Solid Dude's Kitchen The Best Cooking Show Period - Interview

The internet is taking over...so is reality TV. Everybody I know has their reality show that they love, "Dirty Jobs" "American Pickers" etc etc. Those shows are just real people taping themselves doing shit they love. On the internet that happens ten fold, but every now and then some shows are so good that you have to keep going back to them. One of those internet shows is "Solid Dude's Kitchen." "Solid Dude's Kitchen" is made up of Derek Swanson and Dave Graw, a couple of musicians that got together to create an online cooking show. The result is a lot of fun to watch. Recently I got the chance to chat with Derek Swanson about the show. 

 Zoiks!: How did you guys meet? 

 Derek Swanson: In 2001 I found myself recently divorced from my band and wasted at a show Dave (Graw) was playing (also wasted). I cornered him and kept badgering to start a new band. I really thought I blew it with the first impression, but he called me a few months later and said he was putting something together with a guy named Jeff Tuttle and we should meet up and see what happens. That band became Heads Will Roll (http://www.myspace.com/hwr). 

 Z!: Where did the idea to do a cooking show come from? 

 DS: Heads Will Roll did a short tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan in the summer of 2005. Those guys were so impressed with Jeff that they asked him to join and suddenly Dave and I were without a band. I think the idea of starting a new band from scratch after so many years of playing together just seemed exhausting. As a rhythm section, Dave and I got really economic about anticipating one another's decisions and we shared a pretty similar aesthetic. We both worked in motion picture post-production and thought we'd explore our combined skill-set as a possibility for a creative outlet. I was a new father and found myself watching a ton of cooking shows late at night while I fed my son. I've always been fascinated with food and cooking and kept joking to Dave about doing a cooking show. We kept joking about it for months, and then I recorded a theme song. We kept joking about it, and then Dave animated a title sequence. We ended up shooting a pilot in summer of 2006. 

 Z!: I recently saw where one of you described the show as mostly eating and dick jokes, was that the plan from the get go or did it just kind of evolve into that? 

 DS: We finished the pilot and it was aggressively mediocre. We fucked up by trying to subscribe to the conventions of the traditional cooking show format (23 minutes long, multiple dishes, condescendingly educational, etc…). We regrouped and shot The Superbowl Episode and made a conscious effort to film what was interesting to us about food and the cooking process, which is the social aspect of cuisine. What is great about that episode is that it really captured our dynamic and what we're like whenever we hang out. The jokes aren't scripted by a room full of writers, it's just us being us. 

 Z!: I'm a metal guy, so I fit your demographic, but at the same time I feel like your every day person who watches shows like "Storage Wars" or "American Pickers" or any of those type of shows would really enjoy your show. Where can people find your show and has there ever been talk of one of bringing to TV? Are you even interested in something like that? 

 DS: I think we're accessible insofar as we're just regular dudes. We have no formal culinary training, we aren't chiseled and beautiful and we're clearly having a blast doing what we're doing. That's what most people respond to. All of the episodes are available for free through our website (http://soliddudeskitchen.com/) (as well as Vimeo and YouTube), because we didn't feel like shopping it around and getting people's feedback. We wanted to make mistakes and figure it out on our own. We have a great crew in place and we feel like we're finally starting to hit our stride with The Germany Episode. If there is a network or website that gets what we do and wants to put some money behind us - that's great. But we really feel like we have something personal with it as it is and we'd hate to lose that just to gain a broader audience. 

 Z!: Why aren't you guys fat? The food you make looks delicious, but at the same time I'm looking at it especially the desert island episode and thinking I could never eat that because I'm already a fat fuck as it is (by the way - Master of Puppets by far). 

 DS: We share an unrivaled commitment to cocaine and throwing up. And Master of Puppets is absolutely the better album. I just lean toward …And Justice For All due to selfish, nostalgic reasons. Fuck you both. I do what I want!

Z!: My favorite episode was The Sushi Episode, because I love sushi but know very little about it and I just found it really interesting, what was each of your favorite episode to shoot and then what is your favorite episode to watch? 

DS: I think our best episode is The Germany Episode because it's finally turning into something that is very much our own, but my favorite is Dia De Los Muertos. It's really fun to shoot with Jeff. He has a great, natural comedic sensibility and Dave's graphics are just so fucking good. 

 Z!: Do you guys still play music and do you still have interest in playing in bands? 

DS: We may have given up on any notion of music as a career, but I know music will always be a huge part of who we are and what we do. Dave plays in two amazing bands - Isosceles Mountain and Nice Hooves. I play in a band with Jeff called Old Gods

 Z!: I always like to ask bands being that everybody has their own influences and inspirations, how do they satisfy everybody in the bands inspiration. Is something like this pure fun or are the moments when one of your egos isn't satisfied and how do you deal with those situations? 

 DS: Since we've worked together creatively for so long, we know that we have a responsibility to be honest at all times. We're best friends - so occasionally we'll argue like best friends, but for the most part we know what we want and we know how to get there. It's awesome because most of the dishes start out as a challenge from Dave and then I have to figure out how to execute them (i.e. The Pork Motherfucker). We like to push each other. 

 Z!: I asked you earlier about Solid Dudes Kitchen as a TV show and your interest around something like that, but right now you guys are part of a movement. Podcasting and Internet TV are really starting to be respected as a it's own medium, do you feel like your part of some special movement or is it more just you guys and your friends fucking around? 

 DS: It's nice to be a part of that movement, but that was never the intention. We just had an idea that we thought was really fun and funny and we put it out for ourselves and fortunately people really responded well to it. If the Internet and television went away tomorrow I'm sure we'd still hang out in the post-apocalyptic future and cook squirrels over a campfire in the wilderness and I'd make fun of his inability to grow a beard. 

 Z!: Thanks so much for taking the time, I love your show, is there anything else you'd like to add? 

 DS: Thank YOU for taking the time. I love your body. 


 BYLINE: 
Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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