Enough time has gone by to realize that a lot of music that came out of the 90s, particularly music from the jam scene, didn't age well. The music might transport you back to a time when you traded tapes, didn't have a cell phone and had to towel the door, but it leaves you there, not saying anything new to your life and ears in 2009.

The Ominous Seapods are different. Every time I listen to their music something new and refreshingly weird comes out. Earlier in the year some clips from late 1996 surfaced on YouTube, and I wrote this about them in a blog entry: The Seapods were as influential to my growth as Nintendo and the 1986 Celtics. They arrived precisely at the right time when I need to be disturbed and have my eardrums blasted with a mutated amalgam of rock music. They were like the Rolling Stones of the bars and Pavement for wigglers. Their stage antics were some of the most disgustingly beautiful things I've ever witnessed.

It seems like every couple of months I'll revisit one of their records and I'll be amazed. They're one of those bands that still sound great, and to a certain extent, timeless. A lot of their material sounds more like today's rock music than it did then.

With the Seapods reuniting this weekend at moe.down, I figured it was time to reach out and speak to one of my heroes, original lead guitarist Max Verna. He left the band at the end of 1998 to settle down and have a family. More than ten years later, it's great to be able hear his take on the music he made, what it's like getting the band back together a couple of times a year, and other nuggets about his relationship with music.
How've you been?
I've been all right. I've been laying low out of the rock scene for a long time now…
Well, I miss you man [laughs].
Yeah, I miss it too. It was pretty fun. We play once or twice a year and the next one is moe.down, so it should be fun.
Yeah it definitely should be fun, you've got a long history with those guys.
Yeah, and it's been a while.
I was thinking about it today; the first time I spoke with you was after you played at Bellstock…
[laughs] Oh yeah…
It was in 1996 and all the musicians that were left at the end had a jam session. I remember asking you, "How was that?" and you ended up telling me a story about the best jam session you were involved with up until that point. The story had something do with a festival where the Seapods played earlier in the day and you all ate mushrooms and you got sick and naked. Anyways, your set was not really that memorable, but later on the festival concluded with everyone jamming together and it was the most amazing thing ever. [laughter]
Yeah, it was in South Carolina or something like that -- way, way up in the mountains. I remember that.
So I was thinking about that today and the fact that you've kind of been out of the rock scene for a while -- I saw on your Facebook page you've got a beautiful family, four daughters. I was wondering, do you ever think about the best way to explain that part of your life to your daughters?
I usually leave out the story of the best jams ever [laughter]. It's funny, they're slowly becoming aware of what I was doing before I settled down and had a family. They're really into the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana, and they actually like Pink too -- a couple of her songs. They sort of say, "Oh, you were in a rock band?" and I say, "Well, yeah, but I wasn't on MTV, I wasn't all over the radio, and it was very different. We toured the country and had a lot of fans." They don't quite have the concept. They can't separate what I did with what they're seeing on TV now. They're going to come see the Seapods up at moe.down. They get excited because they see me up on the big stage, and whatever stories that happened that I can tell them, it makes it more of a reality for them. It's not like I can really explain everything to them, as they get older they can absorb it more, but now it's more like a real thing for them.
So last year was the first time they got to see it in action?
Well, actually they went to the Gathering of the Vibes [in 2005], and there was a lot going on; it was like people up on the hill side all playing frisbee, and men wearing skirts and stuff like that, which didn't faze my wife and I because we've done Grateful Dead tour way back before I was in the Seapods. I remember them being very wide-eyed and one of them pulled my wife's shirt and said, "Why is that man wearing a skirt?" and my wife was like, "Well, it's comfortable? Yeah, that's probably why he's wearing it." It was hot and everything. So at least they got a glimpse way back then of the different lifestyle that's going on.
What's your take on the experience now? What do you think about the music? I guess you've had enough time to be removed from it and have a fresh perspective on it…
You mean like the music scene?
No, I mean the music that you made. I've had conversations with T.P. [Tom Pirozzi, bassist] and Dana [Monteith, guitarist] over the years about how… well, I still listen to some of your albums and some recordings from live shows a couple times a year because I like it so much, and I still hear something fresh about it. In a way, it's aged really well as opposed to a lot of other music that was made during that time.
It's funny too, you know, we have these gigs and it takes me about a month to relearn the songs. I don't really play much guitar right now, I've been playing Irish fiddle for the past couple of years. So when we have a gig, Brian [Mangini, keyboards] usually puts the set list together, so I'm usually bugging him at least a month ahead of time saying, "What's the list? You've got to tell me the exact songs," because I've got a lot to do, I have to be able to sing, I've got to get my voice in shape, and I've got to memorize all the words. Sometimes I've got to relearn the chord progressions because we play a lot of weird chords. With two guitarists you don't want to double up with the both of us playing the exact same chords, or the same notes, or even the same area of the guitar neck. We used to play a very odd formation so it takes little while to kind of get those back. So what I have to do is go back, usually I just start with the CD -- those are what I learn from. I have some bootlegs around, I think there's some stuff on the internet too. As I'm listening to them -- I haven't listened to them much in the past -- I'm sort of removed from them. I get to hear things close as I can as a fan or a listener rather than the person who recorded it, because coming out of almost all recordings you get so intense with it and so intimate with it and you have to live with so many mistakes or things you didn't like about it and you don't end up listening to it and just kind of put it behind you -- it's for everyone else. Now at least I get to listen to it with a fresher perspective. I hate to sound egotistical or I don't even know if that's the right word, but I do think a lot of those songs, they weren't just coming out of some fad or some kind of flash. They were songs that were written to hold the test of time and now I appreciate them more.