For every Ray Ban-sporting teen in his or her bedroom planning to cobble together a band that will someday take over the world – or at the very least keep you from having to work a traditional 9-to-5 job – pay close attention to the guys in Lagwagon.
The Northern California band has managed to make a career out of infectious, sometimes sophomoric, but almost always funny pop punk songs for more than two decades now. That’s twice as long as The Clash was together.
Those looking for a blueprint to the band’s success, or simply just looking for some damn catchy tunes, Lagwagon recently put out a boxed set with remastered versions, live DVDs, B-sides and rarities from their first five albums.
Front man and co-founder Joey Cape was kind enough to take a few questions recently and talk about the reissues.
Innocent Words: Why did you decide to reissue the earlier albums now?
Joey Cape: We did the box set in lieu of a “best of” or “Greatest Hits” collection. I really didn’t like the idea of burying the deep cuts on those records, and bands like Lagwagon don’t really have hits (laughs). Once you release an anthology it becomes the go-to record for digital seekers and hard copy buyers alike. I never liked the idea that those time periods could be lost. The great thing about the box set is that it accurately represents the band’s sonic evolution while maintaining the historic stamps of the records and their respective eras.
IW: How difficult was it putting together all the material on these? I’m assuming it had to take a long time.
Cape: Very. Chad Williams at Fat Wreck Chords and I spent about three years compiling the materials. It was a hundred threads leading to more threads. Just sorting out the recording and photo dates was a tall order. All of it was a labor of love though. I really enjoyed it and feel like I know my band much better now.
Cape: Many things were surprising. The most obvious were the recordings I no longer knew or even realized existed.
IW: Do you have plans to reissue other records?
Cape: No. Not at the moment. The early records made sense because those records needed the modern resolution boost, and we were most prolific as a band in those days. Lots of extra material.
IW: Have you settled on a new bass player yet?
Cape: Yes, Joe Roposo from RKL. He is appropriate because he shares our background.
IW: So do you expect to tour behind these reissues?
Cape: Over this entire year.
IW: You’ve been pretty prolific with your solo work. Is Lagwagon working on any new material?
Cape: No. No plans yet.
IW: I’ve been really impressed by your solo records. Doesn’t Play Well With Others hasn’t been out too long, but do you plan to keep putting out solo records?
Cape: Yes, I just finished a new record and have been doing splits periodically, mostly 7-inches.