Young Offenders interview

The Young Offenders are Tim, Dougie, Jason and Pete, they are based in San Francisco. Regulars of this blog probably know them and know the music so you already know how good they are but maybe one day they will head over here to play but I have some doubts about that happening soon so get saving and get to S.F. quick!

In the meantime check out this quick interview with Jason and Tim by Jono Atkinson and then listen to some great tunes at their Myspace page…

You guys are based in SF but like the city itself its members are from far away ports such as London and Belfast so how did these individuals separated by half the world come together?

Jason: In a bar, of course. I met Tim and Dougie through mutual friends. One night we were drunk in a bar about four years ago and Tim said he and Dougie and some other bloke were playing music and asked if I wanted to play. I hadn’t picked up a guitar in five years, but liked these guys enough to say what the hell and give it a try.

Tim: I’m from Cornwall, married a yank. Dougie is from Belfast and we can’t seem to get rid of him!! I’ve been here 8 years and met Jason through mutual friends. Me and Dougie asked Jason to come jam when we were ripped up in a bar, for some reason he agreed. Pete has been a friend of my wife Karen’s family since they were kids, as soon as we met started talking about playing music together. I imagine we will be playing music in some form together forever.

How long has the band been together in this form and are the four members all original? I think there is some history for all the members of the band, what are your musical roots and bands before you became the Young Offenders?

Jason: My musical roots are varied, I grew up in the Los Angeles area listening to lots of punk, new wave, post punk, indie and rock music from the 60s and 70s. I think the other guys in the band have been lifelong lovers of hardcore and punk, but I’d be lying if I claimed to be one myself. I loved Crass, Government Issue, Dead Kennedys and other bands with a political bent, but most punk and hardcore I found to be boring and repetitive, and the scene tired and uninspired. Tim, Dougie and The Ox have introduced me to a ton of music I’ve never heard that has completely made me change my mind about that. I missed some good bands because I was doing my own thing. That’s one of the main reasons I love being in this band, everyone is still listening to music and excited about it. We introduce each other to new stuff all the time. My only other band was an indie band called Dolores Haze that played in San Francisco in the late 1990s. We released a couple of albums on a friends label.

Tim: Me, Dougie and Pete played together sporadically doing Negative Approach and Jerrys Kids covers. Then we got back together and wrote some tunes, Jason jumped in really brought the last piece to the puzzle. The best thing about this band is that it couldn’t function without all four people. We all bring something different both as people and ‘musicians’ that somehow really works for us. It’s great that some folks dig it too, but the four of us having fun still, and always will, come first. I’ve been in bands since I was a kid (5 Minute Fashion, Totenhaus, Nerves, Stockholm Syndrome)… I’ve done some records and whatnot and all the times with my previous bands have great memories. I grew up in the arse-end of England (Cornwall) on a diet of ACDC, Iron Maiden and Motorhead thanks to an older brother. At around 11 I discovered punk and hardcore and my life changed. Pete was in the Loudmouths for a long time and has played with tons of other people over the years… too many to mention. Dougie did stuff in Belfast but this is the first band he has recorded with…

Tim, I know your musical taste is very broad and your knowledge of music is John Peel like in its depth so how much of this influences what you do in the Young Offenders? How much input in writing comes from each member, I mean are the lyrics down to one person and the music to another or is it more of a group thing?

Jason: We all write songs, I bring in songs, Dougie brings in songs and Tim brings in stuff depending on how busy we are. No matter who starts it, everyone has input into the final product. I don’t think we have a principal “songwriter” … if someone starts a song it definitely changes as everyone adds their own stamp on it.

Tim: When I was a kid I was going to bed listening to John Peel on the radio playing Ripcord and Heresy but also the Bhundu Boys, Orbital and the Wedding Present. It took a while to sink in but because of that I appreciate all kinds of music. Having Dougie living with me opened my eyes and ears to all kinds of shit. I am much more vocal about my music loves (and hates), but it is definitely Dougie who has the greatest breath and knowledge of music of anyone I know. He can go from Cat Stevens to Infest without breaking stride. When we are out together we are as likely to be at the front of a Never Healed show as on the floor throwing spins at a Northern soul night or getting down to Detroit Techno.

Once I realized that there are merits to all kinds of music I just started soaking everything up. I’m an obsessive whether it’s music, bikes or whatever… I do it 100% – I’ve been collecting records for a long time… and loooooove them!! Theres plenty of stuff I don’t like… but more that I do, from African psych to folk….black metal to powerpop. My heart will always be with punk rock though…it’s what I know best! We all like different music and the fact that we had no real boundries when we started the band it kind of let’s us do whatever we want. Because of that I think our sound is kinda unique… On the way to a show we are probably talking about the new Malcolm Middleton LP! We all fire each other up about new bands too… of all genres. Our ‘writing style’ is pretty organic. We all write songs together. Usually Dougie or Jason come up with the main riffs and then we all jump in and tear it apart. I’m usually the one that says ‘shorter…faster…’!

