Search Results for: atlanta

Search Archives Only

Breaux!

Those guys that listened to skate punk and went to high school in the 90s made a skate punk band 20 years later. Atlanta, GA

Dinos Boys

Atlanta, GA. “D.espicable I.gnorant N.asty O.le S.hitstirrers”

DS Exclusive: New Junk City unveil “Sold In Bunches” from upcoming album, “Beg A Promise”

Happy Tuesday, comrades! Dying Scene is super excited to bring you the premiere of yet another killer new track. It’s called “Sold In Bunches,” and it’s the latest single from the upcoming New Junk City album Beg A Promise. Here’s what Atlanta’s finest had to say about the track: “Sold in Bunches” is actually a […]

Happy Tuesday, comrades!

Dying Scene is super excited to bring you the premiere of yet another killer new track. It’s called “Sold In Bunches,” and it’s the latest single from the upcoming New Junk City album Beg A Promise. Here’s what Atlanta’s finest had to say about the track:

“Sold in Bunches” is actually a reworking of a song from a solo record of mine. We wanted one more song for the record, and were kind of tapped for ideas, when Dakota brought up the possibility of reworking this one. I thought it was a terrible idea, but as usual, he proved me wrong, and it might be my favorite song on the record. I love the horns and strings in the arrangement. They really lift the song and bring a triumphant and cathartic close to the record.

Beg A Promise is due out October 21st on A-F Records. You still have time to pre-order the digital version right here and the vinyl version right here. And If we’re being honest, you really should pre-order it; it’s one of my favorite records of the year and it’s not even out yet!!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Exclusive: Watch The Carolyn’s new video for their awesome cover of the Cranberries’ classic “Salvation”

Happy Wednesday, comrades! Another super rad Dying Scene exclusive for your eyeballs today. It comes to us from Atlanta-based punks The Carolyn. It’s for a track from the band’s new EP, Harmful History, which is due out this coming Friday (6/9 – nice) on 59x Records and it’s a track that should sound familiar especially […]

Happy Wednesday, comrades! Another super rad Dying Scene exclusive for your eyeballs today. It comes to us from Atlanta-based punks The Carolyn. It’s for a track from the band’s new EP, Harmful History, which is due out this coming Friday (6/9 – nice) on 59x Records and it’s a track that should sound familiar especially if you’re, like some of us, “of a certain age.” Yes, it’s a cover of none other than The Cranberries classic “Salvation,” which, for my money, is the best Cranberries song that you’re allowed to cover; “Zombie” is off-limits because it’s perfect and because, if you’re a dude, you’re going to get it wrong. ANYWAY, here’s what the band had to say about covering the track:

“We always enjoy capturing a bunch of b roll and tour happenings when possible, and we came back from our last European tour with a ton. Recording this cover was some of the most fun we’ve ever had in the studio, and it made sense for us to capture that.” 

Check out the video for “Salvation” below, and order your very own copy of Harmful History right here!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Interview: American Thrills’ Jamie Otfinoski and Jeff Wielk on Their First Full-length, Fest 20 and Limp Bizkit

American Thrills grabbed my attention about a year ago thanks to one of those pesky Instagram ads that everyone seems to despise. For once, I’m thankful one of those scrolled across my screen because it introduced me to another New England punk band to obsess over (and another possible candidate for my upper-arm collection of […]

American Thrills grabbed my attention about a year ago thanks to one of those pesky Instagram ads that everyone seems to despise. For once, I’m thankful one of those scrolled across my screen because it introduced me to another New England punk band to obsess over (and another possible candidate for my upper-arm collection of New England punk tattoos).

It was their Discount Casket EP that gave me a little taste of what these guys had to offer. The only problem was I was left craving more, something a full-length could only satisfy. Luckily, my cravings were satisfied after a relatively short wait, and when I say satisfied, I mean that these dudes released a fuckin’ ripper.

Their recent release Parted Ways hints at the familiar Northeast sounds of the Gaslight Anthem and the Menzingers (who coincidentally were competitors of the same time slot during Fest 20) that many have compared AT to, yet they play their own unique brand of punk rock that I was glad to see added to the always reputable Wiretap Records lineup, one I can always count on the turn out stellar under-the-radar artists.

It was truly a pleasure to shoot the shit with 50% of one of my recent favorite Limp Bizkit-loving bands. These dudes have put out two EPs and a full-length that are truly worth checking out. Parted Ways is linked below, followed by the awesome chat I had with Jamie and Jeff. Cheers!

(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sake because a good chunk of this interview was just three guys shooting the shit.)

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): Hey, it’s great to talk with you guys. I’ve followed you guys for quite a bit, I think right before Discount Casket came out. So yeah, I wanted to get started and talk to you guys obviously about the new record. Starting off, was this just like a collection of songs that you guys kind of built up and you’re just like ‘okay now we’ve got enough for a record’ or did you sit down with the end goal of like ‘let’s write enough stuff to release a full-length’?

Jamie Otfinoski: You know we wanted to write a full-length, but we did it kind of segmentally, we would do like chunks of songs and it was just a process. We would have demos we’d start to work on, then we’d jump to something else, then like come back to it. But ultimately the end goal was like ‘let’s put out a fuckin’ full length’. Because from my perspective, a lot of bands today do like single after single after single, and I get that because there’s like a method to the madness with like Spotify and all that shit, but at the end of the day like the bands I’m really into, like I’m into a record. I want a whole fuckin’ record and listen to a band to really get the vibe of the band.

Right, I get that. With you guys, you kind of released a single at a time leading up to the record, right, then you put out the whole thing?

Jamie: Yeah we did like four or five singles then we dropped like the last four songs all at once. And once again, that’s the whole thing with the internet, like Spotify and trying to build buzz, they want you to do singles. But ultimately we wanted to roll them into some sort of full-length so people could like sit down and check out our band with a little more than just like one song here and there.

So that was kind of a different approach from these previous eps you released?

Jamie: Yeah, you know we really wanted to, like we did two EPs, we’re like ‘we really wanna go all in and do a full-length’. And the guys at Wiretap were down to work with us on it which was totally rad and it made it that much more awesome. But we wanted to do something full and cohesive where we could do vinyl and finally put out like our first full-length record.

So what was the songwriting approach on this? Do you guys have one main songwriter or is it more of a team effort, what’s that look like?

Jamie: So Kurt, our vocalist/ guitarist, he kind of like, I wanna say he takes some of the reins. We always have a group text going and Kurt will like come up with a chunk of a song and go like ‘hey, check out this chorus?’. And then what we’ll do is we’ll get together and practice and we’ll kind of just like start playing it and rolling until we’re like ‘oh, that’s cool, what’s a cool verse to follow’ or vice versa. It’s like a collective approach, but somebody’s always bringing stuff to the table. Same thing with Paul, the other guitarist, he’ll have like a cool riff, he’ll lay it down and then we’ll turn that riff into a song. So it’s collective, but the two guitarists are kind of bringing the big chunks to practices.

So is there kind of a theme with this new record?

Jamie: You know, we’re like a bunch of old salty dudes that kind of like hate our hometown…

Jeff Wielk: I wouldn’t say hate…

Jamie: We don’t hate it, but you know, we don’t love it either. You know the record’s about like getting older, losing friends, losing family, you know just being disheartened by the people we kind of grew up with who maybe ended up turning out to be maybe not who we thought they would be. It’s just a theme of like get the hell out of our hometown, you know we’re old and salty.

Are you guys born and raised up there [in Connecticut]?

Jamie: Born and raised, yeah.

Jeff: Yeah all of us, we’re from the same hometown originally.

Jamie: You know up here in the North, we talk crap about our community, but ultimately, Connecticut’s not a bad place to grow up, kind of expensive I guess. But outside of that, it’s good people, it’s what we’re used to.

Jeff: We definitely could’ve grown up somewhere worse. New England’s got some great music.

Jamie: That’s the one thing about Connecticut too is like, the tours they come and they play in New York and then they skip Connecticut and play Boston. So we’re like right in the middle, you gotta either drive to New York or Boston to see the shows, nobody wants to play Connecticut.

So yeah, I wanted to talk now about specific tracks here. My favorite track off the record was “Ivy League Swing,” and I wanted to talk about what the songwriting for that looked like, the meaning behind it, some of its background.

