A Conversation with Home

The New Puritan ReView
Tampa FL

Exploring the creative process that connects performing artists with writers and readers alike.

The published / edited version of the article was originally titled:
A Traveler’s Guide Through Tampa’s Hottest Property

However, as I may have mentioned a few times …the finished layout for the published version as it appeared in 1995, was either lost or destroyed over time. I wish that were not the case, as there were more photos, and some other cool design details in the published piece, but at least you can share what inspired it in the first place. A floppy disc with the original interview, and a few of my notes, was the source for what appears here, before that too, gave way to the ravages of time. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – keeping tabs on the past is a lot of work.

A Quick Synopsis of a road trip from Tampa to Gainesville:
Brad rode on the passenger side.
Andrew kept a relaxed but firm grip on the wheel.
The role of Eric was played by the backseat driver, Mr. Brian Repetto.
The man who beats on the skins was not available for comment.
Yours truly sat in the back seat with a tape recorder, attempting to ask illuminating questions, for the edification of you, the reader.

Q How long has the band been around?

A [Naturally, everyone begins talking at once]:

Almost going on three years.

It’s been almost four years!

No it has not!

It’s been four years!

1991, wasn’t it?

I think it was ’92.

Q I’m glad I started off with an easy question! How tangled is the Home family tree?

A Andrew: Brad was in a band called Chocolate, and so was Eric. But after we got together we played in other bands. Eric played with Pee Shy – sometimes still. I played in Skinny’s 21, and Brad’s played with Piss Army Orchestra.

A Brad: I’m a whore.

A Andrew: [To Brad] When we first got together, you were playing in like five different bands.

Q “In A Jar” …

A Andrew: Well, Eric and I have been recording at home for a long time, and we always wanted to put out tapes to see what people would think, and then Brad said why don’t you just put some tapes of your stuff down at the record store and sell ’em really cheap. [to Brad]: Where’d you get that idea, Brad?

A Brad: I don’t know, it just came about.

Q Were these tapes sold at your shows?

A Andrew: Not very aggressively.

A Brad: We never had any marketing …

A Andrew: We never had any people come to any of our shows!

A Brad: We just kind of made ’em for our friends. It just kind of took off to where we could make an extra amount for the record store.

Q Recorded output …

A Brad: 8 is coming out on eight-track.

Q Eight track?!!

A Eric (AKA Brian): A viable format.

Q One that I imagine many people will have to resurrect in order to hear it?

A Andrew: Right.

A Brad: Right.

A Eric (AKA Brian): Precisely.

Q On the theory of Relativity …

A Andrew: We sent out tapes to everybody, we just toured the country four or five times – we busted our ass. We just put the pedal to the metal and said, “If we’re gonna get heard, we’ve gotta go make some noise.”

A Brad: It wasn’t exactly like that. A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s friend’s brother, basically – who just happened to be an A + R guy for Relativity – asked his sister if there were any good bands in Tampa, and she was like, “Well, there’s this really annoying band that practices where I live…”. There was this big warehouse where she lived with a bunch of punkers – and she told him about Home and was gonna get him a tape. He never heard a tape – he heard this flexidisc that Chew Magazine put out.

A Andrew: Yeah, he heard that, and he couldn’t get enough.

A Brad: Finally he just gave us a call.

Q Are you signed to the label itself, or is this just a distribution deal?

A Brad: Directly to Relativity.

A Andrew: We’re whores.

A Brad: Signed in blood.

Q How does it feel to play ball with the big leagues?

A Brad: It feels good, because with independent status you can’t fool yourself and say, “We’re gonna do this and this and this”, because it all pretty much boils down to how much money you have in your pocket. If someone’s offering you an advance, that takes away your everyday headaches of being a rock and roll band.

A Andrew: The whole indie label thing – it’s not like it was four or five years ago, it’s not the same anymore. We just figured, we had been fooling around for two or three years, let’s get this show on the road. We wanted to get all the press and everything… the romanticism of the indie label just isn’t the same.

A Brad: Anyone with five hundred dollars can put out a seven-inch, and say “We have a label”, and people have begun to realize that.

A Andrew: I think it’s a great way to go, but we wanted something bigger that.

A Brad: We didn’t have the money to do anything like that, that’s what it all boils down to.

A Andrew: We got to make a CD, and it was fun to do. We own our own studio, it’s been okay. We’re not gonna sell a lot of records, you know, so we might as well have a lot of fun.

Q The press you’ve garnered already seems to be quite an accomplishment in itself.

