Watt White, vocalist for The SmashUp kindly gave up some of his time to answer some questions for Roomthirteen while on the Mighty Atom tour of the UK.

Watt White: The SmashUp here we are.
R13: How's the tour going so far?
WW: The tour is going great, it's been about eight days so far. A couple of us have been to England in the past but not to play shows and the response has been terrific, you know. Each band on this tour is a little bit different, so the reaction has been nice. Everybody has their own niche and for us it has been really good, we're just trying to rock it as hard as we can.
R13: What is the wierdest thing you've found about being in the UK?
WW: I would say the wierdest thing is getting used to having coins that actually matter. In the States you get a handful of coins - you throw them into a jar. We don't have a one pound or two pound, we don't have a one dollar, two dollar or four dollar coin, you have to remember that these coins actually matter. We hate it but we're getting used to it. We try to buy stuff and we have to count but they help us. Just working with money, but everything else is great. The beer's great, we like that.

R13: You've just come from a tour in Canada and I heard there were some interesting events. What's the story behind you losing a wheel from your tour van?
WW: Well we were driving to a gig in our old van which was a piece of crap. Normally I didn't drive, usually it's our bass player Rich [Liegey] but we stopped for some gas and I took over, as we switched keys I said "I hope we don't crash. Hahahaha!" So about twenty minutes later we were cruisin' down the highway towards Scranton, Pennsylvania at seventy miles per hour and we start across this bridge that had a two hundred foot drop into a ravine. The van's always swayed but it got a little more swimmy and our asses were shaking. I looked at the other guys because I don't usually drive and asked if this was normal, but they just said everything was fine. All of the sudden the van went out of control and headed for the guard rail, like over the fucking bridge. Somehow I remembered something from driving school and tried my best to turn into the skid, I ended up just going left, right, left, right and managed to keep us from hitting any other cars or the guard rail. Then I looked in the rear view mirror and saw our tyre go down the highway at full speed, it didn't hit anybody, thank god. We drove about four hundred metres with three wheels. The best part was when the scary mechanic guys at the shop couldn't believe we didn't flip it. I was so proud I was driving, that's my hero moment. That van is dead and gone now and we're going to post some pictures on the website of it's final moments.

R13: Were you really trapped in a wizard's castle?
WW: It's an absolute truism. We played a show at some college fair, a gymnasium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and nobody was paying attention, there were like eleven people there and we were jsut laughing at each other. They'd set up this air filled castle you could jump around in, it was called 'The Wizard's Castle' as there was some theme to the day like 'medieval'. They'd passed out plastic swords so during one song I just got inspired and jumped from the stage, grabbed a sword and sprinted to the castle , leaped around for about forty-five seconds then went back onstage. I don't think anybody noticed.

R13: What's the most exotic wildlife you've encountered on your travels?
WW: We were hoping to see a moose but sadly we never did. One night we stayed in a hotel and I volunteered to get MacDonald's for everyone after hours. It was closed so I went through the drive-thru, so there was a car in front of me, a car behind me and I walked through. The kid said [adopts high pitched voice] "We're not supposed to serve you." but he did anyway. While I was waiting I saw a jackrabbit. A rabbit about a metre tall and fourteen inch ears.
R13: Did you fight it?
WW: No I just observered it.
R13: Would you have won if you'd have wrestled with it?
WW: If I wrestled a jackrabbit?I'd have to catch it first. But I'd give him a good fight. We did see a bear but sadly it was dead on the side of the road. How terrible is that?

R13: So beginnings, how did The SmashUp get together - wasn't it through an ad in a newspaper?
WW: Yeah, it was one of those unbelievable coincidences. We'd all been in bands prior and I had sort of broken up my band but meeting with a manager I was inspired to reform and put an ad out there. I had some guys with me already and then Vin walked in the door with his tattoos, he plugged in and started playing. He'd learnt a song as I'd sent him a CD. I remember my old drummer said "Listen, you're playing too fast, too fast, slow down. We don't need to hear those guitar solos, just play the chords." I just thought this new guy is right and my old guy doesn't have the right idea. I realised it was the right time to make a shift and get into a new situation. So Vin and I teamed up and he brought in Rich on bass and Anthony on drums. That was three years ago.
R13: There was a quote in an interview the band did, I think it was Vin...
WW: Well he's a motormouth, so it was probably him, if anyone can understand what he's saying!
R13: He said you all came from very different backgrounds?
WW: The irony is our name The SmashUp is a coincidence. I asked a fourteen year old fan from New Jersey to come up with band name suggestions, as it's very easy to name a band but not your own because it always comes out sounding self concious and stupid. SmashUp was one of the ones he gave me. I think it's ironic because our music is a bit of a smash up of hardcore, punk and metal...and even pop stuff. If we each bring to the table different things then Vin is a punk rocker and loves Rancid; Rich is a hardcore rocker and loves Fugazi and Anthony is a drum expert who loves the Chili Peppers. I like everything from show tunes to David Bowie and Kiss.

