Meet Blue Island's Best Punksters
by Randy J. Klodz
Photo: Geoff Moore
Mestówhich includes singer/guitarist Tony Lovato, guitarist Jeremiah Rangel, bassist Matt Lovato, and drummer Nick Gigleróreleased Mest, the bandís fourth major-label effort, last June. Along with its own share of headlining gigs, Mest could be found opening for such bands as Goldfinger, Blink-182, the Used, and Good Charlotte, to name a few. Mest also played many dates on last summerís annual punk rock extravaganza, the Vans Warped Tour.
Tony Lovato, 23, called in from Florida, two days after returning from Japan, alertly avoiding the blustery hometown winter weather, a few days before beginning yet another tour of the States. The spikey blond-haired, tattooed, and lip-pierced frontman talks to SOAK on topics ranging from the scare that happened while he was ďFear and LoathingĒ in Japan, the irony of a goof-punk song getting play, and the thrills of owning your own Cadillac. You better fasten your seat belts.
Soak: How was your recent headlining tour of Japan?
Tony Lovato: It was our second tour over thereómy third time being in Japan. Everything was pretty cool except for the very last night. On the way back, weíre walking back and the whole mood just changed all of a sudden. There are two Japanese guys looking in some secluded dark area and they walk away, and some guy gets on his bike and he was looking over there and he takes off. So itís me and my friend E.J., and Iím looking over there and Iím like, ĎDude, what the fuck is that, is that what I think it is?í And he just looks at me, and heís got this ghost-white face and heís just like, ďLetís go dude.Ē I look over to the right and Iím getting closer and closer, and Iím walking up to make sure what Iím seeing is realósome dude hung in the park. We walk away and we go into the restaurant; everybodyís having a good time laughing and theyíre like, ĎOh you guys missed it, Nick [Gigler] just ate some horse meat.í And Iím like. ĎI know you guys know that we are on drugs (editors note: Mushrooms are legally sold in shops within Japan), but me and E.J. just found some dude hung dead in the park.í But other than that the shows rocked and the kids were cool.
Soak: You decided to have Benji Madden from Good Charlotte guest-star on ďJaded (These Years)Ē on ďMest.Ē How did that come about?
TL: Weíve been friends with those guys for the past few years, and while we were out doing our record last year at this time out in L.A., he happened to be out there. We were in the situation where it was friends being with friends a lotójust hanging out and messing with some songs and stuff. We just worked on some songs together and recorded some shit. It just happened that it was one of the songs that he liked that we worked together with, and it ended up being a single.
Soak: Did people give you a hard time when you guys first appeared on the radio with a song called ďWhatís the Dillio?Ē
TL: To be honest, we didnít really make it big from that song. That song hurt our career more than it helped. Radio stations started playing it like crazy and people didnít really have an understanding of what our band was. Some of our favorite bands like NOFX, bands like that, write hokey-joke songs, and thatís all that song was, a hokey-joke song. Weíre not the most serious band, but we tend to take our music pretty serious. For the label to release it as a singleóat the time we had no control over singlesóit stuck us in that all the stations backed it, and then it didnít work and there was a backlash from it. Then all these punk-rock bands didnít want to take us out on tour because the songs were so hokey, not like punk-rock songs. It made it really hard to get tours after that. So we had to over-climb that, and tour our asses off the next three years. Everything that we have now is based on touring and fan loyalty.
Soak: Whatís your favorite place to hang out when you guys are back home?
TL: The city that I donít go out in the most is my own city. Every time Iím in L.A., Iím on Sunset Strip and I go out all the time. When weíre in New York, we go out. When I come home itís time to rest and just kick it and chillósave all the partying and damage to your body for the road.
Soak: So since youíre from the South side, I would guess that you are a White Sox fan?
TL: Fuck yeah. Though, I havenít been able to follow up with whatís been going on with them this year, but everybody has been telling me whatís been going onóand nothing sounds good, thatís for sure.
Soak: Most bands have the standard bandname.com while your band has www.mestcrapp.com.
TL: Whoever was making up our Web site at the time was probably like, ĎWhat do you think about this?í and at the time I was probably just like, ĎSure, whatever dude, I donít really give a crap.í
Soak: I remember about three years ago, Mest was playing the side stage in the parking lot before a Blink-182 concert at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, and there had to be a couple hundred people there.
TL: That was pretty crazy. I remember talking to the people that worked there and they were like, ĎYeah, thatís the most people weíve ever had over at the side stage, weíve never seen that happen before.í We were pretty stoked on it; it was cool.
Soak: The lyrics to your song ďHotel Room,Ē off of your debut ďWasting Time,Ē read: ďWanna touch you, but I know I canít touch you / Wanna be inside of you, wanna be inside of you,Ē do you think a line like that would help Soak readers pick-up chicks?
TL: Well, onstage I change it to: ĎI want to see you, but I know I canít see you / I want to fuck you, but I know I canít fuck you / I want to cum all over you.í
Soak: Your song ďCadillac,Ē with its ďWith the top down seat back rolliní in my CadillacĒ chorus, makes it sound like you have had some good times in your Caddy.
TL: Before we recorded Destination Unknown, me and my drummer, Nick [Gigler] had just bought my Cadillac and we drove down to Florida to hang out with my girlfriend for like a week or something. Then we flew to L.A., and I flew back to Florida, he flew home, and then me and my girlfriend drove up [to Chicago]. Itís a neat car. Itís cool. Shit happens.