INTERVIEW: Daisy Caplan on Lung, Jump Kicks, and War Pigs Karoake!

Pictured above: Lung visit Target!

Daisy Caplan is a goddamned champion. Well, I can’t speak for his eternal soul or whatever, but Caplan is a solid dude, easy to talk to, and always has been. A staple in the Louisville indie/punk scene, when I met him Daisy was that kid hanging out after shows, meeting folks, and learning about music. His first band to make any waves was the criminally overlooked Ayin, who had a brief stint in the late-90s through early-aughts. Somewhere thereafter Caplan moved to Cincinnati joining the almighty Foxy Shazam on bass details, which he handled until the band went silent a year and half or so ago. In the interim, Caplan has transitioned to drums, playing first with the noise rock trio Babe Rage, before joining up with Kate Wakefield for their current project Lung. You can listen to them below and can catch them play them play tonight at Modern Cult Records with Books of Wyrm and Shi. We caught up with Daisy to ask him about getting into music, live jump kicks, and poker!

Never Nervous: What was the first instrument you played and did you shred on it? I’m sure someone has just killed it at the recorder. Was that you?

Daisy Caplan: Technically piano, and I was terrible. I got okay at bass at some point, we’d need an expert to determine if I at any point “shredded” it. I was, and still am, no good at the recorder.

NN: What was the first band you were in? Was the break up terrible to your self-esteem, or was it just a natural evolution?

DC: Technically, the first band I was in was called Red Giant, when I was like 11-13. It was me with two brothers, Michael and Dougie Crump (who was like, 9 or 10 when he started playing with us). We were all pals and it was great fun. Through the older Crump sister, had a show booked at Sparks when we were 13 with (believe it or not) Onslaught, but the show got cancelled over some stunt that (a then unknown to me) Kevin Sachs / “Casper Adams” (of later National Acrobat / Say Anything fame) pulled involving beating a flaming TV with a baseball bat or something (I wasn’t there). We broke up because the brothers moved to North Carolina with their family. It affected my self esteem in that my dudes moved and I was sad, but I wasn’t mad or anything like that. Just bummed.

NN: How did Ayin start? How did it change over time? Why did it end? Was it amicable?

DC: Ayin started in, like, 1998, or something, Jacob Gotlib started it, I don’t know if Josh Shapero was in it at the begining or not. Over time other people were added (including me) and the band changed drastically from cheesy industrial / classic goth to cheesy noise to some weird hybrid of both that absorbed the rhythmic weirdness of the heavy noise rock happening at the time in Louisville (Lords / Breather Resist / Kodan Armada, etc). It ended because we never once all five lived in the same city after 2002 and all had wildly different priorities as far as touring / music and life in general. It wasn’t amicable at the time, but I think we are all cool now.

NN: Why did you move to Cincinnati initially? Do you ever miss Louisville? How would you compare the scenes between the two?

DC: I moved from Louisville to Cincinnati after five years of driving between the two multiple times a week for several reasons.

DC: Louisville was hard-core bumming me out at the time (2007-8 ish). I had sadness / bitterness at the lack of support for Skull Alley (a pretty stellar all ages venue that my best friend Jamie Prott worked his hands to the bone to run that did pretty well but not nearly as well as it logically should have) and disgust at the overabundance of casual heroin use and famine of interesting, talented bands in the recently vibrant “scene.” A close friend died tragically, and I had general social burnout/claustrophobia and a lack of a reason to stay.

Also keep in mind that from 2006-2014 or so, I didn’t really “live” anywhere – we toured and toured and toured, at one point both Ayin and Foxy Shazam were doing so. So the idea of living anywhere was kind of an abstract thing.

I ultimately moved to Cincinnati permanently, because I had a reason to be here (band/job), it was/is cheap (you could buy a house here at the time for the cost of a year’s rent in any major city), and it felt a little more positive socially and musically. It seems a little easier to get things done here and ignore the bullshit. Still does for the most part.

Louisville has gotten better in the last few years, it seems like there is an upswing of good bands and new stuff happening. Still, I don’t really miss Louisville though, because it’s an hour and a half away and I usually end up driving down regularly to see a show or just hang out. It’s actually the perfect distance to feel like a pleasant place to me again.

NN: How did join Foxy Shazam? Were you the original bassist? Don’t make me Google this.

DC: I met them at their fourth or fifth show in Cincinnati and they kicked out the first bass player, so I could be in the band.

NN: What did you learn from your time with FS? Did you ever jump kick on stage? It would make sense if you did, meant here in the most awesome way imaginable.

