I went to the Acid Dad show for Teen Mortgage, not going to lie. I knew the latter band way better than the former, and I felt like free tickets to interview some relatively unknown group would just mean a free Teen Mortgage show. This isn’t wrong, but it also isn’t completely right.
Nah., the opening band, are best described as either indie pop or hippie punk, if there was ever such a thing. I might even go on to refer to them as “progressive punkÛ, even if that’s a tad oxymoronic. Strings were twinkling, the bassist looked like he was having the time of his life, singer sounded like how she looked- amazing. Great band! And Teen Mortgage did as Teen Mortgage always does; utter annihilation. I was already mess by the time Acid Dad reached the stage, and, Jesus Christ, DID they.
The thing that Acid Dad presents its audience is a mixture of the first two bands, but it still comes off as its own, original beast. The band seems to breathe its music, a horse riding itself perpetually into sunny psych punk until the charge would normally lose its way. In never did with Acid Dad. They play like masters of their own destiny, and offer a product that suggests nothing but devotion and love for music-craft while still being able to fucking party. I was more than a little excited to interview them at that point, if not at least a little scared.
Waiting for the band to sit down for a talk was a surreal experience in and on itself. Members of the other bands crept by, said hi, noted my “Lala Lala” T-shirt. Teen Mortgage walked off the stage and I wanted to scream “HEY I WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT YOU” but ended up clutching the notion in the back of my throat. Dust settled, and suddenly I found myself speaking first. I had some technical difficulties before recording, felt like a schmuck, but pursued nonetheless:
Milo: Anyway, Hi! This is Milo, representing WVAU. I am here with Acid Dad! Would each member like to speak into the mic, say what you do, who you are?
Sean: I’m Sean, and I provide the groove? I definitely provide the groove. And the rhythm. The jungle, the beat, everything, everything you need. And also some beautiful poetry, I put a lot of poetry in our songs.
J.P.: You write some lyrics, that’s not poetry! He’s not poetry.
Sean: Well, J.P.’s about to get fired from the band, so… Also, I play guitar, too. And I sing.
J.P.: This is J.P., I play bass. That’s it. That’s all I do.
Kevin: I’m Kevin, I play drums.
Vaughn: Hi, I’m Vaughn, I play guitar and sing.
Milo: Uh, anyway, I guess here’s the first question I have for you!
Q1: When I looked you guys up for the first time, I found an article by Consequence of Sound that said you guys formed at a drag show? Did you know each other prior, what caused you guys to come up with your band, and, most importantly, were any of you doing drag?
Kevin: Yeah, me and Vaughn started the band with our buddy Danny and he lived half a block away from this thing called Bath Salts, a dive bar. Every Monday night, Bath Salts was like this drag show/very comical performance art, sort of spectacle? And, like, the same 30 sad people showed every Monday night. You know, it was super fun. Anyways, like, yeah, me and Vaughn were hanging out and we were in a different band before that, and we kinda got the band started with our buddy Danny. That was kinda what we did every Monday night, a good night to go out and just- locals only, man! On a Monday! And that’s how it started, us two. And we had, like, a million member changes, and one thing led to Sean playing the bass to guitar and now one of the lead singers, and now J.P. plays bass for us. So, I mean, yeah, that was, like, in 2015, and we were just kinda starting to write demos and stuff.
Q2: Why Acid Dad? Why that name?
Kevin: Hey, Vaughn, you know any Acid Dad answers?
Kevin: He hates that question.
Vaughn: It doesn’t matter.
Milo: It doesn’t matter.
Sean: I’ll say it. Cuz we’re the death of society.
Milo: The patriarchy just decides to take acid, and that’s how society dies.
J.P.: Acid Dad! Acid Dad! Acid Dad!
Sean: Everyone should take acid. Do you have acid?
J.P.: You don’t have acid?
Milo: Unfortunately, no. I know several people who do, though.
Q3: Which artists have inspired you the most? Are there any modern musicians that you admire these days or listen to a lot?
Sean: Robert Palmer. He wrote “Simply IrresistibleÛ. That’s the only song we listen to. 24 hours a day.
J.P.: That’s not true, that’s not true.
Sean: There’s nothing else we can hear in the van except (sings “Simply IrresistibleÛ).
J.P.: Hot chocolate is my biggest influence. He’s the guy who wrote “I Believe in MiraclesÛ? Y’know? But, moreso his track “Everyone’s a WinnerÛ. It’s how I live my life.
Kevin: I’m a fan of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Milo: Enough said, enough said.
Vaughn: Let the man talk.
Milo: Are you the Raphael of the group?
J.P.: Are we a Donatello?
Milo: Are you the Donatello?
Kevin: Vaughn, you got any bands you like?
Vaughn: Yeah, I listen to-
Kevin: He only listens to Acid Dad.
Vaughn: Hey, I listen to my music.
J.P.: There are two, there are two bands.
Vaughn: Alright, I’m gonna have a cigarette.
Q4:Which do you care for more, as a band- the music/composition or the lyrics?
Sean: The art.
Milo: Fuck, that’s deep.
J.P.: Let me talk about- Did I miss a couple notes there? Sure. But, I did a show. I put on a show. Eh? EH?
Sean: But no one gave a shit.
