Im Interview: Jake Blochinger.

Für die kleine Geburtstagsüberraschung für Nathan Gray vor einigen Wochen bekam auch Jake einige Fragen zugeschickt, die er so unterhaltsam und offen beantwortete, dass er sich damit direkt in meine persönliche ‚Dieser Mensch ist mir so sympathisch, dass er definitiv öfter bei solch einem Kram mitmachen muss!‘ Liste katapultierte. Jake weiß natürlich noch nichts von seinem ‚großen‘ Glück, aber ich denke, dass dieser Herr in Zukunft ab und an einen Auftritt hier bei Stay close to your soul haben wird.

Jake Blochinger. Als Kind malträtierte er die Triangel mit Bravour und ebnete sich damit gekonnt seinen Weg zum Schlagzeuger bei Nathan Gray, Grace oder The Banner. Ein Typ, der einen wunderbaren Humor mit sich bringt, aber gleichermaßen nicht mit Ernsthaftigkeit hinter dem Berg hält. Auch an Jake gingen die letzten 6 Monate nicht spurlos vorbei, ganz im Gegenteil: die Tour mit Nathan Gray musste vorzeitig beendet werden, als das Virus immer mehr das Land einnahm. Daraufhin folgten unabsehbare Zeiten, die geprägt waren vom Verlust eines Familienmitgliedes, einer tiefen Depression und dem tragischen Tod von George Floyd und die darauffolgenden Proteste und Krawalle und einem Präsidenten, der in vielerlei Hinsicht unfassbar erschreckende Reaktionen und Äußerungen von sich gab.

Über diese Themen und noch einige mehr gibt er nun bereitwillig Auskunft und setzte sich an den XXL-Fragebogen. Vielen Dank an Jake!

Corona

At the beginning Corona was not taken seriously in many countries and was labeled as a normal ‚flu‘. What was going through your mind when the infection and death rates continued to rise?

I was originally not too worried when it first started in Wuhan, I suppose in the US we always have this mentality that “that won’t ever happen here,” but then it did. I was on tour with Nathan Gray as it started becoming a reality here (which was eventually cut short due to COVID) and became especially worried that I lived so close to NYC and that the area I live in (NJ) is very densely populated. My first worry though was my older relatives’ health and how it would affect my livelihood.

How did you fare in the first few weeks, when events and news rolled over?

It was pretty rough for me the first couple weeks I’m not going to lie. It started off with me having a disagreement with my business partner and leaving my restaurant, then drinking out of boredom with roommates, then losing my great grandmother to the virus, followed by a slew of personal problems I won’t get into, and then there was the fear that the world is probably going to get worse before it gets any better. It fucking sucked. I sank into a deep depression worse than I’ve ever experienced before that I’ve only recently started to get out of after making a great many positive changes in my life and seeking actual help and not a bottle of whiskey. I’d like to thank the family and friends of mine that stuck by my side. You know who you are, and seriously, thank you.

What’s your opinion on the conspiracy theorists?

I think that as far as conspiracy theories go, there is probably some truth to some of them (some more than others). I think it is very important to question everything especially if your gut tells you to do so. Our governments, religious institutions, and big businesses have proven time and time again that they do have secrets and they will do almost anything to protect their interests and power. However, I think there are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there that fall into an obsessive and paranoid pattern and that the problems begin when it is no longer a vigilant mission for truth but when it becomes influenced by an agenda and is weaponized to spread panic. Some of these people influencing others are also clearly suffering from mental illness and shouldn’t either followed or mocked but helped.

Your thoughts when you hear/read such comments:

1.) ‚I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am a realist!‘

Until you prove your theory correct, it is a hypothesis at best. That does not make you a realist that makes you suspicious which is fine as long as you can recognize the difference.

2.) ‚The vaccine comes with a chip!‘

If your government wanted to microchip you, they could have done it a thousand different ways by now. If you’re so worried about it then start by throwing your phone and all other connected devices away because you are already a biometric data dispenser.

3.) ‚Masking is a satanic ritual.‘

This is one of the dumber ones. If even the chance of keeping you and your loved ones healthy is satanic then sign me up for satan.

