FAQs about WHN? taken from various interviews:
What other bands are you/have
you been in?
* = has a record, demo, CD, or comp track out
Better Than Your Hand*
Ancient Chinese Penis
Youth Riot *
All You Can Eat*
- Tidy Bowl
and the Rubberheads
- Chu Chi Nut Nut & the
Pine Cone Express*
Reading the WHN? FAQ page, I think
you're bored answering the same questions everyday. Is it true?
It's not that we are bored with people asking us questions, but when it is the same questions again and again it is hard to stay motivated to communicate with people through the band. By adding an FAQ page we are skipping the boring parts and getting to good, serious questions. We get no sense of who we are talking to if we are being asked the same boring question: Who is in the band and what do they play? (If I am reading an interview I always just skip over that part anyway...) But when we get more involved questions the interview becomes more of an exchange. I can tell more about the person from their questions if they are more thoughtful questions.
Who is in the band and what do
Devon sings and writes the lyrics, Max plays drums, Robert plays the bass, and Craigums plays guitar.
How/when did the band start?
Devon and Max have known each other for a long time from going to shows, and for almost as long they wanted to start a band inspired by the early 80's European scene. In 1998 they asked Chuck (from Good Riddance) and me to play bass and guitar, respectively. We wrote much of what is now the first 7in and called ourselves Don't Be Mistaken. But Chuck had a hard time making it to practice and when he failed to make it to our first show we recruited Robert and changed the name to What Happens Next?, partly as homage to Ill Repute, partly in response to the state of our band at that point. Our goal was to play fast, politically-charged music which was becoming less common in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Are you a straight-edge band?
No. Though some members of the band as individuals identify themselves as SxE, I think as a whole we associate people with what's in their mind rather than what they put in their bodies.
What are your hobbies and influences?
Devon is influenced by toys, comics and bad heavy metal.
Max likes all things DIY and thrash. His label - 625 Productions - has put out about 20 releases a year by bands from all over the world, so I'd say they provide much of his inspiration and influence. He also loves old bands like Heibel, Heresy, Ripcord, etcÖ
When not taking foreign bands around the country in his van, Robert hangs out with his wife and listens almost exclusively to ZZ Top and Willie Nelson.
I (Craigums) like to study sound and listen to Weird Al. I put up my Required Listening List here, if you're interested..
Who writes the lyrics?
Devon writes all the lyrics. He has an uncanny way of transforming dialogues into lyrics, which end up being some of our songs. The rest of the songs are usually ideas that roll around in Devon's head until we go into the studio and he needs to sing. While we are recording the music in one room it is not uncommon to see him sitting in another room surrounded by stacks of scribbled-on papers and large books on the French Foreign Legion or travel guides.
What do you have to say about
bandana thrash? Do you think that it is silly now? And what about sale bandanas?
In Brazil some people like bandanas and you? for me is the same thing that Victory
sale them clock with X or sale bands marcs.
It's a bit silly how seriously people accepted the term "bandana thrash". It was really just a joking way to describe some of our favorite bands from the mid to late 80's. As at that time so many bands from all over the world had adopted wearing bandanas and flannels. We don't sell bandanas at shows, we just wear them sometimes (it keeps the sweat out of our eyes and off our guitars!)
...blah blah blah 625 Productions
blah blah Max blah blah blah...?
Go here: 625thrash.com
I heard a record of WHN? was released
in Spain with a free bandana. What do you think about that?
There is a WHN? release in Spain that had a limited version that came with a "bandana." It was the split with the seminal HHH side-project, OvertHHHrow. The guy that put it out is a good guy who really likes WHN? However, he is off the mark a little from how we operate. I like when people make an artistic project out of a record. Like how Martin from Lengua Armada makes all sorts of special versions of his releases. He does them one at a time and puts his energy and heart into them. A record can be so much more than music. It can be literature, pictures, ideas, artwork, creativityÖ Of course they will end up being limited releases because how many Tear It Up records can Ernie from LIFES HALT glue broken glass to before he either runs out of glass, glue, energy or blood? Those records becoming collectible is just a side effect. However, when labels start producing records with different color covers just for the sake of making that record collectible - not for art's sake - I think that is unnecessary.
