You know when you have that out-of-the-box idea, the one you are incredibly psyched to tell all your friends about because no one has thought of it before? You know what we’re talking about. That one idea you thought would be soooo cool but then when it came time to actually pull it off you were a little, um, overwhelmed.
Well, that’s exactly what happened when it came to our “genius” idea of asking our favorite rock n’ roll duo ‘68 a certain number of questions – 68 questions, to be exact. Yeah, so while the idea of asking vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin 68 questions all about his new album Two Parts Viper, his most recent tour with Listener and The Homeless Gospel Choir and more felt like a good idea at the time, try telling that to somebody who is stuck at question 54 trying to Google “Fun Thought Provoking Questions.”
Anyway, thanks to the power of the internet (and Scogin’s incredible patience and willingness to play along), we were able to successfully come up with, ask and have all of our 68 questions answered. To learn everything there is about ‘68 and their outgoing frontman (who yes, also used to be in The Chariot and Norma Jean), be sure to look below. Afterwards, if you’ve yet to pick up the duo’s new brilliant LP, you can do so here.
1) How did it feel coming up with actual song titles for Two Parts Viper?
It was great. Every album I treat like a completely separate entity in its own way and I enjoy the song titles, as well as lyrics, as well as the music. So, with the first album, [not having song titles] was part of the thing – how little information can I give ‘cause, you know, I thought it was funny being a debut record and everybody’s a little curious as to what it’s going to be like. Instead, giving less made me feel good so that’s the thing I did with that and once that was done, I didn’t want to. So here I am now, the second album we’re doing stuff that needed to be done for the second album. So song titles came pretty naturally.
2) Were you nervous doing as much singing as you did?
I didn’t really think about it much. Nervous is definitely not the right word ‘cause I just kind of do it. But yeah, both albums I just wrote what I wanted to hear at that time – what I felt needed to be there. So, at the end of the day, if a song felt like it needed to have singing, I just would sing it. Or if it felt like it needed a scream, I would scream it. Yeah, it wasn’t really a pre-planned or a pre-thought-out thing; it was just sort of whatever needed to happen on the song is what I did, whether it was singing or screaming.
3) What’s your favorite song on the record?
That’s a difficult one. I don’t think I have a favorite. There’s a few little like ideas and challenges and things that when they become successful, it feels really good. One example is since ’68 is kind of a guitar riff driven band, I had this idea of ‘Hmm I wonder if I could do an entire song with no guitars whatsoever, not even one.’ So, that was just and idea – which, a lot of my ideas will get deleted or whatever if I didn’t feel like they met the mark or whatever. But the song – I’m not sure exactly what it’s called, but it’s later in the album and it’s more kind of synth-sounding and it doesn’t have any guitars.
4) What was the influence behind “No Apologies”?
There’s a couple things. One thing, I was listening to a lot of Arlo Guthrie, which is Woody Guthrie’s son, and he has some pretty interesting songs that are old and just really kind of quirky in nature, I guess. But also, I was talking to a friend of mine and I was talking about how sometimes it feels like we’re cheating. We’re trying to portray passion and stuff, but we have loud guitars, we’re screaming, we have loud cymbals and drums and distortion pedals, all these things. So, in my mind I was like, “Hmm I wonder if it would be possible just talking” – no screaming, just I’m literally talking the words and see how passionate I could get and see how I could portray an idea with that. So, that was the original idea. It evolved from there. Obviously, there were these loud [bangs] between some of the sentences and stuff, and then originally I think it was maybe five times longer than it is on the album. But, at the end of the day, you gotta keep stepping back and looking at it – like the idea was fun but does it make for a good song or is it just a good idea. You have to kind of balance that and we think we landed on the healthiest spot we could have. But there’s definitely a version that existed, at least for a time, where it was like way longer – it was kind of gratuitous, but it wasn’t what the song needed, it was just kind of funny.
5) How about “What More Can I Say”?
I had this idea for a song, I think the chords already existed and everything. I just had this idea that it’s kind of a continuously building song – something that starts very, very minimal, very, very nothing, very long-winded and then it’s kind of a slow-burn and it builds, and builds, and builds, and builds, and builds, and never really stops building until the climax. No chorus, no verse, that sort of thing. That was sort of an idea that I had at least for that song.
6) How many pedals/effects do you think you used this time around?
It’d be hard to put a real number on it, but with the first record, I was totally winging it. I didn’t really know a bunch [without] touring yet, as playing guitar with effects and stuff. So on the second record, I knew at least a little bit more about pedals and effects and I owned my own pedals and effects. So, I couldn’t put a number on how many, but I definitely used more on this record than the last record. Because if I used any on the first record, it was definitely just kind of like, “Oh yeah, we found this effect that we like.” But, with the second album, we kind of pre-planned a couple of them like I knew that I had this pedal that sounded really good and I wanted to use it or whatever.
