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Conversation with: Meatbodies On Sabbath, Opera, Martinis and more with a good rock band

 Chad Ubovich has been a musician almost all of his life. He grew up surrounded by instruments – his father was a music teacher – and by the end of high school, had battled in Battle of the Bands and found his way in the LA music scene. He’s toured with Mikal Cronin, Charlie and the Moonhearts, and Ty Segall, cemented himself as a solid member of Fuzz, and still found time to front his own band, Meatbodies. But more than that, Chad Ubovich is an incredibly sarcastic, epic dude.

What Youth caught up with him before his show at the Echo to talk about Meatbodies, martinis, Ozzy, and his struggle to be less revealing in interviews. “I’m trying to hone that down. Be less open. I like that I’m saying that openly. I’m openly saying I’m going to be less open.” Enjoy. —Maya Eslami

WHAT YOUTH: What’s your full name? 

CHAD UBOVICH: Chad Anthony Ubovich. I was born February 3, 1988. I’m 5’10’’. I have brown hair. I have blue eyes. I have a penis.

Do you get tired of people telling you you look like a young Ozzy? 

No, because Ozzy’s my guy. I have his initials [tattooed] on my boob.

And it kinda looks like boobs. OO. 

I have pectoral boobs. I’m a size 10 shoe. I’m a very average sized man. I have very small balls. It’s a thing that I like to talk about a lot. All cock and balls. So I can cross my legs very well, my whole life, as you can see, no problem for me. I think men should show their penises more. I feel like it’s not a big problem. I have a penis. That’s Kevin [Boog]. He plays bass. Kevin probably has the largest penis in the bunch. Patrick [Nolan] probably has the largest balls.

Favorite animal? 

It used to be wolves and dogs, but I think it’s changing. I like elephants. I really like lizards.

What’s your favorite album? 

I have a lot of favorite albums, but one of them that is forever my favorite album would be Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

That’s mine, too. Not lying. [We high five]. 

That album means a lot to me emotionally. I think it’s my angry album. Whenever I feel negative, I put on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I think it’s the most jaded album, I feel. Everything they describe is past tense. They’re all talking about this character, especially for the first three songs. I’m going into this because this is definitely my favorite album. I think for the first three songs, you have this sense of this one character that’s kind of talking about- he’s looking back in his life. Everything’s past tense. Everything’s jaded. And everything’s this sense of, it’s over. I used to. I had it all. And now it’s over and gone. It’s so operatic. That’s basic opera shit. There’s always a character in opera that’s on the ground.

Do you like opera? 

Oh fuck yeah.

What’s your favorite opera? 

[Mozart’s] The Magic Flute.

What did you grow up listening to? 

I think it went in waves, depends on what age you’re talking about. It was progressive. In sixth grade, it was Korn. I was all about that. And then it just moved on. Punk rock. Listening to punk. And then somehow I reversed to dorky shit.

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What dorky shit? 

Like Rush.

Rush is great. 

I mean, I’m all about Rush.

What made you want to play music? 

I’ve been playing music since childhood. I grew up in a musical family.

Are your parents musicians? 

My dad is a high school band teacher, so I grew up with music. He had his band room at the high school. That was kind of my playground I guess, I’d just run around and play with different instruments. I really wanted to be a drummer, but he wouldn’t let me. I told him I wanted to be a drummer and he told me there was gonna be no “dummers” in the house. He called them dummers, and I didn’t want to be dumb. I started at an early age, and as I got older I was in band. I played saxophone in jazz bands. And then, I think I got kicked out of marching band in seventh grade. Our band teacher had a rivalry with my dad because he was the middle school band teacher, and my dad was the high school band teacher, so I was always giving him shit. I eventually got kicked out. But I also wasn’t doing my homework. By the next year, I was like, I wanna start playing guitar.

So you went to guitar first? 

I actually wanted to play bass first. But then I went to guitar.

How’d that happen? 

I went to get a bass at Guitar Center. Then I was looking around, and I thought guitars looked way too cool.

Do you remember what the first guitar you bought was? 

Yes. It was a Jackson. And I got a Jackson because I wanted to be like Randy Rhoads [who played with Ozzy and Quiet Riot]. I was a really big Randy Rhoads fan. There’s a big mural of Randy Rhoads at Guitar Center with all these Jacksons in front of it. So I asked the guy, “What are those guitars?” And the guy said, “Those are Jacksons.” And I was like, “What Randy Rhoads played. Give me one of those.”

