Tijuana Knife Fight Interview

There is nothing complicated about the Knife Fight, just straight forward punk-rock.

First off, they’re not from Tijuana, this band hails from Long Beach, California. They don’t advocate violence; however one has an avid interest in knifing people and another is studying Krav Maga so you could say there is some aspect of violence.

Through two telephone conversations with guitarist Chris Muench and vocalist Dan Cady, Crossfire’s Californian correspondent Enorme Nuez got a brief history on the band, their music, skating and life as a whole. As with most punk bands they share their history with a local bar. Why a bar, who knows, but you can’t go wrong when an idea is based around the great pastime of drinking!

As Chris Muench put it, “The idea for the ‘Knife Fight’ came from a chance meeting with Jesse Rowe. We shared a beer and both realised that we had similar tastes in music so we decided to jam.”

Their jam session resulted in four-songs so they recruited friends to join the ensemble. With Muench on guitar and Rowe on drums they recruited Alex Hernandez, who owned their favourite bar to play bass while Aaron Broderick joined on second guitar and to round it off Dan Cady on vocals. This line-up didn’t last very long though, Hernandez with the responsibility of running a bar and other bands left, as did Broderick, as a guitar-tech for the Deftones, Fall Out Boy, Bad Religion and the Beastie Boys, he was pretty much gone for two-years!

Another of Muench’s friends Chris Friedman joined on bass and for the time being they kept it to a four-piece to finish the process of recording their first release. After recording was done bassist Vince Giobbe joined and Friedman moved over to guitar.

It is safe to say they haven’t had the best of luck with band members. It was shortly after Giobbe joined when drummer Justin Rowe decided to leave and it was then they had a ‘Spinal Tap‘ moment. No, their drummers didn’t mysteriously explode, but they had drummers come and go in a flash.

Giobbe’s friend and original Blink-182 drummer Scott Raynor joined. They got on with things and played shows to support the recording. Things looked up until Raynor informed the band that he too was leaving so he could finish his studies. Friends filled the seat while they searched for a permanent drummer; even former drummer Rowe played some shows to help the cause. The process was taxing and as Muench put it, “We were kissing a lot of frogs and no prince’s so we put up a post on MySpace and said if we don’t get anyone we wanted to call it quits.”

It was after this posting that they were contacted by two friends who recommended a drummer. After conversations over the phone they invited Justin Whische down to jam. Muench was quick to say, “After talking to him on the phone for an hour I knew if he could play, he was our new drummer and, well he can play!

As I had them all together I thought it was primetime to ask them who their influences were. They said many names and through the many voices came many bands. From early Ramones and New York Dolls to the Riverboat Gamblers; Hot Snakes and The Bronx to Bauhaus, AC/DC, At The Drive-In, Bad Brains, Black Flag, the Misfits, the Dirtbombs, Born Against, The Catheters, The Buzzcocks, The Clash, Guns N’ Roses, (old) Mötley Crüe, the Detroit Cobras, Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork, Fugazi, Motörhead, Murder City Devils, Refused, Joy Division, Slayer, Sonic Youth, Tanner, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Wipers, Karp, and Dead Kennedys. (Those were the names I could catch!)

In their time together many things have changed, they’ve experiences the highs, vocalist Dan Cady got married and Chris Muench will walk down the aisle this summer and they’ve experienced the lows, the passing of Friedman’s father. They all have day jobs and as much as they would like to play music all the time they are realistic. Cady and Muench are designers by trade, Cady redesigned and ran Mattel’s Hot Wheels website for some years while Muench made the Listen Skateboards website. They both now work together designing websites for celebrities. Giobbe still skates, “I still skate at least once a week. Punk rock has always been the sound track to skating because of its aggressiveness and its do-it-yourself mentality.” He was also quick to say, “Jay Adams. He never sold out!

Their tours have kept them locked to the Pacific Standard Time zone but it doesn’t mean they haven’t had their share of tour stories. Muench was quick to let me know, “we did some dates in Mexico and well we almost weren’t allowed back in to the US…but that is all I can say about it.” I was talking to Muench while the band was heading out to play a show in Las Vegas, which is something they try to do as often as they can.

Through their many performances up and down the West Coast they’ve shared the stage with some great bands, even those they site as influences such as, the Riverboat Gamblers and The Bronx. They’ve played with Mike Watt, dios (malos), Tiltwheel, Juicifer and the Smutt Peddlers.

Leading up to the gig in Vegas I was able to have a quick chat with Dan Cady and fire off a few questions.

Where do you fit in? You can snuggle with ‘Rock’ and you can cuddle up with ‘Punk’. Where do the TKF fit in?

Dan: “We all have a different take on it, we have so many varying influences and the only commonality is that when we do it…we do it loud and usually fast! “It’s nice that we don’t always fit – rock bills or punk bills – it’s difficult at times but all in all it’s good to be on a bill, finish playing and have people be like, “damn!” And say that it was heavy or that was intense…even if they don’t like it…it’s a reaction.”

One common fault I’ve noticed is the need to pigeonhole. We see the need to have an attachment to a sound or a style before we can commit to listening or watching a new act.

Dan: “I think a lot of acts try and fit in…Or catch a vibe…but I think what we are doing is honest, organic and natural.”

So it is good that you don’t fit or that you give the listener a surprise…

Dan: “Precisely…but what we do musically stems from just turning on, plugging in and letting it go…and that’s the knife fight.”

The ‘Knife Fight’ are loud, they like to drink and they like to have a fun time when they play. I’ve had the pleasure of watching them live many times and they improve with every performance. They just recently finished recording their latest record which they are hoping to release later on this year.

Hopefully they’ll make their way to Europe in the near future, but in the meantime you can listen to their music via their MySpace page or watch the video for ‘Knee Jerk Reaction’ below.

If you just-so-happen to be in Southern California visiting the sights and happen to get lost in Long Beach on your way to Disneyland then keep an eye out as they might just be playing. Saturday Night Apocalypse LP is out now.

Enorme Nuez