7) You said the title of the album came to you in a dream, are your dreams always that intense?
Yeah, I’d say more often than not I have pretty vivid, clear, detailed dreams. They don’t always end up as interesting as that one. Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I don’t. But yeah, I tend to have very vivid [dreams]. I know what color someone is wearing, I know the things they said and what they meant by what they said; sometimes there’s a history like the dream itself might feel like it’s ten minutes but there’s a whole history of rules and laws and such. It’s weird, but yeah I don’t really know how everyone else does it, but for me, it can be very detailed.
8) What’s one thing about Listener (the band) nobody knows?
First thing that pops into my mind is that I wish I was in Listener, but some people might already know that. Something they may not know, because it’s not out yet, is that I produced their new record. So, other than a few Instagram followers, that might be news.
9) How about The Homeless Gospel Choir, what’s one thing nobody knows?
He used to tour manage different bands and one time me and Derek, from The Homeless Gospel Choir, got left at a Taco Bell for four hours straight and that’s how we got to know each other really well. We were in the middle of nowhere, and the band we were with dropped us off and was supposed to come back and pick us up. After about four hours later, they finally showed up. We didn’t have phone service to call them and go, “Yo, what’s going on?” So we just hung out in a Taco Bell in the middle of nowhere chitchatting for four hours. If you ever want to get to know somebody, that’s how to do it right there.
10) During a ’68 show, what is your preferred audience participation?
I just want them comfortable and I want them to feel free. If they want to mosh and run around, cool. I think we have some songs that necessitate that. If they want to just sit back and watch and study, that’s fine too. I find myself when I’m watching a band to be a little bit more of the like “I want to take it all in” so I’m never opposed to people standing there just watching. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to do anything one way or another. I’m down with them just feeling good and comfortable.
11) If you could ban cell phones at shows, would you?
No. I know a lot of people are against them, blah blah blah, but for me it’s like if someone takes a picture and sends it up to the Instagram world or whatever, in real life, they’re helping to promote a band they like which happens to be a band I’m in. So it’s never a bad thing for us. Obviously, in a perfect world, they would enjoy the show themselves and take it all in and love on it, not just be focused on their phones. But one snapshot here or there, one video here or there, to me it really just helps us spread our wings. So I’m never opposed to it.
12) When do you feel the most creative?
When I’m on a long drive and can’t do anything about it.
13) One thing you can’t live without?
14) One necessity on tour?
15) The funniest rumor about the band?
That we play to tracks. If anyone’s ever heard us, it’s like how in the world could you possibly be playing to [tracks] – who in their right mind recorded that sloppy guitar to play to every single day? So, we’ve definitely heard that people said we play to tracks, which I thought was pretty interesting.
16) Has anyone gotten you star struck?
I guess so. I met Fiona Apple one time. I didn’t think of it as star struck. But I really, in the moment, I’m looking at her and wanting to strike up a conversation and it was about three in the morning in Vegas so I couldn’t think of anything to say. So, I guess that’s the closest thing, but it all hit me so randomly. I didn’t plan on running into her, so at the end of the day, I just had no idea what to say.
17) What’s your favorite app right now?
I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t really care much about that stuff. I use Google Maps all the time because I have to travel with it. So I guess if that would be a favorite.
18) What would it take for you and drummer Michael McClellan to not wear your suit and tie to start a show?
Anything really. We’re doing it right now for this record cycle ‘cause in the dream the guy that says the “Two Parts Viper” thing was in a suit and we felt like it was pretty applicable. But yeah, I think on this tour in fact, Michael thought he lost his suit for a while. So for like one show, we just didn’t do it. Yeah, it’s not really a big deal.
19) In your opinion, what’s your worst habit?
That can get way deeper than I need to, but I’ll say biting my nails ‘cause I do that nonstop.
20) Favorite album of 2017 so far?
Favorite album of 2017 so far…I guess excluding ’68 [laughs]. Let’s go with, it’s hard to say favorite, but let’s just say, oh my gosh, let’s just say Listener. Even though it’s not out yet, but it will be out sometime soon.
21) Best performance you’ve seen this year?
Well, I haven’t seen a lot of shows cause I’ve been on tour a lot, but we played the other day and the Pixies played right upstairs and we got to watch them and it was great. So that was one of the only ones I’ve seen this year, but it was still one of the best ones I’ve seen this year.
22) If you could live in a TV show, which one would it be?
Last Man on Earth.
23) What would you do if you were president of your own country?
I’d probably relax a little bit and go golfing [laughs].
24) If you could time travel, would you go to the past or future?
I’d probably go back a week ago to this place I had a really good hamburger. As I finished it, I thought “Man, I’m really full right now but I wish I could go back and eat that hamburger again ‘cause it was delish.”
