Interviewing The Jasons is way different than talking to any other band. The phone rings at (close enough to) the agreed upon time, you pick it up, say hello, and you hear two dudes with faux-Jersey accents yelling “FUCK YOU!!!” in your ear.
Yup, that’s The Jasons.
Inspired largely by their love of the Ramones, with more recent nods to Ben Weasel, G.G. Allin, and the Dwarves, this band of Jason Voorhees-themed, stalking and slashing mommy loving mongoloid brothers from Crystal Lake, New Jersey are here to say not much else, really. They hope their version of “Red Blooded American punk rock” speaks for itself.
But, if you want to get them started, you can ask them about the punk rock scene these days.
Following up on 2014’s Stalk and Slash Summer, which found Jasons V (vocals/guitar), 3D (bass/vocals), Hollywood (lead guitar) and Hell (drums) playing beach blanket bingo and going to Manhattan, V and 3D were more than ready to discuss their third D.I.Y. release in as many years, Get Fucked, set to drop March 31, with Dying Scene.
Check out the entire interview below.
*photo credit: Bryan Flowers
Dying Scene (Nick Harrah): You guys have the advantage of having your mommy’s severed head as your manager. But you’re coming out of Crystal Lake, New Jersey. Is there much of a punk scene in Crystal Lake? Any challenges getting outta there?
Jason V: I think one of the biggest challenges of coming out of the unknown wilderness of what is Crystal Lake, is that, by the time that we got out of Crystal Lake, we didn’t realize that there were so many faux pas that you could perpetrate within the punk rock scene. So, it’s been a struggle with us, because we don’t know how to make everybody feel like we are considering their personal views and beliefs.
We have this big problem, where we say things that we believe, instead of things that other people want us to sort of puppet back at them, you know? All these things that you’re not supposed to do and say in punk rock anymore, that used to be ok. So the biggest struggle was trying to say what we wanted to say, but not offend anyone, and that was tough until we realized that we really didn’t care. That’s been the toughest thing, you know, being a group of people that had one idea of what punk rock was — which was what it was built on and established as — versus trying to release albums in that vein in a world, in a dying scene of music, where punk rock is something completely different to so many people.
Yeah, that’s been a struggle.
DS: 3D how does your irreverent Jasons parody art tie in with what V was just saying? You more recently had the Trump flyer, how does the visual go with you guys just not caring about offending people anymore?
Jason 3D: When we first started I really tried to keep the artwork very strict to Ramones-esque stuff. Like, we used to go ‘Would the Ramones do that? Would they not do that?’ That really affected a lot of the early artwork. But when I actually started doing the parodies, I wanted to bring in more of our influences. So we had The Adicts parody, we had ‘Be like MXPX,’ so we had that parody.
The Donald Trump art is the most recent one, and that’s like, fuck, a picture of Donald Trump is just as bad as a swastika nowadays. I was like ‘Fuck it, I’ll put Donald Trump in there, and we’re gonna make punk rock great again.’ We had an awesome reaction from it, (laughs) the fans ate that shit up and shared the hell out of it.
It’s a lot of fun. One of my favorite ones, one of the most simple ones, was the Russian hammer and sickle one, the U.S.S.R. communism, bullshit thing. A lot of people will look at that, and not realize it’s not the hammer and sickle. That goes back to how people don’t even know what they’re being offended by nowadays. They need something they wanna get mad about and immediately jump to conclusions. So, we’re just kinda here to say ‘Fuck you!’ to whatever your pussy beliefs are.
V: That’s kind of like, and it’s kind of like, fuckin’ old news, and at some point we’re tired of talking about it, but we’re kind of not, because it kind of relates to our album cover now. (laughs) Way back, I had this button that was a Mickey Mouse swastika, which was a Sex Pistols button. So like, there was a swastika there but someone took the swastika off and put Mickey Mouse on it.
So we kept getting all these people asking us if we were Nazis. It wasn’t a big deal, like we fuckin’ explained to ‘em, like ‘No, man, it’s a fuckin’ parody!’
3D: One of the times we got called out on it was at a Reagan Youth show, who got famous because they used the KKK in their logo.
