Mr. Corpo interviews Mauri Skinfill and talks about why she quit being a professor at UC Berkeley, how she became a rock star, and the burdens of being really really smart. Plus music by The Blacks.
My Wife Is A Rock Star (Literally) (9/21/2016)
JUSTIN: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Mr. Corpo podcast. We're recording live in New York City, and I have a special guest on the show today: my wife, Mauri Skinfill.
MAURI: Hi, guys.
JUSTIN: Oh, I didn't cue you yet to start talking.
MAURI: Hi, guys.
JUSTIN: Alright, well, welcome to the show. Happy to have you here.
MAURI: Thank you.
JUSTIN: Rob, have you already played the theme music?
JUSTIN: Most people work for a living. And then -- let me finish -- and then they go on to do the thing that they're passionate about. But in the case of Mauri Skinfill, she started out doing the thing she was passionate about, and now you work for a living. So you've actually kinda got things backwards. You're super smart, you got your undergraduate at Berkeley, you got your PhD at Berkeley, you're super passionate about teaching --
MAURI: Go bears.
JUSTIN: And you had some funny things happen to you on the way to becoming a teacher. But ultimately, tell me why -- if teaching is your passion -- why did you stop teaching?
MAURI: The money. So I was in charge of, um, a class of 300 students, lecture class, plus five TAs, which is a lot of responsibility. Um, yep. For a semester. And I was making, monthly, 50 dollars a month less than California unemployment pays you.
JUSTIN: So I'm asking for -- I don't know, even, what that is. So like, give me a number. Like, what did you make a month, what did you make a year? I wanna know the salary.
MAURI: I -- so I had to -- I'd have to go back and look, but I think it was something like, um, 11 or 1200 dollars a month.
JUSTIN: So if I'm gonna do some quick math, as a professor at Berkeley, you're gonna make less than 30,000 dollars a year?
MAURI: No, so to be -- to -- to -- so, to be fair, that was teaching one class. Most, what you could make would have been something like, you know, 22, 2300 bucks a month. If you were teaching a full course load.
JUSTIN: I'm -- I'm shocked at how low that number is.
MAURI: Right? So you can see my temptation to go into the private sector.
JUSTIN: Well, was that just the -- the Cal system, or did you try and teach other -- other places, like what is -- what did that --
MAURI: No, I -- so, first of all, I was lucky to teach at Berkeley, because uh, you know, it's an incredible university, and the students are amazing, and the faculty is incredible, and the -- and the work that you're teaching is uh, you know, is done at a really elevated level. So um, that part, you know, felt great and was like a privilege. But um, part -- it's public school. So um, there're just certain tiers of um, basically there're fixed amounts that they can pay, um, at different levels of uh, of teaching. So...
JUSTIN: Oh my gosh. I guess nobody should ever become a teacher.
MAURI: Well, I think mostly people aren't, right? I mean, it's tough.
JUSTIN: So then who becomes teachers? Who sticks with teaching? I mean, if you're only making 25,000 dollars a year, I feel like you're not getting the smartest or the brightest or like, the best teachers, cause the best teachers wanna make more money than that.
MAURI: Yeah, I mean look, I -- so, I'll say something controversial, which is, but you felt this at Berkeley: um, you got a lot of kids that came from um, really wealthy families, because they could afford to be there. And so they're not --
JUSTIN: The teachers, you're talking about.
MAURI: Uh, graduate students, for example. So if you could -- if you come in as a graduate student, you know, one of the things that happens is you take a full course load and then at year two or three they give you, um, teaching responsibilities. Uh, and then if you're -- if you come in like I did as a -- a scholarship kid, um, then you forego your scholarship and you just live on your teaching wages. But the teaching wages are crap. So that's where it starts to get um, sort of gnarly. So either you take out student loans, or you have personal resources, you know. Even tenure track professors coming in at Berkeley, um, the first couple of years are not making a lot of money. Yeah.
