Guff play the fun, melodic skater punk that the Warped Tour was created for. Only, they don’t suck. I sat down with frontman Ash who is high on life. And lots and lots of drugs. -Adam Coozer
Guff, I like your name because it reminds me of boxcar hobos. Do you play old-timey skiffle?
What? Boxcar Hobos? What the hell are you talking about? We don’t really play skiffle, but actually I did use to hop trains to get around the country for a few years. Now we just play punk-rock and tour around the country in a van instead. But, sometimes, really late at night, I hear sounds from the back of the van that sounds like our bass player, Charlie, is “playing some skiffle” with himself…we try not to interrupt, it gets pretty lonely out there on the road, ya know…
I heard you guys were arrested during a drug bust. Tell me all about it. Are you still on the dope?
Ok, but it’s kind of a long story…Here goes: Ironically, that story occurred on April 20th (420). We were driving from Georgia to Ohio to start a tour and got pulled over in Kentucky, quite possibly the worst state in the union. We left home with a little less than + oz. of weed, equally split amongst us. We wrapped each 1/8th in plastic and stuck em in our pockets.
Now, in KY, you’re not allowed to drive in the left lane of any 2-lane highway unless you’re passing someone on the right. It’s a pretty good law actually when you think about it. Well, needless to say, Jay, our guitar player who happened to be driving, WAS NOT thinking about it. There was no one on the road, except for us and the state trooper, and here was Jay, driving in the fast lane for like, 8 miles or so… That was all it took to get pulled over.
I was in the passenger seat, and as soon as I saw the blue lights come on I started yelling, “Everybody wake up and eat your drugs, the cops are here and we’re getting pulled over NOW!” Let me preface this by also stating that we always go prepared to eat the stash…so, when I sounded the alarm, everybody went to work on their part of the weed.
Our drummer Reed, who was in the back, was the first one to swallow his part of the stash. Jay and I, up in the front also quickly pulled out our drugs and swallowed them whole. You see, the point of wrapping them individually and shit was so that we could swallow them if we had to.
Our bass player ripped his bag open while he was pulling it out of his pocket, and it blew up all over the loft! Now remember, we’re still pulling over to the side of the road at this point. So he starts scooping it all off the loft and shoving it in his mouth and chewing it like it’s bubble gum or something. By now, the van is completely pulled over and with the exception of the loft, we were looking pretty good…ready for the “yes sir” and “No sir” that would be sure to follow. It was right about the time the trooper was at the back bumper of the van, walking up, that disaster struck.
Jay, who was still in the driver’s seat, looks over at me, says “I’m sorry man, I’m really sorry” and holds out his hand as he pukes up his stash (as well as some other nasty looking shit) into it and stares blankly at me. With only seconds to spare, I grab the puked up weed out of his hand (with some puke too) and popped it in my mouth and swallowed it, literally, while Jay was rolling down the window to speak with the cop!
It was a crazy experience to be sure. But, when the cop searched through the van, he found nothing. And he never asked what it was that our bass player was chewing…good thing he didn’t ask to see him blow a bubble! After the cop left empty handed, we went to the nearest rest area to calm down and relax a little…and to finish the job.
You see, the other reason for wrapping them all up in plastic, nice and tight-like, was so that if we did have to eat them, we could get them back up. And that’s exactly what I did. I went in to the rest area bathroom, put my fingers down my throat, and made myself throw up in the sink until I puked up two bags of pot! I was the only one that was able to make myself puke it up, but since I also had eaten Jay’s part of the stash, we ended up recovering a whole + bag!
It was nasty at first to be sure, but we went to a friend’s house in Ohio before the show that night, dumped the weed out on a paper towel, and microwaved it for about a minute. That dried all the stomach acid in it so that it would burn, and even though it smelled kinda funky, we all smoked off of it for about another week. In answer to your other question; yes, we are still on the dope. You don’t go through an experience like that just to be quitters.
Do your parents worry about you and your lifestyle?
That’s funny, actually I’m sure they do, but they are all used to the way we are by now. Frankly, the band has been the most productive thing we’ve ever done, so our parents are more and more supportive of it. I assure you, we were all much worse when we were younger. We have some interesting parentals as well. Like Charlie’s dad for instance is a biker, not like a weekend-warrior, but like a prison-tattoo kind of biker. A real 1%er. He’s awesome. He comes out to shows when we’re in his area and gets us all hammered drunk! It’s funny because Charlie looks a lot like his dad, and we all ride vintage Vespa and Lambretta scooters. When they stand next each other, with Charlie in a Fred Perry and pork-pie hat and his dad in leather chaps and long hair, it’s like looking in some weird mirror or something. It’s like there are two versions of the same dude: a scooterboy version and a biker version. It’s awesome. I’ll try to get you a pic sometime.
