Photo by Joe Leonard
Interview with Joey Cape | By John B. Moore
The last few years haven’t been particularly easy for Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape. He’s lost several people close to him and is the first to admit that those events inspired many of the songs that make up Stitch Puppy, his latest solo effort.
Beautifully sparse with hints of optimism throughout, the record is impressively personal. Even the title draws its inspiration from a doll Cape’s wife and daughter made for him. The record, which comes out this month, marks Cape’s third solo effort. He spoke recently about the meaning behind the album’s title, growing up and working on the next Lagwagon record.
I’m impressed with how your music, lyrically, has always grown along with you. Not everyone that plays punk can say that. Are there any songs from Lagwagon that you just feel too far removed from to sing because you were much younger when you wrote them?
Thank you. Yes, absolutely, there are a few. “Beer Goggles” is the most obvious for obvious reasons. It has to do with lyrics, of course. You just grow out of jokes and sometimes you simply have more information than you once did.
Can you explain the album’s title, Stitch Puppy?
“Stitch Puppy” is a doll my wife and daughter made me a few years ago. He is like a Victorian mourning doll. He’s great. He holds a bouquet of flowers top down to his side, as if he was waiting for someone who never showed up. It’s a suiting name my daughter gave him. He is held together by stitches. In a figurative and literal sense we can identify with this as we age. “Stitch” seems to have acquired wisdom along with his battle scars.
I decided to use him as a muse for the album and eventually decided to dress as him for the album art and later a video. It was a lot of fun. People say it’s creepy but, I see something completely different in him and the concept. I see purity, empathy and resolution. The girls somehow made a figure that appears mournful and blissful at the same time.
I’ve been listening to the new record for the past couple of days, and on the surface it seems a little darker than Doesn’t Play Well With Others. Can you talk a little about what inspired some of the songs on this record?
The songs on the record are all inspired by events from the past few years. The train of despair doesn’t seem to stop rolling through my life. There have been many hardships. Some more brutal than anything I have experienced before. I am not proud of this. I have always found the dark parts easiest to connect to. In this regard, the lyric and their inspiration is no different than any other record other than possibly Hang by Lagwagon. It doesn’t really stray too far from my usual topic pool. Musically, I was less critical than usual. I didn’t second guess things as I normally do. I just wrote and recorded. A large portion of the record’s basic tracks were recorded live. I didn’t worry about tone either. I wanted Stitch Puppy to be raw and honest. Those things are always the goal but, editing yourself will take you away from the initial feeling.
Have you talked with the other guys in Lagwagon about working on another record?
Yes. I am writing. We’ll see.
Do you have plans for any new One Week Records releases?
Yes. Two new records in the works for early next year. Yotam Ben Horin of Useless ID and Zach (Quinn) from Pears and I are talking.
What’s next for you?
Lots of touring. My solo U.S./Canada tour begins on Sept. 14th. That tour features One Week Records artists. Lagwagon has a Southern U.S. run ending in California, then the Fat 25th Anniversary show in Japan, followed by Australia tour. I have a solo tour in Australia after that. All of this touring ends around Christmas.
Joey Cape Tour Dates:
09/15/15 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
09/16/15 Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
09/17/15 Vancouver, BC Canada – The Cobalt
09/18/15 Kelowna, BC Canada – Habitat
09/19/15 Edmonton, AB Canada – The Buckingham
09/20/15 Calgary, AB Canada – Nite Owl
09/22/15 Winnipeg, MB Canada – West End Cultural Center
09/23/15 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
09/24/15 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
09/25/15 London, ON Canada – London Music Hall
09/26/15 Toronto, ON Canada – Horseshoe
09/27/15 Laval, QC Canada – Bar Le Repaire
09/29/15 Providence, RI – The Parlour
09/30/15 New York, NY – The Bowery Ballroom
10/01/15 Washington, DC – Black Cat
10/02/15 Charlotte, NC – The Milestone Club
10/03/15 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
10/04/15 Charleston, SC – Tin Roof
10/06/15 Nashville, TN – The End
10/07/15 St. Louis, MO – The Demo
10/09/15 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
10/11/15 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
10/13/15 Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar
10/14/15 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
10/15/15 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room
10/16/15 Santa Barbara, CA – Velvet Jones
10/17/15 San Francisco, CA – Bottom Of The Hill
In celebration of Joey Cape’s new release and upcoming tour, we’re offering fans a chance to win a pair of tickets to see him at any of the dates above, as well as a signed CD copy of Stitch Puppy. Simple fill out the form below and you’ll be entered. Good luck!