Jason Francesco Schwartzman
Position in Phantom Planet: drums, percussion, keyboards
Birthdate: June 26, 1980
Height: around 5'5"
Hair color:: Brown
Eye color: Grey
Live Stage Setup:
Gretsch Broadkaster Kit
Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum
DW Double Chain pedal
Zildjan K Custom cymbals, A cymbal
Vic Firth size 5B drumsticks
Korg MS-2000 Monophonic synthesizer
Hi, my name is Jason Schwartzman and I have been asked a few questions. I would now like to answer them.
Ever since I was a little boy, music was a big part of my life. When I was really little, I used to walk around with this brown tape recorder and play Thriller by Michael Jackson. "Human Nature" was my favorite song. I also liked the Pet Shop Boys. When I was little my family would take trips to my uncle's house in Rutherford, Ca. There at his house was a jam room filled with guitars, drums, keyboards and a triangle. It was there when I first realized I wanted to be a musician and specifically, a drummer. My cousin Roman played the drums, and I would always watch him play. One day, I asked if I could sit on his lap and play with him. I remember him putting my hands in his hands, and I remember the boom in my stomach when he hit the kick drum. That was all it took. That is why I am in Phantom Planet. Playing in this band gives me that feeling...that feeling in my stomach. Playing in this band is also about friendship. I am very close with the guys. I share an awful lot with them, and they with me. Playing in a band is a hard thing because it takes trust. I trust these guys with my life. I also enjoy writing in the band. If I write a song, they just seem to know what to do with it...most of the time...
I get inspiration everywhere I suppose. Maybe from another song or another melody. Maybe from a potograph, or a book. A painting perhaps. Really, it doesn't matter what inspires me. These questions inspire me. After this questionaire I am going to write a song called "The Inspiration Song." Thank you people. Honestly, inspiration comes from a look in someone's eyes. The smell on some girl's breath. The sound of some wheelchair squeaking. Usually the most inspiring thing is something really great. Like I said earlier, seeing a great movie or hearing a great song, or anything like that is inspiring. Just being able to witness in some form or another, someone else's art is inspiring (and f*cking frustrating).
I love playing live. I love getting to the gig and hopefully seeing a line of people outside. I love that feeling of anticipation; that pumps me up. I love it when the lights go out and then all the people out there cheer. I love the sound of my drums. I love looking over at the other guys and seeing them getting into it. I just love it. The warm red and yellow lights. The strobes. And I love finishing the set and going crazy. Letting any last piece of energy go. I want to have close to nothing left after a show. But if we're on tour or something, that attitude gets tired quick. Ultimately I want people to be glad they came to the show.
Well, i just love playing live in front of people. I like a loud kick drum. I like people going nuts. The other parts of touring are tough, like eating. I try to eat healthy, but it can be hard when every place is junky food. Nothing hurts more than the look of a waitress after you've asked her for egg whites, dry. They hate people like me. I am the anti-thesis of those places. But there really is nothing better than a big burger or a taco and Coke with fries. Uh man, I am hungry now. I also love rooming with the different guys in the band. We rotate. Each night I love to hear each guy's different problems. I get a kick out of it. The driving sucks. The weather sucks. But music is great, so you just have to understand what it is all about and then accept it. I think the show we played up in Bakersfield with Third Eye Blind was our best show recently. The audience was so great and I thought we handled such a huge opportunity well. Everything went right. That was the best show.
I have a love-hate thing about recording. I love being in the studio. The microphones, the coffee...the humor that arises out of hallucinations brought on my sleep deprivation. I love being enclosed and in the act of creating. Getting to put our ideas to tape. To make them real. But I hate other aspects of it, like waiting around. I can't stand if more waiting is done in the studio, or waiting to get into the studio. Sometimes I'll arrive at 10am, and the first tracking won't start until six. But lately we have got the waiting part down. I like sleeping in studios too. I like the food. I like it all. As long as I am not sucking, I am fine. If I suck, the band sucks. So tracking first, play time second. Yeah, that is how I feel.
No two days of mine are ever the same. I try to wake up as early as possible. I feel real disgusting if I wake up to find the world has already had its day. If I wake up and it is lunch time, I usually feel suicidal. So a good day starts off reasonably early. I wake up and put on a shirt and thentake my boy pug dog outside for a walk. Then I cook myself breakfast: usually egg whites but really, anything with protein. I read the paper over breakfast. Then I usually make my morning calls. After that I check and see what I have to do that day. Then I take a long shower. After I am done with that I get dressed and then I am off. Errands. If I have nothing much to do, I usually enjoy playing the piano. I play that for awhile. Then I get the guitar and just kind of wander around the house playing that. If after an hour I haven't at least started to write something, I put it down and look for something else. Usually I'll paint or read. Then I like to check out the plants around my house. By then it is usually night time, which means it is time for band practice. I will do that and then I'll most likely go home and have a late dinner. Watch Letterman, see what the next day holds for me. Brush my teeth. Wash my face. Get Bogie the pug, put on music, light incense, say a prayer, and then out.
