After being stood up by Snapcase at the Vans Warped Tour, my wife and I finally got to interview Beau Beau from Avail. My wife was happy to have this happen, she was upset with him because she got spit on during their set earlier that day. However, this was one of the best interviews we've ever done. He was talkative, and fun to talk to. The unfortunate thing was that my tape recorder died at the show, so we were left with only pen and ink. This didn't work too well, so we did our best to remember everything we talked about. This interview will not be verbatim, but it stays true to what was said. Thanks out to Beau Beau for a rocking set earlier in the day, and a great interview to follow. Also, my wife is now an Avail fan and thinks Beau Beau is one of the nicest people she's ever met. She even got here picture with him. Check it out at the bottom.
Samuel Barker: Alright, start with the basic. What is your name, and what do you do?
Beau Beau: My name is Beau Beau, I'm cheerleader, go-go dancer, and tour manager for Avail.
Samuel: Don't forget backup vocals.
Beau Beau: Yeah, backup vocals.
Rayanna: Before we go on, I want you to know you spit on me during the set.
Beau Beau: I'm sorry, when we play I usually apologize before the set and tell everyone "I spit a lot."
Samuel: So how long as Avail been together?
Beau Beau: We've been together for 12 years.
Samuel: You guys are from Richmond, are there a lot of good bands around there?
Beau Beau: Yeah, there's Ann Beretta, Strike Anywhere, a lot of good bands.
Samuel: Strike Anywhere has the lead singer from Inquisition in it right?
Beau Beau: Yeah, Ann Beretta has one of the guys from Inquisition in it too.
Samuel: Yeah, Rob played bass for them, and the drummer was in Inquisition. As a matter of fact I saw Rob here today sitting off stage during the Suicide Machines' set.
Beau Beau: Yeah, he's on tour driving for Hot Water Music.
Samuel: I interviewed Rob a while back, he was the best interview I had done. It was so easy, he just talked away. It's like a four page interview and I didn't even ask 10 questions.
Beau Beau: Yeah, us Richmond kids can talk.
Samuel: Avail wasn't originally from Richmond right?
Beau Beau: For a while we were up in Ruston, VA which was about an hour and a half from Richmond, VA.
Rayanna: Did you say Weston?
Beau Beau: Weston? No, we don't like Weston.
Samuel: I saw them open for the Suicide Machines in '96 and I thought they sucked.
Beau Beau: Well, we have the same management company and they called one of the women there a bitch, and we're like family with them, so I went after them. Here they were with this little tattooed punk kid in their face saying he'd kick their ass. They didn't know what to think. Once we meet someone and become friends with them they become family, and we'll stand up for them.
Samuel: Awesome. Weren't you close to DC?
Beau Beau: Yeah, we were about 15 minutes from DC.
Samuel: Why did you guys choose Richmond over DC?
Beau Beau: At that time there were a bunch of Fugazi-like bands around there, and there was no real hardcore scene anymore. Then Joe, our guitar player, went down to Richmond one weekend and there were shows everywhere. At one club was Faith No More, up the street some other great bands, so he came back and was like "We're moving to Richmond." So basically we all moved there because our guitar player was going there. It was also perfect because we were only an hour and a half a way so we were close enough to home that we could go to our parents' homes and be like "I'm starving, feed me", but we were far enough away that they had to call before they came to visit, so we could be like "No Mom, we're going to be busy this weekend."
Samuel: I notice the band's lyrics deal with politics...
Beau Beau: We're not a political band. It just doesn't work with us. We're too different. My outlook on gun control may be totally different from Tim's view. So we're not a political band.
Samuel: Right, but you deal with political issues and a lot of personal politics, are those related to your environment in Richmond?
Beau Beau: The closest we have come to poilitics in our area is we let Food Not Bombs cook at our house for about 6 months when they were there. We had a lot of homeless people around. We also play 4 shows a year at home which are all free shows and all proceeds go to homeless shelters. Richmond is strange, during the summer, homeless people can sleep in the parks and no one minds, but as soon as school begins the cops kick them out and beat them up so the students don't see them.
Samuel: A lot of the lyrics talk about homelessness.
Beau Beau: That's how Tim writes. Although a lot of the times he may not be talking about what you think he is. We leave a lot of the songs open to interpretation. What you think a song means could be totally different from what someone else thinks, and both of those could be totally different from what Tim meant.
Beau Beau: Richmond is nice because it's a small town with a lot going on. There aren't many people who live there, and everyone knows everyone.
Samuel: Sounds to me a lot like Knoxville, a small town that happens to have a major university in it.
Beau Beau: Exactly. In the 12 years I've lived in Richmond I've had the same guy cut my hair, the same people work at the store I walk to. Everyone knows us there.
Samuel: Yeah, I grew up in a small town, my graduating class has 20 people in it.
Beau Beau: Awesome!
