John Livingstone published a great zine called Insight. Maybe he still does; I struggled to find him online and gave up.
But the zine was one of my favorites, and John blew my mind after he received the Footstone Wobbles From Side to Side 7″, with its free “PAID” sticker, by asking if he could cop the idea and include one with the next issue of the zine. We agreed there was no problem “sharing” creativity as long as proper credit was assigned, and John also agreed to do an interview with the band.
With the release of Lippy seemingly inevitably delayed, I tried my best to put John off so that the interview would come out in conjunction with the CD, but eventually I had to relent. I sent John a pile of background material on the band, Ralph sent him the rough mixes of Lippy, John did the interview via phone, and it came out in Issue 4 of Insight.
Reprinted in its entirety without John’s permission (hopefully he’ll eventually Google himself and find this entry and leave some comments letting me know what he’s been up to), here’s the interview.
Footstone play beer-guzzling, supercharged, twin-guitar dragster music. Aggressive pop/punk a la Fluf or the Descendents. Their cover of the Juicy Fruit gum theme is worth the price of the CD alone. We talked to most of ’em at once and they were pretty hilarious.
Insight: Shit. First of all why don’t you guys start by telling me something about the band. I mean, I don’t know diddley shit, all I have is the single.
Mark: That “Wobbles From Side to Side?”
Insight: The one that wobbles? I guess it does, I really don’t remember.
Mark: No, that’s what it’s called. That will be a CD hopefully by like January or something. We just have to find someone to mix it and try to find someone to do the artwork rather cheaply and then we’ll be out with that.
Mark: I didn’t get your name. I’m sorry.
I: How much do you guys weigh?
Mark: I think I’m the lightest of the bunch. Everyone’s got, like, girlfriends and fat. Well, not fat but pudgy. I’m the lone bachelor so I eat macaroni and cheese, that’s if anything at all. So I’m probably the lightest of them all. I’m the big geek in the band. Definitely.
I: How do you feel about that?
Mark: I’m at peace with myself, I think.
I: Do you get beat up a lot?
Mark: I’ve accepted it.
I: Do you get beat up a lot by the other guys?
Mark: No, actually we’re very non-violent I guess you could say.
Dave: We’re pacifists.
I: Peace Corps?
Mark: We’re pacifiers.
Dave: We were taught you never hit anyone unless you were absolutely sure you could get away with it.
Mark: And we all know where each other lives.
I: And everyone’s got girlfriends to back them up. Except for Mark. What’s the names of the other guys in the band?
Mark: Ralph is the singer and the guitar player.
I: Is that his real name?
Mark: Yeah. Everyone says that. They think it’s like a New Jersey joke. But Ralph is the singer/guitar player and Eric is the other guitar player. And they’re probably right behind Dave like “Give me the phone!” Dave sings back-ups. Sing something for the guy.
I: That’s pretty good, man.
Mark: Pretty good for a drummer.
Dave: All day in the shower. (That’s a punchline to an imaginary joke).
I: You play drums too, Dave?
I: And Mark, what do you play?
Mark: I play bass.
I: And you said Ralph, and who’s the other guy?
Mark: Eric. He’s the other guitar player. I guess he would qualify as lead guitar.
I: So he does all the solos and all the tapping and stuff like that?
Mark: He plays both solos.
I: You guys have two solos, huh?
Mark: I think so.
I: Is all your stuff straight ahead punk stuff?
Mark: I don’t know that I’d call it punk so much as garage. I mean, when we started playing, Dave and Eric had played together for a long time until their parents told them they’d go blind if they didn’t stop.
I: How old are you guys?
Mark: Dave, how old are you? Isn’t your birthday today or tomorrow?
I: So’s mine! No shit? The 25th, right?
Dave: The 25th.
I: Fuck yeah, man. What year were you born?
Dave: Sagittarius. ’68.
I: I was born in ’69.
Mark: 69, dude!
Dave: So you’re joining the quarter of a century club.
I: Yeah, it was the year of the cock, man. So you’re all about that same age. 24, 25.
Mark: Except me. I’m like the old timer. I just hit the big 3-0.
I: Yeah, you’re pretty old.
Mark: I’m a grandad.
I: Where have you been all your life?
Mark: I’ve been, uh, shit. I don’t know. The only band I ever played in was with these mooks.
I: You were telling me how everyone was going to go blind.
Mark: Well, Dave and Eric played together. I guess, in high school. Dave?
Dave: Yeah, in high school.
Mark: I never hung out with them, they were… (call waiting beeps)
I: What were you guys saying about me?