Your discography is getting longer and with an album in the pipeline too, give me a rough list of releases so far…..

Demo (tape and cd…long gone)
7” on Art Of the Underground (sold out)
7” EP On Parts Unknown
7” on Deranged a couple of reviews
Split 12” on 625 with Giant Haystacks.

Later this year we are going to record for another 12” for Deranged and Dirtnap is going to be putting out an LP/CD of our 7”s. After that? Who knows.

Looks from here you have plenty going on with a ton of gigs coming up, how regular are you playing in San Francisco? I saw you played twice at a festival in Texas, that must have been a hectic weekend what with all the other amazing bands that played, looked like it ran from Wednesday to Sunday at multiple venues, did you get to see much of the rest of it? Playing at home or playing away?? Do you prefer playing to your friends who know all the songs or a fresh crowd out of town who know none of it?

Jason: Texas was amazing. I saw a ton of bands, none of which I’d seen before. Bands I was blown away by at Chaos in Tejas: Pierced Arrows, Hex Dispensers, XYX, Strange Boys, Destino Final, Manikin and Cock Sparrer.

Tim: We seldom play SF… just for an occasion, the last time was a benefit for MRR and a new all ages show space. We usually just play when our friends bands are on tour. Chaos In Tejas was amazing…. 65 bands over 4 days… insane. We were lucky to get asked cos we are friends with Timmy Hefner who does the whole fucking thing. I had the most fun just hanging with my friends… I missed a lot of bands, but that’s ok, I had a great time.

Band highlights? Hex Dispensers, Destino Final, Cock Sparrer, Judgement, Amebix, No Tolerance, Pierced Arrows, Skitkids and Sacred Shock at 4am in a warehouse. I like playing parties at home and I love been away for a few days with the crew. We are about to head down to San Diego for the North Park Awesome Fast which is 3 days – 60 bands,,, insane. Toys That Kill, Tiltwheel, Grabbass Charlestons…. Too many to mention… should be a blast!!! We have been lucky to play with some of my favorite bands and have become friends with some amazing people thanks to the band.

How does the band tie in with everything else you do? I guess you are all busy so does the band come way down the list? Is a tour on the cards. How do you manage to fit in everything else; family man, work, cycling, maximum RnR, listening to music and reading, all time consuming on their own, I’m amazed whatever the answer is??

Jason: Tim and Pete have two kids each, and I can’t believe they do it. I work a full time job and have a wife, but other than that it’s pretty easy for me to work it in.

Tim: The band is one of the most important things that I do. I have 2 kids and work a lot so we don’t have much time to do it, but when we do its really fun. I see it as a necessary break from my normal life – it gives me a chance to unwind and hang out with my best friends, and jam some tunes while we are at it! The best thing about the band is that we are all busy and old so we just do what we can do…no stress. We won’t tour, we neither have time nor inclination. I am more of a sprinter than marathon runner so a crazy weekend away suits me fine. I’m sure we’ll do a couple of road trips a year.

We are planning on Texas again, not to play the main fest, but a party with the Hex Dispensers. My wife is very forgiving and these days I spent very little time just sitting in the pub (tho I’d like to)…I realize I have limited time so I try and get as much done as I can. I’m taking my bike to San Diego…so I can rage, play and ride all in one weekend!!

What happened at the video shoot and when is that going to surface, looked like fun in the boxcar, how did all that come about? What song was it for?

Jason: Our friend Jon liked our song “Big Cities” and decided to spend time and money making a video. I still can’t believe he did that. Thanks Jon.

Tim: Jon asked. We said yes. He delivered. The video is done and Jon did an amazing job…

YOUNG OFFENDERS: Big Cities from Yogurt NYC on Vimeo.

How does skating fit in these days? How about Pete and his skating?

Jason: I can’t skate, but surf regularly. Falling on water is much better than concrete when yer 38.

Tim: I pretty much hung up my board, but have been rolling around a bit recently now that my boy is starting to skate. Pete ‘the Ox’ Colpitts still rips when he can, he’s been hurt a bit recently but still blows minds. He is sponsored by Felem in Japan and goes over there to skate each year. Watching Pete skate still makes my jaw drop. Dude is a stone cold legend.

Any side projects either in making music, playing it, putting on gigs, label, radio??

Tim: Well, me and Dougie write for MRR, I put on the odd show for friends. I edit bike films for some friends here in SF and do a blog. I’d love to do more music but just don’t have time. I’ve been talking with Jon (who did the vid) about making some music with him but so far I have been lagging…..!!

Check out the Young Offenders at their Myspace page.