Steve Perry of Journey sings on one of your songs. How the hell did that happen? Did you guys win the Awesome Lottery or something?
Dude, we invented the awesome lottery! No seriously though, it was cool. He came into the studio to see a friend, liked what he heard, asked US to cover one of HIS songs, and then produced it and sang with me on it. The song is called “I can see it in your eyes” and it was actually an unreleased Journey song. So, technically no, Steve did not sing on one of our songs, but he did sing on one of his that we covered with his help! And yes, it is on the new record…
So tell me about Steve Perry. Was he as awesome as one would expect? Did he snort a bunch of coke, trash your equipment, and slash you before leaving?
Steve is an awesome guy! He was real down-to-earth, and working with him and relating to him was easy. We put the song together in two days, from pre-production all the way to beginning mixes! We all got along well, and we knew how to communicate with each other. It made the process go by very quickly. He played it pretty straight in the studio and I suspect he plays it pretty straight in general these days, so there was no real destruction, and no one was using drugs in the studio at all except for Guff. Which we used a lot. Hmm, that seems to be the way of things… And for the most part, we’re into “downers.”
Sorry to keep doting on the Steve Perry thing, but now that you’ve met him, is there anyone left worth collaborating with? Who would be in the Guff All-Stars Supergroup?
Well, recording with Steve was one of the highlights of our trip to LA and one of the highlights of making this new record. But, we also got a lot of help from other kick ass people who we’ve all long admired, too. First, the record was produced by Charlie Paulson of Goldfinger, and we used a lot of his and John Feldman’s gear. They are both really great guys. Also, for most of the record we used Greg Hetson’s (Bad Religion) Marshall and Mesa Boogie amps to track guitars…Greg was a great guy too, and helped out a ton on this album. Thanks Greg! To get back to the question though, I don’t know who would be in the Guff All-stars Supergroup for sure, but I could drop one name that I know the band could agree on…Bruce Dickinson! Come on, Bruce, what’ya say?
What’s one secret you’ve kept from your bandmates?
That’s a tough one…We are all so much like family that I really can’t think of a secret that I have kept from them…It’s strange now that you’ve made me think about it, that we are all so tight. I love the boys in my band like they’re blood relation. No, more. Anyway, if there was and I told you, they’d find out then, wouldn’t they?
Seriously though. Steve Perry?? That’s awesome.
Yeah, you’re right. He is a cool dude, a good producer, and easy to work with and for. We were glad to make a cool friend like Steve while we were out in LA. One of the best parts of the experience was watching him get into the sound booth and sing. I know it had been literally years since he had sang on a recording, and duets with Steve Perry don’t happen all that frequently, so, watching him record his tracks, and sharing a mic with him, harmonizing at the same time…it was indeed awesome.
What’s one question you’ve always wanted to ask me?
Dude, I don’t even know you! But how do you come up with some of these questions? WOW!
Fuck the kids. Discuss.
Not until they’re 18, dude, unless you’re in the deep south, and then it changes by state. Nah, the scene has grown, and “the kids” aren’t necessarily just like you and I may have been, but there are a lot of kids out there that ARE getting into the scene for the right reasons, and when the fads die out, they’ll be the ones who continue to carry the torch to the next generation of punk-rockers, so take it easy on them, eh? Also, it seems like there is this backlash against the kids in the scene by the older crowd, and I just don’t get it. How are we supposed to perpetuate a scene of any significance if we slam all the kids who are trying to see what we’re about? When I was growing up, I would walk out of any random show and there would be a guy outside with a cardboard box giving away copies of a mix-tape he made for the sole purpose of turning kids onto kick-ass underground music!! Where have those duders gone? You don’t see that kind of leadership or responsibility in the scene anymore. You should make a comp. And go pass them out to youngsters at shows! GO NOW! DO IT!
I will! Thanks for the interview!!
And thank you. Those were some great questions…Remember to let everyone know that they can check us out online at: here, our new website at: here, or the label that puts out our records at: here. Aside from that, our new record, “Symphony of Voices” will be out in stores and available online on June 26th, and we will be playing Warped Tour from July 22nd through Aug. 10th (with a couple days off here and there.) Thanks again for taking the time to interview us! YOU ROCK!