JUSTIN: Wow, alright. Well, you're blowing me out of the water with that. Um, now, listen. I'm not a big fan of the setup question, or you know, like I'm a talk show host where we've prepared the questions before. But I do wanna ask you a leading question. I've heard like -- late at night, or you've alluded to stories about a time that you applied for a job, um, as part of the African American studies at another university somewhere in the United States. And you were about to get the job and you didn't get the job. Can you tell us about that experience?
MAURI: Yes. Um, to clarify, I actually did got -- get the job, and then it got taken away.
JUSTIN: So actually even worse. So you had the job and it was taken away.
MAURI: So I -- yeah. I had the job. I signed the contract. Um, so --
JUSTIN: You signed the contract?
MAURI: Oh yes, I did.
JUSTIN: Oh, okay, I didn't know that.
MAURI: Um, yeah. So you know, the background of this is um, I had, uh, I was getting a degree, PhD in American literature and my emphasis was in um, modern American -- 19th and 20th century American and also African American, um, specifically. Um, and so...05:06 but you know, this was around 2000, so it felt like early days of the internet and so communication was still very kind of rudimentary, and there was not a ton of transparency around who you were. So um, I was coming out of Berkeley, uh, I was lucky, I had, you know, a bunch of publications, and so I would get, um, uh, a lot of job interviews, um, at really great places. But often I think people, one, thought I was a man, because my name is Mauri, so they didn't automatically assume there was a woman behind the application. Um, and then I think because I had so many publication in African American, um, topics, I think they also thought I was African American. Um, so they got sort of a double surprise when I would walk in the door cause I'm not. Um, but I uh, was a finalist for a job. I got a -- a finalist for a job at um, this great university in Detroit, and um, it was a position in African American stud -- uh, literature and urban studies. It was incredible, actually. Um, did a couple of rounds of interviews, got flown back to do the job talk, did the job talk, got the offer on the spot after the interview from the chairman of the department. Um, flew home with a job offer in hand, signed the contract. And then --
JUSTIN: You were gonna take the job?
MAURI: Oh, yes. Absolutely I was gonna take the job.
JUSTIN: Move to Detroit?
MAURI: Move to Detroit. I mean, there was -- I was very, you know, very devoted to cultural studies. It would have been an incredible position, um, in an incredible city, right? Um, and uh...so I was stoked. But it got kicked up, uh, the chain and um, a couple weeks later I got a call from the chair of the department, said, "Listen, we have a problem. Um, and the problem is, the dean of studies basically said..." -- they asked if I was an African American candidate, and um, they had to say no. And so she declined the -- she un-approved the hire.
JUSTIN: So they couldn't hire a non-African American for the African American studies.
MAURI: For the African American studies position. And the thing is that, you know, this was at the -- you know, at the end of the 90s, identity politics was sort of dominating the university. And so if you were doing African American studies, you -- they were just making a correlation between who was allowed to teach what. And um, it wasn't the department's fault. Uh, it wasn't the dean's fault. I think -- well, first of all, it was illegal. But it's not like I could have pressed it and then ever gotten a job again. Um, an academic job again. But um, it wasn't their fault. It was that they had spent basically 50 years not diversifying their departments. Right? Cause if they had diversified their departments in advance of me showing up as a non-African American African Americanist, then it wouldn't have been a problem. They would have been like yeah, sure, great, we like your scholarship, like, this is solid. We think you'll be an asset to the department. But instead, they couldn't see that. And they were like, you guys, go back to the fucking table and hire somebody that's gonna diversify the department. So they had a point. But uh, it was a -- it was a tough time, you know, in -- it was a tough time in academics.
JUSTIN: And I guess you're leading the conversation here, so what did you go do?
MAURI: I joined a touring rock band. And I went to -- I went on a, you know, a European tour with a band as a paid touring guitar player making way more money, um, as a guitar player in an indie rock band than I did teaching. So that was sort of the beginning of a different thing.
JUSTIN: That sounds super cool. Who did you play with?
MAURI: Um, I played with a band called Preston School of Industry, which was the, uh, Pavement spinoff band. The guitar player from Pavement, right after they broke up, um, started his own band.
