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Division of Laura Lee
Das Not Compute

Hell Yeah!

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A Conversation With Todd Kowalski
Samuel Barker
James Punkass

April 4, 2001

Todd Kowalski

Samuel: First question as always, what is your name and what do you do?

Todd: I'm Todd Kolwalski, bass and vocals, I guess.

Samuel: It's been since '96 that the band was last here, has it been hard to get out on the road, has the bass change had anything to do with it?

Todd: Yeah, I had to learn some songs and then we toured on "Less Talk" and then there was about a year where we were just jamming, trying to figure out how each other does things. Actually when I joined the band they started making songs a little different than what I was used to and I made made them different than they were used to, then it took a year to just hit our stride. Then we took about two years to make the best record we could, then we toured.

Samuel: Yeah, it was difficult to get this last album from what I heard. I know Jorr broke his foot...

Todd: Yeah, we had lots of problems. Also we didn't like how the guitar sounds came out either, so we just went back and redid it. We said "fuck it!" we don't want to be unhappy with it forever, so we just redid it. We had to get it remastered 3 times, one time a guy forgot a song. We had to delay it from November till February.

Samuel: So was there finally an exhale after it came out?

Todd: Yeah, we were glad. Except by then you've heard it so many times that it kinda...like by time it came out I felt that it wasn't a new album. When people were just getting it we were already looking ahead to the future.

James: I noticed the politics on this album were less in your face and more like stories, was that thought out or did it just happen that way?

Todd: I don't think it's conscious, you just don't want to rehash what you've said. You just don't want to pick issues and write songs about it. I think all the lyrics are all political and in depth. I don't think it's less political in anyway. Some people think it's less political, then others think it's more political.

Samuel: Well, I think it's political. It's just less in your face, the old ones pushed everything on you while this one is more stories. More kinda stating everything instead of forcing.

Todd: Well, we were also thinking this one would broaden the other two. Instead of copying them, when people already know they exist, and this is more of an expansion of it. Like more complex ideas.

Samuel: Like an explanation to the first albums? The first ones were setting your points and now you go back to provide more information on them.

Todd: Yeah, more in depth. Like one album could have something about foreign policy and then this one could have a story about someone we know and why we think this is this way. Just to make it more personal.

James: Something I've always been wondering about is, what's Propagandhi's view on pornography?

Todd: I think the people who make it now aren't the right people. But as long as there are cameras and naked people there will be pornography. It's just finding a new way for it to exist rather than rich men, Larry Flint type people, getting women to do things to make them rich. It's the same as any capitalist job. It's be better to make an all encompassing style of pornography because obviously people want to see other naked people. Alternative pornography does exist in some scale, so if you're really into it you may want to seek it out. As long as there are camera pornography will exist.

James: Has there been anything biting at you asses lately?

Todd: Jord.

James: I read on G7 about some FTAA info.

Todd: Yeah, that's terrible. We're going to play a show in Quebec, it's gonna be about 2500 people and it's going to be the day before that.

Samuel: Yeah, I noticed you have various causes that travel with you and you also bring books with you on tour. A band that actually brings books with them to enlighten people. Is that something you guys do to live it rather than just preach it?

Todd: Yeah, I've noticed that the more times we bring the books with us, the more times people actually buy them. There were some shows in the midwest where seemed that every kid had a book with them, and that's right on. It's not like we're sitting up there telling them to buy books, they're going up there and saying "this interests me in some way." So I think it's rad.

Samuel: I think it's great. You can sing so much about stuff, but offering texts and stuff to give more viewpoints on everything is great.

Todd: Yeah, that's why we put that stuff on the CDROM on our disc.

Samuel: Yeah, I loved that. You not only had the album but you had links and other info.

Todd: Yeah it's to make sure people know we're not just out in left field talking crap. People can see it all exist. I think it's helped a lot.

Samuel: Anything you'd like to add?

Todd: No, I'm alright.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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