While the news of the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower's breakup was not surprising—since bands of their ilk seldom last more than a few chaotic years—it's still disappointing. For a group of unassuming San Diego kids, they were somehow able to seamlessly harness the nervous fear of the salad days of punk, the dizzying sex appeal of the early days of glam, and combine it with enough arrogance to stun anyone who dared cross their path. The arrogance of the Plot has always been totally pure and uncut, and while their "with us or against us" onstage presence drives away a fair number of potential fans, the band is not fucking around. They really just might be the best American punk band in recent memory, an act not afraid to add serious elements of Mingus-influenced jazz or '70s UK power-pop into an already blaring slew of bratty post-DC punk. Before the band hangs up the armbands for good, they are going on one last tour. For the love of god, don't miss them.
MERCURY: I'm upset you're breaking up; can you explain the breakup and ease my pain by talking about the future projects you are working on?
CHUCK ROWELL: Each of the four of us are terribly brilliant and it is now time to split up the power and give birth to a couple new Plots. Brandon, Brian, and Willy have the Prayers. Brandon and I have the Vultures.
Not that I disagree with it, but your website's statement that "We released records that will surely be regarded as classics in the years to come," is a pretty lofty thing to say. Why do you think the future will be more kind to the band than the past has been?
I think a lot of the Plot's mojo was based on lofty decisions. Anything of true originality and worth can only fully be appreciated in its demise. I mean, yes, if you follow a band and know fully well that they are special then, yes, you are onto something that a lot of others are missing. As bands break up and time passes it is then easier to assess the context in which the lofty and confrontational actions were done. We have done a lot of stuff that you'd have to be young and crazy to do and hopefully that is how we will be remembered—young, crazy, and stunningly original.
One thing I've always been amazed about the Plot is that for a punk band it seemed like you guys were never comfortable with how rigid punk music and culture can be. Has there always been steady resistance to what the band is doing? Is it exhausting to have to constantly justify your music to people who expect something else from the band?
We have always thrived off of both confrontation and, of course, gratitude, but no it's not exhausting at all. With the release of our last EP, INRI, there were some reviews that said that we had gone mainstream with the Nick Zinner remix, but we also got a lot of praise for such a bold change after our last discordant record. We don't change for anyone but ourselves, and when our new album comes out people will see another side of the Plot, the last side.
The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower plays Satyricon on Fri Oct 6