Mark: Was that L7?
Ralph: Was it seven things?
Mark: Seven shining strokes? (I think this is what he said, they were giggling). We’re big R.E.M. fans. I don’t know about this monster thing. Hey, Ralph’s on the phone.
Ralph: Yes, I’m here.
Mark: Ralph, John wanted to know if that was your real name.
Ralph: Yes it is. In fact it’s my middle name also. Ralph Ralph Malanga. My dad liked me so much he named me twice.
I: Like New York City, New York.
Mark: Where are you calling from?
I: I’m calling from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Ralph: I thought that was only like a town where David Letterman’s office was from.
I: Like Tallequa Oklahoma. Yeah, Frank Sinatra sang about it. He’s got a girlfriend here. His old lady. She’s from Kalamazoo (I think John meant Glenn Miller. Oh how the mighty have fallen. – Bridget) (The Chairman of the Board sang it too, honey bunny. -John). Well, I was checking to see if that was your real name.
Ralph: It’s important because I know fallacies are major in punk rock. It’s a frequent question asked. That and do I like ham because I have admitted to it.
I: Because what?
Ralph: Because I have admitted to liking ham.
I: I just finished a ham today.
Ralph: Great. I’m happy you’re not a vegetarian.
I: There’s nothing wrong with ham, man.
Mark: Kalamazoo, Michigan?
I: Yeah, it’s full of vegetarians. I’ll tell you that. Enough about me. Tell me what your plans are, when you’ll take over the world, and all that.
Ralph: We’re finishing up our first album “Lippy.” In two weeks we’re mixing. Remixing, I should say.
Mark: Because Dave couldn’t be there the first time.
Ralph: (apparently loaded) So we’re remixing “Mickey.” I mean, not “Mickey,” “Lippy”…
Mark: Big mouth?
Ralph: …and as soon as that’s done, I think by the end of January it shall be in stores.
I: Do you guys got pictures you can send?
Ralph: Definitely. I actually have a great incriminating photo of Mark which he doesn’t know about and I could send you that. It’s the one with a llama.
Mark: O.K. Llamas have very smooth tongues. Very long ones too.
I: That’s the word on the street.
Ralph: Well, Mark spread that word.
Mark: So these guys went to like Happy Hour. I had to work late.
Ralph: Dave and I went to Happy Hour at a bar. And this one particular bar serves free pizza so we were very enthused. Get me a bucket I’m going to throw up.
I: So you guys are all a bunch of drunks or what?
Ralph: Pretty much, yeah. We’re pretty much fat, overweight drunks.
Mark: Not me. I’m tall, skinny and I have no girlfriend. That’s why I drink.
Ralph: Mark has the metabolism of about seventy anteaters.
Mark: What happened to the llama?
Ralph: I don’t know, you tell me. The llama is a mama, if you ask me.
I: Where do you work?
Ralph: Work for me is, uh, I work for a retail outlet called (store name deleted), which is pretty horrible.
Mark: But you can call him up thought and he’ll send you free stuff.
Ralph: Yeah, I can send like a pillowcase or something if you want. I’m the shipping department.
I: Can you pick up a lot of chicks that way?
Ralph: Yeah Actually, yeah. They’re Korean. They don’t speak any English.
I: How do you say “I can get you a free pillowcase?”
Ralph: I can send you, even like a fingertowel or an over-the-door light.
Mark: What’s a finger towel?
Ralph: A fingertip towel is like, it’s smaller than a washcloth, if you can picture. Actually it’s just for drying paints if you can picture.
I: Drying what?
Ralph: It’s a post-whack towel.
Mark: To get the jism out of the really tough to reach places.
Ralph: It’s a get the jiz from your fingernails towel.
I: Well, send me one.
Ralph: I’ll be happy to.
I: My fingernails are a mess.
Ralph: Not even in a regular color. I’ll send you like cameo white.
I: Do you sell bathrobes?
Ralph: We sell some bathrobes, yeah.
I: You got one in my size?
Ralph: Which one?
I: You got one in my size?
Ralph: Extra large.
I: I need to look like a playboy.
Ralph: Do you need a smoking pipe with that?
I: If you got ’em. That would be great. And write Footstone on the bathrobe, man.
Ralph: I could have it monogrammed to say Footstone.
Ralph: We would be the antichrist of Victoria’s Secret. These like fat overweight guys with beer, with a little bit of like puke on the sleeve of their robe.
I: So, what do the rest of you guys do?