Samuel: And I know when we'd have locals bands play, we'd finish playing and our friend who were watching us would climb on stage and play after us. It was a cycle, crowd to stage to crowd.
Beau Beau: Awesome. That's how it is with us, everyone is in bands, and everyone supports each other.
Rayanna: Do you every have people recognize you as being in Avail?
Beau Beau: Yeah, but everyone knows who we are. I worked in a tattoo shop for a long time, so when people see us play they're like "That's the guy that gave me my tattoo" or "He's the one who put in my belly button ring". When I walk up to the store by the house I'm not "Beau Beau, Cheerleader for Avail", I'm just Beau.
Samuel: So it's basically like "Hey Beau, how was the tour?" in a passing conversation way right?
Beau Beau: Right, they'll ask us how the tour went and how everything is.
Samuel: So how are you guys liking the Warped Tour?
Beau Beau: Not to knock it, it's just not us. We're more into crowd interaction, and getting into the crowd. Here it's too separated. If I want to get into the crowd, I want to be able to. I still do it here, but it's different.
Samuel: Well, you don't have security trying to save cords and everything in a club. It's less controlled interaction. I can honestly say, I was sorta sad to see you guys playing your date here on the Warped Tour.
Beau Beau: Yeah, Avail is a totally different band in a small club.
Samuel: What are some of your favorite bands on Warped Tour this year?
Beau Beau: Snapcase, Suicide Machines, most of the bands on here, we're friends with.
Samuel: Any band you see every day on the tour?
Beau Beau: Yes, Toledo Show. They're awesome. They're my favorite band to watch on this tour. We'll be hanging with friends and be I'll be like "I can't stay for your set, I gotta go see Toledo Show", and they'll be like "Whatever, you've seen us everyday."
Samuel: So when can we expect you guy back through for a smaller club show?
Beau Beau: Well, we're going to finish the US, go over seas for a bit, then make another trip around the US.
Samuel: That's a long haul, does it ever get to you being on the road for so long?
Beau Beau: Not really, when we get home we kinda all go to our houses for some time alone, but after a few minutes of just sitting there, you start wondering "What are the other guys up to?" So we're never really away from each other.
Rayanna: How old are you?
Beau Beau: I'm a 29 year old kid. Put it this way, I got grounded and missed a Minor Threat show, that's how old I am.
Rayanna: Do you have any kids?"
Beau Beau: Oh no! I can barely take care of my dog. Joe has a kid.
Rayanna: Is it hard with him being away a lot on tour?
Beau Beau: Yeah, but he understands what his dad does and knows he'll be getting a lot of presents when we get home.
Samuel: You guys are a really energetic band, is it hard to keep that level of energy every night?
Beau Beau: We work off the music and get into the crowd. We keep it high energy just because that's how we are, and that's how we have fun. We're selfish in a way, we do it to make up have fun.
Samuel: That's the way you have to be. Is it hard on nights no one gives back?
Beau Beau: Yeah, we work a lot to make everyone get into it, that's why I spit into the crowd, so they'll get riled up and get into the set.
Samuel: I'm a huge Fugazi fan, and in the "Instrument" video, Ian is like "We play shows to get everyone involved and lead to change. It's no fun to be like 'the band is up there, I'm down here'. I'll pay my $5 say 'good show' and go home and nothing changes."
Beau Beau: Exactly. That's how we are. I totally love Ian MacKaye and Fugazi. I saw one of their first shows. They're an amazing band.
Rayanna: Our son is named after him.
Beau Beau: Awesome...Look! (pulls up shorts leg to reveal a nice tattoo of Ian MacKaye on his leg.)
Rayanna: My god. Sam is totally into him and Mike Patton.
Samuel: So what happened to Erik, your old drummer?
Beau Beau: Do you want the real story, or the story we're telling everyone?
Samuel: Well, I know the story you've been telling everyone is that he left on tour because you guys wouldn't say you were a metal band.
Beau Beau: Alright, you keep up. What happened is that Erik felt it was just time to move on. After 11 years of playing with Avail, he was ready to move on. He said it was unfair for him to not be in it 100% when every one else was. We're all still friends. I was talking to him the other night and he was like 'I bet you're sitting on the bed, watching TV and going over the tour plans'. He knows everything well, he just needed to move on.
Rayanna: What happened to your tooth?
Beau Beau: When I was 14, I was at a show and some skinheads bumped into me and I threw my elbows back to clear some room. The next thing I knew, I had two fists in my mouth. It died, and then 15 years later it fell out.
Samuel: That was a big problem when I was younger, skinheads bullied everyone around at shows.
Beau Beau: Right, I'm sure it was the same with you, when you were young in the scene, you sat on your boots just like everyone else so you didn't lose them. The punk scene used to be much more violent than it is today.....I think NOFX is on. I just heard "Fuck The Kids".
Samuel: Oh shit, well, I guess that will close this up, I'll free you and let you get on with everything. Thanks for a great interview.
Beau Beau: No problem. See you next time we come through.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.