We caught up with LA’s Fernando & The Teenage Narcs to discuss their upcoming split release with punk heartbreakers The Paranoyds, out Aug. 12 via Loose Grip Records.
For those new to the band, they have been friends for quite some time and are made up of members of Vaguess, Wild Wing, Tongues, Denim Skull, and a few other crossovers. Today, they’re putting out a split release tape, destined to become a new LA punk classic, via Oakland’s DIY label, Loose Grip Records.
Over at the Hard Feelings Records camp, we caught the guys—Vinny, Max, Ethan, and Zach—during a rare band practice to find out what they’ve been up to, their new split release and party this Friday, and what they think about The Paranoyds.
But first, listen to “Male Bonding” off the new split.
Disclaimer: For the record, this interview was called off the record. But we’re still running it anyways.
So let me pull up some of Ed’s questions.
Zach: Ed took questions?
Vinny: I don’t want to use Ed’s questions. He’s not a rock journalist anymore. He gave up.
Max: He didn’t give up! The laptop fell off the roof of his car.
Vinny: Three times, too.
Zach: Ed does it all analog now.
Vinny: Every piece of electronics he’s ever owned has fallen off the roof of his van at least one time.
Alright, so this first one is addressed to Vinny. We know you recorded The Paranoyds’ tracks for this EP. We also have it on good authority that you did a crap job on purpose just so the Fernando ones would sound better. What do you have to say about these allegations?
Vinny: No, that’s not true. I make ‘em all sound equally as crap. That’s my goal. That’s my goal as a producer. I make everything sound exactly the same amount of shit. Nothing more, nothing less. Actually, they turned out better, better than mine…But that’s not true, Ed’s full of shit.
(The next question that followed about The Paranoyds was taken off the record.)
Vinny: Jesus Christ, what is Ed talking about!?
Ok, one more. So there’s a rumor on the internet that The Paranoyds once went to a Fernando show just to boo. Is that true?
Vinny: Well that’s impossible because there’s only been one Fernando show.
Zach: None of them were there [at Ham & Eggs].
Vinny: Not one of them! Yea, they were on tour with DIIV, but I don’t give a shit. They could’ve flown in.
Wow, so y’all have only played one show?
Vinny: Yea, it was the best show.
Do you want to tell us the meaning behind Fernando?
Vinny: That’s an Ed story, actually. He told it to me once. Ed was writing a novel and the intro is set when he was in middle school or high school. And there was this guy who kept bugging him like, ‘Hey man, sell me some weed.’ But, this is what Ed said. In real life, Ed was probably like, ‘Sure, here you go.’ But anyways, so he says he put up a fight, and then finally, the guy kept bugging him so much that he gave him a roach. The guy said, ‘Let me give you some money for that.’ But Ed was like, ‘No, it’s cool.’ And then the guy said, ‘Here’s five bucks,’ and gives it to Ed. And then Ed gets arrested later that day. They bring him downstairs to some basement, and there’s all these other kids who got arrested, too. And then Fernando comes down, that was the guy’s name, and he was a cop. He was a real narc inside of their school. And then Ed went to juvie and shit.
Max: —wait, so Ed got 21 Jump Street’d?
Vinny: Yea, And that’s what ruined Ed’s life. Sent him on a life of crime.
Max: Dude, I got a similar story with an Algebra 2 teacher. Ruined my life.
Vinny: Did you get narc’d by her?
Zach: —did you buy weed from her?
Max: No, she just failed me in algebra. And ruined my life. I could’ve went to college. Fuck you Ms. Nevarro.
Vinny: Look at you now.
Wait, so Ed told you the story, and you’re like, I want to use that—
Vinny: Yea, I had these songs for Vaguess, but I couldn’t put them out under that, so I just called it Fernando & The Teenage Narcs. Then we started doing a bunch of the EPs [on Refry Records]. That’s it, that’s how it happened…OFF THE RECORD.
For the recordings you guys just did for the split, how did that come about?
Vinny: We all played that show at The Echo with Vaguess, Paranoyds, and Wild Wing [for the Wing’s record release), and I talked to Staz about recording them at some point. Casually, I was like ‘You guys are fucking rad, I wanna record you.’ But then I didn’t have anything to record them with except a four-track. She actually hit me up the next day and said they wanted to record. Ed and Lexi came up with a split thing because he knew I would do some Fernando shit, eventually.
