January 2003

D=Dennis (singer, guitarist)

K=Kevin (drummer) 

a band called Ten Foot Pole


D:  5 Albums, lots of touring, nice guys from California band, lots of members come and go over many years.  Theres much more detail for those interested at the bio section at:

Please tell me a litrtle about every member, age, family, interests and
something bad about everyone in the band?

 K:  Eric Cody, guitar   and Jack Daniels extraordinaire; Mike Levy, bass and political causes (once spent a month living with the Zapatistas); Dennis Jagard, guitar, vocals, motorcyles, and snowboarding; Kevin Ruggeri, drums, beach, microbrews, and books.

 D:  Eric makes great sex faces but he's always late.  Mike is very considerate, but he is extremely picky at restaurants and frequently makes faces like he just slurped a turd.  Kevin is a fucking genious about philosophy/education/computers/music--hmmm, I'm having trouble thinking of something bad to say about him, perhaps I'll mention that he likes Kiss.  And I am an adrenaline junky and enjoy life but I am probably an overachiever, having success because of working too hard at the expense of not spending enough time with friends and family. 

How come it became Victory Records now? How does it work?

 D:  Victory is very aggressive--they work hard and have a lot of pride. We hope to grow with them, as we are hard workers too.

 K:  Our contract with Epitaph expired, so when we were ready to record a new album, we sent demos to labels we liked and thought might be interested.  Victory really became interested once we booked the tour last summer with Voodoo Glow Skulls.  I think they saw that as a sign of how serious we are about the band.


The new CD Bad Mother trucker, how have the reacts on it been? Any good or
bad reviews?

 K:  Overall, the word of mouth and reviews have been very good.  Kids are singing along to the new songs when we play them, which is probably the most important feedback we've gotten.  Occasionally, there's someone who slams us, but that's typical and thankfully the exception to the rule. 

 D:  Don't worry.  I've got a list of everyone who writes anything bad about the music or TFP.  I will make them pay. 


Do you care about reviews? Which are you put most trust in the abd or the
good ones?

 K:  Sure, we care about reviews.  Of course, we'd like all of them to say, "The best thing since The Beatles' 'White Album'!"  But at the end of the day, the only things that matter are (A) Are we proud of it? and (B) Do our fans like it?  Fortunately, in the case of "Bad Mother Trucker," the answer to both questions seems to be yes.

  D:  Yes.  And like I said, the negative reviewers will pay (Dennis says while sharpening his Bowie knife on a large stone).


Which is the most peculiar review you ever got?

 D:  I enjoy when the reviews contradict themselves.  For example, one a-hole wrote that the songs sounded too similar, bordering on boring---then he complained that the album wasn't long enough!


Who came out with the fucking good title Bad Mother Trucker?

 K:  I think that was Dennis' brain child... 

D:  It started as Mother Trucker, of course influenced by NOFX song Bob.  Then with a little Pulp Fiction influence we added the "Bad" to give it a little more attitude.  It's pretty goofy, but it matches the band well because of the mix of humor, tough music, and a good time.  I hope people remember it, which is the point I guess.


When you do your songs, which is most important, is it the lyrics, the
music or is it to have a refrain that people remember?

 K:  Yes.  All of the above.  I believe that the whole enchillada needs to be tasty, so we work hard on every ingredient.  (Sorry, I'm starting to get hungry...)

 D:  Sometimes I focus too much on lyrics.  Then I get a paper I'm very proud of, but often the song doesn't work so it gets flushed. 


Who do you do a song?

 K:  Not sure that I understand this question.  Sorry!

 D:  Perhaps he meant who writes what in songwriting?  Usually I write lyrics, a lot of melodies and some music.  On the last album Kevin wrote a few songs lyrics and music, he even sang on Shelter which was cool, as it was the first time someone else sang the lead vocal in the band. 


How is a good concert with you?

 K:  A good concert is one in which the vibe's positive (i.e. no fights) and everyone, not matter the number, is having fun.   

D:  I disagree.  I don't mind a fight or two occasionally, as long as most people are considerate and having fun.  Also I think the number does matter.  It's nice to be in a crowded room.  Sometimes empty room shows turn out ok, but they are definitely more work to get the audience involved. 


