Thursday, August 23, 2007

John's interview with Suicide Girls

Hey guys-
Here is John's interview for legendary booby website suicide girls. You can see it at but then there will be naked girls distracting you. Thanks to Arlan for a great interview and thanks to suicide girls for their support.......
ummmmm it did not really paste the way I had hoped it would so it is a total cluster fuck, but read it anyway, it is funnier this way. I would fix it but my mom is coming and I am not supposed to be looking at porn.

By Arlan Hamilton
Aug 23, 2007
If the Killers met Hot Hot Heat in some swanky NYC hotel bar, had a night that involved lots of vodka-soaked linens and a hefty dry cleaning bill, and then never called each other again, nine months later one of them would give birth to Lola Ray.

At one point the guys in Lola Ray were signed to Good Charlotte’s Sony imprint and enjoyed playing in front of thousands in arenas across the country. Now back to their indie roots, they’ve easily planted themselves high atop my top-10-favorite-bands-of-all-time list if for no other reason than that their music sometimes makes me question my sexuality.

Though there may only be four members in the group -- John Balicanta (Guitars/Vocals), Brian Spina (Guitar), Frederick Beck (Drums), and Chris Upton (Bass) -- they have the strength of 100 men. They can leap tall buildings in a single bound. It was once rumored that their bassist could read your thoughts just by sitting on your lap, and their drummer may have invented ink...and the fanny pack.

