What can be said about ALL SYSTEMS GO!? A whole fuckin' hell of a lot, people! The band not only consists of 'the original pop kid' himself, John Kastner. For those of you who don't know, he was the genius and brains behind such bands as Doughboys and Asexuals. I'm not even close to being finished yet. The band also shines the talents of a great-but-somehow-unknown Canadian drummer in Matt Taylor AND of course let us not forget Frank Daly and Mark Arnold both of Big Drill Car and M.I.A. fame. All Systems GO! have that poppy-punk sound Doughboys were notorious for combined with that surf-pop-punk type-thing that M.I.A. and Big Drill Car were doing waaay before a lot of today's bands wanted to sound something like them. The dangerous pop-punk rock outfit's yet-to-be picked up album is, in my opinion, one of the best recordings of 1999 and it hasn't even been mastered or released. Is that sad?!?! Does that say it all? No way! I'm still just getting started. So, on a cool March evening a bunch of us from our homestead had to go check out another rockin' All Systems GO! set at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. I hadn't been that excited to see a band since 1993 when I saw Doughboys for the first time at the Palladium with the Damned. ShitEd and Gizz (from Dead Lazlo's Place) interviewed the 'Big Dough Car Boys' while at the bar of the Troubadour after their entertaining sound check. Also present during most of the interview was their manager, James MacLean (who also managed Doughboys) and myself sipping on fine spirits. Now this is what was said by all present. Ready... Set...

SHITED: Alright, I guess. Sound check another one. Name?
FRANK: Frank.
JOHN: John.
MARK: Mark
MATT: Matt.
SHITED: Okay now, what do you do?
MATT: I play drums in All Systems GO!
SHITED: Alright, Mark?
MARK: I play guitar.
JOHN: I play guitar and sing.
FRANK: I play bass and sing.
SHITED: Okay, what the hell...
JOHN: What's this for?
SHITED: This is for Censor This.
JOHN: Okay.
SHITED: Is this like... inevitable? The Doughboys and Big Drill Car were like good friends for a long time, right? So, was this almost inevitable?
JOHN: Well yeah. We met on the M.I.A. tour.
FRANK: So it was like even before Big Drill Car.
MARK: We met in 1987.
FRANK: I thought it was '86?
MARK: No it was '87, summer of '87 at a really strange little hall in Sumter, South Carolina. Yeah, that's where the story first originates.
JOHN: Yeah, the summer of 1987 is when it was.
MARK: And it was just like, we had always talked about it. You know like, messed around. We never even like attempted to get each other on stage, really. But it was always like, kinda...
JOHN: I don't know. We always got along and we always had a good musical common ground.
FRANK: And a mutual admiration for each other's, you know, work and stuff like that
JOHN: These guys started Big Drill Car, and we got Cain to put it out.
FRANK: That's right.
JOHN: They sent me this tape because they had this band after M.I.A. and they sent it. We had this guy Cain, who eventually ended up working at Cargo [Records]. Cain put out the first Doughboys record. So they sent it to us and we were coming on tour here. It was literally three weeks before we were in LA I told them, I said to these guys, we can get Cain to put it out, do you want to go on tour? And they were all, yeah! So three weeks later we played in LA and we toured what, about twenty-five shows back. All the way up the west coast to Vancouver all the way to Montreal. That was the first Doughboys/Big Drill Car Tour.
SHITED: So who decided to put this project together. I mean, how did it come about? How you finally did do it?
MARK: Um, just another like, matter of...
JOHN: Mark played on the last Doughboys tour when we opened for the Offspring across Canada. We did some west coast show in the states. After that me and Mark had a real fun time playing. So I think that opened things up that we wanted to play. We wanted to figure out what we wanted to do, should we start a new band or use an old name? And he was like, oh no let's start a new band. By that time I was already jamming with Matt. So Mark came up [to Canada] and then we were talking to Frank about it. Then Frank phoned us from Australia on the Warped Tour and said, I've been thinking about it dude and I'm in!
SHITED: You were working for Rocket [From The Crypt] on the Warped Tour?
FRANK: No, I was working for Reel Big Fish.
SHITED: Reel Big Fish. Okay.
SHITED (to Mark): You were working for Rocket.
MARK: Exactly.
JOHN: And that's kinda how it all begun.
MARK: Corresponding and then actually getting the government of Ontario [Canada] to help us out a little bit.
MATT: Yeah, they helped us out a whole bunch.
ALL SYSTEMS GO: (Laughter)
JOHN: I think what happened was that me and Matt had written some songs then Mark came up. We wrote a bunch of songs with Mark and then he went home for Christmas. Then he came back up and we wrote a bunch more songs. And then Frank came up three weeks later, we jammed for two weeks and then we recorded the record.