Jeff: Paul, uh, wrote that initial riff in the beginning after the song starts with singing. And that first riff, that was like the first thing to come out for that song.

Jamie: That was one that Paul brought to the table and was like ‘I have this really cool guitar riff, let’s make it into a song’. We heard it and we were jazzed up on it and just kind of melded its way into that tune.

So this is more of a ‘me’ question, something I’m always curious about. What’s your guys’ songwriting look like, like how does it work; do you guys come up with like riffs first and then lyrics later, or I know some guys start with lyrics and then kind of build the song around it.  It’s something I’ve always struggled with, how to kind of progress through writing a song.

Jamie: It goes both ways; sometimes Kurt will come to the table with like some lyrics over a little riff or a chorus and then we’ll expand on it, where other times, like that song “Ivy League Swing,” Paul actually came with a riff. He’s the guitarist, he doesn’t put the vocals over it, so Kurt kind of took the riff, changed it a little bit, and was able to make it into a song, put lyrics over it. Yeah it actually goes both ways with us, but I’d say for the most part, like 75% of the time, Kurt will have like some part of the song that has some sort of vocal guitar part together and we’ll just build off of it.

Jeff: Yeah like the main hook or whatever…

Yeah like I said, I’ve kind of heard it both ways and I’m always curious with everybody I talk to, I like asking that.

Jeff: Yeah I think it’s mostly instrumental. I’m 90% sure that Kurt kind of comes up with the lyrics afterwards.

So yeah Ivy League Swing,” that’s my favorite track off the record. What about you guys, you guys have a favorite?

Jeff: Yeah, “Interpretation.” It’s just so different from what we normally do you know. Little bit different of a time signature, I don’t know. I’m like a mid-2000s emo-core kind of guy you know *laughs*

Jamie: I like “Sinking,” when we play live, it just starts off like fast and it’s got an interesting beat to it. It’s a quick little ripper. I like those songs live, they’re just fun to play because there’s so much energy.

You guys had that album release show the other night, what, at Stonebridge? Yeah how was that?

Jamie: Yeah a good old place in our hometown.

Jeff: It’s like a towny bar…

Yeah how was the reception there?

Jamie: It was awesome. Yeah we sold the place out, maybe like 150, 170 people. It was a blast. Andy from Hot Rod Circuit came out and he did an acoustic set. Split Coils played, which is Jay also from Hot Rod Circuit, they’re incredible. And this newer Connecticut band called Shortwave was just fuckin’ awesome. I mean it was really a great time seeing you know all the friends and just having all our buddies come out to see us play our hometown, it was just an awesome thing to be a part of.

Awesome, yeah. So I wanted to talk about Fest 20 a little bit. I was down there and it was actually my first Fest, wasn’t a bad Fest to start out on for my first one I guess.

Jeff: Yeah probably the best one yet.

How was your guys’ show down there?

Jeff: It was awesome, yeah. Super sick.

Jamie: The only downside was our set was right when the Menzingers were playing, which is like tough competition there. But all our buddies came out, we had a good showing, I mean it was fun. I like the smaller venues at Fest. Like I go to the big venues, like I go to Bo Diddley and I watch these bands, but I love seeing bands at like these smaller venues, like Loosey’s, and, where’d we play this year…

Jeff: Palomino, it was awesome.

Jamie: You like pack it out with a hundred people in there and it’s just awesome.

Yeah I think my favorite show from the entire thing was the Dopamines over at the Wooly. That was insane. Do you guys have a favorite set from Fest?

Jeff: This Fest I made it a point, I never even went to Bo Diddley. I never made it there this year. I made it a point to see like not big bands you know. So yeah, my favorite set, there’s this band, I wanna say they’re from Atlanta, and they’re called Seagulls. Dude that band was literally insane. And another set, they’re called You Vandal, they’re from Gainesville, their set was sick. They also did an AFI cover set.

Yeah I kind of agree with what you guys were saying about the smaller venue vibe, it kind of got overwhelming. Like here in Nashville, any of the punk shows, they’re all real intimate, not a lot of people there usually, they’re never sold out. So going to like Bo Diddley it’s a little overwhelming, like I’m seeing Avail but I’m all the way in the fuckin’ back, you know. But seeing like Dopamines, that’s more of what I’m used to. It was cool seeing these bands in these smaller venues that I’ve kind of idolized forever.

So then circling back to Wiretap, how’d you guys get on there, can you walk me through that a little bit?

Jamie: So you know, I’ve always liked a lot of the bands on there, like I’ve had a vinyl from like Spanish Love Songs and all these bands that I’ve followed and looked up to. And some newer bands too are on the label, American Television, some like kind of local guys that are just awesome. So we hit up Rob, we sent him something, we sent him like “Discount Casket” and he was like ‘hey, this is really cool, I wanna put this on …’ he does like a bimonthly charity comp towards like a good cause. He put that on one of his comps. And we were like ‘ oh cool, we’ll keep in touch.’ So then as we started kind of sitting down and putting tracks together for the full-length, we just hit him up again and we’re like ‘hey, we’re thinking about putting out a record, we’re gonna put it out hopefully before Fest. Are you interested?’. But Rob was really like gung-ho and down for it and got us rolling really early on. He was just a great guy to work with, I mean Wiretap has put out so many great releases and he’s so involved with like the scene and a lot of great charity efforts; he’s just overall a great dude in so many ways. So we’re happy to work with him and we’re lucky that we get the chance to put out a record with him.

Yeah I can’t remember when I realized you guys were on Wiretap, but I was happy to see you guys on there because they always have a real solid lineup, everybody on Wiretap I always love.

Jamie: Yeah it’s great.

So you mentioned the Menzingers down at Fest and your guys’ set times clashing, and when I first started listening to you guys, I immediately started getting Gaslight Anthem and Menzingers vibes. I think it was with Punk Rock Theory that they talked about sounding like GA also.  But coming from your point of view, what are your guys influences?

Jamie: We get a lot of the Gaslight Anthem, I don’t know, maybe Kurt’s vocals and kind of in that vein. You know, we were in like old school pop-punk bands in the early 2000s, you know we grew up on bands like Hot Rod Circuit, the Get-Up Kids, and kind of like that genre of bands. But more recently, I’ve personally listened to a lot of the Gaslight Anthem, the Menzingers, they all kind of fall into the mix too. So I like to think we’re somewhere in between like those bands and that original scene with all the like emo punky bands. Some sort of blend of the two, I hope, maybe.

So what about a tour, do you guys have anything planned coming up for promoting the record?

Jamie: We’re trying to get something together for the Spring. We have a show coming up, but we’re gonna kind of lay low for the Winter and the holidays. We have a show coming up in January with Teenage Halloween, one of the local bands up here. Awesome if you don’t know those guys, they’re from Jersey actually, incredible. And then we’re trying to get something together for the Spring, we’re talking to some of our buddies around here to do a few dates, but we’re just trying to get everything together, we don’t have anything set in stone quite yet.

So Jamie, you’re the surgeon right?

Jamie: Yeah.

So how do you juggle that with playing shows like that; how do you juggle having enough time with your band and with work because when I hear ‘surgeon’ you kind of think like 80-hour work weeks, crazy work times, no time off.

Jamie: When I was in residency doing all my training stuff, I wouldn’t be able to do what we do now. But now that I’m in private practice, I’m in a good group, I’m on reasonable call schedule. And they’re all supportive of what I do, they think it’s cool. But it is a balancing act with like trying to book shows and playing out around the call schedule. You know all of us are in like our mid-30s to late-30s, so we’re all like career, kids, jobs. So we get out there when we can, just little tours and runs, try to get down to Fest every year. But you know, I don’t see us going out for like a month on the road. We’re kind of weekend warriors at this point.

So a little off-topic, but let’s talk Limp Bizkit here *laughs*.

Jeff: Oh yeah that’s why we’re here!

In your Fest bio, you were called a Limp Bizkit cover band. Give me some background on that.

Jamie: You know *laughs*, we listen to Limp Bizkit. We grew up in the 90s…

Jeff: My first band was a straight-up nu metal band…

Jamie: Dude he was straight up playing Korn covers. You know like people shit all over these bands, we grew up on this stuff and we love this stuff, we embrace this stuff. As much as I like the Gaslight Anthem, I’ll spin a Limp Bizkit record too.

