I knew my friend Mike loved Fugazi. We were in Vermont one summer and I overheard him talking about Red Medicine with my friend Matt. I liked Fugazi as much as the next guy, but hadn’t really given them much thought in years. I had kind of chalked them up to high school and hadn’t visited them since.
Then I came a cross this listing on Toddpnyc.com for an acoustic Fugazi cover band from Austria and that sounded like it would at least be a reason to hang out with my friend and maybe hear some Fugazi. What I heard was way beyond our expectations and Mike immediately started talking to them right after the show.
We sat down with Daniel, Andreas and Christine from Fucoustic, I let Mike do most of the talking as we bought rounds of PBR’s for each other at Don Pedro’s. This was their first show in the United States and they were playing all over the country the next few weeks but I like to think this is a 7inches.blogspot first. An exclusive. The first US Fucoustic interview:
Mike - The thing to me that was really very interesting was your song selection. You chose stuff like tracks off Red Medicine, that were a little bit… well like b-sides that they didn't play that much in concert even. Why did you choose those songs?
Daniel - Because they were our favorites… we try to play Waiting Room but it doesn't work with two guitars, he (Andi) plays the bassline and some songs don't work but normally... we play those we like. Some are just more interesting, to play a punk song on two acoustic guitars.
M - How do you feel going to Washington DC?
D - We are really nervous, because we asked him (Ian) if we play there, the black cat, if he would come and yesterday he sent an email back saying, me and Amy are going to be there.
M - Oh my god.
D - We've met him before in Switzerland we've talked a little bit, of course I’m nervous.
M - The first time I saw Fugazi was in .....1992, I’m 32 now so I think I was 18 when I first saw them live but I was a fan in ‘89 like you.
D - I was living in the country and my neighbor was studying in Vienna, the biggest city we've got, and I asked him ‘Give me some punk music’ and he gave me like Bad Religion and like Dinosaur Jr. Fugazi for me was like another kind of music. Even the name Fugazi sounded to me like raggazzi, it sounded Italian a bit, but how they played the guitars it was for me like another kind of music. Totally different.
M - What do think of when your onstage? Are you trying to emulate Fugazi?
D - No, we just try to keep up the intensity in a way. For us the music is the most important and its just fun to play them. I play... we play in other bands too but although they are not our songs they are our interpretations.
M - Fugazi is kind of on a hiatus right now, and you guys are the closest thing that I’ve got to seeing them live and I have to say… I felt like I was at a show. I had the same kind of feelings that I had when I’ve seen them.
D- Thank you.
M - I think your song choice was amazing. Why didn't you decide to do Waiting Room? Because it doesn't work?
D - Yes, and there are other songs…we have a western country version of Promises but we don't play it...we tried to play it but it didn't work out. I like Shut the Door best because that’s a really original interpretation because its so different.
M - Is it at all intimidating? Covering one of Americas most influential punk bands?
D - I don't know… you know because in Austria they are not that famous, but here...for us it was not a problem so far, but now people know them here of course... so I don’t know.
M - It was so refreshing to hear these songs played live, like, The Argument was so well done.
D - Such a song like that is easy to do because its quiet,… slow… there’s a lot of melody.
M - I noticed you doing a lot of the instrumental kind of percussive hits with the guitar…
D - Sometimes we work with what is going on with the snare drum in the original, I play up on the guitar like this or bass parts...sometimes they have things feedback, we can't do it so we do other things.
M - Are you staying in Brooklyn?
D - Yes, we are staying at some kind of like strange hotel, I think people just go to have sex there.
M - Are you going to do anything special tomorrow?
D - I think we are just trying to find the way to the bus station and find the right greyhound. For us its very exciting you know we know a lot of streets from movies, and then you see it...
M - Is your set at the black cat going to be different then the set tonight?
D - We didn't really have a set… we just decided what was next…
M - Much like Fugazi.
D - They also start songs without telling others, we don’t go that far…
M (To Christine, the cellist) How did you get to know these guys?
Christine - We've been friends. We live in the small town.
M - The songs were so good, you did such a good job, and you know... they are my favorite band, I was a little skeptical.
D - That’s very interesting. We play some shows and it seems people come to get upset and then they leave quite ok with it.
M - One of the things Fugazi does is they exercise restraint. They have the potential to be a full blown punk rock band but they hold back and I think that was really something that was always really precious to me and I hope to other Fugazi fans.
Andreas - That’s exactly what we wanted to do.
M - Are you going to play on your way back through NY?
A - I don’t think so
C - Maybe in the street
M - How many more songs do you guys have in your repertoire?
A - I think that was half, more than half.
M - How long does it take to interpret a song?
D - When we start playing Andi starts something and I just know what’s coming next. A song works in about half an hour or it doesn't work. Then its just like trying to make it our own.
M - One song I was hoping to hear tonight that you didn't play was Long Division.
D - Yes....well it’s in our CD. That’s just with one guitar and the rhythm egg but we thought its just too...it’s silent.
A - I think we play it tomorrow.
M - When you meet with Ian tomorrow are you going to ask when they are going to play again?
D - No. It’s not a good question, I think it’s his lifetime achievement or whatever is Fugazi. I think they would play, but they can't tour because Brendan has got 3 kids and so on. They are only Fugazi if those 4 people are there, they don't do another record without touring...there are rules, I don't know.
M - In the beginning of the show you apologized for your jokes. I think you guys so completely did the songs justice there wasn’t a question if this was serious at all, the performance was perfect.
A - The thing is you know, that we respect them. You know we are not Fugazi and it’s a different time so .... we pay respect but at the same time we have some jokes. We don’t want to be a copy or whatever. Its just out of respect and fun to do that. I hope sometimes...you know the jokes aren’t so fitting but we try to talk to the crowd. We are making a second album and it comes out in the autumn and we cannot give it away for free, we do not earn that much. We are teachers, its just about getting back the costs.
M - Of course, of course.
A - The sound is very clear we recorded it by ourselves, Daniel is a sound engineer as well, we used some very good microphones.
M - I was telling Daniel I met Ian once and we came close to actually playing a show with Fugazi. They were calling us back, but the venues were too small, we tried really hard to put it together. They were so influential in the music scene in so many ways for me.
A - It’s the same for us you know, I think that’s going cross country you know. That a human attitude that he showed and still shows. Here everybody I think money is the big thing, and of course in Europe its the same but I think here people could die in the street and as long as you have your money you don't care.
M - Is the show sold out?
A - I don’t know. We are paying with 2 other bands but Ian is showing up... what more do you want? He liked the CD so...
M - Well I wish you guys the best of luck tomorrow. Jason knew about you guys and called me, and I know I want to see you guys again.
D - Tomorrow?
J + M - Tomorrow!
To order a CD, or download two songs: Birthday Pony, and Shut the Door, visit http://fucoustic.objectis.net/music.