I cannot picture you not smoking.
I didn’t smoke for eight months. It was intense. My stomach was never normal in the whole eight months. I’m addicted. It’s my vice. Smoking’s terrible.
How many times have you been back and forth across the U.S.?
Probably like seven or eight. Me and Matt [O’Brien], (Chris’ brother), drove by ourselves in 2001. That’s when Matt started smoking cigarettes (Laughs). But the band, it’s probably been six or seven times. We’ve been to Colorado a ton of times. We played Red Rocks. It’s unbelievable. The Gorge is next on the list. We’ve had great opportunities in the past and hopefully in the future.
Was Giant Panda the first band you played in?
Incarnations of Panda. Funk You, I guess, was the first, but that was me, Matt, and James [Searl], (Giant Panda’s bassist/singer). When I was a freshman in high school I played in a band with three seniors. We were called Masters of Seduction, and it was so much fun. I was totally the cool kid. We got to play all these babes’ graduation parties. They were really great, funny guys. It was Ben Hill, Ben Howe, and Billy Crowe. Ben Hill being the hysterical upperclassman that everyone liked and was like, “Fuck it; I want to be in a band.” He was like, “You should tell us what to do because we have really no idea what we’re doing.” That was a blast. It’s always been pretty much in the family.
You grew up with James?
James was such an asshole to me when we first met. We met a couple times, but we were at Phish, 1999, and I kind of was like, “I’m not too fond of this guy. He’s kind of a jerk.” My brother was already really good friends with him. He did something that I wasn’t fond of and I remember like, “Man, this kid,” and he passed out. He fell straight back onto me. And I kind of caught him. It turned out to be, like, a classic James Searl pass- out. That helped secure our friendship, me catching him falling over.
How’d you meet Dylan?
He moved to Brighton, James’ and my suburb, from Puerto Rico, when he was about 17 or 18. We were in love with Dylan’s bands when we were young. My mom would bring me and Matt to see Dylan play in a band called the Right Band. We got old enough to become friends, and pretty much the first time we jammed it was like, “This is on, for sure.” Dylan’s been in the circle a long time.
Who’ve you played with that’s the most fun backstage?
In hindsight, G. Love is the fucking man. He wanted to hang out, play the blues, and hit on girls. And other bands pretend they want to do that, and they don’t. Like, G. Love would finish a set and be like, “Yo! Meet me on the bus with the guitars in 10 minutes!” You’d go and he’d be like, “Let’s rage.” And it really caught me off guard. It was super cool. That guy’s a great guy. And you never know. Is this guy going to be total rockstar vibes? It was like, “I’ve been seeing you since I was 12 years old. This is a really big deal to me. Thanks for bringing us on 27 shows.” And he’s like, “Yeah, we’re going to rage.”