The Governor of Georgia is suing against mandatory masks: why do you think so many people are against wearing a mask?

For some reason everything in the US always HAS to be turned political. There are very dumb people on both the far left and far right and it seems that overwhelmingly, the far right thinks “exercising their rights” is more important than science during a global pandemic.

People drink disinfectants or detergents to protect themselves from Corona. What goes through your head when you hear something like that?

Are they really doing this? Please tell me they’re not. I know Trump said something about injecting bleach but if people are really that dumb then is the gene pool really losing anything?

What scares you most during this time?

Losing more friends and family members, the amount of time it takes to develop a vaccine, and what the state of the world will be in years to come. And I guess people drinking disinfectants now.

How do you perceive the handling of Corona in your environment?

In NJ I think overall the community is handling it very well. People are voluntarily quarantining, masking, washing their hands for once, and doing all the things the CDC recommends and the businesses are doing their best to enforce the recommendations. If people could stop being jerkoffs and throwing their masks and gloves all over the ground that would be cool too. Our state’s government is pretty hypocritical and not as stern as our neighbors in New York and seem to care more about the economy than health.

C A T S!!!!

Friday

Tell us something about your adorable cat! What’s her name and how did she come into your life?

Her name is Friday and she is a sweet little demon. We found her as a kitten in the woods hiking on Friday the 13th (yeah, I know, super creative name) and she was starved, extremely underweight, and looked like she was about to die. We took her to the veterinarian who wouldn’t shelter her because people suck and do fucked up things to cats around Halloween. She was very close to dying of liver failure and were told she’d be lucky to survive a week. We had to give her medicine and IV’s at home, but she pulled through and we decided to keep her. Now she is healthy and the weirdest god damn cat I never asked for but couldn’t live without. Seriously though, she’s fucking weird, I think she knows how to teleport too and it freaks me out.

‚Dogs have owners, cats have staff.‘ Your thoughts on this?

Couldn’t be truer. I grew up with large dogs in the mountains who were all trained very well. Friday has a strict schedule that I must abide to lest I face her wrath.

How can she drive you nuts?

Every morning at 5:30am if I’m not up fast enough for work she will attack the living hell out of my feet.

What bad habits would you like to exorcise if you could?

Definitely the one I just mentioned, bloody feet suck.

What actions of your cat made you laugh?

Every time you touch her or go near her she makes a cooing “activation” sound. Every. Single. Time. That and her thousand-yard stare…I think the poor thing has some slight brain damage from her time in the woods drinking Jersey lead water.

#BLM / Karen’s

What went through your mind when you heard about the tragic death of George Floyd?

I’ve heard so many stories like his and it’s absolutely insane that everyone has become so numb to it. The video was so incredibly disturbing and difficult to watch but I think our country needed to see it to wake up, but I really wish it didn’t NEED to take that to cause an awakening. I feel so heartbroken for him and his family and all they went through and are continuing to go through.

If you were the President of the United States: how would you deal with such appalling acts?

First off, I would never want to be President, I’d be really bad at it and you’d have to be even more bananas than me to want that job. But I think the first step would be to, I don’t know, listen to your country?!? I know there’s no silver bullet solution to this but the time to start working on one is long overdue.

Riots and looting during the demos were strongly criticized. Were you able to understand the riots? What did you think?

I’m not a big fan of rioting and looting, I’ve been a business owner who was robbed and it is devastating. But there is also insurance to cover those things. There’s no amount of insurance money that brings someone back from the dead. People are scared and angry and the peaceful methods that have been tried in the past were brushed away and condemned anyways. Many would argue that rioting and looting are a form of protest and in some instances, I would have to agree. I feel bad for mom and pop stores and I do hope that those affected beyond the point of return are in some way assisted by their communities in the future but there is a much bigger problem to deal with in our country right now and that problem is that there are people funded by our tax dollars that are given the right to decide to end another person’s life usually with little to no consequences.

Many stand behind the police, some are divided, others completely against them- where do you fit in and why? ACAB- a statement that you would sign?