Yea, I heard the recordings, they sucked.
Vinny: Yea, thanks! Mission accomplished.
Actually, they sounded good.
Max: Thank you.
We just listened to them in the studio, on a loud room speaker.
Max: Probably the nicest speakers they’ll ever get played on.
So one show, eh. Does that mean Ham & Eggs is your favorite place to play?
Vinny: It was going to be the only place we were gonna play. But then we got this split release show instead.
Zach: —and then we decided we would only be a Ham & Eggs band.
All: Weekdays at Ham & Eggs!
Max: A non-official residency, forever.
Max: It’s cool inside. They don’t serve liquor.
Zach: It’s not a good music venue…you can put that on the record, it sucks.
Max: Though we are appreciative of the first show, we do think it sucks. I will not eat your green eggs and ham.
Can I get everyone to describe The Paranoyds in one word?
Max: Oh, wait can I change my word! FASHION.
Vinny: Oh God.
Max: That was a bad one. Ethan, use my spooky. No, wait. Say fashion, I’ll say spooky.
Vinny: I want to change mine too, to just power.
You want to make any changes Zach?
Zach: I’m still with Fab.
Max: He’s also Fashion. Fashion is a Zach word. I remember he was trying to make that a thing. Instead of saying cool, say fashion.
Zach: Because ‘fa sho’ autocorrects to fashion.
So what’s next for Fernando?
Max: World Tour. We’re going to Tokyo. Big in Japan.
Vinny: Only in Tokyo.
Vinny: We’ll go whenever everyone is saying ‘We need fucking Fernando.’ And we’ll be there.
Max: Yea, bookers don’t hit us up.
Vinny: No, only bookers hit us up. We’re not actually going to hit anyone up. Just let them come to us.
Max: We’re doing this no social media thing, no online presence.
Viny: We’re trying to do The Paranoyds, better than they did it. We got 21 hashtags of Fernando on Instagram…but they’re all mine. Once other people start doing it, I think it’s going to take off like wildfire.
I just posted something of you guys in the studio during this interview.
Vinny: Make sure to hashtag it #FernandoAndTheTeenageNarcs and make it 22.
Let’s talk about the future. What’s going to happen now that The Nest is gone? Not only was it your home, but it was also a practice and work space for so many bands. How many is it going to effect altogether?
Max: Probably every band you’ve listened to in the last year.
Zach: Wild Wing, Rexx, Tongues, Denim Skull, Fernando, Crusher Puppies, Fire Weed…
Zach: But you only practice once a year.
Vinny: That’s all the times we practice. Oh, and The Nice Marmites.
Max: It’s pretty much SadGirl with a cooler looking band. It’s SadGirl with mustaches.
Haha. So you’re looking for a new space?
Zach: We’re house hunting. We got tired of living there. We were there for two years. It was a mess. And once we cleaned it all out…it wasn’t so bad. It was awesome. We were like fuck. If I had a time machine, I would go back and kill Hitler.
Vinny: —and then after that?
Zach: And then we’d move back into The Nest.
Alright. Ethan, final word?
Ethan: I don’t know, dank.
Max: —describe The Teenage Narcs as your favorite weed!
Ethan: That’s an easy one.
Vinny: Look, he’s thinking now.
Ethan: Grand Master Kush.
Vinny: Ah, that’s old school, man. I even know that one. That’s some 2008 weed.
Cool, I think we’re good.
Vinny: Can we start over?? I don’t think we got anything usable. Well, the Fernando backstory is usable, and when Ethan said ‘dank’…and ‘fashion.’
Max: Actually, I think I’m going to change my answer. That’s not what I think The Paranoyds are, it’s what I think Fernando is. Power, fashion, fashion, fashion.
TONIGHT—We are hosting The Paranoyds/Fernando & The Teenage Narcs split release party at The Blindspot w/ Wild Wing, Denim Skull, and DJs Hard Feelings Records crew. 8pm, 21+, $6.
You can now stream the entire thing here.
All images Copyright © James Juarez.