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Sascha Lazor

In this episode we speak with Mad Caddies guitarist Sascha Lazor about getting signed by NOFX’s Fat Mike, his latest project working with rap artist Doja Cat and Yeti Beats, the unique rewards and challenges of touring the world as a musician, and how his passion for reggae music led him to Jamaica where he quickly found use for his talents making beats and playing guitar in a Kingston studio.

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Transcript

Evan Ball:
Hello, welcome to Ernie Ball's Striking a Chord. I'm Evan Ball. Today we have Sascha Lazor from the Mad Caddies on the show. Given that Sasha operates in the punk scene, the reggae scene, and now even the hip hop scene, we cover a lot of interesting ground.

Evan Ball:
This episode's also unique because it includes two rounds. We did the initial interview, and then we crossed paths again a couple weeks later and added to it. This was great because it's often the case that I'll interview someone, listen to it, and then wish I could ask some followup questions. So this time I actually could.

Evan Ball:
For example, in round one, Sasha mentions that he's working with this artist Doja Cat, and not really being up to date on my hip hop or my TikTok, I didn't know who she was, but I should have. It turns out after looking her up, that she's a huge artist. So we're able to hit that topic more in round two.

Evan Ball:
Also, for whatever reason, there's been a trend on recent episodes of stories of artists being harassed or harmed at shows. Staying true to that trend, Sasha talks about getting punched in the face at a show.

Evan Ball:
But more broadly, we have an illuminating discussion about road life in general. It really is a lifestyle that's so different from the average person's daily experiences. From the worldly benefits of traveling the globe, to the challenges of constantly moving, we talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of touring.

Evan Ball:
We talk about being 20 years old in a local punk scene and getting a phone call from Fat Mike of NOFX, wanting to sign his band, and how his fascination with reggae music led him to Jamaica.

Evan Ball:
So we'll talk about his experiences just showing up in Kingston, not like at a resort, but real Jamaica, meeting the right people, and then with his skills getting plugged into the studio scene there in Kingston.

Evan Ball:
So without further delay, please enjoy this wide-ranging conversation with Sascha Lazor.

Evan Ball:
Sascha Lazor, welcome to the podcast.

Sascha Lazor:
Hello, how are you?

Evan Ball:
Good, good. All right, so we first met back in 1997, back in the 1900s.

Sascha Lazor:
Yup.

Evan Ball:
So my cousin Scotty and I were on the Warped Tour, Mad Caddies were on the Warped Tour. Was that one of your first tours, or were you guys already pretty seasoned by that point?

Sascha Lazor:
No, it was ... We'd only been touring for maybe two months, not even two months, maybe we did one or two tours before that.

Evan Ball:
You've been pretty much touring ever since then. I'm wondering, does this all blend together, can you actually distinguish, that was the '97 Warped Tour versus that was '98 Warped Tour?

Sascha Lazor:
Earlier tours, they definitely stick out, because a lot of things [inaudible 00:02:50] and the first time we'd ever been to certain places, the first time something ever happened, first time I'd ever gotten hit in the head by a CD. Whatever it was, it's a lot of firsts that you remember.

Evan Ball:
If I said Limp Bizkit, would that be '97 Warped Tour or '98 Warped Tour?

Sascha Lazor:
Oh man, I think that was '97.

Evan Ball:
You got it.

Sascha Lazor:
We only did a week or two in the '97 Warped Tour.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
And then we did all of '98.

Evan Ball:
That's right, okay.

Sascha Lazor:
But yeah, Kid Rock was '98.

Evan Ball:
Do you remember that? They were on the small stage, and no one knew who they were, and they were signed to a major label but they didn't have any singles released yet, so we had this guy with all these gold chains, everyone was kind of scratching their head, "Who are these guys?" In a punk scene, that's very ...

Sascha Lazor:
I talked to them briefly, we were waiting for a van to take us from the island in New York into the city, and I think that was the day after Fletcher had ripped off his chains. I don't know if you heard that story.

Evan Ball:
I remember hearing at.

Sascha Lazor:
One of the many Fletcher stories. But yeah, Fletcher from Pennywise I guess had ripped off some of his gold chains. I remember the day after just kind of feeling bad for the guy. [crosstalk 00:03:59] Like, he seems like kind of a nice enough dude. He's a guitar player, was cool, and-

Evan Ball:
Yeah, Kenny, I remember [crosstalk 00:04:07] He was super cool, yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
The chick, she was awesome.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
And so I chatted them up a little bit, and then a month later ...

Evan Ball:
Remember we got home from the tour and they were just huge.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
They just blew up.

Sascha Lazor:
Exactly. There was a lot of bands like that.

Evan Ball:
We started hanging out, we were all around 20 years old at that point, but we also realized we were from a similar part of the globe.

Sascha Lazor:
Exactly.

Evan Ball:
You guys were from Santa Ynez, California.

Sascha Lazor:
Santa Ynez, right. You guys are from San Luis, which is only about an hour, maybe a little less by car.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Santa Ynez is basically right in between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, basically.

Sascha Lazor:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
What can you say about Santa Ynez? I want to get the origins of Mad Caddies here.

Sascha Lazor:
The origins. Santa Ynez was very rural, it's a lot of horses. Now there's a lot of wineries, ever since the move Sideways, but pre-Sideways there was only a couple wineries.

Evan Ball:
That's a good reference point for people, so Sideways [crosstalk 00:04:55] It's a wine mecca now.

Sascha Lazor:
And yeah, it's very rural, a very small town. It's great to be from there.

Evan Ball:
There are a lot of bands coming out of Santa Ynez?

Sascha Lazor:
No, but there's actually a lot of great musicians who come from Santa Ynez.

Evan Ball:
What, like Michael Jackson?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, Michael Jackson. We met Michael Jackson.

Evan Ball:
Did you really?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. We met Michael Jackson, it was around the time, '96 or something like that. At that time, on a Sunday in Los Olivos, which was the town that was closest to Neverland Ranch, Sunday was like a ghost town. There was nobody out. We went to go, me and Carter, our guitar player, we'd come from a wedding, and we were about to head back to Santa Barbara ... And the guy at the liquor store, we stopped to get some Gatorade or whatever, and the guy at the liquor store said, "Hey, you guys know Michael Jackson's next door buying some art." There was a little art gallery there. We said, "Oh, that's cool." We didn't care, you know.

