The Shrubbery Interviews Chuck Folds
By Jessica Brandt
Chuck Folds. Yes, THAT Folds family. But there's more than one talented
brother from North Carolina. Chuck is the bass player for hometown favorites Bus Stop and Snuzz.
Recently, I caught up with him in a little cyber-cafe in Hong Kong, where he was nice enough to
stop and do an interview with me.
The Shrubbery: CHUCK, THANKS FOR AGREEING TO DO THIS INTERVIEW WITH US.
Chuck Folds: No problem, thanks for paying me so much, and
I must apologize in advance- I have a nasty summer cold and I'm kinda drugged right now.
TS: IN JULY, WE REVIEWED CDS OF THE TWO BANDS YOU'RE IN; BUS STOP AND SNUZZ. WHICH BAND ARE YOU WORKING MORE WITH THESE DAYS?
CF: Well, Bus Stop definitely works more physically, we play pretty regular
(few nights a week) but just private shows-with a few exceptions. Bus Stop doesn't
rehearse or anything, we just show up and play. We've been doing this for so
f*cking long (eight years is a long time for a band to be together full
time) it comes real natural, anytime we add any music we
just kinda look at each other and it works. Snuzz is more of a 'side
project' since Bus Stop is the income. But creatively Snuzz gets a lot
more time and attention. We really work on new stuff and we just got done
recording some more, should be mixing it soon, and we play a couple of
shows a month, mostly local.
TS: TO ME, IT SOUNDED LIKE SNUZZ IS A LITTLE MORE LAID BACK AND FUN THAN BUS STOP IS. WHICH BAND DO YOU FIND IT MORE FUN TO BE IN?
CF: I guess that's because of the Bus Stop cd you listened to,
it's probably our most (only) serious sounding of the four we recorded,
it was just our mood at the time. I would say Bus Stop is way more relaxed
and 'fun', the whole attitude of it has always bordered on being
'partyish' for lack of a better word. Thats also probably what is
a turn off to some people. Oh well, they just dont get it. Snuzz is a bit
more serious as far as songwriting, and it definitely isn't as energetic
as Bus Stop. I find them both a lot of fun on different levels.
TS:WHAT'RE THE NAMES OF THE OTHER THREE BUS STOP ALBUMS?
CF: No Parking, A Little Faster, and Miracle Time.
TS: BRITT UZZELL HAS AN....INTERESTING VOICE. DO YOU LIKE THE WAY HE SINGS?
CF: I hate it!
No, honestly, I love his voice. I always like the guys (and girls) that
you can recognize by just hearing one line, and that is Britt.
TS: WHEN SNUZZ OPENED UP FOR BEN FOLDS FIVE IN ATLANTA, EVERONE FROM THE BEN FOLDS FIVE MAILING LISTS THAT SAW YOU
RAVED ABOUT HOW GREAT SNUZZ WAS AND WHAT
NICE GUYS YOU ARE. DID YOU GET ANY OTHER FEEDBACK?
CF: Of course not, we kicked Ben's lame ass all over the stage and
the crowd obviously knew it.
We were very nice to the fans after the show because it is so rare these
days (since Bus Stop doesn't do the club thing anymore) to get to 'hang
out with the folks' and do the autograph thing.
TS: DO YOU LIKE BEING A "ROCK STAR"?
CF: I'm about as far from being a rock star as possible, so I have no idea.
TS: HOW WAS IT OPENING UP FOR YOUR BROTHER'S BAND? HOW DID HE REACT?
CF: It was great, he has really built up a great following of really
cool music fans, they 'get it,' you know, something that some people
don't ever get. As far as Ben goes, well, he has always been hesitant on
letting us open for him because we actually play more notes than he does,
and some people keep count of that sh*t.
Seriously, he has always been a big fan of Snuzz's (Britt Uzell's
nickname) music and Snuzz has been a big influence on him, you can hear
TS: I KNEW IT! I KNEW THAT SNUZZ'S VOICE SOUNDED FAMILIAR. IT'S BEN!
CF: Well, maybe the other way around.