JUSTIN: Alright, so I think this is interesting. Cause we're talking about how you do most things backwards. Most people start with work and go to their passion. You started with your passion and you went to work. But I think this is interesting. Most people learn to play a musical instrument when they're young, and then they give it up by the time that they get older. You didn't even start playing guitar until you got to college.
MAURI: That's true. I -- I came to it late.
JUSTIN: I mean, tell -- tell me about that. How did you pick it up -- no one starts a new instrument at the age of 20 or whatever it is, when you're in college. Like --
MAURI: It was later than that. I mean, I think I was like 25. No, I was twenty -- well, I was probably, I was 23. Yeah.
JUSTIN: You -- so you started playing guitar at 23? Why?
MAURI: Yeah, or 22. Something like that. It was like --
JUSTIN: Wait, why?
MAURI: Uh, well, I always loved music, so I was super, super into music, as a fan. Um, but then I had a boyfriend, um -- it's okay cause he was the worst boyfriend ever --
JUSTIN: I don't want to hear any more about it. It's okay.
MAURI: Um, but he was a guitar player, uh, or he -- actually, he wasn't a guitar player. He just -- he played guitar. And um, the way it happened 10:00 is, I walked into his apartment one day and he was playing along to the Pixies. And I was like, what's that? I was -- he was playing "Wave of Mutilation" and I was like, oh, I wanna play that. And he was like, no, it's too hard for you cause it's bar chords. And that was the beginning of everything. Cause I was so -- I was so mad, I was like, "You condescending little beast." So I pretty much went home and I had a guitar within 24 hours and taught myself how to play. And then within a year, I was in a band. And then that was that.
JUSTIN: How -- how long till the moment that you got mad, went home and got a guitar within 24 hours, to you're in a touring rock band going around Europe getting paid? How many years?
MAURI: Um, that was -- let me think about it. So, I don't know, maybe six years.
JUSTIN: Six years?
MAURI: Yeah. But that's because I was in this band -- I was in a band -- I was in a -- like, a girl rock band. Like, in a Riot Grrrl band for five -- like, five years.
JUSTIN: So you started playing guitar and you started a band right away?
MAURI: I started playing guitar and almost immediately joined a band, yeah. I basically learned how to play the live way. We toured a lot for the entire duration of that band. Um, and we did, um, you know, we did a couple of national tours on our own, we ended up doing a shed tour with Duran Duran when they did their comeback --
JUSTIN: Duran duran?
MAURI: -- in 2001. Yes.
JUSTIN: Wow, alright. That's super impressive. So I -- I wanna ask you this: what's it like to be really, really smart?
MAURI: Well, I'm assuming you're calling me really smart and that's why you're asking that -- is that what you're saying? Alright.
JUSTIN: Of course. I'm not asking you to pontificate on, or conjecture about someone that smart --
MAURI: Here's -- no, no, no -- look, I'll tell you. So I had the benefit of like, both, I think like, um, I -- by instinct, like, I was smart growing up when I was little. And -- and it was something that like, I really valued. I always loved learning. I think I'm at my best when I'm learning something new. Which is why I feel like when I left, um, when I left teaching and started playing in a band, it was not different. It was just a different love, right? Like, a love for a different kind of learning and a different kind of skill and a different kind of expression. Um, what's it like to be smart? Uh, it's great. It, um, for a long time it made it hard to meet people, like, romantically.
JUSTIN: Cause you were like, asking them, like, math questions on the first date, or --?
MAURI: No. No, just because it wasn't gonna be -- often, like, it wouldn't be a fit. You know?
JUSTIN: So, you're in a girl band, Riot grrrl -- riot rah? -- what do I say, riot --
MAURI: Riot grrrl.
JUSTIN: Riot grrrl band in the 90's. You go on tour with Preston School. You play in some other bands in San Francisco. You and I played in a band together, we were in The Blacks together.
MAURI: The best band.
JUSTIN: Actually, that's how we met our producer, Rob, who's sitting here at the table with us. We played a New Years Eve party in Iowa City. What was the club, do you remember what it was called?
JUSTIN: On New Years Eve -- I don't even remember what year that was.
MAURI: With the evangelicals.