Which is the most peculiar which have happened on a concert with you, in
the audience or on stage?

 K:  On this last tour, there was a streaker (guy who took of his clothes and ran through the crowd) in Spencer, Iowa.  Fortunately, he inspired some of the women to follow suit.

 D:  Luckily Kevin averted his eyes, so they weren't burned by his sinful lascivious glances at the nymphs. 


Do you have good contact with your fans, in which way?

 K:  One of the best things about being in a band is the opportunity it gives you to meet new people.  That's something we value, so we make it a point to hang out during and after our shows.  Also, email is great because it's really enabled us to communicate more personally with fans.

 D:  E-mail definitely helps us keep in touch with people with quick communications.  Also it's great to have the monthly e-newsletter because we can make sure people get accurate tour dates.  To subscribe, please go to http://www.tenfootpole.com


Is it many interviews, is it boring?

 K:  Such an ironic question!  Sometimes, it gets redundant because we're asked some of the same questions over and over again, but most interviews are different enough to keep them interesting.

 D:  As long as you don't ask who our influences are, yawn.... 

Which is the question you never get, but want to have, please ask it ans
answer it?
K:  Question:  What is your favorite obscure metal album?  Answer:  Death Angel's "Act III"...a classic! 

D:  Question:  What is your favorite accessory on your motorcycle?  Answer:  My Attack Racing adjustable triple clamp, which has enabled me to make my bike more stable, as it has a reputation of speed wobbles, bucking off riders like a mad bronco (Suzuki TL 1000s). 


Which is the most frequent asked question?

 K:  What is the band's history?  (This is also the most daunting question, since the answer is pretty involved.)

D:  What are your influences?  How is this album different from the last?  Why did you kick out your singer 9 years ago?


How did you react when the terrorist attackw as last year, with fear
,anger or what?

 K:  Fear, anger, sadness...a little bit of everything.  Once I found out that someone I went to grade school with was among the casualties, the reality of it became that much more pronounced, rather than it just being this surreal thing that was playing over and over on TV.

 D:  It seemed surreal for me.  It looked very much like a movie.  


Have it changed your life?

 K:  It's certainly made me more aware of the anti-American sentiment that exists around the world and caused me to consider why such resentment exists, which in turn has made me more critical of our government's global policies. 

 D:  I used to be a lot more political, and I expected a revolution or drastic backlash to happen a long time ago.  But then not much happened here, so I was really surprised by the scope of the attack--not just a single bombing but such an elaborate plan.  I guess the changes I've made personally include living with more passion--it's not worth being unhappy because shit could change at any minute, so I want to take advantage of my opportunities while I have the chance. 

Can music change somebody´s life? If you think so, give me an example?

 K:  I believe in that music is extremely powerful, but I'm not naive about how much it can ultimately accomplish.  Music is a means, not an end.  It can unite people around a common cause, but you can't just play a show/go to a concert and expect the world's problems to be solved. 

 D:  Music has calmed me down when I needed to get away from a bad situation.  It has made me feel comfort in the realization that other people have similar problems, fears, emotions, etc.  I also enjoy getting lost in an emotion of a song from the past, a poignant memory.  In that way I think music has enriched my life, but not radically altered it, unless you count that my whole career is focussed around making music. 


What does punk mean to you? Is it only a word or?

 K:  It means doing what you feel is right, regardless of what others say.

 D:  Yeah.  What he says. D'oh!


How is the political life in USA right now?

 K:  I'm amazed more Americans aren't outraged at the state of the nation.  Unemployment and crime are up, civil liberties are being revoked, the rampant nature of corporate scandal is all over the news, the Stock Marget's taken a total shit, our president is stubbornly insisting on a war that, unlike its proposed goal of fighting terrorism, is likely to increase it (especially with regard to us)...and yet, there doesn't seem to be much dissension or protest.

D:  Yep.  Shit is fucked up.  But I think most Americans still feel disempowered to make a positive change.  People are cynical about certain things, but the 9/11 attack really bolstered support for government in general--people want to be protected.  But what the hell do I know?  I don't take polls of what the average person thinks, I just see punkers at shows and talk to motorcycle fanatics on the internet. 


Music life there? Any good bands?

