Strung Out : Jason Cruz
Girls, guns and caffeine bombs

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cc: So where'd the name Strung Out come from - big coffee drinkers, are you?

JC: It's pretty bone-headed actually. We were 17 and it just sticks in your head - just dumb kids thinking of a dumb name and it stuck. And it's gotten us pulled over so many fucking times in every state! We've gotten into so much trouble because of that name! It's written on the bus and . . . duh, we just don't ever learn! [laughs]

cc: Why is Los Angeles depicted as a cemetery on your closing song, Cemetery? I thought the scene there was pretty good actually for bands and labels, so what reeks of death?

JC: To me, Los Angeles has always been a city that has thrived off its past. Its glorious past is what's keeping it alive today. And yeah, there's a scene there and it's doing well in its own right, but at the same time, it's always like a lot of things just glorified by the past. And it seems like it's a really beautiful cemetery. it was a cool name for a song and it came out easy. We wrote that song in 15 minutes in the studio. You drive out in LA, and it's like this big cemetery with these giant tombstones . . . it's grand . . . and it just fit, the whole Hollywood thing.

cc: So the scene is picking up out there in recent years? I only know from what I hear, but since I've left, I mean, I basically missed an entire decade for the '90s, so I'm comparing things to the '80s where Hollywood was pretty insane, and Sunset in particular.

JC: Yeah the music scene is always . . . I mean, that's LA. LA's always gonna be thriving in its own way, but at the same time, I still see it as this dead place. I love LA - don't get me wrong, I live there. That's what's romantic to me about it - the waste of it. We recorded the record on Hollywood Blvd. in the shitty part of Hollywood where the junkies hang out and stuff . . . but yeah, I dig that aspect of it.

cc: So anybody have an Axl sighting out there lately?

JC: No, no I haven't. Have you heard the new record? What's up with them?

cc: No, not yet. It's been delayed for about the last six or seven years far as I know. But should be real interesting.

JC: It's like a $50 million record, delayed and what's going on . . .

cc: Now back when Guns 'n' Roses first started out, there was a lot happening then . . .

JC: It was dirty and ugly . . . and cool. And there's always gonna be that element there. LA is still that scene. It's just different . . . it's got a new face.

cc: Talk a little about touring now; you guys are gonna be on the road for a while. Any good stories over the years?

JC: Man, every day was just outrageous. I think one of the most memorable tours we just did was in Australia. And it's a pretty big continent where not too many bands really go around the whole thing, because there's not much out there. And for a month we went and did two shows a day. We drove around the middle of fucking nowhere - a banzai tour of Australia! And nobody had ever heard of us or our music. So we're playing basically to aborigine people standing outside of the clubs and it's just really bizarre. But it made us a really good band to play twice every night like that, and just being in the middle of nowhere, you know, and working it.

cc: It's funny how you don't hear much about Australia.

JC: No, I drove out there though . . . and it's such a big continent, but the population's so concentrated on the coasts that everything at the middle gets neglected. So you go there and you see some strange fucking things - these strange mining towns and stuff - and you wonder what's going on here when we leave. It's weird, but a really good experience.

cc: Is there something you haven't explored yet, lyrically, musically, or globally, that you're setting your sights on in the future?

JC: I think making things more improvisational. A couple songs on this record were written on the spot, just jamming, and we've always been a band that's been so structured and regimented and piecing things together. I'd like to see more of just busting out with shit and see what comes up. No ideas; not thinking so much but just reacting. You've gotta grow, and I hope I can always express my growth through my music . . . that's all I can ask.

:: Vinnie Apicella

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