Hey everyone. It's been a few weeks! Me and Jeff moved so it has been a little crazy!
Today we have the amazing Joe Steinhardt. Joe is the awesome weirdo who, along with Zach Gajewski, runs Don Giovanni Records. He also played in a little band called For Science, is the main musical dude behind Modern Hut, and has in general been a huge supporter of the music in our area for years. Most importantly, he used to drunk IM me with almost totally unintelligible nonsense. He has come a long way babies. Enjoy.
I met Zach a few weeks after starting college at BU and seriously thought he was the biggest loser ever because he had hair that looked like Kramer from Seinfeld and a pin of a pair of sunglasses and whatever. I kept thinking he was a loser for like 2 months until I found out he was into the Beatnik Termites and Sicko. When I found that out I was like “dude, we should hang out every day from now on” and we pretty much did.
What made you go into business with him?
It didn’t really feel like we were going into business together or else probably neither of us would have agreed to do it. We were in this band called Talk Hard together and originally I was just going to release the 7” myself but then Zach wanted to help for some reason so we figured we would go 50/50 on it and then just divide up the money if it came back. But then by the time it came back some other friends of mine had asked about us releasing their record and Zach and I figured we would just release those and then divide up the money if it comes back or forget about it if it doesn’t. That’s still kind of our plan.
Has the label ever affected your friendship?
I think the label has actually had an incredibly positive affect on our friendship. I feel like Zach and I are a lot closer because we are sort of forced to keep in touch about the label, but its usually just an excuse to talk about whatever else. I don’t think we’ve ever had a fight or anything about anything related to the label, or anything else actually unless I’m forgetting something. Were pretty much always on the same page, and if I bring him an idea he hates, I usually know he’s gonna hate it, and vice versa.
What makes you choose bands to be on your label?
They have to either be a big part of our scene or really want to be a part of it for the most part. Originally our scene seemed to just mean New Brunswick, NJ but it slowly started to mean Brooklyn, and now it seems like there are bands that feel like they are a big part of our scene that live all over the country. A lot of what seems to really bring a lot of the bands on our label together is having a similar take on what aspects of playing in bands are bullshit and which are important, mostly guided by DIY values etc.
Have you and Zach ever disagreed on a band's involvement?
Yeah, but never in any serious way where its felt like its gonna be the end of the label/friendship. Usually its just where one of us feels really strongly and the other feels lukewarm. For me though, if Zach really likes a band, that’s usually enough of a reason to feel like its important to do, and vice versa, unless its something one of us really really hates in which case we won’t do it. Its really rare, I feel like Zach and I seem to really be on the same page about stuff that should be on the label and shouldn’t, even though we like lots of different things than each other musically.
Where do you think the label will be in 10 years?
Probably still trying to convince you to let us put out the unreleased Hunchback EP and Ugly On The Outside on vinyl. Predicting the future is impossible, I was just telling Jarrett yesterday that if you asked me 5 years ago to tell you what DG would be like now I would have said that Stupid Party and Bad Blood would be our flagship bands. Or that Cheeky and Pregnant would be. Or who knows? I think the reason the label works so well is because instead of trying to predict and conrol whats gonna happen next we just sort of let it happen and be there to help enable it.
Do you enjoy playing in bands also?
I do when I’m not singing.
Do you get stage fright?
I get more stage fright in a basement or a small show than on an actual stage since there I can see everyone there and they know me.
If you didn't start Don Giovanni would For Science have been more of a priority for you?
I think there was room for both of them honestly, although if For Science had kept going I would probably be dead by now.
What was growing up like for you?
It was really weird, but I think it probably is for everyone right? I feel like im also still doing it kinda. I feel like I learn more about how the world actually works every day. As a little kid I was really into baseball. Ironically I think I got into music originally because I desperately wanted to fit in, which is weird because in the long run I don’t think anything alienated me from my peers more. But originally I wanted to be able to talk about what was on the radio with people in school who always seemed to know more about music than me and thought I was a loser. When I realized that they still thought I was a loser even after knew who Blind Melon was or what the new Red Hot Chili Peppers single was it didn’t matter because I actually liked the music and it was a good escape from them.
What was you high school experience?
High school was actually really fun because I moved. There was a really small number of people who liked me in middle school, and I think even they didn’t wanna admit it to other people. In high school no one seemed to care that I was weird and in fact seemed to think it was cool. At the same time though, I feel like I was spending as much time as possible either taking the bus to New Brunswick or leaving school to go to Princeton record exchange, so I never really fully embraced high school. I know its punk to really hate high school, but I honestly didn’t. I just didn’t really care about it that much either.
What are your parents like?
They are really smart and really weird. They are really supportive of some things but not others. I don’t think they liked that I was into music or film or anything like that and really wanted me to be some kind of a scientist. If I wanted a $200 calculator they would get it for me, but if I wanted a $50 guitar they wouldn’t. If I wanted a $100 math textbook they would get it for me but if I wanted a $24.98 Mellon Collie 2xCD I had to get the money myself. So it was weird. I’m still not honestly sure how they feel about all the stuff I do with the label and bands, but I think they are proud of the other aspects of my life. They have always also inspired me. They have an incredible work ethic and both grew up in very hard financial and family situations and got out of them through their hard work and education. Their drive is also incredibly inspiring.
Tell us about your bar mitzvah.
Oh god. It was at this place called Kahunaville.
Tell us about your siblings.
I have 3. Charlie is my older brother and lives in Japan. Will is my younger brother and lives in Boston and shares my dark sense of humor. Cindy is my sister and just started college at Princeton.
Tell us the weirdest conspiracy theory that you actually believe is real and true.
I don’t think any of these are that weird, but for starters, there is no way OJ Simpson killed his wife and Ron Goldman, there is a ton of evidence to the contrary. I also think Lance Armstrong was set up by big pharma. Monti Teo’s girlfriend was real, but he had her killed and this whole thing is a cover up. I also saw Tupac once in New Orleans a few years ago. Oh, and there is no fucking way that there is a mars rover. That is actually the craziest thing the government is trying to get us to believe. Yes, there was a moon landing, but there is no way there is a robot driving around mars right now.
Did you ever have a paranormal experience? See a ghost? Get abducted by an alien?
I’ve never been abducted but there was once an extraterrestrial in the corner of my bedroom taking notes when I was younger. I also saw a UFO once. I’m still waiting to see my first ghost.