Sascha Lazor:
So we got in the car and started driving and I was talking to my buddy Carter, I said, "We're going back to Santa Barbara to hang out with these chicks." So we said, "How cool would it be if we got Michael Jackson's autograph for these girls?" And he's like, "Turn around, let's do it." So we turned around, and we went back, and sure enough as soon as we got to where he was supposed to be, he came out of the art gallery. It was him by himself, no security. Back in that time, it was a sleepy town. He could go out on a Sunday and drive around by himself. And he did drive around a lot by himself.

Evan Ball:
Wow.

Sascha Lazor:
So he was with himself and two little boys, he came out of the art gallery and we said, "Michael, can we get your autograph?" And he said, "Yeah, come over to the van." This sounds really van, he says, "Come over to the van because I need to get out of the sun." And we're just like, "Yeah, sure." He's wearing this big Zorro hat and a surgical mask.

Sascha Lazor:
So we went over to the van, and he got in the front seat and then turned around, and we hung out for like five minutes.

Evan Ball:
That is so crazy.

Sascha Lazor:
And the kids got in the back. And we're like, "Yeah, we play in this band." At that time we were called the Ivy League. We said, "We're playing in Santa Barbara," I think the day after we were playing at the Emerald City or the Coach House or whatever it was called at the time. I said, "We're playing a show." And he was like, "Oh, that's cool. Maybe I'll go." Just kind of bullshitting us. And we're like, 'Dude, we'll put you on the list." And he said, "Yeah, put me on the list." So we really put Michael Jackson on the guest list. The guy at the door I remember was like, "Hey, you never know, just in case."

Evan Ball:
That is so good.

Sascha Lazor:
But yeah, back in that time, Santa Ynez was a very small and sleepy town.

Evan Ball:
Did people know where Neverland was, do you know the roads to get there or is it just this mystery?

Sascha Lazor:
No, I mean the house is probably a half a mile off of the road. So everybody knows the road and the area where he lives, but as far as Neverland, you can't see that from the road.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
And we had definitely some of our buddies' little brothers and sisters went out there and just had a great party. You know, birthday parties and ...

Evan Ball:
They were there?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. All that stuff came a couple years later. And looking back on it, it's kind of more sinister, but at the time it was just like totally normal that people had Michael Jackson spottings around Santa Ynez.

Sascha Lazor:
But then when Sideways hit, the movie, the wine movie, then it really helped the tourism in Santa Ynez.

Evan Ball:
Are your parents still there?

Sascha Lazor:
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Evan Ball:
So they've noticed the change for sure.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, everybody has.

Evan Ball:
And it's all the towns around there from Los Olivos [crosstalk 00:08:10]

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, Los Olivos, [inaudible 00:08:12].

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
And now there's tons of wineries and it's growing. On the weekends it's really busy. But at the same time, it's managed to retain its small town vibe.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
It's nice to go back, especially living in LA, to kind of ... You can be door to door in less than two hours if I leave at 1 AM.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. All right, this next question might sound a little untactful but it's actually a compliment.

Sascha Lazor:
Okay. [crosstalk 00:08:38] Are you German?

Evan Ball:
Let me preface this.

Sascha Lazor:
A lot of questions-

Evan Ball:
So you guys have had a very long, awesome career, touring the world, fans all over, catchy, unique songs. Why aren't you guys even bigger?

Sascha Lazor:
Why aren't we bigger?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
I would say that we have a core fan base and ... If I had to lay it down to one thing, I don't know. I've always felt that we have a cool sound and we have a cool style, I think, and I think we can still just be writing better, catchier songs. Because when you listen to what gets more mainstream success, it's usually not songs like Monkeys. So that's all I can say is our sound is just a little bit more selective, you know?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
But I still think we can do better within the boundaries of the Mad Caddies, we can still write some simpler, catchier tunes.

Evan Ball:
The reason why I say it, I feel like you already have the songs. I feel like you have the ingredients with Chuck's voice and his melodies, and then putting that to ska and reggae, and the creative stuff you do. It just seems very digestible, I don't know, for radio and commercial play.

Sascha Lazor:
As far as the mainstream radio, maybe at a time, but I never considered mainstream radio to be much of an option. Thank god. The entire reason our band is still around is because of being able to play in other countries in Europe, Australia, there's many other places where we've gone that our band is much more popular than it is in the States. The cliché, big in Japan or whatever. We're not actually big in Japan, but German, Belgium, you know?

Evan Ball:
How fun.

Sascha Lazor:
That's kept our band going. We still are actually working on some new songs right now. But as far as-

Evan Ball:
But you're not really seeking radio airplay? I don't know what that even means these days.

Sascha Lazor:
There's a couple things. First of all, as far as radio airplay, Fat Mike said from the beginning, "If you're looking to be on the radio, we're not going to serve it-" and especially at that time, there was Payola, there was ... A lot still happens, but there was a lot of things going on with radio that they didn't want any part of. And Mike was someone who was very up front about things like that. He said, "We're not going to pay a lot of money for music videos. We're not going to do a lot of things and kiss ass to get on the radio. But you're going to have the Fat Wreck Chrods fan base and the compilations and that's done well for a lot of bands and everything from there, and that's a bonus." And we said, "yeah, let's do it."

Sascha Lazor:
There's a lot of other bands that got signed at the same time that we did, under major labels, and none of them were there two years later.

Evan Ball:
Right. You might sacrifice longevity.

Sascha Lazor:
I think we at the time ... I don't know if we knew or if it was foresight or if we just wanted to ... As long as Fat Mike thought we were cool, that was way cooler than being on Arista.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
I remember we played a music conference in Portland and this girl from Arista, she came and she's like, "I like you guys, I want to talk to you guys about doing a deal." And we didn't have any CDs, and she's like, "I'm going to give you $20, mail me a CD." We took the $20 and we went and bought beer and never mailed her a CD.

Sascha Lazor:
We just didn't really care.

Evan Ball:
A super punk play.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, we didn't really care. But like I said, I think who knows where our career would be if we had, but I had a feeling just like with every genre of music, it ebbs and flows and usually-

Evan Ball:
You guys are 25 years in.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, major labels don't stick around for the tough times.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So right now we can call up Fat Mike tomorrow and be like, "Hey, we want to put our album." And it's a very easy thing. No contracts, no anything. It's very casual.