What are your plans for the future?
or as is sometimes phrased What
Have fun and thrive for honesty and consistency in our lives. The strongest bond among us is our enthusiasm and motivation. It may not always be with hardcore music, but we seem to always be riding this wave of energy and enthusiasm for things other than watching TV or 'growing old.'
Do you have any releases planned?
(The following is an interview from 1999)
Me: How long has What Happens Next been a band?
Robert: What Happens Next started in October of 1998. We recorded our first seven- inch on my first wedding anniversary.
Me: Why is What Happens Next a straightedge band?
Robert: Weíre not.
Devon: Weíre not really a straightedge band, but several of our members are straightedge. There is some imagery of straightedge on our records, but it is not representative of the whole band.
Robert: The straightedge imagery that appears on the records appears there because there are members of the band who are straightedge. That imagery is associated with them as opposed to being associated with the band. Itís not like thereís two straightedge guys and a couple of drunks or anything, that is just an aspect of people in the band as opposed to an aspect of the band.
Me: What members of the band are straightedge?
Devon: I think that itís pretty obvious, but I donít really think that itís necessary to say. Also though, everybody in the band is really in control with anything they put in their body. There is just a lot of consciousness as far as what we do.
Me: What is the hardcore scene like in Northern California?
Robert: Itís really small.
Devon: And itís also kind of divided. Thereís a hardcore scene that is quite bigger and more known in some circles which is more of a New York style or really aggressive style, but it has nothing to do with what we really partake in.
Robert: I should clarify when I say itís small. When I think of a hardcore scene I think of a show like tonight and bands like Lifeís Halt, and there arenít that many northern California bands that have that kind of image and that kind of attitude. Iím sure that there are a lot that I donít know about, but the hardcore that is visible up there is tough guy Ďchuga chuga,í or even if the music isnít Ďchuga chuga,í the attitude is, and thatís just bad.
Me: Why do you guys wear the flipped up hats, bandanas and flannels?
Devon: Originally it was just kind of nostalgia because when Max and I formed the band, we were really influenced by a lot of European style hardcore bands like Combat Not Conform, Larm, Heibel, Heresy, and a lot of Italian, Berlin, British, Dutch, and Belgian bands that saw the style of flannels and bandanas and stuff that is kind of a more southern California imagery and sometimes gang associated, but they just saw it as "that is what American hardcore is like," and its kind of their interpretation of American Hardcore. We just love those bands so much that weíre kind of like emulating them out of nostalgia and respect. Itís a fun thing, and I think that we actually, not really consciously, but we kind of toned down the---
Robert: I think it got to the point where people were like, "Oh What Happens Next, theyíre the band that wears the bandanas," or "Oh What Happens Next theyíre the band that wears the flipped up hats and bla bla bla." I mean that was fun and is fun, but thatís not what the band is.
Devon: And the thing too is that thatís how I dressed in High School. I have this old shirt from like 1985, an army jacket with all the bands written with permanent ink marker on the back, and in some of our early records thatís what Iím wearing and its literally the stuff I wore in high school. Itís really about being an old nostalgic dork. I was never really in a band like What Happens Next in High School. Itís kind of actualizing something that I really wanted to have done so long ago.
Me: I heard you guys are really busy, could you explain that a little bit?
Robert: Iím married but donít have any kids, when Iím at home I work a shitload, I roadie for other bands, and I am in another full time band. Between those two bands, traveling with other bands, and working, I get maybe one night every two or three weeks to hang out with my wife, who also tours with bands as well. In fact I get to see her for the first time in a couple of months on Monday, and I am kind of excited about it.
Devon: Yeah, and I just work at a record label and a toy store, and I guess thatís it.