Mark: I work for a video production company that does all those like infomercials at two in the morning. Like the Smartmop…”Order now and we’ll send you this but wait there’s more.” They don’t like let us have anything. Except for a whole bunch of amber vision sunglasses. We did this thing called Click and Heat. It’s like this plastic bag full of, I don’t know what’s in there, but you click this little piece of metal and it reacts with the liquid in there and it turns into these white crystals and gets hot and you like stick it in your pants or something. I don’t know. You can get it on QVC.
I: I have a friend named Steve Wilson who did lawn maintenance for the guy who invented those sunglasses. He paid him in sunglasses.
Ralph: I’ll give you 400 pairs of Ambervision.
Mark: Is there any beer in the fridge? It’s retarded, nobody’s laughing at me. (singing to the tune of “Whoop, there it is!”) Fresh fruit, there it is.
I: What’s your favorite, 95 South or Tag Team? Whoot or whoop?
Ralph: I personally like Tag Team because he’s from the old school and he’s so cool.
Mark: I like Tugboat. Tugboat’s cool.
Ralph: And because Ed Lover approves. That’s why he appeared in the Tag Team video.
I: Ed Lover’s an asshole. I met him. I met Ed Lover.
Ralph: He has a radio show here in New York in the morning. Him and Dr. Dre are on. They’re Abbott and Costello.
I: They’re out of control.
Ralph: They’re the Abbott and Costello of the ’90s. Dr. Dre and Ed Lover.
I: They’re really comedic geniuses. ‘Cause one’s fat and one’s skinny.
Mark: But they put Eric “From the Grind” in the bag. So that was cool.
I: It’s really weird that your mentioning all these people that I know because…
Mark:…and they’re like shooting up skirts. And they put the annoying Eric Nies in like a burlap sack and tied him up.
I: Roll him down the steps of the Washington Monument.
Ralph: You know what would be bad? Put these cans of soda in a pillow case and just start whaling away.
I: Like in “Bad Boys.”
Mark: I want to see Puck buttfuck Eric Nies.
I: That guy is from about five miles from where I grew up and he didn’t have any of that crazy accent and he wasn’t like Mr. Hip Hop or anything he was just this complete buttwipe.
Ralph: He was a complete loser?
I: Yeah. And he moved to New York and he’s got this like affected accent and everything and now he’s down G.
Ralph: I’m down with G.
I: Five thousand G. So, tell me more. Tell me more about the band.
Ralph: Like how much dough did we spend?
Ralph: Well, O.K., I’ll tell you a little more about the band.
I: Tell me about the financial…
Ralph: Oh, jeez, I’m sitting on the answering machine.
I: Tell me about the budget of the band.
Mark: The budget of the band is we’re totally self-sufficient.
Ralph: Yeah, pretty much. I just farted. Well, I mean, recording kind of set us back a bit because it was a lot of money but it was the first…(loud farting noise interrupts)…What the?
Mark: It was the first time we ever, we recorded actually 24 track for the first time.
Mark: We made a logical progression. We started, oh Christ, we started with 8 track then we went to 16…
I: Was that whale noises?
Mark: …we found this guy that was super cheap.
Ralph: (Belches) Wow!
Mark: Drove down and it was pretty cool.
I: The single I heard, see I don’t even have a copy of that because if you guys have one send it with the robe because this guy that reviews for the magazine, he had it and he didn’t have a turntable or something so he came over and did it at my house, did his review at my house, but we turned it up really loud and we really enjoyed it.
Ralph and Mark: Cool.
Mark: Look at Rico. Rico’s got his fucking hair up in like little Zippy things.
I: Well, give me your address.
Ralph: O.K., it’s Footstone, PO Box…
I: (Sneezes) Excuse me! I’m allergic to New Jersey.
Ralph: We are too but we’re stuck here.
Mark: It’s raining really hard here so I think we’ll be alright. We won’t have to wear those special galoshes.
Ralph: PO Box 3109 Livingstone.
I: That’s my last name.
Ralph: Dr. Livingston, I presume.
I: That guy is my great grandfather, no shit. Zip code?
Ralph: I would like a beer.
Mark: That’s enough, you don’t need anymore.
I: What, he’s packing bowls?
Ralph: Did you get the tape from Al?
I: Yeah. Well, I got it fifteen minutes before I called you.
I: You guys ever tour?
Ralph: We’re planning a trip out to Southwest by March.
I: How far is Michigan out of your way?
Ralph: It’s really not that far. I think we plan to go to Chicago soon.