Evan Ball:
Where is your favorite country to tour?

Sascha Lazor:
There's a lot of places that we enjoy going. Portugal has always been really fun. Our band has done well in Portugal and it's just everything about it we really enjoy. Similar to California in a lot of ways.

Evan Ball:
Is it food, weather, people?

Sascha Lazor:
Everything. A lot of great people that we've met, the promoters and stuff there, some great friends from there. A lot of fond memories attached because we'd end a tour in Portugal and spend a couple days on the beach.

Sascha Lazor:
We do really well in Germany and Belgium, it's always fun to go there. We've been to Venezuela, we've been to Ecuador, South Africa, Tasmania.

Evan Ball:
You like to dive into the culture when you're there, do you get a chance to ...

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, as much as we possibly can. I think all of us ... There's not a lot of time to, but as much as we can, we try to.

Evan Ball:
Food and ...

Sascha Lazor:
Food, booze, you name it.

Evan Ball:
Nice.

Sascha Lazor:
That's honestly, it's not the money, that's the most beneficial part of being able to tour for so long is to be able to travel all over, and to really be familiar with certain places.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
You might go to Paris, you might only be there for one day, but you're there for one day once or twice a year.

Evan Ball:
Music really does afford you a unique and amazing life. So many experiences that most people don't have access to, really.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. I can honestly say I don't know how many times ... I don't think I've ever been in an Uber and been stumped with the driver as far as where he lived or where he came from or something about the music or the food or something. And it's really an amazing thing at the end of the day to be able to have these experiences.

Evan Ball:
Well speaking of that, we crossed paths last time, I think it was a couple years ago at NAMM, and we briefly talked about Jamaica. You actually, did you live in Jamaica for a while?

Sascha Lazor:
Yes. Yeah.

Evan Ball:
So how'd that come about?

Sascha Lazor:
I got into reggae obviously with the band, but in about '99, I really got into reggae. And it became my favorite music. And I read this book called Wake the Town and Tell the People that this guy named Norman Stolzoff wrote, and it was about Jamaican culture and dance hall reggae culture, and how after Bob Marley a lot of things in the music was shifted from being about the original message of reggae to being more about dance hall, a little bit more lighthearted and fun party kind of vibe. And how culture, everything from the politics and the drug culture, how everything kind of was a factor in that. And it was an amazing book.

Sascha Lazor:
So I write him, I just said, "Hey, I loved the book. I just want to say I just loved it." And he wrote back saying, "thank you." And he was planning on taking a trip back to do a follow up article for a magazine. And I said, "Hey, I'd love to go with you. I want to go to Jamaica but I do not want to go to Negra, I do not want to go to Montego Bay. I want to go to a studio and I want to ..." and he said, "Absolutely."

Sascha Lazor:
So he took me down, and literally dropped me off at a recording studio and left for the day. And this was in Kingston. No beach, no nothing.

Evan Ball:
Real Jamaica.

Sascha Lazor:
As real as-

Evan Ball:
I honeymooned in Sandals.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. And that's great too. Those all inclusive are fine-

Evan Ball:
Yeah, it was great.

Sascha Lazor:
This was not Sandals.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So all the artists at the time, I was just like a kid in the candy store. I didn't ... I had brought down some music, some reggae that I had made. But that wasn't really my intention. I was so overwhelmed by just being there, and even with all the traveling that I had done, I'd never really done anything in a culture in a third world country like Jamaica, which was so different from a lot of the countries that we get to go to.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
And not only that, but the language was hard, I couldn't really understand the Patois. Everything about it, but I-

Evan Ball:
How long were you there?

Sascha Lazor:
I wanted to throw myself in. The first time I was only there for a week.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
And then from that time, I met the engineer and a couple other singers at the studio. So I felt comfortable after then going down by myself.

Evan Ball:
Were you just sort of a fly on the wall in the studio?

Sascha Lazor:
The first time, yeah. And then at the end of the trip, I had a couple of beats and some of the singers just sang on them for fun. And then I took it back to America going, "I just did real reggae music. This is real." I still have the songs. They're not that great, but at the time it was like the biggest dream that I had. It was almost like getting signed on Fat Wreck Chords, it was something that I just thought about and dreamed about and just did.

Sascha Lazor:
So once I met those friends and artists in Jamaica, I went back. I went to different studios and met more people, and then that went-

Evan Ball:
Did you rent a place?

Sascha Lazor:
The first one or two times I stayed at a hotel, and then once I met friends, I stayed at their houses. And some of the guys that I met that were investors in reggae record labels, I stayed at their houses, they had usually pretty big houses because they had a decent amount of money. N then I started working for them, I met different artists like [inaudible 00:17:48] and ...

Evan Ball:
In what capacity were you working for them?

Sascha Lazor:
I would just be making beats. A lot of the time, the producers there would be these kids with their drum machines and they'd be in the studio. There was no shortage of musicians. They could get guitar players to come in and jam on their stuff, but not someone like me. Not a punk rock kid from California. And at the time, even though I love reggae music, I didn't want to go down and just be another person wearing red, gold, and green, listening to Bob Marley. I didn't want to be Jamaican. I wanted to impart part of ... California's a cool place to be from as well, so I wanted to bring that side of it to the music. So I played a lot of rock guitar, punk rock guitar in some songs.

Sascha Lazor:
I had more Jamaicans saying, "Yo, dude." Than I ever said, "Yeah, mon."

Evan Ball:
Were you probably better accepted than if you came down with dreds and a fake accent?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, 100%. Every producer that you meet down there ... At the time ... It's a little different now with the internet, you can dial up any sound, you can get anything you want with the touch of a button. At the time, in the early 2000s, someone like me bringing that was an asset because it was different. And at the time, producers, everyone wanted something different. So it was the right place, right time.

Evan Ball:
was safety ever a concern? The only reason I ask is because you do get these sort of tourist warnings to stay in your resort at night.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, if you go to a bad area, bad things can happen to you. But I think the reputation is because a lot of Jamaicans are very aggressive salesmen. So if you're from Iowa, whether it's a trip to see Bob Marley's house or buying some weed or buying some wood carved figurines or something like that, a lot of it's kind of the language barrier and just the fact that they're trying to sell stuff. Because they're poor, and they're trying to feed their family.

