• Bobby Gorman posted
  • Interviews

Jersey - Greg Taylor and Johnny Lubera

  • January 19th, 2004

Bobby: So I’m here with Johnny and Greg from Jersey. Johnny, you play the bass in the band, how long have you been playing the bass?

Johnny: I’ve been playing the bass since I was probably like what? 14? 13 or 14.

Greg: Around ’91-’92.

Johnny: So that would be how many years?

Greg: That’s about 12 or 13 years. About 12 years.

Johnny: 12 years playing the bass. 12 or 13 give or take.

Bobby: Greg, you’re the lead singer and guitarist, how long have you been playing the guitar?

Greg: I got my first guitar when I was in grade 6, from my dad. I took lessons for a little while and then I dropped it until I was in grade 9. I met a friend that was playing guitar and he was playing a lot of stuff that I was in to, like Minor Threat and Agnostic Front. I just thought it was super cool. He kind of taught me what I needed to know to play that kind of music and shortly after that I just started a band.

Bobby: Okay, “Generation Genocide”, why did you pick that as your CD name?

Johnny: “Generation Genocide”, what that song’s about is just… it’s very truthful I think. In a town, like where we live in, is very nice and stuff like that; and I’m sure it’s like that in a lot of towns, it’s very nice. But underneath it all, like a lot of people always sing about… They’ve got their love songs, or their glory songs; we even have some glory songs and stuff like that; but underneath it all, there’s a whole underground of people that aren’t getting noticed or people aren’t paying attention to and there’s all this other shit that’s going on and all these other problems, you know what I mean? But everyone just sweeps them under the carpet and no one knows that. So we just kind of wrote a song and the metaphor for that was “Generation Genocide”, I guess, right? And if you listen to the lyrics in the song, it just tells a story about a guy or several people, just trials and tribulations through life. Like getting knocked down, getting mixed up in the wrong crowd, people backstabbing them, drugs; you know what I mean? And I don’t think enough people sing about that stuff. Like it’s not always great, but to let people know that it does happen out there, you know what I mean? It’s happened.

Greg: Ya, even under the cover of like a perfect, perfect town or…

Johnny: Suburbia

Greg: Ya, suburban city. No matter how it looks on the outside, there’s always shit going on, bad stuff going on. Maybe even more so then the big city, and people just don’t realize it.

Johnny: And unfortunately, a lot of those people who sadly, which still are our friends, some of them , a lot of people who are involved in that stuff are our friends, you know what I mean? And it can reflect on us in someways too.

Bobby: How do you guys normally write all your songs?

Johnny: I don’t know. There’s all sorts of different methods, right?

Greg: I guess, most commonly either Johnny or I will have a completed song from beginning to end, or a song that is almost completed. And then always, once it gets brought into the band Jordan or Sean will add their own. Everyone has their own specific strengths, we pretty much write the foundation and then help bring it to another level.

Johnny: They put all the layers and all the sweetness on it. They turn it into a Jersey song, an official Jersey song. The way Sean writes a song is sometimes… The way he looks at it, he’s not really good with lyrics, so he just kind of just scrapes up a bar-chord or two and tries to get a melody and then that’s the other way sort of, when we all fully combine for a song. But we haven’t really came to a practice and really fully combined for a song, you know, from scratch. We haven’t done that for a very long time. It’s just been a certain guy or whatever, like Greg said, writing a song. But hopefully, maybe on the next record we can kind of bring some of that music back form scratch and everyone can do it right off the floor. But I don’t know, ya, we’ve got all sorts of different formulas.

Bobby: All right, “The Story of ’53”, that was a song about a conversation you [Greg] had in a bar with a boastful old guy, what was the conversation about?

Greg: It’s just totally crazy. There’s this pub that we hang out at, there’s a lot of bands where we live and all of them hang out at this pub called “The Poacher” and for the longest time there was this old guy who was sitting at the bar and he always seemed super intriguing and familiar. So I went up to him one day when I was ordering a beer and I just started chatting with him. And he asked me if I knew who he was and I said no. Maybe, I don’t know, he looked familiar but I didn’t know him. He went on just to tell me that in the early 50’s he committed one of the craziest arm robberies in our town and got away with it and it was like all over the news and everything. I just thought it was a cool story because he was just totally a real working class kind of guy and he didn’t even keep the money that they got away with. He had just told me that at that time he had felt like he hadn’t done anything significant in his life and he just did it for the glory. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. And I was just like “wow, that’s one of the coolest stories I have ever heard.” And I just started writing a song about it that night.

Bobby: That’s cool. You guys went from Raw Energy Records to Fueled by Ramen Records to Virgin/EMI. How did that all happen?

Greg: Well we were on Fueled by Ramen for a long time…

Johnny: What about Raw Energy? He said Raw Energy first.

Greg: O, Raw Engery…

Johnny: That was just something we thought was good at the time I guess.

Greg: Ya, we’ll leave that at that. And then I was in another band called Grade and we met Less Than Jake’s merch guy. His name was Tony actually and we saw him at a Warped Tour one year, I think in like ’97 or something in Vancouver, and we gave him the CD and he passed it along and then later that summer he ended up putting us on a compilation and then from there we just did a record and we were able to do a couple records with them. And how the Virgin thing came along was…

Johnny: Through George in the beginning right?

