We asked Alkaline Trio and Funeral for a Friend Some Questions. To their FACES.
We got invited to a press conference. These guys were there.
So yesterday AltEye had the opportunity to attend a press conference with Alkaline Trio and Funeral for a Friend, the international acts of RAMfest. No big deal, but sort of a big deal!
Aynsley and Ant are supposed to join me but they’ve called me and apologized for being stuck in traffic and tell me to go on, and that they’d catch up.
The conference is being held in The Waiting Room, and we’re shown to our cozy sofa-seats, where it sort of feels like we’ve all been invited to watch a sports game together. Except, the sports game is Matt Skiba, Dan Andriona and Derek Grant looking polite and interested behind a table with a microphone each.
Matt is bubbling over about shark-diving and going up to Table Mountain before the first question arrives, and he’s still gushing about Cape Town when somebody asks him if "This is the best place I’ve ever been to" is something he says to all the pretty girls - he replies, with a straight face, that it’s the first time he’s ever said that and means it, and later goes on to say that "This is the coolest place we’ve ever been in."
The band spends some time enthusing about how well they’ve been treated and fed in Cape Town and how much they’ve enjoyed the tourist-y things.
Matt talks briefly and carefully about Die Antwoord ("dye ant-ward") when they’re asked about what they think of local bands. They seem to know opinions about Die Antwoord are almost completely polarized and he’s careful to tread middle ground, carefully stating that "my friend back at home loves them…" and leaving his final opinion neutral.
They say they were blown away by the size of the crowd and fans who met them at RAMfest - Dan quips that it was "like playing a hometown show in Chicago!". I was at RAMfest, and verily, the crowd did indeed go apeshit over them and I could hear people slurring the lyrics everywhere I stood.
They get a little serious when somebody asks about the media buzz surrounding the fact that Matt and Dan are card-carrying members of the Church of Satan.
Yep. They are.
"You have to understand… we don’t pray to the Devil. The Church of Satan was a bit of a gag."
They get a little annoyed and explain that they’re not Devil-worshippers, but are mere enthusiasts of the late Anton LaVey.
On this sombre note, it’s AltEye’s turn to ask questions. I glance down at my prepared list of things I wanted to know about Alkaline Trio, all of which has been answered.
I ask them what the weirdest thing they’ve ever had to sign was.
"Prosthetic limbs. We’ve signed a couple of fake legs..."
Derek frowns. "A lot of people at RAMfest were taking their pants off. They wanted us to sign their shorts! I didn’t understand what they wanted to do at first. It happened twice."
Matt muses that a handful of people have asked them to sign as witnesses on organ donor cards, something they’ve been pretty happy to do.
They talk about their delight at the RAMfest crowd knowing the lyrics to "Radio" and praise RAMfest for being "extremely well organized", and continue to praise Cape Town before they wrap their interview and thank everyone for coming. Somebody recommends they check out the surf at Llandudno Beach later that day.
We take a five-minute break and I meet Ant and Aynsley, who’ve arrived at last. Aynsley sniggers and tells me I should ask Funeral for a Friend if they’ve ever been to a funeral for a friend.
"Everyone has!" I hiss. "YOU ask them! I’m not gonna be that asshole!"
The very Welsh Matthew Davies-Kreye, Kris Coombs-Roberts and Ryan Richards begin their talk by declaring with straight faces that they were sorely disappointed in RAMfest’s "lack of rams" when asked how the show lived up to their expectations.
It’s tongue-in-cheek but it becomes clear that the band is somewhat less in awe of their reception at RAMfest than Alkaline Trio’s; they concede that their act was the last one, at midnight and that there must’ve been "a lot of drinking going on up that point".
Matt shrugs and adds "I sort of get Tourrette’s on stage"…
They change angle and mention that they took some time to mingle through the festival and Ryan enthuses that they really enjoyed the performance "of a band named Sabretooth!"
They talk about some of they places they’ve visited. Anthony’s turn to ask questions comes up and he pauses before asking them "How did the name start?"
Matt reveals to some laughter that their back-up answer is that they named themselves after an Elton John song, but says that really it’s a track from a band called Mistaken For Stars.
They answer some more questions about their song meanings, and they’re markedly a little more morbid and bitter than Alkaline Trio about darkness and things in their music. Or maybe they’re just very Welsh. They answered a question earlier about the weather being much nicer here.
They answer a few more generic questions about how they’ve been enjoying Cape Town and agree that it’s very nice and that the food is good, and finally bristle a little at their last question about whether they manage their own Twitter page- Kris waves his hands in front of him a little and shakes his head.
The interview ends and they grin and thank everyone for coming.
So, did you guys see Alkaline Trio and Funeral for a Friend over the weekend? Did you think they were rad? I saw ’em and I’m writing my opinions about them for tomorrow.
Do you have opinions? If you don’t, I guess you could’ve seen them in Durban last night or in Johannesburg this Saturday, March 12. But you really should’ve come to Cape Town if you wanted the, you know, full RAMFEST experience.