Jeff: Think about this, how many hardcore kids in the late 90s hated Slipknot, but those same hardcore kids now love Slipknot. Yeah I don’t know…

Jamie: With Limp Biskit it’s kind of like a funny thing, but we really like Limp Bizkit and people are just joking around like shitting on it. We listen to Limp Bizkit and we want everyone to know, we’re just trying to put that out there *laughs*.

Right that’s confidence right there *laughs*. Most people are too proud to admit it.

Jeff: Their newest record is fire man.

I’ve heard bits and pieces and it’s not bad. Well that about covers everything I think, I really wanted to hit hard on the new record, hopefully this can help promote it a little bit. We’ve actually been steadily seeing reader numbers rise since the relaunch, especially with that blink-182 thing a while back.

Jamie: Yeah Dying Scene used to be the shit man. Yeah back in the day it was like Absolute Punk, and then Punknews was always there, and then Dying Scene. They were like the three big ones. At least outside of like AP and all that shit I don’t really care about. All the bands I liked were on those sites, that’s where I was checking to find the new stuff. Glad you guys are back.

Yeah I appreciate you guys sitting down with me.

Jamie: Yeah thanks for reaching out and talking with us man, we appreciate it.

Jeff: Yeah thanks so much.

Take it easy guys, I’ll talk to you soon.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Interview: Roger Harvey on songwriting and influences and his new EP “Cowtown” and more new music to come!

If you came to me a year and a half ago and told me that a decent handful of Americana/country artists would occupy some of the top spots on my Spotify “most played”, I’d point you to the nearest mental institution. But here we are, thanks almost solely to an equal combination of Jason Isbell […]

If you came to me a year and a half ago and told me that a decent handful of Americana/country artists would occupy some of the top spots on my Spotify “most played”, I’d point you to the nearest mental institution. But here we are, thanks almost solely to an equal combination of Jason Isbell and Roger Harvey.

I’m pretty close-minded when it comes to my music choice; I know what I like and I rarely deviate. Guys like Isbell and Harvey, and others like Austin Lucas and Northcote have scratched a musical itch of mine that completely blindsided me. Harvey’s one of those artists whose songwriting I was totally enamored by, and after randomly seeing him open for Gregor Barnett of the Menzingers one night, I bordered on obsession and found all the music I could from the guy. So I was thrilled, to say the least, when I started seeing posts around the New Year hinting at new music.

I’ve pretty well exhausted Harvey’s catalog up to this point, so I was anxious to get my hands on more of the honest, hopeful, simplistic, yet captivating music that drew me in in the first place. Well Roger Harvey’s new EP Cowtown lived up to, and succeeded, the anticipation I had for it. I think the man himself described this new release best in one of his monthly newsletters titled Rog Sez: “On March 17th, I’m releasing new music. Cowtown, 3-songs about where I come from and the possibility of a better world. I’ve been writing a lot about this lately.”

Getting to do this interview was extremely fulfilling. I had been eager to pick the mind of Harvey, whose lyrics are poetic in nature, and are able to convey powerful stances on current issues, but in a simplistic way that embodies hope and positivity. After exchanging a handful of emails, I’ve concluded that Harvey is wise beyond his years. I envy the hell out of both his hopeful outlook on the world, as well as his ability to embody that through word and song.

We talk about all kinds of great stuff, and on more than one occasion I had to stop and process his responses because of how wise and well-versed my questions were answered. Although this one was done over email rather than Zoom, I can still confirm that I had a blast doing this. Below you’ll find links to the new release, links to a couple other notable songs mentioned in our interview, as well as tour dates and whatever else can help get you acquainted with one of my current favorite artists. As always, thanks so much for reading this far. Cheers!

Featured image credit: @Cowtownchad

(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sake because a good chunk of this interview was just two guys shooting the shit.)

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): Tell me a little about the three songs you’re releasing Friday. I know with “Two Coyotes,” one of my personal favorites of yours, featured Rozwell kid guitarist Adam Meisterhans, of whom I’m a huge fan of. Are there any guests featured on these new ones?

Roger Harvey: I recorded these 3 songs outside of Philly at a studio called Gradwell House and then passed them down to Justin Francis in Nashville for finalizing. My friend Mike ‘Slo-Mo’ Brenner pushed me towards and led this session. We had been playing these songs live on the road at shows last year and he wanted to get them down together. Mike is best known for his work with Jason Molina but has been a part of so much great music. I admire his attitude and work ethic and love collaborating with him. Working as a solo artist can be trying and having good people in your corner to push you in the right direction is essential. I’m lucky to have so many good people in mine. I asked Mike once on a long drive what kept him going in music through all the years and he responded: “Striving towards excellence. It’s the one thing that never goes out of style.” I think of that often. 

In our emails you mentioned these being a part of a couple records hopefully coming out later this year. Any details on those that you’re ready to reveal? Possible release dates? Are those going to include what’s on your most recent release, Last Prisoner, as well as this upcoming one?

I recently finished a 14-song record in Fort Worth, Texas with my friend Simon Flory of traditional folk songs. We rewrote many of them to modernize & convey the lasting meaning of the songs in our current context. We’re finalizing the masters and other conceptual pieces and working to release it later this year. Additionally, I have a record of songs about where I grew up in Pennsylvania that I’ll be recording this spring. Many of the singles I’ve released fit in with that narrative and I’ve been on the fence of wanting to re-introduce singles I’ve released on that record or if I just want to move forward with new songs. I’m sitting on so many songs after the past few years of slowness and have been reckoning with a lot of big change in my personal life that has kept me writing. I’d like to get them all down regardless just need to conclude what tells the story I’m after the most effectively. 

Starting with the opening track Cowtown, the message you’re conveying seems pretty clear, and I find my understanding of the song to be pretty relatable to the 5 years I spent living in a small East Tennessee town. Coming from your end, what message are you conveying or what story are you telling with this one? Is there one particular town or experience you’re referring to when you sing “nothing to do here but drink and fight”?

Like most things I write, it is about a specific place to me but I also recognize that it could be relatable to really anywhere. To me, it’s about where I was raised but I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life, through music, to have gotten out and seen a lot of the world and with that comes the understanding that our struggles and experiences as people are often more similar than different. I hope people can relate to the feeling in the song no matter where they came from. You’re only trapped here, if you choose to be.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but “Talkin’ Hard Line” seems less like a story you’re telling and more like ideal circumstances where love brings us together, and the song seems hopeful in that this can be achieved. In a time when people seem so divided and harboring so much hatred, whether it be politically or otherwise, is that the direction you had in mind for listeners to perceive this?

That’s exactly what I’m talking about in this song. It’s a hard subject in today’s world, specifically in today’s America, because of how polarized everything has become. Hate doesn’t deserve a pass, but empathy is important and love is the only way out. Figuring out what that looks like in practice when our own families & friends get so divided and people’s ideas get coopted by grifters who play on their deepest fears is something else completely, but if we can learn to lead with love I think that that’s a start. 

Walk me through how you arrived at choosing to cover Susanna Clark’s “Come From the Heart.” Even though I’ve been in Nashville a while, I’m still not super familiar with country music, so I didn’t immediately realize this was a cover. I think that’s interesting though because you made the song your own and the song couldn’t be more fitting for you based on your prior releases. Although the original sounds in no way like punk, I think the lyrical content and its focus upon honesty makes it very similar. Reminds me a lot of Tim Barry’s “40 Miler” when he sings “music should sound like escape not rent”.

There are so many songs that say what “Come From The Heart” says. I love the simplicity of it. I struggle with that as a songwriter and often have to remind myself that simple songs are often the best ones. Conveying a message like people talk and feel is what gives music power. Things don’t have to be complex to be deep and to resonate. I love this song & specifically fell in love with Guy Clark’s version on Old Friends. Susanna Clark was an incredible artist and had such a unique impact on the world around her through living the way she did. From writing songs like this to painting the cover of Willie Nelson’s “Stardust.” I admire her creativity. 

Although it’s not on this upcoming EP, I did want to talk about “Weird Hill to Die On” because it seems more applicable than ever in today’s climate. I saw you in Nashville when you played with Gregor Barnett and you explained it specifically referencing the incident at the Capitol, but could you kind of reiterate its connection to that event, as well as its overall meaning? It seemed like you changed it up a bit with this one and sang from the point of view of somebody who’s bought into that nonsense, was there reasoning behind that?

