The Shrine are the kind of kickass/no-holds-barred band that deserve their own Guitar Hero series. Forget the geriatic Aerosmith or burned beyond recognition Metallica, these guys are the sort of metal/punk hybrid riff machine that would put perma-grins on players as they struggle to keep up on their plastic machines, trying not to trip over the legion of empty beer cans while peering to the screen through a foggy haze of illicit smoke. Many a weekend would disappear in such a manner if that video game franchise were still extant. However, the best way to dive into the Shrine experience is via the live show. Luckily for Western-based American citizens, the chance to see these cats spill it all out on stage in a fury of flailing limbs and avalanche of hair is still within grasp, as the band finishes the second half of the tour opening for Graveyard. I had the chance to chat with guitarist/singer Josh Landau as he manned the merch table and absentmindedly practiced his Flying V before the show.
So, this is the first night of the tour.
Yep, just flew in. Haven’t eaten anything since 6AM, LA time.
You’re big skateboarders so who’s it gonna be: Fu Manchu or JFA?
JFA. Well, I mean….yeah, I love ’em both but JFA.
There’s no wrong answer
JFA was all I listened to in high school, all of high school was hardcore and skating and JFA. All the stuff on the Thrasher tapes, and Flag and SST stuff. I love Fu Manchu, but didn’t really listen to them much. I really got into them when we started playing with them. I seriously ended up appreciating them more and more. We were just in Europe with them and they rip, every night.
They are touring on the The Action Is Go record over here this year.
Yeah that’s what they were doing in Europe. It was fucking amazing, it lined up perfectly with us and them, in terms of the audiences. It was pretty fucking sick.
Was that was your first time in Europe?
Everything go well, or anything out of the ordinary?
Things went surprisingly well, but we had some gnarly fuckups. Our van got broken into, my little brother’s passport got stolen, we got into some fights but it was awesome. We ended up going to a bunch of skateparks in Sweden and other places.
Did any of that stuff end up on your Tumblr?
Yeah, it did. You just gotta go back far enough but there’s a bunch of skate photos from all over. We’d meet people at random. We got off the ferry in Stockholm and went straight to the skate park and twenty minutes later my little brother found us a place to sleep that night. We played with Graveyard a year ago in LA which was great, but the way we ended up on this tour was that we were in Gothenburg, where they’re from, and a guy came up to the merch table. He buys a record and he’s wearing a Bones Brigade shirt. I started talking to him “awesome shirt man, I’ve been skating my whole life” and dropped that we needed a place to sleep that night. He says “Oh of course. Come stay at my place. I’ve got a motorcycle garage, an English pub and a silkscreen studio.” And we go back to his place and stay up until 8 in the morning because we were out of shirts, printing shirts with him. He shows us art he’s done and turns out that he’s Graveyard’s artist. He did the Lights Out patches, the design on the bass drum, a bunch of stuff. He calls us about a month later and says that Graveyard’s doing a US tour and if we want to get on the bus with them. Fuck yeah!
It must have been great working with Chuck Dukowski on your record
Yeah man he’s one of my idols if I have idols, totally.
How did that come about?
We met him in venice. His band plays around, they don’t get out of LA too much but his band plays around Venice. I met him when I was 15, when my old band played with his band. From then, we’d just kinda run into each other in places. I booked a show and asked him to play and afterwards he came up to us and said “I’d like to help you guys release your music, I’d like to help you get your stuff out there in any way I can.”
That’s quite the helping hand
An unbelievable honor.
Who does the artwork for you?
Actually it’s all different people. The reaper was our bass player’s girlfriend, Sam Mancino who travels around and does tattoos, the wolf was my buddy Kris Kirk. The art is always done by different people. People ask me who does the art like it’s the work of one guy but there’s a common aesthetic that runs through it. We love the old Bones Brigade stuff and obviously Pettibon.
What’s next for The Shrine after this tour?
We’re going over to over to Europe in April to play some stoner festivals, playing the Desert Fest with Pentagram and others in Berlin. We’re going back to this recording studio in Den Hague, Holland where we recorded ten songs and a really long jam but we really didn’t finish it; we haven’t even heard it yet! We were in this dungeon for five days with this guy Guy Tavares. He lives in this closed down elementary school (it’s really more of a squat) and he’s got this crazy analog recording studio in the basement, So we were there, pretty isolated. Going to back to finish that.
Do you have any broken bones or injuries from skating that still bother you?
A really bad one that still fucks with me. We played the Thrasher party last year at SXSW, the Death Match, and we’d been on tour for a month and I hadn’t really been skating at all. Skating the fucking ramp, i dislocated my knee, and it’s been since March last year, so it’s been ten months now and I’ve got a knee brace on right now. I just got an MRI and I’ve got no ACL. And it hurts, it hurts when I play it hurts leaning on it. It hurts every day.
Watt’s knee is fucked up now and he doesn’t move around much on stage.
I saw him a year or two ago with a cane and said “Hey, how’re you doing?” and he starts telling me about his knee injury. It sucks. It’s scary. I’m only 23 and I feel like I’m 45 going “I got no ACL, my knee is fucked.”