Robert: Devon puts in a solid 60 hours a week every week at least.
Devon: And then I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend Sibbion. Itís our eight-month anniversary today.
Robert: Max and Craig both have full time jobs. Max is in a bunch of bands---
Devon: And does a record label, a zine, writes for Maximum Rock and Roll, has a girlfriend, skates, and has a job. Craig has a billion bands, works all the time, travels---
Robert: And is building a studio in his garage.
Me: With all that stuff you guys probably donít have much time to tour.
Robert: We took one trip to Chicago earlier this year, and we went to Japan earlier this year. Thatís the extent of our touring other than trips to Los Angeles.
Devon: Iíd say that we probably, have we only played like 25 to 30 shows?
Robert: Maybe. Close to half the shows we ever played are the ones in Japan.
Me: With how busy you guys are, how do you get the time to write so many songs?
Devon: I would say that particularly Max has a very energetic personality. Heís coming up with a lot of riffs, and then Craig and Robert come up with stuff. All of us tend to read a lot. I read a lot to get inspirations for lyrics so when we meet for practice itís pretty productive. We also spend a lot of time just talking, catching up, and making plans. I donít know, we just write a lot of songs and we keep recording with our friend Bart who we all recorded with in all of our other bands and know really well. Weíve never recorded with anybody else so when we go and record stuff itís really easy to do all the songs. I donít know. Thatís just the pace at which we write.
Robert: I guess weíre lucky because songs come really quick. We can go to practice and come out of practice with eight songs, new songs written in one night.
Devon: Itís just the combination of personalities. An old band that I was in for about five years only wrote 33 songs in that whole time. The pace kind of amazes me, but not really because itís so natural.
Robert: Youíre not even there when we write the songs.
Devon: Actually I happen to be so busy that they give me tapes of the music.
Robert: We write songs, give Devon tapes, and Devon puts words to them---
Devon: And then I come to the practices before we record, tour, or play shows. That process will change because Iím trying to get a regular life.
Me: With so many songs how do you choose which ones to play live?
Robert: The ones we like best.
Devon: All of us have different favorite songs.
Me: Why does What Happens Next sing some of their songs in different languages?
Devon: Like I said earlier, weíve always been inspired by European bands. Weíre all fans of the international hardcore scene and love bands everywhere. We write a lot of our songs in different languages to make our message more understandable or kind of transcend boundaries set by languages so itís not just sound and image. Thereís a message and a meaning behind what weíre saying. So many bands internationally, whether theyíre from South America, Asia, or Europe, sing in English to make this medium, and it kind of looses some spirituality and some heart. Americans have it easy. All they need to do is speak English and then go to other countries and everybody in Japan is taught some English in school and in Europe people speak seven languages. I think all of us want to at least try.
Max: Also I think the parameters of how we look at the scene is a world community. Our influences arenít just American bands or bands that that sing in English. A lot of the bands that weíre influenced by sing in Italian and Japanese. So when it came down to it, it almost seemed natural, and I think itís a challenge too. And after we did it, just the first couple times, we actually met kids from the Philippines that were just like, "Thatís so awesome, thatís the first band that weíve heard sing in that, and we got the message." They got it.
Devon: Sometimes theyíll laugh at our pronunciation, or our choice of words.
Max: We spell shit totally wrong, we have errors galore, but weíre trying.
Devon: And a lot of bands from those other countries do the same thing, theyíre singing in English, and itís bad English, but theyíre trying too. Why not just turn it around? It was really particularly rewarding in Japan because our Japanese songs went over, and those kids knew what we were trying to say instead of just singing along these words that they just heard. They actually knew what we were saying.
Me: Does everybody in What Happens Next skate?
Devon: Max is the primary proponent, and then I used to skate a lot in high school. Basically Iím just about grinding and doing backside bonelesses.
