Q&A: If Sebadoh was a meal, it’d be chili over spaghetti

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Sebadoh returns.
PHOTO BY BRYAN ZIMMERMAN

Many things have changed since Sebadoh released its last full-length album, The Sebadoh, 14 years ago. We’ve seen three respective presidents hold terms, have started and ended wars, and the Backstreet Boys have broken up and reunited once again.

Taking influences from proto-punk masters such as Captain Beefheart and noise bands like Unwound, Sebadoh comes together to form a delightful trio with varying musical influences. With its latest full-length release, Defend Yourself, expected to drop in September, Sebadoh is returning to do-it-yourself ethics, recording the album on its own terms on a smaller record label, Joyful Noise.

Sebadoh is coming to the Bay Area on July 31, playing with San Diego garage rock revivalists Octa#grape at Cafe Du Nord. Here’s what Sebadoh’s vocalist and bass player Jason Loewenstein had to say about the new record, Sebadoh-as-food, Courtney Love, and returning to the DIY:

San Francisco Bay Guardian Why hasn't there been an album in 14 years? Will this album be extra-special?

Jason Loewenstein We’re not trying to make up for extra years we went without having an album, but it is a a little bit special because we made it by ourselves, unlike our past six albums. The album returns to the early days of Sebadoh.

SFBG What are some influences for the new album? What has changed since the last album?

JW Since we made our last record, I’ve indulged in country music, so there will be a few songs on there that have that feel. As always, we’re a fan of noisy bands like Unwound. When it comes to guitar, there’s some nods at Captain Beefheart. But all of this would be fairly obvious listening to Sebadoh. Also having a new member of the band has influenced this album. We went from having Russell [Pollard] on drums to Bob [D’Amico], and it’s changed the way the band sounds. So, Bob is the main influence.

SFBG
Why have you returned back to DIY ethics on this record?

JW We spent the most money we ever spent on last record, and we’ve learned about what we don’t need and do need. Since the last record I’ve done a lot of engineering and have helped other bands record. We’re saving a tremendous amount of money by doing it ourselves and doing what we want.

SFBG If Sebadoh was food, what would it be and would you eat it?

JW Sebadoh is chili over spaghetti with oyster crackers, chopped onion and hot sauce. The reason is because there’s a lot of random stuff that goes into Sebadoh, and you don’t think it would go good together but it turns out pretty good...I'd definitely eat it.

SFBG What was it like being on Sub Pop Records during its heyday?

JW They were a big label with the excitement held for fan zines. It was a coup of underdogs! Possibilities were a big question mark, and there was the possibility that what you did could get on the radio, though it wasn’t what we really expected or wanted. You just couldn’t expect or predict bands like Nirvana (Sub-Pop label mates) exploding the way they did.

SFBG What’s the oddest thing that has happened while on tour?

JW We were playing in front of 5,000 people, and strings (on the guitars) just started breaking. Lou (Barlow, vocalist and guitarist) got so frustrated he broke his guitar, so they handed him a new guitar. Trying to keep the crowd entertained, Bob Fay (the drummer at the time) just started jamming and and I started yelling into mic. All while this was happening Courtney Love was at the side of the stage intoxicated yelling “Don’t disrespect Kurt!” I don’t know why. He had died a year ago? Yeah, that was really weird.

SFBG Are there any grand plans in the future for Sebadoh?

JW We’re just hoping to hit the road a lot in 2014. We want to do a couple US tours and keep super busy. We’ve been waiting for our turn with Lou [Note: Barlow has been touring with his other band, Dinosaur Jr.]

Sebadoh
With OCTA#Grape
July 31, 9pm, $15
Café Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
www.cafedunord.com