Belly

I used to crank the bass on the shit 8-track we had in the basement

(designer) Who is Gail Greenwood?

(Thomas) She's the bassist for Belly.

(Thomas) Gail, my sis and I gave you a circus peanut necklace at the Ritz in Raleigh.

(Gail) Hey Thomas, I slept in my bunk on the bus with that friggin' necklace.

(Headcreep) Gail, my name is Tom. Can I be guitarist?

(Gail) Tom, are you coming back at 8 pm?

(Headcreep) Yeah...

(Gail) Good, cuz I have to split for a few now, but I'll be back then. I was just playing guitar before I had to leave to come here. What do you have?

(Headcreep) I have a Fender Stratocaster, American Standard.

(Gail) Cool. I used to be all Fender with a couple of Teles.

(Moderator) The conference will begin at 8 pm with Gail Greenwood of Belly talking about her connection to hardcore/straightedge. Plus info on her latest band, Walter.

***

(Moderator) What is up with Belly these days?

(Gail) Well, we just finished about a whole year's worth of touring and now we are on a nice winter hiatus.

(Moderator) Are you in the studio? Will there be a single out soon?

(Gail) Nope. Not yet. But you can check out Tanya and Julianna in the Josie and the

Pussycats thing on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network.

(Thomas) Did they make a video for Josie and the Pussycats?

(Jason) I saw it. It was pretty neat.

(Moderator) Tell us about your other Band, Walter. What do you sound like? Is it a

side project or a full-time thing?

(Gail) Walter is a band I play guitar in in the meantime. Anyway, Walter has become

more predominant as of late since we get to rock the Marshalls and Mesas in this

little town of ours.

(Moderator) Is Walter heavier then Belly?

(Gail) Walter is much heavier on account of we got stereo guitar setups with about 4 halfstacks.

(kim) I heard on the Belly mailing list that Belly had broken up (I don't really believe this but it was in some magazine). Just tell me that this isn't true.

(Jason) Heh, that was me that put that on the list. I read it in a local newspaper here in Seattle.

(Gail) Jason, I heard that rumor too. Seattle must be a gossipy community just like my town, Newport!

(Jason) It was in the top five bands that shouldn't have broken up in 1995.

(Moderator) I think Sunny Day breaking up was real upsetting.

(Gail) Pete Cramiac is jamming with a couple dudes outta Sunny Day, so maybe a few members will continue to rock hard.

(Moderator) As this conference is partly about your connection to hardcore, I have a few questions for you about just that. For starters, is it true that members of Belly were in Verbal Assault?

(Gail) Yup, Chris and Tom toured with VA for about half a year. And our tour manager is Chris Jones (singer for Verbal Assault).

(Moderator) I was at a Belly show at Roseland in NYC and one of the guys I was with pointed out an X on your hand. Are you straightedge, and if so, how did you get involved?

(Gail) Oh, the X on the hand action ... I started doing that in my old hardcore band, Boneyard. And then I started doing it again this year cuz we were doing a lot of TV and press and I thought it would be funny for all my old friends to see it prime time. It got a lot of response and it empowered me to disassociate myself from that bullshit in the industry.

(Moderator) Headcreep sent me a message asking what straightedge is. It's a type of hardcore; those involved live a lifestyle free of drugs and alcohol. A lot are also vegetarian or vegan, and the straightedge bands often sing about this lifestyle. It's a subculture of sorts -- Minor Threat, CIV, 7 Seconds, Sick of It All.

(Jason) Have you had this philosophy all of your life?

(Gail) Yup, Jason, all 35 years.

(Moderator) What straightedge bands do you and did you listen to?

(Gail) 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, Fugazi ... I got a 7-inch from a Detroit band called Earthmover, who are cool. I finally got to meet Kevin Seconds this year at their show in Boston (my friend's band, One Ton Shotgun, opened). He was super cool and I was glad I had a chance to tell him what they meant to me, especially in the mid-80s.