JUSTIN: With the evangelicals, that was great. Anyway, we toured the country. It was incredible. I -- I absolutely loved being in a band. And I liked being in a band with you.
MAURI: Well and -- can I say that this is what I mean by like, uh, it took me leaving, um, teaching took me in other really amazing directions. So I don't -- I don't regret it. Like, it re -- it revealed a different world.
JUSTIN: No, no, no, absolutely. But -- but I guess my question is, you've played in a lot of bands. You've -- you've played tons of shows, hundreds, thousands of shows. But it hasn't necessarily been monetarily successful.
JUSTIN: You know, the records aren't flying off the shelf, forgive me for saying. But you're recorded a ton of albums, you still continue to play shows, you're making new music. My question is simply, why?
MAURI: Well, two things about the records not falling off the shelf -- flying off the shelf.
JUSTIN: I didn't say falling, I said flying. Actually, they may be falling cause they're all in our back room, but uh, I don't think they're flying, is what I said.
MAURI: But to be fair, in my defense, I don't write commercial music. So that isn't what it's for. Um, so I don't, you know --
JUSTIN: But I guess that's my question. Like, what -- what is it for?
MAURI: Um, it's for putting a stake in the ground for a certain kind of culture, you know? I feel like it's -- at some level, I, you know, I love punk. Um, and at -- at some level, I feel like I am a keeper of the flame of a certain culture that's -- that is disappearing.
JUSTIN: Um, alright. I wanna go off topic for a second. I wanna give you 30 seconds of air time to make your case for why people should vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential election. Thirty seconds. Ready? Go.
MAURI: She's a tiger. Rawr.
JUSTIN: Uh, you have 20 more seconds.
MAURI: 15:00 Oh, come on, I gotta use the whole 30 seconds?
MAURI: Oh, okay. Um, I don't think there's ever been anybody more qualified to be president.
JUSTIN: Ten more seconds.
MAURI: I think she's the most incredible policy wonk on the planet who's gonna do an incredible job of um, leading American foreign policy and also doing amazing things for race relations.
JUSTIN: Alright, there it is. Mauri Skinfill, voting for Hillary Clinton. I'm not sure if you gained any votes for her with that.
MAURI: Doesn't matter. Have you seen 538 polls?
JUSTIN: Alright. For today's ad, my producers told me I was too long-winded, so we're gonna record it again. Uh, okay. For today's ad, I'd like to ask Mauri to tell us about the founder of Forlorn Hope, Matt Rorick. Mauri, what do you have to say about Matt? You met him before I did.
MAURI: I did, but he's also the reason you and I met. Because the night that we met, Matt was there, and kidnapped me. You probably didn't see this. Do you remember this?
JUSTIN: No, I didn't know this.
MAURI: You didn't know this?
MAURI: Okay, so what happened was, the way we met, as you'll recall, I was playing in a band, you hired our band to play your magazine launch party.
JUSTIN: Yup, I remember that.
MAURI: Um, afterwards, the band packed up and we went down the street to the Parkside to have drinks. And it was very late night by that point. It was -- it was after one, so we were doing last call. And I was at the bar with the band, and somebody walks up behind me, and suddenly I hear this zzzt! Um, and it's the sound of duct tape, and somebody grabs me from behind and starts wrapping my arms to my sides in duct tape. And within about ten seconds, I was completely immobilized and wrapped in duct tape. Um, and that was Matt Rorick, who then grabbed me, threw me over her shoulder -- I was drunk and laughing at this time, luckily it was somebody friendly --
JUSTIN: What were your friends doing?
JUSTIN: You're being kidnapped and they're laughing?
MAURI: I'm being kidnapped in the middle of the bar at like 1:30 in the morning. But some random guy, they'd never seen him before, picks me up over his shoulder and walks out the door with me and goes over to the trunk of his car and opens the trunk of the car, as if he was gonna throw me in. I was screaming my head off. He finally put me down. Um --
JUSTIN: Wow, alright. Well, that --
MAURI: That was Matt.
