20 Questions: Young Pioneers

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

young pioneers

If you’re not familiar with Washington State’s Young Pioneers, you might be forgiven. After all, the group, though beloved in Olympia and Seattle, disbanded in 1987 without ever releasing a full-length album.

However, after a quarter-century hiatus, the band reformed with three of four original members, and in 2016 released their first single in 30 years, “Sick Inside.” Better yet, the band will be releasing their long, long awaited debut full-length, Hi Again, in the spring of 2017 on K Records. Read on for our 20 Questions interview with Scott Vanderpool.

What is your favorite musical act of the 1990s?

Having a favorite musical act is like having a favorite beer…it depends on when you ask. Super-hoppy PNW IPA, proper pint of Guinness, crisp German pilsner, Mexican beer with lime wedge…they’re all good when you’re in the mood. Even Belgian beer is good sometimes. Right this moment, and a lot of others, I’d say Swervedriver, but another day I might say The Screaming Trees or Guided By Voices, or maybe 3,000 or so other bands I liked then.

What is your favorite musical act of the 1920s?

Ah, so you’ve noticed The Young Pioneers are now pretty old. We’re not that old.

Ever bought anything from a late-night infomercial?

Fuck no, in fact late-night infomercials are one of the main reasons I’m about to tell Comcast to go fuck themselves. Comcast/Xfinity cable, Century Link and whatever they’re running through the old phone lines now, or one of those cheesy satellite dishes are the tri-part Axis of Evil that controls Seattle TV, and they all run the same unwatchable reality show trash, and charge ridiculously more for the channel packages where there is something you’d want to watch. Capitalism does not make everything better. Passing an hour long commercial off as “programming”, certainly for cable providers charging for it, but especially for FCC license holders, should be a jailable offense. It’s more of a crime against humanity than mixing up your work and personal email…I do that all the time.

Describe your perfect smoothie.

I had a pretty good Irish coffee out of a Kwik-E-Mart-style Squishy maker at a dive bar in New Orleans recently, but I don’t think any of us are smoothie fanatics. Bradley and I would probably be more into them if they were made with meat.

What is your favorite live album?

The Who Live at Leeds. There can be no other choice.

Did you prefer life prior to the internet and cell phones and social media, or do you think we’re better for it?

I suppose it was nice to not be bothered as often, but now there are so many more opportunities to be ignored and not make money.

Apples or bananas? Opples or bononos?

Ah, so you’ve had kids too. They’re fun, until they become 15-year-old girls, but they get better again.

What is the stupidest interview question you’ve ever been asked?

“A curse is placed on you and every day, for the rest of your life, you must either piss blood, shit hot asphalt, or vomit latex-based house paint. Which do you choose?”

Choose but only one: a sweet, slightly salty Gruyère; creamy Camembert; or slow-smoked sharp cheddar, aged three years.

No. See question one. Back in May I was in Paris, and to save money sometimes we’d go to the grocery and buy a bottle of Chotes Du Rhone, a baguette, some cured meat, and cheese instead of eating out. One time the selection was limited to these individually-wrapped little cheese bricks that came in a nylon mesh bag. There was this weird little three-part plastic thing in there too, and my wife opened it and took a bite. “This cheese tastes like shit,” she said, and handed it to me. It was a tricolor face-paint swab for you to root Team France on in the upcoming Eurocup…which they lost, to our Irish keyboard player Collum’s delight.

Which city draws the best crowds for your shows?

Olympia, Washington, hands down. We are like golden gods there. Those people are just a notch above literally everyone else, and they know to have fun, not just standing around looking like a god damned forest, as Iggy Pop once told us in Seattle.

How has your family influenced your career?

Even those of us born and raised Republicans aren’t anymore.

When you die, do you want to be buried, cremated, or stuffed and mounted?

Not really thinking that far ahead, but being stuffed and mounted sounds pretty good right now.

What is the greatest live band you’ve ever seen?

The Jam, on their Setting Sons tour.

What defunct band or deceased performer would you have loved to have seen, but won’t be able to?

Mozart. That crazy laugh! We see him in the grocery store once in a while, he lives in Madrona not far from Brad’s house…but he’s never wearing his powdered wig or even the t-shirt he wore in Animal House.

Iron Maiden or Megadeth?

I’ve never met Bruce Dickinson, but I read him talking about being a charter pilot and cringing when some fan in a Maiden t-shirt was about to discover him in his short hair and pilot’s costume. He seems like a pretty okay guy. I’ve chatted with Dave Mustaine, he was kind of a self-obsessed right-wing libertaridick like Gene Simmons, though not that bad.

Sherry and Lambchop or Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Moose – which duo would make a superior Commander-in-Chief/VP combo?

I think all four of them are dead, and they’d still make a better combo than the ones the electoral college are about to appoint, even though they lost the election by 2.5 million votes.

E-reader or paper books, which do you prefer?

Try wiping your ass with your Kindle in an emergency.

Ever heard of Verbicide before this interview? We’ve been around almost 20 years for Christ’s sake.

Have you ever heard of The Young Pioneers before this interview? We’ve been around longer than you.

What is your favorite mainstream magazine or publication? What is your favorite fanzine, either active or defunct?

Our friends in the Tacoma band Girl Trouble published their own fanzine called Wig Out. It is the single greatest published thing in the US since Poor Richard’s Almanac. Oh and we like BUST a lot, and not just because it’s published by someone we know, though that is a good reason. It’s a great magazine.

Surfing or snowboarding?

Skiing. Snowboards suck. They ruin moguls. I imagine surfboards would do the same but you don’t see many of those up there.

What is one surprising thing about you that most people wouldn’t know?

All Young Pioneers are double-diamond expert skiers. We look like a fucking James Bond movie chase scene when we go up.

Ever been to prison?

Chris and Collum have, and I think they can compare and contrast the penal systems in several different countries.

What is your favorite restaurant to eat at while on tour?

Elizabeth’s in Bywater, New Orleans. O.M.G.

What is your best tip for soothing a crying infant? Seriously, I need to know.

Throw the kid in the car seat and drive around for..usually it took 10 minutes tops. Sometimes you can cheat by putting the car seat on top of the dryer, but kids are smart and don’t always buy that shit.

What is one thing in your life you’d love to do that you’re almost positive you will never get to do?

Go for a ride in an F-16, not to bomb a country or anything, just go fast and pull some G’s. Oh, wait…I did get to do that.

If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Well that’s not as much as it used to be, but I’d really like to have enough to fuck with people like Peter Sellers and Ringo did in The Magic Christian.

What kind of car was your first car?

A 1964 Ford Econoline Spicoli van, with huge clouds of blue smoke that would pour out of the double doors when all the stoners climbed out.

What type of car do you drive now?

A 2011 Scion XB that will hold a drum set and maybe a guitar and amp. The City of Seattle doesn’t consider us wealthy enough to be driving, and wants us to carry our drums and amps on the bus. Or a bicycle.

What type of car do you wish you drove?

A 1964 Ford Econoline Spicoli van.

How many tattoos do you have?

None, I found out the big secret about tattoos: They put them on by shooting ink into your skin…with needles. Fuck that. Plus the first guy we saw with a bunch of tats that wasn’t a biker or in the Navy was Henry Rollins…and he was kind of douchey at the time. That said, both Chris and Collum have tattoos, I think they got them in prison.