“I’ll tell you this, I learned to never, ever jump kick. You’ll tear those pants and your junk will fall out in front of everybody.”

DC: I’ll tell you this, I learned to never, ever jump kick. You’ll tear those pants and your junk will fall out in front of everybody.

NN: Do you have any cool tour stories? I bet you do. I bet of anyone I know you have better show stories than, at least, many. Tell us your favorite memory of playing or back stage antics, and your least favorite. Or you don’t have to. No pressure.

DC: Here is a list of non-sequitur tour stories as they come to me.

  1. Some dude trying to stab us onstage in West Virginia and then after being roughed up  trying to apologize by saying “its cool, I know how rock and roll is, I used to be the lead singer in Dope.”
  2. Slash telling his children about how tattoos work and why they weren’t born with them.
  3. The singer of Third Eye Blind telling an Australian stage manager that she looked “just like Sarah Palin” while trying too aggressively and grossly hitting on her.
  4. Watching some dude with a suit on but his pants down lean out the side of his Maserati and take a shit on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway.
  5. Having a tour manager forget his meds and have a psychotic breakdown on tour, including adding fictitious people to the guestlist and disappearing for hours only to return while we were onstage to throw big, messy hamburgers at us.
  6. Breaking into a large sports arena in North Carolina, stealing a golf cart, and almost getting arrested.
  7. Having a swat team break up a show in Baltimore as soon as we started playing.
  8. Spending an evening in a hotel room next to a woman talking to herself audibly in the next room for the entire night, stream of consciousness-style, about Tony Blair, canoes, and “what rhymes with clit?”
  9. Seeing Axl Rose trip and fall face first into some mud at Reading Festival in England.
  10. My singer putting out a cigarette onstage by turning around, pulling down his pants, placing it on his asshole, and then clenching his butt cheeks together.

“Seeing Axl Rose trip and fall face first into some mud at Reading Festival in England.

NN: What got you into drums? How does your approach to drums differ from your bass playing?

DC: Babe Rage needed a drummer, so I just started doing it. It was good to completely change directions after Foxy Shazam. It’s different in that I’m barely competent at it so I do the absolute bare minimum of what needs to happen drum-wise.

NN: How did you start with Babe Rage? Are you all still playing? That band is fantastic.

DC: Thank you! It was originally Jen and Rachelle both playing guitar really loud with no drummer. They asked me to do it, so I did. We broke up, because somebody quit and it seemed ridiculous to keep doing it without all three of us involved. I was sad about it. That was my favorite band I’ve ever been in until the one I’m in now.

NN: Give us the scoop on Lung. How did this project start and why?

DC: I am a huge fan of Kate’s solo stuff, and she joined Babe Rage on cello in a live setting at this really crazy show we did as part of a residency.  I felt like we had good musical chemistry, and fortunately she felt the same way, because she is WAAAAY better than me. We started playing together more seriously after babe rage stopped existing, and it just grew from there. We think a lot alike and have similar preferences, work ethic, and goals as far as music goes.

NN: How does Lung write? For that matter, how do you all sound so enormous given the constituency of the band? I would say it doesn’t make sense for a cello to sound that dope, but I’ve heard that Apocalyptica stuff and I know how it goes.

DC: Most musical ideas start with Kate, but we always structure stuff together and just as often work out full ideas as a band. Kate is good at writing and playing parts that fit both the effect and song well, and puts a lot of time and effort into her tone / amp setup.

“Kate is good at writing and playing parts that fit both the effect and song well, and puts a lot of time and effort into her tone / amp setup.”

NN: Are you any good at poker?

DC: No, but I’ve also never tried to be. You don’t know until you apply yourself.

NN: What should one expect from a Lung show?

DC: You should expect that nobody will be playing poker.

NN: If you had to perform karaoke to prevent the destruction of the planet, what song would it be and why? Don’t be embarrassed to say Drowning Pool.

DC: It would be War Pigs, because that’s the only song I’ve ever done at karaoke, and I am comfortable I would be good enough at it to appease whatever unholy karaoke-battling force would dare to threaten the Earth.

NN: What non-musical things are doing it for you? Have you eaten, drank, watched, or read anything worth talking about lately?

DC: Honestly, i have been eating a lot of spinach. And eggs. I really like both those things. Beans, too. Fiber and protein! Also, tea. PG Tips is pretty good, as is Wendigo.

NN: What is your top five right now? Musical albums that is.

DC: No order…