Kut U Up (January 2014)

By Tom Beck

Famed for their off-stage antics more than their music, San Diego’s Kut U Up will always be known as ‘that band who toured with Blink-182 and Green Day’ in 2002. It’s certainly a mark of achievement and one which perhaps would have led to greater opportunities for other bands. Kut U Up aren’t that band though and after a considerable period away, at least from our attention , they returned with their ‘Worse Than Wolves’ EP in 2013. A year later and they’ve just released a live album from The Belly Up in Southern California. Tom Beck caught up with the thoughtful Chris Cote to discuss their return.

Hey Chris, thanks for talking to Punktastic. You’ve just released an 11 track live set with Kut U Up. What was the thinking behind putting out a live set?

We play The Belly Up quite often and consider it our home away from home. Every year we do a Kut U Up Christmas Special and this year The Belly Up offered us a live recording and release so we jumped at the chance. They recorded our set, we played better than usual, and boom you get a Kut U Up live album! There are actually two unreleased new songs on there as well, so if you’re a Kut U Up fan, you should probably get it. http://www.bellyupmusic.com/download-store/shows/show/313

Last summer you released your first recorded material in a decade, the ‘Worse Than Wolves’ EP. Did you feel any pressure to come back with a bang? 

Not really, if we felt pressure we would have released an album ten or so years ago. We’ve been playing shows off and on the whole time, writing new songs, and really just having fun being a band and being close friends. We’ve been wanting to record for a long time, but it just took a few things to come together to actually make us pull the trigger. Our long time friend Clint Weiler from Aggronautix offered us a deal to make Limited Edition vinyl pressings of the album so we cut a deal and the rest is history. We’re very proud of the EP, especially the vinyl edition. Check it out http://www.aggronautix.com/products.cfm?productid=87

How has the reaction been to the EP? We’ll be honest and say that we thought it might have a little more energy at first. Is that a fair comment?

We’ve heard that a few times and it’s a fair assessment to say that the music on the new EP is different than what some fans would expect. Sound wise, it’s very in-line with where our musical direction has been heading for a long time. There’s a darkness to ‘Worse Than Wolves’ that ‘Pulled Over’ didn’t really have, and that’s interesting to us because we’re all in such a better brighter place as humans now. Every once in a while I’ll listen to ‘Pulled Over’ and love certain things about it, but at the same time wonder what the fuck we were thinking on a few songs. With ‘Worse Than Wolves’, we tried to capture the songs as we heard them, trying to balance the polish with the raw sound we’re known for. Listen to the EP, then listen to the live album, we’ve got a couple new burners that will give the pop punkers something to grab on to while not alienating the indie rockers.

And now you’re planning to release a new studio album this year. How’s that going?

We have some recording sessions already in the works, but we’ll probably concentrate our efforts on releasing EPs rather than full albums. We’d like to offer our fans more music this year and since we’ll be mostly recording and releasing music on our own dime, we feel like doing five songs at a time is best for us as well as our fans.

As a UK fan it’s always been difficult to find information about Kut U Up and many assumed the band had long since broken up and gone their separate ways. That’s not actually the case is it? 

Naw we’ll never break up. If there’s a lack of information about us, that’s probably cause we all have jobs and shit and sometimes neglect our duties as Kut U Up media blasters. We plan on making videos, more music, and updating the audience, but as anyone who has been in a band for as long as us (which is very few people), you’ll know it’s hard to always think of updating your Facebook and shit. We have shows lined up, we’d love to tour, but for now you’ll just have to keep messaging us and telling us to fuck off when we forget to reply or post new stuff on our Facebook or website.

It sounds like Brandon in particular has been on quite a journey over the last ten years (based on this article: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/kut-u-up/). Is he doing well now?

He’s doing the best he’s ever done. Brandon is the best Brandon he’s ever been. He has been on a journey of self-empowerment and spiritual growth, which has made him not only a better buddy, but also a better musician. Facebook him, he’ll answer anything any of you guys or gals would like to know.

We’re now seven questions in….probably time to address the elephant in the room…Riding In Vans With Boys. Was the movie a good representation of the band at the time?

Fuck yeah. Probably the most fun any of us have ever had. Not many people get to have a film record of the best time of their lives, but we do. Will I let my kids watch it, yes, but probably not till they’re like 13 years old. I wish I still had the scar that Billie Joe gave me when he branded me, I took too good care of it and all I have to show for it is a few freckles, that’s’ probably my biggest regret, taking care of the third degree burn on my ass.

Did you guys go into it knowing that your off-stage antics would probably over shadow your music? 

That’s part of the reason we were asked to do the tour and film the documentary. Our antics are part of the wonderful package that is Kut U Up.

‘Pulled Out’ was, in my opinion, a great record; do you think it got the recognition it deserved?

We probably should have won a Grammy or something ha ha. You know what, a lot of people like that album and still do to this day. Recognition or not, we’re proud of it and proud that it’s touched a lot of people. Sounds corny, but its true, that album captured a moment in time for us but also for a lot of kids out there. It still stands up to this day. Listen to it right now, turn it up, take a trip back in time, dance, get wild, that’s what music is for, right?

You’ve mentioned in the past that you regret ‘blowing’ the opportunity the tour gave you. Is that still the case?

Who knows if we did or not? I’m considering writing a book on that subject and really investigating on whether we could have actually “made it”. That point is up for debate.

Let’s get back to the present day – Matt has now replaced Micah in the band. How is that working out?

We’re all still very close friends with Micah, and he loves his job being a train conductor so there’s no weirdness there. Matt is an amazing guitarist and musician, he’s changed the way we play and sound and added so much to Kut U Up. Again, listen to our live set, and especially the song ‘On Top Again’: that’s the direction we’re going as a band and Matt has had a huge hand in creating the updated sound of Kut U Up.

Are you guys planning on playing any shows outside of Southern California and the surrounding area? Is a European tour a thing of fantasy at this stage or could we see it happen?

God damn wouldn’t that be awesome? If any promoter wants to help us get to Europe, we’re there! Maybe we should make a Riding In Vans With Men In Europe film! Any takers? Let’s do this shit! Demand Kut U Up in Europe and we’ll supply Kut u Up in Europe!

Thanks again for talking to us Chris; is there anything you want to leave us with?

Kut U Up loves you, thanks for being our friends for the last 15 or so years. We really hope to see you all very soon.

Kut U Up can be found on Facebook and Twitter, though don’t expect a frequent stream of updates!


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]