I wrote “Weird Hill To Die On” in the aftermath of January 6th as a way of processing what was and is going on in our country. It strange to have conspiratorial thinking move from the fringes to the mainstream and it seems that we haven’t really figured out a way to reckon with it as a society. It can be tiring to navigate a divided world, but our fatigue of that doesn’t change the fact that this is our world. I’m often at odds with how to move through it all. “Talkin’ Hard Line” is about that too but “Weird Hill” attempts to bend the perspective from the other side. 

I wanna talk some about influences because at times, I feel like I can pick out a few key ones that I think heavily influence your sound, and other times I feel like I have no idea. Such storytellers as Woody Guthrie and John Prine, and even Springsteen seem to be some obvious ones. Feel free to correct me on those if I’m wrong, but who else would you cite as strongly influencing you? One of the things I love about listening to your music is your lyrics develop in a way that a writer’s or poet’s might. Are there any non-musician writers that influenced you in terms of storytelling?

I have a lot of heroes. I love music & words. The things I’ve always been most drawn to are ideas and actions. People I can look to as I attempt to draw my roadmap to get to how I’m trying to grow. I like people that write like people talk. Woody Guthrie was my first songwriting hero. I’m a huge Willie Nelson fan too. I love Carl Sandberg’s writing. [Sandberg’s Poem] The People, Yes.

I know you’ve done some work with Tim Barry, I kind of put you two in the same category of elite storytellers through song. Musicians of that nature seem to be a dying breed, did the lyrical storytelling come naturally for you from the beginning or did you strive towards writing in that way? Do you think there are any similarities in either influences or upbringing between you and a guy like Tim Barry that fostered that type of songwriting?

Thank you! I’ve always been drawn towards the kind of music that reflects the way I think and process the world around me. I’m a deep dude and the circumstances of my upbringing are likely responsible for that way of thinking from an early age. I think that’s what drew me towards folk music when I was younger. Tim has played a big role in my life as a friend and songwriting mentor. Tim and I have spent a lot of time together on and off the road and I do think there are similarities and reasons why we connected and continue to relate to one another the way we do. We share a similar mindset on a lot of things. I love storytelling through song and think the most important thing is that it’s told truthfully from its perspective, no matter where it comes from. There are so many important stories being told all the time and it’s important to listen to as many as you can.

How did you get connected with the punk rock audience? Your sound is more country and Americana than punk, while your lyrics fit right in. Were you a punk fan growing up and made the shift to this genre later on, or was it your lyrics that drew in a punk-leaning fan base, or was it something else? I always find the answer to this question interesting, Cory Branan and Ben Nichols are two that I think fall into the same realm.

I grew up as an outsider in a small town and fell in with a small group of punk rockers. At that time punk rock was the most tangible way to express what I was feeling and experiencing. It empowered me. I started touring selling t-shirts for a punk band before I was a teenager and that connected me with life on the road and to so many good people that I still keep close today. I learned a lot from punk rock that I’ll always carry with me, but always felt more drawn to folk songs. I discovered folk singers like Woody Guthrie through punk rock. I connect with the ideals of punk rock and the expression of folk music. I think they have a lot in common. 

Country and punk seem on the surface to be two very different genres. And by country I mean traditional country, not that mainstream pop bullshit that’s popular now. What would you say are some similarities between the two? For me, honest lyrics seems to be the biggest one.

Struggle and progress. There is a struggle in it all. That’s what I wrote about in “Cowtown.” Being somewhere, going nowhere and keeping the faith that progress can be made. Punk rock to me has always embodied hope. There is a longing to it for something better. My favorite country music is about people’s struggle. Acknowledging hardship and moving through it. A lot of songs I love are just an acknowledgment of the struggles we experience as people. The power of music is when we share in the acknowledgment of the hardship. Recognizing that we aren’t alone through sharing stories is where we find hope. Finding hope is where we get a chance to try. 

Shows!!!

May 06 in Cambridge, MA at The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub (Dying Scene will be there – come say hi!)

May 19 in Atlanta, GA at 529 w/ Tim Barry, Lee Bains and the Glory Fires

May 20 in Carrboro, NC at Cat’s Cradle w/ Tim Barry, Lee Bains and the Glory Fires

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Interview: Todd Farrell Jr. (Two Cow Garage, TFJ and the Dirty Birds, Benchmarks) on His Brand New Full-Length “Might as Well be Ghosts”

Might as Well be Ghosts, a perfectly-executed, poetically-written solo record of Todd Farrell Jr., formerly of Two Cow Garage and Benchmarks, officially hit streaming last month and I think it’s pretty damn good. Actually really, really damn good. I had an amazing opportunity to sit down with the very elusive Mr. Farrell at Music City’s […]

Photo Credit: Chad Cochran

Might as Well be Ghosts, a perfectly-executed, poetically-written solo record of Todd Farrell Jr., formerly of Two Cow Garage and Benchmarks, officially hit streaming last month and I think it’s pretty damn good. Actually really, really damn good. I had an amazing opportunity to sit down with the very elusive Mr. Farrell at Music City’s greatest punk bar, the Cobra, to shoot the shit about anything and everything that was even remotely related to music.

I label Todd elusive because he’s somebody I was hoping to just grab beer and shoot the shit with ever since I’d come across his Dirty Birds masterpiece of a record, but our paths hadn’t seemed to cross until just before this full-length was due to release. He gained somewhat of a reputation as the wise musician-dad to a few guys in my circle and, knowing his background of opening for Frank Turner and Lucero, I was dying to meet the guy. Yet it wasn’t until a songwriter’s night at the local 5 Spot that I was finally able to meet the dude and chat a bit (coincidentally, it was also my first in-person meeting with Nashville-newbie and Dying Scene friend Roger Harvey). This interview was comprised of equal parts questions about the new record and personal questions seeking wisdom from a dude that had definitely seen his share of the road and has moved into a new stage of his life, or as Todd wisely labeled it, “new adventures”.

“I’ve kind of found myself in this in-between position, like in the song “See You Next Year”. I’m just happy to do anything, I love to make music, I love to record, I love to play. And there was a time, especially during Covid, when I was pretty sure like nobody would ever play music again“, said Farrell. “I’ve somehow stumbled into a good happy medium where like I have a full-time job here, I have kids, I have a wife, I have a family, I have a house. I do like normal dad shit, I coach a t-ball team. But I do still get calls to do some road work every once in a while…” Farrell has made it known, especially during his live shows, how happy he is with this family life he’s built for himself here in Nashville.

I was particularly interested in asking questions pertaining to his balance of family life and music life, a balance I will hopefully be faced with in the distant, but not-too-distant future. When discussing my personal aspirations for hitting the road and my understanding that I hadn’t done it near enough for it to get old yet, Farrell gave an extremely level-headed and well-thought-out response: “it’s not even that it gets old, it’s just you kind of crave new adventures. Like I wanted to be a dad, and I wanted to take my kids to baseball games; I think that’s something that’s important to me. So on that Dirty Bird’s record, there’s a song called “Pawn Shops”, it’s about selling my guitar. And that was written kind of from a perspective of a guy that has not done it yet. And it was, like, this bleeding-heart anthem of how much I want to get out there and do the thing. So on this record, I kind of challenged myself to write the spiritual successor to it. So that’s the first track, “Local Pickup Only”. And it’s the same theme, about selling guitars, and then the turn of both songs is, like, ending up not selling your guitars. But on this one, the perspective is different. This is the perspective of I’ve done these things already, but I still think this is a worthwhile thing to do.

For the Might as Well be Ghosts, Farrell isn’t in pursuit of a month-long tour of support and sinking every ounce of effort he’s got into pushing it. “I’m just happy I made a record and I get to play the 5 Spot sometimes, and sometimes people take me on tour to play guitar, and that’s cool. Like, there are so few amount of people in the world that get to do even that, and so I’m just thankful that I get to do even a taste of it, and that I got a big taste of it early on, and then now I still get to poke my head in there and do it... I’m not taking it too seriously, and I don’t think anybody should really take me too seriously. If you enjoy it, that’s awesome, and I’m stoked that anybody enjoys the stuff that I still do. I guess thank you to anybody whose listened, and thank you for being interested at all... the fact that I still get to do anything is a gift. Every show I play is a gift, every time I record anything, every time I play with anybody, every time I get to have a cool conversation like this is a gift. So, just, like, thank you for taking your time to take interest in what I’m doing.”

