Thursday, September 25, 2014


I worked on this podcast for longer than most the others.  I took a chance with longer sections and longer podcast in general and with less emphasis on the music itself, trusting that the people into Crimpshrine would want to know as much as possible.  Also I have a strong personal connection to the band and had to allow that to be part of the podcast.  It makes me a tad uncomfortable to tie myself to a podcast as tightly as this one does, most obviously because it's not my story, but I can't deny that it fits into the band's narrative.  I was also pleased that Pete Rypins agreed to participate.  He was the one I had never met or even talked to before.  I was very impressed with his eloquence and candor.  Please give it a listen and place any comments below:

Episode 14 - Selected Sequential Recordings From The Catalog Of Crimpshrine

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Jughead's Basement Podcast featuring Angry Samoans' Back From Samoa has been released.  It is a long one and quite odd, if you ask me, the interviewer and editor.   PJ Galligan (guitarist on the first two records) died of cancer while I was working on the interviews.  He wanted to participate but couldn't speak because the cancer he was suffering from affected his ability to speak clearly.  He wrote out his answers and I got an actor friend here in Japan to record his responses.  They were long, too long for the podcast, and I had to edit them down.  In his choice of words, and in the depth, I could hear a man telling a selected audience about a special part of his life for the last time.  That may sound dramatic but while reading these, even before his death, this was the feeling I had.  He came off sounding proud, humble, as strange as the rest of the band members, but ultimately he ended up sounding just like a regular man living out his life.  He died in May, with the writing unfinished.  He went on a hiking trip with Alice,  his SO, (her words) and when he came back she said he sat down to upload his photos from the trip and then died.  I decided to still include these parts even though I didn't want the weight of this event to affect the podcast as an oral document of the band.  Alice searched his computer for more answers to questions he might not have not had time to send, but all she found was his self-written eulogy.   Including these writings made the podcast difficult to navigate, and ultimately added to the oddness of the feel and extreme length of the podcast.
What also added to the oddness is the disparate natures of the members themselves and their divergent perceptions of the workings of the band and even discrepancies about time itself.  They each have their own quirky natures and they are all more than willing to share their eccentricities.  Why would I expect any less from one of the most irreverent yet infectiously melodic punk bands?  It's a complicated podcast and I'm not sure if it's even completely listenable, at least in one sitting.  But I worked hard, while busy here in Japan, being a Wizard, and I think the finished product helps to show their importance in the punk scene.  They were vitriolic, humorous, stupid, offensive, insane, self-centered, childish, intelligent, passionate, and incredible at writing the shortest catchiest profane songs out of any punk band I liked.

Angry Samoans' Back From Samoa

I'd also like to thank Jeromy Corp and Stewart Jones for supporting this podcast, Landon Gale-George for putting me in touch with Metal Mike and Bill Vockeroth, and Jason Brow for his hard work editing the interviews.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


New Short Interview by Justin Egli on his great blog about living in Japan: Ikimasho.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


     I started the evening Jogging down the side streets of Osaka, over the river up hill and back sometimes forgetting to look right instead of left while crossing a busy intersection. It's easy to forget cars drive on the left side NOT the right side here in Japan. I underscored my run listening to a mix of acoustic songs, the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, and Nick Drake. Sometimes I want music to blast my socks off to keep me thrusting forward where running is more like a quick paced series of falling and catching oneself in rapid motion. But other times, like tonight, I needed soothing sounds to keep me moving, at peace with myself, at an evenly paced scenically aware zen-like speed. Of course this music makes me a bit more pensive, and when I took off the headphones the quiet of late night Osaka was hypnotic, causing me to reflect on my identity, now and then. I'm constantly in a dialogue with myself debating whether we change or not, whether identity is fluid, or static. I put the headphones back on and ended the run staring up at my U-Shaped Dorm called Kaigandori which stands tall over this part of the city. It's concrete facade lurks over a street by the same name. Here the Universal Studio's "talent" live in single apartments stacked ten floors high amongst factories and strobe light bedecked Pachinko Parlors.

