Q&A with Rob and Colin Femur
By Matt Ashworth
This Friday night, Seattle punk band the Femurs celebrate the release of their second full-length album at Capitol Hill’s Comet Tavern.
In preparation of this event, NadaMucho.com spoke with Rob and Colin Femur about the Ramones, 107.7 The End, and instrument swappin’.
NadaMucho.com: So your band is called “The Femurs” and you and Colin both have the last name of “Femur.” How lucky is that?
Rob Femur: We have known each other since the third grade and have been playing music together since the eighth grade. We have become “sonic brothers,” so it’s only right we have the same last name.
NM: There was this late 70s punk band called “The Ramones” who had the same kinda thing going on. Have you heard those guys?
RF: The who? Oh…. right…….the Ramones. When I was eight, my babysitter would sit and play Ramones records for me. They have always been a real inspiration for both us. Without the Ramones, I don’t think I would have ever started playing drums, listening to punk or started a band.
NM: I have a burned copy of an early Femurs record someone gave me in 2002. Tell me about it.
RF: I wrote and recorded that CD all by myself before there was even an idea of a band “The Femurs.” I left New York in 1998 and moved to Santa Cruz with my fiancée. We broke up and I was really torn up. So I moved to Seattle and wrote a ton of songs on a 4 track to deal with it. I used to just give the CD out to friends.
For a list of Rob Femur’s five favorite Seattle Indie bands, visit Nada’s blog at myspace.com/nadamucho.
NM: One of your friends must not have liked it so much, ’cause he or she apparently gave it to me. Speaking of Femurs’ recordings, you have a new one coming out. What’s that one like?
RF: It’s two EPs put together as a full length called “Modern Mexico.” The first six songs were recorded by Brian Brown and Reed Griffin in Ballard. The second six are from an EP we did last year called “Jack Cafferty vs. Chuck Scarborough,” which is named after our two favorite NYC anchormen.
NM: Man is that a lot of names of people I haven’t heard of. Is Jack related to John, from John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown band? If so, can you get us his e-mail address?
RF: We love John Cafferty from the Beaver Brown band. But no, they aren’t related. We did get an e-mail from Jack Cafferty when the EP first came out, though. He ordered a bunch and then we started getting e-mail from his family. I think they were stocking stuffers.
NM: That rules. You went to SXSW this year. How was that?
RF: We have gone down there the last two years and each time we had an amazing and surreal time. It’s like the Mardi Gras of music. The festival has become more of a media showcase and less of an indie music showcase, but within that there are tons of great indie and unsigned bands down there too. And that’s the best part.
NM: Tell us about a great unsigned band you saw during your Austin excursions.
RF: Look out for Wombats. Amazing band from Australia. Very Gang of Four.
NM: Rob, you work for 107.7 KNDD, or “The End.” Are they evil?
RF: It’s actually a very open minded and progressive station. I do the punk rock show there called “Gabba Gabba Hey,” which airs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Saturday night. They let me program the show myself and allow me to play whatever I want. For a commercial station, that is unheard of (no pun intended).
NM: Do you think they’d let you play “My Shit Stinks” by the Day-Glo Abortions? ‘Cause that’s a really great song.
RF: Sure. It’s my show to program as I see fit. Of course the FCC does have rules, but they are a bit looser after 10 p.m. I play what I see as great punk rock-I get away with G.G. Allin.
NM: They seem to be making a conscious effort to support local music.
RF: Yeah, they have a great local show that supports the Seattle Indie scene. We are lucky in Seattle to have both KEXP and The End. Together, they really educate people on great music.
NM: You guys switch back and forth between drums and guitar. That is fucking awesome. Why don’t more bands do this?
RF: We started playing together because we were both drummers and both guitarists. So when I would write a song on guitar, Colin would back me up on drums and vice versa. Through doing that we developed a real synergy and a style that nobody else is doing. Not sure why more bands don’t do it, it’s great exercise and a lot of fun.
NM: I love it when I see bands who switch instruments during the set. Especially when the guitar player and bass player throw their guitars to each other. Have you guys ever thought about throwing each other the drum set when it’s your turn to drum?
RF: No, but we have thought about setting up two drum sets and both playing at the same time. You never now what surprises you’ll get when you see a Femurs show.
Colin Femur: We actually tried that–once. We are thinking of just having other people play the songs so we can throw soft cushions at each other during the set, but until we get that ironed out, we’re gonna keep on having the instruments throw us at each other.
NM: This whole time we’ve been chatting Colin hasn’t said barely a word. Do you guys have a Penn and Teller type thing going?
RF: It’s more of a Siegfried and Roy thing.
CF: When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Say something once–why say it again? Psycho Killer, Qu’est que c’est? Plus I just answered the previous question.
NM: How come you guys have been fairly awesome for the last several years but most of Seattle still doesn’t seem to give a shit? Are you big in Japan?
CF: I know I’m big in Japan, but I work out and I drink a lot of milk. Maybe people haven’t noticed but we’ve been fairly awesome for about 12 years. Last year we were pretty awesome. This year were going for incredibly near totally awesome. After that, I can’t even–I mean….my imagination gets all blurry past that point.
RF: All you can do is make music that makes you happy and have fun at your shows. Not sure about Japan, but I think we are getting big in Israel.
NM: That’s fantastic. Next time you are there, check out The Genders. Great Tel Aviv band.
RF: Yeah, they are great. I think we played with them at the Comet a year ago.
NM: Have you considering putting a tour together with Tibia and The Fibulas and the Patella Tendons?
TF: No, but we are going on tour in the fall with the Teenage Bottlerockets, which is gonna rule
Friday’s NadaMucho.com Presents show at the Comet Tavern is a joint CD release with Ripspacer. Also on the bill are At the Spine and Green Handshake.