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Gladney

Every song, even every verse at times, features a storytelling through song that I rank up there with the likes of Tim Barry and Cory Branan, but with a humor and wittiness that reminded me a lot of Will Varley. A great example is track 8, “Hey You, You’re Finally Awake”: “The first verse is like, pretty real. Like I’m an older dude now, I have kids. I still have that glimpse of like, old band dude life, you know, “black metal t-shirts in my drawer that I can’t wear anymore” because I’m picking up my kids at daycare, that’s like the crux of that. The second verse is like, just off the wall, random, a COVID rambling I wrote down one time that I thought was really funny... it’s literally just describing the Skyrim Civil War. The Stormcloaks and the like, that’s all it is. And then, the Fox News bit was just because of all the politics... not everything has to be this poignant, super important thing to say. Sometimes you can just do things because you like to do them, because it’s fun.

From an outside perspective, Todd quoting Shane from their Two Cow Garage days together summed up what I loved so much about hearing the meanings behind these songs: “I quoted him in the lyrics, it’s, uh… “We forget better stories than most people will ever know”. He said that to me a hundred times on the road. What he means is, like when you’re out there and you’re doing stuff, you’re kind of living that life, you see things every single day and everything’s a good story.” But he followed that with a wise personal touch that I appreciated even more: “I don’t think that’s specifically true, I took my kids to their first baseball game this weekend and that was, like, maybe a top-five thing for me. But the point was, there’s kind of a romanticism between band people about the things that you share, the camaraderie and all that, that nobody ever understands until you’re out there doing it. Maybe that’s a little bit of the theme of the record too, I just kind of wanted to tell some of those stories.

This was hands down my most enjoyable interview to date, my hope is that readers enjoy it a fraction of the amount I did. We talked about tons of great stuff that isn’t touched upon in the write up: his contributions to the new Kilograms full-length featuring Joe Gittleman, Sammy Kay, Mike McDermott and J Duckworth, explanations behind Goose catching on fire at Springwater and “when St. Louis stole all of our shit”, tour stoires and road wisdom, and a whole lot more. Scroll down for the brand new full-length Might as Well be Ghosts and the entire interview transcript.

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell Nasty Nate): So what’s kind of the timetable for you’re playing career? Like I know about the Dirty Birds, that’s some of my favorite music period, and I know about like Benchmarks, but I’m screwed up on the timetable. Because you did a solo-type record with some Dirty Birds stuff too, right? 

Todd Farrell Jr.: So, I’m trying to think, so you’re talking about the “Birds on Benches” record with like all acoustic versions. I did that, I think it was either last year or the year before, but I literally kind of did it as like I’m just hanging around my house and I have this microphone and a guitar, here’s how I play songs live these days. But so like I guess it all kind of started when, in 2011 or 12, I was working at a recording studio out in Kingston Springs, and I like self-recorded an EP where like I played everything myself, just to kind of see if I could do it. And I got trashed on a Drive-by Truckers message board, and then that was like weirdly a springboard into people knowing who I was. I was like, “well, I love the truckers, man, do whatever”. Anyway, then I put a band together, it was just like buddies, like Goose, he played bass in Benchmarks too, and my buddy Jack played drums. We did that and like did a little bit of regional stuff, we would get some decently cool opening things, and we got to open for Two Cow at the Basement in like 2013. I had known them before, but that’s when I kind of really got to know them. And they invited me to sit in with them a few times. But then I was playing guitar for this other girl that next spring on a South by Southwest run, I was just a hired gun guitar player. But we like hit all the same cities as Two Cow so I would just, after our show got done, go see them, and like we just hung out. Then that led to Shane asking me if I wanted to join the band. So I did that, and then simultaneously, we did Benchmarks. Benchmarks and the Dirty Birds are like the same band, but it was kind of like the fresh rebrand, I guess you could call it. We want to make this kind of aggressive, punk, but melodic, and songwriter-based music. And it’s not like “me and the someones,” it’s like this is the band. So we did the “American Night” EP in ’15, we did “Our Undivided Attention” in ’17 on SofaBurn Records, and then around that time, I walked away from Two Cow because I really wanted to focus on Benchmarks. Which leads of course to 2020, putting a record out in 2020 and COVID destroying everything. But it was all good, like I got married and had kids, and was very stoked about my home situation.

Now with Two Cow, like were you guys kind of on that show schedule where it’s like, I don’t know, like 300 shows a year or whatever it was?

It wasn’t 300 while I was in there, but it was definitely 150 plus. For a while it was like a month on, a month off, a month on, a month off. And by a month, I mean like six to seven weeks, kind of, and then a month off. It was a ton of fun, I learned just about everything I know about touring from being in that band, what to do and what not to do. I can’t say enough good things about my time with them. 

Well, I’m envious as fuck about doing that because that’s kind of what I’m trying to work my way up to, my goal is 100 shows in a year and my wife hates that. 

Honestly man, unless you go to the West Coast, you don’t need to be out for two or three weeks. It used to be you had to be out for more than a month to like break even because you had to find enough like anchor shows to make the trip worthwhile. But now it’s like, figure out where a good paying show is, book a few shows around it and do that. Then it’s good on your band’s sanity, it’s good on your band’s finances, you’re not overplaying. There was a minute in Two Cow and Benchmarks to where we were like in this exact same bar, playing to this exact same crowd two months ago in this town. That’s not really furthering this, you know, we don’t even have new merch. I think bands could be strategic about like how, when and where they tour. There’s a romanticism about being on the road your whole life, but I don’t think it’s sustainable for a band. Having said all that, there are parts of it that I do miss and I’m thankful that sometimes artists will take me and I get to play guitar or whatever. I haven’t done the touring on my own in a while, maybe I will if I get to do something with Sammy [Kay] or whatever.

That’s something I wanted to ask you because you’ve been pretty outspoken at your shows about like you’ve built this life for yourself that you really love with getting married and having kids. And that’s not super conducive to touring like you used to. But it seems like you’ve got a happy medium of you still get out like you went with Will Hoge, but you’re home with family too.

Yeah, like last year I went with Sammy and we did the support for Chuck Ragan. I’ve somehow stumbled into a good happy medium where like I have a full-time job here, I have kids, I have a wife, I have a family, I have a house. I do like normal dad shit, I coach a t-ball team. But I do still get calls to to do some road work every once in a while and these days, obviously if it’s a good paying thing I’m more likely to take it but sometimes with Sammy it’s like we’re opening for Chuck Ragan for five nights.

And you can’t say no to Sammy… *laughs*

To be fair I do say no to Sammy *laughs*, not because I don’t love him but because sometimes it’s like my kid’s birthday. I think I’m in a privileged situation, picking shows, like I know those calls aren’t always gonna be there forever, but like doing a long weekend or a week on the road with someone like Sammy or even like Will Hoge is still pretty cool, he’s on a level more than I’ve ever been a part of, and like I respect the hell out of him. He’s kind of living the dream, he’s also like a family dude, he’s got kids and a family and he’s made more sacrifices than probably I’m making to make that dream. I respect the hell out of him and it was an honor and privilege to do those things. I’m a big fan of his. My wife is a huge fan of his. And so I was like “Vicki, you know, I got a call to do a long weekender with Will Hoge”. That’s how I knew it was legit, my wife knew who he was by name and she knew some of the songs he’d written.

So with the the new record you talked on your EPK you sent me that it was mostly written and recorded over Covid. Were there any outliers, like old songs?