R13: You seem to have a very strong DIY ethic.
WW: We've all been in bands before so had some experience of the record industry. I think we realised that if we were going to do it right we would have to do it ourselves. I think there were the old days of a label walking into a gig and saying "You kids are stars, get on the bus and I'll give you a million dollar contract." , now everything has changed so much. Bands are now starting their own story, like bands that followed the Warped Tour in a bus or somehow sold over a hundred thousand shirts on a website. Everybody now is just saying you know what, fuck you, I'm going to do it myself and labels are seeing that. It's like free market research for them. You're already proving to them you can draw [crowds] and do well. We had a manager that we did these label showcases with. But label showcases don't usually go anywhere and after that Vin kin of became the captain of this team. It's a democracy but every team needs a captain. He got online and started looking at what other bands were doing, then became the driving force of getting our stuff out there and getting us to Mighty Atom.
R13: Has this cost a lot?
WW: Because of the skills of our bass player Rich who's an audio expert we recorded our entire album on our own in our living room. He's got the computer and the microphones. So we recorded the record for nothing, so I guess if that isn't DIY I don't know what is...

R13: The latest release over here is 'Untreatable' and the new record 'Being And Becoming' is out in the New Year?
WW: Mighty Atom is going to release that in April.
R13: That's quite a lot of new material to release in a short period of time.
WW: I think the way the record industry is, is constantly evolving. We have our own recording studio, we're constantly recording, we're very prolific and constantly writing so there's always new stuff. 'Untreatable' I think is great. It's a souvenir of the last two years of what we've been doing.
R13: Is it frustrating promoting this record when you have newer material out in the US?
WW:I think when you've been a perfectionist for a long time you start to realise that you just have to chill out and let life take it's course. I read once that Robert Plant even said that he'd love to go back and re-do some of his vocal stuff for Led Zepplin, but once it's out there...
R13: So you agree that Star Wars shouldn't have been remastered?
WW: You shouldn't do it. Even Steven Spielberg did it to E.T. On the re-release he took out all the guns from the bad guys. It belongs to the world, you shouldn't fuck with it. I'm proud of everything we do. The be all and the end all of the band is the live show. To me the record's a commercial for the show no the other way around.

R13: What's the strangest thing you've signed?
WW: A naked breast and a guys pants. When I sign something on a femal I try to do it where it tickles. When I did the guys pants I asked if I could do it near his ankle. But a lot of guys are wearing girls pants so when it's dark you can't always tell., a little scary but don't use your left hand for balance, just be respectful. Female body parts are the best.
R13: Have you ever been scared by a fan?
WW: Never. I'm a fast runner so I can escape pretty quickly. But I'm ready to mix it up, bring it on! Scare me! Cos' I'll scare you right back, I'm only scary on stage though.

R13: What's your most valuable possession?
WW: I'm not really big into material possessions.
R13: But if somebody stole something of yours what would you miss the most?
WW: I'd say my computer but all that stuff is replaceable and I back everything up. I'm going to bale out of that question because there are no possessions that are more important than what's inside you. To add a fact though, I'm a running freak. I have not missed a day of running in eleven and a half years. Minimum to maintain the streak is one mile a day which is hard on tour, believe me. I lost a special neckwarmer I had for running in the winter, I'd had it for fifteen years and I thought I'd really miss it but I found something to replace it, so I guess the material possessions can come and go but rock 'n' roll is forever. And so are tattoos...and love, but not flowers - they die real fast. All I can say is that we're in this for the long haul. And 'cheers', we've learnt that, 'cheers mate'.
R13: Thanks Watt