Interview by Shawna Adams:
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Cityzen: Since the war and the increase in gas prices, have you guys seen any effect on your ticket sales, album sales, or traveling expenses?
Ryan: True. This is actually our first time in a bus so this is the first time we've let go of any responsibility ever. Back when we were doing our last headlining tour in May is when we saw the most effect of the increase in gas prices. Every couple of days it was like "what the hell, why is gas a dollar more in this state?" -- a whole dollar. Illinois was the worst. In Chicago, Illinois, gas was a dollar more than everywhere else. It hurts because we're driving 400 to 500 miles to the next show and when you're doing that, you're filling up $50 tanks every two or three hours. Just to watch that money be pissed away for something my country is doing that we don't believe in is very upsetting. I have friends overseas -- I have many friends in the military - it's just upsetting that our country is running things the way it is and we're the ones paying for it. We're the ones paying the high jacked up gas prices.
Cityzen: I read that Brett Gurewitz from Bad Religion was actually the one who first dug your demo.
Ryan: Yes, Epitaph records is owned by Brett, he's the HNIC, if you will, at Epitaph and he just happened to find us one day. We had posted on a punk website that we had mp3s up and he listened to one of them and emailed us. We didn't believe it was him -- Mr. Brett, Brett from Bad Religion slash Epitaph Records, does not email 20-something- year-old kids from NY (laughs) like, we didn't believe it! But it all worked out well and he was really interested and it's all history now...
Cityzen: So is this the first time you guys have played on the same tour as Bad Religion?
Ryan: Yes it is. It's weird though; Brett doesn't actually play in the band. He writes -- he and Greg Graffin (singer, Bad Religion) write half the album each and then the band shows up and learns the songs and plays them (laughs). Brett played I think two days on this tour in California --maybe just one -- and he might come to Boston. But he never tours with them...he's got a record label to run (laughs). Every now and then he'll fly out and play a few shows though.
Cityzen: What action has your band taken politically to encourage your fans to go vote? Do you have any kind of interaction like that?
Ryan: Well recently, Andy, our singer, started a political thread on our message board. And we're talking about putting something up on the site -- we're not sure if it's going to be pro-Kerry, but it's definitely going to be anti-Bush, I can tell you that (laughs). We try as much as possible though. We've been doing signings at the Hot Topic booth and every kid that comes through gets a little Hot Topic card for us to sign, and on the back are instructions about how to register to vote. We try to do that as many times a week as we can. We bought a whole lot of John Kerry propaganda one day; I have a John Kerry t-shirt (laughs). We just try not to throw propaganda and push our opinions about who we believe is right on the kids, but instead try to push them to get involved and to find out for themselves, and for them not to just go blindly "Oh, well, Ryan from Matchbook Romance says that Bush is evil." I want them to go out and learn for themselves because anyone who does go out and find out for themselves will find out that "Oh, Bush is evil" (laughs). It's kind of hard because our target audience is a lot younger, being a little more on the pop side of things. The old school bands have that older generation. But we're trying as hard as we can. Even with 13-, 14-year-olds -- make them learn now so they'll know to vote when they're of age. Since so many people our age don't vote until they're 23 or 24 and waste four years -- they waste an entire office term because they don't vote.
Cityzen: So it's all about political awareness.
Ryan: It is. Our country's politics have gone down hill since the death of JFK. It's a shame; we used to be the best country and now we're the bad guys (laughs)...
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