John Balicanta is a young soft-spoken Filipino man with a penchant for hard liquor and soft women. I sat on a park bench and chatted with him about the birds and the bees, the elephants of DC (Flag) and breasts. Lots and lots of breasts.
Arlan Hamilton: Are you guys back in California?John Balicanta: Yeah Brian just got an apartment in Long Beach with his girlfriend, and my girlfriend just moved from New York to be with me in Orange County. She and I are trying to save some money, so we picked up this bench on Craigslist for $25. You know those outdoor benches that are made of wood and iron? We took it apart and sanded it down, and painted it.AH:So you went all Tim Allen on it?JB:(laughs) Yeah, we went mad Tim Allen on it. Twenty-five bucks for a bench that we’re using indoors. It’s fuckin’ sweet.AH:Do you guys know the band, Girl in a Coma?JB:No, I don’t think so. Are they any good?AH:I just interviewed them. I absolutely fell in love with their music. They’re so good. You should definitely check them out. Their lead singer Nina is 19, and she’s just a ridiculously amazing vocalist.JB:Is she hot?AH:(laughs) She is hot, yes. But she’s also 19. I’ll say that part again.JB:(laughs) That’s a whole different kind of hot. It’s like, I won’t actually date her, but I’ll totally make out with her.AH:(laughs) Right.JB:Let’s start the interview off with me talking about nubile honeys. (laughs)AH:Absolutely. And now to some band questions that involve nubile honeys of a different kind: can you tell me why you’re no longer on Good Charlotte’s label?JB:Sure. DC Flag was basically a vanity label for Benji and Joel who are in Good Charlotte. Sony gave it to them as a subsidiary. There were two bands on the label, us and Hazle Street. And they poured a bunch of money into the other band, but then Hazle Street ended up breaking up. So when that happened, the label stopped running the whole project. And I think Good Charlotte was having a little trouble of their own at the time. So eventually the label just went under. When that happened, we wanted to sign to Sony proper, but they didn’t want us.AH:How has the change been, in ways you can quantify, like album sales, and in other ways?JB:Well I feel like we learned a lot when we were on the label, cause we had a lot of resources. We got a taste of what goes on when you have lots of money and people behind you. We paid attention to the publicists and the managers when they were running around and learned how they did things, especially touring-wise. We got to see what we really needed to go on tour and what we didn’t need. So now we’re able to tour on our own really efficiently.AH:Right.JB:Yeah it’s one of those things where you get really excited (when you get signed) and you’ve got big dreams about making it big. And then when that goes away, you’re like ‘holy fuck, we’ve gotta work just as hard as anyone else.’ It was weird. We did it ass backwards. We were handed all this great stuff and then had it all taken away from us. It was good cause we learned a lot. But it was a big blow to all of us, morale-wise. When we started over, (former bassist) James wanted to go do something else, (former drummer) Alex didn’t want to be in the band anymore. And it came down to Brian and I wanting to do this and not wanting to do anything else. It was a really difficult change, but at the point where we are now (with the new lineup), Brian and I feel fortunate cause we own everything we are. Liars came out and we did it all ourselves. It’s a really good feeling. It’s not much, but it’s ours, ya know?AH:Is the goal to get back to that same level again on your own, or do you feel like that was too much, or not what it’s cracked up to be?JB:There are certain things that we’d really appreciate having from a label—that having a label would make a lot easier—but there is also a lot of freedom we have not being on a label. On one hand it would be rad to have more money, but on the other hand, most labels are wasting money doing things the old-fashioned way. Like radio and whatever, and not on touring…the things that hold everything together. They’re too impatient. They don’t want to invest time and wait and watch things grow. I think at a certain point, when we build it up enough ourselves, labels will want to come back again.AH:If you build it, they will come.JB:Yeah, exactly. Before that point comes, a label isn’t going to be that good for us. But I think that extra push that certain bands need, labels are great for. Right now I think we’re still trying to build a better foundation to get to that point.AH:You know that video you guys have where—(interrupted by a homeless man screaming about El Pollo Loco while sitting on a bench outside at a park)JB:(laughs) Whoa…AH:That was my dad.JB:(laughs) Man, your dad’s like, drunk on a bicycle yelling at you? That’s rad.AH:(laughs) All day. That’s why I had to get out of the house to do this.JB:(laughs) You’re in the living room while your dad’s on a bike just yelling at you.AH:Just circling and circling, yelling about chicken.JB:(laughs)AH:Yes, so the video you did for this older song “What It Feels Like,” you know the way YouTube is right now, I feel like it’s the type of video that could become viral. Are you going to do something like that for a newer song? You guys have such a fun, creative time with things like your blog and the way you promote yourselves.JB:Yeah definitely. We actually made another video for the song “We’re Not Having Any Fun.” We shot all of the footage less than a year ago. We just haven’t had the money to get somebody to edit it. It’s shot really, really well, and it’s just a matter of finding someone to edit it for us, or coming up with the money.AH:You know who does editing? I know this is kinda random, but Clea Duvall does editing.JB:Really?AH:You should totally get in touch with her and see if she’d do it. She did this 10 minute short film recently. It was this funny take on global warming about this girl named Green. It was about herself…and she did the writing, direction and the editing. She did a great job on it, so it would be cool, right?JB:Definitely. That’d be sweet.AH:The direction you already have with it, is it something that’s really cool that you think people would show their friends and could possibly become a cult hit?JB:Yeah, well I just love the song so much--AH:It’s my favorite of yours…JB:The video is basically us standing in front of a brick wall, getting tons and tons of food thrown at us. Like cakes and tons of beans, and eggs and tomatoes. It’s amazing actually. (laughs)AH:Wow. Yeah I’d love to see that. Ok, so you call the album Liars. Was that directed at anyone?JB:Originally I drew a bunch of elephants for the cover and I wanted to call it "Mice.” So it would be, ya know, untrue. (laughs) But the title is more directed towards myself, if anything, or what people have thought of me. Like people in my life, ex-girlfriends, etc. Most of the album is about my old relationships. I had this crazy summer of drama and MySpace (laughs) and ex-girlfriends, and new girlfriends. It was a mess. I wrote most of the record with Brian on acoustic guitar, or by myself at 4 o’clock in the morning, really, really drunk, and sad. The whole record is basically me confessing a lot of how I felt about things that were going on. It was almost an apology to the people that I hurt. It was a way for me to come to grips with the many things that I don’t like about myself or haven’t liked about myself for a long time. It’s just me exposing myself a lot. It’s the most I’ve ever done. But it’s the not the most that I could do. I think the next record will be more so like that, maybe in a different tone ‘cause I’m in a different place now. I’m trying more and more to really say what I really mean. That’s always been a difficult thing for me. I’m always trying to like, sugar coat things, and make things pretty. But I really want to get across certain things that I feel. The last record was an attempt to do that.AH:So your next album will basically be a how-to guide for guys?JB:(laughs) Yes, “How to not get yourself in a situation where you would write “liars” for your next record.”

