When I heard that I would be talking to Chad, hed (pe)’s charismatic guitarist, on his cell phone, I could just picture him, cruising down some highway with the windows down, listening to tunes, with his shades on, flirting with girls all along the way. But, I was literally enlightened after talking to him. He’s the shy, spiritual type, with a passion for his guitar and his bandmates, and spends much of his down time expanding his creative mind. He also happens to wear a hospital gown with nothing underneath while he plays in a bad-ass rock band in front of thousands of people all over the world. May I introduce Chizzad of hed(pe) ….
Hiiii. How you doin’?
How are you?
Good. Where you at?
I’m driving home from the studio with Wes. We’re gonna go set up our gear for rehearsals.
Are you guys on a break right now? I didn’t see any dates on the website, other than the upcoming Tattoo The Earth shows.
Yeah, we are kind of on a break but, we’re getting ready to go out in a couple of weeks, so we’re trying to get rehearsals all ready.
So, you’re just practicing.
Well, Wes and Jared were just in Japan on a press tour, this last week.
Yeah? Did they have a good time?
Yeah. It looks like we’re gonna go there pretty soon.
That should be cool!
I know. I can’t wait!
Any American bands that go over there; the Japanese audiences really freak out. That should be a good time for you guys.
Yeah, they just love everything.
So, the new CD is killer. It’s really good. We’ve been listening to it for a while. You guys really gave everyone a great record. I know your label is flipping out.
Aww. Thank you.
What would you say have been the biggest changes for the band over the past year or so?
Oh, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds in a lot of ways. Not just musically, but everyone’s grown personally, too. Everything has gotten to where it feels so good. It’s all so much better. Way better than before. It’s really nice.
Same with the recording process, or was it more complicated for you?
The recording process was actually really easy.
Yeah. We recorded all of the songs ourselves already in our studio that we set up in the bus while we were on tour, and then at home. So all we really had to do was lay it down.
Did it take long?
We have a really good work schedule. Pretty much all day, beginning at about noon, until Machine would get tired. It was that way for a few weeks.
Does everyone live in close proximity to where you were recording?
Well, they really didn’t want us to record close to where we live because of distractions and things like that. So they always put us out in the middle of nowhere!
Well, there are a lot of guys to keep track of.
I guess, yeah. So there was nothing to do but work. We did half of it in uh, Mississippi and the rest of it – the vocals, overdubs, the mixing, and the DJ were done in New York.
Which of the songs keep you the busiest when you play them?
Live? Uh, okay.. let’s see. Some of the songs are easier, so I can kind of jump around and have a good time. But, some are a little more complicated for me and Wes on guitar.
I think it would be like.. ‘Waiting To Die’ – that’s pretty intense. And uh.. ‘I Got You’ sometimes is cool. You gotta pay attention. There’s no breezing through it.
What’s harder on your nerves, paying for large crowds or small ones?
Uh. Wow. That’s a good question!
I don’t know. Both, I guess. I really enjoy playing for a ton of people or even a few people, always. But, my nerves go a little wilder when we’re playing for a bunch of people out there. If we’re playing in front of nobody, though, it’s like I know that our band deserves to be playing for a ton of people, so I try not to take it personally.
So you still get nervous?
Yeah. I go through times when I get nervous. It’s really not so bad anymore. I really have a lot of confidence when we get out there. I just want things to go well. I don’t wanna break a string..you know, the normal worries.
Is it weird being on the same label as Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys?
I guess so!
Have you met any of them?
We have Britney Spears in our bathroom.
Oh really? Where?
We have a big, huge poster.
It said ‘Britney Wants You’, it’s the Rolling Stone cover. But we put HED over it, and now it says ‘Britney Wants Hed’.
Is it over the toilet, or on the back of the door?
It’s over the toilet.
But you know, when we signed with Jive, uh, we didn’t know anything about that because it was a long time ago.
They were kind of a different label when we got our deal. They had mostly hip-hop acts.
That was part of the allure, right? We were their only rock band. Now their known for pop. But I don’t even give a fuck. I like it because we’re the only band, you know, like that on that label, so we get lots of attention.
That’s good. And you deserve it!
Speaking of attention, which band member gets the most girls?
Wes. (spoken with zero hesitation)
Without a doubt.
You wasted no time answering that question.
No one even tries to contest.
He’s the man.
Yeah. Everyone has their role. They follow to it quite nicely.
Who’s the biggest geek?
I don’t know. I can’t say that about anybody in my band. I really can’t.
Not even one geek?
If I had to say, I’d just take it on myself, out of love for my band. Even though I’m not a geek.
Well, I say that in a ‘good’ way. Say, if someone is a total computer geek then.
There we go.
He actually worked with computers before we got our deal.
So no more day jobs? They’re all gone?
Yeah. We’ve been able to not work at day jobs for a few years now.
