PISSED JEANS at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West), Tuesday (April 16), 8 pm. $15. HS, RT, SS, TF. See listings.
Pissed Jeans vocalist/lyricist Matt Korvette has strong opinions and a way with words.
On the Allentown, Pennsylvania, hardcore punk band's fourth album, Honeys (Sub Pop), he sings about debilitating cat allergies, the male gaze, his fear of cancer, the joy he'd feel about a certain co-worker's death and lacklustre relationships with as much ferocity as the band bring to their mosh-pit-inducing shows. Korvette spews and seethes while sludgy, noisy riffs smack up against roiling bass and frenzied drumming.
Over the phone, Korvette is just as entertaining and unguarded.
"That threw me for a loop," he says about the critical acclaim being heaped on Honeys.
"I guess I'm just cynical and think people don't really even care about music - just the story. Our album could be great, but then a homeless boy with one arm could put out a rap album that he recorded on a hand-held recorder and everyone would be, like, ‘Oh my god, we've got to talk about this instead.' Or these 50-year-old female twins could start a grindcore band that everyone talks about for two weeks. But I guess some people like music, so that's pretty heartwarming."
The four-piece did their best to trim the fat this time around, keeping tunes concise and only recording ones they'd want to play live. Korvette wrote most of the lyrics while driving to his office job as an insurance claims adjustor. The words come easily, he says. Hitting on a concept is much harder.
"It's such a great platform for getting some thoughts out there," he says. "It'd be such a waste if I just followed the generic path, like, ‘Yeah, being 40 sucks. The world's going to hell, we better change it. You shouldn't care about money, and also cops are stupid.' You'd be like, ‘Yeah, I guess I agree with all that, but who cares?'"
Are any topics off-limits?
"I'm not a total freak who can't censor myself. You're not going to hear a song that's just my social security number repeated over and over again. Actually, that's kind of an interesting idea - just, like, one-up all the rappers who give out their cellphone numbers. Be like, ‘Yo, here's my driver's licence number, my passport and my email password. Hit me up.'"
Does he ever wish Pissed Jeans were a full-time endeavour?
"The thing is, I live a very self-indulgent life where I have lots of fun and don't worry about money. But that's because I work all day. If I were just doing Pissed Jeans, I probably couldn't do that.
"You see a band like No Age or Deerhunter and think, ‘Man, they're really big.' But they probably keep their shit in a storage locker for three months when they're touring, and when they go home they probably have to go to their mom's house to get their bed back. That lifestyle doesn't interest me, even though it would be sweet to not have to do a stupid job."
What's he been indulging in lately?
"Home furnishings, for some reason. I got this great fruit dish recently. It's three-tiered and made from some sort of space-age pantyhose material that keeps the fruit from rubbing up against each other, so the bananas won't make the avocados ripen faster. I wanted that thing so bad, and then I got it and I'm just so psyched."