Trevor Mote & Sean Topham - Broke Americans

November 7, 2002

Tell me about the band.

Trevor: Me and Sean and our bass player and our guitar player acutally all met...all of us were doing acid and this is a long time ago. Sean was doing mushrooms. And this is a long time ago like I said. Not that we do that anymore.

Sean: That's why they call me Cappy Kid.

Trevor: We don't do that anymore like everyday. We only do it every other day now.

You were in your experimental phase.

Yeah, we were a little crazy back then. Like I said, we're only half as crazy now. We got together like that. That's how we all met but we all played in different bands. Then just a couple of years ago we ended up hooking up and everything worked out. It was great. Then we just started doing shows and writing good tunes because we used to be known as The Assholes.

Why the name change?

I guess we figured we could never get on the radio with a name like The Assholes. Yeah, I'm gonna be on the Letterman show. We were like what the hell. We gotta come up with something good so what are we going to come up with? Then my roommate at the time had just suggested that name and it was the last minute. We were going to change it to something maybe not so good. Then he came up with that.

Sean: Kind of like the last hour when we had to have our CD done.

Trevor: Our cover going on. We said okay, it'll do. We just barely beat the deadline. I called them up. I'm like "dude, stop the presses. Stop the fucking presses."

Sean: Yeah, we were on an independent label and they were just driving us up the wall. Just rushing everything. They gave us a deadline finally. Went right to the end of it.

Trevor: You got to have your new name and CD and everything's gotta be done by 4 o'clock today. We were like Jesus Christ. We did it somehow, some way. He had just written down a whole bunch of names. He said "I've got Broke Americans written down." I was like "that's killer dude. That's perfect. That's like saying the assholes without using the word."

Broke Americans are basically assholes.

Trevor: Most of us are anyway and besides that Broke Americans doesn't leave anybody out. That's pretty much all of us."

Or it will be pretty soon.

Trevor: Except for the rich ones and maybe they're just morally bankrupt.

Which is a lot worse.

Trevor: Yeah, I think you're right.

Tell us a bit about your musical style.

Sean: I always have a hard time explaining what we sound like because it's like what song are you talking about. We have so many different styles in our songs everywhere from punk rock to country to pop. Everything's pretty much on the humorous level. Singing about whatever.

Trevor: It's just based on funny shit. We just try to base everything on...even subjects that are more serious we try to make light of it. We're not trying to be all serious. The main thing about us is that we party. We love to pary and get that across to the audience. The party feel of it. You come to one of our shows, it's a party. You're going to get involved and you're going to have fun. Just have a drink and enjoy it and let's just kick back and have some fucking fun. That's us. That's how we do it.

That's the way it used to be and that's the way it should be.Sean: Yeah. I've got a drumset that looks like a bunch of Budweiser cans.

Trevor: Yeah, this guy made that shit himself.

Sean: On my drumset, the Budweiser cans in the front of my bass drum look like a flip top. I keep a beer bong on it at all times and I offer beer bongs to people between songs and tuning.

Trevor: Let's put it this way. One of our biggest sponsors is Jaegermeister. So you know that we party and you know that they're not going to support us if we don't. They're not going to sponsor us and pay us if we don't promote drinking and partying and premarital sex. All the good stuff in life.

These things are important.

Trevor: Shoot, I'm sure I was born out of wedlock. I'm positive of it.

Sean: I'm your daddy.

Trevor: Yeah, I know Cappy's my pop.

Sean: Sometimes I feel like it.

Trevor: What do you like? Holding my head up over the toilet bowl or making me shut my mouth in front of 100,000 people?

Sean: Maybe that one.

Trevor: As you can see we're a little rambunctious sometimes. We spend a of time in the van together. That's where you come up with some of your best ideas.

Who are some of your main musical influences, you acid rats you?

Trevor: We probably all have different ones really. If I had to put myself in a category, I'd say I was a cross between David Lee Roth, Eazy E, and Hank Williams Jr. We just do all the styles, but anybody that parties. That's who we lock with. Cappy's into all that crazy punk shit though.

Sean: I like everything from Zeppelin to Pennywise. I like a lot of punk rock these days. I still listen to Sublime a lot. Reggae and Ziggy Marley.

Trevor: Whatever's good to trip to. To do mushrooms to. I think that new Eminen's CD is pretty good though.

I've never done any drugs so tell me about doing mushrooms. What's that like?

Trevor: It's unexplainable.

Sean: You sit there and laugh your ass off about something so stupid.

Trevor: Like Sean puking on some bushes. It's just stupid but you will be laughing though.

Sean: You're laughing until the tears come out until you can't breathe and you think you need a hospital.