Max: Craig skates actually. There are a whole slew of new cement parks. One just opened up in Pleasanton where Craigís from so Iíve been taking BART out there and itís awesome, perfect blend of street, bowls, a snakerun, some handrails and stuff like that. So Craig and I have been going out there and Craig has just been getting back into just skating ditches and pools and stuff like that. Itís been fun.
Me: Max, what do you think of the hardcore scene back in Northern California?
Max: Itís good, itís always been strong, but I think weíre also extremely pampered up there. We have this club that we donít ever think is going to go away, we have Gilman, and a lot of people donít see the internal struggles that have happened there, and havenít seen how hard it was. It all really comes back to Timmy OíHannon, and our song ĎBobo.í As much as people hate MRR, he started Epicenter and let it go to other peopleís hands, he started Blacklist and let it go to other peopleís hands, he started Gilman and let it go to other peopleís hands, and those things are still there and thatís why all these bands from the Midwest that didnít have a scene, moved out to Oakland and San Francisco. So thereís this infrastructure for a scene, but I feel like itís almost not being utilized. There are all these bands up there, but thereís not this booming, positive, DIY, politically conscious but aggressive and energetic thing. Itís either fourth generation Neurosis kind of crusty metal, or garage rock bar rock or something. Itís weird. There are no Esperanzas up there, and thereís no Lifeís Halt. Iím hoping thereís going to be. I see the potential that thereís going to be because there are enough places to play, but thereís just not. So itís good and bad. Tons of kids are coming out to shows now, so itís good because we definitely had some bad years where people werenít coming out to shows in the early 90s.
Me: What effect do you want What Happens Next to have on people?
Devon: I want the effect we have to be the same effect that the bands that played tonight had on us, and that had on everybody. When the bands play Iím just like, "Oh geez, I was going to say something like that." They play a riff, go off, jump or do something thatís so intrinsically awesome, so much fun, so cool, or say something, and thatís the reason weíre playing with them. Itís like weíre in this together because we share this bond and this energy. I donít know how to say it. Like tonight, every band was so inspiring. Just to be inspired and challenge each other in a positive way. Like Lifeís Halt in essence, I canít explain it, just that feeling, that feeling of being alive and having friends.
Max: On a personal tip, it has allowed us to meet so many great people. So when you say effect on other people, Iím too much of a pessimist and a self-critic to think that thereís some guy or some band that weíre going to inspire or anything like that. I donít think of that, I think of the fact that Iím in this band where I get to come to LA and I get to see a show like this, or go to Japan and see all these fucking awesome bands that are so inspirational. What they inspire me to do is what Iím doing at that show. To play, play with them, and play the same style. Itís almost on a personal trip for me of just meeting all these people and just being part of something thatís bigger than all of us, this community. Itís just fucking awesome. Itís kind of a personal thing at least for me. I can say when we first started, the whole thing was kind of looking back to the late 80s European scene, Italian bands, Dutch bands, or the old 80s thrash. Our intent back then was look how negative everything got now, but back then you could play fast, have energy, do all this stuff, but you could be positive, be straightedge and not have to play formula 88, do all this stuff, and look back at these bands, but now thatís over. Seeing bands like Lifeís Halt and shit like that is just inspirational.
Me: What do you guys think is the biggest problem in the hardcore scene?
Devon: Lack of personal responsibility particularly in combination with loosing venues. Itís so rare that youíll have a consistent all ages venue to go to, and sometimes that really might be equated with stagnancy. I feared at one point that Gilman Street would become stagnant but continue to exist. Now itís getting harder and harder to get an all ages space because people are always breaking shit.
Max: Thereís a lot of negativity that the scene could do without, but who am I to say, that is just my personal opinion. Not against any particular bands but like Devon was saying, every fucking show thereís somebody complaining about something and that they have no idea what it took, like what it took to have this show. And all it takes is one person to fuck it up, and there is that one person in a lot of shows. I canít count how many times Iíve seen a show get destroyed over one person and thatís always disheartening because it feels like youíre just digging in water, but you just keep on digging.