Aubrey Debauchery & The Broken Bones

Tell me a bit of your history as a musician, what got you started? 

Aubrey: I started playing music when I was about 13, and first I started with the old walkin’ around school with a guitar to look cool before I could play it.

Josh: I did the same thing with the piano, y’know just dragging around a grand piano.

Aubrey (laughing): Umm, so I guess I started at Moxie’s in one of the Boat Drags that Jason Cassidy put on and the open mics at Has Beans. And then I was in Stars Upon Thars when I was 15 with some college dudes: Zeke Rogers, Curtis Zin, & Michael Warren. And then I moved away for a little bit, and came back in 2004, and started [as] Aubrey Debauchery. Plus all the other bands I was in…. Gorgeous Armada, Candy Apple….The Abominable Iron Sloth…[Aubrey Debauchery and the Puke Boots]

What made you decide to go from puking on your boots to breaking bones? Were your boots ruined and it made you angry? 

Aubrey: I feel like Broken Bones is actually me going back to the original stuff of Aubrey Debauchery, and what I was normally writing. When I wrote the Puke Boots album I was kind of more pissed off at a lot of people in town. Girls are catty, you know, and I felt like what better way to deal with them than be catty myself through songs! And I wanted to do something more upbeat with Puke Boots, so it was less personal and more… kind of like feisty, young 20’s gal I guess. But the albums before that were all pretty serious— like this one!

543810_224770957674326_2066916170_nHow do you all know each other? 

Gavin: I went to high school—and middle school, and elementary school—with Josh. He was a year younger than I was so I used to throw him in trash cans every day. No, we went to school together in Vista, California, down south. We were in marching band together. We knew each other, but not really on this intimate level. But then we just happened to reconnect when I moved back to Chico the second time. And then Alex, the drummer, and I were in a band called Teeph when I first moved up here, and that was sick. But then that punk bitch Matt Shilts—Matt Shilts I’m calling you out! B-ball courts after school I’m gonna sock you in the—just kidding, he’s great, whatever. Anyway we played in Teeph together. And then [myself, Josh,] Matt Weiner who plays violin, and Michael Bone who plays every instrument, are in Bogg together. And Clouds on Strings!

What are all the projects here? 

Josh: I think there’s 5: Clouds on Strings, Bogg, Pageant Dads, Duffy’s Sirens, Broken Bones

So you guys are pretty much every band in Chico. Do you wear different beards to each show or something? 

(Murmurs of agreement while pointing out the beards worn for The Broken Bones) 

Aubrey: You should see my Sirens beard.

Wow, you’re in a shit-ton of projects. Is that just because you have so many musical tastes? 

Josh: I think it’s a collective kind of a musical ADD thing. We dip our toes in a lot of different stuff. And that’s nice about Chico; people are usually down to try it out.

Is there anything you like that you’re not playing? 

Aubrey: Metal!

(Murmurs of agreement)

Gavin: Yeah! Aubrey Debauchery and the ….Rock & Rolls!

(Everyone laughs hysterically)

That’s a great name. We’re the Rock & Rolls—but we play metal! 

(Chaos erupts while old projects are brought up and plans are made for an alter-ego project called the Bone Breakers)

Alex (shouting over everyone): The past is past! That’s not marketable! Let’s move on!

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Right. Soooo, what else do you do outside of music? Hobbies/interests/jobs? Who are you/what’s your deal? 

Aubrey: Well, I’m a teacher at Inspire High School.

(Gavin claps sarcastically and they all laugh) 

Aubrey (laughing): I teach 2D Animation and Video. I am also a bartender. I am a big-time crafter.

Alex: Hi, Aubrey here, I love scrapbooking. Pictures of kittens with yarn.

Aubrey: And sunglasses!

Gavin: And Quilting!

Aubrey: Well, that’s true.

Do you guys have quilting bees? 

Gavin: We do! That’s how we came up with the album. We were in a quilt group for like four years together, and then we were like “we should play music together!”

Matthew: Every week: let’s play music, let’s play music… and eventually…

Aubrey: Four years later, the quilt was finally made.

Matthew: Last day of tour we burned it as like a ceremony. So we’re done with quilting.

Gavin: I am a lowlife piece of shit…I just play music. It’s what I do, I live it and breathe it.

Aubrey: Do you even have a job?

Gavin: No! I’m supported by music. (laughing) Supported barely, just barely.

