Crow hops

Q-and-A with Pinback’s Rob Crow

Zach Hill (left) and Rob Crow of Pinback: No saxophone, no techno.

Zach Hill (left) and Rob Crow of Pinback: No saxophone, no techno.

Photo By Drew reynolds

Pinback plays Empire Events Center, 1431 R Street, on Sunday, December 16; 7:30 p.m.

Rob Crow spoke with SN&R last week during a break in their tour before heading off to Kansas City. His band, Pinback, will be in Sacramento on Sunday, December 16, at Empire.

How was the first leg of the tour?

Well, we’ve been on tour since September, and it’s been going fine.

Does your studio work translate pretty easily to your live show?

On the new album it does. On the older stuff it sounds a lot more different live. It’s faster and more energetic.

In a way, the new album’s hypnotic, mellow. What was your objective going in to record?

We don’t really have any objective. We just go in and keep doing it till we have enough, then whittle it down. It’s not really pre-though out; we just do it because it’s what we do.

People don’t refer to San Diego as a scene on a national level, but—

I don’t think it is?


There’s like two bands that I go see and they’re bands that most people don’t go see.

Has it changed since back when you were in like four bands and were singing on Drive Like Jehu tracks?

Back then it was really amazing and there were bands to see every weekend, almost every day. There were just great shows all the time.

But then Nirvana happened.

What happened?

Well, people thought that San Diego was the next Seattle—and Seattle wasn’t even all that awesome, if you ask me. I mean, there’s like maybe five good bands from there. So, all sorts of people moved here to have their lame bands that wanted to be on MTV, and so that pretty much destroyed everything, because all of the sudden there were people that wanted to make money. There was a great organic scene that was happening; it was just amazing. But there isn’t anything happening like that now.

Is there anywhere like that in the U.S.?

I think that there’s some of that in Chicago. I mean, there’s great hardcore scenes all around, still. I don’t spend too much time anywhere else.

How’d you meet Sacramento’s Team Sleep?

The drummer, Zach Hill, and I work on stuff all the time together. And I was over at his house for a couple weeks of work on the Ladies album and he was gone every morning working on the Hella record. So I would just be sitting around his room with nothing to do and he handed me a thing saying “Hey, these guys would love it if you sang on their record if you don’t have anything better to do.” So I just whipped up some stuff while sitting around the house being bored. I didn’t know what it was for or anything. They liked it, but I still didn’t know if I wanted to record it. But I just kind of woke up in the studio one morning after an all-nighter.

Did you like Sacramento?

Yeah, totally. I mean, I enjoyed working with Zach. But there’s not much to do in Sacramento that I could find. There’s one night where there’s like Goth night or something at some bar that everybody would go to and it was really … it was horrible. But I was like, “At least there’s one night where people converge.”

People don’t like to leave their houses sometimes.

Yeah. I just didn’t know anybody. Now, of course, I know a lot of people. There’s some really nice people there.

You said you don’t plan things out when you write. Do you have any rules with when you write with Zach [Smith, of Pinback]?

No saxophone and no techno.

Does that mean no electronica?

I don’t know. I think we’ve even tried electronica just to screw around. We don’t know how to do it.

So what’s next?

After we play some shows this month, in February we do the West Coast again and then Japan, and then I’m taking some months off to have another kid. And as soon as my life’s somewhat normal, I’ll go back on tour again.

When do you work in the studio?

Zach and I both work in the studio every day. It’s not even a thing like, “Let’s go back in the studio!” We’re always working on stuff, no matter what. Different things, of course. We never stop.