      I underscored this final moment before going back to my room with a Screeching Weasel song, One Step Beyond, from the album Wiggle. It made me sad, the camaraderie I had with Ben was gone, long gone, but in moments like this, it feels still there with me, eerily present, but so obviously gone, the us then and the us now standing in such different places, in completely different time zones, and states of mind, but simultaneously so. We, everyone living now, are all simultaneously so, but at this moment it was about his and my simultaneity. And as I said, it was sad, nostalgic, yet always the pride, the confidence I always have no matter how dark my thoughts about that band, I'm always secure in my love for the band and the dedication we gave it beyond the restraints of our friendship. Fuck, we were good.

      This post was supposed to be about why I really like this song, One Step Beyond, a song with a simple verse and chorus, simple melodic lead and simple muting and strumming, and why I chose it to be played at our last show at the House Of Blues… But I don't think I can explain it well, or at least to a point where an outsider would say, "Yeah Man, that does seem important." And in many ways that correlates to how I feel my role in the band is ultimately difficult to interpret. I am too often for my own good struck with the need to explain my past role, but ultimately I feel incapable of expressing it in a way fitting to its complexity.  So it's always there in my head.

      So… the song was like all the other palm muted to open strum songs but for some reason during rehearsals I changed the setting on my guitar, (some weird tone button that my Westone guitar had that I never ever used) and it altered the sound of my muting. It made it attack a bit more than my lack of confidence in my steady rhythm playing would have normally allowed. But for some reason I committed to it and it worked! And yes, perhaps this slight change may seem so small and mildly insignificant in the face of all the other elements to the song, but I feel it changed everything, something so small, made this song special to me. Subtle, yet I can't conceive of that song recorded any other way.  Perhaps this helps to explain a small segment of my part in SW.

PS. This is the only version I could find of the song on Youtube.  It cuts out at the end, but you get the idea.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Ramona Confidential Interview

New Interview of Me as I head out to Osaka Japan to be a Wizard in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Come by and visit!
Ramona Confidential Interview of John Jughead Pierson

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Interview about the term Pop Punk conducted by Jonas Cannon

The following is from an interview I did conducted by Jonas Cannon for his zine Live Punk. I enjoyed how it came out, so I am posting it here. Somehow in a short article his questions and my responses did a good job of expressing my mixed feelings about the label "Pop Punk." In this same zine there is an interview with Henry Rollins, and you can tell he REALLY didn't want to be talking about the philosophy of pop punk. I on the other hand love melodic music so it only seems fitting that my feelings about it may be a bit more sympathetic to the label of "pop."

Interview With Jughead By Jonas 
 John “Jughead” Pierson is a really cool, really chill guy. We met a few years ago through mutual friends. He was one of the founding members of Screeching Weasel, but he’s also been in several other bands, like The Mopes. Now, he sometimes does theater, sometimes travels around the world to perform with old pals. He’s written a novel. He makes a podcast called ‘Jughead’s Basement,” where he’s interviewed The Queers, Operation Ivy, The Lillingtons and Aaron Cometbus—just to name a few. Occasionally, he’ll throw together a show in his basement; he’ll invite over several people, barbecue up hotdogs in his backyard, buy a keg, maybe sell a few T-shirts along the way. I think he’s punk as fuck, but if you asked him, he would say no, he’s not punk & hasn’t been for quite some time. To him, it’s a label; one that might be necessary within the industry, but ultimately too restrictive to hold as an identity. 

 Jonas: So I guess I'd ask, starting out, what does the term "pop punk" mean to you? 

Jughead: whoa Well... there was a time when there was a Chicago magazine called Illinois Entertainer. They had a section about new bands, requesting all local bands to send in a detailed description. One category asked you to choose what type of band it was, they had things like: Rock. Country. Alternative. Soft Rock.... Anyway. I didn't think they had a good one to describe us so I wrote: 50's Punk.
 This was before the label Pop Punk came to be. I actually have no idea when it surfaced, but I don't think we were considered that until we reformed for Bark Like A Dog. Earlier than that, we were trying to emulate The Circle Jerks and Angry Samoans... Goof Core. The Ramones came in later. So to try to shorten the answer: Pop Punk to me is basically taking the energetic power chord driven music of earlier punk, simplifying it, and making it more infectiously melodic. The Ramones just call it Rock N Roll. I don't really consider Screeching Weasel a Pop Punk Band. Riverdales, yes, but SW was much more.

