The Excellent Interview is usually a space for the bands to talk about themselves, but Pete Graham, Dean Whitmore, and Mike Wurn, who make up Welcome, were just not comfortable with that. At one point Mike said, "Wouldn't you be scared, if you were in our position, to say something stupid or have nothing pop into your head, and then know that it's gonna be in words forever? Like, people read that? Your friends will read that? That's terrifying, isn't it?"

They were particularly worried about speaking in sound bites. And I realized that the fear of being misunderstood was the most natural guiding principle of Welcome, in their songs as in person.

Welcome are a brilliant disaster. It's messy, almost slobbish, but they've abandoned themselves to the possibility of fucking up -- embraced it so wholly that it permeates their music. It perfectly evokes the fear of failure. The lyrics are mostly unintelligible, and the fragments that you can catch only confuse you more, the way that talking about your feelings can be like talking to a wall. Welcome know that you can try to explain, but if the person you're explaining yourself to doesn't get it, there's nothing you can do. You've failed to make your feelings accessible. It's not exactly sadness, it's resignation. And Welcome exist in the space where your strangulated hopes prepare to loose their final breath -- less than a gasp, less than a sigh. Just a beautiful failure, an exhalation of all the things that you wanted, the things that you tried to convey in words but couldn't, deflated to a bare hiss, not how you wanted it to be. But even that is meaningful.

Welcome is the sweatshirt you wear for three days straight when it's all over. By the third day it feels like the only thing you have. Is it wonderful or horrible? That's the ambiguity of human emotion: Horrible is wonderful.

I like Welcome because even though they're sloppy and they've got no lyrics, it still sounds like they're feeling something. My pal Dave says that's why they remind him of Nirvana, maybe even a little prettier. It's a dangerous kind of comparison, but not entirely wrong.

What's more important, the lyrics or the music?

DEAN: Music.

MIKE: Music. I mean, the lyrics have to complement the music, but....

PETE: I think they're inseparable for the most part. Yeah. I think it's good always for me that I like them, for myself, but as far as other people, I don't know.

Tell me about the best show you've ever played.

DEAN: You have, intermittently, really good shows. But the best thing is when you realize those are gonna come and go, when you're on the up and coming tip. Start wearing bow ties or whatever. The best thing is just getting together with people you have a common bond ideologically with, and appreciating each other and having fun playing together, having fun hanging out together. I don't know. I think that's more what we appreciate.

I mean, we've been together for sort of a strangely long time. I think about seven years. And we've had spurts before where we play with big bands, like shows with Modest Mouse and stuff like that. And that was a fun time, but I just think now we're more interested in playing with each other.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done drunk?

PETE: I think when I was in high school I threw up into one of those air vacuum cleaner outlets. It was in a wall, a whole thing where you plug the hose into the wall.... I don't know what you call them... but I think I threw up in there. At my friend's house, at a party. I think it was the first time I was drunk and I can't remember if I did it or not, but somebody opened it in the morning and there was vomit in it. I can't take credit for it for sure.

DEAN: I lost my cymbals once.

MIKE: Fell over a barbecue. That's one I want to tell the world.

What's the worst album you've ever loved?

DEAN: That's kind of a difficult one because five years ago, any AC/DC record would have somewhat fit in that niche, but....

MIKE: I'm trying to think of something that's not really kitschy. I like a lot of stuff. I like Madonna. Everything's good, but nothing's really grabbing me, something that's really bad and simple -- because I don't really think on those terms. I'll listen to Journey, but it's all kitschy. There's nothing that's not kitschy, everything's kitschy because when you listen to it and you feel guilty, that makes it kitschy.

DEAN: I guess it just depends on what you get introduced to. My friends' sisters and brothers listened to the Clash and stuff, and if you're using that as your basis, you're never gonna like Michael Jackson and stuff like that. It's gonna conflict with what your quality control is.

There's definitely things to be said about people's intentions, too. If you heard "Gotta Be Startin' Somethin'" -- it's about shakin' your ass. You go, "Wow! What's this on the radio?" It sounds pretty good and it's catchy, but I personally can't relate to all that.

What's the best thing that could happen to your band in the next year, the next month, and the next week?

MIKE: I think our record could come out.

DEAN: In the end, the only thing that we're gonna be satisfied with is writing good songs.

Is the record coming out?

PETE: Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong. The recording and the mastering and the cover.... Pretty much everything from scratch the hard way.

DEAN: It's just been a long time. It's been hard.

What's the difference between a good musician and a great musician? Are great musicians born or made?

MIKE: Personality, I think. If they have something new to offer. Not necessarily new, but they put their own shit into it. We went and saw a garage rock band the other night, and man, they play good and their songs are structured. And it all fits. It all makes a nice little parcel. But they're not really interjecting anything.

DEAN: It's all derivative, you know.

So are great musicians born or made?

PETE: It's both.

MIKE: Yeah. I don't think there's any such thing as a great musician. I'd say it's easier for some people. What's a great musician? Or is a great musician somebody that gives off something that you appreciate?

That's what I'm asking you.

MIKE: Somebody that gives off something that you appreciate. A person could know three chords....

DEAN: It's all so subjective, though. I mean, just, have you ever seen a band where you know somebody's brilliant, but the other people aren't? And it stinks the whole [band] up? I mean, either it's good or it's not. You can't put a tag on it.

MIKE: I think great musicians can be made because of the potential for anyone to be a great musician. I think it just takes a while to figure out how to translate something.

If you hear something really good, and if it's really powerful, then in a sense you kind of have that energy in you. You have a feeling that was communicated, and it's just a matter of doing it the right way for you, the most honest way.