It’s not often that you catch up with the lead singer of a punk band that’s shopping for tortoise food, but that’s just how Zac Carper rolls. He’s a character. His dad, John Carper, is a well-known surfboard shaper with whom Zac spent some time living in La Jolla when he was a kid.
“I do love San Diego,” Carper says. “My younger childhood was actually in my uncle’s garage in La Jolla. We moved out because there’s some really racy shit there in La Jolla. It’s weird. It’s rich white people. Living in our uncle’s garage was not a very luxurious life, but the fact that we were in La Jolla...we were, like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s sick, whatever.’”
These days, Carper is best known as the singer/guitarist for L.A. punk four-piece FIDLAR. The band dropped album number two, Too, about a year ago. It’s a bit more of a pop-oriented affair than their self-titled debut. It leans more into Wavves territory than Black Flag. If “Sober” sounds somewhat familiar it’s because it’s Carper’s stab at his own “Institutionalized,” the classic Suicidal Tendencies song.
“I love that song!” Carper stated with enthusiasm. “That’s in my top three all-time favorite songs. I basically wanted to do a version of that that just sounded like a child having a temper tantrum.”
Mission accomplished! When not touring, Carper has spent much of the past year producing bands. It’s a worthy pastime for someone who is embracing sobriety. FIDLAR were known as partiers around the time their first album came out (listen to the song “Cheap Beer”), but eventually too much booze and drugs caught up with Carper, and he had to clean up. The band’s name is an acronym for “fuck it, dog, life’s a risk,” “a skate mantra gleaned from Carper’s old roommates,” according to Wikipedia. Since sobering up, Carper has started surfing again, but his skateboarding days may be over for good.
“We were on tour with the Pixies and we played Massey Hall in Toronto. That night we also played on a skate ramp at this place called Soy Bomb. I drunkenly started skating and it was really slippery because there was a bunch of beer on the ramp. I fell in a weird way and I fucked my spine up. I got two herniated discs in my lower back. Ever since then I haven’t been able to skate for more than ten minutes without my back hurting,” he said.
“It’s a very unfortunate thing because I really fucking loved skating. I really fucking miss skating.”
FIDLAR drops in at the Observatory on Friday night.