JUSTIN: That's Matt! That's Matt Rorick, founder of Forlorn Hope Wines. So go to forlornhopewines.com, use the Mr. Corpo discount to get 15 percent off three bottles or more, and use the discount code M-R-C-O-R-P-O. That's it. Matt's a pretty cool.
MAURI: For a good time, call.
JUSTIN: And I already mentioned in the last episode that his phone number's on every cork.
JUSTIN: Alright, that's it for our ad. And if you don't know, (together with Mauri) now you know.
JUSTIN: Alright, and welcome back for the second half of our interview. Mauri, it's so good to have you on the show. Thanks for being here.
MAURI: Thank you for -- thank you for having me.
JUSTIN: We've talked about you as a professor. We've talked about you as a touring rock star. Tell us, where are you today? Like, what's going on in your life today?
MAURI: Uh, well I play in a band. Um, called Rich Girls. Which is a name I regret daily, but there it is. And uh, I do that by night. By day, I work as a consultant for a whole bunch of different agencies doing different kinds of brand work.
JUSTIN: And what's life as a consultant like?
MAURI: It's the best. Uh, I get up, I sit at the computer. I'll do work for -- I'll check mail and see like, what's on the calendar for the day and what the deliverables are, and then I'll start working. And then -- actually, that's not true. The first thing I do is, I check the New York Times. But after I've read the New York Times for about 20 minutes, then I will start working.
JUSTIN: (snoring sound)
MAURI: No -- this is what happens. Then I'll work for like two hours, and then I'll go get coffee, and then I'll come back and work some more.
JUSTIN: Oh my gosh, that sounds so boring. Okay.
MAURI: I don't think that's any different from what you do, except that you have like a bunch of people pulling at your like coat tails all day.
JUSTIN: Yeah. Yeah, it's exciting. There's people, there's interactions, there's things happening, there's drama, there's tears. There's cheering.
MAURI: No, no, no. I'm -- yeah, there's cheering. No, I'm more like, you know, consultative ninja, where someone's like, fix this problem. And then I'll fix the problem.
JUSTIN: Alright, well -- well, I guess, I'm -- look, I'm glad for you. I'm glad you like what you do, I think that's fantastic, you've had a great journey, a great adventure so far. If you were to talk to your younger self, or let's imagine there's young girls out there listening to Mr. Corpo podcast, trying to get ahead in the world, make something more of themselves, you know. What piece of advice do you have for them?
MAURI: So what I would say is, always say yes. So start from a place of yes. So if there's an opportunity that comes up, and maybe it's like something you don't totally know how to do, or maybe it's something you do know how to do but it looks really hard, say yes and do it. Like, try it. Because it will always open up either new opportunities, or it will be a learning experience um...20:00 you'll develop skills. Even if it turns out that you're bad at something, you will learn from the fact that you're bad at this particular thing and it might lead you to a different direction. So I think a project comes up, a job comes up, something unexpected comes up, and it's someone asking you to try something, do it. Um, that doesn't mean say yes and don't ever get compensated for your work. I just mean, start from a disposition of like, interesting, let me see how to make this happen.
JUSTIN: There it is. Just say yes. Normally we like to do a bonus section on this show, but I'm gonna say retroactively, that was the bonus section. So normally, we do the bonus section cheer before the bonus section, but I wanna do it after. So, bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Special guest, star Mauri in the bonus section, bonus section, I love you.
MAURI: Aw, I love you, too.
JUSTIN: Mauri, thanks for bringing the bonus section. Thanks for bringing the love. That almost sounded -- nevermind. But on the way out of the show today, of course I wanna thank our amazing producer, Rob, who's also your friend, Mauri, and is my friend. Rob, nice to see you.
MAURI: Hi, Rob.
ROB: Good to see you.
JUSTIN: You're 32, how's it going?
ROB: Oh --
MAURI: No, you're 30.
MAURI: Dang. You look like a baby.
ROB: Yeah, well, here I am.
JUSTIN: He's made it this far. Um, so Rob, thanks for producing, editing, listening, coaching, doing everything that you do. You're amazing. Um, of course, hit me up on the social channels. Twitter, Instagram, you'll find me. And as always, I like to end the show by doing some music, leaving you with something new. Um, I hadn't thought about this before, but should we leave the listeners with something from our band that we played together?
