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Interview With: Tilt.
By: Brinepace
Date Posted:09/12/2001

Tilt need no introduction. Interview by e-mail. Thanks to Weibke (Fat Wreck Europe)

Describe for me the room you're in and your state of mind.
There's a lot of books and antique doll heads in this room. There's a ratty old Depression Era quilt on the wall lit by a string of orange Halloween lights. It is a dark and rainy afternoon. My feet are a little cold and I'm feeling pensive.

How did you feel about those Bad Religion comparisons that were floating
That is a compliment. BR is one of the few bands who's lyrics mean something.

around in the reviews for Collect 'Em All? Did BR and Greg Graffin in particular have an influence on your songwriting and/or lyrics?
No, I'm ashamed to admit I'm not very familiar with their material. But what I've heard is good.

With your BFA in Theater Arts, Acting and Directing sitting in the closet as it were, do you have plans or even longings to put on any theater? Do you visit the theater often? Do you still write many plays? If so, what themes do you explore. Do you think your BFA has an influence on your lyrics?
I have a project in the works but I don't want to take the magic out of it by talking about it. I love theatre, there's something so immediate about it. You don't get the same sense of living through the character by just watching a movie. I am trying to be a better play-going participant but San Francisco is not known for it's theatre. I will catch Much Ado About Nothing at the Berkeley Rep this season. I love Shakespeare but I don't like too many of the Hollywood renditions. Playwrights like Bertolt Brecht and Brendan Behan have definitely influenced my lyrics. I like those "Bs".

Whats happening with the East Bay Drifters these days? What sparked your interest in Country? Were you exposed to it a lot growing up in Nebraska?
I hated country music growing up in Nebraska. But when I played a spoof of a country song in my first punk band, I started to realize it's value. Then I got together with Jeffery and joined his punk acoustic band: Phoenix Iron Works and gained deeper appreciation of country, folk and traditional music. Jeff turned me onto the Pogues. Unfortunately the East Bay Drifters broke up. No tragedy, the person organizing it just wanted to move on to other things.

Your clothing company Cinderblock has grown to be quite a large operation. Does its size ever overwhelm you? Do you ever get worried going off on tour and leaving it in other peoples hands? Do you work/check up on it while on tour? How does being a punk affect your business activities, especially when dealing with non-punks such as manufacturers?
It is a bit strange that CB Inc. has grown to such and enormous size. But it is no surprise in light of Jeffery's entrepreneurial talents. How he managed to bring Tilt to our present level, playing guitar and managing at the same time , is also amazing. We have no worries leaving town. There is a great team minding the fort when we go traipsing about. As far as being punk and operating in the business world- you have to tread a fine line between ethical practices and profit margin. But I still believe one can operate a business and still have integrity. You just have to remember that people are your best asset.

You once mentioned that Janis Joplin was one of your favorite singers. Like you, she had problems with her addictions. However, while it was her downfall, you have conquered these addictions. What was the turning point for you? How do you feel while on tour, especially in places like Amsterdam, when you encounter people who are heading down that road, or even remind you of you?
I will never feel I have conquered my addiction/alcoholism. They day I do is the day I take my next drink. The turning point was more like a slow realization of the absolute demoralization and tedium of constantly being hungover. It forced me into isolation. I felt like life was passing me by just for the sake of a couple of hours of oblivion. Sometimes I miss the wild abandon of hedonism. But what I have gained is worth far more. I feel a much greater connection with the music (although this took quite some time). Alcohol and drugs killed my writing rather than enhancing it. I have way more fun now overall. I have far more energy to tour. It doesn't bother me to be hanging out with a partying crowd. I make no judgments. If I start to get triggered I leave. I have absolutely no business analyzing the habits of other people.

I read in an old interview that your doctors were 90% positive you had MS. How did you cope with this and how did it change your outlook on life? Is it something you have considered touching on lyrically? (If you want to skip this question that's totally understandable).
I'm at peace with it now. It is a very mild case of MS which mostly manifests itself in tingling of the hands and feet. Occasionally I have an inflammation in my eye that lasts about a week. At first it scared the shit out of me because you can go blind or lose the ability to walk. But the neurologist thinks this is unlikely in my case.

What do you think are peoples biggest preconceptions/misconceptions about you and about Tilt? As a female fronted band, do you thik you have more to work against than your average male fronted band? How does it feel being a woman in a male dominated scene?
I have never been a male in the punk rock scene so I can't compare my experience with much authority. As far as misconceptions relating to my gender, I am loath to climb into anyone else's mind. I try not to focus on sexism as an obstacle. All I can really do is keep on being who I am and try to make good music.

Having been one of the first Fat Wreck bands, you have seen it grow over the years first hand. How do you feel about how the label has progressed, through its homogenized period in the late nineties, to its current state with Hones Don's and Pink & Black? How do you feel abot being a "Fat Wreck Band" and how have you tried to work against this preconception?
I'm not sure what you mean by homogenized. I guess I don't pay that much attention. I can only speak with the highest regards for Fat Wreck. I think of them as a team of highly creative and talented people whether they are in bands or behind a desk. They are family. Mike and E are the Ma & Pop at the pinnacle of the operation. So I feel a special affinity toward Fat.

When lagwagon put out an "odds and sods" comp like "Been Where? Did What?", it was in Joey Cape's words "to wrap things up". Why have you chosen to release one now?
This has been a persistent question recently. No, Been Where? Did What? is not meant to be a final chapter. It is more of a mid career retrospective,

Touring has been known to put strains on interband relations. Considering that you both tour and work full time on Cinderblock with Jeffery, your husband, does it sometimes get too much, or do you have a defined set of rules or boundaries?
Any relationship can get too much at times. Jeffery and I have been together so long and we have been through so much together. I used to think of us like orphans in a storm clinging to each other for dear life. Our bond is solid beyond the romantic. We are best friends too. We also have interests which we pursue separately.

Finally, most of the bands I listen to today I have learned about in interviews with bands I liked. Any bands you could reccomend to Tilt fans and Pacer readers?
The Beauties, The Tantrums, American Steel, Down In Flames. Thanks, Cinder