I respect anyone who has courage: a sick person who doesn't give up but continues living. A friend of mine named Jenny is in a wheelchair, and yet the other day she told me she went skiing. That made me so happy. I respected her for that one. I respect anyone who has the courage to do something that they believe in. I respect drive. I respect my elders, especially my mom.
I've got so many different things that I like to wear. I guess this pair of GIRL shorts is my favorite thing in my collection. Whenever I am just hanging around the house I wear them. They are comfortable and really make me look hot. I also like the rubber bands on my wrist.
I drive a Chevy Tahoe. I love it. It is big and good for holding all my gear. I like being up high. I like the power. It is my baby. I named it afer my fat boy pug Bogie. It is green.
A few nights ago I dreamt that either Thome Yorke, or someone who legally represented Thom Yorke called my house to discuss possible collaborating with him on something in the future. Before I could get the phone, my little brother Robert answered and pretended he was me (which he always does), and told Thom, or whoever, that he (being me) was not at all interested in even meeting Thom Yorke. It was pretty bad...well, if that wasn't a nightmare than what is...honestly...my most recent nightmare came only a few nights ago when a mad man grabbed me by the head and began yelling at me. he screamed, "LOOK! LOOK INTO MY EYES! LOOK INSIDE ME! COME AND SEE ME! COME AND SEE ME!" Over and over again. I was hopeless. When I finally looked inside I saw...
Describe your dream girl?
Best thing that happened to you?
Being born. Having a happy childhood.
What is important?
Any near death experiences?
The best and worst thing about girls?
Best: their breath; Worst: their breath.
What's the worst thing that ever happened to you?
I guess when my father passes away a few years ago. I still am really hurt about that. You ask yourself why those things happen. I trust that somewhere down the line I will figure it all out.
If Phantom Planet was a food, what would it be and why?
An Oreo milkshake. We are sweet, pleasing and deep. AND BAD FOR YOU!
If you could change anything about America what would it be?
The name AMERICA. Come on forefathers...couldn't we have done a little better?
What is your favorite cereal?
I LOVE CRISPX! Sweet and yet, not. I also like Total and Coco Puffs. I like all cereals really.
These I will just list. Let me preface this list with the fact that I love REAL movies, and yet somewhere in me I have go this cheese-ball factor too. I love bad, bad movies. Okay, here we go: The Graduate, The King of Comedy, Heavyweights, Big Night, Nights of Cabriria, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Xanadu, Stalker, Vampire's Kiss, Serpico, Scarface, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Bedazzled, Harold and Maude, Rosemary's Baby, Sympathy for the Devil, Alphaville, Say Anything..., Jaws, Superman, The Karate Kid, Project X, My Bodyguard, Being There, Stripes, Dog Day Afternoon, Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn, Human Highway, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Man in the White Suit, Roger Rabbit, By Law, Marion Brando movies, and of course, The Phantom Planet.
Favorite places to visit?
I like going up north to my uncle's estate. There I feel the most relaxed. And when I feel relaxed I feel like everything can be possible. It is a vineyard, so the smell of wine is in the molecule that makes up the oxygen. I like the air up there. I like the sky. I also love New York and San Francisco. Again, a sense of freedom I find there. I love Rome too. But none of it matters any wise right, according to the MATRIX.
If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
I would probably be in school in another country studying art. I would also be looking to start up a band in some form or another. Making music on my own at home. Painting. Writing. Acting and studying acting. But if I wsn't doing this, I probably, really and truly, would most likely be asleep (with Bogie).
What have you been doing lately?
I have been cleaning my room. Gettin it all together. Going out more to see bands. I caught Sloan at the Troubadour and that was awesome. I love those guys. They are really nice. Also been looking into doing another film. Taking my time with things, thinking slower, listening to people when they talk to me about their problems. Spending more time with my family.
If you could be someone else for a day, who?
Tricky question. Well, I will answer this in three ways: real, fictitious, and dead. Just to know what it is like, I would probably be a girl, and I would also like to be a schizophrenic. Just to be crazy and then be sane again, I think would be odd travel. But if I could be a fake person I would want to be Walter Mitty, from the film titled after him. He was such a dreamer. I love that guy. If I could have been someone who was once alive I would be John Lennon. I would write a song and leave all the royalties to Jason Schwartzman.
What do you think about when you play live?
My mind wanders around, always checking to make sure everything is right. Sometimes I count 1-2-3-4 in my head to make sure the groove is there. Other times I think to check and see if I am giving it my all. If I catch myself asleep I try to crank it up. Sometimes I think about Andy Warhol and revolvers. Sometimes I think about God vs. Satan. Food. Hawaii. I look around. Most of the time I play, and I go, "Is it over?" My mind just kind of goes away for a bit and then returns. My mind just kind of goes numb. Goes far away to that place somewhere...I don't even feel pain when I play.
What would you like to tell your fans?
Thank you for the constant support. Thank you for caring about us. It means a lot. We still play because you still want to listen.