V: Yeah, yeah. So, we thought it was funny that people kept asking if we were Nazis. So we were like ‘Let’s just do a parody of that with the hockey mask,’ so 3D made one, with the hockey mask and machetes in the shape of a swastika. But we thought we’d make it easy for people.
3D: And they’re both fucking stupid.
V: We even wrote around it, ‘I AM NOT A NAZI,’ and, no shit, we got, five, ten, one hundred times more shit for a button that has a parody image of a Sex Pistols Mickey Mouse swastika that says ‘I AM NOT A NAZI,’ we had twice as many people accusing us of being Nazis.
3D: People were talking about protesting shows, boycotting shows.
V: No joke, people trying, and when you’re sitting behind a fucking keyboard in your underwear, it’s hard to organize a protest. But we’ve had multiple people try to start, ‘Oh, we’re goin’ to the show, and we’re gonna fuckin’ protest,’ and they’ve never shown up yet. But they have absolutely tried to organize it, and they were too fuckin’ apathetic to actually do it.
3D: They always go to the whole, ‘Oh, The Jasons are immature, and are trying to be edgy and shocking.’ It’s fucking punk rock, man. We’re not trying to be like Alice Cooper and shock you into thinking you’re at this great show. We’re just four fuckin’ idiots in hockey masks and leather jackets having fun.
V: Dude, and, the thing is, it’s really sad how little you have to do to even shock or offend somebody nowadays. Like, honestly, all you have to do to shock or offend someone is not agree with what they say.
3D: And then they get triggered. They get triggered. (all laugh)
V: So what we’ve learned, though, if we wanna get this reputation of being the most dangerous band, all we have to do is just agree with no one. Like, if you don’t agree with something, then we’ll agree with it, and if you agree with it, we don’t, and everyone gets offended.
It took, like, G.G. Allin had to eat his own shit, and cut himself, and beat people up to be the most dangerous and shocking person in his day and age. In our day and age, all you have to do is wear a Donald Trump t-shirt. Regardless of your politics, or, fuckin’ whatever, put titties on your album cover, ‘Oh, watch out for that!’ (ed. note: Facebook took down The Jasons page for posting the album cover)
3D: They worship the Dwarves for that. For us, we get shit on for it, and that’s what makes it even better.
V: I don’t know, there are people that say they like a lot of punk bands, but don’t actually listen to them, or know what they are.
DS: You released Stalk and Slash Summer at the end of 2014, how was 2015 leading up to making the new album? You had highs and lows, from touring Canada with Black Cat Attack to almost breaking up after opening for Doyle. Pretty good year?
3D: Honestly, it’s been great. We’ve had a lot of shows. We played with Harley Poe three times down in Indiana, and those were probably our three best fucking shows.
V: Yeah. Anything that Adam from The Lurking Corpses sets up, or Friar Frightengale, whatever, anything he sets up for us is good. Man, me and 3D, everything we do is kind of strategic, with how we take things, and I think we both decided we were going to take this year and really change our approach, in a way, change our style, change our sound — not change it, but evolve it — but, try to get the fuck away from horror punk one hundred percent. So we’ve set our sights on playing with bands like The Queers and the Huntingtons, but we want the fuck OUT.
3D: And we do. We play with a lot of bands that have no horror inspiration behind their music whatsoever. And, honestly, those shows tend to be a lot better than some of the horror themed shows. The horror themed shows are fun, we love them and we have friends in that area, but, at the same time, it’s not fun to be called, ‘Oh, you’re just that horror punk band.’
DS: As far as getting out of the horror punk scene, in the trailer for your new Live As Fuck DVD, where you played the GNO Prom Night, you call yourselves “an over-hyped gimmick band” — who called you that?
V: Quite honestly, man, we called ourselves that. (laughs) The Jasons’ strategy has always been to beat people to the punch. But the truth is, we are an over-hyped gimmick band. I feel like our gimmick is over-hyped, compared to the music we play. Obviously, we perpetuate that, no problem. And honestly, most of the people in that audience were good friends, like, a lot of people we know. But, horror punk shows are not your violent, aggressive, mosh pit shows, you know?
