TRANS-MOTHER-FUCKING-AM make it their job to do whatever the fuck they want with their music. Never boring or lazy, the DC trio has cranked out five albums since 1996, moving from straight electronic ROCK, to a more complex electronic/vocal style on their newest, Red Line. Bassist Nate Means answers the questions, while guitarist Phil Manley and drummer Sebastian Thompson play checkers.

Has being a musician proved lucrative?

Not really; We have enough money to play with. We also have our own studio, which is, of course, a huge money pit. It's kind of a studio joke: "How do you make a small fortune in the recording industry? Start with a large one." We just got a new mixing board; it's a bit of a fixer-upper, but hell.

Don't you think you'd be a snob if you didn't buy fixer-upper stuff anymore?

Yeah, I do.

Everyone in our office loves you guys--you seem to be universally appreciated by all sorts of music lovers. Do you get that a lot?

We do, all right. We tend to appeal to people who have large record collections; people to whom music is really important.

What music do you fucking hate?

A trend I hate is third generation, Slint rip-offs: intense, driving music made by possibly incompetent musicians. It's been done to death. It seems like most indie bands aren't making much money and have to work crappy day jobs, so I wonder why they don't take some chances with their music. I think a lot of them suffer from contentment and self-congratulation, which kills motivation.

Would you be on the Scream 4 soundtrack, if asked?

First of all, yes. But actually, I just found out the way those things work. Unless the producer really has a hand in what music is going on the soundtrack, they just turn it over to a record label and they put all their bands on it. It's some sort of weird conspiracy. No one would buy an Elektra mix disc, but for some reason if you put the songs on the Scream 4 disc, people will buy that. We've actually been asked to do commercials.

Like by Coors or something?

No, but Bud Light wanted us to put a song on their website. I was like, "Bud Light, come on." We've also been asked by companies like Nike and Levi's; it's amazing how small their advertising budgets are.

Don't you think it ruins songs when they're on commercials? Like that "woo-hoo" Blur song on the Intel commercial?

It's so common that it doesn't really ruin songs for me, although I don't think we'd ever perform a song again if it was on a commercial.

As a Trans Am lova', I will hate it if they sign on Virgin Records, become huge and start playing the Rose Garden--and in retrospect, I should have asked them if they would. But I suppose it's more interesting to see what happens--and you never want to hate one of your favorite bands for going back on something they said in an interview five years earlier. As for now, I am thrilled as hell to see this amazingly talented band rock Portland with the amazingly talented Fucking Champs in a show that just might satisfy me enough to skip NXNW altogether.