Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Interview - Jeff Ziga (AAJ, Armalite, Amateur Party, etc)

Jeff Ziga is a man that you've probably seen around Philly. A lot. He's taken your money at the Church door. He's stage dove on you at many shoes. If you're lucky, you've seen one of his 6 million bands. If you're me, you sat with him in an airport while a pilled out black dude tells you about hanging out at TGIFridays in Gainesville. Jeff gave some really detailed answers, complete with links for you! Because it's so long, I left it all in lower case, which normally bugs me, but at least he was consistent with it, so I'll let it slide. Enjoy!

1. Ok, you have friends in from out of town. What five places in Philly do you take them?
ok weather's nice, so we're gonna assume that in this hypothetical situation. first, we'd go to mini-golf in franklin square. every bullshit tourist spot that i went to on a field trip ages ago is represented in miniature but are no less impressive than the actual tourist destinations they represent. plus you're playing minigolf. also, i think they sell ice cream there. second, ray's for iced coffee. it's probably the best iced coffee in the city and it is also nearby. third, probably south street. people like it and want to go there. i used to and sometimes still do, but i'm deferential to other people and their wishes and if i was visiting their city i'd probably want to do whatever corny thing they are totally over. i like sitting in the park better. soooo, fourth, the park. which ever one. i've never gotten in trouble for drinking in the park except once in washington square when my friend pretended to burn a miniature american flag on the memorial flame and a park ranger saw her. if you can somehow manage to not to do something completely retarded like that, you'll be fine. anyways, parklife is fun and relaxing and it is a good place to hang out for a bit, have a few beers and start calling people and find out who's doing what. that leads us to... fifth, i don't know. we're at the point in the day / evening when you have to let it ride and see what happens. this hypothetical day has been all about that already. starts off somewhere and just sort of winds around with no rhyme or reason. i'm dealing with some general "friends from out of town" and not specific people. it's like this, i'm not gonna take my aunt record shopping. so it's tough. mutter museum? have they been there? are they edge? are they up for sneaking into a hotel pool late late night or do they want to nerd out and listen to records and drink? it's all good in my eyes.

2. Favorite venue in Philadelphia to play? Favorite to see a show?
dis-fucking-graceland. it's also my favorite bar. hands down. it's actually the only bar in the city that i have a strong opinion about. most places are just places. i don't give a shit about what the place looks like. i like it if the people that i'm forced to consider while i'm there are likeable. but disgraceland i like because of the actual place and that's sometimes in spite of who i have to hang out next to. i've been drinking in there on more than one occasion and the guy working the bar was blasting cock sparrer's shock troops, which i appreciated greatly. i don't frequent the place at all as much as i'd like. the last time i was there was to see forca macabre and someone was all "what are you doing here?" and it made me feel weird but i guess i brought that on myself for wearing a plain white t-shirt to a crust show. i also wore khacki pants to see angelcorpse at the troc. eh.

3. Favorite all-time show(s) you've seen in Philly?
i have no idea. ink and dagger with dave w on drums? american nightmare at 802 lombard? tool at the first union center with floor seats and two personal joints? i'm just going to put avail at the first unitarian church on a sunday afternoon sometime around '96 or '97 because it was a good early show experience and it was very hot and crowded and i talked about it a lot afterwards. there's just too many. i've been impressed so many times. but i put avail on there cause i saw them most recently at the fest in gainesville last october and they still killed it.

4. Top current Philadelphia area bands?
tough to say. but i'm committed to putting one and only one. clockcleaner.

5. Top all-time Philadelphia area bands?
again, tough one. but i'm committed. ink and dagger with dave w on drums. i actually don't think that's true, but whatever. they were awesome and it's a reasonable enough answer.

6. What records are you loving right now? (Not just Philly bands)
recently repeated listens have been given to the germs -- m.i.a. the complete anthology, death side -- the will never die [two disc collection], deep wound -- almost complete, the misfits -- legacy of brutality, iron age -- constant struggle, los crudos -- all, the descendents -- milo goes to college, cold world -- no omega
some of those aren't albums, but collections, but it's not like i'm gonna ever track some of that stuff down. maybe someday.