JUSTIN: So, how about we're gonna leave you with something from The Blacks, which was our band. Which song do you wanna play?
JUSTIN: I don't -- that's not my favorite one.
MAURI: Yes. "Raincoat."
JUSTIN: Okay. Mauri wins. She --
MAURI: What's your favorite one?
JUSTIN: Uh, I really liked "Ammunition."
MAURI: Too sad.
JUSTIN: Yeah, I like the -- oh, "Sunday Boys" -- I loved that.
MAURI: No, no, no, no.
JUSTIN: Alright, "Tiger Song"?
MAURI: What about "Elegant Walk"?
ROB: That was my favorite.
MAURI: "Elegant Walk"?
MAURI: How about "Elegant Walk"?
JUSTIN: No, definitely not "Elegant Walk."
JUSTIN: Alright, raincoat it is, everybody.
ROB: All of them.
JUSTIN: At the same time.
MAURI: Oh, wait. No, I know. What's that one called, um, the Thai song.
JUSTIN: Too late, you're taking too long, we're gonna play "Raincoat."
MAURI: Mean, you're so mean.
JUSTIN: No, we're playing raincoat.
JUSTIN: Here you go. Enjoy.
MAURI: 25:05 Hook it up, hook it up.
JUSTIN: So your thing, remember how last time you were like, wandering to the TV and back?
MAURI: Hook it up.
JUSTIN: Alright. Cool.
ROB: Um, I'm good to go.
JUSTIN: Alright, so you just listened to The Blacks and now we've got basically a little secret track interview here. This is after the song, this is only for the diehard fans who have stuck through the whole song and didn't turn off. Which song did we listen to?
JUSTIN: Oh, "Raincoat." If you listened all the way through "Raincoat," this is your bonus track. We've got Mauri Skinfill here, and I have a few more -- oh, we have Louisa Black. Oh, no, we have Mauri Skinfill --
MAURI: You can't blow my cover as an operative! What are you doing?
JUSTIN: We have Mauri Skinfill here, and I have a few more questions that I didn't get to ask her and now I thought about it, and I brought her back, so this is extra interview. Mauri, I have a question for you.
JUSTIN: How many of the songs you write are about me?
MAURI: That is a good question. I would say somewhere in the vicinity of 98 percent.
JUSTIN: Are you serious?
JUSTIN: That high?
JUSTIN: Tell us a little bit about your songwriting process.
MAURI: Um, well, it's a combination of, often I'll just start with the -- like, a sound in my head, and then I have to go figure out how to demo it on guitar, or on Garageband or whatever. Um, or often I'll just be sitting around thinking of like a concept, and then it's more, I guess, expressive. Those are the ones that are about you.
JUSTIN: How does the -- how does the song get in your head? Like you're sit -- you hear another song and then you -- it inspires you to wanna rip it off, or it inspires you to a different place, or you literally are sitting there and you're -- you're doing, you know --
MAURI: You know, it's never -- it's -- I feel like it's never quite a pure process. So sometimes I'll -- I'll hear, um, sometimes I'll hear a chord progression, like I'm listening to something and I'll hear a chord progression and I'll -- and there's a particular chord in that progression that prompts something for me. So it's never sort of a wholesale ripoff of something else. But often it'll be a response -- like a sonic response.
JUSTIN: Okay. I'm just thinking of that Keith Richards book, life, where he tells a story about Mick Jagger would always -- they'd be recording somewhere, he'd go out to the clubs, and Mick Jagger would come back the studio the next day and be like, I've got this great idea for a song. And he would like riff out the song, and they would write the song, they would spend days working on the song. They'd be like, this is an amazing song. And then they would all go out to the club like at -- at -- a week later. And they would hear that song already recorded and played. And it turned out, Mick Jagger had just heard the song, but he would always forget that he had heard the song, and he didn't write it himself. So --
MAURI: That's a good system.
JUSTIN: That -- that was one way to go.
MAURI: That's good system.
