We sit in silence for a moment, and Segall gathers himself. "I'm surprised people don't think I'm a fuckin' weirdo," he says. "My songs can be so negative." Another long pause. "I don't like talking about my issues or making it seem like I even have any. That's not fun to talk about, you know. I think everybody's just trying to be normal, trying to have a good life and a peaceful, nice time. I don't know if I've dealt with my problems in the right way, but I'm trying. You talk to Henry Rollins and he's a nice guy. He's a really nice guy. But when he was singing in Black Flag, that dude was fucking pissed."
During high school, Segall spent most of his time on the weekends in L.A., playing or catching shows at vaunted downtown all-ages venue the Smell. But his considerable energies found an additional outlet when his first band, a DNA-indebted, saxophone-heavy no-wave duo named Love This, was given a chance to play a house party. "I was a dude who was friends with everybody," he says. "I did drama, hung out with the drama kids. I was on the surf team, I hung out with the surfers. I played music, so I hung out with the punks. There were some football players there at the show that night, some of the cooler kids, some of the scholastic kids, some of the loners and the punks. I realized early on that everybody likes music. When people are dancing in a mosh pit, and someone falls, it doesn't matter who it is, we're going to pick them up. It gave me the itch to keep doing it, to be super positive, man." Look online for Epsilon's "Teeny Boppers" clip and you'll find a music video that doubles as a remarkably well-shot, well-edited, well-acted parody of Laguna Beach, whose production crews they'd pelted with water balloons and flipped birds years earlier. Its climax captures a party gone awry, played at his bandmate Cronin's house, where the group used to practice and perform all the time.
The impulse to stay positive remains in conflict with the sort of "dark, negative, sarcastic" emotional currents that permeate Segall's lyrics (see last year's "My Head Explodes" and its lip-curling chorus), the result he says of "dealing with [his] brain" while recording Goodbye Bread. It's a dichotomy best heard on Twins, recorded in the basement at Eric "King Riff" Bauer's studio in Chinatown, but mixed at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley using the same gear Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded with more than 30 years ago. It's pit-churning rock'n'roll whose volume often belies its sumptuous detail. "We had two goals," says Segall. "We wanted to make the drums sound huge and make the guitars sound like the biggest we've ever captured." They definitely succeeded.