From his time fronting the now-legendary American Nightmare (which was forced to change its name to Give Up the Ghost because of a naming dispute) to his current role vocalizing for the San Diego five-piece Some Girls, Wes Eishold has had a firm grasp over the hardcore scene in its different sects for years. He formed Some Girls in 2002, before the breakup of Give Up the Ghost, with Rob Moran (a former member of Unbroken who’s since left the band), and the lineup also features members of the Locust (bass player Justin Pearson), The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower (guitarist Chuck Rowell), and Secret Fun Club (drummer Sal Gallegos). Their sophomore full-length, Heaven’s Pregnant Teens, a twenty-five-minute sonic gauntlet designed to, according to the band, “seriously punish people,” was released on Epitaph in January. We caught up with Eishold the day after the band returned from its U.S. tour in support of Heaven’s Pregnant Teens and talked about the new album, American hardcore, and that other Some Girls.
[more:]How was the tour for this album? Did you find that you drew bigger crowds than in the past?
We just got home late last night. I don’t think we really drew bigger crowds at all actually … the entire tour was filled with just really bizarre turns of events — some funny and some not at all.
The press material for Heaven’s Pregnant Teens makes it seem like you and Rob Moran formed Some Girls overnight. Did you expect the project to have the longevity it has?
That is pretty much right. Well, that incarnation of the band anyway. What it is now is — I’m sure Rob would agree — pretty much nothing like the conception of the band. So, no, we didn’t expect anything like this.
It seems like all the records you’ve put out, either as American Nightmare/Give Up the Ghost or Some Girls, have sounded different from each other, both vocally and musically. Has this been intentional?
Yes and no. I say yes because there is no need to ever re-create the same specific formula, idea, et cetera repeatedly. I say no because it’s so natural that it isn’t even intentional. It just turns out that way.
How do you approach writing each song? Do you play a role in how the music is written as well, or do you just cover the lyrics and the vocals?
I have input and opinions in the bands, as we all do. For the most part, I just do the vocals thing.
Many who are into more traditional hardcore consider American Nightmare/Give Up the Ghost to be one of the most important hardcore bands of all time. Do you still feel any connection to that scene? Do you listen to any of the newer hardcore bands?
I really feel that the connection is small and ever dwindling. That music doesn’t really conjure any emotion in me, and the connection I feel is the same connection I feel to myself a few years ago, which was a blur and confusing and sad. The two are very intertwined. I don’t listen to really any newer hardcore bands because I don’t feel a connection with it. I really love early hardcore, and some current bands I listen to [include] Spacehorse or Pissed Jeans.
Did forming Some Girls contribute to the folding of Give Up the Ghost folded? Will there ever be a Give Up the Ghost reunion?
No, they had nothing to do with each other really. When I quit Give Up the Ghost, I don’t think I cared at that point about anything at all. I have no interest in playing a reunion and would feel silly, as well as cheap. That’s how I feel now about it.
Where do you feel Some Girls fits in with American hardcore?
To current hardcore, I don’t think we fit in at all. We aren’t trying to and don’t really ever think about it. What we put into our music has a lot in common with earlier hardcore bands I think, just not in sound.
Do you see hardcore as a style of music or some sort of belief system?
Hardcore is something to be defined by yourself only, and that is why it has gone to hell because people skip over that part. They go with the flow, but the flow is a wave of piss.
You used to be straightedge. In retrospect, how do you feel about the straightedge movement?
I feel different ways. I feel nostalgic when thinking about all of my friends and the stupid things we did when we were bored and straightedge … and how it was good that I was straight edge for as long as I was because I can be a pretty destructive person. But mostly I kind of think it’s silly and people should do what they feel like doing without the labels, and if they want to make a commitment to themselves they should. It just doesn’t need a name. But I get it. I mean, youth and early twenties are hard, and it’s this scene that comes with instant friends and an identity. It’s why people join frats or churches or anything else.
What brought about the decision to sign to Epitaph, and how have you approached potentially facing a wider fan base?
We just wanted to work with them as people, and they felt the same. I don’t really see it as being a big deal at all, I guess. We aren’t gonna go out of our way to limit ourselves, and it’s not like Epitaph thinks we’re this buzz band that’s gonna blow up or something. We just are what we are. I haven’t experienced a wider fan base, not compared to say, the end of Give Up the Ghost.
There was much controversy about American Nightmare being forced to change its name, but now there are two bands called Some Girls. Has this caused any problems yet?
Not really. Just when venues will list the show as her band and not ours. … I think we are cool with the name because we had and used it before [Juliana Hatfield and her band] did. I don’t know what I’d do if the problem arose again. Quit, probably.
You’ve insisted that Some Girls is not a side project. Do you have any musical side projects that you are planning?
Not really. Chuckie [Rowell, guitar] and I are doing some XO Skeletons songs, but mostly I’m concentrating on writing.
What are your favorite records of all time, and what have you been listening to recently?
All time — that’s too difficult, because I think and consume music all the time. Sometimes it seems weird to list what you’ve been listening to, so I’ll just say Pavement.