We don’t have a ton of money or live lavishly, but we don’t have to work more than just on this band.
Has it become a job, at times or are you still just having so much fun…
No. Once you get into it like that, and it becomes a whole ‘thing’ then some parts actually are work. But, we really try not to think about it that way because for us, it’s just getting together to play, which we do anyway, you know? Yeah, I don’t consider it work.
I consider it more of an art.
Does anyone hang out other than playing as a band?
Well, me and Wes are really tight. We live together. We hang out all the time.
Jared, we used to have a house together, the three of us. Now he lives just up the street, so yeah, we all get together. When we’re all at home, and we’re not all together, people tend to do their separate things. Like Doug likes to kick it in Long Beach, and Ben’s got a kid, and Mark’s the nature guy, and me and Wes like to go to the beach.
Who else do you hang out with that we might know?
Well, we have another band out here. One of my best friends, they just got a deal with Atlantic?
And their called The Human Lab. A dude named Scott, I hang out with him quite a bit. Marco, who used to be in Drown. Now their name is Famous. They’re on Tattoo The Earth with us, they’ve got a new EP.
Are you gonna wear your hospital gown when I see you guys in August?
I only wear the hospital gown on special occasions!
You actually caught a moment.
I usually dress a certain way, and uh, that’s reserved for when I’m a whole other person.
Oh really. So I really got a treat that night. Do you wear anything under that hospital gown?
You saw the Palladium show, right?
Yeah, I showed up barefoot for that, too.
As in, as well?
How do you spend your downtime on the road, like when you’re bored?
Well, you know what? Honestly, I probably do the most typical thing ever that you could think of, which is I play the acoustic guitar non-stop. I have it always, always, always with me. So I’m always singing and playing little songs that I write.
And I read a lot. About uhm, I do a little spiritual work.
Yeah. I read a lot on Krishna consciousness, Buddha philosophy..the Compassionate Teachings of Buddha.. I love that book. I try to be God-conscious.
Whatever works, right?
Whatever keeps you positive.
A lot of times I get suckered into those UFO books, too.
Did you ever see Roswell?
No, was it good?
Oh, it was awesome. Maybe you can get hooked up with some videotapes of last season and you can catch up.
I’m a big believer in millions and millions of planets. I’m in no way confused about that.
Cool. Now people know what to send you for presents! And what to talk to you about when they meet you.
What’s the best way for a girl to get your phone number?
For a girl to get my phone number?
To ask for it!
Just ask for it?
What’s your best pick up line?
Aww, I am so not that person. I don’t even have a pick up line!
What? NO pick up line?
Honestly, I don’t even know how to approach girls. It’s hard for me.
I just have to follow Wes and hope that he gets two!
You’re a wallflower?
All the girls I’ve ever had in my life, I’ve had to like wait for them to say something.
Yeah, I’m a geek.
Oh wait, so you ARE the geek!
I’m the shy one.
What’s your sign?
Oh, well then that explains it.
What was the last dream you had about?
The last dream? Man, you know I have so many dreams! I think it must have been this one about watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing at this big concert, and a couple of guys from my group came up from backstage and they saw me, and they were like “What the Hell are you doing?!”
I guess like, we were getting ready to play, and I was like, “What? We’re playing with the Chili Peppers? Shit!”
So I totally ran to the bus to get ready, and I have these certain outfits that I bring with me, but I didn’t bring any clothes! I didn’t even bring any guitars or anything! And they were all like, “You idiot!”
Has anyone approached the band about doing hed(pe) action figures?
Wouldn’t that be cool?
Yeah! Hell yeah.
Are any of the band members into comics or video games or anything?
Wes and I think we’re the best! We play a few games. Although I try not to spend all that much of my time on it. We play 007 – James Bond. You know, Nintendo 64, right?
We haven’t met anybody that can beat us. We can beat each other. (Wes is adding to the conversation in the background now). Yeah, I’ve played a lot of people, too!
And then NBA Jams with Coby Bryant. And Coby II. We’re really good at that! Double overtime always!
A lot of people like Tony Hawk, too.
That’s not for 64 though, is it?
I don’t know. It’s a really cool game though, you guys should check it out.
What’s in your CD player right now?
Oh, let me go look!
Well, John Frusciante, (Chad mentions some others.. ) oh, and I’m actually listening to our record!
Oh! Cool. Are you your own worst critic?
Definitely! Oh yeah. Nothing is ever perfect enough.
If there’s one person that’s helped or inspired you all along the way, who would it be?
You mean, in music?
Anyone, anyone at all.
I’d have to give that up to God, or Krishna or whatever anyone calls it.
Anyone who thinks otherwise is definitely clouded.
Very special thanks to the extremely lovely Kim Estlund at Jive for supporting us at UnEarthed.com, and of course, to Chad for not crashing his car while doing this interview.