Greg: Ya, through George from Much Music.

Bobby: Stroumboulopoulos?

Greg: Ya, he’s a super cool dude and a super heavy supported. I don’t know, we never really fathomed ever being on a Major, we didn’t think it was even possible in the cards. But they came to us.

Johnny: It took us about a good six months before we trusted any of them. Because from the world where we come from, they’ve always been the bad guys, right?

Greg: They’re good though.

Johnny: O, no, they’re great. There was a lot of people that worked with the label that had common friends with us, people like George. It was like just giving them a chance, we did and everything’s been super cool since them.

Bobby: Jersey formed in 1996 and has had some line changes since. How did you guys all meet and how do you think the line changes have affected the band?

Johnny: I’ll start at the top and then work to the bottom first. I think the line up changes affected the band in a good way, nothing against anyone else. Other people had other avenues they wanted to tackle and stuff like that. Our last drummer was really good, they were all really good, but our last drummer helped us to start forming our sound, which was Ian on our last EP before this. And he decided to go off and do whatever, and we grabbed Jordan, he was just as good or better and he helped strengthen the band even more. And we got Sean before that and he also helped strengthen our band by adding another guitar, obviously. Which will hopefully give Greg a little but more freedom in the future to do his thing and he doesn’t need to play as much. And he’s really good at melodies and harmonies. It’s just tightened us up, made us more serious.

Greg: The more better musicians you play with makes you a better musician.

Johnny: And that’s what happened, that’s what came into the band.

Greg: We became more of… musicians I guess.

Johnny: What was the first half of that one again? Was there a first half of that question?

Bobby: No, there wasn’t.

Johnny: No, that was it? Cool. We didn’t kick anybody out, certain people just decided where they wanted to go and whatever, and that’s cool.

Bobby: Okay, you [Johnny] was scouted by the NHL when you were playing goal for the Oshawa Generals and Barrie Colts in the OHL. What team was scouting you?

Johnny: Okay, this is a good question actually. Cause fucking Nardward [From Much Music] pulled this shit on me the other day and started pulling out stats and shit, totally fucked me. He kind of fucked me up cause he caught me off guard big time. But I’ll tell you the facts. I played five years of number one goalie, tier two, junior A. I was an All-star, I played five years. I played in the OHL in two parts of seasons, I never played hundreds of games or thirty games; I played like a handful of games. And when you’re a goalie right, you backup a shitload of games, right? So I backed up a ton of games. I was on both teams and for the fact of getting scouted by the NHL, all that is is playing a game and a scout sees you. And the coach comes down to me or something and tells me”O, Calgary checked you out tonight;” or Boston, for my case, checked me out when I played against the Russian team. That’s all that was. And I don’t even know, that just gets blown up so huge. But that’s all scouting is. I wasn’t drafted to the NHL and I may have been rated; but I can’t say that, it’s never been quoted. I may have been rated when I was first early on in my OHL career. But that’s it. Like I played there, but I wasn’t an all-star in the OHL, I didn’t play millions of games, but yes, I did; I played there and did all that. I don’t know what teams, New York and Boston maybe, it could’ve been anyone, I just had a coach relay that to me. And I’ve never really repeated that, that’s probably like Sean or somebody, not OHL or NHL like “O, this guy’s OHLer, NHLer”. Not trying to jerk me or anything, they just say that, you know what I mean? Well ya, I spent some time there for sure.

Bobby: Recently, Canadian bands have started making an impact on the US music industry. Sum41, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, Gob, Billy Talent are some among the list, and now you guys. Why do you think that is? Why are Canadian bands taking the lead?

Johnny: In America?

Bobby: Yeah.

Johnny: We haven’t really went over there, we were over there for like our whole band’s existence until now, so we haven’t been back. But excluding us, why have are those bands done good over there? I think Canada has a lot of talent. Maybe whoever was first to get over there for that scene, maybe it was Sum41 or whatever; opened the doors for all those other bands for people to actually give us a chance. There’s all sorts pf great music here, and that’s all it was. It even goes past that. Like Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Céline Dion; it’s endless.

Greg: I think Canada is almost like a farm team, because it’s a really hard place to tour. And if you can come up from nothing to something in Canada by touring…

Johnny: You’re pretty special. *Laughs*

Greg: Like you go into the states and you can’t believe how easy it is. Like I’m mostly just talking about the distances and the drives and stuff like that. But I think that it’s a good farm team and I think that America has picked up on that.

Johnny: Ya, there’s some good bands here man.

Greg: They watch the bands that do the work and it just doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s like “holy crap, if you guys can tour this bare country, then you can probably do all right in the States.”

Bobby: If you could pick a person or band, dead or alive to tour with, who would you pick to tour with and why?

