The members of Finch are crazy touring beasts, and they aren’t afraid to show it. The band, currently on a string of West Coast dates, is prepping their new album, due out later in the year. Artsweek recently talked with Finch guitarist Alex Linares, regarding the band’s upcoming plans and festivities.

Artsweek: What are you guys doing right now?
Alex Linares: We are recording in L.A., finishing up our record. Mark [Allen], our drummer, flew in from Portland today and we haven’t practiced in such a long time. So, today we practiced some at sound check. We feel like idiots. We are definitely not seasoned right now, we’re raw meat. Could be deadly.

Is this a new drummer for you guys?
Yeah, we kicked out our old one. He wasn’t up to par with what we want in a drummer. We have really high standards. I’m not a good guitar player, but, fuck it, we need a good drummer, like someone who knows more than one beat. I know more than one riff.

When did “What is it to Burn” come out?
It came out March 2002. We’ve done a few years of touring since then and before that we had an EP out.

How do you think you have progressed as musicians since then?
Well, I am still not very good at guitar, but I think our songwriting has progressed. I’ve gotten better, I guess. Everyone else has gotten better, too.

What are you guys listening to right now?
I listen to Pinback a lot, Radiohead and soundtracks on the bus. I’ve been getting into Elvis Costello a lot lately.

Since this is UCSB, what drinks do you prefer on tour?
Diet Coke with lemon. I don’t drink alcohol or anything, but that’s me.

If you were an animal at the zoo, which would you be?
A tiger.

What do you think your bandmates would be?
Grizzly would, of course, be a bear. Nate [Barcalow] would be a koala; Derek [Doherty] would be a big black buck. He claims to have shot one before.

If you guys weren’t playing music for a living, what would you be doing?
I really don’t know because I would be doing this. I guess maybe drawing pictures, graphic design. If you aren’t doing what your passion is about, I suggest killing yourself. Just kidding, no one should kill themselves – I don’t want to be responsible. Just do something you are fucking passionate about. Don’t just fuckin’ float through life doing whatever you have to just because you’re pressured to. If you’re not passionate about it, you are a waste of space. You need to re-evaluate your life and find something you really love to do because the world needs more people who are happy. The reason we are in such shit right now is that people aren’t happy. At least here, for the most part, people can do things that they like. I’m not backing America though; I fucking hate this place. I do, I’m sorry. Politically speaking and socially speaking, this place is fucked.

Did you vote?
There was no way for me to be able to on the voting day, but it doesn’t matter. The last election was fucking robbed and I’m sure this election, I’m sure, was fucked up too. Who really gives a shit? To me it’s really disconcerting that people thought this election wasn’t going to be robbed as well. I mean, do you, like, really think it wasn’t going to? Shit’s going to be fucked. I’m moving to New Zealand.

Who would you vote for, for President [[president]]?
I don’t know. I’m not backing [Sen.] John Kerry or anything, but I think Bush is one of the worst people in the world. I’m sure there’s a few really bad people in the world right now, but, for sure, Bush is one of them. You can fuckin’ agree with me or not, I really don’t give a shit. That’s my opinion. I’m not trying to push anything on anyone. I’m moving to New Zealand. If you don’t like it – leave, they say, so I am. So whatever.

How do you feel about online music trading?
I back it 100 percent. You can download any Finch shit you want without worrying about pissing us off. We don’t give a shit.

You spoke earlier about your passion for music. What musicians made you passionate about music?
I guess, early on, there were a bunch of different ones. What got me playing guitar and interested in playing riffs and shit, when I was eight years old, was Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and stuff. That was what I was into as a kid and you get back into that shit eventually. Right now I think that Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead is the most amazing guitar player in the world. He’s like super creative. I think Thom Yorke too, all of Radiohead, and I’m not throwing this term around loosely – I think they’re fucking geniuses.

What do you guys enjoy most about playing shows?
It’s fucking amazing. It’s just fun, that’s the payoff. You spend all year touring and the whole reason is to play the show. It’s just really fun. I enjoy it more than anything in the world.