(Moderator) Are you vegetarian, vegan, into Krishna consciousness, skating ... other common straightedge stuff?

(Gail) Circus peanuts are my preferred Vege. But yes, I am a veg and have been one for over 20 years. Not into the Krishna thing though -- not yet anyway. SNOWBOARDING! Used to be able to "fakie to vert" back in the day, but I stick to dislocating elbows on the slopes.

(Moderator) What bands (hardcore or non-hardcore) are you into?

(Gail) One Ton, Lunachicks, SNFU, Vandels, 7-Year Bitch, Government Issue ... the first band I listened to that had awesome big guitar and cool melodic stuff.

(Moderator) Is it difficult to be in a band with non-straightedge people? Or do you guys all respect each other's choices?

(Gail) It is actually very difficult being X in a non-X band. Touring is especially hard because you live on top of each other and it's hard to disassociate yourself from it without coming off like a dick. I got a lot of shit from those within our own organization for my beliefs. People just f*cking love to get into debates about it when I'm just like, "Get out of my face with that shit." Sorry, I kind of went off there.

(Thomas) My sisters want to know if Tanya, Chris or Tom (or any combination) have ever forcefully tied you down, shoved a funnel in your mouth and siphoned alcohol through it.

(Gail) No, but people have tried over the years to be the one to get Gail f*cked up.

(Spiffy) I think Gail could take them all.

(Gail) Thanks, Spiff.

(Thomas) What was your favorite late-night show to perform on? I've seen all your appearances thanks to Spiffy. Conan's my fave.

(Gail) Andy Richter on Conan is the funniest guy on television.

(Moderator) What do you think about the many hardcore bands that got into other, more alternative bands and now are going back to hardcore? Do you think they are progressing musically or just following trends?

(Gail) Straightedge hardcore will always be around. But probably some of the musicians get sick of being poor and cash in on the alternative thing. Then bands like CIV and 7 Seconds come back to hardcore and get flack for that too. Hard to please kids, huh? 7 seconds got a lot of shit but they are still touring in a van, God bless 'em.

(Moderator) I agree with you. It is nice when you can support yourself doing what you love. I think a lot of people look at majors as bad things, when actually they often help musicians to get rid of their day jobs and focus on their music. A lot of the people complaining are kids who do not have to pay rent, so I do not think they really understand yet.

(Gail) Majors are very scary in that some try to retain the cred with carefully manufactured marketing, which most kids can see right through. I'm sort of experiencing some of the label stuff now with all the business dealings I've been doing trying to get Walter a deal. I guess either (majors or independents) can suck. We made the conscious decision in Walter to just get whatever we could that seemed fair. We couldn't pretend to be indie with the sound we have so we said why try to be street when we are obviously stadium.

(loud) How old is everyone here?

(MikeChen) Not to pry, but does a band with Belly's amount of success make a decent living? I heard Shonen Knife didn't quit their day jobs until two years ago, after they toured with Nirvana.

(Gail) Hey who wants to know how old we are and how much we make? Does anyone want to know the date of my last period? I'm only kidding. I'm almost 36 and the other kids are about 28. We make approximately minimum wage but we get paid in circus peanuts.

(Spiffy) So you're like the mom in the Partridge Family?

(kim) Gail, what is your favorite Belly song and your favorite song overall?

(Gail) Fave Belly song is probably "Slowdog" and fave song in the whole world is probably "Dead Set on Destruction" by Husker Du (today anyway). Although "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue is seriously ass-kicking and I swear I'm not kidding.

(MikeChen) How often are you recognized in public? Does it bother you when fans come up to you and ask for autographs and such?

(Gail) Getting recognized in public?! Maybe if I wear a Belly shirt after just jumping

offstage, maybe. Here's a story: I'm at my gym. Rolling Stone is right on the

rack next to the bikes. A guy has been looking at me the whole time. I think, yup,

he recognizes me from the cover. He comes over and asks, "Do you own a cleaning

company?"

