At Kansas City’s annual Buzz Beach Ball, the first ever concert held at the new soccer venue, Livestrong Sporting Park, MEB staffer Tim Dodderidge got to interview both of the dudes from Middle Class Rut. They discuss things such as the band’s cover art, biggest influences, and even some awe-inspiring ’90s hip-hop.
MEB: After leaving your old band, how did Middle Class Rut form?
Zack Lopez: (sarcastically) Well, the thing was, Kurt Cobain wasn’t paying us enough, and it made us really ticked off. So we just left and decided we were going to do our own thing and not keep getting underpaid, you know? And that’s when the band started and it was just us two.
How did the cover art for No Name No Color come about?
ZL: We’ve got a buddy named Doug, and he did a t-shirt design at some point that had both of our faces kind of slapped together. And when it came time to do the artwork for the record, out of sheer laziness, we reverted back to that t-shirt design and just wanted to make a cooler version of it. So we just went to work on that. It’s like our music; it’s pretty straightforward, just us two. We’re not conceptual album makers. We don’t think of these crazy, Broadway show stories that our records are about. It’s kinda like I’ll just put both of our ugly faces on the cover and splash some red and blue over it to make it cool, and there you have it.
What song do you feel sticks out the most on that record?
Sean Stockham: “Cornbred” probably?
ZL: “Cornbred,” the last song on the record, sticks out the most. It’s the last song that was written and was recorded in a different place than the rest of the record. It was almost like a song where we heard it and were like, “Man we should’ve done more stuff like that.” But at the same time, we wanted to include it on the record. It made sense and it sounded in a similar vein to what we were doing, but at the same time, was still really different. So it’s probably the most different-sounding, but something that we’d want to play out and revisit in the future.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
ZL: It depends on the crowd for me personally. I think there’s a song that we’d like to play live, but if the crowd doesn’t get excited, then it’s not that exciting.
SS: I like playing “USA,” which was the last song. It’s kinda like, “It’s over.” (laughs). As far as your energy level, you just put all of your energy into that last thing. And after that you can just go and pass out into the gutter and it’s fine.
What do you think is different about being in a band with two members?
ZL: There’s not four of us.
What bands do you feel inspired your sound the most?
SS: Kriss Kross.
SS: Daddy Mac.
That was before my time.
ZL: Oh geez man you’re trying to date us. How old are you?
SS: That’s fine.
ZL: Everything’s great then. So that’s basically classic hip-hop to you.
SS: Do you remember Tia Tamera?
SS: Wow, so that was even before your time.
ZL: Oh my god, that’s the point we’re at right now.
SS: We were pretty heavily influenced by local bands around Sacramento where we grew up. There was a super dub local scene. We would go to the Cattle Club on a Friday or Saturday and see rad shows.
ZL: You ever think about the name of that place? You know that it’s a gay bar, right?
ZL: The Cattle Club. It’s like herding men in and it’s like okay… (laughs)
SS: And then it became even more gay.
ZL: Well it became Bojangles and then everyone’s dancing like it’s Mr. Bojangles.
SS: But yeah we were influenced by Sacramento and Deftones and Far. As cool as it was to listen to Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine, it was totally different to go to a small club at 15 years old, having your mom drop you off, just being in that environment and seeing that show.
Should we expect a new record next year?
SS: Nope. (laughs)
ZL: We’ll probably release a greatest hits. (laughs)
SS: We’re going to wait until it’s lucrative to play this kind of music, so it might take us 10 years or so. (laughs)
What bands are you digging right now?
ZL: Nothing man. Not a single thing.
Do you just play your record over and over and over again?
ZL: (laughs) No, that’s the last thing I want to hear. We have to play that every night; I don’t want to hear us.
SS: It’s weird man, we rely on everything we grew up on. But the longer you go since you listen to it, the cooler it is to pop in an old record that got you inspired. Now anything I listen to, I hear Starbucks, I hear lattes. So it’s just not the same. I don’t know, it might just be me. I’m sure there are some rad bands out there, can we name just one?
ZL: One band.
SS: Just one single cool band.
ZL: The Creswellians is a band out of Salt Lake that’s coming up. They’ve done a lot in their local scene. They headlined at the Lounge there. They’re coming over and we’re thinking about taking them on tour but not a lot of people know about them. But the Creswellians are coming up. Other than that, it’s bullshit. Stuff that we grew up on, we keep going back to. There’s not a whole lot of new stuff we’re getting into these days anymore.
Any favorite bands you’ve toured with?
ZL: We wish we would’ve been on that tour that’s on your shirt (points to my friend’s Black Diamond Skye (Alice In Chains, Deftones and Mastodon) tour shirt). That tour started right after the tour we did with Alice In Chains. And we did a couple shows with Deftones so we figured if we were on that it would’ve been the best tour ever.
SS: We did a tour with Alice In Chains, and they were by far the nicest and most welcoming “whatever you guys need, let us know” kind of people, which was rad. Deftones – we played a few shows with them and it’s kind of the same thing. We felt super at home with those dudes. We haven’t done a Foo Fighters tour yet though (points to my Foo Fighters shirt).
Okay that’s it. Thank you guys.