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28th January 2012
METAL DISCOVERY: I have to ask you about ‘S.R. (The Many Versions Of)’ – apart from showcasing your versatility as a band with all the genres you do, do you actually dig all those genres you cover?
JOHN: Oh yeah, I do.
(Derek Gibbs on his affinity with fish)
"I have fish in a fish tank at home so I’m an aquarist!"
Derek and John in Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 28th January 2012
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2012 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Reel Big Fish Official Website:
Everything Sucks (1995)
Thanks to Mike Cubillos at Earshot Media for arranging the interview
Reel Big Fish Official Facebook:
Reel Big Fish Official MySpace:
Turn the Radio Off (1996)
Why Do They Rock So Hard? (1998)
Viva La Internet (2000)
Cheer Up! (2002)
We're Not Happy 'til You're Not Happy (2005)
Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album (2006)
Favourite Noise (2002)
Greatest Hit...and More (2006)
Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free (2007)
Fame, Fortune and Fornication (2009)
A Best of Us for the Rest of Us (2010)
DEREK: You like square dancing?!
JOHN: I like country music!
MD: Okay, I’ll run through these quickly… the best punk rock band for you?
JOHN: The Clash.
DEREK: The Ramones.
MD: Best blues band or musician?
JOHN: For me, it’d be John Lee Hooker…
MD: Buddy Guy?
JOHN: Buddy Guy could be one. Muddy Waters is another guy who I just love listening to.
DEREK: I used to be really into Stevie Ray Vaughn.
MD: Best country band or artist?
JOHN: I love Hank Williams, senior. And I also love Willie Nelson – I think he can write an amazing song.
DEREK: I went to a country show when I was younger, George Jones and Conway Twitty, and it was pretty good. Not just good because I’m not necessarily a country fan but as a musician, when you see those guys, their bands were shredders! Those guys were great.
MD: I think live music is a totally different ball game. You can not particularly like a genre but go and see a band live and love ‘em. Britney Spears you can hate on record and then go and see her live and realise… it is actually shit! Bad example!
MD: Best death metal band then?
DEREK: You know, it’s not even a real band necessarily but, lately, I’ve been fulfilling that need in my life by listening to Dethklok. It’s so much fun.
MD: Oh yeah, they’re the virtual band from ‘Metalocalypse’… [pronounced wrong]
DEREK: Yeah from ‘Metalocalypse’… [also pronounced incorrectly]
MD: … that program no-one can pronounce anyway!
DEREK: They’re really making fun or parodying that style of music but it still sounds good!
MD: Absolutely, yeah. And I have to say, you guys do death metal better than a lot of death metal bands out there!
MD: So you’ve not been Cannibal Corpse fans over the years?
JOHN: Aaron is actually a huge Cannibal Corpse fan.
MD: What about Cannabis Corpse?
MD: Have you heard of Cannabis Corpse?
JOHN: I have not… [laughs]
MD: Have you ever considered doing an album where maybe each song is in a different style?
JOHN: No. We tried to consolidate the fifteen minutes that ‘S.R.’ was turning into and people can’t dance to that tune but that was the one attempt to consolidate all of those genres into something that was under four minutes. And the kids can’t dance to it so sometimes they stare at us. So we don’t play that tune very often! So no, I think we’re still gonna be the ska band and we’re upholding the flag of the ska genre. I don’t think we wanna be anything else than what we are.
MD: It’s been a while since the last studio album of original material – are the any plans for anything new in the near future?
DEREK: Yes, we’re working on it right now. We’ve already recorded some rough versions to start mulling over, and rearranging, and doing all that. Maybe we should call it we’re in pre-production.
JOHN: We played three songs today at soundcheck so they’re definitely in the pipe and hopefully we’ll have it out by summer.
MD: Any new songs in your set for this tour?
JOHN: Not yet. Maybe that’ll happen by the end of the tour. We’ll see.
MD: So, I have to ask, will you be checking out Arse Full of Chips tonight who are playing in the basement venue of Rock City, at 11pm tonight, a short while after you guys finish?
JOHN: Did you say Ass Full of Chips?!
MD: Well, the British pronunciation is Arse Full of Chips but you can say Ass Full of Chips.
DEREK: It’s the first I’ve heard of it.
MD: They’re a ska-punk band too from Nottingham. I find it ironic that there’s “Fish” in your name and they have “Chips” is theirs so you’ve got “Fish and Chips” in Rock City tonight!
JOHN: We like that joke!
DEREK: And the DJ in the club, is he mushy peas?
MD: He should be! If he’s not then later I’ll ask him to introduce himself as such!
MD: When I was doing a little bit of research online for this interview, I came across a fishing tackle shop in Hawaii called Reel Big Fish – are you aware of that at all?
JOHN: Is there?!
DEREK: Call the lawyer!
JOHN: Yeah, yeah, yeah! We see a lawsuit!
MD: So has anyone in the band actually ever been into fishing?
DEREK: No, not hardcore. I mean, it happened when I was growing up. I bet we’ve all probably had a rod and reel in our hands at some point in our lives but I wouldn’t call myself a fisherman.
JOHN: No, we’re definitely not.
DEREK: I have fish in a fish tank at home so I’m an aquarist!
JOHN: So someone does own fish!
DEREK: And it’s a hundred gallon tank so it’s a real big tank.
MD: Marvellous, there is a link there! Dimmu Borgir, what are they to do with Dimmu-ing or Borgir-ing?! So you have more cred than there!
JOHN: I’m gonna go Borgir-ing right now!
MD: I think it means “dark fortress” actually… which I’m sure they don’t live in so no cred there!
MD: Finally then, what five words would you choose to sum up Reel Big Fish to entice people into checking you out who have never previously bothered?
JOHN: I would go – candy coated fury fun time. [To Derek]… come on, what’ve you got, different ones…
DEREK: Well, there’s comedy, hatred, happiness, there’s rhythm or... what’s one word that describes wanting to move your body, I don’t know…
JOHN: Fuck.
DEREK: Fuck? Nah.
JOHN: Fuck.
DEREK: Fuck?
MD: Fuck, yeah. That’s a good word. It doesn’t relate to anything but it’s a good word!
MD: That could be a headline for this interview, just – “Fuck”!
JOHN: Yeah, that would get people in, right?
MD: Marvellous, yeah! Right, that’s about it for me so thank you so much for your time.
JOHN: Excellent, thank you so much, appreciate it.
DEREK: Thank you.