A Brad: We haven’t heard any feedback. It takes a while, but the press has been awesome – actually, it’s very surprising – beyond our expectations. We never thought we’d get a review in Spin – coming up, and able to do the Village Voice thing.

A Andrew: They’re all saying nice things about us…

A Brad: In the grand scheme of things it’s just a bunch of payola bullshit.

Q Is the material on the CD a fair representation of your multi-faceted musical repertoire?

A unidentified: No, not really.

A unidentified: I think that covers pretty much a phase that we’re going through. I mean, when we first started, it was pretty much your two guitar, loud, noisy… trying to convince people that we were the fuckin’ punk rock indie thing, and it just boiled down to where … Eric got sick of playing guitar, and we just wanted to open more doors, man, because you limit yourself, when you do that.

Q Were you all coming from similar musical backgrounds when you started playing together?

A Andrew: No. The original drummer was into Sting and Rush, and stuff like that. Brad was into whatever indie crap was out there – even still – Eric was way into classical rock, I had listened to Sebadoh, but I guess that was about it.

A Brad: Not the rock and roll band Sebadoh, but Lou Barlow – when he first came out. The good shit.

A Andrew: Yeah, you know – the boombox years.

Q How soon before you hit the road and spread your lo-fi message of peace and love across the nation?

A Brad: There’s plans, we just gotta get something together. I don’t want to book our own tour. When we go on the road I want to make it worthwhile, to where we can do it everyday for three weeks, and not fuck around for three days in some town.

A Andrew: The past two times we went around, we had big lulls between shows. The next time we do it, we want to spend our time working, doing shows.

Q There’s a lot of talk about your legendary stage antics, and no two shows ever being the same – how well do you think that will that transcend to the larger audiences?

A Andrew: I think that’s a thing of the past.

A Brad: We’re not a tight enough rock band, and we don’t play together and practice all the time – we don’t have like a steady set list that we’ve been working on for the past three years, you know? Pretty much we’re constantly writing new songs and throwing ideas into our set – that’s why everything’s a little different. We try to keep things new and fresh, we try to keep things going on and not get boring.

A Andrew: There are a lot of bands that just stick with the same songs for like two or three years.

Q In Tampa there are several bands who do that by covering Home songs, in fact. How did that come about?

A Brad: Andrew was in Skinny’s 21, and wrote a couple songs collaborating with Skinny’s 21 that Home wanted to play.

A Andrew: The way that song [“Lost It”] was written was… the lyrics were collaborated on – I guess that’s the bulk of the song, really, the most important part. I was in Skinny’s, and I wrote a song for Skinny’s because they weren’t doing any of my songs and I wanted to write a song that would be good for Skinny’s, and it turned out to be great. That doesn’t mean that everyone’s liked it.

Q So when do you anticipate the Tampa Bay Home tribute record being released, with all the different versions of “Lost It”?

A Brad: Actually, I don’t have the money or anything but it would be cool to put a single of all the bands that cover that song. There’s Pee Shy, Skinny’s 21…

A Eric: …and the fuckin’ Dumbwaiters!
[which, if you will recall, features one Brian Repetto, who is also providing the voice of Eric – J.Free]

A Andrew: Dumbwaiters do it?

A Brad: They supposedly have a dub version.

Q Gee, and you let those guys open for you last night – that’s gratitude for you!

A Andrew: Yeah, I don’t like those guys very much at all.

A Brad: Yeah, they’re fuckin’ assholes.

Q Does the jump to a major label signify the end of your prolific indie-style career?

A Brad: Not at all! We could do whatever we want as far as seven-inches or vinyl.

A Andrew: If we give them songs, that’s what they get. Whatever we do besides that, it’s okay as long as it’s not on Sire or something.

A Brad: If any four-track, two-track, or any shit like that wants to come out, that’s fine, as long as it’s not like, studio.

Q Is that a pretty standard clause in the type of contract you have?

A Andrew: That’s something that we made sure was in there.

Q They’re not worried about someone else making a few bucks off of the band?

A Andrew: That’s free promotion for them, as far as how they look at it. If someone’s gonna pay to put out your record on vinyl, that’s something that they don’t have to worry about.

Q Would you say you’re in for the long haul then?

A Brad: No comment!

A Andrew: As long as it’s fun, that’s how long we can do it, as long as we’re enjoying ourselves. It doesn’t cost them a lot of money.

A Brad: Actually, we’re the cheapest band on the label!