No, there are a lot of things that I’ve struggled with spiritually that have nothing to do with relationships—wait no, actually I think it has everything to do with relationships. I think that’s why Liars happened. I was figuring out my relationships and how they related to things. I’ve also always been interested in religion. Troubled by it and plagued by it. The next record will be more of an expression of a journey that I’ve been going through lately.AH:Speaking of journeys, how long is Brian’s hair going to get before he can’t see his face anymore? What is the goal here?JB:(laughs) What I think we’re looking for in the forecast for the next few years is something where if you stretch it out it can go around the world twice. Right now it’s like a big orb of joy. But if you were to look at individual strands, I think you’d find tiny towns and people who have been trapped for days. Then if you cut his hair in half, just straight down the middle, you’d see the rings of all the touring we’ve done, and all the stress. I think he’s older than he says he is. He says he’s 26, but I think he’s 400 years old.AH:I was thinking something like 270, but you know I’m bad with guessing ages. Do you think he’ll ever do the Lenny Kravitz thing and cut it off to just take away all of his stress and mellow out?JB:The Lenny Kravitz thing and go black?AH:Half. Go half. Lenny is half. But to be fair, Brian is already half black. So…JB:(laughs) He’s got a lot of soul.AH:And what’s with his fascination with Ben and Fred Savage? Is he gay, or?JB:(laughs) No, I don’t think he’s gay. Brian’s very into pop culture. His world is reading US Weekly and People. It’s an addiction and we’ve been trying to figure out how to help him kick it, without hurting him. We might have to bind him to a wheelchair or something and have him listen to only indie records.AH:That’d be a cool stage show, if you bound him to a wheelchair.JB:Watching the IMC channel only. You’re done with the pop culture man. (laughs)AH:SuicideGirls -- I don’t know if you know this or not, but there’s a rumor that there are naked women on the site.JB:I’d have to verify that rumor. (laughs)AH:This leads into probably the most important question of the entire interview: Do you prefer the left boob or right boob on a woman? Which one has served you best?JB:I’d say the left boob because it’s closer to the heart, so it’s swollen a little bit more.AH:I was not expecting that answer.JB:It just looks great. It’s wonderful.AH:They don’t usually talk about Britney Spears on the site, but I think we should for a second. Cause I know it has a lot to do with your life.JB:(laughs)AH:Did she go crazy because you broke up with her, or…?JB:(laughs) Well that’s why I took down my MySpace page. Cause she kept messaging all of my friends saying that we were still in love, ya know or that things were great. But you know what, that bitch stole my Xbox 360 and I will not forgive that!AH:She stole your what?JB:My Xbox 360, yo.AH:Oh I thought you said your virginity! And I thought, well that explains a lot.JB:(laughs) Yes it does.AH:The questions I had planned for this are just becoming so much different.JB:They’re just becoming more and more real, Arlan.AH:Which of the four of you guys would pose naked on the Internet?JB:(laughs) Hmm…I’d probably say, our drummer Beck. He even calls his penis “The Great Redwood.”AH:(laughs)JB:I think that’s something he’d want to share amongst the great multitudes. It’s not gigantic by any means, but it’s a beautiful thing. It’s like a natural rainforest, if you will. I think more people should bare witness to its greatness.AH:And how often do you guys share these things with each other?JB:How often do we show each other our wieners?AH:Well, yeah.JB:I think that all of us try to pee in urinals that don’t have dividers. I think that subconsciously we want to see each other’s wieners. We don’t talk about it. Like, you know someone’s taking a piss next to you, so you’re like, "Hey man, how’s the show going so far?" And if you can see a shadow of it out of your peripheral vision, you’re like, "Yeah, that’s Brian right there." Makes you feel safe. Or like if we’re in a hotel and we’re really drunk, and one of the guys is like, “Man, I’m gonna pee over this balcony,” and we’re like, “No! don’t do it!” but secretly we kinda like lean over and think, “That’s some good shit.” (laughs)AH:That’s amazing. I wanna live in your head for one day. Your brain! Your brain, I wanna live in. I should say. Oh man…JB:(laughs) My ‘shroom. I think the