Band Interview: Smile


Smile. No not an order from me, but the name of a 3-piece band out of Orange County, California. Tustin to be exact, right next to Irvine. Their debut full length, Maquee, was recorded over a year ago. It was released in July of ‘95 by those kind people who have a knack for good taste in music at Headhunter Records out of San Diego. These guys are a different kind of 

Scott Reeder attacks his drums, Aaron Sonnenberg pummels his bass and Mike Rosas sings. Issue 76, April 1995

“Tunk Rock” (if I can be so bold as to use that loose, hip, very evasive word meaning alternative, loud aggressive music in the ’90s.

Scott Reeder attacks his drums, Aaron Sonnenberg pummels his bass and Mike Rosas sings and manipulates his guitar to sound like a tortured soul. When their CD was received at SLUG HQ there was an excited whispering and awe that existed. We can hardly wait to see these guys live. Mike Rosas let me call him and ask him a few questions about Smile.

SLUG: Are you guys going to be on tour soon?

MR: I think in June, but we don’t have any set plans yet. 

SLUG: How long have you been together? 

MR: About 2 years. 

SLUG: Did members of Smile use to play with members of Farside

MR: Me and Aaron use to play in a band with the guitar player in Farside. 

SLUG: How would you guys describe your music? A lot of the descriptions I’ve seen call you guys punk, do you agree with that? 

MR: We’ve heard us described as everything. When people ask me what our band sounds like, I just say, “I don’t know.” As far as I’m concerned, there’s a lot of bands that I would say were punk in the true aspect of the word just because they did things their own way and they really didn’t give a shit what people said about them. I would even say some bands that existed back in the ‘60s were punk. 

SLUG: Yeah, when I think of true punk bands, I think of the early 80’s ‘punk, like the Adolescents, early T.S.O.L. and Agent Orange

MR: Living in Darkness is a classic album. When Aaron and I were listening to it a week ago, it is so obvious how out of touch the music industry is. An album like that is so classic and that music is going to last forever. So many people have not heard that album because so many distributors and bigger labels wouldn’t even touch that album, back when it came out. And yeah, if that album would have came out today, every label, little subsidiaries and the fake indies and all the regular indies would love a band like that.

SLUG: Does Smile just play around Orange County and San Diego?

MR: Yeah, and out in the desert sometimes.

(Note: I’m guessing this means out in Palm Springs and places in between, but it is open for personal interpretation!)

SLUG: Where did you get the name, Maquee from.? 

MR: Oh, it’s the name of our friend. 

SLUG: Your friend? Why did you name it after him? 

MR: I dunno, because he is a rad guy and his hand is huge. 

Good enough reasons for me! April mantic is going to re-release Maquee along with Headhunter Records for wider distribution. So for you lost souls who have a hard time finding good music in between the Phil Collins and Michael Bolten bins, this one may be found filed under S. Now get on your trikes’ and go find out what all the fuss is about! 

Check out more from the SLUG archives here:
Record Reviews: April 1991
Video Review: Skinny Puppy and Ministry