Sascha Lazor:
I think it gets a bad rap as far as that goes. I have plenty of stories about crazy stuff that happened, but that was after being there for a long time, and being in certain areas. But that's just going to happen to you sooner or later. Random crime like pick pocketing or theft, at least when I was in Jamaica, it was much more rare for that to happen there than it would be in Eastern Europe or South America. Because the neighborhoods, even though they have the reputation for being violent, they actually can be very safe, because it's self-policed, and there's a lot of vigilante justice. In a lot of ways, things like rape, it's very, very uncommon for certain things to happen. Sure there's a lot of violence that comes from gangs and turf wars and drug wars or from a drive-by. But a lot of those typical crime things were not nearly as prevalent as you'd think.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, I know what you mean.

Sascha Lazor:
It was really ... I could have my rental car, drive up the the place where I lived in Jamaica, have the window rolled down all day with my MacBook Pro sitting right in the front seat, and I would never worry about it being taken.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. I can't think of anywhere I'd do that.

Evan Ball:
Because of the cowboy justice thing?

Sascha Lazor:
And the people that I knew were ...

Evan Ball:
You kind of had some street cred going too.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, I had street cred for sure. So the people that I knew, it just wouldn't happen. Or if it did, the person would have to leave the neighborhood.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Sascha Lazor:
It was just an amazing learning experience. I've been thinking about writing a couple stories down from my experiences there, but I don't want to try to paint it ... I think Jamaica gets enough bad reputation and I also want to highlight the good parts about it. There's a lot of insanely talented people down there. It was the best thing I'd ever done, I think.

Evan Ball:
Back to the band, were you guys all at Santa Ynez High School?

Sascha Lazor:
Yes. That's where I met Chuck, our singer, our guitar player at the time Carter, and our bass player, and Todd, our drummer, we all came from the same high school. We were just getting into punk rock, it was obviously very innocent and very ...

Evan Ball:
What about your sound? You have a very eclectic and distinct sound. Was it deliberate at the formation of the band, this is what kind of band we want to be, or was it you just have to ...

Sascha Lazor:
Initially, no. When we first started playing, we were just playing what sounded good to us. But we were also doing heavy metal, we were doing [inaudible 00:22:39].

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
We also had a [inaudible 00:22:43] influence. So we were all over the map.

Evan Ball:
Did you have any high school gigs like where you play at lunch time?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, we played a lunch time at our high school.

Evan Ball:
How was the reception?

Sascha Lazor:
I don't even remember. I was probably too petrified to even look back.

Evan Ball:
I've seen some award high school performances too.

Sascha Lazor:
I've seen a couple photos. I had hair down to my upper back, long hair. And we played my graduation party my senior year. After high school, I moved to Seattle for a year because my parents had moved, so I went with my parents to Seattle. And after about a year of being there, the band had just started, and I said, "I got to go back." And that's when we really put the band together, and recorded a demo, and the demo got our first shows, and that's how things kind of happened.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
We were lucky enough to be in Santa Barbara at that time, there was a lot of bands coming through. Every weekend, two to three times a week there was a band.

Evan Ball:
Are these like Numbskull Shows?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, Numbskull Shows.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, so that was the local promoter in our area who would bring all the local punk shows there.

Sascha Lazor:
yeah, lot sort of Eddie Numbskull shows. Other shows that were just the living room and then the Coach House. And also you had UCSB there, so we had a lot of shows on Del Playa, for the university, tons of shows like that.

Evan Ball:
Del Playa, for everyone, that's the party street for UCSB.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. I heard it's still pretty good there. But yeah, a lot of bands got their start. Those were the basic rotation.

Evan Ball:
And you could show up sometimes without a party booked, and just find a house to play.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, there were times when we'd show up, have the police shut down one part, and just move the gear four houses down and set up and play our set and be fine. So we were very lucky to be at that time, so many shows to play. The first time that we played, we lucked out, because when we played our first show at a club in Santa Barbara, all of our friends from Santa Ynez came. So there was 90, 100 people just from Santa Ynez that had come to the show. And the band that we were opening for, called the Fleshtones, they're a band from the '80s, they didn't draw that many people. And it became very clear once we played and 3/4 of the crowd left, the promoter's like, "Oh wow, never heard of these guys."

Evan Ball:
You upstaged the main event.

Sascha Lazor:
We had a lot of our friends, and they weren't even fans at the time, they were just our friends who happened to support our band. They were the reason why the promoter put us on more shows. So as soon as we did that one show and the promoter saw, the next week, "Can you do this one? Can you do this one?" So we started playing once a week in Santa Barbara, once every two weeks in addition to shows at UCSB. And then we started coming up to San Luis Obispo, and it kind of started to grow from there.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. How do you see the music scene in general, looking back mid-'90s, what's the lay of the land?

Sascha Lazor:
A lot of punk rock.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
A lot of ska, especially in Southern California, that was pretty much it. Sublime was at its peak. No Doubt was starting to get really popular. Once they blew up, that was huge. I remember we didn't open for No Doubt but we saw them at the Underground, which was a 300-capacity club. And three months later they were on MTV, just come out.

Evan Ball:
There were a handful of those bands-

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, Green Day, same thing.[crosstalk 00:26:05]

Evan Ball:
And the Offspring, yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
Sublime, Green Day, and No Doubt, you'll see all the time in a club that's 300-capacity. Originally when I got into playing guitar, I was into rock music. Guns N' Roses was hands down the most influential thing at the time. And then I got into a lot of different bands like Guns N' Roses, and then hearing them, they'd talk about bands that they are into. I heard about the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, and I got into punk rock. Even though I loved practicing and playing guitar, it was really cool to just sit in my bedroom and play three chords and actually play along with it, rather than try to learn the solo for Out to Get Me or something like that.

Evan Ball:
Right. That's when everyone, a lot of people in the guitar industry, are like, "Guitar is dead." But actually it just became completely accessible to so many more people.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
When you could play almost any song.

Sascha Lazor:
Think about it, when you sit there and you air guitar, kids who used to play with their tennis racket to Kiss Alive or whatever, it's not far off from being able to do that and being able to play three chords and play Blitzkrieg Bop. It's very minimal amount of effort that you need to put in. And once you're there, then you're there. And once you get bit by that, then you're good to go.

