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Interview by Ginger Coyote

I recently received an email from Laurier Tiernan front person for Tiernan Band..

He explained he was a Canadian living in Tokyo, Japan ,
and that his band recently released a track called "The End Of The World"
about Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the President of The United States Of America...

Arnold "RepubliKKKan" Schwarzenegger and "The End Of The World"  sounded to good to be true... 
So being true to Jayne County and Rosie O' Donnell.... I checked out the band's My Space Profile.

I was very impressed by their power-pop sound and immediately sent back an interview...
I hope you enjoy....


Punk Globe: Thanks for bringing the Tiernan band to our attention here at Punk Globe and where in Canada are you from? Being that the band's name is your last name,  I assume you are the founder of the band.

Laurier Tiernan : Thank you for having us.  I was born in Edmonton, Alberta but moved to Vancouver and Victoria after high school.  Bassist Devin Wine is from America and our drummer, Toru Hirasawa is from Tokyo.  Yes, I am the founder of the band.  A few months into our existence, after we released our first demo, there was a journalist from Geek Monthly magazine who wanted to do an article on us, and there was some question at that time as to whether we'd change the name to sound more "band-like."

In the end we decided we should just stick with "Tiernan."

Punk Globe: How did you end up in Japan? Did you come to teach English or French?  The band is a trio. Can you tell us about the other members of the band and what they play?

Laurier Tiernan : I came to Japan to record my first solo album for two-eight records but we've since parted ways, amicably.  Devin Wine is an ex American sailor turned bassist who's studying online with Berklee, and he also records electronic music, quite successfully, under the moniker Admiral Anderision. Toru Hirasawa, the drummer for Tiernan, is a classically trained jazz musician and classical composer.  He's our own little Stewart Copeland and is one of Ryuichi Sakamoto's favorites.  Worth his weight in gold.

Punk Globe: I really enjoyed your sound how would you best describe it?

Laurier Tiernan : Thanks.  A lot of our fans ask me the same question, and I'm really torn.  I tell people it's punk or powerpop or indie rock depending on the circumstance.  I mean, when I hit my teens I simultaneously fell in love with political punk rock and pretty much every gay dance music band you can name; from Pet Shop Boys to Man 2 Man.  
As a result the songs I write can be angry and tender at the same time I guess.

Punk Globe: Who are some of the band's biggest influences?

Laurier Tiernan : Let's see.  I think our biggest influences might include Jawbreaker, Propagandhi, Sense Field, The Weakerthans, Nirvana, The Smalls, Pig Farm and S.N.F.U.  I think Devin would add Tool and Rage Against the Machine in there as well.  Toru would probably agree with me on Nirvana but he would also add Elvis Costello.

Punk Globe: From reading your Biography you were are also a solo act? Do you still play solo as well as with the band?

Laurier Tiernan : Yeah, I performed off and on as a solo artist for years, kind of haphazardly.  I am actually starting a proper solo career this year though, with an acoustic album that I'd like to put out before 2009.  I went to California to play a few acoustic shows by myself in January of this year and that's something I'd like to do again.  I had a lot of fun.

Punk Globe: How do you enjoy living in Tokyo? What part of Tokyo are you in?  When I was in Tokyo I stayed in Nakano are you familiar with that area?

Laurier Tiernan By the Kanda river. I enjoy living in Tokyo a lot.  I mean, there are a lot of inconveniences, being 6'7" and white, I have to duck a lot and I get a good deal of racism, but for the most part it's a really safe and friendly city that is full of life and where anything seems possible.    


I live in Sumida-ku near  the Sumida river.  Yeah, I know Nakano.  It's a nice area.

Punk Globe: Have you played The Loft in Shinjuku ? Is Nate's Records still there?

Laurier Tiernan : Tiernan have never played the Loft but I used to go see a friend's band, Dstolemybear, play there before they went on hiatus.  I never saw Nate's Records.

Punk Globe: How did you find your band mates?  Did it take long to get rolling as a band? I found Toru and Devin through myspace. It actually didn't take long for us to click at all.  Devin and I had played one or two shows as a duo before Toru jumped on board and when he did it just FIT.  I closed my eyes and almost cried during our second practice because I couldn't believe how good we sounded.  

Punk Globe: Had you learned any Japanese before moving there? Did you have any troubles with finding the right musicians because of you being from Canada?