MARK: That was the first recording session actually.
MARK & JOHN: Yeah. Yeah. (Agreeing)
MARK: We did that and then after we kinda got that together... and then we decided... well we toured after that, right?
JOHN: You guys went home and then we did the Swervedriver Eastern-Canadian tour.
MATT: We've just been going back and forth. We recorded some new songs. Doing the long distance thing.
SHITED (to Matt): How did you hook up with them?
MATT: I was a fan of all these guys. (laughing)
SHITED: Alright! Hahahaha... gotcha!
MATT: It just happened to work out.
JOHN: It's good though because people always kinda wonder what it's like, two of us being from Canada and two from LA but it's good for us. Because when we're together we get a lot of work done.
MARK: You kinda have to. So when we are together, there's thing we need do. We try to not waste very much time. But I say try not too much. (laughter)
SHITED: So there's always an urge to not be lazy because you have a limited time frames together.
MARK: Exactly. Yeah.
FRANK: You kinda can't take your time when you're at it together. It's more of a main factor. You'd better practice. Better go back there and work on this or whatever.
GIZZ: So is this a project or is this the new band?
JOHN: Yeah, it's the new band. I mean...
GIZZ: Is this a side project?
FRANK: Well, like it seems to be like... to be like a real band...  like it's gotta be like The Partridge Family or something. Or where you all gotta live in the same house like The Monkees or something like that. We can be a band and still live in two separate cities. Everyone kinda works or other things on the side when we're not all together. When we get together, we're a band and we have songs and stuff like that.
SHITED: I think what Gizz was asking is: hopefully we can get at least four or five albums outta you guys. (Laughter)
FRANK: We'll see.
MATT: Yeah, we'll see.
SHITED: Take over Gizz.
GIZZ: Matt, what other bands were you in?
MATT: The only other band I was ever in was a band called Hebeged.
GIZZ: What was that again?
MATT: Hebeged. H-E-B-E-G-E-D. Other than that, I just played with a bunch of other bands. Just recorded with them and stuff. I started playing with John a few years ago. I hadn't even played in two or three years. Then John called me up and we went from there.
GIZZ: Interesting. Where did you guys record?
MATT: Toronto.
MARK: Yeah we recorded it in Toronto at a place called Signal to Noise. It's a great studio.
JOHN: Daniel Rey produced it. Then Mark flew up to Vancouver and mixed it with Dave Ogilvie at the Warehouse. Bryan Adams' studio.
MARK: Very nice studio.
GIZZ: How long ago did you guys record it?
JOHN: Last March.
MATT: Then again in August. We did part two in August.
(at this point in the interview ShitEd goes to the bartender and asks her to turn the volume down on the TV that's playing some stupid-ass MTV soaked filler crap. Then the interview continued with...)
SHITED: Thank you.
GIZZ: I wanted to ask you John, I read somewhere that A&M [Records] were planning on releasing a Doughboys greatest hits thing...
JOHN: Yeah.
GIZZ: Is that still gonna happen?
JOHN: Yeah but I guess it's gonna be on Universal [Records] now. But I don't know what's going on with it. I don't even care anymore. It's ancient history to me. There is a greatest hits and it's supposed to come out. It's called "That Was Then And This Is Them". But I don't give a shit.
FRANK: What about the purist, man? What are we to do?
GIZZ: Yeah, totally man! Look at me, I've got everything except...
MATT: You've got it all anyway, right?
JOHN: It's in the past. There's actually eight new songs on it.
FRANK: Really? Like out takes and things?
JOHN: Yeah.
FRANK: See, I didn't even know. That was a good question Gizz. Chalk another one up for Gizz.
GIZZ (to John... still): I also read that you were doing music for movies and stuff?
JOHN: Yeah, I produce scores for films.
GIZZ: What was it, Universal Soldier?
JOHN: Yeah I did the last two Universal Soldiers films. It was alright.
GIZZ: Two and three? Was it fun?
JOHN: Yeah, it was great because it paid for us to make a record. (laughter)
MARK: It afforded some time to use it in our own ways and not...
JOHN: It gave us money and freedom to make our own record and not really have to rely on anybody else. Which what it was good for. I still do it. I kinda what I do to make money.
MARK: It's kinda good too, because it's [our] first record. You kinda just want to go into the studio and have the freedom to do that because it is [our] first time in there. There's no boundaries. That's what I really like about being in this band now. There's no pressure anymore. It's like we're the underdogs again. It's us against the world. It's not like before, in the other previous bands we were in, there was  this preconceived notion of what was going to go on. And now it's like...
FRANK: You're always worried about running into the guy [that says], yeah your two first records were cool but the third one really sucked man! What happened to you guys, you know? It's like - New band. New record. Either it sucks or it doesn't.
