last drummer quit.
CB: Oh yeah, whats the story with the J
Church and Spazz split record?
Andee: Were doing a bunch of covers, Drop Dead,
Siege, Napalm Death and then five or six originals. Theyre doing some Spazz pop-punk
songs. Something to look forward to.
CB: What do you all do for a living?
Andee: THIS is what I do for a living. Sit on the floor
at Aquarius eating cheesesteaks. (Andee works at Aquarius and seems to be scheduled 7 days
John: I have a bunch of different jobs working for
disabled people in Berkeley. I do emergency service. I work mostly with paraplegics.
CB: Like, helping them with errands?
John: More physical stuff. Like picking them up off the
floor; and stopping them from bleeding.
CB: So emergency response stuff?
Andee: Yeah, but theyll call him in the morning
and have him come and bathe them, feed them, dress them, very generic daily chores.
John: But maybe one out of twenty calls theres
one thats a severe emergency.
Erik: Sometimes you have to get ground beef.
CB: How long have you been doing that?
John: Seven years.
CB: How did you get started?
John: I started with a couple of therapeutic swim
classes. My mom was in a wheelchair for a couple years when I was in high school.
Its really rewarding. Theres nothing that will make you want to continue with
your shitty life when you can walk away and use your own hands and legs after helping
someone brush their teeth. Every single day Im reminded of that.
CB: What do you do Erik?
Erik: Well, I kill babies.
Erik: No, Im still in school. Trying to finish at
CB: What are you studying?
Erik: Music. So Im trying to finish that so I
CB: Get a job as a musician?
Erik: Be a real musician. An actual professional
CB: So will you get any school credit for this
Erik: No. Not at all.
CB: How much more do you have to do?
Erik: Two more semesters.
CB: If you went to school where I went, you
would definitely get credit for having a band. Youd just have to write a paper about
what you learned.
Andee: Wheres that?
Erik: I think we played there this year.
Andee: We got credit for it too.
John: We played a benefit for Big Mountain at Antioch
Andee: It was horrible.
John: Right after we played, we drove to Columbus and
played a show at somebodys house. It was 4:30 in the morning and there were more
kids at this house than at the Antioch College show.
CB: That sounds pretty typical actually.
Antioch apathy. Now Im getting depressed.
CB(DJ Hate aka Jason Knuth): Tell us about that
song "Bills Mom Likes to Fuck"?
Andee: Bills mom does indeed like to fuck.
CB(DJ Hate): Whos Bill?
Andee: Some kid in South Dakota and I cant
remember exactly, but someone was developing photos and found a racy picture of
Bills mom. And this friend of ours, Jason, coined the phrase "Bills Mom
Likes to Fuck".
CB: Ok, heres a dumb question. A lot of A
minors or a small forest?
John: I recently found out that loosely translated A
Minor Forest is a Japanese term for poetic.
Andee: Not so recently I was informed that A Minor
Forest is slang for a girl with no pubic hair.
John: There was that woman who came up to Erik and
hugged him and said "I could hear the trees crying."
Andee: Its from a story. As with all bands it was
an emergency and the name was chosen quickly and without much thought.
CB: So is it music or trees?
Andee: A small forest. Theres no reference to the
chord A minor. Its from a story about retarded kids who cut down trees every
christmas. Every christmas they cut down A Minor Forest and then one christmas they have
an altercation and kill each other. It was just that, we had a show and we didnt
have a bass player. Id never met John, Erik had. Oh, we can get back into this...
Erik had made out with Johns girlfriend...
Erik: Oh come on!
Andee: Anyway, he called John and asked if John wanted
to be in the band and he said, "I guess." So we had a show scheduled three days
later and we needed to have a band name. So, thats it.
CB: Have you had many interviews where they
asked you this question?
All Three: Yeah.
Erik: Its amazing. The questions are almost
invariably almost the same from every interviewer. Which is fine, I mean, its like
the things that are most glaringly unresolved.
CB: Ok, so what do you guys fight about?
Erik: Thats a good question!
Andee: We pretty much disagree about food, the shows...
CB: What about shows?