Evan Ball:
For sure.

Sascha Lazor:
so I got into punk rock. As far as reggae and ska, most of it was just reading interviews and hearing people talk about other bands. I got into the Specials and Bob Marley and things like that. For our band, I really got into this band called the Squirrel Nut Zippers and started ... When I was a kid, my parents used to always listen to Glenn Miller and swing and stuff like that. Once I heard Squirrel Nut Zippers, I really started getting into traditional jazz and New Orleans jazz.

Sascha Lazor:
And that's kind of what happened as far as with our band, once we were out there and we saw that there was a lot of bands doing punk and ska, we said, "What else can we do that's a little different that will set us apart?" So started bringing in some of the chord progressions and some of the vibe from the New Orleans jazz kind of stuff. [crosstalk 00:28:03]

Evan Ball:
So that was more your contribution right there, bringing that element.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, it was a conscious decision. There's not many other genres in music with, you know, we've got horns so what can we do that incorporates all that?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So we said, "Let's sound like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, meets NOFX."

Evan Ball:
Yeah. This is kind of a ... I don't know, a basic question. Do you know how this marriage of punk and ska originally came together?

Sascha Lazor:
That's a good question. Two-tone, the genre of music, Madness and the Specials, I would say ... They brought the punk rock energy with the playing reggae and ska. So it was only a natural progression from there. They didn't play straight up punk into ska, but they had the attitude.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So it was just inevitable from there. As far as who was the first first, I don't know.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Sascha Lazor:
Obviously bands that we really liked, earlier bands like Operation Ivy, the Bosstones, those were the earlier bands that were doing it that we really enjoyed.

Evan Ball:
So how'd you guys get signed? You go from local Santa Ynez band, broadening out to Santa Barbara, and then you get signed to Honest Don's.

Sascha Lazor:
We were at a point after playing for a while where we didn't have any longterm ambitions. So we said, who knows maybe in two months we'll break up and just go to college and do whatever. So we got together about money, we borrowed some money from our parents, a couple thousand dollars total, and we recorded basically everything that we had that was worthy of recording up until that time. Let's just document it and have a good quality recording of 12 of our songs, and who knows, maybe something will happen, maybe not. If we have a good document of what we did at this time.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Sascha Lazor:
And we recorded at this studio called Orange Whip in Santa Barbara, which at the time was one of the bigger studios in Santa Barbara. And the guy Angus, who was engineering it and basically produced that first record, he also was working with Joey [inaudible 00:30:06] from Livewagon. He was like, "Hey man, this is cool, I'll play it for Joey." And we said, "that'd be great," and he played it for Joey. I don't think ... Joey at that time had a record label as well, but it was more of a singer-songwriter kind of pop-punk, which definitely was not our band.

Sascha Lazor:
But he's like, "Fat Mike keeps on talking, Fat Mike from NOFX, keeps on talking about wanting to sign a band, maybe this is something that he'd be into, a band that does reggae and ska and punk rock." Joey gave the CD to Fat Mike, and then we heard about it, we said, "Wow, that's crazy. Fat Mike is going to hear our CD." And then a couple days later, I still remember, I was in the dining room and my mom was in the kitchen, and the phone rang. My mom picked it up and said, "Hello?" And then she said, "Sascha, there's a Fat Mike on the phone."

Evan Ball:
Oh.

Sascha Lazor:
And I knew, all of our friends knew that Mike had the CD. And so I knew it was someone messing with me. So I picked up the phone and I said, "All right, who is this? Haha, funny, who is this?" And he said, "Hey, it's Fat Mike." And once I heard the voice.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
I was like, "oh my god this is Fat Mike."

Evan Ball:
That is so awesome. And what are you, 20 years old? 19?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, 20 I think? And he said, "I heard your CD, I like it, I want to put it out." And that was literally basically what he said. And I said, "Oh, okay." And got the contact information, and basically that was it.

Evan Ball:
Wow.

Sascha Lazor:
And then we went up to San Francisco-

Evan Ball:
But it wasn't Fat Wreck Chords.

Sascha Lazor:
No, it was on Honest Don's which was at a time, Fat Record's was Mike's label that had mostly punk rock. And Honest Don's was a label for other bands that were a bit different, that didn't fit into that Fat Wreck Chords sound at the time.

Evan Ball:
But Fat Wreck Chords for the record, ran through the center of this scene. They had a lot of the big bands. Kind of some status there. And you were affiliated with Fat Wreck Chords.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
So I'm just thinking, being a 19, 20-year-old, and getting this offer. You're in.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, there's no such thing as a better scenario for us at the time. You couldn't have asked for ... We wouldn't have been half as thrilled if a major label had called and said, "Hey, we want to put out your album." And they said, "What else have you done?" "Oh, we've done Candlebox."

Sascha Lazor:
I'm just saying as far as, we wanted to be other genres in music. At that time it was very important to be part of a scene, and at the time this scene was very big and very solid. So it was a great opportunity.

Sascha Lazor:
And also by the time he heard what became our first album, we had had gotten more aggressive and started doing more punk rock. We originally didn't want to put out that first album. We said, "Hey, we're with Fat Mike and NOFX now. Our music goes a lot more hard, we kind of want to ditch the more mellow songs on Quality Softcore," which became our first album. And just do more songs that represented what we were, which was Monkey, some of the New Orleans jazz, and the punk rock. And we said, "Hey, this is our band now. The first thing that you heard, Quality Softcore, that's really the first songs we happened to write. This next batch, these are the first songs that's really our band."

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
And he said, "Just put out the first record, we'll put it on Honest Don's, and we'll hear the new stuff, and then if it fits-"

Evan Ball:
You didn't re-record it, right?

Sascha Lazor:
No, we did not.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
And he said, "Maybe we'll put it on Fat Wreck Chords." So yeah, he heard the new stuff and it fit in with Fat Wreck Chords. Duck and Cover, our second album, came out on Fat Wreck Chords.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, great album. Because of your diversity, what scenes do you fit in with best?

Sascha Lazor:
None.