So, when we said “a bored audience” it was a bit of a nudge to some of our friends who were there. I mean, that’s what you do at a horror punk show; you sit there and you sing your go’s and your whoah’s. But really, honestly, a lot of that trailer was just us trying to poke fun at ourselves, and the people we know, and point shit out in the horror punk scene. Like, it’s a big, fuckin’, …
3D: Because, like most scenes, there’s horror punks that you love, and then there’s total shitbags that are in charge. Or, at least they think they are. We don’t really attack horror punk on our new album. That’s not like, a theme.
V: No, not at all.
3D: It’s not an ongoing theme. The new album is more breaking away from the gimmick but still having fun with it at the same time.
DS: V, when you showed me the Get Fucked album cover(s) you said this was a different Jasons. With the now solidified lineup together for the past two albums, from writing to recording, was it a conscious decision to go in a more aggressive direction with the sound?
V: Definitely a conscious decision. It’s not like we were just trying to write heavy, aggressive songs, but I think it just kind of happened. You have your poppy songs, like “New Wave Girl,” and “Tina’s Got Telekinesis,” but, the place we were coming from when we wrote this record, was a place of like, no joke, rage, and a lot of frustration — and we’re not just talking about any, like, horror punk scene, that’s a tiny little thing — just, at punk rock, at everything. We just pulled in influences, from G.G. Allin, the Dwarves…
3D: Joe Queer.
V: The Queers.
3D: Fuckin’ Ben Weasel.
V: S.O.D., all that stuff. Imagery wise, 3D and me were driving down the road deciding what our album cover was gonna be, and we just wanted to have something that was gonna be something of significance where we can say ‘Yeah, we wanna be like, the new Ramones, with hockey masks, but we also wanna be the Dwarves with hockey masks.’
DS: OK you released the opening salvo on Get Fucked, “I Wanna Be An Asshole,” as an 8-bit video with the U.S. Ghouls, wherein you take issue with The Menzingers, P.C. punk rock, Kickstarter, and pay-to-play venues, among other things. It just seems to encapsulate everything you’re going for. When I interviewed you guys for The Charleston Gazette in 2014 you two went off about bands doing Kickstarter campaigns.
What made you want to write that “asshole anthem,” as you’ve called it, V?
V: It really honestly wasn’t The Menzingers. The Menzingers are a good band. We just thought it was funny that they used Jason in their video about not wanting to be an asshole anymore, when, really, our absolute position was, no, we really do wanna be an asshole. So, it was like they really misrepresented us, and spoke for the character that we feel like we speak for.
3D: To be honest, that song inspired the rest of the entire album.
V: Yeah (laughs). In a way it really did. When we wrote “…Asshole” that did inform the rest of the album, for sure. The Kickstarter thing, man, I feel like we probably said everything about it last time, and on the song. It just has to do with a lazy way of thinking, for punk rock.
3D: It’s just getting worse and worse. When it first came along, people were like, ‘I need help finishing this album, I tried to get this far,’ but I just saw a post today that said ‘Hey we’ve already wrote the music we just need to get it recorded now and we don’t feel like paying for it. So you go ahead and pay for all of our album time.’ And they’ll sit there and be like, ‘Well, technically, if you think about it, it’s a pre-order,’ but it’s not. A pre-order means it’s getting made regardless of you paying for it in advance or not. A pre-order means it’s getting made and you’re making sure that you’re getting one at the end.
3D: Kickstarter is you’re paying for it to get made.
V: And then what happens is, like we say in the fuckin’ song, it becomes like a punk rock Mary Kay party, where, you’re a young punk band, and you don’t have a lot of fans, and so what you end up doing is pestering your fuckin’ friends, like ‘Hey, bro, if you pay a hundred dollars, you get this first, or my band, we’ll come do a special show at your house.’
Fuck that, man! Go to Burger King and see that person, because they’re not a fuckin’ rock star. And that fact that you’re gonna market it, like, ‘Oh, if you live anywhere within two hundred miles, I’ll come play a free acoustic show.’ It’s like, ‘Fuck you! No one wants to see your shitty acoustic show! No one wants to buy your shitty acoustic album!’