25) What’s a The Chariot song you miss performing live?
Most of them were great and wonderful to play live, so I don’t know if there could be one. But there was one song called “The City” that a lot of people, the crowd, really participated with so maybe that one.
26) Would you rather have a head the size of a tennis ball or the size of a watermelon?
Probably a tennis ball because I would just always walk around looking like that guy on Beetlejuice whose head got shrunk, ‘cause I think that’s pretty funny.
27) If you could only have one food on tour what would it be?
28) Proudest musical moment?
29) If you could never play one song live ever again, what would it be?
I mean, if it’s my least favorite song, I probably don’t already play it. So I don’t really know how to answer that, but I will probably never play “My Sharona.” I don’t mind the song, it’s unfortunate because it sounds like I hate the song. I don’t hate it, but it popped into my head as a song I will probably never play live.
30) If you could only play one song live for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would probably play any song off of Weezer’s Pinkerton.
31) Would you rather use sandpaper for toilet paper or vinegar for eye drops?
Vinegar for eye drops ‘cause I never need eye drops but I do need toilet paper all the time so…
32) Would you rather live in the Harry Potter universe or the Pokémon universe?
I don’t know much about either of those universes, but I think with the Harry Potter one I could fly if I’m not mistaken. So yeah, maybe that one. And Pokémon, I don’t know what that universe looks like either, but I know that people are going around catching those dudes all the time, or at least they were a year ago, so that doesn’t sound fun – sounds like work to me.
33) Would you rather have your Netflix viewing history made public or your Spotify listening history?
Don’t really care, probably Spotify.
34) What do you think is the greatest invention in your lifetime?
I’ll go ahead and say the original iPod. Anything that could play a thousand songs was awesome, especially for a touring musician. It morphed into Spotify and all now, but still, the iPod back in the day was amazing.
35) Okay, halfway done. You doing alright? (And yes, this counts as a question).
Cool, doing good [laughs].
36) If you woke up as Donald Trump, what is the first thing you would do?
Resign. I guess I would try and fix things, but who even knows that looks like.
37) Is it true the first time you toured with Every Time I Die, you spent an entire song under the drum riser at Furnace Fest because there were skittles?
Not because there were skittles but I have been to known to hang out under a drum riser if that’s what I felt like doing. I actually don’t like skittles. I’m more of a chocolate-type person than a fruity, candy snack person.
38) What’s one thing about Every Time I Die nobody knows?
Some might know it, but when we first toured with them, Jordan [Buckley, guitarist] had pink hair.
39) Best mosh pit you’ve ever seen?
I don’t know. The best circle pit I’ve seen, as long as that’s not a future question, was a band called Flatfoot 56. We were in a hockey rink and [the pit] was literally the entire size of this hockey rink. So much so, that it wasn’t even a circle pit anymore. It was like people running proper full-on laps. It was hilarious and like one of the craziest visuals I’ve ever seen.
40) Who’s the heaviest band you’ve ever seen?
That’s a tricky one. I don’t know, maybe I’ll go with Converge. They’re phenomenal. Well, I mean, I could even say Every Time I Die or whatever, it doesn’t matter.
41) Most brutal pit injury you’ve witnessed?
A kid got stabbed in the neck with a pen, like a writing pen, at a Chariot show. It was really unfortunate, but it was Salt Lake City and it was kind of a time period when that sort of stuff was happening. Yeah, it wasn’t awesome, but that is one of the most brutal things I’ve ever seen.
42) If you could give your bandmate Michael one tattoo, what would it be and where?
Now the question really is do I want to ruin his life forever or give him something that I know he likes? It’d probably be a tiny one on his thigh so that only he would really see it a lot and it would probably just be “hahaha this was given to you by your friend, Josh.”
43) If you could trade places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?
Maybe any lead singer of a real band that’s just kind of like chilling. Like real lead singers don’t do a bunch, so maybe just like any of those folks. I mean, I like working. I’m not complaining, but if I have one day of like relaxing in a bus and letting a bunch of other people do stuff instead of me, then I’d take it for one day. That’d be fun.
44) If you had to be stuck in one horror movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don’t know a lot about horror movies. I don’t watch a bunch of them. Is there a horror movie where people just eat a bunch of food or something? Yeah, I’ll go with whatever horror movie it is where they just eat a bunch of food and relax all day.
45) If aliens exist, do they come in peace or are they going to attack?
They’re already here. So, therefore, they’ve come in peace. Unless they have some sort of weird thousand-year plan, I think they’ve already proven to be here in peace – so I think we’re okay.
46) Would you rather be haunted by ghosts or abducted by aliens?
Definitely aliens. Wait, can I remember it? As long as I remember it. I’m not into the probing stuff, but if I get to go to like outer space that would totally be worth it.
