Thursday, August 14, 2008

Plow United Interview - F.O.E. Fanzine

Here's a wonderful old Plow United interview from back in the day. It was conducted by the legendary Frank Foe for his F.O.E. Fanzine, still chronicalling the ups and downs and downs and downs of the Lehigh Valley hardcore and punk scenes. This interview appeared in issue #29. I got more to come on this front! Watch out!

Plow are a three piece pop-punk band from West Chester that has always had a large fan base in the Lehigh Valley. Make that "Plow United." Seems the band has had a bit of a legal problem with their name. A band from Baltimore, through a series of letters to the band, claimed and proved that they had used the name "Plow" before the West Chester "Plow" began using the name.

The melodic and energetic band has recently had an onslaught of releases and will continue their furious pace throughout 1995. Their split single with fellow West Chester band Tallman has just gone into its second pressing. Their "Dance (Better Than I've Ever Seen)" single has just gone into its third pressing. The band has just released a split single with Bethlehem favorites Weston. All three singles were released on Coolidge Records, which is based in Wyckoff, New Jersey. The band also has three songs on the "Who Gits Da Deer" CD which is an eight band compilation of West Chester bands on Creep Records. The West Chester label will release Plow United's debut, self-titled CD/LP/Cassette in April. Arik Victor, who runs the label, recorded the band in his studio.

As if all these releases weren't enough, Shredder Records of California picked the song "Timmy is an Arsonist" from the band's "Dance" single to be on their "Shreds - Volume 2 American Underground '94" CD. The disc is what Shredder and friends thought were the best songs from singles released in 1994.

The band will also contribute a track to the Descendents tribute CD, to be released on Coolidge Records later this year. Plow United will do the classic Descendents song "Bikeage." Other bands featured on the trubiute will be Black Train Jack, the Bouncing Souls, and the Parasites. Plow is in the final planning stages of setting up a tour of the U.S. that will start in June and end in late July. It will be the band's third and biggest tour.

This interview took place outside the 4G's, on the lot that used to be Wally's, the legendary hard-core punk club in the Lehigh Valley. Plow is Sean on drums, Brian sings and plays guitar, and Joel sings and plays bass.

FOE: What is the meaning of your life.

SEAN: My eternal quest in life is to try to learn how to relax and have a good time, and not just half of the time. It's taken 21 years and I still haven't gotten it right yet.

BRIAN: I still haven't figured it out yet. Maybe I should try and go to school and do something. But I don't know.

FOE: Do you think you'll find meaning in school?

BRIAN: Well, maybe if I can learn something instead of working in a warehouse all day.

JOEL: He works at the Franklin Mint.

BRIAN: I probably won't be able to come back to the Mint after the tour.

FOE: What is your goal in life, Joel?

JOEL: Just to get by without doing anything I don't like to do.

FOE: What is the purpose of Plow? Or what do you hope to get out of it?

JOEL: It fits in with what I said earlier. This is what I like to do, this is what I love to do. So I'd like to get to the point where this is all I have to do. Being in the band, touring, recording.

SEAN: When I said I'm only happy half the time, part of that half is when I'm playing. Oh, yeah! Really happy!

FOE: Is there any time when you're unhappy with the band.

JOEL: The only unhappiness is weeks when we can't practice.

FOE: Because you're busy doing things that you don't want to do.

SEAN: Last weak was exam week. I am a Math Ed major. Someday, down the road I'll start teaching. I'm not ready for that kind of responsibility just quite yet.

JOEL: I'll probably end up going back to college, just cause I can't deal with working shitty jobs anymore. I've had like eleven since last May.

FOE: Yeah, it's better to hate your job sitting behind a desk than moving desks...

SEAN: Well put...

FOE: Who writes the lyrics, and how do you determine which lyrics are keepers and which ones get tossed aside?

JOEL: The whole thing has to do with honesty. If I can't feel it, then it isn't really worth doing anything with.

FOE: Do you think you will still be doing Plow, like when you get to be Ramones aged?

JOEL: I don't think it's really worth thinking about.

BRIAN: As long as they are happy.

JOEL: They might just be stupid at this point. Needless to say that when bands get to the point where they are playing shows for $20 and they don't see anything wrong with that, then it is pointless anyway, and they've lost eveything that we're talking about here. Part of the thing that makes things tougher is that we're always going to do things the way we want to do it. So we end up turning down a lot of stupid shit. Like when we were going in to do the album, we had a couple different labels looking at us, and there was one particular one in New York, that if we had done it with them, I probably wouldn't have to work right now. Brian wouldn't have to work. Sean could just go to school. And we could just work on the album. But it was a cheesy label, and it just meant alot of things that we weren't happy with. We ended up putting the album out with one of our friends. The guy who records us, his label. I'm really adament about that. That's the best way to do anything, like deal with your friends.

FOE: What's up with your upcoming tour?

JOEL: I kinda went nuts booking the last two tours, and since this one was going to be a lot bigger in scope than the others, we got Chris Newmyer to help us out. (Chris is a local guy who sets up shows at the Stage Door and stuff). I wrote him like a nine page letter, detailing what we wanted to do, the numbers we had from the last tour, a proposed itinerary. We'll hed down south in June, go out West, through California, and back through like Chicago. Like a big rectangle. Previously we just did the East Coast, as far out as Nashville. We played like Georgia, Florida. It was this past winter. I really wouldn't recomend touring in the winter.

BRIAN: You have to go really far South to stay warm. Georgia was freezing.

FOE: I fucking hate winter... What are your five favorite albums, in no particular order...

JOEL: Descendents "Milo Goes to College", Bouncing Souls "The Good, the Bad, and the Argyle", All "Allroy's Revenge", Dwarves "Thank Heaven For Little Girls", Pogues "Red Roses For Me."

BRIAN: Stray Cats first album, not the one they did here, the one they did overseas. Screeching Weasel "My Brain Hurts", the Muffs album, and I guess umm the Bouncing Souls album and umm... ah, shit, umm...

JOEL: Nothing against the Dwarves but I have to change my Dwarves one to Screeching Weasel's self-titled debut album.

BRAIN: Alright umm Eddie Cochran, anything by him.

FOE: How do you feel about the mention by Ben Weasel in his column in MRR? (Note: In MRR's February 1995 issue, subtitled - The Selling of a Culture - Ben Weasel States in his column, which was about the industry attempts to pick up the next big thing, "I mean, they read magazines like MRR to find out what's gonna be the next big thing, but they never bother to actually go out and BUY a record to find out if it is indeed good enough to be the next big thing and the stupidest part of all of this is that what's gonna be the next big thing is what THEY DECIDE is gonna be the next big thing (for the record it's gonna be a Ramones-style pop-punk band from Pennsylvania called Plow.")

JOEL: I took it kind of differently than everyone else did. In the context of the article it's kind of implicit that a)the next big thing is kind of negative, and b)the next big thing implies mass media and we all have ethical problems with that. I thought it was kind of condescending on his part. Like he was assuming a lot of things when he doesn't even know us. But, I don't know. Say what you want just spell my name right. I know what we want, and I know how we want to do it, and that is all that really matters.

Brian McGee
Joel Tannenbaum
Sean Rule

1 comment:

Max Benjamin Rule said...

Dam I love ya, man. It was great to see you at RF. Hope to see you really soon!