Evan Ball:
But you're able to sort of play in different scenes, right?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
And you're in the punk scene but you can also play-

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, and that's what's really cool. Especially in different countries, we've done reggae festivals, we've done festivals in Portugal with Capleton and Julian Marley and us, and completely did great. Had a great show. Tailored our set a little bit more to the groovy reggae stuff, it was just a great fit.

Evan Ball:
I would think it'd be a big benefit for you guys, because if you're playing in that scene, then the punk rock's going to give you an edge and you kind of stand out. But if you're in the punk scene, your ska and this other stuff's going to make you stand out from the other bands.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. So we can go, we can play Sick of it All one day and then go play with Julian Marley the next day.

Evan Ball:
Right.

Sascha Lazor:
And it's been great to be able to do that. It's starting to happen more and more. Like I said, Europe is definitely more often that we're able to play in these diverse lineups. I think the States is kind of catching up, they have a little bit to catch up as far as music festivals.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
It's been such a culture in Europe for so many years, and it's becoming much more popular in the States, but it's still a little bit behind the times as far as the diversity of different festivals.

Evan Ball:
So right before we hit record, I think you mentioned that you have some other project you're doing too.

Sascha Lazor:
I also work with this artist Doja Cat, she's a rapper. I've been in the studio with her ... Her and my buddy Yeti, they've been ... I've been with Yeti as far as studio partners for years, and she's been around for a couple years and she just had a viral song that hit about a year and a half ago. So I've been able to do a lot of touring with her and just be part of that whole process which is more of the rap side of it.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So it's been pretty cool. The last two days all I've been doing is just making beats.

Evan Ball:
So what do you use?

Sascha Lazor:
You get a placement-

Evan Ball:
What software do you use?

Sascha Lazor:
I use Logic.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
I'm really going to get into Ableton because everybody that I know that used to use Protools or Logic uses Ableton.

Evan Ball:
When you look back over the 25 year career of the Mad Caddies, is there a chapter that stands out as being the most difficult period, and also maybe one that's the most magical?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, we had our first Australian tour that we did in 2000 was pretty intense. It was the first time we ever did four months touring straight. We did our first European headlining tour and then we came back to the states for two days. Then we flew to Japan with NOFX, and then we flew from Japan to Australia to start a two-month tour.

Sascha Lazor:
The entire time, we were living in our ... It was the peak of our party.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
On a nightly basis. By the time we got done with Japan with NOFX ...

Evan Ball:
The unhealthiest you've ever been.

Sascha Lazor:
Hands down. Then we were flying to start a two-month tour in Australia. Two-month tour. Part of it was a publicity stunt with Frenzal Rhomb, the band that we were opening for, they were an Australian band. It was amazing, we got to go to places that no one, most Australians don't get to go to. But it was pretty intense because you'd have all your ... They party really hard down there, and the shows, everything from the theaters and clubs down to smaller bars. After a while we started kind of losing it. We actually had to cancel the tour about a month and a bit ... We lasted about five weeks, but we had to cancel. Because the end of the tour was driving up to Cairns, in northern Australia, where there's more crocodiles than people. And then driving to Alice Springs or wherever, and [inaudible 00:37:36]. In the middle of Australia, the big giant mountain. And then driving from there all the way to Perth. All driving. And we said, "we're going to go insane." [crosstalk 00:37:48]

Evan Ball:
Did you kind of feel yourself kind of losing it a little bit?

Sascha Lazor:
Oh, definitely. I felt myself losing it before we even got to Australia, let alone five ... We left Australia, thankfully Strung Out came over and filled in for us, thank god. And they killed it for the rest of the tour. But that was a pretty intense time. Now, we don't really do anything more than two weeks is kind of the maximum.

Evan Ball:
No one tried to kill anyone, no inter-band fights?

Sascha Lazor:
No one succeeded.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
People tried, but no one actually did it.

Evan Ball:
That's good.

Sascha Lazor:
And then at the same time, there's been a lot of great moments. Obviously when we first started, there was a lot of great moments just because they were our first. But then for no particular reason, there's certain tours that just come together and are magical. A lot of it has to do with your crew and the other bands being really cool. That makes things so much better when you really enjoy everybody's company, and their music.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
It really matters. So there's been tours like that, that are random, that are just great tours.

Evan Ball:
All right, let's take a quick break and we'll come back with round two. Ernie Ball just got even slinkier. We're excited to welcome four new gauges to our world famous Slinky Guitar lineup. Whether you play lead, rhythm or drop tune for heavy riffs, Ernie Ball has a combination perfect for your playing style. Now offering skinny top beefy bottom Slinkys, combining the lighter playability of the regular Slinky set with the low end of the popular beefy Slinkys. And Mondo Slinkys for players who prefer a slightly heaver high end than our skinny top heavy bottoms. Also Turbo Slinkys, that sit neatly between the popular regular slinky and hybrid slinky strings. And Mighty Slinky, sitting just between Super Slinkys and Extra Slinkys. Head to ernieball.com to find yours today.

Evan Ball:
All right, we're back. Round two, Sascha Lazor from Mad Caddies.

Sascha Lazor:
Round two.

Evan Ball:
Last time we talked, being the minivan driving soccer dad that I am, I had never heard of Doja Cat, but I went home, looked her up, and was quite entertained to say the least.

Sascha Lazor:
Yup, she's entertaining.

Evan Ball:
She's huge. We kind of mentioned her casually, but she's got millions of streams and mega videos on YouTube. A little background, it sounds like she broke through with a viral video called Moo, with the memorable line, "Bitch I'm a cow."

Sascha Lazor:
Correct.

Evan Ball:
With matching imagery.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. It was a song that she recorded some songs just by herself. A buddy sent her a loop and a basic beat, and she just kind of jokingly made a song. She has some SoundCloud songs that are just kind of goofy that she can just record and put out for fun. And this was definitely one of those have a fun type vibe.

Evan Ball:
That's the thing, it's obviously humorous but she's at the same time carved out this lane where she has a serious musical career at this point.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. Once so many people heard about her, she wasn't just a one-hit wonder that just had one catchy song. She is a great artist.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
So all the people that got the attention that was drawn to her, once people heard her other stuff, they were like, "Wow, she's an actually really talented rapper, singer, songwriter." So it's not like she only had one song to-

Evan Ball:
And there's various entertaining videos at this point on YouTube.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
I don't know how I felt about those. My daughter actually, after we had the last interview, she was like, "Oh, she sings that song?"