Yeah, there’s three specific ones. One is called “Separate Beds” and it’s like on YouTube, I played it at an in-store in Little Rock in 2015 or 16 or something, I also played the other songs at that same in-store. “Separate’ Beds” I wrote for my wife before we were married. And then this other one on the record is called “Nahmericana”, it’s on YouTube as something else. But I played an unofficial Americana fest thing at the 5 Spot and some guy told me like “your songs are great, but you talk too much about like Taylor Swift and black metal, like you really need to focus on your brand”. So I wrote that song in response to that. And then the third song, that was an earlier song called “Health and Safe Passage”. There is an artist named Chris Porter, he was in a lot of bands, like alt-country bands, Some Dark Holler was one, Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes with like John Calvin Abney who’s on that record. So anyway, Two Cow’s on tour at South by Southwest and we run into Porter at the bar, and we’re just hanging out and shooting the shit. He’s a good dude, we all know each other, we’re all friends. But like three weeks later, we’re on the West Coast in Santa Cruz and wake up to hear that there’s a van crash and Porter died in this crash. And I literally wrote those lyrics on my iPhone, I like walked from the hotel to the pier and sat there, wrote those lyrics down. And I didn’t think about it, literally, until when I was recording these songs, I was kind of like “what else could I put on here” and then I found those lyrics. And actually John Calvin Abney, who played with Porter a lot, he’s playing lead guitar on that. 

Does this this record kind of a theme?

I think it probably does, it’s probably kind of what we were talking about earlier. I think it has a lot to do with, like you said, where I’ve kind of found myself in this in-between position, like in the song “See You Next Year”. I’m just happy to do anything, I love to make music, I love to record, I love to play. And there was a time, especially during Covid, when I was pretty sure like nobody would ever play music again, I just thought it was not gonna happen. And you know Benchmarks had this whole album, tour flop because of Covid and everything and I was really upset about that. I was in that space kind of where whole world’s changing and I really gotta buckle down and do my normal job and I need to be a dad. I need to do all this stuff because I think music’s done. And then Joe Maiocco, who did kind of the creative direction for the album art, he convinced me, one, that that’s not the case, that it’s worthwhile to keep creating, and, two, that these songs deserve that these dongs deserve to see the light of day. I was just sending him iPhone demos like “here’s a song I wrote today, what do you think?” And he was finally like “Todd, you need to actually fuckin’ record these songs and put them out.” So I guess the theme is just, you know, make cool stuff. You can just make cool stuff and it doesn’t have to be this big extravagant thing. Like Benchmarks, to me, was like I need to make sure I’m printing up records and I need to do the merch and I need to play X number of shows a year and I need to do all this. And now I’m just happy I made a record and I get to play the 5 Spot sometimes, and sometimes people take me on tour to play guitar, and that’s cool. Like, there are so few amount of people in the world that get to do even that, and so I’m just thankful that I get to do even a taste of it, and that I got a big taste of it early on, and then now I still get to poke my head in there and do it. 

Well, I think that’s a great mindset to have, a great perspective to have on it.

I get the bug still though, you know. I get the bug that like, man, maybe I want to go back out on the road for, you know, whatever, months and months and months. There’s a lot of me that would be like, oh, that would be really fun. But I also just took my kids to Atlanta to see their first baseball game and I would never give that away. This is what that “Northern Lights” song is about, but just because I really love the situation I’m in now, doesn’t mean I don’t still occasionally look into what that other life was like and think it was really, really fun. So trying to like pull little bits of that into my current life, and exercise whatever kind of moderation I can in playing, and just trying to make myself happy and make those around me happy, it’s cool.

I always love talking to guys like you that have kind of been there and done that in terms of touring. It’s kind of what I’m trying to do now, you know, and you’ve done it. I’ve talked to other guys who have been out there and done it, and in a certain way it’s gotten old. It’s still fresh for me, I’m looking at it in a way like “oh, I could hit the road every day this year and just be gone all the time.” I know, like, that’s going to get old. It’s just really cool talking to you about that and it’s a very level-headed way to look at it. 

Well, it’s not even that it gets old, it’s just you kind of crave new adventures. Like I wanted to be a dad, and I wanted to take my kids to baseball games. And maybe that’s really, like, un-punk rock of me or whatever, but I think that’s something that’s important to me. So on that Dirty Bird’s record, there’s a song called “Pawn Shops”, it’s about selling my guitar. And that was written kind of from a perspective of a guy that has not done it yet. And it was, like, this bleeding-heart anthem of how much I want to get out there and do the thing. So on this record, I kind of challenged myself to write the spiritual successor to it. So that’s the first track, “Local Pickup Only”. And it’s the same theme, about selling guitars, and then the turn of both songs is, like, ending up not selling your guitars. But on this one, the perspective is different. This is the perspective of I’ve done these things already, but I still think this is a worthwhile thing to do.

That’s a perfect lead-in to what I had next because I wanted to talk about your one-liners. You’ve probably got, like, no exaggeration, some of my favorite one-liners in music. “Pawn Shop” is a prime example, like, “The hardest part when all your heroes play in bands, is finding out all you heroes live in vans”. Then right after “I’d sell my guitar to buy all my friends drinks at the bar.” I wanted to ask about some of the one-liners you had in “Local Pickup Only.” I mean you kind of just explained that as a follow-up to “Pawn Shop”. Being from St. Louis originally, I’ve gotta ask about the line about St. Louis stealing all of your shit.

That one was with Two Cow. This is my first tour with them, too. We played at the, I think it’s called the Demo, it’s not there anymore, next door to a record shop. Played the show, and this is when St. Louis was at its height of people stealing from bands. And we were like, “all right, we’re going to go out of our way, we’re going to spend money on a nice hotel with a nice locked-up garage”. We play the show, go back to the hotel. I brought my acoustic guitar in, which is like a $90 guitar I got at a pawn shop. All of our other gear’s in the van still. And we wake up the next morning, the van locks are popped, like everything’s gone, everything was stolen from us. It’s an interesting story too because somebody made a GoFundMe for us, and by the time we made it to Minneapolis, we had enough money to just buy new gear. We played at Triple Rock that next night, my first time playing at Triple Rock. But, we just played on borrowed gear from the other bands for the rest of that tour, and then we bought new stuff. But then it came out later, like in the last three or four years, they found all the people that stole everything, it was just this big theft ring. But all that was left was Shane’s bass because he had painted “Soldier of Love” on it and you couldn’t resell that without it being tracked. There’s a big Riverfront Times article, you should look it up, about how we found all our stuff on eBay, and like bid on it, and then they blocked us, and we showed the police and the police didn’t do anything.

What about the Springwater line, about Goose catching on fire? 

Goose and I used to play in a death metal band, this is in like 2000, maybe 2005, like a long ass time ago. And, we would play at Springwater. They did this thing called Metal Mondays in October, they would have a bunch of metal bands play. And, there was this band, I run into this dude sometimes, the guitar player from this band, they were called Good Lookin’ Corpse. They would like, take swigs of Bacardi 151 and Spitfire. But this is Springwater, you’re gonna blow that shit. And like Goose is the bass player in all these bands, I name dropped him in that song. He got it all, it like, singed all his arm hair off.

Probably my favorite was “the Dragons, just like I saw on Fox News” from, I think it was from “Hey you”.

The first verse is like, pretty real. Like I’m an older dude now, I have kids. I still have that glimpse of like, old band dude life, you know, “black metal t-shirts in my drawer that I can’t wear anymore” because I’m picking up my kids at daycare, that’s like the crux of that. The second verse is like, just off the wall, random, a COVID rambling I wrote down one time that I thought was really funny. Have you ever played Skyrim? 

Oh yeah absolutely.

So, it’s literally just describing the Skyrim Civil War. The Stormcloaks and the like, that’s all it is. And then, the Fox News bit was just because of all the politics. 

Well that gets a good laugh every time I’ve heard you play it live, everyone fucking loves that one.

And, you know, I think the roundabout of the whole thing is a little bit in theme with not everything has to be this poignant, super important thing to say. Sometimes you can just do things because you like to do them, because it’s fun. 

So what’s your favorite song on the record, do you have one? 