Dude, this is the truth, man, we have one hundred percent broke ourselves…
V: …Trying to record this in a manner that sounds good, fucking breaks the bank. Hiring naked girls for your album cover breaks the fuckin’ bank, and it’s worth it. When people buy this album, we want people to know, The Jasons have something that they think is worthwhile enough that they ate fucking dollar sandwiches for three months to make.
It’s not something that we were so fucking lazy that we expected OTHER PEOPLE to pay for, and then you get what you get. No! When this album comes out, if someone wants to buy it, they’ll know it’s something we believed in enough to be fucking broke, and have our cars repossessed and shit like that.
3D: And all these bands funding all their fucking bullshit, and then you get to see them go out and have fun, and blow all this money…
3D: …And it’s like, if you didn’t have that money to record your album, how the fuck are you going and spending it on all this complete and utter nonsense? No one wants to work hard and spend their own money anymore.
3D: We’ve traveled several hours for twenty dollars, to go to comic book stores and just look at stuff we want to have…
3D: …Stuff that we can’t afford because we actually had to work for what we have.
V: And we’re fine with that, because, at the end of the day, no one else has a stake in what we release.
V: We have a stake in what we release as the four members. If anyone’s disappointed…
3D: We have pride in what we do.
V: Yeah. And, dude, we could tell you fucking stories, man. If we really wanted to pull back the shade of these fucking bands that we know, people that have done Kickstarters to buy things that they already own, or pocket the money. A band does a Kickstarter then breaks up, then every individual member does a Kickstarter because they don’t have the shit that they had as a band.
Or, ‘Oh, we need money to go on tour,’ and the next day you see them getting fucking trashed, paying hundreds of dollars in bar tabs. It’s ridiculous! They can say ‘Oh, it gives the fans a chance to get something special.’
3D: That’s a copout.
V: But dude, if you buy our album, we’ll come and play an acoustic show in your fucking living room for no money. You don’t have to pay a Kickstarter pledge for that. That’s ridiculous.
3D: I’ve literally seen Kickstarters where it’s like ‘If you pay one hundred dollars, you’ll get the t-shirt that I wore while recording this album!’ Oh my god.
V: And we’ve sold our stage-worn masks, but we’ve done it for the price we bought them for. That’s the thing; we don’t think that because we’ve worn something or did something it’s made us some sort of rock star. I’m sorry, man, if you’re begging for money on the Internet to get your album made, you’re not a fucking rock star.
DS: You recorded Get Fucked with Bryan Flowers this time. Anything different compared to Stalk & Slash Summer? Between the money spent and the effort you guys put into getting a good sound, how proud are you of the finished product?
V: On this one, our approach to recording — as far as The Jasons go — has always been, we book studio time, a day or a couple of days, whatever we have the money for, and then we go in and we record what we can, and what we come out with is the finished product. In this case, we did the same thing, but we actually got Bryan Flowers, — who has the shit that can sound right up there on the same professional level as any band that goes to a studio with the technology we’ve got — we got him to come live with us.
So, he lived with us for like three and a half days, and we did 16-hour sessions straight. We would record until everyone fell over, go to sleep, get up, record again, and at the end of that time, it was like, what we’re stuck with is what we’re stuck with. It was the same amount of time that we normally record in, two or three days, but it was twice the songs.
3D: My wrist was swollen to like, twice the size, by the time we were done.
V: Yeah. We decided we wanted to downpick everything, one hundred percent, to have that aggressive feel. We still have that kind of under-the-gun feel with the album that we’ve had with the others, but when you go into a studio you’re not getting 16-hour non-stop days. You’re getting eight hours, there’s more setup time. With this, we would wake up and record.
And, we did end up going back, because, we got so close to the end and didn’t have some leads recorded, and didn’t have some gang vocals. By the time I was done singing, I’d blown out my voice, so we went back and recorded one-track main vocals. So, there were some re-records, but we really shot for a professional sound on this one. We wanted this to be a cut above because we, me, 3D, everybody, thought these were some of the best songs we’ve ever done.
This was, I don’t know, I feel like this is the best thing we’ve ever done as a band, because it has everybody in it.
