Dance, Dance

B-Sides talks wardrobe with Roxy Epoxy, gets the lowdown on Jason Ringenberg's farmer alter ego and goes down swinging with Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz

Nov 9, 2005 at 4:00 am
B-Sides loves the frenetic new-wave/punk sounds of the Epoxies, the Portland, Oregon, quintet made up of Viz Spectrum, FM Static, Shock Diode, Ray Cathode and, of course, foxy frontwoman Roxy Epoxy. We love the band's live show even more: Replete with fog and bubble machines, heavy-duty strobes, cheesy lasers, at least one keytar and bizarro costumes — Roxy often hits the stage decked out like Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element — it's like Buck Rogers meets X-Ray Spex.

B-Sides: Did you envision your stage show being so over-the-top even when the band was first forming?

Roxy Epoxy: Oh yeah, right from the beginning we really wanted to put the fun and performance back into things, so we were throwing all these crazy ideas out there. But everything we do is super-DIY. Our banner is made out of plastic and Christmas lights and duct tape. Same with our clothes — last night FM was wearing some bubble wrap he found in the trash. We could probably literally go down to the Dumpster to re-create our entire stage show.

What's the most outlandish thing you've ever worn onstage?

Well, I bought some bondage tape once and wrapped that around myself, and that doesn't stick very well once you start sweating. That was quite a boob scare.

I was gonna ask if there have ever been any "wardrobe malfunctions."

Just that one. I use electrical tape now, and that works just fine. Usually it's Viz that that stuff happens to. One time he completely wrapped himself in VHS tape, then discovered onstage that it's really quite sharp as it moves around your body.

Seems like the weirdest thing you guys could do is come out in T-shirts, jeans and Birkenstocks or something.

We've been talking about that a lot lately, actually. You know, like growing beards and sitting down when we play, something like that.

The beard part might be a little hard for you, though, huh?

Oh come on, I'm Italian and French! It shouldn't be a problem. -- Michael Alan Goldberg

The Farmer in the Bar
In the 1980s, Jason Ringenberg put the "Jason" in Nashville country-punks Jason and the Scorchers. But Ringenberg now spends time rocking out for kids under the nom de plume Farmer Jason (see also the CD A Day at the Farm with Farmer Jason).

B-Sides: What's the biggest difference doing kids' stuff?

Ringenberg: I'm fond of saying that a lot of times the old drunk audiences from the '80s acted a lot like the kids do sometimes. [Laughs] I thoroughly am enjoying these children's shows. It's a heck of an adrenaline rush getting in a roomful of kids. I just can't get enough of it, frankly.

Have you found that the parents who are coming now used to be that drunken audience?

Oh yeah, it happens quite a bit, actually. One time, even, I was playing a show in Michigan and a grandparent came up and brought a Farmer Jason CD and T-shirt. And then pulled out a bunch of LPs from the Jason and the Scorchers and said, "Would you sign my LPs too, please?" We've got a lot of generations going there.

What can people expect at a Farmer Jason show?

I do most of the stuff from the Farmer Jason CD. It's an audience-participation show. Kids get involved with the singing and the dancing, that sort of thing, talking to them about animals and stuff. It's an audience-friendly show. Every now and then I have to slip in a Jason and the Scorchers song for the older kids in the audience.

Have you found that parents are turning their kids on to the Scorchers stuff?

That does happen sometimes, yeah. You can't predict what children are going to enjoy. My own kids are huge ABBA fans. [Laughs] A lot of that early Scorchers stuff they seem to really like a lot, the kids do. It's the energy of it, the spirit. Along with that, a lot of the kids tend to like my second solo record for some reason, the folk-bluegrass record, Pocketfull of Soul.

So, I think you're playing at the Bottleworks here...

Yeah, someone was joking, "Farmer Jason's going to get all his audience drunk again." [Laughs]

There goes Farmer Jason, putting the whiskey in the bottles again... Yeah, chip off the old block. -- Annie Zaleski

'Boy Howdy
Good news, Fall Out Boy fans: The suburban Chicago pop-punks already have fifteen songs for their next record and plan to record it next summer. Of course, by that time their major-label debut, From Under the Cork Tree, just might still be selling like hotcakes — if the staying power of the whirling-dervish TRL fave "Sugar, We're Going Down" is any indication. Not that B-Sides is complaining, seeing as how the group's avowed love of Joy Division and Morrissey (along with bassist Pete Wentz's honors-English wordplay) makes them more than teenybopper flashes-in-the-pan. Wentz checked in from Las Vegas about life on the Nintendo Fusion tour.

B-Sides: Are you tired of video games yet?

Pete Wentz: [laughs] I play mostly old Nintendo games, like old Super Mario Bros. and stuff like that. I'm not tired of that at all. I don't play a ton on the tour.

You guys don't play on the tour bus, then?

People play in the back lounge, but I hang in the front lounge and watch DVDs. It's not too insane, I guess.

What have you been digging lately, DVD-wise?

I watched this super-bad movie called Mac and Me. It's kind of like [the] McDonald's response to E.T. It's this terrible movie; it's really bad. I've been watching the Hellraiser movies. I watched Teen Witch, too, that was pretty good.

Did you grow up playing video games?

I liked Contra, Bubble Bobble, Balloon Fight, Ghosts and Goblins, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out...

In the past six months, things have just gone berserk. Has it been overwhelming for you guys?

It's kind of bizarre. It's not really overwhelming; it can be disconcerting at times. We're in the tour bus so we don't see ourselves in magazines or on TV. And sometimes you'll be walking around and people will approach you. It's bizarre, cause you don't see that part of it. You're just this regular guy. Our songs are more famous than we are right now. -- Annie Zaleski