1. How did you get your band name? Johnny Rukkus: Around 22 years old....failing miserably at expected means of living and feeling totally out of place in everyday life...feeling like a monkey plucked from my natural habitat and shot full speed into space. What the hell am I doing here?
Jeremy Vara: The name came about one night when Johnny and our original drummer Ryan were partying. I think they were pretty buzzed, playing some music for a friend who described them as “Space Monkeys,” which would make a whole lot of sense if you’d ever partied with those two back when we were 21. The name stuck and is actually a pretty accurate description of how we feel like we live our day-to-day -- feeling stuck, forced into an unnatural environment; trained to be something you’re not. All we really want to do is hang out in the jungle and swing from the trees.
2. How did this band get started? Johnny Rukkus: Long time friends of different local bands finally joining up to create a super group with dueling frontmen Johnny Rukkus & Jeremy Vara leading the way--the only two original members, original group was comprised of 4 best friends from Poway, CA.
Jeremy Vara: Well, I joined the band after I graduated from ASU. I came back to SD and the guys had already been playing for a while. We all knew each other from High School, and Johnny hit me up and asked if he could come over and show me some music. I’d been doing acoustic stuff in college, but taught myself to play the guitar by learning Blink songs, Unwritten Law, etc. when I was 12. I stopped playing rock music because I had no one to play it with in AZ. Anyway, Johnny came over and showed me some of the original MiS stuff – which rocked. I went to practice the next day and plugged in with the rest of the band and that was that.
3. What bands are you influenced by? Johnny Rukkus: The Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl are definitely a huge influence on the whole band.... that guy is pure rock n' roll and I can only hope to get to play a 4 hour long rock show to a stadium full of fans one day. We grew up a tight-knit group of punk rockers and anything on Fat Wreck Chords was always good music to drink and break things to. For me particularly: Lagwagon, Unwritten Law (UL, Blink 182 and Fenix TX are from our hometown of Poway, Ca- definitely inspiring and you never know who ya might bump into), NOFX, AFI, the Weakethans, Brand New, Rage & some old school hip hop. I suppose that's why a lot of reviewers have said our music is impossible to stick into any one category - too man influences and we draw from them all.
Jeremy Vara: For me personally: Unwritten Law, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Green Day, Muse, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, Chevelle.. I like any bands that can rock with harmony.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why? Johnny Rukkus: The Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters! For obvious reasons.. in my opinion, they are the closest thing our generation has to a Led Zeppelin. Spanning the spectrum I'd also love to share tour with Blink 182 or NOFX.. but both probably in their earlier days when booze drugs and cigarettes were still cool.
Jeremy Vara: Foo Fighters – because I think we could hold our own.
5. Best food to eat on tour? Johnny Rukkus: Well, we have a tour bus stocked with bad costco snacks and, of course, insta soup and such, but we always end up blowing the whole night's take on booze and late night fast food. McDonalds has used and abused my body so for now we are sticking to Wendys' dollar menu and Coffee Coffee Coffee- the meal replacer.
Jeremy Vara: Wendy’s value menu is in a league of its own.
6. Why should people listen to your band? Johnny Rukkus: Because, there are way too many pussy pop teenage wanksters flooding our ears with garbage day in and day out. We pride ourselves on providing a high intensity action packed, crowd involved show every night - without a million dollar budget and auto tune with bad choreography and headset microphones. Our records are honest and clear accounts of who we are, who we want to be and the trials and tribulations along the way. We play music kids can relate to with shredding guitars, huge drums, 2 dueling vocalists and guitar players that always leave the room chanting along for more!
Jeremy Vara: Our music is very diverse. We don’t try to write into any specific format. The music we make is impulsive, inspired by our real life experiences, and always, always, rocks.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with? Johnny Rukkus: I don't think I would want to be any athlete..... they work way too damn hard.
Jeremy Vara: Derek Jeter.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank? Johnny Rukkus: Everyone that gets trampled on while holding on to such a selfish dream of actually getting paid to play music. A lot of couches get commandeered, parents and friends generosities get abused.. girlfriends buy dinner and sometimes the drugs.. a lot of people to thank.
Jeremy Vara: My family, friends, fans, and anyone associated with the record that got us there.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be? Johnny Rukkus: Well I suppose, right now, its the throw away mentality of music and the de-valuing of it. I think the venues for finding new music are completely flooded and over run so that often many good artists get left in the cold.
Jeremy Vara: I don’t even know. The internet seems to have fucked everything up.
10. Memorable tour experience? Johnny Rukkus: Stepping in dog shit in a bar that we were playing in Reno right before going on.. Sketchy tour and definitely a sketchy night in Reno but dog shit right before taking the stage (indoors) takes the cake.
Jeremy Vara: Almost getting arrested for lying to authorities at the Canadian border.
11. What does AP.net mean to you? Johnny Rukkus: A killer source for all of my Punk and Rock news!
Jeremy Vara: It’s my one stop shop for all things rock music. No bullshit, just music!
12. What is your favorite song to play? Johnny Rukkus: Of ours? "Supermodel Suitcase" always kicks ass cause I get to scream and jump up and down like a nut during the solo.
Jeremy Vara: " Supermodel Suitcase" is one of those songs that makes me want to break everything in sight. I love that.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice? Johnny Rukkus: Las Vegas, cause I'm a dirtbag.
Jeremy Vara: Mexico before it got really sketchy.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood? Johnny Rukkus: Unwritten Law, Strung Out & Pennywise- Beastie Boys and I must say my appreciation for 90's music has grown of late.... perhaps mere nostalgia for the glory daze
Jeremy Vara: Unwritten Law – Elva, Blink – Enema of the State, Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? Johnny Rukkus: Invisibility.. because I am a perv and also because I really hate putting on shirt and pants. Lets be honest, I'd also steal lots of things.
Jeremy Vara: Invisibility. So I could personally deliver our music to A&R at every major rock label in the country/creep on everryyoonnneee
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals? Johnny Rukkus: Right before we go on I generally like to be alone with some pump up music. Our live show takes a lot of energy so I usually try to hydrate and get warm.. unless I'm on a good one and then you never know.
Jeremy Vara: Not really. We’re usually scrambling before our shows to make sure everything goes right. If I get to relax, I like to be by myself.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you? Johnny Rukkus: Probably that I am, in all honestly, a real nervous shy dude. I get totally panicked in most social situations and just try and keep doggy paddling until the end of the night and often find myself hiding out from everyone. On the mic, however, I blackout and become some bouncing, cursing- sweating maniac... go figure.
Jeremy Vara: I used to be a pretty serious athlete.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish? Johnny Rukkus: I think it sucks and is all politics. We could most certainly could get on it and own it if we knew somebody.. that's the only way and we are working on it.
Jeremy Vara: I think our band would explode if we were played consistently during peak hours. Unfortunately, until we have someone pushing it, the current state of radio won’t allow it.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time? Johnny Rukkus: Badger everybody about getting more done.. There is always more to do.
Jeremy Vara: Write music & hang out with my dog.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have? Johnny Rukkus: Really, breaking things and fucking everything up is the only real talent I have, according to my mom and ex girlfriends. Musician seemed like the obvious choice.
Jeremy Vara: As I mentioned before, I used to be a pretty serious athlete. Baseball was my shit! I decided not to pursue it in college because I was pretty burned out, and I think ultimately I wanted to play music. But, I still know my way around the diamond.