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"We even went on a Social Distortion tour last year, hitting close to 3,000 people," says Collier, continuing with a laugh, "and if there was ever a mismatch, I would have thought that would be it, but it worked. It got pretty wild.
"I always know when we're playing really well," he says. "If people are still standing there, I look around at Stoney [Jeff Stone], our guitar player, and Dave [Swafford], our bass player, and then around to Tim [Arnold], the drummer--and if they're shaking their heads like, 'This audience is fucked, let's get 'em!', then the pedal goes down and we start on a glide. We're able to pull anything out of the bag, from a George Jones song to 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' to whatever. We just go for it!"
Collier adds that they've won over audiences on practically every stop, citing crowds in New York, Boston, St. Louis and Chicago as going "completely nuts for us." Even when they screw up, their halos remain untarnished, compared to what some bands go through.
"Oh, man, I pulled the most asinine stunt I've ever pulled in my life [at Los Angeles' Whiskey A-Go-Go this past February]," Collier mock-moans. "I started drinking at two in the afternoon and just never really stopped. I forgot all the words, forgot how to play. The shittiest show of my life was in front of the president of MCA." With Phoenix days a relative footnote for the Best Kissers, and Seattle a mere home base (as opposed to a stylistic reference point), Collier's ready to conquer the world. And in truth, the combination of the band's commercial instincts and MCA's determined support makes for a good bet.
After the current tour is over, the Best Kissers start preproduction on their first long-player. In May, they head to Vermont to record with producer John Hanlin. Collier says they plan to shake up arrangements a bit, go for a "looser, let-it-roll, rough n' tumble kind of feel" and let their gut feelings for solid pop craft be their co-pilot.
"[Our music] is reflective of the band and how the band feels. We have an idea of how we want to be perceived and where we want to go, and we're not shooting any shit or trying to be fake about it," Collier says. "So far, MCA's into it. They've been supportive of us, so we're trying to work with them any way we can. And hopefully we'll all get paid! That might be a little naive, but I'd like to believe it--we'll see what happens.