I have very rarely had good interactions with cops. Even more rarely have I had good interactions with cops when I am with my friends who are minorities. I really don’t like cops at all, and I think there are more than just “a couple of bad eggs.” That being said it is a tricky situation because society needs policing because unfortunately not everyone is good. Until there is a better system in place for regulating the actions of cops and holding them accountable then I will sign off on the current perverted system with a heavy-ass ACAB stamp. The “good” cops can start by embracing change and leading by example even if it means being judged, penalized, or retaliated against by their peers and supervisors. You are here to serve your community, start acting like it.

All Lives Matter in response to Black Lives Matter- what do you think is the reason why many people simply don’t want to understand where the serious problem lies?

I think that some people are confused, and some people are just driven by hate. I’ve heard arguments where people think that Black Lives Matter implies that somehow no other lives matter or that they may have had a rough life and it becomes a “Well what about me?” argument. I think if maybe people started thinking about if black lives did matter the way they should in this world and that they were afforded the same opportunities without prejudice then this world would be that much better for everyone in every aspect. I know there are others out there who simply hate black people and the change in their mindset has to come from within if it can be changed at all, I don’t think people are permanent in their beliefs but it does take a great degree of work and changes in behavior and environment. A good friend gave me what I think is a good metaphor that would apply to the “What about me?” crowd: “The plumbing in your house has stopped working and needs to be replaced but your neighbor’s house is on fire. Not having plumbing is terrible and it sucks but having your house on fire is way worse and needs immediate attention. Once we put out the fire, we can replace your plumbing. Otherwise your neighbor’s house burns down and maybe yours does too.” Hopefully I got that quote right. I suck at memory things.

Have you met a Karen lately?

I have been lucky that I have not had the misfortune of meeting a Karen lately because I rarely go in public if I don’t have to these days (sorry to all the people named Karen that don’t suck btw). But there are more than enough videos of Karen’s gone wild out there for me to be grateful that I haven’t come face to face with them. To all the service industry, retail, healthcare, and anyone else that has to deal with these nutjobs – stay strong, I know you want to smack their eyebrows offa their heads.

What do you think: what are the chances of Trump being re-elected?

Even though he shouldn’t have a chance in hell, his die-hard supporters are loony toons. I don’t get it at all, there really is no logic behind it at this point in my opinion. I don’t even necessarily consider them Republicans anymore, they’re a whole fanatical classification of their own. I am not a fan of Biden at all either, I have a lot of issues with his creepy behavior, strange antics, and lack of direction and policy. Unfortunately, these are our two choices and I have to make a choice based on who I think is less shitty rather than have a candidate I can actually stand behind like a few of the candidates that were knocked out of the race prior to his nomination. It’s pretty scary that Trump’s chances of re-election are better than they should be. I feel pretty let down, but I don’t think this country or the world for that matter can survive 4 more years of him. To quote E-Town Concrete, “Hope for the best but expect the worst.”

Foto: Becky Fontaine

White pants

Nathan Gray: ‚For real.. if we are ever allowed to tour again.. white pants are gonna be an every night thing. Any night without them equals mayo and jager shots.‘ You said YES to that, RIGHT?!?

HARD PASS I already dug that grave for myself once hahaha

What would be the worst: wearing white pants or drinking the delicious shots?

I haven’t owned white pants since I was in 4th grade in that horrific picture at a school band concert (I rocked the shit out of the triangle by the way). You can bet your ass I’m going to stock up on white pants for tour before I ever drink mayo jager shots again *RALPH*

Anything else you wanna add?

Rumor has it that Nathan Gray and co. are working on a new album that may or may not be out next year and it’s going to have a few stylistic curveballs that I think everyone will enjoy and that I am very excited to be a part of, I hope that in the near future the apocalypse is sorted out and we can see everybody on tour! I might have a release from my hardcore band Grace and some other projects I have in the works but that depends a lot on that whole COVID-19 thing we got going on. Otherwise, everyone stay safe and healthy and don’t be afraid to stand up and turn thoughts into words and actions for what you know is right. Take care of the ones you love, check in on people you haven’t heard from in a while, and smash your enemies.

Nathan Gray I Grace