Trevor: It's just a crazy feeling though. Like if you drink a drink of something, you can still somewhat control that but if you're doing mushrooms or something like that, you just can't control that. You might as well just hold on and enjoy the ride because you're going for about seven hours so you better enjoy it. Just have a good time. You just have some crazy thoughts. This will sound stupid but last time when we did that, it wasn't that long ago, but when we were up in Mammoth Lake, CA and it was in the middle of the mountains. We were in this little ski lodge and we had just played some shows that night and then we went back to our hotel room and we were doing that. I remember at one point later on in the hotel, oh my god we totally trashed that place. We didn't physically destroy anything.

Sean: They didn't mind.

Trevor: Nah, they were cool with it. They asked us back. We're going back in January, it was so cool. But I remember at one point, just sitting there thinking with my eyes closed, I saw these cathedral ceilings in my mind. This beautiful vision. This sounds crazy. I just thought oh my god, I'm so close to God right now I could keel over. I was laying on the bed laughing.

Sean: I was doing some bunkbed stage diving. I'd go into a laughing fit every time I fell out of the bunkbed stage diving in the trash.

Trevor: You were laughing for 15 minutes nonstop.

Sean: 15 minutes in tears. Crying because I was laughing so hard. Bunkbeds are pretty fine for stage diving to Pantera.

You guys are signed to Industrial Strength Records.

Trevor: That is correct ma'am. They're doing so good that they went out of business.

Sean: It's not because of us. It's because of the other 19 sucky bands on it.

Trevor: It was crazy. It was such a small label.

Sean: We were only on it for a month or so.

Trevor: They didn't have much of a budget but they did record a record with us. They spent probably most of their budget on our record but their advertising was so cheesy. Essentially it was a good thing because we didn't really get along with our record label so well to be honest with you. When they signed us, they tried to get us to sign away all of our rights, all of our publishing, all of our writers' credits. They said that they weren't but our lawyer who happens to be a great lawyer just said, "this is what they're saying and I don't think you guys should sign." So we ended up recording the record, touring all over the place, and never signing a contract. Then as soon as we did sign the contract, that's when we worked everything out finally. They called us a week later and said "uh guys, everything's done. You guys get all your masters. We recorded a whole CD. We have all the masters. We have everything. It's all ours.

Sean: We don't owe them any money. It turned out to be a good thing.

Trevor: Yeah, it turned out to be good because those guys were dicks. Nah, actually a couple of those guys over there were really cool to us so that was kind of bad. Like I said, in a sense we are free agents once again.

So this new up and coming label is down in the dumps.

Trevor: Yeah, no doubt. Like I said we're free agents now. We're looking for that a-rod money.

Have any other labels approached you?

Yeah, a couple of different labels right now are definitely checking us out. Like I said, that was the whole goal anyway of us signing with Industrial Strength. We knew that was not going to make us rich. We knew that wasn't going to make us million album sellers or anything. We weren't going platinum off that label but it was a stepping stone in essence and it accomplished what we wanted it to. So now we have a great CD that earned us a lot of attention, gained us a lot of notoriety within the industry, and now we're about to work on some new stuff and we're picking a label. We're going to pick somebody who we want to go with because now we don't have to just go with one person. There's different people that we can possibly choose from so it's kind of good. Like I said, it turned out to be the best thing for us and we probably needed that experience anyway.

You always have to be treated shitty first and then go for the gold. You guys are getting a lot of radio airplay.

Sean: Yeah, we had some luck. With Mammoth we were in the Top 10 for a good while. That's why we're starting to play up in that area. We've got another show in January.

Trevor: We do pretty good in a lot of different states in the country. We're on a lot of college radio but also some Top 40 radio which kind of cool. It's definitely cool. It's definitely helped us with our album sales. Even when the record was out, it was in all the stores which was good and we sold quite a few records which was nice. Like I said, that's what helped us get the attention of other labels out there. Our record label set us free which I'm so glad they weren't jerks about that and they let us go just free and gave us all our stuff back. It turned out to be good.

They don't have any use for it anymore.

Trevor: Yeah, but you'd be surprised. Some labels really don't want to let it go just in case. That's the old "just in case" clause. You know how that can go. Just don't call us just in case.

Don't call us, we'll call you, just in case. One of your songs was used in the movie Bride Of Chucky.

Trevor: Yeah, that song called "Falling Over".

Sean: Yeah, I work at a music magazine in L. A. It's one of the sister companies that produce radio shows and this guy was putting together soundtracks and he hooked me up basically. That's what actually paid for our first demo that got our record deal done.

Trevor: It was pretty cool. Me and Cappy went to the premiere in Hollywood and that chick who plays the chick in the movie, Jennifer Tilly, she was all over me. You've probably seen the pictures of us. We are quite handsome.

How's your touring schedule going? Trevor: It's going pretty good right now. Right now we're not doing that many out of state shows and out of town shows. We're actually working on new material so that's kind of good. We needed to get some new material because all of last year and a good bit of this year was just consumed by being always in a different place all the time. Which it's real difficult to write when you're always on the road and you're always going and doing. It's so difficult because you're working on what you're doing at the time so it was really hard. Now that we have a little time and plus the holiday season coming up, it's time for everybody to get with all their illegitimate children and pass out gifts. Just recently we've been limiting ourselves to the West Coast. That's pretty cool though.