problem is that my brain and your brain are too similar.AH:That’s interesting. We’re kind of an androgynous pair too, I guess.JB:(laughs) Exactly.AH:We should do a side project thing. I’ve been wanting to do a really messed up spoken word poetry thing, cause I’m so bad at it. I want to try to make people take it seriously. I want to go to Hotel CafĂ© one night and convince them to let me up there. Walk up there, have the place full of people. And wear a sweatband and never break character. I want a friend of mine to play bongos behind me, and there’s just one really soft red light hitting the stage.JB:(laughs) Right…AH:I want to request silence from the audience. Like put up signs that ask that no one speaks for the 15 minutes I’m up there. And for the first 7 minutes, just have the bongos going. And then on the 8th minute, I just stand up and scream out, “Vagina!!”JB:(laughs)AH:…and just look really sad, and kinda scary. Just walk offstage, leaving everyone to try to figure out what the hell just happened.JB:I’d totally do that with you! We could be the Ambiguously Straight Duo. That’d be rad.AH:(laughs) We should do that! That’s a genius name for it.JB:It’s beautiful.AH:Ok, we’ll work on that. I wanted to talk to you about tattoos, but I don’t know how to segway into that now. I know you have several, and I’ve never really talked to people about why they get them. I’m curious.JB:I have a theory about why people get tattoos.AH:Oh great! What is it?JB:My theory is that no one actually gives a shit about what any of them mean, they just think they look cool. I think 75% of the people you ask why they got a tattoo, they’re really full of shit. They might make up some grandiose story, but it’s really because they have a sweet picture on their arm or their chest. It comes down to vanity. It has nothing to do with heart or soul or anything. I think it’s pretty rad.AH:That’s….JB:(laughs)AH:We’ll just end it on the “ambigiously straight” thing.JB:(laughs) Well what do you think about it? Why do you think people get tattoos?AH:I only have my brother as an example. He’s completely different from me in almost every way, except our sense of humor. He’s in Dallas and he has a ton of tattoos. He has so many that I’ve lost count. And they’re mostly names of people in his life.JB:Right…AH:And I think he does it because he likes the pain.JB:Yeah, I was actually going to say that too. I know personally I’ve enjoyed it so much…you know when you’re about to ask someone on a date, and you get really nervous, and you get really scared? And whether or not you fail, it’s the fact that you did it and you survived it and you’re alive after that, it gives you a rush. And the next time it happens, it’s not as difficult. It’s like overcoming a fear. Tattoos hurt a lot, but they don’t really hurt that bad, just enough that you know what it’s like to hurt. And you’re alive, and you’re fine.AH:So it reminds you of what you’re capable of withstanding. It reminds you that you are alive and you’re feeling things. Hmm. I might have to try that!JB:It’s like people who do the suspension stuff, right. All of that mind over matter stuff is fascinating to me. I have no control when it comes to that. If something hurts, it hurts. But talking to people who do things like that, they really do conquer pain or suffering. It’s weird.AH:That’s beautiful, John.JB:You’re beautiful, Arlan. You really are.AH:(laughs) Oh John, we know who wins in the beauty category right now. I love your hair and I hope you win.JB:(laughs)AH:I had my family vote for you. That’s how much I want you to win.JB:(laughs)AH:Ok, so this is my final question--JB:Ok…AH:So you think you can dance?JB:(silence)AH:Oh god, you don’t know the show?? Oh man!JB:(laughs) There’s a show?AH:(laughs) Ok so that won’tbe my final question. I’ll just keep asking people until they give me the answer I want. I just don’t know what that answer is yet.JB:“I just want to express myself with the art of dance.” Have you ever seen that Dane Cook skit? Where he’s like, “Girls are always like, forget guys. Let’s just go out and dance. I just want to go out and express myself with the art of dance. You never hear a bunch of dudes go like,*deep voice* “Dudes, fuck girls. Let’s go outside and dance.” (laughs)AH:(laughs) You know what? I don’t think Dane Cook is funny. But I think he’s funny when you deliver it! Maybe you should be a cover artist for his work. Just do a Dane Cook cover coffee shop tour around the whole country.JB:(laughs) I’ll be like Dane…Balicanta.AH:Perfect!