Josh: Gavin and I are starting up doing Young Frankenstein at CTC, and Matt Weiner is doing Les Mis.

Michael: I just sit on my butt.

Josh: You’re doing something.

Aubrey: You teach guitar lessons.

Josh: We mostly support ourselves with our music projects.

Alex: Doing sound or playing music.

Aubrey: He’s the sound guy at LaSalles.

Josh: He’s the BEST sound guy at LaSalles.

Alex: That’s not true. Shout out to Ron Barker, you’re the best sound guy there ever will be!

Gavin: Shout out to Bob Barker you’re the best Price Is Right host!!! Drew Carey can go…dig a ditch.

Josh: Burn.

Alex: Moving ON!

IMG_7615-13Are you like this in practice? You’re like the task master when guys start to noodle out? 

Alex: I’m seriously in the back going “Next. Song. Guys, we gotta go.”

Gavin: We gotta go, Arby’s is open for like one more hour!

Alex: We gotta get their roast-beefy sandwich, or whatever.

Free WiFi 

Gavin: Wait, what? Really?

That’s what I see on their sign. 

Aubrey: Wooo, that’s where I’m gonna do my homework

Totally! There’ll be no one there, it’s totally quiet! 

Anyway, up next are the important questions: What’s the single most important thing in the world to you? 

Aubrey: Jeeez.

Gavin. Wow, we’re getting real now.

Josh: Coffee. For me.

Aubrey: Yeah, he can’t live without coffee. I feel like it’s so cheesy saying music, but it’s music!

Gavin: That’s a shit answer.

Aubrey: Uhhh, kitties?

Gavin: Honestly? Biggest thing in the world? Being able to affect people in the audience. Creating music and having that bond and relationship.

Aubrey: Yes!

Gavin: Whether that’s making them sad or happy or whatever.

Just having power over people. Controlling them like a puppetmaster. 

Gavin: Yes, power! The new name of the band is Aubrey Debauchery and The Leather Daddies.

Josh: Album’s gonna be called “We’ll spank you.”

Alex: I didn’t sign on for this.

Aubrey: That is like the biggest thing: that connection. We had a lot of that on tour. Literally, a woman walked away crying. She came back and bought a CD. She had lost her sister three days before our show, and she herself was turning 50 the next day, and she just wandered into the bar where we played and she stayed, and just was so touched by everything she literally cried. So that’s pretty intense. I LOVE making people cry.

Matthew: I love making them do anything.

Josh: They could clean my house.

Aubrey: We’re really working on that!

Matthew: If I can make somebody clean my house by playing violin, then I know I’ve made it.

Tell me about Death of a Dream. Do you have a dream that died? 

(Matthew slow motion punches her in the face) 

Aubrey (laughing): Ummmm….That album is titled from a song that’s on the album, and that song is relating to the fact that… I wasn’t sure if music was what I should be following at “my age.”

So. Old. 

Josh: She is 55 years old.

Aubrey: Yes, I am 55 and I look this good. So that’s nice. Um, but I definitely don’t have a dream that’s died. Yet.

Josh: I think all of us can probably relate to that. “Death of a dream” is the idea that we’re going to be, you know, the rock star thing. Or like touring the world and being Queen…

Alex: You know, replicating an idol.

Josh: But those [situations] are unheard of, that’s the rarest thing in the world. I think that’s kind of the negative side; like, I went to college, got my music degree thinking I was going to be something amazing in the sense that I’m going to be Billy Idol or something. But at the same time I don’t want to be Billy Idol anymore, I want to be in this group and I want to be doing something that’s unique and touching and powerful.

On a certain level I’m sure fame itself is the death of a dream, because there’s what you imagine it to be and then what it becomes. 

Josh: Exactly. But then on the other side, on the positive side, it’s not all or nothing. All of us can make a healthy living doing something that we absolutely adore.

Aubrey: Yeah, that right there. I feel like this tour was a dream come true. I loved it.

Alex: It feels like it’s going from innocence to experience, and the duplicitous edge we all walk upon every day. And the clouds, the clouds clear away, and we won’t be Billy Idol, but we’ll be livin’ on a razor’s edge.

(everyone claps) 

Alex: But yeah that sort of ignorant dream of being a coke-doing Billy Idol

Aubrey: Doing coke off Billy Idol…

That’s my dream! Hey Billy Idol, hold still. 

