Originally published on (2000)

Joe Reinke was the one-time ringleader for The Meices, a southern California band that mixed surf rock with Midwest rock for an all-together kick-ass power-pop sound. Things haven’t changed much, only the bit players have. Joe disbanded the Meices following a tour with Superdrag and Nada Surf (back when they were, um, ‘popular’) and started a new thing last year called the Alien Crime Syndicate. Mixing the basic foundation of the Meices with current technology (computers, computer-enhanced recording techniques, samplers, etc.), the ACS has just recently released their debut CD, Dust to Dirt. It’s surfer-space-stoner-power-pop at it’s finest and is available from Collective Fruit Records. Check it out.

Chip Midnight caught up with Joe a few weeks ago and talked about the past, present, and future. Here’s what Joe had to say.

What’s been going on since the demise of the Meices?

I just wanted to start a different band. What I did, right around this time in ’97, after the Meices stopped playing, I started this band. I started recording demos and stuff like that.

Was it a solo idea to begin with or did you want to start a new band?

I actually wanted to do another band but I didn’t have people to play with. I started recording and a big fucking record contract fell right into my lap and I couldn’t say no to it. Right as we were finishing mixing the album, the president of the label got fired and all the bands that they signed got dropped. It’s not an uncommon story, and it happened to us.

So the label paid for all the recording? You didn’t have to pay any money up front, did you?

No. It’s all good. But we didn’t own the recordings of the album. A year after they decided not to keep us, we were able to rerecord the songs. We recorded everything ourselves.

Was it weird doing stuff without Stevie (Meices bass player)?

Not necessarily. I got so used to playing with him, it was like getting a new girlfriend. You have to see what they are all about.

He’s in Grand Mal, right?

Yeah, have you heard them?

I listened to the CD once. It wasn’t really my thing.

It’s no ACS, that’s for sure (laughter). I think ¨sucky” is a category these day, isn’t it? I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I wish Stevie all the best, I really do.

The last time I saw you play live, the Meices were touring with Superdrag and Nada Surf. I thought the Meices far and away blew the other two off the stage.

Both of those bands were good bands. We definitely had a lot of road experience under and belt and they didn’t. We got up and rocked that shit! (laughter)

How are audiences these days compared to the ¨old days”?

Well, we have a pretty good following on the West Coast. But we have to branch out a bit. It’s not easy being a band nobody has heard of. We’re just thankful for the people that do find out about us. We’re not all pissed off at the people that don’t know about us, because how can you be?

Has the Internet helped spread the word?

No (laughs). The Internet is great for people finding out about you through traffic on other sites and it’s good to stay in touch with people that way. I don’t think Internet equals people at the shows. It’s been helpful having a website for people who want to book the band and things like that. They can go to the website. You don’t have to send them a huge promo kit that’s really expensive to make. The Internet has really been helpful for press and stuff too. You can just e-mail a photo these days.

Since you’ve done some producing of your own stuff, have you given any thought into producing other bands?

Yeah, I’ve done a couple of things. I’ve got a couple of things I’m thinking about doing right now for different bands. I did a track for this guy up here. I’ve been doing work on ProTools with people. It’s a computer-based recording program. I’m putting together this track for this guy, a real heavy drum-and-bass thing. I did some work with Joey Santiago from the Pixies. I went down to L.A. and became friends with him and helped him out on a couple of tracks. I really want to do more producing of bands and stuff. It’s fun to do and it’s fun to fire the drummer (laughs). That’s the producer’s job (laughs).

You have a lot of experience doing that too, don’t you?

It’s real easy for me! (laughs)

Have you already started thinking about the next album?

Yeah I have. I’ve been writing some stuff recently. And it’s all terrible! (laughs)

Dust to Dirt is such a great album because the sequencing is so good. You can throw it in the CD player at any track, hit play, and be guaranteed that the next few songs will be good. You don’t have to hit the skip button.

It’s kind of a collection. It wasn’t really like we said “Oh, the next six months we’re going to write an album.” It’s all songs that were written over the last two and a half years, along with a lot of other material that is not released yet. I tried to pick the best ones and slam it. I think the sequencing is great. It’s kind of a loud album too.

Does Seattle support the band better than San Francisco or L.A. did?

I hate to say it, because I don’t want people to come here and think it’s plentiful, but Seattle has been great to our band. We get tons of press. Tons of radio stuff. People come to the shows and they want to have fun and rock out. We played a month ago in town and sold 500 tickets by 10:30. It was like, “Yeah, thank you very much.” Seattle is great, it’s been way easier than L.A. because people didn’t give a fuck about us in L.A.

Would you be interested in signing a deal with a major label?

Yeah. We could talk about that. Sure. I would be up for it. A record company is just your vehicle for people that don’t know about you. I’m all about spreading the good word.

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