The Venetia Fair had a free concert on March 29th, playing the gig inside the Converse store on Newbury Street. I came to interview the band, not knowing that I’d run into my cousin Megan and her husband Jake, the VF’s manager. I think between the three parties involved, everyone said “small world!” a gillion times. It was a fantastic show, though I’m not sure Mr. Chark believed me, even after I had pointed to my truth-telling eyes and insisted. So being the pain in the neck that I am, I followed everyone around as they deconstructed their set.
So you crowdsourced this one, right?
Joe: Yes we did!
How’d that go? What’d you make in the end?
Joe: It was amazing. We asked for $8,000 and we ended up making close to $18,000, which was beyond our expectations. Some of us expected to de decent enough that we were gonna get our goal, some of us were worried about not even reaching our goal, and we ended up getting our goal in about 4 days. Which was, insane. But we did end up making about 18 grand which was fucking amazing and all our fans were really excited about it.
Is anyone in the room the one who paid the $1,000 backing?
Joe: No, the girl who paid the $1,000 backing…she’s from Florida. And we were actually supposed to take her out on this tour recently, but she couldn’t make it for some reason. And we waited at the airport for her, like it was that close, and she said she was coming in and we waited there, waited there, and then I guess there was a medical emergency
Joe: Yeah, but we’ll take her out at some point!
So that’s good! At least that works out in the end.
Joe: You wanna follow me?
Yeah! Walk and talk, we’re an Aaron Sorkin show right now. So has the tour been like this, have you been in stores?
Joe: No, no, this is the only store that we played. Mostly it’s been regular venues and we did a skate park, we did a roller rink, which was weird.
Which roller rink was it, was it in Saugus?
Joe: It was in Arab, Alabama. We’ve been home in Boston, yesterday!
Has it been nice being back, at least for the day?
Joe: Yeah, I mean, we love being on the road. So, but like, it’s nice. We all have girlfriends and we have to be lovey.
Well long distance sucks, really. I’m in the same deal.
Joe: So this is the only store that we’ve ever done.
Ben discovered at this moment that the mic he whacked was working, but not the cable anymore.
That’s like a Tiffany thing, ‘cause she’d play at the malls.
Joe: I would do more, I really like it.
Yeah! Well it’s accessible so you must like it being accessible for the fans.
Joe: Yeah I mean, it’s hard to do these though because you know this was a free event. We can’t do free things often because we don’t make much money and when we’re on tour, we need to make gas money and stuff like that. But, I mean, at home we don’t have to spend any money! This worked out great.
So when you’re on the road, do you get inspiration for the new material?
Ben: We haven’t even started thinking about—
Joe: Yeah, we have a lot of stuff to do.
Ben: It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about having to write more songs again. I’m so glad we’re done!
Joe: We talked about never writing another song again!
It seems like it’s such a project, like you finish a paper for example, and then you have another one to do.
Joe: We’ve got a lot of ideas though, at least I do, written, so eventually I’ll need to get them out.
Jake is introduced to Corey by Joe. Corey snuck Venetia Fair into UMass Lowell.
You played UMass?
Joe: No, we snuck into the music department and used all of their instruments for the album.
Ohhh okay, nice! So that’s where all those strings and horns came from?
Joe: Not the horns actually, we did the horns in Syracuse, we did the strings at our home studio, but like timpani and chimes, glockenspiel, and all that stuff—
All the fun stuff.
Joe directs me to Mr. Chark.
Alright! We can talk some more.
Chark: What do you want me to say?
Whatever you feel like saying.
Chark: Some hot stuff?
Chark: You want me to say some nasty stuff? Alright, uhhh, we get…when we stop at rest stops, um, we have like a queue, an order, like a pecking order of who gets to beat off in the public restroom/bathroom. Cuz like, we can’t all go in because it’ll take too long at the rest area, we gotta get out of there so it’s like we have to take one at a time.
Chark receives some candy.
Chark: Thanks, it’s not a basket!
Happy Easter! Talking about masturbation and getting some candy.
Chark: Yeah! We beat off in a lot of public restrooms and just in a lot of truck stops and a lot of Wal-Marts. Basically we’ve been getting really good at it, so like even it’s like an open stall—I like to do it with the door unlocked ‘cuz it’s kind of a thrill for me—
Chris: I did it in a urinal one time!
Chark: Yeah, Chris sometimes does it in the urinal, he props his phone up in the urinal.
Chris: I like nice, dirty alleys and I like to beat off into the dirt, so that’s what gets me off.
Chark: Chris and I are the only ones who beat off in public bathrooms—the rest of ‘em I guess just save it or something, I dunno what they do.
Chris: They’re weirder than us but deserve change. Whereas me and Chark embrace it.
Chark: Yeah, Chris and I embrace the nut. We’re kind of of a philosophy that uh, is based around getting the nut, if you will. We’re nut philosophers. Yeah, you can just put that down—we’re nut philosophers.
Chris: We’re pioneers of the nut!
So the tooth you lost, I can see. When’d you lose that?
Chark: I lost these two teeth in December of 2011. Because we were in L.A. at a stupid party that we shouldn’t have been at, then we were visitng Ben’s brother and he took us to a lacrosse formal Christmas dinner. So obviously we weren’t dressed the part—they were all in suits and ties and we were like in you, know, skinnies and bullshit like that so I…wasn’t dressed properly so I removed my clothes, which I thought was a sign of respect! Because—
If you’re not dressed the part you might as well wear nothing.
Chark: You gotta get rid of the bad clothes, yeah. So then I got naked and then—
A VF family member came to reach for cool shoe laces that were blocked by a box, so Chark moved it to help her.
Chark: So yeah, some people liked it and wanted pictures and some people didn’t like it and ended up sucker punching me from behind, so I lost these two teeth and we ended up getting in a big street brawl outside with a bunch of lacrosse dudes.
That’s very O.C.
Chark: Yeah, it was awesome. We’re not really fighters in our band.
That’s alright. You got time.
Chark: So that’s the story of my teeth.
VFFM: Two teeth are missing!?
Chark: Nah, two teeth got knocked out.
VFFM: But you had one, you had a tooth, right?
Chark: Yeah, I had a little—
Chark: Not a cap, it was like a retainer. I can’t fit it right now because I got the post, you know? The posts are what they’re gonna put the tooth on.
The famly member winces and says that dentists just see money when they see people who need the work done.
I know, I haven’t gone in so long and now I’m like terrified.
Chark: I just love spending money. We, as a band, love spending money. That’s probably our favorite thing to do, so anywhere we can, we just piss money away as fast as possible. So yeah! Moral is, we love spending money and Chris and I are nut philosophers.