DS: 3D just following the band over the last few years it does seem like you’ve grown as far as contributing vocal harmonies and even songwriting. How cool has it been for V to let you have this expanded role given your admittedly limited experience being in a band?
3D: I’m not really new to bands. I did try to start a few back in the day and they didn’t work out. But I’ve always been around bands, so I was always watching and learning how bands work and everything. Honestly, getting me to sing on this album was a big fight between me and V. When we first started, he was like, ‘You’re gonna sing,’ and I was like ‘Fuck you I’m not gonna sing!’
Eventually, he got me doing some backing vocals before our first show, and I was able to do that. As we went on, I became more comfortable with being onstage, and started wanting to use my voice more, and throwing in ideas, like, ‘Hey, this would sound cool here.’
For the most part, V writes almost all of the songs, but as we went on I was able to even be like ‘You could do that, or I could do this here,’ or, I’ll write a song, and he’ll erase it all except for one or two lines or use a riff or a few lines of lyrics, and make it a thousand times better. It’s so cool to be able to see it transition from my learning to his experience, and see it come together.
The song you’re talking about, “Fuck You,” we actually changed the name of it to “Crack A Beer,” because it made more sense. We weren’t even sure what the dual vocals would sound like. We’d always listen to Dee Dee Ramone’s songs and be like, ‘His voice is so awesome,’ and all that. But we came to practice one day and I was like ‘Hey guys I wrote this song check it out,’ and V’s fiancée was in the basement and she came up and was like ‘Who was singing that song?’ And it was like ‘That was 3D,’ and she said ‘That sounded pretty good.’ And then, the second time, she said it sounded like shit.
V: (laughs hard)
3D: (laughing) But it was a growing process.
V: You know, man, when we set out, we were talking about how we wanted to have the Ramones dynamic, and for me, one of the coolest things is, you buy Ramones albums, and you know you’re gonna get a couple Dee Dee songs, and it’s a complete break. It’s a complete break from Joey’s voice, and it gives something like, more of a harder edge, and you look for it.
So, we were really setting out to be like, instead of Dee Dee’s songs, they’d be 3D’s songs. And I really want to do that from now on. Like, ‘What are the 3D songs on this album?’ There’s another song called “Death Curse” and I sing the little chorus, the words “Death Curse,” and 3D comes in and basically does the Dee Dee Ramone style attacking vocals. I think people are gonna fuckin’ dig it.
3D: The very few people who have heard it absolutely love it.
V: Yeah. And our goal for the next records we do is, we’re fans of Teenage Bottlerocket, but I think that band’s biggest weakness is you don’t have many songs, hardly any, where Kody [Templeman] and Ray [Carlisle] sing back and forth together. It’s sort of like, each person writes a song independently. With “Death Curse” we’re both kind of singing there, and our goal for the next album is to have a couple of songs where we’re both equally singing verses and choruses and switching it up.
3D: I feel like it’ll make writing more difficult, but awesome in the end.
V: It will. It also give you, too, like the different vocals, 3D’s vocals versus my vocals are totally, totally separate worlds. I don’t know, to me, it’s cool to have the harder style in there with the poppy stuff. It makes a good dynamic.
DS: Well we’ve talked about how certain platforms on the Internet give bands the ability to crowdsource and fund an album. You guys have the ability with your Bandcamp and Big Cartel pages to literally cut out the middlemen that are record labels these days. Given the fans you’ve made over the past few years, do you guys even need a label?
V: I don’t think we need a label. For me, here’s how it works — if you’re a band, you don’t need a label unless you’re talking about a label that is going to take you a major step up. Because we’ve had labels ask us if we’d wanna work with them and it’s always ‘Hey, we’d like to release a CD in limited numbers,’ and that’s what we do right now.
3D: We can do that without them.
V: Yeah. It would be helpful if we could release a vinyl, but you know what? I know some bands that have vinyl records through labels, and they’re getting fucked right now. And not like, getting fucked the way you do on our new album, the way you really don’t wanna get fucked. They don’t own their own music, and they’re still not selling anymore than what we are, they don’t have anymore likes on social media than we do.