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How did you transition into playing bass? 

Growing up, I’d be playing guitar, and some buddies would say, “Yo we need a bass player.” And I’d be like, “Dude, I’ll play bass.” I just tried it out. I didn’t really know how. I just borrowed somebody’s bass and tried playing Black Sabbath style. I didn’t know what I was doing. And then I didn’t play bass after that for years until I started touring, and it was kind of the same thing from when I was a kid. Mikal Cronin was like, “Hey we need a bass player. I’m going on tour. Do you wanna play bass?”

How’d you meet Mikal? 

I met Mikal through mutual friends in college. I wasn’t going to college then, but I was partying there. So I was just hanging out. And my friend was roommates with him, actually. I actually recorded a band of his. That was kind of when we officially met. He had a band, and he was playing drums, and they asked me to record them. I was going to recording school at the time, so I just tried it out. And then Mikal was like, “Oh I know you.” And we figured out that we knew each other from high school days. He had a band called the Party Foul and, of course, Charlie and the Moonhearts. And so all our high school bands would play together. So he said, “Yeah, can we play together?”

When did you start Meatbodies? 

I started playing with Mikal, and then when I would come home [from touring], I was just bored. I had to move back home to my mom’s house because I was constantly on the road and didn’t have money. I moved back in with my mom, so I’d come there and be in my hometown and have nothing to do. So, out of boredom I guess, I started making some songs – which I recently found the old tapes of, and those are really funny to listen to. And then got a band together, and that’s essentially when Meatbodies started. In 2011, or something like that? It was just me in my mom’s garage. And then I’d go on tour. So the growth of Meatbodies has definitely become this weird grotesque monster to what that was. I’m definitely stoked for it to continue to be a weirder monster now that we have more of a set band.

Has the lineup been the same? 

It’s definitely changed. So many people have gone in and out, which has been a weird rotating thing. I’ve been reading about bands recently that I like that are like that, and it’s kind of inspiring. Like Funkadelic. Or Parliament. Hawkwind. I think I read that 50 people went in and out of Hawkwind throughout their career. The main singer dude was the steady dude. And the dude that played in the third album on drums, he played their entire career. But now Meatbodies is becoming more of a band band. Patrick plays guitar, and Boog plays bass. And that’s it right now.

And you play lead? 

We [he and Patrick] both play lead. We’re dueling guitarists.

How’d you meet? 

We met through friends. Word of mouth. Patrick was the last dude on my list when we were looking for new guitarists, and I wrote him, “Hey, here’s the songs. Whatever.” And he kept writing me back these sarcastic texts. And I thought, “This guy’s funny.” And when I first met him, he definitely was a super sarcastic man. And I was like, “I want this guy.”

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Who plays drums? 

We currently don’t have a full-time drummer. So right now we’re playing with two buddies.

Who’s playing tonight? 

Our buddy Erik [Jimenez] from Pangea and Monte [Najera] from No Parents. Two drummers.

Two drummers on stage? 

We decided to try the Grateful Dead scenario.

And the current lineup, how long has that been going? 

Probably for about three tours now. Yeah, so probably sometime last year.

Did any of them play on the debut album? [Meatbodies released their self-titled debut in 2013]

No. Except Erik who is playing- one of the drummers, he played drums on the album. It’s cool, we’re playing with the original drummer. And he’s gonna go on tour with us tomorrow.

Do you like touring? 

I do. I think it can be a difficulty. You definitely get very regimented. I don’t know. I’ve been touring since I was 23, 24. I think now when I get out there, I have my routine that I know will work and wont get me exhausted. Yeah, it’s fun. I wouldn’t know what else I would do. That’s kind of the feeling. I don’t know what else I would do.

So, when’s the next album coming out? Are you working on it? 

We are definitely working on it right now. It’s gonna be out next year. When that is, I don’t know. I’m hoping summertime. We’re working on some stuff. What else you got?

Did you tell me about your whole childhood already? 

Well, I grew up in a trashcan. It was filled with mud. They didn’t know if I was actually a human or not. They thought I might’ve been some weird micro bacterial growth that happened accidentally that usually only happens in the craters of the moon. But lo and behold, I was a man. I was actually never a child, I was just a man immediately.

[BG Brixton walks in to talk about beer for the Green Room]. 

BG: I’m gonna give you guys two cases. Do you want all now, or do you want me to space ‘em out?

