Interview part 2: Bison’s James Farwell talks not wanting to be Lemmy, getting signed then dumped by Metal Blade, and weeding out the idiots

by Evil Eye Rock ArtAre you ready for part deux of our interview with Bison’s James Farwell? Your answer is moot! For here it is. We pick up right where we left off, talking about how Bison, at the end of the day, is just a local Vancouver band, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

[Read part 1]


James Farwell: And it’s still fun! Which is the only reason to even do it. There’s no other reason, because there’s been those times where I’ve been like, “Ugh, god! I’d rather die than get on stage right now.” [Laughs] And that’s when you’re like, “Uh, I need to re-evaluate what’s going on.”

Vancouver Weekly: A moment of recognition. “What am I doing? Why?”

JF: Exactly. And good for all those bands that really go for it, but, I mean, you need to be a younger man. You need to either have more self-control or a better… body, y’know?

VW: To survive.

JF: Yeah, ’cause it gets pretty, it can get pretty gnarly. Everyone loves a party, and everyone loves, like… I remember the very first tour Bison ever went on was back when we still had to lie to get over the border, fake name, fake recording contract. We did a West Coast tour, and it was bonkers, and we kept a tally of how much beer we drank! Like, that was our priority on that tour, was to count… all the beers that we drank, all the liquor that we drank.

VW: Do you remember the tally?

JF: I don’t, but in a journal somewhere, I have it written down.

VW: The record is there.

JF: The record is there, and, you know… and that’s great. It’s a great place to be, and it’s a great thing to do, and it’s fun. Fun as hell. But, y’know, eventually, writing a really good song takes priority over how much beer you can drink. [Laughs]

VW: But sometimes it seems like you’ve married the two, with stuff like “Two-Day Booze”

JF: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

VW: … which I’ve yelled out at shows, and then been told, “NO. Not tonight.”

JF: “That song is retired.” It’s one of those songs where I’m like, “How the fuck did I even write that song?” Oh, right. I was drunk!

VW: [Laughs] Ah, yes.

JF: I was drunk and high. That’s how I wrote that song. Oh, okay! Um, no, actually, I do like that song. Well, because it’s about Vancouver. So I like that song because of that. Because I do like it. I do like my city; it’s just so frustrating, as you… how long have you been here?

VW: Uh, just over three years now, yeah.

JF: Okay, so you probably can get a sense of… it’s a bit claustrophobic.

VW: Yeah.

JF: We’re kind of getting to the point where there’s… kind of too many people in this small city. That just grows upwards, right? Because you can’t grow to the side. So it’s all these people in one small area, and they all drive cars! It makes me crazy, driving in the city. I go bananas. I just… yeah, you wanna see Angry James, just put me in a… fuckin’ car, driving around the city. [Laughs] Wow. Brutal. But, you know…

VW: It’s, well, I guess, wherever you would be, writing, or if you guys were creating music elsewhere, that city would mark you some other way.

JF: Oh, yeah. Right now, we’re looking. Like Dan, our guitar player, lives out in Squamish, and he’s lived up there for a bunch of years, so me and the old lady, we’re looking to move up to Squamish. It’s a nice in-between, right? Close to the city. I can still come down for the things that I like, but then I can get away from it, and enjoy some quiet.