In 2008, as Myspace was producing its final generation of viral bands, Ohio metalcore crew Attack! Attack! released a video for their song Stick Stickly that'd go down in metal lore forever. We interviewed the band's drummer and keyboard player, Andrew Wetzel, to chat about the MySpace era, crab moves and shrugging off haters.
When did you first hear about MySpace?
“The first time was in 2004 or ’05. I was in middle school when MySpace started to take off. Before that, there was LiveJournal, and MySpace was this next iteration. But it also introduced a music component. 2006 was when it started to reach critical mass, so, by 2006, we were moving everything to MySpace. Early 2007 is when we really focused on delivering our demos and putting up remixes we’d done with our friends, and we noticed a huge amount of growth there.”
MySpace affected your popularity pretty quickly, then?
“Definitely. A few months after we really started to focus on MySpace, we were getting contacted by people from the outside world about management and label services. Ultimately, that led us to Rise Records.”
The video for your 2008 song Stick Stickly got a lot of attention. What do you remember about shooting it?
“It was September in Oregon, in the middle of a field! We were on tour at the time as well. It was a day off where we didn’t get the chance to take a day off. That first tour was 13 weeks long, and one of the small handful of days off we had in those 13 weeks was spent freezing our asses off in a field.”
A lot of people picked up on your ‘crabcore’ dancing in the video. Whose idea was that?
“It definitely came from within the band. Between Johnny [Franck, guitar/vocals], Andrew [Whiting, guitar] and John [Holgado, bass], really early on, there were a lot of discussions about how it would be cool to semi-choreograph ourselves during the parts that were super-rhythmic. This was happening across the scene: We Came As Romans did a similar thing. We loved it, we thought it was funny, and then there were articles in The Guardian and The New York Times. It was on Fox News!”
Just how powerful did the MySpace scene and its bands feel when things were at their peak?
“We were really close to being at the top of those MySpace bands. The first headline tour we did, in 2009, we sold pathetically few presale tickets: 10 or 12%. And then, when we did the shows, they’d sell out just from walk-ups. People just showed up! There were multiple instances of promoters being like, ‘I’m about to lose everything on this show!’, then having to turn away half of the capacity of the venue in walk-ups.”
Were there any downsides to being a ‘MySpace band’?
“With anything that becomes trendy, there are people that refuse to be a part of it. They just hate it because it’s different. Forums and boards like AbsolutePunk fucking hated us. The famous sign-off phrase that [the forum’s users] used was ‘van flip’. They literally hoped that our vans would flip over. That was the only downside but, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t much of a downside.”
Why did Attack Attack! split in 2013?
“What’s that saying? The candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long? To say it was overwhelming and overstimulating is a drastic understatement. We were handed a lot of very adult problems that, honestly, a lot of adults wouldn’t be prepared to handle, and that really wears on you.”
Former Attack Attack! member Caleb Shomo went on to form Beartooth. Did you stay in touch?
“Not really. During the ‘divorce’, everyone picked their own thing and went their own way. Some of us stayed in touch, some of us didn’t. That was just the way things went.”
Attack Attack! reunited in 2020. Why?
“Whiting and I started the band in high school, and it was only a matter of time before our orbits crossed again. It just seemed like enough time had passed, to the point that all of the chaos and calamity that took place was in the rearview mirror. We were galvanised by the response to the EP [2021’s Long Time, No Sea] and we saw that we can take just about any risk musically and get away with it. We have an unreleased EP that’s being mixed right now, and our main goal is to create more and keep antagonising the music scene. Ha ha ha!”
Originally published in Metal Hammer #377