(Moderator) Who is your favorite guitar player?

(Gail) Zack Wild from Ozzy is one smoking guitar player. Mark Tomis and Chris Knoxx from One Ton Shotgun seriously rule.

(MikeChen) What was it like touring with R.E.M.? were they "big-time rock stars" or were they rather normal?

(Gail) R.E.M. were probably the nicest band on the planet. Including techs and wives and girlfriends. We couldn't have dreamed of a cooler band to tour with.

(Moderator) What got you into being a musician?

(Gail) I always loved the bass. I think the Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack by Neil Diamond was the first music I ever bought. I used to crank the bass on the shit 8-track we had in the basement and I always loved melody and would hum in my dad's ear on family car rides.

(Thomas) What kind of comments would you make about Throwing Muses in their early days?

(Gail) Don't even ask me what I used to say about the Muses. Oh don't even ask me, please help me God.

(Moderator) Is anyone else in your family involved in music?

(Gail) Dad plays harmonica. Everyone else is a visual artist.

(Moderator) Do you ever check out hardcore zines?

(Gail) Change Zine is a good rag from Connecticut. Rott Pup and Heart Attack are good zines too.

(Thomas) What would you do with Oasis if you got your hands on them?

(Gail) I met Oasis at one of our shows. They came backstage and told me how much money they spent on blow. I guess they didn't know. And we saw Liam and Noel fighting over a Man United scarf at a show we did with them in Europe. But I gotta say they certainly were funny and sprightly blokes.

(Moderator) Is Walter going to play NYC anytime soon?

(Gail) Walter probably won't be playing anymore shows until May or so.

(Thomas) does Belly have any pets?

(Gail) Yeah. I got 3 dogs.

(Gail) Hey, how come we're not all watching the Grammys?

(Thomas) Because Belly is not nominated.

(Jason) Rollins Band isn't performing ... not worth it :>

(vinhle) Belly was snubbed twice. No need to watch.

(Thomas) I'll show Henry some f*cking dues.

(Perth) Henry has a big neck and a Powerbook.

(kim) My brother is watching in the next room. Joan Osborne is on. Blehh.

(Gail) Henry likes girls.

(Thomas) My sister says, "Henry's got his panties in a wad, at the bottom of his purse."

(Gail) Yeah, but our boy is straightedge so we can't give him too much shit.

(Perth) So he doesn't go to the bathroom or eat or anything like that?

(Thomas) There are some cool Belly Web pages. Slowdog, I think yours is the coolest.

(Gail) You know, just while I was waiting for this conference to begin, I checked around with my newly installed Netscape. I saw one called Patrick's which looked cool. Where can I find Slowdog's?

(slowdog) http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~slowdog.

(Moderator) That is cool. Gail you really go against what we all think of as a rock star. You are real down to earth, real nice ... I was impressed when I booked this conference, how I called your management company and you called me back your self. Real hardcore!

(Gail) Hey thanks. You can take the girl outta punk, but you can't take the punk outta the girl.

(Thomas) Would you be an X-Girl model?

(Gail) If my ass weren't so big.

(Christine) Gail, what about "Lillith"? You seem to have fun performing it live.

(Gail) We don't know what's gonna happen with that song. The music is down on tape but T hasn't hit a vocal she likes yet.

(Gail) Hey, where's the Moderator?

(Thomas) She blew arse.

(Christine) Oooh, no authority.

(Gail) The kids are home alone and the parents are gone for the night. What could happen?

(vinhle) Let's go for the record of the longest chat.

(kim) I'm supposed to read Antigone tonight. Oh well.

(Gail) f*ck homework.

(Gail) Hey, I gotta go now cuz I just polished off an entire bag of peanut butter M&M's and now I feel sick. Bye everybody. Thanks for all your questions and support for lil' ol' Belly this year.