 K:  Many good bands!  Piebald, Thrice, River City Rebels, Death By Stereo...a few newer kick-ass bands that come to mind.

D:  The Frequency Five in Detroit are cool, very influenced by Refused.  I think the No Use album is brilliant. 


What do you know about Sweden?

 K:  That's it's home to some of the greatest bands that have ever graced the planet (e.g. Refused, In Flames, Millencolin, Satanic Surfers), that citizens get government-sponsored benefits, that the government tends to be very supportive of the arts...

 D:  Kevin forgot No Fun at All, my favorite melodic band of all time.  But on the tough side, our concerts in Sweden weren't so great, so we couldn't go there on some tours.  We don't sell enough records or draw enough crowd to convince promoters to put up the cash to bring us to Sweden.  I hope that changes soon.


Please rank your five best records, five best concerts and five most
important things in life?

 K:  Records:  Dag Nasty - Can I Say/Wig Out at Denkos, Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking, KISS - Alive!, Bad Religion - Against the Grain, Fugazi - 13 Songs.  Concerts:  KISS Farewell Tour - Hershey, PA, Sick of It All - City Gardens, NJ, At the Drive In - Lancaster, PA, Jawbox - State College, PA, Weezer/Lush - Philadelphia, PA.  Things:  Family, Friends, Music, Education, Love.

 D:  Tough question, because it's hard to rank them:


1:  Pink Floyd, The Wall

2:  David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust

3:  Lagwagon, Hoss

4:  Minor Threat, the EPs

5:  Radio Head, The Bends 


1:  NOFX, Face to Face and TFP in Quebec City.

2:  The Grateful Dead, Tracy Chapman, John Fogerty, Oakland.

3:  Stalag 13, Simi Valley.

4:  22 Jacks, Trois Rivieres.

5:  Sam Mangwana, Los Angeles.



1:  Loving.

2:  Motorcycles.

3:  Good music.

4:  Snowboarding.

5:  A job well done.


First, last and the most expensive record you ever bought?

 K:  First record I actually bought was probably "KISS - Gene Simmons," last was Ani DiFranco's, "Livin' in Clip," which is also probably one of the most expensive since it's a double-CD.

 D:  1st:  The Beatles, Yesterday and Today (no, it was not current at the time!).

Last:  No Use for a Name, damn I just forgot the title!

Most expensive:  I guess Pink Floyd, The Wall or maybe Les Mizerables Soundtrack. 

You record cover is really good, is it important to have a cover which
sticks out?

 K:  Absolutely.  To be honest, I actually didn't like the album title until I saw it with the cover.

 D:  I love the title.  I'm not sure if I totally love a gut on the cover, but at least it's memorable and fun. 


Which record label or band does the best CD-covers?

 K:  Maiden, Maiden, Maiden.

 D:  AC/DC --Dirty Deeds, Highway to Hell and the best of all time:  Back in Black.  OK, Molly Hatchet deserves honorable mention since I bought their album based on the cover, and was bitterly disappointed. 


And from covers to covers, do you do many coversongs?  From which bands
if you do that?

 K:  Nope, not at this point.  We're open to suggestions!

 D:  We've done a couple, for example Tesla's "love song" on Punk goes Metal.   


Why do a cover and how does a cover best been done?

 K:  I think if a band does a cover, they should either improve upon the original or make the song their own somehow.  Lagwagon's "Brown-Eyed Girl" and Sicko's "Closer to Fine" come to mind.

 D:  Yeah, it's boring if it's just redone.  I like Propaghandi's I want you to want mE.  It's a good way for an unknown band to get people into their live show.


Futureplans for the band?

 K:  Tour in support of "Bad Mother Trucker" as much as possible, and get cracking on new material right away! 

D:  Tour, tour, tour, write, write, write. 


For you as a human being?

 K:  Keep searching, keep learning, keep rockin'.

D:  Keep the balance between work and play.  Invest in the future but enjoy the moment too.



 "I am not writing for the money. I am writing for the privilege of being alive." -Zora Neale Hurston


Something to add?

 :  Please check out our website at www.tenfootpole.com and sign up for our  monthly  newsletter group so that we can send you all important band updates.  Thanks for the interview! 

 D:  Yes thanks, I hope we can tour in Sweden again someday!

take care,