*laughs* I gotta remember what songs are on there. Um… I really “Local Pickup”, I really like “See You Next Year”, I have a few different versions of “See You Next Year”. And the version that’s on this is very specific in the way it was done, but it’s not the way I play it live. I kind of want to record the live version. I like “Northern Lights” a lot, that’s a song I wrote about touring with Sammy, actually. It was shortly after I left Two Cow, I was kind of still looking for work. Sammy called, and we did, like, a seven-weeker opening for the Creepshow. I flew into Jersey and met up with them, and we kind of played our way out that way, we went, like, from Jersey to California, up to Vancouver, back across Canada to Winnipeg, crossed over the border on Halloween night, played Minneapolis, and then Benchmarks met up with us in Minneapolis. So I played both sets on the way back down to Nashville and then they continued on the rest. This is in the fall of ’17 and I’m, like, two days into this seven-week-long tour and I get a call from my wife, I find out she’s pregnant. And, one, like, we can’t talk about it, I’m surrounded by people, we can’t like have private conversations on the phone and stuff. But we can’t also be together and, like, dissect that emotion or whatever. So it was, like, a month and a half before I saw her again. And then when I see her again, there’s two bands crashing in our place. But on that tour, we went all the way up to Fort McMurray, Canada, as far as North as I’ve ever been. And the club guy was like “if you drive, like, a few miles north, you can see the Northern Lights.” And we all thought that’d be awesome. But by the end of the show, everybody’s so tired, like we’ll see it next time, wherever. But, like, in my mind, I’m thinking, I don’t know if there’s gonna be a next time for me, I really wanna see it. So that was kind of about that, like that transitional phase, in theme with everything else, getting a good look at what you’re kind of leaving behind, that sense of adventure and discovery and everything. Kind of transitioning into that other, not adulthood, but into like, post-band life. Everything’s a story, I think. 

Well, that’s what I really like, I’ve gotten real into the Americana genre these past few years. It just happens to be it’s all punk guys that do Americana that I like. Like, Tim Barry, I think, does it better than anybody where it’s storytelling through song. He does it great. 

I’m trying to get better at this. I try to, like, be too flashy on the guitar when I’m writing songs, there has to be a lick or something. But Tim’s like, I’m gonna play G, D, C, and E minor and rip your heart out with those chords. It’s all his words and his melodies and it’s not about being flashy.

Well, I think you’ve got the storytelling part of it down, that’s what I love about some of your songs. You can tell it kind of is a story, not even between every song, but every verse. Like “Local Pickup Only”, you can tell there’s a story to everything you’re saying.

The theme of that song came from something Shane from Two Cow said to me. I quoted him in the lyrics, it’s, uh… “We forget better stories than most people will ever know”. He said that to me a hundred times on the road. What he means is, like when you’re out there and you’re doing stuff, you’re kind of living that life, you see things every single day and everything’s a good story. You see whatever’s funny or terrible or sad or beautiful or whatever, like… you experience life in such a different way than the monotony of, like, your day-to-day work. The best stories that you have, like, in your day-to-day are not as good as the worst stories that you have when you’re doing the thing. And I don’t think that’s specifically true, I took my kids to their first baseball game this weekend and that was, like, maybe a top-five thing for me. But the point was, there’s kind of a romanticism between band people about the things that you share, the camaraderie and all that, that nobody ever understands until you’re out there doing it. Maybe that’s a little bit of the theme of the record too, I just kind of wanted to tell some of those stories. 

That’s fucking rad, that fires me up. That’s exactly what I’m kind of going after with my band. The relatability and the storytelling has always been what appeals to me about punk. I mean, you go from, like The Bouncing Souls or NOFX to like Roger Harvey or Tim Barry or whoever, it’s all kind of the same… relatability and, like accessibility, I guess. 

It’s interesting for me. I kind of back-ended my way into punk. I was, like, a metal dude. And then I was really into, like, songwriters. I loved Richard Buckner, John Prine. I found Drive-By Truckers and Lucero, and those kind of bands. And that, like, back-ended me into punk music. So I’m not, like, the great authority on punk rock, other than playing in and with a bunch of cool punk bands. Like, I listen to it now. But that ethos that you’re talking about and those, like principles… the sense of community, I think, is the most important one. That existed across all those genres, but it’s very much rooted in that punk ideology. It’s not, like, the DIY thing as much as it is just a community of people that lift each other up, whether that be musically or actually lifting each other up physically in life. 

Well, it’s cool hearing from you, somebody who found punk in a drastically different way. Because I was, like looking for punk. And I found it, finally. And then I found, like, Lucero two years ago, maybe. And I found all these guys that are some of my favorite songwriters ever now. You know, like, Will Varley, Frank Turner, Brian Fallon I found because of Gaslight, and Dave Hause, I was a big Loved Ones fan before him. I almost respect them more as, like, it takes some balls to get up there just with an acoustic guitar and songwriting. It’s terrifying. Like, I’ve got nerves real bad being on stage, so I’ve got to have a few beers in me. I couldn’t imagine being by myself up there, I respect the fuck out of it. 

I used to be really bad at it, too. This is terrible. The show, I’m trying to think, this is 2013. I had booked back-to-back show, and I was opening solo for John Moreland and Caleb Caudle at the OG Basement. I, like, really fucked up the solo set. Like, I blew it, I was not good. My banter was bad, I didn’t play well, I forgot lyrics, I was so nervous. And then, the band show with Two Cow was, like, killer, probably the best the band ever sounded, probably why I got a job at Two Cow. For whatever reason, playing in a band was so much more natural to me than playing solo. But over the years, I’ve kind of figured out how to play solo, there’s no formula to it. It more just has to do with, like, being comfortable and knowing what you’re going to do.

When developing these songs, John Prine died, and so I started studying John Prine. And then one of my favorite bands and songwriters ever is The Weakerthans, John K. Samson of The Weakerthans. The way he writes, the way he crafts his songs to be conversations with the audience. A lot of these songs are like, John K. Samson, I’m just doing what I think he would do. Like that song, “Skulls and Antlers”, the chorus is just “I wanna start a blackened death metal band”. That’s just me trying to think what would John K. Samson do.

Going back to what you were saying about playing solo, maybe there’s also a little bit of I’ve changed my expectation of what I want my live performance to be. It used to be, man, I gotta make sure I get this many people in here so I can sell some records and t-shirts, I’m really nervous about everything. Now when it’s just me with an acoustic guitar, I can just play my songs, maybe selfishly or arrogantly, but I know they’re good because I’ve worked on them really well. I’ve already put the work in and I’ve practiced them at home. I guess maybe just from playing for years and years, I don’t have a stage fright thing anymore. I’m in total control. When I’m with a band now, I don’t have a lot of time to rehearse anymore so there’s some variables and I’m like, “we’ll see how this goes”. 

My love for Lucero, they’re a band that maybe people wouldn’t think I’m into because they’re not like a guitar-forward band per se, they’re not shredding or anything, they’re just like writing really good songs and playing it really well. That’s a band that probably changed my life on taking songwriting seriously and not just wanting to shred all day.

Ben Nichols, Sammy, and Dave Hause are probably the biggest friends of the site. Our head dude Jay knows all of them real well. You two may have met at some point, he was actually the one who told me about you and Micah seeing on Twitter the interview I did with Roger Harvey not too long ago.

Yeah I met Roger when he was living up in Pittsburgh, he’s a sweet dude too. 

I’m so glad he’s in town because I got to see him play, he was opening for Greg Barnett at the End, that’s how I found out about him. Fell in love with the dude’s music.

I was at that show, Mike Bay, Borrowed Sparks, was playing that show.

I missed his set because I drove from Chattanooga I think for that show. I’ve actually covered him for the site quite a bit too. But I’m the biggest Menzingers fan and I was like taking pictures for Greg Barnett and his family, hanging out with them, him and Eric Keen which was cool. That’s what I love about punk, how accessible it is. Even like the biggest names, like Fat Mike, my buddies have stories about being around him. It’s so accessible, everybody’s just a dude, I love it. The amount of big name guys I’ve met just here at the Cobra, dudes from TSOL, Sean Sellers was drumming for the Mad Caddies, I was smoking a cigarette with him out back.

It’s pretty cool that people hang here, there used to be no green room. I haven’t played here since it was Foobar. 

There’s a green room about the size of a bathroom in there and nobody hangs out in it, they all hang out out front. That’s what I’ve always loved about punk, no one’s got a big head because the ceiling for punk isn’t super high normally.