Kevin: Let’s put it on the record, saying: J.P. did his best.
J.P.: No nono nono! No. I played the songs, but I did it fun.
Milo: J.P. did it fun.
J.P.: It’s like soccer, when you’re four. It’s alright to have fun when you’re growin’!
Milo: I’m just wondering if you answered the question.
J.P.: You guys have orange slices to give us?
Q5: What are the hardest songs, for each of you individually, to play on your instruments that you know and they could be an original or just, say, a song that you know made by another artist?
Sean: I’ll tell you the least hardest- “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy.
J.P.: It might be the least hardest, but it also might be the best. They said hardest, not least hardest.
Kevin: The hardest song for me, the drummer, to play, is “No Answer” by Acid Dad.
Sean: Cuz he sucks.
J.P.: No, wait, no no no. The hardest song for me to play on bass is… No, no, I haven’t played that cuz it’s too hard.
Q6:Tell me about your equipment, all your equipment. The pedals you use, the drumsticks you use, and why’d you pick them?
Sean: All my stuff breaks a lot. But you know what doesn’t break? My good old PV2-12 Classic from 1973, mothafucka. I played it tonight.
J.P.: Where’d you get that?
Sean: Guitar Center for 150 dollars.
Milo: I’ve got a Gibson SG Special from 1974 from my Dad.
Sean: I had one, too, but I sold it to a guy in Australia and it costed a million dollars to ship it to him.
Vaughn: It costed more like twelve.
Sean: It costed more than a guitar to ship it to him, it was so fucked up. J.P., your equipment’s kinda interesting. It’s, like, you have a little pod or some shit.
J.P.: Correct! Like, my favorite pedal, as a bass player, is-
Sean: Electro-harmonix BIG MUFF. Yeah, it’s a big muff.
J.P.: I don’t play with a big muff. I DON’T PLAY WITH A BIG MUFF.
Milo: Don’t play with a big muff.
J.P.: I play with an electro-harmonix POD 2, it’s an octave… thing. And it beefs up that tone a little bit. Fuzz, use that fuzz, y’know. I like that fuzz. Small sound? BIG SOUND. It’s a company from fuckin’ Brooklyn.
Q7: Any guilty pleasure bands or song that you guys listen to?
Sean: Avenged Sevenfold, I wanna give a shoutout. New Found Glory, Sum 41, all my guilty pleasure bands. Blink-182. Honestly, like, the Vapors. They’re kinda fucked up, but I like them.
Q8: How’s touring?
Kevin: Touring is cool, actually. I think touring is fun, it’s good if you have, like, a reason to be doing it, if the shows are actually good and getting better and better. We’ve been touring for two and a half years, so? Touring is driving and then playing music, and then sitting in a friggin’ green room. It’s up and down, sometimes it’s really good, sometimes it sucks. Most of the time, it’s pretty good. Most of the time. And as long as it’s good most of the time, and the bad times are kinda… you get through those.
Q9: Being in a few bands myself, we’ve had to start out doing covers. Did, or do, you guys ever perform covers?
Vaughn: No. No, no we have always just written our own music, and… I guess we covered some songs? We used to cover a song called “CoolÛ. But no, we’ve always figured out music on our own, going through those levels. Like, what CAN you play, what can you not play, getting better every day.
Q10:Tell me about your new album, the general vibe you wanted from it?
Vaughn: I don’t know. It was, like, there wasn’t a set “vibeÛ. It was a thing we made once, and we let it sit for a couple months, and we decided to do it again because it wasn’t recorded correctly. So, I came back with the guys and I re-recorded it up in our studio. We made it again, this summer. Put some new songs on there, trimmed the fat.
Q11: Do you think the raw power of your psych-punk could topple this nation’s capital, and everyone in it, if you tried hard enough?
J.P.: No, it’s gonna take bullets.
Kevin: To be honest, I think I can speak for most of us? It’s not very political, and I say that honestly cuz we’re in a climate where a lot of bands are getting more political. We’ve met folks of all types of beliefs and all types of political backgrounds. Conservatives, liberals, all around the country, good people and bad people, and there’s, like, y’know, no correlation. I think we like good people and like good music, and that’s all we really care about. I don’t really care about anyone’s politics at all.
J.P.: I do agree. It’s not the kind of band to politicize and, like, while our individual politics might line up with “Yes, we should fuckin’ tackle this white houseÛ, we aren’t doing that as a band. We’re making good music.
Vaughn: It’s all about the music.
Q12: What are your astrology signs?
Kevin: I’m not into it. If you has asked, it’s Libra, but I don’t give a crap.
Vaughn: Yeah, it’s bullshit, all bullshit. Don’t come at me with that bullshit. It’s trash. If you believe that, it’s bullshit, it’s trash. It’s taking somebody that you don’t know and asking this question and then immediately branding them with some shit, which is awful. Like, I don’t know why people do that. It’s toxic. Toxic.
J.P.: J.P. is an Aries. I kinda believe in it! I believe in it!
Acid Dad stormed off. Coming into the interview dripping with stress, I left feeling like I had met some of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit down and talk to. Sure, Vaughn might not like astrology, but Acid Dad as a whole is a damn good band. I highly recommend them to anyone and everyone.