 Jonas: Yes. That's part of what fascinates me about the term. When I got into punk, I never heard the term pop punk. But then later on, it seemed like a lot of those bands that served as my introduction to punk were considered pop punk. 

Jughead: Pop Punk doesn't usually go beyond 3 basic two finger chords; any more intricacy and it just becomes power pop.

 Jonas: Ah. But people used the term later on? Back then, no one was really saying "We are a pop punk band!" Is that accurate? Because I'm pretty sure I didn't hear the term in the 90s at all.

 Jughead: Yeah, that's what I was saying. Ramones were just a bare bones Rock N Roll band. I keep bringing up the Ramones because they are obviously the forefathers of pop punk. But to answer your question, No, I don't remember ever being called a pop punk band until around 96 or 97 And then a lot of bands were being Grandfather-claused in, like Mr. T and SW

 Jonas: What was the response like? Was it more "whatever, we're just doing our thing..." or kind of "What the hell? We're PUNK--where is this 'pop' word coming from." ?

 Jughead: It never really bothered me. It's a label, like any other. It bothered me more that after The Riverdales, when SW got back together, to the public we lost all our other influences and we were just being considered a derivative of The Ramones. I love the Ramones, but I never wanted a band that was doing what the Ramones was doing. So the label Pop punk didn't bother me, but the limited view and vision of what that meant to the average listener... did bother me.

 Jonas: That's really interesting, because I would've never lumped you guys with The Ramones. Ever. A lot of the stuff from Fat Wreck--Screeching Weasel, Propaghandi, Tilt, Anti-Flag--that was my introduction to punk. To my ears, all of that stuff was world's away from the Ramones.

 Jughead: Yeah, [but] I'm pretty sure it's two affiliations. The Ramones and being on the same label as Green Day. But I must state, I don't have a problem with a label of Pop Punk, I have more of a problem with the audience and derivative bands who think that means they have to wear leather jackets, jeans, and only listen to The Ramones influenced bands. Punk and Pop has always been the other side of the spectrum from Prog Rock or Metal and to me, as a style that is what they are doing, but as a philosophy for life, it gets a little restrictive.

 Jonas: How so?

 Jughead: When you start infusing a single musical styling with Philosophy you begin to shrink the scope of what music and life can be. I constantly think the pop punk scene is one step away from stoning other musical styles. If they had the balls.

 Jonas: YES. That's exactly what I'd been thinking. Which totally bleeds into another question I had, which was what your thoughts are on pop punk as it is now...

 Jughead: Jonas, I really don't have much of an opinion. I don't really come in contact with it much. I still run into people that I am surprised by being so cut off from other music, but then I'll meet someone that loves Cat Stevens, Bach, System Of A Down, and The Lillingtons, as much as I do. SW had a song called Slogans, And I think that song hit a chord. It was in a response to the skinheads and their limited musical likings and violent tendencies. But I think it stretches much farther. Even Outcasts want to fit in--and they can be the most dangerous.

 Jonas: Definitely. That's something that it took me a while to come to terms with. I think I felt a little alienated for a while, because the range was wide in terms of the music I liked, but I felt like in some punk scenes it felt very, well, restrictive. like it wasn't punk to like certain stuff...

 Jughead: The world wants to think in black and white... 0's and 1's, but it's really just a spectrum of grays. I'll end with one more thing. Years and years ago, I saw an interview with Bob Mould from Husker Du, where he had said that his musical tastes had changed, and whether he sounded negative about his punk influences or if that is what I wanted to feel back then... I have made an effort to be critical of my punk scene and to be honest with myself and others that it is just another one of my musical passions out of many others, but it is hard to get that openness of styles across without sounding like you have forsaken the movement that has helped to make you what you are. That is often my dilemma.