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, now with TikTok and things like that, she has some other songs from TikTok. There's so many more mediums these days for artists to bust other than just the radio, the word of mouth, there's TikTok, and there's so many other things.

Evan Ball:
So how do you tie into this project?

Sascha Lazor:
I've known her since she was 17, 18 years old, for a long time. And basically, that came about is one of my buddies from Santa Barbara, his name's Yeti Beats. He was back in the day, when the Mad Caddies first started out, he was in a band called [inaudible 00:42:06]. We became friends and played at some shows together. And then we kind of started doing a bunch of touring and we lost touch and then we reconnected at a reggae show. We both were punk rock guys that ... We got back together, we both loved hip hop and reggae.

Sascha Lazor:
he had a studio in LA, so I went over and hung out and we just started collaborating. And Doja Cat came about, and Yeti started working with her a lot, and making music for her.

Evan Ball:
How did he know her?

Sascha Lazor:
We had another mutual friend named Jerry who just ... At that time she was just this 16-year-old kid who had some stuff up on SoundCloud. And so she just came to the studio one day. Yeti and I together, Yeti especially, he's worked with Cool Keith and Sizzla, and a bunch of different hip hop and reggae acts and stuff like that.

Sascha Lazor:
She was just another artists, and then felt really comfortable with her over the years. Yeti's been there since the beginning, helping her with her career and-

Evan Ball:
Did he write on-

Sascha Lazor:
Creatively, musically.

Evan Ball:
On Moo?

Sascha Lazor:
No, he didn't write it.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
I think she did that all herself, just in ... I think she did the song and the video in less than 24 hours and put it out.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Sascha Lazor:
It's just one of those joke SoundCloud kind of things.

Evan Ball:
Oh man. Okay. But you're going on the road with her, so what are you doing there?

Sascha Lazor:
So yeah, once she started playing shows and touring, obviously with all my experience with the Caddies, I just kind of came along just to help in ways I knew I could. At this point we all believed in her since the beginning, so whether it was driving her to the show or making sure that the monitors were okay at sound check.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:43:48] You knew how to tour.

Sascha Lazor:
A little TM, a little teching.

Evan Ball:
Oh wow, okay.

Sascha Lazor:
We did South by Southwest in 2014. I played guitar on one of the songs live. Everything. Taking her home at night after a studio session or whatnot. Anything that we could do, because she's a really talented, cool girl, and we all believed in her.

Evan Ball:
And you're going to possibly do some writing?

Sascha Lazor:
Ideally, I'm headed over there right now, we're working on some new songs. And I'm just bringing a bunch of guitars to the studio and I'm basically just going to play for a couple hours and chop up some things and see what makes it.

Sascha Lazor:
At this point, just because I know her doesn't mean ... Everyone submits songs, the best song wins. No matter who does it.

Evan Ball:
Sure.

Sascha Lazor:
But yeah, it's been fun. It seems like a lot of the producers that she uses have all known her for a while and really get her vibe.

Evan Ball:
Would you be inclined to move in a certain direction, bring reggae in or more guitar or maybe some vibe that she normally wouldn't be giving?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, for sure. There's been times on tour in the bus, I always bring an acoustic guitar on the bus, there's rarely a tour where there isn't an acoustic laying around for whatever just for fun. And sometimes whether it's in the morning or at night, I'll just be jamming on acoustic, and we'll just come up with cool songs. She'll come up with some great melodies just based off of what I'm playing. It's just another great way to write, as opposed to hearing a beat and just being stuck to that, and change the chords around it and stuff.

Evan Ball:
Do you listen to more hip hop now?

Sascha Lazor:
Since we've been touring with Doja, definitely. We played a lot of festivals, so I've seen a lot of amazing artists that I never really heard of before. But I've always had a pretty eclectic taste in music. When I was in high school, I was listening of the punk rock and I was listening to Cypress Hill and Ice Cube religiously. Reggae. I've always listened to a lot of different types of music.

Evan Ball:
So at the risk of sounding like a minivan driving soccer dad, when you say making beats, do beats entail more than just a drum beat? You're talking about chord progression and different layers of instruments?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, exactly. Taking loops or samples and just creating something out of that. And there's many different ways to do it. Some people start off with a frays on a keyboard and then build a drum pattern around that. Some people start with drum patterns. Obviously hip hop in the old days and still now but a little bit less, people started off with a sample, whether it's a vocal hook from some old soul song. Take that, chop it up, and then put some music behind that. There's a lot of different ways to do it.

Evan Ball:
So would you maybe record a guitar riff and then use that as your own sample?

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. For sure. I do that a lot. Because I can play a musical instrument, just like piano players obviously ... Everyone makes their beats differently, whether you sample something and you never really play a musical instrument on it and you just use the music from the sample. Or whether I might come up with a couple of cool guitar riffs and just loop them and then come up with a drum pattern behind that and a bass pattern.

Sascha Lazor:
The same thing with reggae, a lot of the reggae music I've done in Jamaica is the same thing. Come up with a cool bassline. Usually with reggae it starts with the bassline. So you come up with the cool bassline and then you just build it all around that.

Evan Ball:
All right, I'm excited to see what you might bring Doja Cat's way. I think that could be a really cool pairing of your style and hers mixing, that's awesome. We'll see what happens.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, right now like I said, a lot of really cool producers that we work with are submitting a lot of really cool songs. There's a lot of collaboration that goes on as well, it's not just one person does all their beats. Everyone has their own music and then we also have songs that people have collaborated on, like Yeti in particular. He's really great at collaborating with different people. There's no ego that goes with it, it's just kind of whoever's got the best idea. It's great to be able to work with people that can collaborate like that and not have anything get in the way.

Evan Ball:
Does this conflict with Mad Caddies at this point?

Sascha Lazor:
No, I'm able to do both. We'll see what happens in the future, but right now nothing really has clashed yet. I don't see any problem in the future with it at all. In fact, like I said, I love to do both. I love the Caddies, it's such a different world. Playing a live rock and roll reggae, ska, is great. But the different types of festivals you play and different traveling and everything, it's really cool ... There's a lot of similarities but there's also a lot of differences. Especially because I love so much different types of music, it's great to one day be at a rap festival.