JUSTIN: I guess we were more popular than everyone else, you just record their song and play it louder than everyone else.
MAURI: Exactly. That's a -- that's a real thing, though. Because in the end, there's only 12 notes on the scale. So --
JUSTIN: Is that true?
MAURI: Yes, that's true.
JUSTIN: Wow, okay.
MAURI: And so, um, and there's only, you know, you can have major chord progressions or minor chord progressions. And they can be two, three, or four. By and large, in the -- at least in the world that I come from. And so --
JUSTIN: There's -- there's some kind of metaphor in there. We're all playing from the same sheet of music, or something -- you're good at metaphors. What should I say?
MAURI: No, no. You're -- but all songs are already written, is more the point.
JUSTIN: Oo. I was gonna say we're all doing the best we can with what we've got.
MAURI: That's definitely not true.
JUSTIN: You're right. I'm super slacking.
MAURI: Yeah, no, not you. But I mean, you know, there's some bad songs out there.
JUSTIN: Alright, uh, couple other quick things I wanted to ask. Who's your favorite band?
MAURI: Man, you nailed me on this last time. Uh, and I feel like I thought of -- I thought of a response and now I've forgotten my response again. Um --
JUSTIN: Okay, let me ask you another question. Who's your least favorite band?
MAURI: Oh, I hate The Arcade Fire.
MAURI: That I'm passionate about.
JUSTIN: I hate them too, but why?
MAURI: I really -- I just feel like they're the worst, most pious, horrible, overrated, closeted Christian rock band on the planet.
JUSTIN: Alright, uh --
MAURI: Also, such nerds. Like, big time, like theater nerds. And it all comes out in the music, you know?
JUSTIN: Wow, you might get a lot of social media hate off of this.
MAURI: I love -- no, I love theater people. But it's different, the way they do it. I don't like it.
JUSTIN: Yeah, be careful.
MAURI: I feel like it's really overblown.
JUSTIN: My producer comes from a theater world. So I don't wanna hear you talking smack.
MAURI: No, so do I. It's not -- it's fine --
ROB: Theater nerds suck.
MAURI: Yeah. They don't suck. I -- like -- I like theater nerds when they're doing theater. Musical theater, no.
JUSTIN: By the way, I'm not gonna let anyone put theater people in a box, because when I was in college I was an athlete, and part of your job as an athlete is to make fun of theater people. And then I got an injury in my junior year and I went out and started doing theater. And let me tell you, theater people party harder than athletes. So I refuse -- I refuse to have any smack talked on them.
MAURI: Also, instant -- instant karma -- instant karma, the fact that after making fun of theater people you became one.
JUSTIN: I thought it was kinda cool.
MAURI: I think so, too. Anyway, but you know who's not cool? The Arcade Fire.
JUSTIN: Fine, we can agree on that.
JUSTIN: Um, I wanna hear -- I -- for some reason I wanna ask you about, like, 30:08 one of my favorite bands, probably in my top five bands.
JUSTIN: A Place to Bury Strangers.
MAURI: Oh, I love Bury Strangers.
JUSTIN: These guys are known as the loudest band in New York City.
MAURI: That's right.
JUSTIN: Just -- I wanna hear you riff on them, because I absolutely love them. And I love your smart take on what they're doing, and what they're about.
MAURI: They're awesome. Like d -- dark, psych-wave band. You know? Uh, like the war horses of the underground. They're incredible. Those guys tour 340 days a year, all over the world. It's amazing.
JUSTIN: That sounds brutal.
MAURI: No -- well, I'm sure it is brutal. But they're like, you know --
JUSTIN: Especially the way those guys play. I mean, they thrash their guitars and they just like kill it every night.
MAURI: Totally. Those -- those guys are slayers for the cause.
JUSTIN: Anyway, alright. I'm gonna stop there. I just wanted to get -- sneak in a little bit about my love for A Place to Bury Strangers. And I have to say, I'm quietly super psyched to hear that 98 percent of the songs are about me. That feels awesome.
JUSTIN: Thank you.
MAURI: Alright, you're welcome. Bye, guys.