FIDLAR's Brandon Schwartzel: In a 24-hour period, there are four hours of fun



The guys of L.A.'s skate-punk/garage-rock act FIDLAR (which stands for "Fuck It Dog, Life's a Risk") have become well-known for their hard partying and their loves of stick-and-poke tattoos and '90s music culture. Oh, and their own music, too, which has garnered them opening spots for the Hives as well as punk legends OFF and Adolescents. The band released its first full-length (self-titled) this past January. On first listen, it strikes similar notes to the Descendants and a little bit of Blink-182 (both influences the band proudly references), but it veers a bit harder musically and darker lyrically than either of those two acts.

The Pitch caught up with FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel over the phone earlier this week ahead of tonight's show at Czar Bar. Should be boozy, fun and thrashy.

So where are you right now?
We are in Phoenix right now. We played Phoenix last night, and we're getting ready to head out to Denver later. It's just six people in a van with all of our gear - we get to cuddle. We're big cuddlers.

A lot has been made about you being an L.A. band. What do you think sets L.A. bands apart from acts from New York, perhaps, or the Midwest?
I think it's just - L.A. has a different kind of vibe, a really laid-back, beachy vibe. New York is super get-up-and-go, hustle and bustle. I get that laid-back kind of vibe in the skate-punk bands that we listen to like Circle Jerks, Descendants and Adolescents. It's just a feeling of the town, and L.A.'s so spread out, so I think a big difference is that you have a lot of space to work with. You can build a studio in your house, like we did. For DIY shows, you can set up a show in a warehouse.

You've gotten to play alongside some pretty impressive acts. Who have been your favorites to share a stage with and why?
Definitely the Hives - that was the first tour we ever did, where we opened for them. They've been one of our favorite bands, and we were big fans before the tour. They seem like they have it all figured out, you know? They play really well live, make awesome records, get along, love their band. They are good mentors in a way. We played with Adolescents, which is crazy. We played with OFF! With Keith Morris, and actually opened for Flag, a reunited Black Flag with Keith Norris and Chuck. We've gotten to play with some people that are legends.

You're just embarking on a pretty healthy, busy tour. Do you ever just need a night off or are you pretty much always down to party? What are some of your tour-survival strategies?
Whenever we go on tour, we try to pack in as many shows as possible. We figure we're out on the road, might as well play for people. We'll sleep in their homes, sleep in their beds. It is nice to have a day off because after doing a show every night for seven nights in a row. We can only party and play and drive around so much before needing a break. I actually, like, always try to like get up in the mornings and go for a run. Not necessarily to be healthy, but to help my hangovers. If I get up and immediately do something, I kind of sweat it out.

You guys seem pretty committed to making this journey fun, above anything else. But between your Web stuff and your album release, there is obviously some work involved. What is your work-to-fun ratio?
I'd say it's pretty close - I'd say about 50/50. I'd say 58 work, 42 fun. But yeah, it is a lot of work. With touring so much, there are thousands of miles to drive, loading in gear, and loading out gear. In a 24-hour period, 20 of those hours are work, and four are having fun. But those four hours are really good.

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