TS: IN SOME INTERVIEWS, BEN HAS STATED THAT EITHER DARREN OR ROBERT WAS SOMEONE
YOU INTRODUCED TO HIM. WHO DID YOU KNOW?
TS: OKAY, NOW COMES THE OBLIGATORY BEN FOLDS FIVE QUESTIONS...HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR BROTHER'S HUGE SUCCESS THESE DAYS?
CF: Not surprising, it was only a matter of time. It really seems
like it has always been with him except on a bigger scale, he has always
recieved a lot of attention for his musical genius as long as I can remember.
TS: IS BEN OLDER OR YOUNGER THAN YOU?
CF: He is two years older but it seems the other way to most people
TS: WHY DOES IT SEEM THE OTHER WAY?
CF: I'm not sure, it's just I have a lot of people say, "Hmm, I thought you
were the older of the two"
TS: DID YOU AND HE EVER JAM TOGETHER WHEN YOU WERE KIDS?
CF: No, I didnt start playing until I got to college. His musical
fanaticism drove me crazy when we were kids and I actually didnt care too
much for it, plus I was his little brother and that would have been very uncool for him 'to jam' with his little bro.
TS: WHY NOT BE IN A BAND WITH HIM?
CF: We have to consider the appearance of that, it would be too much
for the teenage girls for there to be two semi-balding-almost-middle-aged-
nerdy-smart-asses with funny shaped heads in one band.
TS: OKAY, BEN QUESTION SECTION IS OVER.
CF: Thank God!
TS: ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE FROM NORTH CAROLINA?
TS: IT SEEMS TO BE THE NEW HOT SPOT OF GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC (BFF, SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS, ARCHERS OF LOAF, ANTHANAEUM, SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS, ETC).
CF: It has always been an underground musical hot spot and people "in
the know" knew it, it just seems that the rest of the world is finally
figuring it out.
TS: ARE EITHER OF YOUR BANDS BECOMING MORE POPULAR WITH THE SUCCESS OF ALL THE CHAPEL HILL BANDS?
CF: Well, we are from Greensboro (as well as Athenaeum) and the
success of any Chapel Hill bands has never really done anything for us
directly. I guess they have always had more the attention because there
seems to be more going on there. You know there is something happening
when bands move to Chapel Hill just to say that they are from there
(won't name any names) and also the fact that if you are a band from NC, people
automatically assume that you are from Chapel Hill, kinda wierd. I think
any success we have had or will have is totally our own doing and not
really related to where we are from, and I believe that goes for a lot of
bands. Sure it helps for attention to become focused on an area but if
you suck, you suck, your origin wont change that.
TS: YOU WON'T TELL US WHO MOVED TO CHAPEL HILL? COME ON. NOBODY IS READING.
CF: They know who they are.
TS: WERE YOU EXCITED TO HAVE BUS STOP'S MUSIC INCLUDED IN SOME PRIME TIME TV SHOWS? DO YOU EVEN WATCH THOSE SHOWS?
CF: Yeah, its pretty cool because it makes you feel like you've
accomplished something, it adds a certain amount of legitimacy to what
you do. It doesnt sell records or bring people to shows but it looks good
on the resume. Actually no, I've never seen any of the clips our music has
been used on.
TS: WHAT'S NEXT FOR BUS STOP AND SNUZZ? NEW ALBUMS, TOURING?
CF: Well, Bus Stop will just keep playing for as long as it works,
and it works well. We have released a couple of compiliation cds of our
music in Japan and our publisher continues to pursue the tv and movie uses
of our music. There are no plans right now for a new Bus Stop cd, we kinda
got burned out from doing all that sh*t ourselves. We certainly wouldn't turn
down anyone who wanted to help us out with that! Snuzz should be done
with the new stuff in a couple of months and, as usual, depending on the
monetary situation it might or might not be in cd form. Touring for
either band is kinda not a focus right now, we toured pretty heavy with
Bus Stop for 7 years with no support and thats not something we want to
bite off again without someone behind us. We'll just stick close to home
for right now.
