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Randy Randall of No Age
No ID, No Problem
by Matt Crawford on Jul 11, 2008
Since forming No Age in 2005, Dean Allen Spunt (vocals/drums) and Randy Randall (guitar) have put an emphasis on community and fan interaction. The band honed its skills at the Gillman-esque DIY venue The Smell in Los Angeles before eventually gaining the attention of Sub Pop, which released Nouns in May. As No Age continues to grow and perform at larger venues, the band is working to maintain its community-based roots with one-off gigs at art spaces, the occasional vegan restaurant and various public spaces. The duo performs in a more conventional setting July 28th at the Great American Music Hall. Randall spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from a tour stop in Washington, D.C.
SF Station (SFS): As the band grows in popularity, are you worried you might lose the sense of community No Age has worked for?
Randy Randall (RR): We are hoping to play both sides, with a larger venue that is publicized that people know about and another kind of underground show the next day. We want to do two shows in one city with a combination of audiences.
SFS: Do you go out of your way to perform at all-ages venues?
RR: Yes, very much so. I think it’s important to not alienate people that are under 18-years old.
SFS: Did you feel alienated at that age when you tried to go to concerts?
RR: Definitely, I went to a lot of shows when I was a teenager and it was always upsetting when I couldn’t get into a show.
SFS: Did you end up sneaking into a lot of shows?
RR: No, it was always just kind of heartbreaking when a band that I really wanted to see played at a bar. A lot of times, with those shows, I was just pissed and would go home. I would sneak into shows that I didn’t have money to pay for.
SFS: How much of an influence was The Smell on your development as a musician?
RR: It was a huge influence. Just being there as an audience member, I saw so many great local and touring bands. As my time there as an audience member grew, I got to know the people who ran it. It is all volunteers who run it, and we’re like a community. If you want to see something happen, you just have to kind of suggest it. It’s just a matter of saying it and putting the show together -- Xeroxing flyers, or whatever. It taught me everything I really know about being in a band and it gave us an opportunity to get onstage.
SFS: What would you recommend to kids who are interested in starting a similar venue?
RR: Just go for it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes and it’s the perfect time to learn something. You just have to do it and believe in yourself.
SFS: The L.A. punk group Black Flag and its label SST was also a big influence for you. What attracted you to that scene?
RR: It was two things. First, it is the amount energy and passion behind the songs. It’s incredible; there’s nothing more incendiary than Black Flag. The second part is the SST label and how it had so many different bands. The music they put was such a cool, varied collection of bands that it was inspiring.
SFS: You have had a pretty extensive tour schedule and you are on the road most of this summer. Do you miss anything from home?
RR: I definitely miss the food. Dean and I are vegan and there are so many great vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. There is also Mexican food.
SFS: Where is the worst place to be a Vegan?
RR: It’s not better or worse; it’s how challenging it can be. Japan was kind of tough. I can recall not eating very much in Japan. I lost probably 10 pounds and looked pretty slim at the end of the tour. But I don’t know if that was a bad thing. It put me on a good diet.
No Age performs at Great American Music Hall on July 28th. Tickets are $13. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.
by Matt Crawford on Jul 11, 2008