EVERYONE AT THE TABLE: Hahahahahaha... (Rolling with laughter)
GIZZ: How was the Lagwagon tour for you guys?
MARK: Awesome.
FRANK: Oh it was great.
GIZZ: How long were you on tour with them?
MARK: We did six shows?
FRANK: Yeah.
GIZZ: Was that your first tour?
JOHN: Well, we did a little Swervedriver tour in Canada last summer. So this kinda like our first real tour down here. A little tour in December too.
MARK: Yeah, we did a handful of shows. You know, periodically here and there. Most of them were in Costa Mesa [California]. Two of them. Haha. But it was alright. We kinda got our feet wet and made us want to do this. It helped us to really get all the... Cause we have to borrow equipment on each side of the coast. Like wherever we're at, we kinda like piece it together.
FRANK: Yeah, you seriously call on your reserve system and totally call out some favors.
MARK: Totally. But we've pretty much got it down now though.
FRANK: Yeah, it's okay.
JOHN: We've got gear here and gear in Canada.
MARK: Yeah, that'll work out.
FRANK: It's easier.
MARK: It's a lot easier. It really is.
(Mark bumps table with his knee)
MARK: Sorry about that.
FRANK: Tremors. Tremor at 8:30 p.m. on the 13th. Record that! (Laughter)
SHITED: Mark, is it frustrating to be doing sound for Rocket and not being able to get up and play yourself?
MARK: At first it wasn't because I really like the band. I think they're a great band. John's a great songwriter and I was totally into what they were doing. But yeah, after a while I started missing it. I guess it's the certain amount of payoff you get. Like when you play, you get a little more out of it after you're done, it seems like. And that was kinda missing when I was doing sound. I'd kinda get done and I was kinda still, you know, up about it. But I wasn't because I was playing. It was just kinda weird. I missed playing guitar actually. That's why I really started playing again. Because I really missed playing guitar. Right before I got on that Rocket tour I did a tour with the ADZ and then that was like outta the blue. It was just like I got a phone call from Kirk and I went and did it. And then that kinda stirred me into wanting to start playing again. After doing a four week tour and playing every day, I started like, you know, kinda getting your chops back together and wanting to play. Then I went out on tour with Rocket. I kinda wanted to do it. It's a different kinda thing, going to the other side. Being a crew guy. That's what we call it. The other side.
GIZZ: The dark side...
SHITED: I would think it would bother you?
MARK: At first because Rocket is such like a family oriented group too. They make you feel really at home. They all grew up together and with that band, it was really a different kind of band to tour with. It was pretty cool. I miss them.
FRANK: If you go out there with the mind set that you're there to work and don't confuse the two. You're not the center of attention. You're the guy basically that if you're noticed, you're not doing a good job. You know what I mean?
SHITED & GIZZ: (Laughing)
FRANK: If you just work on the "C" list then you're doing a good job. And if you go in there with that understanding then there isn't any... You don't feel threatened or slighted or like, that should be me man! You know? Hey I'm just a worker. What do want?
GIZZ: What do you think about ska?
FRANK: I like it.
JOHN: Lump it.
MARK: I think it's running its own course. Personally, I loved the old, traditional ska stuff...
MATT: There's good and bad in everything. There's good ska and there's bad ska.
FRANK: I worked for Reel Big Fish for about a year and I just like the fact that everybody is happy. It's not some heavy trip. Like the kids don't go to shows expecting, you know, I'd better watch out, I might get beat up. They're going there and they're wearing their Hawaiian shirts and doing their dance. Everyone's having a great time and everyone's smiling. That's good!
SHITED: It's such a turn-around from some of the old ska shows I remember from the 80's. HAHAHA!!
FRANK: Exactly! It was just a different deal. We'll just say that. Now, its a... happy thing.
GIZZ: How long have you been doing music, individually?
MARK: I started jamming with Frank off and on for fourteen years maybe.
GIZZ: Did you start in your first band together?
MARK: When I first met Frank, he was maybe sixteen and I was like twenty-three or something. Yeah, it was really strange. Then outta the blue we were at a music store looking through records at the same time and that was when I finally asked Frank to get together to actually jam. That band was called Raw Material and then Frank quit and joined M.I.A. and then Frank got me in M.I.A. and that's how... we figured out how to tour...
SHITED: Notice how he started his career later. He's not mentioning anything called No Crisis. (everyone begins laughing)
MARK: No, I started in a different spot.
FRANK: Don't forget The Veins.
MARK: Well no, we started out with Frank. You asked 'us' about playing together.
MARK: So I just started there... Kirk Mosher, I give you recognition. He's a good friend of ours. He got me going in No Crisis.
SHITED: Okay, Mark when did you get your first guitar?
