Pub Talk

Kerrang! 2003

Pulling up a bar stool and talking bollocks with Chris Shiflett

Hello, Mr Shiflett. What are you drinking?
"I'm drinking a club soda with lime."

What is your poison?
"I never really drink liquor much. I would do shots of tequila or margaritas. I'm from Southern Claifornia, so it would have to be that. I mean given what I do for a living I find myself in bars pretty often, but I try to keep it mellow.

Have you ever gone onstage drunk?
"Oh my god yeah. We toured with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for about four or five months, and we used to have a pre-show ritual where we'd do what we called 'band prayer', which was a shot of Crown Royal - a Canadian whiskey - with just a splash of cola in with it. When we started the tour we'd do, like, one of them. Then it progressed to a couple of them. Then by the end of the tour we were getting through two bottles before the show."

That's not mellow
"It's not mellow at all. If you'd caught, like, the third night of that tour, then, and routinely after that, we were pretty much smashed out of our minds."

What was your sexual awakening?
"My first girlfriend was in 5th grade, when I was 10. Her name was Katie Songer."

Did you kiss her?
"I don't think I ever did. Actually, I asked my friend to ask her if she would be my girlfriend. And she said 'No, he has to ask me himself'. But the first time I made out with a girl was at summer camp. My whole face was like a chapped lip the next day."

Have you ever had a neighbour from hell?
"When I was growing up in Santa Barbara we lived next to this Mexican family that would have Mariachi parties all night long, and we'd always find burnt spoons next to our house and stuff like that. I still hate Mariachi music to this day."

Have you ever been a neighbour from hell?
"I think I have. When I was 23, I lived with my brother and another two guys in an apartment in LA. We were just loud all the time, having parties and stuff. When we moved out and we tried to get our deposit back, the landlord said that he'd had all these complaints about the noise, to the point where the people downstairs fro us thought we were playing sports in the apartment. Needless to say we lost the deposit."

Why did you start your own label?
"I didn't so much start a label, as I just wanted to put out the EP of my side-project, Jackson. It's not like it's a functioning label."

Aren't you bombarded by bands sending demos?
"No, because we don't have an address. That's the secret of avoiding unwanted demos. And believe me, we get enough demos at shows; people throw them at the stage, and they tend to explode and roll into the drum riser."

How long did you give it before you thought it was safe to ask Dave Grohl questions baout Kurt Cobain?
"Erm, you gotta pick your spots on those ones. It's a funny thing because people get really jittery around him talking about that stuff. They won't refer to things by name. But he's not uncomfortable talking about that stuff, so it's not really a big deal. But there was one particular tour I did with them in Australia, and we were driving back from a gig and just kinda drinking beers and shooting the shit, and stuff just started to come out."

And how long was that, just so any future new guitarist will know the score?
"Give it a month. You'll be fine."

Chris' five fave pub jukebox selections ;
AC/DC 'Highway to Hell'
The Clash 'Radio Clash'
Jawbreaker 'Boxcar'
Ace Frehley 'New York City Groove'
Stiff Little Fingers 'Alternative Ulster'

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