Aubrey: Don’t let go of your dream.

Gavin: Anyone who has an ounce of self control and wants to sit down and learn an instrument, and is clever can make music and can then show it to the world and make money and have a great time. There is hope for artists and musicians. I honestly think that in a nutshell this album is about experience, it’s about growth, becoming aware of what you thought was the dream and what is now the dream.

Josh: I think I’ve heard Aubrey touch on this before, but it’s like the old Aubrey Debauchery stuff is very explicitly angry—or whatever the emotion is—forward. But this is a more introspective kind of emotion. And I don’t think it’s all sad! Aubrey’s more than just sad these days.

I think that’s one of the really interesting things about your voice—it’s powerful while it’s mournful, which is such an interesting emotional state. I think for a lot of people, when they’re sad, they’re weakened. But it’s rare to really be able to delve into yourself that hard and have that honesty and be empowered by it. It really comes through when you sing. 

Aubrey: What did I say about this one?…I think this album is very self-reflective.

Where can people get it? 

Aubrey: Ah! We’re on Bandcamp. Eventually we’ll be on iTunes and everything, but [proceeds from] Bandcamp go pretty much straight to us.

Josh: They’re awesome, all our albums we’ve ever done are on Bandcamp.

Aubrey: Oh, and at our shows, of course. I’m hoping to hit up Melody Records, and Music Connection. They always put out local music stuff, so it’ll be around.

Back to your tour. Any Highlights? 

Gavin: So we were staying in Portland with some friends from Chico. It was kind of a bigger home with like five or six roommates. And so we wake up the next day, and the person we were staying with didn’t think one of the roommates was going to be home so he didn’t even tell them we were going to be there. So we’re packing up, and Randy and Rainbow come in….

Aubrey: She has a full rainbow dress on.

Gavin: She was in the technicolor dreamcoat. And so first they were like “Whooooaaaa, hippieees!” and then they proceed to hug each and every one of us like a death vice for like 30 seconds. Most hugs you pat their back like four times and you’re done, but not this one.

Alex: We were just people they found on their floor, and they hugged the hell out of us!

Aubrey: They were way into it.

Gavin: Scene change: five minutes later they go into their bedroom and it sounded like two monkeys that’ve been behind glass from each other like “please, let me have sex with you!” and they proceeded to be like “AAAA AAA AAA,” and body parts slapping. And we were sitting in the livingroom like, ahem, um we should go.

Josh: The best part of that though was that I was showering right across the wall from them. As I’m washing myself, this is happening. I had to stop washing myself!

Gavin: Then Randy comes out when we’re packing up the van—we’re like, that was weird—and he comes out in like pajama pants for the Chicago Bears or some football team, with disheveled hair—his ponytail’s come undone—he’s got a cup of coffee and he’s having a cigarette. And he’s like “hey man, can I get some CDs?” And we’re like “Nooo, bye!”

Josh: We hit him with our car.

Gavin: Blew his pajama pants off his body, it was insane.

I know a lot of people hosted you at their homes along the way. Did you know everyone previously or did you just do home invasions? 

Aubrey: There were two nights where it was like “where should we stay?” And we were like “Whatever.” Ashland and Bellingham were really great places where we just asked over the microphone to see if anyone wanted to take like six people home, for free…

That’s hot. 

Aubrey: Yeah, Bellingham we had a really great time, and Ashland we had a really great time.

Gavin: It was really great, it was like the cushiest tour. Everything worked out in such an uncanny way. We’d be like “We don’t have a place to stay.” “Hey, you can stay at our place!”

Alex: You always end up meeting great people.

Well, because only crazy people take strangers home, so you’re guaranteed it’ll be weird. 

Aubrey: It’s the most successful tour I’ve ever had, for sure. The response really blew me away.

(We get sidetracked in a clusterfuck of delightful anecdotes and laughter for the next 10 minutes that somehow devolves into a mess of fart noises until Aubrey brings it back.) 

Aubrey: So we have a great photoshoot set up! We have to go down to Bootleg to get some dresses. Five dresses, not for me.

Gavin: Are you going to be a little boy?

Aubrey: I’m going to be a man.

Josh: The littlest boy?

Aubrey: With the biggest dick!

Alex: Yes! Can this be the last sentence in this interview? Aubrey Debauchery is the littlest boy, with the biggest dick.

[yes. click] 

Death of a drea

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Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.