Do you guys play a lot of clubs in L. A.?

Sean: Yeah.

Someone told me you have to pay to play at clubs in L. A. What's up with that?

Sean: That's only if you suck.

Trevor: Certain clubs ask you to do that. This is essentially what you do. It's a scam really but what you do is, you have to buy say 100 tickets at eight bucks a piece. Now you can go out and sell the tickets for 10 or 15 or whatever you can sell them for.

Sean: Or give them away.

Trevor: Or you can give them away. Basically when you come for soundcheck on the day of your show, you have to come with 800 bucks or you don't play if you don't give them the money. That's really the deal. They won't tell you that you're paying to play there. You can make your money back or you can make money. This is a way for you to make money. Our friends let us sleep on their couch when we're in town. I'm not going to go ask them for eight bucks for a fucking ticket. That's the way it was but we're past that point now. We don't have to do that anymore.

Sean: They won't force you do that if they know you can draw a crowd.

It was always my understanding that the club is supposed to pay you.

Trevor: That's the way it is everywhere else. We go up to San Francisco, we get paid. We go to Mammoth, we get paid real well. We go out to anywhere else, we get paid. Just not in L. A.

What future plans do you guys have?

Trevor: The future's so bright, I'm wearing shades right now.

Sean: We're going to rock America.

Then you can change your name to the Rich Americans.

Trevor: Nah, we would never do that. Regardless, even if we did become rich, which we're not broke right now. We're not totally desperate. Even if we became super, super rich, we're still always going to be broke. That's just us. That's our personality. When a kid leaves the ghetto, he's still from the ghetto. Cappy's like "money won't change me." I think we're full of shit right now. I think we'd all have huge houses in Beverly Hills. Maids and butlers.

Was it J-Lo where everyone is complaining that she forgot where she came from?

Trevor: That's why she did that new stupid song. "I'm still Jenny from around the block, give her a couple of dollars and she'll suck your cock." I can't stand J-Lo. I'd like to bang her. I ran into her one time at a tattoo parlor. I was getting a tattoo done on either my chest or my arm, I've got so many I forget. I was sitting there getting this tattoo and I see this hot chick walk in and I'm like "damn that chick's hot." It turned out of course that it was Jennifer Lopez. Of course I gave her my number. She laughed and threw it in the trash. She said "yeah, right."

Any other comments?

Trevor: When we come to your town, to anybody who reads this, you've got to come see us. Just take your liver pills. You're definitely going to be partying.

Sean: Check out our website for tour information and everything else. We've got stickers coming out next week. If anybody wants them, they can email us and we'll send them free.

Trevor: We still have copies of the old CD, which all the material, we still jam. We still have copies of that CD that we have that for sale. You can get them through the website. T-shirts, beanies, all kinds of merchandise. We have tons of merchandise. Anybody that needs something, they can go there and buy it.

Sean: We'll send them free stickers. Just give us your address.

Trevor: It's totally cool and all of our stuff is quality. We don't buy shit. We definitely send out nice stuff. Anybody needs anything, you can just order anything you want off the website. Drink Jaegermeister. If you're a young guitar player coming up, play Everly strings. Drink recklessly. If you're a young drummer coming up, use Unigrip drum sticks. One of our clothing companies is sponsored by Chromestar clothing. It's a skate clothes company if you're a skater or snowboarder or something like that.

Sean: They're more towards Harley Davidson bikers. Rock, roll, and ride is their logo.

Trevor: They're cool looking clothes. Chromestar, Jaegermeister, just buy that stuff. We don't get paid out of it but it helps them and they help us.

Sean: We usually have the Jaegermeister girls at the shows giving away free stuff.

When can we expect new material?

Sean: Hopefully by the spring we should have something. We've just been gigging so much it's been hard to kick back. We're just starting to ease off of all of our shows. We'll work more of our new songs with our new bass player. We're going to demo some songs.

Trevor: Now that he's in, we can start writing with him. We never wanted to write with our old bass player. He didn't write that well. It was me, Tim, and Sean who did it all. Now we have a bass player who's got a brain in his head. I didn't want to hear a song or write a song about "oh grandma I love you so much". One time we won Best Punk Band Award in L. A. We won it three years in a row. The best punk band in L. A. We had to get up to make our acceptance speech and we're giving him five minutes to make his speech. He gets his 10 seconds in. He's like "I just want to dedicate this award to my grandma." I'm like "dude, you're out of here. Get out of here. You ain't talking no more. Nobody gives a shit about your grandmother."

He kind of ruined the image of the band.

Sean: Everyone thought he was a queer.

Trevor: He was bringing us down and killing our image. Not that there's anything wrong with it but when you're in our band there definitely is. My Bible says not cool.

Broke Americans