The Icarus Line
Last Rock n Roll Gang


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April 16, 2014

Interview with Karl Spider

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For The Icarus Line’s European tour late last year, the band found themselves in a rut after guitarist Lance Arnao unexpectedly dropped out of touring commitments. In need of an urgent replacement, and as a consequence therefore, Joe and the gang scouted out fellow LA resident (and temporary replacement) Karl Spider who was more then happy to go on tour with the “Last Rock N Roll Gang”. What follows therefore is an interview which I conducted where I sought to discover a little bit more about the personable guitarist, and what he thought about English food. Enjoy the interview:

What’s your name?
KS: Karl Spider.

What do you do in The Icarus Line?
KS: I play guitar.

How long have you been playing guitar for?
KS: 11 years.

How long have you been playing guitar with The Icarus Line for?
KS: 2 months? A month and a half?

How did the opportunity arise for you to play in The Icarus Line?
KS: I had another band that recorded with Joe (Cardamone) and I knew him from that. I told him that I liked the new record. And they were releasing a guitarist at the time, so um… I kind of came in and practised with them. So… yeah.

Was that Lance Arnao, and did you end up filling his shoes?
KS: I don’t know. I think I filled Joe’s shoes since I’m mostly playing stuff that he wrote.

How does it feel for you to tour around the UK and to also be part of The Icarus Line?
KS: How does it feel?

Yeah…
KS: Um…

I mean when you came home and told your mum and dad that you were part of The Icarus Line. How did they take it?
KS: (Laughs) They don’t really know. I mean, they know. I guess my dad doesn’t know. I haven’t talked to him in like a minute, but my mum was excited for me to travel. But she doesn’t care as to what band I’m in, unless I’m supporting Neil Young or something. I mean, not Neil Young, but Neil Diamond. My mum is a huge Neil Diamond fan.

Are you from LA?
KS: Yes.

How competitive is the guitar scene over in LA?
KS: Everyone plays guitar. So there are a million guitarists in Los Angeles, and if you are not doing anything different, then no-one gives a shit. And even if you are, then they most probably still don’t give a shit.

How old are you?
KS: 26.

And you’ve been playing guitar for 11 years, which means that you must have picked up the guitar at 15. What impelled you to pick up a guitar rather than the drums, or even be a vocalist?
KS: I thought it was cool.

Who inspired you to pick up the guitar?
KS: To pick up the guitar? Well, let’s see. I was 15… Well, I mean I picked it up when I was 13 but I didn’t really play the guitar until I was about 15. But when I was 13? Man, that’s rough. I used to love ‘Limp Bizkit’.

Wez Borland?
KS: No, not Wez Borland.

Who’s their guitarist who wears that crazy monkey suited…
KS: That’s Wez Borland. That’s him. He’s weird and he’s out there, and I respect that.

What bands got you into music? It can be a musician, like Michael Jackson, for all I care…
KS: One of the first albums I ever owned was Smash by ‘The Offspring’. I loved it and can still sing most of the songs. My older sister had a ‘Blink 182’ CD, so I listened to that. And then I started listening to punk music… Like ‘The Adolescents’, or ‘The Descendants’.

Bearing in mind that you listened to ‘The Descendants’, were you influenced at all by the West Coast Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph bands at the time?
KS: Not Fat Wreck Chords. But Epitaph? I think so. Probably. Who were on Epitaph?

‘Bad Religion’.
KS: I liked them a bit.

Speaking of Epitaph etc… The Icarus Line were once on Hellcat records. What did you think of Hellcat records, with Tim Armstrong from ‘Rancid’?
KS: I used to love Rancid when I was around 11.

What bands are you into right now?
KS: I listen to a lot of ‘Soft Cell’. And ‘Ace of Bass’.

You know, you’ve just mentioned all these bands. Are you concerned at all that mentioning bands like ‘Ace of Bass’ might affect your musical credibility?
KS: No.

What about when you mentioned ‘Limp Bizkit’?
KS: Not at all. I was 9 years old at the time. I think liking them was pretty appropriate, as I think their target was 9-12 year olds at the time.

You’re 26 right now, whereas every other member of The Icarus Line are 30+.
KS: Oh, I thought they were all in their 40’s (laughs).

How does that make you feel, knowing that you’re the youngest of the band?
KS: I don’t know. I feel like I’m among peers.

You’re sporting a pretty impressive moustache. We’re in November right now, so are you growing your moustache because of the whole Movember thing?
KS: Yeah, I started on the 1st November.

Today is 20th November, so that’s some pretty impressive growth for 20 days…
KS: I grow a lot of hair really fast.

Bearing in mind that no-one else here is growing a moustache, do you think you’re actually growing a moustache because you want to appear older than you actually are?
KS: (Laughs) I haven’t thought about it that way. It could be true.

What are your plans when you go home with The Icarus Line in 3 days?
KS: I have some other bands that I am going to play some shows with.

Is that due to contractual obligations?
KS: No, not like a signed agreement or anything. But as far as friendships go… Yes. And I have to figure out how I’m going to pay my bills.

So you’ve been touring Europe for over a month now. What would you say are the cultural differences between the UK and USA?
KS: Food is a big one. I think food here is better. I think the options for food (where I live in LA) are definitely fewer. To be honest, I don’t feel that our countries are that much different. We speak the same language.

One way as to how people connect is through humour. How do you think humour translates across the Atlantic?
KS: From what I’ve learned about British humour, I’ve learnt from Monty Python. I think it’s funny, even though people in America consider it to be dryer as far as humour goes. But I haven’t really experienced a whole lot of other stuff. I know that Alan Partridge is huge out here, but I haven’t seen it. I loved Shawn of the Dead, but I didn’t think it was insanely funny or anything.

Is this the first occasion where you have been on the road to this extent?
KS: To this extent? Yes. It feels… monotonous.

Prior to this tour, what’s the longest you’ve spent on the road with the same set of people?
KS: About 2-3 weeks. This tour is about a month.

How are you coping?
KS: I’m coping great. I’m getting enough sleep – which is the most important thing. As long as I get that, I’m fine.

How do you stay healthy on the road?
KS: Stay away from chips and soda. I drink as much water as I can. I also take multi-vitamins, even though I don’t really believe that they do much good.

Thanks.

Please Note: The above interview was conducted on 20 November 2013, prior to the band’s performance at The Cricketers (Kingston, UK).



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