Laurier Tiernan : I had learned the hiragana and the katakana before coming over, as building blocks for learning the language but the kanji are still daunting to me.  Yeah, I did have difficulty finding the right musicians due to my being a Westerner.
I mean, many people are enthralled with being in a band with a white guy over here because the western rock myth is very much still alive, But, by the same token, some musicians who might be drawn to the opportunity might not understand why I don't want to cover "Hotel California," amongst other things.

Punk Globe: Tell us about your song about Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the next President of The United States and how it  became a hit in Japan.  Tell us about the song and the some of the lyrics. Is it a pro Arnold song?

Laurier Tiernan : The song is called "The End of the World",  and it's really funny how it took off over here.  I had written it a few years back and performed it as a trance track to many frightened crowds before it came to life in it's current incarnation.  As Tiernan were about to record their first demo, I really insisted on squeezing in a recording of this punk version we had rehearsed a few times because I was really hit with it's energy.  

The producer of the demo balked because he thought we wouldn't have enough time but we did it anyway. A few weeks later a friend called me and told me Arnold Schwarzenegger had actually been cast as the president of the U.S. in the Simpsons Movie. I got excited and a friend suggested that we make a video for the song, so I called a friend who is a  producer at InterFM and asked him if he'd announce on the radio that we would be filming a video at our next gig.  

He said he'd do better than that, that he'd actually spin the track on his Friday morning show.

We were thrilled and expected it to end at that, but the station staff and the people listening to the station started requesting it and it just took off. The chorus goes, "Arnold Schwarzenegger will be president of the United States and he will usher in the end times for the human race."  

The first verse starts off, "The Bush family had business ties to Nazi Germany and Arnold's father was in the S.A."

I wrote the song out of pure frustration after reading that Bush's Republicans were trying to change the constitution to allow anyone to run for President if they had been a U.S. citizen for 20 years.  
I don't have to remind you of who got his citizenship about that long ago.  You know there's mad planning going on there.  No, it's not a pro Arnold song.

tiernan new 15

Punk Globe:
When Arnold won the fist election as the Governor of California he was the less of two evils from The Republikkkan Party and  his saving grace was tthe fact he was married to Maria Shriver who is a Kennedy....Now it is his second term and he is showing his true colors with cutting education budgets and more....Are there many Japanese people who are aware of his background as a Politician or are they thinking more about him as The Terminator?

Laurier Tiernan
Of course many Japanese people tend to see him more as the Terminator because in mainstream Japanese society there is a HUGE cult of celebrity.  

I think most people here think it's a big joke that he's the governor of California now.

Punk Globe: When I was last in Japan ... most people thought  "Bush was Bakka (CRAZY). "I hope I spelled it right.

Laurier Tiernan : You were close.  One "k"; Baka, or 馬鹿(ばか)in Japanese. Yeah, the political views haven't changed much. He's really not helping the image Japanese people have of Americans.

I've actually had acquaintances tell me that recently some Japanese people just stopped talking to them when they found out they were American.

Punk Globe: What are some of your favorite live houses to play in Tokyo?

Laurier Tiernan : I love What the Dickens in Ebisu because they have a gorgeous room and great sound but they have a policy of requiring that you play some covers, and that really doesn't work for me.  I like the Baron in Roppongi  as well, although it's a bit small.

Punk Globe: Do you get on shows with touring bands from Canada and the USA?

Laurier Tiernan : We've only been together for 10 months, and I spent three of that undergoing and recuperating from heart surgery (due to a condition I was born with) so we've not played out a lot yet.  Most of our shows have been just us, or on a bill of different bands at benefit concerts for organizations like Amnesty International.    

I don't think a lot of bands from North America know we exist yet.  We are getting in touch with a lot of bands recently though, so the situation will change

Punk Globe:
Do you drive in Japan,
as most of the clubs have the gear at the clubs for bands to use?


Laurier Tiernan : Oh no, I don't drive in Japan. The public transportation is too good, I am an environmentalist and, as you said, most clubs have house gear. Toru (our drummer) has a car though because he's got a kit that he likes to use for recording and he can't very well carry that on the train.

Punk Globe: I was also very impressed with the fact that most every club that my band White Trash Debutantes played there was Women involved with doing the sound. Is that still standing? I met the lead singer of a band called Romantic Gorilla named Gori she was wonderful and very helpful.. Do you know the band or her? I also met a girl in Osaka named Chiharu who now lives in Tokyo that had a band..,She visited the States a couple times and was a hoot.