Fall in love all over again by showering yourself with Lola Ray’s music at and redefine literature as you know it by visiting their blog at

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A fairly convenient truth.......... Puppies are the groupies of 2007........... Shia Labeouf is a fraud, a crook and a drunk

Hey there-
One thing struck me hard on this last tour, I am not really sure that global warming is REALLY happening. Keep in mind that we were out in about every climate that the US has to offer for the last thirty days. Basically, it was beautiful everywhere. Even the places that were hot were not as hot as they usually are (Phoenix was practically tolerable at 102, as opposed to the 118 that it was last summer). Look I am not trying to lead no anti earth coalition or anything, I will go green with every other 20 something douche that I know, I am just making an observation. This really was a mind blowingly cool summer tour. Let it be known, that I am also not some anti Gore man or anything, dude has been known to own a sweet beard and I heard that he is directing Transformers 2 (Optimus Prime runs on Bio Diesel) and that would be crazy sweet! Also, as soon as someone gives me some damn money I will totally convert our sweet black van to run on dolphin farts or chocolate kisses or whatever the hell gets me to the next show. Go EARTH and go weather!

It is weird to reflect on a tour and try and capture it in words. So instead or giving a bunch of dumb road stories I will relay a conversation I had with my mom at the end of this tour....
Mom; So how was tour?
Me; Uh, it was
Mom; How were the shows?
Me; They were
Mom; Does your hair still look like a pile of shit?
Me; Um.......Yeah
Mom; Did you do ANYTHING exciting?!? You guys are so boring.....why don't you do drugs or be cool or something?

And that's the DAMN truth. What can I say, I am a hopeless amusement park junkie and this really was the highlight of the tour. We rode so many movies that my mind almost exploded. I would like to thank our tour guides Jonathon (from Orlando based band Pop Culture Clash) and his ultra cool girlfriend Erica (not currently in a band that I know of) for giving us a great day of pretzel and churro dreams!!

Early in the tour we walked out on Transformers the movie because lead actor Shia Labeouf was not the star of Boy Meets World and I demanded my money back on that fact alone.

Seriously though, this is Shia (Transformers, Disturbia, Next Indiana Jones, Casablanca 2, Gone with The Wind 2, EVERY MOVIE EVER!!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And this is Ben Savage (Boy Meets's it)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I smell a conspiracy here people!!!

But in WAY more important news......... we are about to start writing some brand new songs for all you beautiful people to enjoy and consume!!!!!! I am serious and really really thrilled. It is official, we are about to start work on the songs that will make up our next record. Expect the new stuff to sound really really different or to sound exactly the same, we are not sure yet because we have not written it yet. This is always my favorite part of being in a band. New material is like springtime for a band that tours a lot. It is the time when you look around and smell the flowers and get re-invigorated and sniff your armpits and realize that your new deodorant crystal is maybe not working so well and you go and borrow your girlfriends deodorant and fall in love with yourself even more somehow......
It's a beautiful time people, JUST TRUST ME!!!!