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A Conversation With
Jason Navarro
by
Meredith Goldberg
November 27, 2001

Jason Navarro

Meredith: First off, introduce yourself and say what you do in the band.

Jay: I'm Jay. I drive the band around. I sing for the Suicide Machines and a drive for a living. That's what I do. I drive.

Meredith: How is the tour going so far?

Jay: It's been really weird. We booked this tour really late, like too late. We wanted to tie it in with flying from Japan to LA instead of flying home, driving, getting to Detroit, driving out to LA and circling. So considering that it's such a last minute tour, it's been going really good. We played a lot of different venues, some of them have been nightmares and some have been amazing. It's been a great tour. I love being on the road with Ensign. It's awesome. And Bigwig of course, but they chumped out of this show because they got scared to play. If you don't know, people who are seeing this, a plane crashed today in Long Island and Bigwig got scared and thought it was another attack and they got scared to come into the city and decided not to come. Which is somewhat understandable. So, sorry to the kids in New York who came to see the show who came to see Bigwig. I'll apologize for them.

Meredith: Since the Suicide Machines are such a unique sounding band, how would you classify your sound?

Jay: Well, we're always just going to be a punk rock band, really. Punk is really the only classification. I don't really like to use classifications on things. Which is why when we book tours, we try to book tours with everybody. We try to play with ska bands, we try to play with punk bands, we try to play with hardcore bands, metal bands, hip-hop… We've played with anything from De La Soul to Jurassic 5. We've played with Violent Femmes. We just want to play with everybody. We don't care. Of course, people are always going to classify us as a punk band, but I like to play with anybody, any kind of music.

Meredith: There was a pretty noticeable difference between the Self-titled album as compared to your other albums, was there any specific reason for that?

Jay: We decided we have the resources to make something crazy. We had the money to hire guys to play strings and stuff and we had the resources to write the correct music, to put tympani drums. And we're all big Beatles fans. And we were like, who gives a fuck what any of the hardcore kids say, who gives a fuck what any of the punk kids say, who gives a fuck what any of the ska kids say, or anyone for that matter. We made a crazy-ass album. Sure, a lot of the lyrics weren't good. We weren't really focusing what so ever on the lyrics. I only wrote like 3 songs on that record. And the rest of them were really goofy and that was the only thing to me that wasn't good about the record. But the music on that record was probably some of the best music we've ever written. Musically, it's over the top, unbelievable. We had the chance and we did it and we loved it.

Meredith: Who writes most of your music/lyrics?

Jay: It's me, Royce and Dan. I wrote a lot on Steal This Record. Actually, everyone wrote quite a lot on this one. But for the most part, it's us 3 that always write songs. We're all vastly different when it comes to influences. So that's probably why our music is so, kind of, all over the place. Cuz, all 3 of us listen to way different things. When we all come together to write the songs, it's like, you got Dan writing Beatles stuff, you got Royce writing Descendents stuff, and you got me writing punk, hardcore shit. And then you got all 3 of us combining it and writing all different things. That's why our records are all different. All 3 of us are so different.

Meredith: What happened to your old drummer? I heard he was in Alkaline Trio now?

Jay: He's been a hired gun for so many bands. He played guitar for Face To Face, drums for The Vandals, drums for The Walls of Jericho. He's been in so many bands. But I'm happy because Alkaline Trio suits him. Alkaline Trio, to me, is leaning more towards the emo-ish side of punk rock. And that's perfect for Derek. So hopefully everything will go well with that. I love Danny the bass player. He's one of my homies from way back in the day. Derek fits well in that band. I hope he stays in it. I just hope he decides to stay in a band.

Meredith: What band that you have played with has been your favorite?

Jay: Of course, the Descendents was unbelievable to me. It's so hard, there's been so many amazing bands that we've played with. I've been blown away by almost every band we've ever played with. Could have been anything from, like, the Pilfers from NYC; I mean, I love Ensign. We don't pick bands that we don't like to go on tour with is. We're very picky about all the bands we play with. I loved watching The Royal Crown Review, I loved Avail; those guys are my homes. Every tour we've done has been good. I really can't say we've had a bad one yet.

Meredith: Who would be your ideal band to play with?

Jay: All the bands that I'd like to play with are dead and gone.

Meredith: Well, what about a band that's still around then?

Jay: AC/DC. They're still around...how much longer? I don't know.

Meredith: Well that's about it do you have anything else to add?

Jay: No, not really. I'm sick and tired. I don't really have much else to add. I wish I could think of something, but I'm spaced out from playing.

Meredith Goldberg is a staff writer. Contact her at meredith@rockzone.com.

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