7. Best food in Philly. Which is your top spot for each?
marra's. any other resonable answer is equally acceptable. i don't discriminate when it comes to the world's perfect food. also, not enough people give props to cacia's / sarrcone's / iannelli's and the other bakeries that serve up pizza and tomato pie. under-appreciated to be sure. and i know this isn't part of your question, but, hands down, the best pizza i've had in america is from totonno's on neptune avenue in brooklyn. though i haven't been to difara's or anywhere in new haven, ct yet. and supposedly pizzeria bianco in phoenix arizona is amazing everyone who eats there so hopefully i'll go sometime. anyways, everyone's got an opinion on this. it's the most delicious debate and i could consider the evidence forever always.

jose's? veracruzana? i've never really nailed this one down i guess. again, i'm not very discriminating when it comes to food in general. i don't eat bullshit. as long as it's good, i'm all about it. i'll go to the nearest good place. i also like mexican breakfast better than burritos and la lupe on 9th and federal is good for that.

Cheesesteak (vegan counts)?
now that i'm basically no longer a bloodmouth, it's all govinda's / gourmet-to-go. it's better than gianna's and anyways, i try to stand in solidarity with robby redcheeks as best i can [but sometimes everyone's getting it delivered and i don't want to starve (or think for myself apparently)]. honorable mention goes to the palm market on 2nd between fairmount and brown. descent veggie and vegan options [including chicken salad hoagie!] but they'll also put avocado on anything you want. oh and when i ate meat, the best steak i've ever had was at lucky's on kensington and lehigh. but i've never been to a few of the supposed classic places [jim's, chink's, that other one i can't remember right now] so what do i know.

i just eat at "a-mandarin resturant" near the first unitarian church because i'm always there working or otherwise and they have a dish called "three kinds of mushroom" and the lady is nice and will put some steamed bean curd in there for me. but if we're talking eastern / asian cuisine, i prefer sushi on a conveyor belt and supposedly there's going to be one in center city soon. right now, you have to go to that eyesore of a steven starr place "pod" on upenn's campus. other than that, i like vietnamese a lot. especially dishes with peanut sauce.

oh i could go on and on. food rules. hoagies? this is philadelphia we're talking about! hoagies are essential and they're everywhere. surprisingly, i go to subway a lot. it's near work [it's near everywhere] but it's not that great though i don't really eat meat and i like the variety of veggies that they can put on there. i like primo's sometimes if it's lunchtime. they have a good sandwich with broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, eggplant and provolone. you can get that basic sandwich at citizen's bank park too. my favorite hoagie comes from the palm market [mentioned above]. basic cheese hoagie with provolone, spicy brown or dijon mustard and then every hoagie vegetable you can think of, in addition to black olives and avocado. sometimes i don't even get the cheese. it's all about the mustard and crunchy veggies. and tomato. cannoli? my favorite dessert and the very last thing i'd give up if i ever went vegan. all vegan cannoli is shit and tastes like they're filled with sugarwaxcream. can you tell that i grew up closer to the italian side of my family? i dip almond biscotti in my coffee and eat my salad after the meal. isgro's / termini bros / cosmi's for cannoli or just go anywhere if you want. it's not like any of them don't really know what they're doing. now is probably a good time to mention that my other favorite dessert is italian rum cake. oh and falafel is important. during the day, 20th and market, there is a zany one man cart that serves the best falafel in the city. he also serves chicken but i've never had it. it takes forever and he'll talk your ear off, but it's worth it. other than him, mama's vegetarian and bitar's are probably the best.

8. Closing up, what do you guys have planned for the near future? Shows/records/tours/etc?
i'd like to pull together a new armalite seven inch sometime this year. as for aaj, we're a band that has played together for 10+ years and has four cd demos and a half of a seven inch to show for it. it's called inertia. also, i'm gearing up to play keyboards in a cover band. ugh this was a depressing question. should have ended with the food part. also, i stopped putting up website addresses because i mentioned a lot of stuff and i assume that people know how to use google. later!

Photo taken from Armalite's Myspace.

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