Updated: 12/08/02

It’s punk rock from the Pacific Northwest and it doesn’t even sound like Green Day! The name is Spare Lead and they are breaking out onto the scene with a dynamic album called Secluded which has been released on the upstart New School Records! Having been together since their high school days, the band has amassed an impressive following in their hometown and are beginning to gather attention in other places as well. Be sure to read this interview, then snag a copy of their new album and prepare for a good old school kick in da head…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Spare Lead, and how long the band has been together.

I'm JB and I play the guitar in Spare Lead (pronounced Lead, like pencil lead). We have been together since January of 1997.

Where is Spare Lead from and what is the music scene like there?

Spare Lead is based out of Tualatin, Oregon, which is a suburb of Portland. Regarding our music scene... there is a reason no bands from Portland have ever made it big except Everclear... there really isn't much of a "scene" anymore. I remember about 5 years ago when bands like Good Riddance, Strung Out, Voodoo Glow Skulls, etc came around, venues would pack. These days, big headliners are lucky to see 500 kids out. It is sad to see such a downfall in the attendance. There are a lot of local bands though, as there are in every large city, that try to keep the scene alive. Not that they are doing a bad job, it's just people would rather stay home and listen to a CD, rather then go out and pay the outrageous rates the venues charge. I must say, our best shows are not the ones with huge headliners... the best shows are the ones we put on and only charge a few dollars. They always pack out and everyone has a great time.

How did everyone in the band meet and where was the first gig that you played?

The three of us met years ago when we were in high school. We formed in January of 1997 and had our first, I guess you could call it a show, at the high schools Battle of the Bands. We sucked really bad then... it's a wonder why people cheered us on. Our first real show was in January of 1998 in Astoria, Oregon in front of 300 kids at a grange hall. It was a lot of fun, but we still sucked.

Describe your music to someone who has never heard it before.

We are most compared to Good Riddance meets AFI and Screeching Weasel. I don't know if I agree completely, but it's hard to judge our music, being a member and all. We consider ourselves a unique genre since we don't sound much like any other artists. We call ourselves "Fast-Aggressive Punk". We move around the stage a lot and 99% of the time get the crowd moving like no other. It's music to mosh to or dance to. I guess you have to hear it to understand.

Who are some of the bands you have opened for in my past?

We've lucked out here... we've opened for; Good Riddance, Death by Stereo, Kill Your Idols, Suicide Machines, Slick Shoes, Homegrown, Riddlin' Kids, Dogwood, The Casualties, T.S.O.L., Agnostic Front, Ann Beretta, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Teen Idols, The Hippos, and the list goes on. Not to sound cocky, but we are fairly well known in Oregon and the top promoter, Thrasher Presents ( hooks us up a lot. Out of all those shows, I'd have to say my favorite was opening for Good Riddance. They are one of my biggest influences, and the crowd was amazing!

Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?

We have played South California. We played in Corona, Sacramento & San Francisco a few times. We plan to head down to California and do a few week tour in May or June.

Where do you get the ideas for some of the lyrics on Secluded?

Evan writes most of the lyrics. He usually writes them on situations that he, Mike or I have faced, or situations our friends have gone through. A lot of people say they relate to our music in one way or another.

Secluded was recorded over a year ago. How close are you guys to recording a new album?

We are almost there. We actually just got another guitar player a few months ago named Ronnie. So our music is so much more full and is far more melodic. We are talking about recording in early 2003. It'd be about time to release something new. And we'd definitely put more time into it and make it perfect. We recorded Secluded in just 3 days.

While on tour, some guy offers you $100 to perform Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears. What do you do?

To be honest, I don't listen to the radio much and I don't know how that song goes. But Mike could probably pull it off. For some reason, he actually listens to her, the Back Street Boys, and boy band stuff.

Are there any psycho Spare Lead groupies wandering around the beautiful state of Oregon?

Ha ha! Yes there are... and they all seem to be females ages 13-17. Some make homemade t-shirts and have us autograph them. It's a real kick to see people enjoying our music and making some sense of it.

What is it you'd ultimately like a listener to get out of hearing your music?

For me, I'd like a listener to understand what we, or Evan was thinking when we wrote the lyrics. If they are live at a show, then we want a listener to just have a good time. You'd be amazed on the response some kids have. We always try to "put on a show", not "play a concert". We want fans and new listeners to have a great time, sing, laugh, and do whatever they feel like doing.

Do you have any messages for music fans who might be interested in checking out Spare Lead?

Check out our website and take a listen to our MP3's. We give away free stickers and usually sell our CD's for discount rates if you e-mail us and just ask us to.

Any final words of wisdom?

Help bring the underground scene back! Go to more shows and support indie record labels. Thanks!


SPARE LEAD: Their Official Home Page!
NEW SCHOOL RECORDS: Record label for Spare Lead and other cool punk bands!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

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