Laurier Tiernan : Oh yeah, there are a lot of female sound engineers over here. I don't get their attraction to the work, because most Japanese girls are prissy to the extreme, but I'm glad that it's an equal opportunity field over here. I had never heard of Romantic Gorilla but I just checked out their fansite on myspace. Nice sound.  

Punk Globe: Has the band toured Japan? Did you travel by Bullet Train or drive? We're just trying to line up dates for our first Japanese tour but it's going to be more like a tour of Kanto (middle Japan) and I think we'll travel by train.  

Laurier Tiernan : Driving in Japan is just a bad idea, with toll roads, traffic, etc.

Punk Globe: Can you tell the Punk Globe readers about some of your other favorite bands in Japan?

Laurier Tiernan : Some of my favorite Japanese bands are fullrangecaution, P.C.E., FC5, 3nd, Dstolemybear, 1812, Veltpunch, the GING NANG BOYZ, D.O.G.S.,  and Freezer Noize (even if their lead singer is a c**t).
Punk Globe: Can you give the readers your My Space address and Website address?

Our myspace address is and our website address is,

Punk Globe: What was your biggest  biggest culture shock when you first came to Japan? Was it how tiny things are like the washing machines, dryers, stoves and bathtubs?

Laurier Tiernan : My first culture shock when I first came to Japan was how much greenery there is here.  In the West there is a preconception that Tokyo is all digital lights and tall buildings, but there are a LOT of parks here, and just trees, bushes and flowers everywhere.  

My second and biggest culture shock was that when you come to rent an apartment you often have to pay a gift of money to the landlord, and the apartment itself is completely empty when you move in; no fridge, no stove, nothing.  

Punk Globe:
Do you have any words of advice to bands  wanting to tour in Japan?  I remember someone telling me not to bring T-shirts in bigger than a size medium.. That was a myth!  Talk about urban legends... I met lots of kids that needed Large and Xtra Large shirts.. .

Laurier Tiernan : Well, I think those kids are the exception more than the rule but insofar as advice for bands wanting to tour Japan, I'd say try to become famous in Japan before you come over because the average Japanese person is obsessed with celebrity and it will make your life a lot easier if they've heard of you before you come over.  

Six months to a year before you plan to come over try and get some airplay over here, make friends with Japanese bands via the Net, etc.  

Pull some publicity stunts back home that stand a chance of making onto the news in Japan. It'll be worth your while. I get emails from unknown bands all the time asking me about playing over here and I have to tell them, dude, you are going to end up paying to play or playing for free at best.

Punk Globe:
Another thing was how early shows started and ended. Tokyo is a 24 hour city, that is for sure. Tell us about the live shows in Japan?

Laurier Tiernan : Yeah, Tokyo is a 24-hour city but the trains stop running relatively early, so a lot of people who may be coming in from the suburbs need to get home early. There are also pretty strict noise laws in Japan, so a lot of live houses have to guarantee that their shows will be over by a certain "acceptable" time.

Punk Globe:
Any plans on bringing the band over to tour  Canada and the USA?

Laurier Tiernan : Yes, there is a promoter in Vancouver, Canada who is looking to book us a tour that will take Tiernan from Canada down through Washington, Oregon, California and into Mexico.  That's in the works for this fall/winter.  Please check our site or myspace regularly for updates.

Punk Globe:
Any recording plans for the band?

Laurier Tiernan : We would like to put out a full length record before the tour but that's difficult because I have five or six new songs that I would like us to be tight on before we do so. Also, I was hoping to get Steve Albini to record our first record, and I don't know what his schedule is like right now.

The short answer is yes, though, we plan to record a full album soon. As we speak though, you can get our first demo (that's on 116 radio stations worldwide) through and CD. itunes is supposed to be carrying it any day now as well. Thanks so much for the interview and do you have any last word for the Punk Globe readers? Thanks again for interviewing us.  

As for your readers, I'd like to thank them for reading this interview and I invite them to visit our site and our myspace.  Feel free to write us any time. I promise that we'll write back to you.  We're a friendly bunch.

Punk Globe would like to thank Laurier for the fun and very interesting interview and hope that you will all become their fans..


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