Johnny: I don’t know,. It’s hard to say. For me, just off the top of my head, I’m thinking it would probably either be The Clash, The Police or… Bruce Springsteen would be rad. Or for some reason today I was riding in the bus and was like “Ahh, I’d die to play a song with U2. If I could just get up and play one song with them.” So any of those bands. But probably more The Clash or fucking The Police just because I know they’re not really around anymore. So it would be super neat to even SEE them play, that would be great. Let alone tour with them or anything, that would be fabulous. Ask him [Greg], he may have different answers.

Greg: Definitely the same bands.

Bobby: Now a days, you can find MP3s all over the Internet. Kazaa, Morpheus, things like that. What do you think about that? Is it good? Is it bad? What are your opinions on it?

Johnny: I’ve got one on that, Greg probably does too.

Greg: It can be good, it can be bad. It’s all on different levels. For a band that’s completely unknown, it’s an amazing marketing tool. For a band that’s super huge, that is already millionaires, it kind of sucks; but it doesn’t really hurt them that much. I think the people that it hurts the most are the people that are in the middle, that are working as a band, touring and relying on record sales to live. That’s the people it’s hurting. So if it could ever be controlled to the point where its like that people who want to have their stuff up there, then I think it’s great. Otherwise, it’s not so great, only for those reasons.

Johnny: I think it’s all right to have maybe two songs off an album up there; cause that’s fair. You get two free songs, everyone can hear it. And then if you like it, then you should go out and maybe grab the album. Most albums now a days shouldn’t be over twelve or thirteen bucks, you know? I just don’t like it when a whole album is on there and they can just, boom, get every song and then that’s it. That’s just another perspective, but Greg nailed that one on the head as well. That’s actually a really good scenario for me up there.

Bobby: Okay, I recently read an article in Alternative Press magazine, and one of the main themes was “Through Music You Can Live Forever”. What do you think about that quote, “Through Music You Can Live Forever”?

Johnny: Doesn’t Tim Armstrong say that?

Bobby: Yes, that’s his quote.

Johnny: “Through Music You Can Live Forever”, I say for instance, I think he was kind of talking about Joe Strummer in that phrase. Anything Joe Strummer did, like he’s dead now, but you can go back and listen to his music forever. You can live through all his stories and all their trials and tribulations. You know what I mean? I think music never dies. Like as long you’ve got the record or the CD, he’s still alive.

Greg: He still seems alive.

Johnny: He’s alive on that record and any band, even when a band breaks up and dies and will never play again; on that CD, they’re still alive. You know what I mean? That’s what I think. Music just gives you life in general. Like I know anytime I’m knocked down or not feeling well, music can always pick me back up or put me in a mood where I want to be chilled out. You know what I mean? Music to me can be a very spiritual thing, like in a tool like that. Music is a great thing. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. That’s the best I can do though, I don’t know.

Bobby: Well you explained it pretty well. Okay, if you guys were stranded on a desert island with no food and nothing to eat. Which one of the members would you eat first to survive?

Johnny: Woohoo! That’s a fucking wicked question. *Laughs*. I don’t know, it would either be Jordan or Sean.

Greg: *laughs* I’d probably eat Johnny, because he’s probably the healthiest. Like Sean would probably have the most you can eat off of him. But…

Johnny: They’re fucking sloppy.

Greg: But like Jordan…

Johnny: He’s rotten.

Greg: He’s a little rat and he’s rotten.

Johnny: His nickname’s “Ratbeard” and we just came up with a new one called “Arnesto”. He makes nests and then runs on the fucking wheel everywhere he goes.

Greg: It’ll be pretty slim pickings off Jordan and McNab, no. I would have to eat this guy right here just because I know it would probably the healthiest meat.

Johnny: Ahh shit *laughs*.

Bobby: If you could have one thing at this moment. Anything in the world. What would you have and why?

Greg: I would just love to have the freedom to do whatever it is I want.

Johnny: That’s a tough question. I would break that in three categories. Right now, at this moment in time, I’d love to have enough money just to live comfortably, that’s all I want. But maybe, on another scale, I’d like to have my girlfriend right now. But at the same time, I wish it was warm out and I could be fishing for muskies. *Laughs* So there’s a couple thoughts that are floating around in there. But those are the three major ones though.

Bobby: I guess that’s about it. Thanks a lot for doing it. Do you have any shout-outs before we end?

Johnny: Shout-outs, shout-outs… shit. I don’t know. Any bands you wanna pump up?

Greg: I would like to give a shout-out to everyone on this tour. This is only our second show, but it’s cool and I’m glad to have them. Well, we’re glad that they had us on here. Other then that, I wanna shout-out to every band that… pretty much every band that I’ve had a good time with or helped us out in anyway. Other then shout-outs, for people that don’t know what we sound like, come check us out live because I think that’s your best case scenario, your best representation. If you’re not sure about paying the money to come see us live yet, then go check out our website, There’s a few songs off the record up there, check that out, and if you like it, go grab the record or come see us live and grab the record.

Johnny: How about this one? I have a shout-out to anyone that supported our poor asses through all our fucking bull shit that we put family members and all our friends through and anybody. And to our crew, cause we pay them shite, and they still stick by us, and our sound guys.

Greg: Shout-outs to Atticus and West-49 for helping us out huge.

Bobby: All right, cool. Thanks a lot for doing it.