A Andrew: Most of their artists are like – mega-money stars. This is something that they took a dollar out and said, “Here – these guys can do it for under this amount.”

Q Of course that gives you the opportunity to put Tampa on the scene map as something besides the death-metal capitol of the U.S.

A Brad: As far as being in a band it doesn’t matter where you’re from anymore. I don’t think there’s ever gonna be… that whole Seattle thing that’s happened – labels, they go everywhere.

A Andrew: The market is flooded with bands from everywhere, right now, from Omaha, Nebraska to Waikiki.

Q It might give the local scene a shot in the arm, though, since Florida is somewhat off the beaten track.

A Brad: But the thing is, people aren’t gonna come down here looking for the next Home or anything.

A Andrew: Every band in Tampa is completely totally fuckin’ different from each other, unlike certain bands from Seattle, North Carolina… I don’t think we’re gonna excite anybody to where they’re gonna want to come down to Tampa and check out the Skinny’s or a Dumbwaiters show.

A Brad: It would be nice if that happened, but the reality of it is…

A Andrew: …pretty unlikely.

A Brad: I’ve heard people come up to me and go, like, “it’s a good thing you’re doing for the scene, getting signed, you’re helping out the scene!” I don’t give a shit! I’m not doing it for the fuckin’ scene. The music we do has nothing to do with the bands we hang out with. If anything, I would tell an A + R guy to go check out Merengue in Gainesville, or whatever.

A Andrew: I think of all the bands the Dumbwaiters would probably get signed, if they got some more songs together.

A Brad: I notice that people are a lot more on the ball and trying to make things happen in Tampa, which is a very good sign, and I think something will come of that, if people keep trying to do shit for themselves, it may pay off to where they’ll make a name for Tampa.

A Andrew: I don’t even think there’s any real conception of the music scene down here – there’s assumption.

A Brad: Everyone kind of does their own thing; there’s no musical peer pressure as far as what’s going on. I hope Florida in general gets recognized as some sort of musical culture. I think Florida in general just gets slagged, I mean it’s a pretty weird place.

A Andrew: I think Florida’s getting a reputation as a place where weird bands are from, basically. We’re so isolated…

A Eric (AKA Brian): We have our own times – we’re not behind it, we’re not ahead of it.

Q How would you say the scene here has changed over the past few years?

A Brad: People have started getting off their asses and are trying to make shit happen. I’m kind of surprised that we’ve been around as long as we have, because out of all those bands that have been doing it, trying to kick ass, we’ve put the least effort into what we’ve done. It’s weird, you know?

A Andrew: But if you stick with something long enough…

A Brad: Like Scrog, I mean they’ve been at for so long, it’s eventually gonna pay off for ’em. They’ve stuck with it and put so much into it – they’ve built a following and that’s all they want to do. Their heart is totally into that. I think if they keep going around and trying to set up tours, eventually someone’s gonna say …

A Andrew: If an artist has a fan base, that’s another way you can get signed. At a Scrog show they’ll be like ten times more people than there’ll be at a Home show. They have a lot more kids at their shows, they’re a cult phenomenon.

A Brad: I just think our appeal – especially after we dropped the second guitar – isn’t to punk rock kids. I don’t think they’re open-minded to anything outside of that whole punk rock scene or whatever.

Q Can you explain what was was going on with the CDs’ 20-minutes-plus opus “Conception”? It almost seems to describe your creative mode, as well as tying several miniature themes together.

A Brad: That song we had recorded all the way through, and we were almost done with it and gettin’ ready to mix it down, and I came in and said we had this ending part that was real bland, and just didn’t do anything at all – it was kind of an unnecessary ending for that song. I was like, “Let’s spice this song”. Eric was against it at first, but then he re-thought about it, and we did it and it worked out. We were kind of rushed for time.

A Andrew: I don’t think it was supposed to have lasted that long – it supposed to have been like five minutes.

A Brad: We were pressed for time and we thought it would be funny, we were probably really stoned at the time too. We wanted to put on some extra bonus tracks, and it was kind of like, “let’s just fill up the CD with as much shit as we can – let’s take advantage of it, it’s our first CD, let’s just do as much as we could.” It was just one of those concepts that come out of being… high.

Q I hadn’t realized that IX wasn’t available on vinyl, are there any plans for that in the future?

A Brad: On a future record I would like to make a record – intending it to be on vinyl. If you listen to the tape version of IX, you’re only gonna hear up to “Conception” and that’s it.

© J.Free / The New Puritan ReView; 1991; 2022