Wavves Hang Loose
Mass Appeal catches up with Wavves, a non-surfing surf rock band based out of Los Angeles that likes to play to travel.
Words by Nate Denver Photos by Chris Shonting
THEY LIVE IN CALIFORNIA. OUR WRITER SAYS THEIR JOINTS FEEL LIKE SURF ROCK. THEY’RE DOWN WITH GZA. YOU SHOULD KNOW THESE DUDES. THARE ARE CALLED WAVVES.
Half of you lives at the top of a hill. The other half lives near Echo Park. I am fond of Echo Park. My wife and I were married there. I saw several corpses there. My cat was born there. I ate many good things there. Your house has framed pictures of Jay-Z and BIG. They were buddies. You played FIFA during the interview. Two skateboards rested outside of your front door. Both had Spitfires. Spitfires are good wheels. Bullet 66s were great wheels. There is a treadmill in your house. One of you was not wearing an Elvis jumpsuit. You make good surf rock. Keep up the good work.
Mass Appeal: Which one of you is the faster runner?
Nathan: I think I am.
Have you raced?
Stephen: You mean in real life? I am. (laughs)
N: You’ve just gotta take his word for it.
S: I can run the 10-4-40 … I don’t know what that means.
Sounds pretty fast. When was the last time you felt scared?
S: Uh. My roommate’s out of town and I sleep with a butcher’s knife next to my bed, so last night I definitely felt scared.
I sleep with a hammer next to the bed.
S: I like being alone, but I also am scared of the dark.
How about you?
N: I ain’t never scared. Last time I was scared? When my little brother almost beat me at FIFA (PS3).
Have you ever seen a ghost?
S: I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’ve experienced paranormal activity before.
N: He got fucked by a phantom.
S: My first apartment was built in the 1860s. It wasn’t antebellum; it was built right after the Civil War in Tennessee. I lived with Billy, our old drummer actually, and almost on a nightly occurrence there would be this weird, deafeningly loud static noise that would come out. And like, this happened before we moved anything in, like any stereo equipment, so it wasn’t any of our stuff, it was just electricity noise in the apartment, like really, really loud — you had to hold your ears. And then we had a friend over one time and he stayed and, while we were gone, he stayed there in the day and he heard the same thing and then he started looking in the closet and he found three bullet holes, and he started digging in the bullet holes and he found three bullets and they were like really old musket bullets. So, yeah, some people got shot in the 1800s in that apartment and they’re still there.
Where was that?
S: In Memphis.
N: I cleansed this house with sage. And I put it in all the corners, as to not deal with any ghosts.
Do you guys both surf?
N: Neither of us.
Is not surfing a prerequisite for having a good surf rock band?
N: [Laughs] I don’t know.
There’s a nice tradition of non-surfing surf musicians.
N: Dick Dale didn’t surf. Brian Wilson didn’t surf. I think The Ventures, some of those guys probably surfed.
Would you try surfing?
N: I used to surf; I just don’t anymore. The beach is too far away. When I lived in San Diego it was like a one-minute drive. Here you have to sit in crazy traffic.
Do you guys both skate?
N: I do.
S: I tried to in 7th grade, but I’m really top heavy.
N: He tried to on tour once. He just stood on a skateboard for a minute and almost broke his neck.
Did you ever see a shark when you were surfing?
N: I’ve never seen a shark. I used to surf in Virginia Beach though; we lived there when I was younger and I saw a lot of jellyfish.
Did you get stung?
N: Yes, I have.
S: I caught a shark. I went deep-sea fishing with my dad on the Redneck Riviera, in Florida, Gulf of Mexico. It was probably four feet long, it was decent size.
Did it fight?
S: Yeah, it fought. I was nine.
Did you keep it?
S: We did the worst thing possible. We kept it ‘cause we wanted to get it stuffed, so we killed it. And then the boat ride took like four hours to get back to shore and then we found out that it cost like $600 to get it stuffed, so we went to a gator pit and fed the shark to the gators.
Did you see it get devoured?
S: Uh, I saw a little baby gator like, take it and start gnawing at it.
S: The captain of the boat said the pit was full of gators. We just saw a little baby.
Are you guys the kind of guys who live with regret?
N: Yeah, definitely. I regret tons of shit. You don’t live with regret? Get the fuck out of here, Stephen!
N: Who are you kidding?
S: If I started thinking about every bad decision I’ve made, I’d just have to kill myself.
S: My life is in shambles right now, so I can’t think about that stuff.
N: I mean, you’re dressed as Elvis right now. I’d just like to point that out.
Are you guys fighters?
S: No, but if need be, I’ll fight.
N: We’ve been in fights before.
S: I’ll cry after the fight. The guy who produced the record (John Hill) likes to fight, though. He gets beat up every morning. He hires a UFC guy to come to his house and he just gets beat up for 2 hours.
N: And then he comes and works with us.
Do you feel like you’re a good person?
N: [Laughs] I’ll start this one: NO.
Would you like to be a good person?
N: Um. I mean, I guess not. Well, yeah. That would be cool if I could trade places with like a fireman (laughs).
S: I feel like I have good intentions, but I’m probably pretty selfish. Are you a good person?
I could be better.
N: Yeah, I think that’s probably the proper answer.
S: Yeah, I could be better, but I’m not trying to improve myself right now.
N: I have spurts of trying to improve myself.
S: I’m going to pick up my roommate from LAX today, in rush-hour traffic.
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
N: Does my shoe collection count?
S: I was paralyzed when I was a kid and had brain surgery and I got a sponge bath from a girl who looks like Jennifer Love-Hewitt. That’s my favorite thing about myself.
What was paralyzed?
S: I had a brain abscess on the left side of my brain. It was streptococcus and it got into, I had my wisdom teeth removed and it got into the wounds and it travelled up to my brain and settled there and I got a big abscess and the pressure of it paralyzed my right side and my face was all droopy.
Surgery took care of it?
S: They couldn’t remove it, so they split open my skull and drilled into the abscess and took a sample of it and did a culture. It was a bacteria; it was streptococcus, so they figured out what antibiotic I could use and I was in the hospital on an IV for like, six months.
What would you like to change about yourself?
S: I’m really fat.
S: I’d like to lose weight. That’d be really cool.
N: I think I could probably drink a lot less and generally treat myself better. I’m not the most healthy person. I really like Popeye’s.
Have you been to Pat and Loraines?
Pat and Loraines is down the street from here. It’s where the first scene in Reservoir Dogs was filmed. It’s good. What’s your favorite thing about Wavves?
N: For me, it’s just a great creative outlet. And it’s a way for me to travel and see the world.
Is there a place you never want to go back to?
N: I haven’t had the best luck in Germany. I wouldn’t mind going back there again. But the last time we were there I got arrested.
Where would you like to go?
N: I’d like to go to Thailand. I’d like to go back to Japan. And I’d like to go to, like, Russia or China.
S: An extensive South America tour. That would be cool.
Who’s your favorite guitar player?
S: J. Mascis.
N: Yeah, I love J. Mascis. I like … that’s a hard one.
S: Kirk Hammett. He’s pretty good, too.
N: Yeah, Kirk is awesome. He’s really cool, too. I met him at Billy Joe’s 40th birthday party. He was fucking awesome. Most of the time you meet people like that and they end up being not as great as you would expect them to be. But Kirk Hammett was like, super genuine. Really awesome.
This story appears in Mass Appeal Issue 52. Read more stories from the issue here.