Speaking of “all our heroes live in vans”, I just remember during that period, I thought Two Cow was just the biggest band in the world, they were the most important band in the world to me and I’m getting to open up for their show. The coolest thing in the world. And then like a year later, I’m in the fucking band. I was like “that’s what this scene is, everybody is just a person”. Something I will say, from playing country gigs and just doing hired gun stuff for people that aren’t necessarily in that same punk ecosystem, like a lot of the Americana punk stuff is crossover, but I would do a lot of Broadway stuff or try to get on big country gigs. And it’s not the same, like right now, we’re saying a lot of names, but it’s not name dropping, it’s just like these are our friends. But people name drop and people get pissed when you try to do that. I don’t know, there’s just a weird vibe, you can’t talk about so and so was a good example.

So do you have any plans with the new record, are you doing any promotion shows for it or any pressings? 

I have nothing planned, and this is like, the most haphazard way I’ve put a record out. Everything else I’ve done has been so precise, and so planned, regardless of whatever band. Planned is probably a loose term, but at least we had a plan and a tour, and things like that. I don’t even have a show booked at the moment, and I know that’s not like, what you’re supposed to do, but I kind of just wanted to get the music out. I’ll probably play some local stuff. I would like to maybe do a quick regional run where I hit, like, places where they like me. So I might go to Atlanta, like, Raleigh, I might go to Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Dayton, Little Rock, Dallas, but I have no plans to do it at the moment. And I do it, it won’t be all at once, it’ll probably be like a couple weekends here and there, but I would like to. But I also wanna like coach my kids’ t-ball team on Saturdays.

What about with like Sammy, or just hired gig stuff, anything you can talk about?

I’m playing this CKY show with Electric Python here next week. I don’t have anything on the books with Sammy. He asked me to do something over the summer that I can’t do, with the Kilograms. 

The Kilograms are fucking unbelievable, dude. Were you on that new record?

Yeah, I played pedal steel on it. I literally did it in my living room, I haven’t even met them. They sent me the tracks I did in my living room, and like, we’ve talked on social media, but I haven’t officially met any of them other than Sammy. Which is funny how it all works these days because they recorded all that stuff in, like Cincinnati, and I don’t even know where Joe is, I assume he’s like in the Jersey area. But I guess that’s not like a far-fetched thing these days. Like, that Sammy tour that we did with Chuck Ragan was, like, me and Lydia Loveless and this guy Corey Tramontelli, who did a tour with Stuck Lucky from here recently. It was the four of us and Lydia and I knew each other before, but I didn’t know Corey. Sammy and I played together a lot. But we just kind of, like, the day of the first show got together and jammed for a half hour. I also did that Will Hoge tour, I learned 65 songs and we never rehearsed. The first time we played together was just, like, on stage, in front of, like, hundreds of people. Talking about nerves, I was terrified for the first, like, half of that set. I was terrified, because these guys play together a lot, and I have not. And, you know, like, you can learn songs, you can’t learn the way a band plays them live. You can’t learn, like, he’s gonna do this move that means we’re gonna stretch a verse. There’s a little variance.

That’s something that’s always blown my mind, how well people live can go along with variation in sets.

Dude, with Two Cow, there was a time, this era of Two Cow, we were just like a breathing unit that we knew exactly what we were all doing. We knew what each other was gonna do, and it was great. And that’s how I kind of perceived, like, the Will Hoge situation when I walked into that environment. I was, like, “man, they have that, but I am new here, so I don’t know what I’m doing”. I’m just, like, watching everybody very carefully. I slowly figured it out, I think that’s a cool thing about just bands and musical communication.

Well that’s about all I’ve got if there’s anything you wanted to add about the brand new record?

I guess if I want anybody to take anything away from, like, what I’m doing with this record is I’m not taking it too seriously, and I don’t think anybody should really take me too seriously. If you enjoy it, that’s awesome, and I’m stoked that anybody enjoys the stuff that I still do. I guess thank you to anybody who has listened, and thank you for being interested at all. Kind of like I said, I kind of thought that that creative side of my life might have been over during COVID, and so the fact that I still get to do anything is a gift. Every show I play is a gift, every time I record anything, every time I play with anybody, every time I get to have a cool conversation like this is a gift. So, just, like, thank you for taking your time to take interest in what I’m doing, and I appreciate it.

Yeah, that’s a great way to end it, I appreciate it dude.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS News: British ska-punks Faintest Idea releasing new album “The Road to Sedition”

British ska-punks Faintest Idea have announced their new album The Road to Sedition will be released on March 31st through TNS Records and Jump Start Records. Check out the first single “Nose Dive” below and pre-order the record here (US) or here (UK). The Road to Sedition will be the band’s first new album in […]

British ska-punks Faintest Idea have announced their new album The Road to Sedition will be released on March 31st through TNS Records and Jump Start Records. Check out the first single “Nose Dive” below and pre-order the record here (US) or here (UK).

The Road to Sedition will be the band’s first new album in 7 years, following 2016’s Increasing the Minimum Rage. The LP promises to deliver more of the “rage-fueled stomping infused with a good measure of bouncy ska” these guys are known for.

Faintest Idea will be touring the US for the first time ever this April with ska legends like The Slackers, The Pietasters and Fishbone. Peep the dates below while you’re listening that new track.

Tracklist:

  1. The Machine Stops
  2. Kill em Dead
  3. False Prophets
  4. Nose Dive
  5. Mutually Assured Confusion
  6. Hoods Up Heads Down
  7. Not Coming Back
  8. War to the Palaces
  9. Scream Into the Void
  10. Shell Shock
  11. The End of “The End of History”

US Tour Dates:

Mon, Apr 17th – Atlanta, GA at The Masquerade
Tue, Apr 18th – Charleston, SC at Tin Roof Alley
Wed, Apr 19th – Charlotte, NC at Neighborhood Theatre
Thu, Apr 20th – Blacksburg, VA at The Lyric w/The Pietasters
Fri, Apr 21st – Baltimore, MD at Soundstage w/Fishbone
Sat, Apr 22nd – Bensalem, PA at Broken Goblet Brewing/This Is Not Croydon Fest 4
Sun, Apr 23rd – Pittsburgh, PA at The Crafthouse

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS News: Codefendants announce debut album “This is Crimewave”, release music video for “Def Cons”

NOFX frontman Fat Mike and Get Dead singer Sam King’s genre-bending supergroup Codefendants have announced their debut album This is Crimewave. The LP is set to release on March 24th through the recently launched Fat Wreck Chords imprint Bottles To The Ground. They just released a music video for the latest single “Def Cons” and […]

NOFX frontman Fat Mike and Get Dead singer Sam King’s genre-bending supergroup Codefendants have announced their debut album This is Crimewave. The LP is set to release on March 24th through the recently launched Fat Wreck Chords imprint Bottles To The Ground.

They just released a music video for the latest single “Def Cons” and announced a spring US tour. Check all that out below and pre-order the record here.

This is Crime Wave features guest appearances from legendary rapper The D.O.C, as well as Stacey Dee of Bad Cop / Bad Cop and Seattle’s Onry Ozzborn. Four of the album’s 10 tracks have been released as part of an ongoing episodic music video series.

This is Crimewave tracklist:

1. Def Cons
2. Abscessed (feat. Get Dead and Onry Ozzborn)
3. Fast Ones (feat. The DOC)
4. Suicide by Pigs
5. Disaster Scenes (feat. Stacey Dee)
6. Prison Camp
7. Suckers
8. Brutiful
9. Sell Me Youth
10. Coda-fendants

Codefendants 2023 US tour dates:

14-Apr – San Francisco, CA – Bottom Of The Hill
16-Apr – Los Angeles, CA – Knitting Factory
17-Apr – Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
18-Apr – Mesa, AZ – The Underground
19-Apr – Flagstaff, AZ -Yucca North
20-Apr – El Paso, TX – Rockhouse Bar & Grill
22-Apr – Austin, TX – Carson Creek Ranch (w/ NOFX)
23-Apr – Houston, TX – The Secret Group
24-Apr – Dallas, TX – Sundown at Granada
25-Apr – Baton Rouge, LA – Chelsea’s Live
26-Apr – Murfreesboro, TN – Hop Springs
27-Apr – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
29-Apr – St Petersburg, FL – The Lost Festival
23-Jul – Tacoma, WA – LeMay – America’s Car Museum (w NOFX)

New Releases

Various Artists 04-07-2023
Mooorree Than Just Another Comp
The Menzingers 10-13-2023
Some Of It Was True
30FootFall 05-05-2023
Maybe You Could Be The One

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.