Andee: Well, I like to play a lot. Erik doesnt
like to play as much. John would play a birthday party. Hed play in a goth band.
CB: So you guys actually argue out loud about
Andee: We really argue about everything. That
wasnt a joke.
Erik: I cant think of one thing we dont
Andee: And all the songs are born of argument.
CB: How do you deal with fighting all the time?
John: Were inherently almost opposite people in a
lot of respects. But when it comes down to the music itself, its really great.
Andee: Well, the end result.
Erik: Also, things have just changed over time.
Weve been doing this for five years, so as people independent of the band weve
grown older and have changed. Thats probably part of it too.
Andee: We have a great roadie who distracts us from
CB: How did you hook up with him?
John: We found him in North Dakota, he had just gotten
out of the air force.
Andee: If you buy him a cup of coffee hell drive
from sunup to sundown and talk continuously the entire time. So even if youre the
one driving, hell sit there and talk. You know how if youre listening to the
radio you fall asleep, but if youre talking to someone you can stay awake. Hes
CB: What else does he do?
Andee: He works at Kinkos.
Erik: Hes got really wacky christian parents who
used to work at Hersheys in Pennsylvania.
Andee: Who we stayed with and they played us christian
rap, because they thought wed like it. And because Im the only meat eater in
the group, I was the only one who got to share the late-night snack with dad. He heated up
some meatloaf and he told me that even though I was weird, and he was normal, we could
still relate. Just as long as Im good and hes good, its all good.
CB: So whats your roadies name?
Andee: James. Im not going to tell you his last
CB: Thats ok, I think I know who he is.
Andee: And Im sure, those who need to figure it
CB: How do crowds react to you guys when
youre playing with punk bands and stuff?
Andee: I think weve been pretty lucky actually.
John: We were shouted down by the word
"Slayer" when we played in North Dakota.
Andee: That was out of love though.
Erik: I think the only times its been bad
its been basically because we were playing for people who had no idea what kind of
music we were playing.
CB: What kind of music is that?
Erik: Well, anything that was not played on commercial
Andee: Were not pop punk. But we always have
really good luck at Gilman Street. All the crusties really like A Minor Forest for some
reason. There really havent been that many bad shows, but I do remember the time
that guy Jon from Crain heckled us the whole show. Every time there was a quiet part,
hed yell "Slanted and Enchanted"; for like an hour.
CB: I know him actually. He went to Antioch.
Erik: Thats just the style in Louisville.
Thats what you do at shows there. You just heckle people.
Andee: He came up afterwards and was really nice.
CB: Have you had any celebrity run-ins?
Andee: Well Erik and John ran into Henry Rollins buying
John: He looked freaked out. He looked scared.
Andee: And one time I was running out of a restaurant
and almost knocked over Patti Smith. I was like, "Oh, sorry." And then I spun
around and thought, "I just nearly injured Patti Smith!"
John: I got to talk to Chelsea Clinton at the last
Bridge Benefit. I asked her, "Who are you here to see?" and she said, "I
love the Dave Matthews Band."
Andee: And you could relate because last time we played
at Gilman some kid came up and was like, "You guys rock." "Thanks!"
"Yeah, you know the Dave Matthews Band? They rock too!"
CB: Was Chelsea cuter or less cute than you
John: She was cute! She smelled hot. She was holding
hands with two other young girls and they ran off together, after I asked her that, like
they were twelve.
CB: Any good tour stories?
Andee: Oh, I know one. We were in Texas and some friend
of Johns said we could sleep in the shed behind his house. So we got to the shed and
the floor and the cement was all cracked, you could see the Earth. John and his friend
slept in the shed. Erik and I wisely slept somewhere else. In the morning, John had this
huge bump/bite on his head. He kept saying hed been bit. Over the next half hour he
proceeded to get hives all over his chest and back. His head puffed up, and his features
became distorted. He looked like a completely different person. We took a bunch of
pictures because he looked so bizarre. We took him to the hospital. By that time his ears
had swollen shut so he couldnt hear, and his throat was swollen shut so he could
barely breathe. They gave him a bunch of drugs at the hospital and told us if we
hadnt gotten John to the hospital, he would have died because his brain was swelling