TS: HAVE YOU BEEN APPROACHED BY ANY BIG LABELS TO RELEASE A RECORD YET?
CF: No. We've done the whole 'shopping around' thing so much it makes
me want to vomit. Plenty of a&r people have come out to see us when we used
to play in NY every month and we've had a lot of them say they liked it, or
hated it, or just didnt get it, or thought our hair was too short, or that
we were holding our guitars wrong- the usual stuff every other band
has heard. I have a stack of rejection letters I keep, I should recycle
them and singlehandedly save the planet. But that is the nature of that
stuff, I remember talking to some a&r guys at a showcase in Atlanta once
that didn't think Ben was a very good songwriter, and a few of years
later, I'm sure they are kissing his ass now.
TS: HOW ABOUT A BIG TOUR? I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU GUYS IN CLEVELAND!
CF: I'd love to do a big tour, but unfortunately (and I hate to beat
a dead horse) it takes some support to do that.
TS: MY FRIEND EMILY AND I WOULD TAKE YOU AND THE REST OF THE BAND OUT TO DINNER.
CF: We will definitely take you up on that.
TS: OR MAYBE WE COULD HAVE A BARBEQUE.
CF: That would make us feel more at home.
TS: WELL I DOUBT THAT OHIO RIBS CAN MATCH CAROLINA RIBS. DO YOU HAVE A SECRET
CF: Oh, when you say barbeque you mean ribs, well, here when you say barbeque
you mean "pig", like a great big pig cooking in an underground pit.
Jimmy Carter declared Lexington, NC the BBQ capital of the world.
TS: ANYWAY, PEOPLE IN CLEVELAND ARE HUNGRY FOR GOOD NEW MUSIC. BOTH BUS STOP AND SNUZZ ARE DEFINITELY DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH WHEN IT COMES TO GREAT ROCK AND ROLL.
CF: Wow, thanks, I just wish the right people felt that way as well.
TS: WE'RE THE ROCK AND ROLL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, YOU KNOW.
CF: "Cleveland rocks!"
TS: AND NOW WE HAVE A HARD ROCK CAFE!
CF: Is the food any good?
TS: I'M WILLING TO BET THAT THE FOOD AT EVERY HARD ROCK CAFE TASTES THE SAME. COMPANY POLICY.
TS: WHAT BANDS DO YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO?
CF: Man, tons. I listen to stuff from old Bruce Springsteen to the most
recent Beck album. Some of my most recent discoveries though are Del
Amitri (although theyve been together a long time), Nil Lara, Built to
Spill, the list goes on. I like a bit of everything for different
reasons, Rage Against the Machine I will listen to for a different reason
than say Harry Connick- you get the idea.
TS: WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
CF: Musically, everything that I've heard, I believe whether you know
it or not, just about anything you have listened to can influence you in some
way, even if you didnt like it.
Specifically on the bass I would say Adam Clayton (believe it or not),
Duck Dunne, James Jamerson and Gary Beers would have to be at the top of my
TS: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING BASS?
CF: About 10 years.
TS: DO YOU PLAY ANYTHING ELSE?
CF: Not in front of anyone.
I'm really good with the tv remote.
TS: WELL, WHAT DO YOU WATCH?
CF: Nothing but the 700 club and XXX movies.
TS: DID YOU WATCH YOUR MOM ON MTV'S "TWELVE ANGRY MOTHERS"? HOW DID YOU LIKE
CF: I thought it was great, she was awesome!
TS: THANKS FOR ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS. WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE YOU AS A PART OF THE SHRUBBERY FAMILY.
CF: Is that shrubbery as in the knights who say "ni"?
TS: YOU LIKE US, DON'T YOU?
CF: No comment.
TS: NO PAYCHECK.
CF:I'm going on strike.
TS: BEFORE YOU GO, TELL THE LADIES WHAT YOU'RE WEARING.
CF: Red crotchless panties and a Victoria's Secret wonder bra.
Visit the Bus Stop Website for more info on this great band, as well as links and other press.
See our reviews of Bus Stop and Snuzz's self titled albums.
Buy Bus Stop CDs on CDnow!