47) The most addicting game you’ve ever played?
I don’t like playing games, so that’s kind of difficult for me. I don’t know, I can’t think of any games. Well, I’ve got to answer otherwise we don’t meet 68 questions. So, let’s go with 52 card pickup. That’s a game my older brother used to play with me and I didn’t even know it was him being mean. I just thought we were having fun playing a game together and I never realized that until I got older.
48) Does Bigfoot exist and, if so, is he Andy Williams?
I don’t think [Bigfoot] exists, so I’m going to have to say Andy Williams is just Andy Williams.
49) How would you describe the perfect sandwich?
Perfect sandwich would be some toast and avocado and cream cheese. Yeah, that would be fine.
50) Greatest guitar player of all time?
I’ll say, Jimmy Page – he wrote every sick riff ever.
51) Favorite guitar riff of all time?
“Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin.
52) If you had to choose between bringing back Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Lemmy, who would you pick?
Probably Elvis, but only based on the fact that Johnny Cash and Lemmy were alive for at least awhile while I was alive. I don’t remember Elvis ever being – I don’t know when he passed away exactly, but I’ll go with Elvis.
53) What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
Well, calling it a theory may insinuate that it’s not real, but the whole JFK debacle – his whole assassination, how it happened, why it happened, who did it. That whole thing is very interesting to me and I watch any documentary that pops up about it just because it’s pretty crazy.
54) In your opinion, are Tupac and Biggie really dead?
Tupac’s not, Biggie is.
55) If you had to be the same age for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s hard because I don’t know what my future holds for me, but I mean right now, I feel pretty good. So I’m probably the smartest I’ve ever been, so I’ll go with right now. The age of whatever I am right now.
56) Weirdest place you’ve gone to the bathroom?
Does driving down the interstate out of the shotgun seat of a van count? Then that’s my answer.
57) If you could get rid of one aspect of the internet what would you pick?
Just one? I don’t know what to call this, but the fact that everyone feels like they have to be a critic, you know? Instead of just being like – if something was kinda not really your thing, you kind of just carried on and went to the other thing that is your thing. But, in this day and age, people feel like they have to comment and say exactly why and exactly what the thing is they don’t like and all that stuff. It just gets kind of funny ‘cause it’s like you could be spending your time doing the things you do like, so whatever that’s called.
58) If you had to lose one of your five senses what would it be?
Sense of smell.
59) What’s the amount of times you think someone told you can’t make a career in music?
[Laughs] So I’m guessing in a number? I mean most days. Nearly every day, but I don’t know – thousands.
60) Best advice you’ve ever received?
Enjoy the journey.
61) If you could add a bass player for one ’68 song, who would it be?
Probably Dan Smith, because I know he’d be really into it and I keep having to shove him aside and say, “No, stay. No.” But he keeps asking me to do it.
62) Your favorite lyricist of all time?
Of all time, that’s a tricky one. I don’t know – Paul McCartney, John Lennon. I really enjoy Keith Buckley. I don’t know about of all time, but those are the ones that popped into my head – Aaron Weiss, MewithoutYou. I mean, those are some folks that say things that inspire me and make me think. I’m sure there’s plenty more.
63) Who’s the smartest musician you know?
The smartest, that’s a tricky one too. I don’t know, smartest musician? There’s not a lot of smart ones out there [laughs]. I’m just kidding. That’s a tricky one, I don’t know. That’s a hard one. I get one pass. Remember to say that in the beginning. You just write that, I get one pass. This is the one I pass [laughs].
64) Best place to eat in Atlanta?
There’s a lot of good places. Fat Matt’s is really good; it’s a rib place, like barbecue place. Yeah, I’ll go with that for now.
65) Thoughts on fellow rock duo Royal Blood?
Yeah, I love their music and those guys. Their new album has yet to come out, and every day I keep checking to see if I can hear it. But yeah, I like that band a lot. I’ve never hung out with them that I’m aware of, but we run in very similar circles – a few of my friends are theirs. So they seem like really swell guys. But, as far as musically, I think it’s really, really good stuff.
66) Favorite song you’ve ever written?
I don’t know. I mean, they all have their moment in the sun in my brain, so it’s kind of difficult to call one out and neglect the others.
67) If you were a professional wrestler, what you be your intro music?
It would be “Let Me Tell you About my Best Friend” by whoever sings that song.
68) What’s the one thing you want people to get out of your music the most?
Just maybe a slight shade of hope and peace and maybe some freedom sprinkled somewhere in there. If they’re at a live show, then it’s nice to think about them maybe forgetting their problems for a while and just having a good time, and you know, just being overcome by noisy rock. But, if they’re listening to it on a CD player or something like that, maybe a couple lyrics reach out and get ‘em and maybe they’ll feel good for a minute, you know? That’d be great.