Jesse Sendejas: Days N’ Daze Forever
Written by Rob Smittix on April 29, 2021
The Houston-based folk punk band Days N’ Daze is at the top of their game. The group formed in 2008 and a couple of years ago landed on Fat Wreck Chords, which all punk fans know is the label you want to be associated with; after all it was founded by none other than Fat Mike of NOFX. Today it is my pleasure to chat with Jesse (Je-C) Sendejas vocalist and acoustic guitarist of DND.
RRX: What’s been going on?
JS: Trying to keep busy and not lose my head or become too stagnant. We’re all stuck at home for a little bit longer.
RRX: So, I’ve been listening to your band Days N’ Daze for a while. I’m all about lyrics. I feel like I can relate, I feel like we became friends through these lyrics and you didn’t even know it. I imagine you get a lot of feedback like this from fans. People reaching out to say a song touched their life.
JS: Fairly often I’ll get an email or message from somebody that we resonated with. From something I wrote about which is incredible. It makes me feel less alone because I’m just throwing these thoughts and feelings out into the void and to have those thoughts and feelings reciprocated, it gives me a boost to my mental health for sure.
RRX: These lyrics of yours “don’t waste your best years just sitting behind a desk” and “can’t be worse than a nine to five cubical jail cell.” Let me tell you something, I was working in corporate America a couple of weeks ago and these words were circling around in my head. So, I told my boss, I’m not feeling it today. He asked what do you mean? I literally said, I’m going to make like a banana and split and I walked off the job forever.
JS: (Laughs) Hell yeah that’s F’n sick. Congratulations.
RRX: I didn’t know if you were aware that your lyrics had that kind of compelling impact on people.
JS: I really appreciate that. It means the world and it’s also absolutely horrifying to know. I never really think about it. Whitney and I both write to get thoughts out of our heads that we need out of our heads, so we can focus and move on to the next thing. I try and make sure that I’m not writing something that’s going to be detrimental to anybody that hears it, these days. But… there are songs I wrote when I was younger that I didn’t put that kind of thought into so hopefully it does more good than bad.
RRX: One of the things I find fascinating about your band are the instruments. Instead of a bass guitar you have a gut-bucket player, Geoff.
JS: Personally, the esthetic of it is incredible, I love it. It makes a live show a little more interesting. Especially when we’re like busking and stuff. If we had an acoustic bass I feel like people might just mosey on by but when people see a washtub with a shovel handle with a string all together, they pause for a second and pay a little more attention. More importantly than the esthetics it’s what we went with in the first place because it was so much cheaper. The whole instrumentation just comes from us wanting to start a punk band when we were kids but not having money for amps, drums and things which you know can become incredibly expensive. We went with an acoustic guitar, trumpet, washboard in lieu of the drums and a gut-bucket. When it comes down to price and ease of transportation, you just can’t beat it.
RRX: Yeah and you have Meagan on the washboard. I’ve always thought that was cool, I want to get one of those.
JS: A lot of the more ubiquitous made right ones that you can find at a hardware store will have these big rolling crimps to the metal part. You want to look for the tiny little pyramids, that’s how you get a smooth, less invasive sound. It blends a lot better.
RRX: Thanks. Now Whitney of course does a lot of the writing with you. She’s the trumpet player and a vocalist. I’ve seen this on social media, is she having an issue with carpal tunnel?
JS: Yeah, it started out just like carpal tunnel then she might be allergic to water, which I was not aware was a thing that could happen. Apparently a very small percentage of the population is allergic to water. No more baths, really quick showers, not really sure what it entails and she’s still kind of going through all of the tests. So, we’re not really sure what’s wrong with her. It’s been a nightmare for her because she hasn’t really been able to play. She’s been sticking it out though, I’m proud of her for keeping her spirits up. She sent me a picture of her hand and it looked like her hand has been submerged in water for an hour. It was just from touching a tap and washing her hands for a second. I could only imagine trying to fret a guitar or ukulele or something with your fingers all pruney like that would be super uncomfortable.
RRX: Well she’s definitely in my thoughts, throwing good vibes into the universe for her because we’re going to need her out there.
JS: For sure we’re all doing what we can to make sure she gets back to 100% sooner than later.
RRX: Being cooped up in quarantine, when is the last time you’ve seen the band?
JS: The last tour we went with our band Escape from the Zoo in March and that’s when quarantine started. So, we booked it back from California and we’ve been hunkered down in Texas ever since. Meagan is in San Antonio, Geoff is in Austin, Whitney is up in New York. So, I haven’t seen them since January maybe was the last Days N’ Daze tour, so yeah it’s been over a year for sure.
RRX: That sucks, that really sucks!
JS: Yeah it really does.
RRX: Now you’re on Fat Wreck Chords, I mean do you feel like you’ve made it yet?
JS: Oh yeah, I felt like I made it the first time when more than two people showed up at our show. I never thought that when Whitney and I were writing these stupid little songs on our back patio that anything was ever going to come of it. It’s all very surreal to me.
RRX: So, I see the reissue of the album Crustfall just came out on vinyl anything else that fans can look forward to?
JS: Escape from the Zoo just finished recording nine new songs, they’re getting mixed right now. Chad Hates George another band I’m in with my little sister, we’re finally recording some new stuff. We’ve only recorded like 11 songs in ten years and that was it so hopefully before I leave on the next tour we can knock a few songs out.
RRX: Any final words for the kids?
JS: Just take it day by day. Truly try and live in the moment that’s something I’ve been trying to focus on. It’s a hard thing to do but it’s been rewarding consciously trying to do it.