Space it out. People are gonna be fucking going wild. Can we get a bottle? Patrick, would you mind Vodka? [Patrick says no, he doesn’t mind.] Oh fuck yeah!

BG: You want Goose?

Yeah! Let’s get some Goose. Loose goose!

[Everyone chants “loose goose” for a bit]. 

Chad: I drink vodka and water. Last [Burger] Boogaloo, me and Sequoia [Nelson] discovered it. We had bottles of vodka and had nothing to drink it with, so we were downing vodka and we’d just drink it with water. And we were like, “Oh, this isn’t bad.” And I drink martinis. It’s my new thing. I drink martinis and I have a math down to it.

How many can you drink? 

The most I’ve drinken- drank? Patrick, which one is it?

Patrick: Drank.

He went to English school.

Patrick: I went to school for English, Chad!

This is what I mean. Because I was born a man, out of a trashcan of mud. Patrick has been teaching me how to talk.

Patrick: Slowly.

It’s helping. The most I’ve drank in one night is- are?

Patrick: Is.

Is nine martinis.

Patrick: That’s so gross.

What do you drink Patrick? 

Patrick: I guess if it’s not beer it’s Bourbon on the rocks.

What? Oh you’re right. I thought you were talking about Scotch. That’s Daddy’s drink. That’s the scary smell. That’s scary Dad smell.

What other questions do you got? I’m used to rambling. I do it too much. I read my interviews and they’re always like, “And then when I was 2, I woke up-.” I don’t know. You watch David Bowie interviews and you wanna know so much. But he doesn’t say shit. I’m trying to hone that down. Be less open. I like that I’m saying that openly. I’m openly saying I’m going to be less open. I feel like every interview has my life story now. It’s the basic shit. “I was a kid, I grew up, I played sax. I got into Korn and then I was like, whoa I’m into Ozzy. And then I played guitar.” I like the weird questions. I like when people ask, would you rather be a frog or an ant?

Which would you rather be? 

Ants are pretty cool, but I don’t know if I’d want to take orders from a queen. Maybe I’d be better off being a frog. Just kinda chillin’, eating flies. Trying not to get eaten- ate?

Patrick: Eaten.

Eaten. I once learned my lesson trying to kill ants. When I was a little kid, my house had a terrible ant problem because it was a trash house. Trash house?

Patrick: That’s called a garbage dump Chad. That’s where the trash lives.

Oh okay. I just had a really trashy house.

Would you rather be a banana slug or a snail? 

I do like snails. I really like snails.

What do you like about them? 

I’ve never had a perfect answer. I just like snails. And I always feel fucking bad when I step on them.

Do you step on them a lot? 

I used to. One of my houses I lived in, every morning I’d walk out and just- [makes squishing stomping sound]. Terrible.

I read that you were discovered in high school by a booking agent? 

Kind of. I played a Battle of the Bands, and there was a dude that came up, and his name was Lee. And Lee was in a couple bands around LA at the time. And he said, “Yeah I’m gonna book you some shows.” And I was like, “Okay!” And that’s how I met Mikal and Ty.

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Were you playing house shows before that? 

The only place you could play was a place in Sierra Madre called the Coffee Bean…? Not Coffee Bean. But something Bean. It was a coffee shop, and there was another all ages place in Pasadena. Fuck. What was the name of that place. That’s where you wanted to play. And people’s houses. All ages places. Cafes. Just around Pasadena and Sierra Madre and Covina. That’s where I grew up. But then, Lee talked about playing in LA. And I was like, “Oh shit!” It was a big deal. So that’s how I started.

What was your band name then? 

I had a high school band named the Dead Eye Cells.

How did you come up with the name Meatbodies? 

A friend told me about it. It’s a Scientologist term. It’s the body that we live in right now. They describe it as, we are just meat bodies.

Like zombies? 

Kind of. I don’t really know the complete story behind it. I know that they believe there are evil aliens inside of you, which is why you- I don’t know. I don’t want to say the wrong thing because I know they’re gonna come after me. They rough people up. [Speaking into microphone] Don’t rough me up. I don’t know. Maybe a Scientologist can explain the true meaning.

Okay. Last question. How would you describe Meatbodies?

Fresh. Noises. Hey Patrick? Patrick would be better at this because he’s really good at words. English-man. Patrick, what’s your favorite word to describe Meatbodies?

Patrick: Malnutritious.

Malnutritious?

I think he’s being poetic. 

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