Evan Ball:
You're really lucky you can break up your year that way too.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, I can go be listening to Lil Wayne one day, or Post Malone, the next day Sick of it All, it's pretty cool.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. So speaking of, last time we talked about touring and we talked about how you have such a unique job where you meet all kind of people, you become more worldly and inevitably come out with a bigger picture of reality, I would think. All the places you know around the world. We also talked about maybe the flip side, you guys had that long tour and then ending in Australia and you guys started to kind of go nuts, I guess.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, that was the closest we've come to unraveling.

Evan Ball:
I kind of want to dig in there a little more. Does the going nuts part, do you think that's more a function of something inherent to touring and the transient lifestyle and being unanchored and having new fans every day, or is it simply a matter of partying too hard?

Sascha Lazor:
Both.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Sascha Lazor:
There's plenty of people that probably are straight edge that tour and it drives them crazy just because of the amount of traveling that you do. But I think it's definitely a combination of both. Touring is a little more boring, but it's a lot easier if you're not hungover every day, for sure. The jet lag ... If you just have to go to a show and show up and do the sound check and wait around and do the show. But when you involve press with that, having to be at a radio station.

Evan Ball:
Podcast.

Sascha Lazor:
Podcasts. No, when on tour especially, when you involve things like press and always having to be in a car going from A to B, that definitely takes a toll as well. Touring on a bus is generally a lot more relaxed, even though you're in a different place, you kind of have the same routine every day. But when you're doing fly shows. As an example, Australia, we were driving a lot, but when you finish a show and you get back to the hotel at 2:30 or 3 AM but you have to get up at 7 or 6 to get to the airport for another flight, and you do that five days in a row, it's really starts to add up after a while.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
Our band, we all have really good relationships with each other. We don't fight a lot. And even then it's still difficult. So I can only imagine if you actually really despised everybody in your band, too.

Evan Ball:
It's just too much of anybody in close proximity over a long duration.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
There's going to be issues.

Sascha Lazor:
Totally. And now with our band, we're getting older, people got families and whatnot. I think we play a very healthy amount of shows. And when we do get together, we're happy to see each other. Our 10-day tour right now is usually an average.

Evan Ball:
You guys have learned.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, we've learned.

Evan Ball:
It's funny, that Australian tour you mentioned, which was basically tacked onto the end of lots of other tours, that's part of the story.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, it's 3 1/2 months of touring all over the world.

Evan Ball:
When you said that, I started looking up, you said Friends-o-Rama Tour.

Sascha Lazor:
[inaudible 00:51:37]

Evan Ball:
I eventually figured it out, and I was like, "Friends of Ron, Mad Caddies" and finally I came across Frenzal Rhomb I completely forgot, again, being out of the scene for a long time. Frenzal Rhomb

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
I remember them.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, you remember them.

Evan Ball:
I remember them and it hit me, yeah, an Australian band, it makes total sense.

Sascha Lazor:
We met them on the Warped Tour and we got on really well. They played a couple shows, one of those bands we had an instant connection with. The other thing that made that tour in particular difficult, Australians in general like to party.

Evan Ball:
When in Rome.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, when in Rome. The first time I ever really got punched hard was by a rugby player in Australia.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Sascha Lazor:
I had a scar for two years and it eventually faded.

Evan Ball:
Why would anyone punch you?

Sascha Lazor:
Chuck was doing donuts in the parking lot. Our singer was doing donuts in the parking lot of a club after a show, and apparently came too close to some rugby players. I don't remember much after that.

Evan Ball:
Really?

Sascha Lazor:
There was no contest-[crosstalk 00:52:38]

Evan Ball:
Were you in the car with Chuck?

Sascha Lazor:
I think one rugby player went through six of us in like three seconds.

Evan Ball:
Did Chuck get socked too?

Sascha Lazor:
No. Actually, I don't remember what happened to Chuck. But I know myself and Mark, our bass player, we both got hit, and I remember that only because we have a photo of it, with blood coming down my chin, going down my neck. I think he was wearing a ring or something like that. But it really didn't hurt that bad, it was more just a nick.

Evan Ball:
We talked briefly about Warped Tour, what are your early recollections with contact with the Ernie Ball company?

Sascha Lazor:
Obviously at the time you guys had the RV. And you guys also had air conditioning. And you guys happened to be from our neck of the woods, so that was, play guitar in the air conditioning with some friends or some people that you know from the same area? No brainer.

Evan Ball:
I'm going to add, and we had a fridge stocked, and we were inside the gates where all the other buses were backstage. Because our bus was also a booth that where we displayed guitars.

Sascha Lazor:
Yes, exactly. Prime viewing. We were stuck backstage in the bus, and our bus at that time was an 18-bunk. It was packed to the rafters with motorcycle riders and crew. It wasn't like a rockstar bus where you go on and you can lay in the lounge. You walk, at any given time, there's like seven people at the least. Like I said, literally like 18 people on the bus. It wasn't the most comfortable place on the bus.

Evan Ball:
So you used us.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, cold beer, cold place.

Evan Ball:
Sure. Free guitar strings.

Sascha Lazor:
A good place to do some girl watching, grab a guitar, play. It was like being in someone's living room, but you're in the middle of the Warped Tour.

Evan Ball:
It was a fortunate setup being in the warped tour having that. This is summer through the East Coast through Texas.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah, 95 degrees in Houston or whatever. You need to escape.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Sascha Lazor:
I was saying before, when Sterling came to town, Uncle Sterling came to town in Florida, he took Chuck and I, our singer, to a steakhouse, Shula's. Like I said, I had a ... I don't collect a lot of things but for some reason I had a matchbook from Shula's steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami or wherever it was. I'm like, "Oh, wait. Sterling took us there, I think that's the first time I'd ever been to a really nice steakhouse."

Evan Ball:
It's funny, I remember that night too. We were hardly sober at that point by the time dinner rolled around. I do remember it was somewhere in Florida, Shula's kind of rings a bell.

Sascha Lazor:
Yeah. Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. I'm pretty sure it's-

Evan Ball:
I wonder if the dinner was actually as good as I remember it.

Sascha Lazor:
After being on the Warped Tour for two months, yeah. Way better than a hamburger or beans or something like that. I remember it being good.

Evan Ball:
So you guys are all kind of spread out at this point, where you all live. What does the writing process look&a

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