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Meet Hector & Karl from Californian punk band, Spider!

Erin: When, where and why did your dream as a band begin?

Hector: We’re based out of Long Beach, California.  We first formed around 1997.  During our initial run, we were active for about 4 years (1997-2001). We went on hiatus and got back together in 2005 for about 1 year (2005-2006). Went on another hiatus; some of us got married, went back to school, focused on our work careers, just regular life stuff took us in different directions for a while. We resurfaced in earnest in 2016 at the behest of our friend who was curating a music festival in Long Beach called “Music Tastes Good.” Since we’ve been back we’re more focused than ever, we’ve been playing the fiercest shows, making fans around the world, getting invited to play some amazing festivals and being able to share the stage with some true punk rock legends, it’s been astounding.  As an active band, we’ve been playing for a total of about 7 years. But, I can sincerely say the last two years have been the most notable and meaningful time the band has experienced.  As far as why, I’d say our drive is informed by our collective and individual desire to create. We’re all best friends and have known each other since we were in grade school. The chemistry we have with each other is the foundation we’ve built upon. It’s really amazing to be able to share the experience of being in a band with your closest friends.  We’ve been friends for life.  Creating and performing in this band is just the natural progression of that relationship.

Karl: I was asked to join Spider in the mid-90s by Steve Westerkamp over lunch at work. They only had a few songs which we still play today.

Erin: When and why did you choose the instrument you did? At what age did you start? Did this ever change, if so why?  Also do you play multiple instruments, if so which is your favourite to play and why?

Hector: My instrument is my voice. I’ve been more adept at writing lyrics than playing a specific musical instrument. My strength has more to do with working with words, creative writing, prose, writing academic papers, that sort of thing. But it all comes back to working with words in one way or another. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. I’ve got boxes full of words, lyrics, thoughts, notes, stories, a lexicon wordbook that just keeps growing. I keep adding to my collection, so there’s a deep mine to draw from when the songwriting process starts.

Karl: It was guitar for me. I started at age 10 encouraged by my parents to play a classical instrument. I was taught classical guitar by a nun. But deep in my heart of hearts, I wanted to play the devils music. LOL. I was originally was going to play drums but my parents didn’t want a drum set in the house for obvious reasons.? I play guitar, bass, drums and some piano. But mainly guitar because it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I wish I was better at playing drums, so I can act like Animal of the Muppets!

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Erin:  Which specific instrument did each band member start out with and what do they play now?

Hector: My go-to mic is the Shure SM48 or SM58, either of these is a workhorse of a microphone and withstands the beating it gets when we play live.

Karl: I have always played guitar in the bands I’ve played in. I remember my first pawn shop electric guitar in 1980. It was a Japanese SG copy made by Pan. Original black color and I painted white stripes on it to make it look cool. Currently, I play Gibson Les Paul’s or Les Paul styled guitars.

Erin:  Who are your major influences?  Who inspires you?

Hector: Socrates, Darby Crash, Heraclitus, Charles Bukowski, Chuck Dukowski, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immanuel Kant, Iggy Pop, Georg Hegel, Joe Strummer, René Descartes, Keith Morris, Søren Kierkegaard, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Howard Zinn.

Karl:  For guitar I would say Steve Jones, Jimmy Page and James Honeyman Scott. Overall- KEITH MOON & IGGY POP.

Erin:. Where do you draw your inspiration for your lyrics?

Hector: Things I experience, things I see, things I read or hear about.  Mostly the words come in snapshots; they’re like pieces of a puzzle.  When the music comes together, I later fit those puzzle pieces of words together, there’s an element of the ‘invisible hand’ working here.   By that, I mean I never quite know how the song is going to turn out. At the end of the process the final song reveals itself.

Erin: Any successes and failures along the way?

Hector: The only real failure is when you give up trying. I’m really proud that we’ve      been so self-reliant as a band.  We’ve recorded and released our own music, we make our own merch, we own all our publishing and sound recording copyrights, we’ve booked all our own shows.  We’ve played Punk Rock Bowling Festival, It’s Not Dead Festival, we’ve done shows with GBH, T.S.O.L., Agent Orange.  We’re touring Europe this summer. All on our own. Perseverance is key.

Karl: I would say almost all the past bands I’ve played in have been failures but, you learn from them and move forward.

Erin: Any funny stories – lessons learned?

Hector: Lessons learned: life is short and you are not 100% in control. Resilience and stoicism are valuable character traits. Funny stories: We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. All I can say is thank God there was a time before social media existed.

Karl: Too many to put down and publicly expose. But never do a bunch of drugs & alcohol before you play and expect any desirable results from what I recall. Sorry to the clubs I’ve destroyed and to the hotel valets I’ve thrown my guitars at.

Erin: What are your future plans?  Any upcoming tours, new albums?

Hector: We’re working on new songs and in the process of booking our first East Coast and European tour dates!  Along with a show with Descendents in Germany, we’ve confirmed dates at Rebellion and Bloodstains Festival this summer. Plus more dates in the works. This has been a dream, a goal we set out to accomplish last year and we’re doing it!  I can’t wait!!

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Erin: Vinyl, tape, CD or digital music preference?

Hector: Streaming is so convenient, as long as you have good speakers this is the way to go. I’m really curious to know what the next technology is going to be?? How will people be consuming music in 100 years???  That thought really intrigues me.

Erin: What’s the best thing that you feel comes out of your music/playing music?

Hector: The live show is where it’s at for us. Because a live show can only be truly experienced once and because the amount of people able to share that experience is finite. To me, that concept give me incredible pause. Just as there’s no do overs in life, no two shows are the same, we play to danger and thrive on chaos. It’s a cathartic process. We really value the audience. If they’ve given their time to us to attend one of our shows, it’s imperative to make it worth their while.

Karl: Our energy we bring to the stage is always fun. I always have a blast playing in Spider.

Erin: What’s the bands favourite song to play live?

Hector: My two favourites are “New Junk” and “PCE.” I like to think of New Junk as our “No Values”.  It’s just a trashy, smutty, gritty punk rock song and “PCE” has such a great swagger and energy behind it that makes me feel the same way today as I did the first time we ever played it live.

Erin: Where’s your favourite place to play?

Hector: Some of the best venues we’ve played at were the House of Blues and The Roxy in West Hollywood.  These venues, sound systems and personnel were top notch and an optimal environment to hear a band play live.  But a dive-y punk rock bar also has its special charm!

Karl: Any place with an asshole soundperson and flat screens within my reach.

Erin: What’s your dream instrument/set up?

Hector: A tungsten microphone that doesn’t crack.

Karl: I love all Gibson Les Paul’s.  But my favorite is my Les Paul XPL. It’s rare and I hardly see anybody playing it, that’s why I love it.

Erin: Where do you hope to be as a band in 10 years?

Hector: Staying in the moment is where I try to direct my focus. But, being able to look back 10 years from now and see a solid body of work built on integrity would make me happy.

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