EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Zac Carper from L.A. punk band FIDLAR

FIDLAR's Zac Carper speaks about the band’s past, present and future, as well as living in his car and kicking sobriety. Photo: Los Angeles-based punk band FIDLAR

LOS ANGELES, December 5, 2013 — FIDLAR is a four-piece punk band from Los Angeles. The band embodies the spirit of a college kegger complete with all the booze and fun. Their self-titled debut album was released at the start of this year on Mom + Pop Music. Fresh off their headlining tour with The Orwells, singer/guitar player Zac Carper took some time to speak with The Washington Times Communities regarding the band’s past, present and future, as well as living in his car and kicking sobriety.

Kevin Wells: Which bands first got you into punk music?


SEE RELATED: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jack Grisham from punk band T.S.O.L.


Zac Carper: I remember, I don’t know if it’s punk, but heavy rock stuff. It was definitely when I heard the Refused. One of my friends showed me the Refused and I was like, “Oh, s**t, this is rad.” I grew up in Hawaii, which is a very small town, so there [were] punk shows all the time there, but mostly local punk bands and stuff, you know?

A lot of the stuff, because where I grew up is so secluded from the rest of the f**king world, we would turn on the radio and Offspring would be playing. [I thought] that’s f**king tight. I was just so stoked on rock n roll and punk stuff. That was my introduction, hearing Offspring or Green Day and Blink-182. And then once you’ve listened to that, I started searching for more, for records and 7”’s and then found Black Flag and all those bands.

KW: How did FIDLAR form?


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VC: I was working at a recording studio as an engineer and Elvis [guitar] was an intern and we just started talking one time and we were really hung over. We just jammed for three hours straight because the studio was open. And then we were like, f**k, we should start a band. We started recording songs in the studio because we were learning to use the studio more. We recorded some songs and put it online and people liked it. Then we started playing live shows.

It was more where me and Brandon, our bass player, were living in L.A., it was a lot of f**king indie shmindie s**t going on and we were just kind of getting sick of it and just wanted to hear some loud guitars. There was too much of a scene, too much fashionista bulls**t. We were just kind of getting sick of that s**t. The hipster-esque crowd in L.A. is really close knit and so f**king cool [laughs], an industry of cool, you know? So we just did the exact opposite.

KW: Where did the name FIDLAR come from?

VC: It came from this skate kid I was living with in Echo Park area. There were like six or seven people living in a studio apartment. [laughs] We would just get wasted and just hang out and bomb hills. This one kid would always say, “Come on, man, FIDLAR, man!” I said, “What the f**k is FIDLAR? What are you saying?” He’s like, “F**k it, dog, life’s a risk.” I was like, “That is f**king genius. That is brilliant.” So we got wasted one night and we all tattooed ourselves with it. When me and Elvis met, we were trying to figure out a name for our band. We were actually called, F**k the Clock, first. Our first demo was called, F**k the Clock, and then we changed it to FIDLAR.


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KW: Greg Kuehn from T.S.O.L. is Elvis [guitar] and Max’s [drums] dad. How has having that connection to T.S.O.L. helped your band?

VC: It was cool, man. Elvis and Max grew up in the punk rock world. It was just crazy because you go over to their house and Duane Peters will be chilling there and Johnny Two Bags will be chilling there. It’s just weird, you know? They’re people I grew up listening and it’s like, f**k, dude. I used to see you in 411 skate videos. [laughs] It’s cool. He’s definitely helped. Greg definitely told us about this whole thing, the industry. He’s very paranoid, so he told us, “Just don’t trust anybody.” It’s really helped us keep our assets in order. Don’t let people f**k with it, you know? What happens when a label comes in is they just want to change everything. It’s like, “No, you’re not gonna touch that s**t.”

KW: What kind of response have you been getting from your new album?

VC: It’s cool. It’s rad. We got to tour the world. I figured out that everywhere you go in the world, there’s always people like us. There’s always kids that love punk rock and love to just f**k around and drink beer and hang out, you know? There’s always people like us and that’s very encouraging.

KW: What would you say was the highlight of your recent tour with The Orwells?

VC: Ah, man. Every show was f**kin’ awesome and most of the tour was sold out. It was packed. It was our first headline tour, which was a very big thing for us. The one show that just nobody was at was Baton Rouge, La., but we just f**king drank so much and just f**king raged so hard at that show. It was so fun. Nobody was there. It was like three people there, but it was still the funnest show on that tour.

KW: You lived in your car for a while, what led to you living in your car?

VC: I used to do a lot of heroin and meth. I think around that time, actually, me and Brandon, he was living in his van and I was living in my car because we were looking for a place to live together, but we just didn’t have any money. I’d rather live in L.A. in car than go back home. It’s just something about it I just fell in love with.

KW: You quit drinking for a while, but are now back to drinking. Were you worried at all when you started drinking again?

VC: I’ve been in AA since I was a f**king kid. My dad used to go to AA. I’ve been to a s**t ton of rehabs and s**t like that. The first thing they tell you is if you start drinking and start doing drugs, you’re a piece of s**t. I just got that drilled in my f**king head, so when I started drinking again, I was scared. I was like, f**k, dude, I don’t know if I’m gonna just go in the deep end, which I probably did. When I moved to L.A., I was sober, two and a half years sober and going to meetings every day. Then I met Brandon and my friend Daniel. They’re my age and I was seeing them and these guys can just have a good time. They drink a lot, but they don’t get bummed out when they drink. That was my problem. Whenever I did drugs and drank, I f**king bummed myself out. So I just went at it with a different approach. I’m just gonna force myself to be stoked all the time [laughs], which is kind of depressing in a way. So I just forced myself to be stoked and it’s been working out ever since.

KW: Now that you have kicked sobriety, would you consider yourself than a recovering quitter?

VC: [laughs] I like that. I do now.

KW: What is up next for FIDLAR?

VC: We’re doing a tour with the Pixies in January. Yeah, I’m super stoked on that, f**kin’ childhood favorite band. And then I think we’re just gonna write another record, write and record another record.

KW: Will it be on the same label, Mom + Pop?

VC: I think so, Mom + Pop, yeah. We’re gonna do it ourselves again, like old school or whatever. I live in a recording studio right now and we’re gonna try to find a bigger one and we’re gonna build it out. That’s gonna take some time. You know, put more s**t out, tour the internet. [laughs] We’ve been on the road for a year and a half almost two years straight. It’s hard to record music when you’re on the road all the time. I think the next thing for us to do is record another album and start playing it.

KW: Do you have any material written yet?

VC: Yeah, we have a couple songs, a couple ideas. I’m working on this song called, Punk Rock Guilt. It’s gonna be a funny one. We just recorded a cover. Brandon and I just recorded a Ween cover last night, Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain, just for fun. Yeah, we have some ideas. It’s just crazy because the first record was all these songs about living in L.A. and our life in L.A. during that time, but the past two years we’ve been touring. All the songs are gonna be songs about touring and about missing L.A. It’s gonna be very interesting. I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t think it’s much figuring out with our band, we just get in the studio and it kind of happens.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for The Washington Times Communities and also writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR.

 

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