By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
NT: Enough about business. Let's talk about women.
Wilson: I've got a girlfriend, you know? Before that, well, I just have a very hard time saying, "I've got 15 minutes, will you give me a blowjob before the bus leaves?"
NT: Fifteen minutes? So what's up with the next record? Miserable Experience is going to be a tough act to follow.
Wilson: We're actually thinking about calling it Sophomore Jinx. We've got six months off to write songs, and we're going into the studio in June. But there're so many rumors going around. I heard one where we've already recorded our record, it sucked and they didn't want to press it.
There's rumors going around that we're going to do all these songs of Doug's [Hopkins], and we're not going to do another record unless we do his songs.
That's not true, we don't want to do any Doug songs. I wouldn't mind doing 'em, but the general attitude in the band is, "Let's do it without him, for crying out loud." We're looking forward to the challenge of doing it ourselves.
NT: So all the songs will be generated from within the band?
Wilson: We're going to write with some other people, just for the fun of it, but we don't want to clutter up our record with a bunch of co-written songs. We don't want the perception that we can't do it without other people. I mean, we're going to work with the people we want to, and if the songs end up on the record, then, fine.
NT: I've heard more than a few people say, "What're these guys going to do now that their main songwriter's dead?"
Wilson: Yeah, people have a lot of misconceptions about Doug and our feelings about Doug. That we can't write a record without him is probably the biggest one. But we're not afraid to write a record now any more than if Doug were still in the group. In fact, if he were still in the group, we'd be like, "Jesus, we got to get him out of detox, we gotta make a record!" But I'll say this, man, Doug was a better songwriter than I'll ever be. I don't expect to eclipse his songwriting talent; all I can do is become a better songwriter myself.
NT: Do you still find that there're a lot of people who think the band somehow fucked him over?
Wilson: Oh, yeah, oh, sure. There's a lot of people that blame us for that, but there's only five people in the world that know what happened, and I'm secure with all of that. I do have regrets, but . . . I don't know. It's a painful thing. I've actually tried to figure out how much time every day I spend thinking about Doug, and it must be about five or ten minutes every day. Usually, it's about something that he said or did that makes me laugh. I do miss him.
NT: Is it odd playing in your hometown?
Wilson: Yeah, it's strange. We play much better in another town. There's a lot of family members and friends and people you hardly know calling--"Can you get me backstage?"--and it becomes a real cluster fuck.
NT: What do you think about the local music scene, or do you know anymore?
Wilson: I really don't. It's sad to say, 'cause it was so important to me to establish a music scene and be part of that. I used to think, "I wanna be one of the best little singers in Tempe." The world has gotten bigger for me, or a lot smaller, I guess. I used to save ads for us and Dead Hot Workshop, now Toad the Wet Sprocket and us are on the same Kiss record next to each other. It gives me the exact same sort of pride.
There's nobody in this town that wants to see Tempe flourish more than me. Sometimes you hear other bands say negative things about the Gin Blossoms or the Swaffords [Wilson's part-time cover band], and I think, "Wait a minute. I was hosting Sun Club acoustic night when these people were in high school!"
NT: Are you surprised that more local bands haven't been signed in the wake of the Blossoms?
Wilson: No, I don't think there are that many bands worth getting signed around here. I've heard there are about five or six groups outside of Dead Hot that are ready for a contract, but I haven't actually seen them. I have very little interest these days in going out; maybe that's because I do it for a living. I did it so much. Five years ago, every night of the week, it was Sun Club and Hollywood Alley with Brian Griffith and Doug Hopkins and crystal meth 'til 4 in the morning. I'm just not into that anymore, but I'd love to see the scene flourish.
NT: Do you think some people simply begrudge the band success?
Wilson: I hope that people realize that we weren't just born on MTV one day. No one in this town has worked harder than we worked--maybe Dead Hot. Christmas will be our seventh anniversary; that's longer than any job I've ever had, deeper and more painful than any relationship I've ever been involved in. . . . I accepted the fact years ago that I was going to make $250 a week for the rest of my life, and being in a rock band was worth that. That was our salary when we started touring, and it remained the same salary until a few months ago. Now we get paid so much, we can give ourselves any salary we want.