I: Come to Michigan.
Ralph: We could definitely set that up.
I: I’ll show you around where Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend lives. You can get a big bathrobe that says “I cornholed Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend.” Tell me everyone’s full names in the band and ages and stats and stuff like that real quick and I’ll let you go.
Ralph: I’m Ralph Malanga and my age is 24.
Mark: A very svelte 24.
Mark: Proud owner of a new Saturn.
Ralph: Yes! Proud owner of a 1995 SL1 Saturn.
Mark: How are you going to pay for it?
Ralph: God knows how. I just lost $90 this weekend on football bets. And I jerk off every night around approximately 9:30.
Mark: You have a time?
Ralph: Yeah. Well approximately. Between 9:30 and 11:15.
Mark: O.K. my name is Mark. I feel like I’m on Starsearch.
I: Alcoholics Anonymous.
I: My name is Mark and I’m an alcoholic.
Mark: So’s mine. M-A-R-K Ebney. E-B-N-E-Y, A nice English name. Half Irish, half English.
Ralph: He likes drinking beer.
Mark: I don’t have a specific time to whack. I have two roommates and it’s kind of tough to find the time sometimes.
I: Find the time when you can all sit down together?
Mark: Yeah, I whack at work. The bathroom is a good place at work because it’s a really smal bathroom and there’s only one urinal and one stall and you can lock the door.
I: Amen, brother.
Mark: Taco Bell is a good meal.
I: Good stuff.
Mark: You can fill yourself up for…
I: What do you think of the new Rancho Steak Burrito?
Mark: I don’t know. I’m a big 7-layer fan. Although I hear there’s spider eggs in the…One of our clients that came in the other day told me like “Ew, don’t eat there, they spit in the beans.” So what.
I: Just in yours.
Mark: Exactly. Just in yours.
I: So tell me the other guys in the band.
Mark: Is Eric there?
Ralph: Yeah, Eric’s here.
Mark: Can he talk or is he just like (garbled sounds)?
Ralph: (Away from phone) Eric do you want to say a little about yourself? Or are you drinking beer on the couch?
Mark: Eric’s got a big bottle.
Ralph: Eric is lying down on the couch with a 40 of Bud on his stomach. No joking. And his hair is up like Pippy Longstockings. Here’s Rico, the saliva man.
I: Does that mean he can get up or no?
Mark: He’s here.
I: Hello. Give us a few facts about yourself, including your name and how to spell it. And your age.
Eric: John, how ya doin’?
Eric: Eric, E-R-I-C.
Mark: Otherwise known as Rico.
Mark: Favorite fast food?
I: When do you whack off?
Eric: Oh, I don’t know. My girlfriends not away that often so I don’t really have that problem.
Mark: Problem?! It’s a pleasure.
Eric: In the mornings after she goes to work.
Mark: He breaks down. In the morning after she goes to work. Favorite New Kid?
Eric: My favorite New Kid?
Mark: My favorite’s Donny ’cause he’s the cleanest.
Eric: My favorite is Jordan because he lifts weights then goes home and masturbates.
Mark: (whispers) Awesome!
I: Tag Team of 95 South?
Eric: I don’t get it.
Mark: See I didn’t get that one either.
I: “Whoot there it is!” or “Whoomp there it is!”.
Mark: Whoot and whoomp.
Eric: I’ll go whoot.
Mark: Dave Noel, jailbird.
Mark: He couldn’t make it to mixing the first time because he was under house arrest or something. He had to wear one of those electric bracelets around.
I: For real?
Mark and Eric: For real.
I: Why’s that?
Eric: What did he do? He didn’t kill anybody.
Mark: No, it was all driving. But it was tickets, then it was didn’t pay the fines, then it was driving on the revoked list, then it was “No, I’m not revoked, I didn’t get it in the mail,” then it was “I don’t care,” then it was, I don’t know what the hell happened.
Eric: He got pulled over in front of his own driveway.
Mark: Oh, that’s right. He had just bought a new car, was just about to get everything all figured out, then he got pulled over.
I: Was he loaded?
Mark: I don’t know.
Mark: He wasn’t?
Eric: He was going off to work.
I: So was he loaded?
Mark: Well, he doesn’t have that job anymore so he might’ve been.
I: Did you already spell his name for me?
Mark: Oh, Dave is just, I think it’s D-A-V-E…
So there you go. Three thousand words of absolutely nothing. But then again, that’s the kind of thing that made Footstone so much fun.
And big props to Insight, which was a really cool zine that I thoroughly enjoyed.