Drummer Jonah Falco talks about the Canadian punk band's past and future 

Fucked Up

Yes, the band is called Fucked Up, and that doesn't matter. The renowned six-piece ensemble from Toronto originated in hardcore punk circles, but has since over time transcended just about every restriction on classifications you could name. Dating back to their early years, with classic, still completely relevant songs like "Police" and "Baiting the Public," to 2006's massive Hidden World, through equally significant full lengths — including David Comes to Life, a rock opera — to the band's most recent release Glass Boys, Fucked Up has cemented itself as one of the most important and genuine bands of our time. That latter sentiment is something the band has maintained, even as it's been welcomed with open arms by a larger audience. Leading up to their one-off performance at Metro Times Blowout, we caught up with drummer Jonah Falco, who also plays guitar in Career Suicide and is the ringmaster behind Lonely Wholesome.

Metro Times: State your name, occupation, and describe Fucked Up to someone who's never heard you.

Jonah Falco: Mr. Jo/Jonah/G Beat, drummer. For someone that's never heard Fucked Up before, we sound like a bad thought turned into a good song. We're very loud too, but we're working on understanding how to be quiet (in a loud way).

MT: What's the most annoying interview question you're commonly asked?

Falco: "Why call the band Fucked Up?"

MT: What are some of your favorite bands, and people, from Detroit?

Falco: Detroit is the genepool of contemporary music in North America. It seems like an unending task to try and track down all of the bands we've brushed with from Detroit, or Michigan in general, that have either actively or silently had an impact on the band. Everything from Mitch Ryder to Negative Approach, the Fix, Destroy All Monsters, the Stooges, MC5, etc. There might actually be too many to list and I've just only listed the obvious ones.

MT: What's your favorite Fucked Up album, and why?

Falco: I've always maintained that Dance of Death is my favourite FU record, and song. Realistically, there have probably been more significant moments in the bands' output for me but something about that felt so fully realized and ambitious that I'll never forget hearing it back finished for the first time. I actually gave Mike [Haliechuk, guitarist] a hug when it came out. The only thing I don't love about it is the cover image because it looks kind of sparse, but otherwise that's my favorite.

MT: The band has made a point to release a boatload of records since it began. Any particular reasoning behind that?

Falco: I think there is a line to be drawn between exposure and content — we fall on the side of content, which in turn leads to exposure. That's not a marketing equation or anything, FU has just always been an attention-seeking project. Often in a kind of malicious or even petty way. Benevolently speaking, though: "Let us in to your life." They also look very good laid out on one's bed beside one another, or on a cool blog — fuckedupdiscography.blogspot.co.uk.

MT: As long as I've seen Fucked Up play, "Police" has been a mainstay in your set. Given the endless amount of incidents over the last year of police-related brutality, has that song taken on any new life for you all?

Falco: It remains one of FU's most popular songs in our set and unfortunately the connotation of we as a punk band having a song about the police keeps taking on fresher and fresher relevance. At this point, though, when we play it, the aim of the message seems more to address an imbalance in power. Police aren't the only group of people in the modernized Western world, or anywhere, who are taking advantage of vulnerable people.

MT: Glass Boys continues on the trajectory Fucked Up set years ago with Chemistry of Common Life. Does the new album reflect in any way whatsoever on what the band has accomplished over the last decade?

Falco: It's an entirely reflexive record. I'd say that it sets out to codify and even be nostalgic about what it means for FU to be continuing. A lot of the themes reference aging, relevance in culture, and memory. It almost upsets the idea of FU as an institution, offering a kind of doubt to the foundation of our relevance. Hopefully we made it out in one piece!

MT: What's the most enjoyable country to play a show in, and why?

Falco: My personal answer is that I love playing in Europe, the U.K., and generally anywhere off the North American continent. Some of my most memorable FU-related experiences have been in the furthest corners of my whole travel experience. But as a whole, I think that when FU tours the West Coast of the United States, we generally flow together a little easier. It often boils down to where your friends are!

MT: Do you have any plans to do more with Lonely Wholesome?

Falco: Absolutely. There are six songs in the process of being mixed and completed right now which will be released as a 12-inch on Bad Actors (Ben from FU's label) in the next few months. It feels like a big leap from the calm and meek beginnings of the 45, but I'm really excited to get the songs out and play live.

MT: Anything else?

Falco: Thanks for the interview!

Fucked Up plays at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2 at the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

More by Ryan Felton

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