MARK: Um, when I eighteen I owned my first. But my sister had an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. I just started playing it sitting around the house. Everyone in my family played an instrument. My older sister played violin. My mom plays piano. So there was always instruments laying around and things to do. At first I wanted to play drums. But I found out that it was expensive for drums stuff and it was kinda hard on the parents, so guitar was a little easier. That's basically it.
SHITED: John, when did you get your first guitar?
JOHN: I got my first guitar when I was nine.
SHITED: Whoa, that early. Cool.
JOHN: I played in a little band when I was in grade four or grade five. We did Beatles songs. Then I discovered KISS.
GIZZ: Hey HEy HEY!!! (claps with enthusiasm while ShitEd rolls his eyes in pain)
JOHN: Then it was all over. (laughter all around)
SHITED: Okay, what about you Frank?
FRANK: My brother gave me my first bass when I was fourteen. I started playing bass then.
SHITED: But you learned to play drums before that, right?
FRANK: Exactly. Before that I would kinda mess around on the drums and stuff. I always wanted to play trombone but I never got one. Hahaha.
SHITED: I hear swing's real big.
GIZZ: What newer bands are you into these days?
MARK: All kinds of stuff. Let's see, I like Swervedriver. I like them a lot. I like Massive Attack lately. I like a lot of their stuff. I still like all the traditional stuff, like recently I just got this new CD with this band Refused from Sweden. A really great little band. I like The Hellecopters new CD. I like a little bit of everything really. I like all kinds of stuff, but if has a little bit of balls to it, I'll kinds like it a bit more. You never know, there's different times of day that things... I like this new Sloan record, the band we're playing with tonight. "Navy Blue" is a great record.
GIZZ: How about you John?
JOHN: Who do I listen to? I don't know? I listen to...
FRANK: Jeff Buckley.
JOHN: ...Swervedriver...
MARK: Jeff Buckley.
JOHN: ...Elliott Smith.
MARK: What's... Ben Lee? That's one of the...
JOHN: Ben Lee. I really like Ben Lee.
MARK: I'm thinking about his...
GIZZ: ...CD collection.
MARK: Yeah.
SHITED: How about his dad? You ever get into Tim Buckley?
JOHN: Oh no. I never really got into Tim Buckley but I bet I would like it now.
MARK: I've only heard a couple of songs from his.
SHITED: I own everything!
MARK: Damn!
JOHN: Of Tim Buckley's?
SHITED: Yes, on vinyl.
JOHN: Nice.
(their manager, James comes in and joins us)
MARK (to James): Do we have our guest list in?
SHITED: Matt, what was your first musical instrument?
MATT: Drums. In grade seven you had to take an musical instrument where I went to school, so they made me play drums. (laughter) Just like these guys make me play drums. (more laughter)
FRANK: Taw - Taw - Tee Tee - Taw.
GIZZ: What do you listen to Matt?
MATT: I pretty much exclusively listen to drum and bass and Hip-Hop and things like that. I listen to some guitar rock.
GIZZ: Really?
MATT: But not a whole hell of a lot. Like Mickey Finn Aphrodite Groove Rider. All this like drum and bass stuff from England pretty much. The stuff the kids are into I'm into.
(A lot of things were said about Hip-Hop and drum-bass music. Every one was talking at the same time amongst themselves. I have no idea what they said and/or what they meant)
GIZZ (to ShitEd): I just asked the last one. It's your turn.
SHITED (to Gizz): No, no. You go.
GIZZ (to ShitEd): Age before beauty.
SHITED: He picks on me because I'm old.
JOHN: Oh come on. You're only as old as you think you are!
SHITED: You're never old until people start telling you you're old!
FRANK: Till kids start calling you, Sir. Sir? Sir?
SHITED: You're getting that too?
FRANK: Yeah, every now and again.
SHITED: That sucks!
GIZZ: Okay, here's my last question. Who came up with the name All Systems GO!?
MATT: Rocket From The Crypt.
FRANK: Hahahaha. (begins to laugh hysterically)
MATT: From an ad for a radio store in Toronto.
MARK: Yeah, we saw it in an ad radio store in the paper in Toronto. It said All Systems Go like all over the ad.
MATT: And we needed a name bad.
MARK: What better way to get free press.
MATT: Everyone thought it was us.
FRANK: People were all, where you getting all the dough? Yeah man, we pulled some strings.
SHITED: So you do have two recordings?
JOHN: An album done and we another six songs that we don't know what to do with yet.
FRANK: The basement tapes.
MARK: Actually, seven songs.
GIZZ: Is that it? Any final comments?
MARK: Where can you buy good french fries around here? Buy our record! Please!
When it comes out.
SHITED: Have they opened the bar yet?