A band like Pears, who were doing what we’re doing and then, boom, got signed to Fat Wreck Chords, like, yes, that would be a worthwhile label choice. Except for The Jasons would never sign to Fat Wreck until Fat Mike apologizes to Ben Weasel. We literally sent Fat Wreck a contract, signed by us, and it said we would accept whatever deal [Teenage] Bottlerocket got, as long as Fat Mike apologized to Ben Weasel.
Ben Weasel never got a response.
But if it’s that kind of label jump, yeah, probably, I’m sure it would be good, because me and 3D wouldn’t have to be sharing a McChicken because we had to pay for titties on our album cover. We wouldn’t have to do that. At the same time, honestly, I don’t think a lot of people know what a label IS nowadays.
V: We’ve literally been approached by people like ‘Hey man, we’d really like to sign you on my label!’ Ok, what will you do for us? ‘Oh we’ll make sure your pictures are shared on our Facebook page.’ So, all you are is a promotion maiden, then, you’re not a label. ‘Oh no, we’re a label!’
Like, no. A label shells out money for bands…
3D: You have to pay that back, and that’s where bands get fucked. A label is way more than just ’Oh I shared your picture on Facebook.’
3D: Go fuck yourself.
V: Like, we’ve said no to so many labels, but we’d never brag about it because we also know that the only person who would consider them labels is somebody who doesn’t know what the fuck is going on with music. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’re cool people that love music, but unless you can offer something to a band that they can’t do themselves, and man, in today’s world, we can do a lot for ourselves. Here’s the key, and you should put this in big, bold letters:
If you want to sign The Jasons to your label, all you have to do is pay for the vinyl, and give them half of the number of vinyl you make.
That’s the deal with our other vinyl we have coming out with Secret Lair, and even though it’s a couple years behind, shit’s still moving on, the dude said, and I don’t even know if I should be talking about this, but it’s the truth, but it’s like, you take half, we’ll take half, you sell it online, we’ll sell it live. Boom! There you go. Sign us to the label.
We don’t need anything. We don’t want a percentage. That’s bullshit, too.
3D: If you can get more made, give us more. Don’t be sneaking behind our back.
V: Yeah. Actually, we don’t wanna be on your fucking label because we don’t trust you. 3D’s right.
3D: I don’t trust anyone. I only trust you. We’re in the same boat.
V: Yeah. Put this in bold: We don’t wanna sign to your label, even though we just said we would.
V: We have so many machetes to grind right now. We were talking about putting a “Fuck You” section in the liner notes, instead of “Thank You” and like, if we did that, we’d have to have a 150-page booklet, for all the stuff that’s going on.
Like, people asking you to sell 50 tickets or 100 tickets to play with some band that is on tour, that no one gives a shit about. Like, if you have to make local bands pay…
3D: If you think about it, you’re making a local band sell 30 tickets for a band that’s going to sell the place out by itself, right? Why even sell tickets, then? That means people are buying the tickets to see the local band, not the headliner.
3D: If they wanted to go that bad, they’d just buy it at the door.
DS: You have your release show for Get Fucked April 2 at The Empty Glass in Charleston, West Virginia. How excited are you guys to for your fans to hear it and just get out and play shows the rest of 2016?
V: We’re really just looking forward having the album out. It’s been a frustrating rush to make sure that everything’s ready. We’re just looking forward to having it out and just, really, playing shows, touring around and promoting it.
We have songs for the next album. We have art for the next album. We know how it’s going to sound. It’s not going to sound the same at all. We have a direction for that. Right now, and for most bands, by the time you get to the point where your album is released, you’re fucking sick of working on the album, and that’s where we’re at. We’re playing with the Huntingtons, and we’re playing with fuckin’ First Jason, who’s our big brother.
3D: That’s not confirmed.
V: Yeah, oh shit, unconfirmed.
We just want people to hear the songs, listen to the album and learn the words. We’ve put in a lot of work the past year to get to this point where the album’s coming out. I can’t wait for people to listen to it. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done.
“Get Fucked” was released on The Jasons bandcamp page and Big Cartel site on March 31. Stream it below.
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