Search Results for: minneapolis

Search Archives Only

Banner Pilot

Banner Pilot is a punk band from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bob Mould

Robert Arthur Mould (born October 16, 1960) is an American musician, principally known for his work as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and Sugar in the 1990s. He has released a total of fifteen studio albums as a solo artist, the most recent of which was Blue Hearts back in 2020.

Bugsy

Based in Minneapolis, Bugsy is self-described as “an indie pop quartet with flowery flourishes and emo highlights.”

Christy Costello 

Minneapolis, MN 

“Mother, guitar & bass player, singer, talent buyer, DJ, yogi.”

Dillinger Four

Dillinger Four is an punk rock band formed in 1994 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

DS Album Review: The Hold Steady – “The Price Of Progress”

There exists a small handful of bands that I feel like, in some ways, I’ve grown up alongside. I feel like if you’re an active music listener, once you get to about your mid-twenties, you reach a point where the current bands that you’re listening to have transitioned from being bands of your parents’ generation […]

Band photo: Shervin Lainez

There exists a small handful of bands that I feel like, in some ways, I’ve grown up alongside. I feel like if you’re an active music listener, once you get to about your mid-twenties, you reach a point where the current bands that you’re listening to have transitioned from being bands of your parents’ generation (or at least your cool uncle’s generation, although my parents were and are pretty cool so I’m lucky that way) to bands that are in that sort of in-between-but-still-older generation to, finally, bands that are basically your peers. People who are right in your same age bracket and same general socioeconomic bracket and with whom you shared a series of experiences, both personally and culturally, even if you never met and instead lived hundreds or thousands of miles apart. As a result, they resonate with you on a level that is just different and more personal than the music of your formative years. They become “your” bands, and you continue to grow and change and amass shared life experiences and go through different phases arm-in-arm (and maybe if you’re lucky you get to meet them along the way and share actual experiences that only serve to confirm their place in your life). So if you’ve read anything that I’ve written over the last dozen years here at Dying Scene, you’re probably aware that The Loved Ones/Dave Hause and Gaslight Anthem/Brian Fallon and Lucero/Ben Nichols comprise probably 3/4ths of my own personal Mt. Rushmore. The fourth and final spot undoubtedly belongs to The Hold Steady.

In many ways, The Hold Steady itself has grown up quite considerably along the way. In a literal sense, they’ve gone from a four-piece to a five-piece to a differently-assembled five-piece to a six-piece to a six-piece that sometimes has horns. Musically, the band has long-since moved on from being simply “America’s best bar band” to a band that has continued to level-up musically and push the sonic boundaries of what it means to be The Hold Steady. That is never more evident than on The Price Of Progress, the newest of the band’s nine studio full-lengths.

Due out today (happy new release day!), The Price Of Progress is a bit of a journey. I was lucky enough to receive a press copy long enough in advance that I decided to give the album a full couple of listens and then put it aside for a while and then revisit it before it came time to write the actual review. I’m glad I did, because The Price Of Progress is a bit of a journey. In many ways, it may be the “least Hold Steadyish” album of the nine in their ouevre. Few and far-between are the drunken, sweaty burners and the cathartic, sing-along-in-exultation choruses and the ripping guitar solos or even the extended keyboard jams. Those first couple of listens a few months ago left me with the vague impression that “well…that’s different.” And yet, in the time that’s ensued, I can’t help but shake the feeling that, in a lot of ways, maybe this is their “most Hold Steadyish” album to date. Let’s get into the weeds.

Were I to pick one word to best describe The Price Of Progress, that word would have to be ‘theatrical,’ and I mean that in the literal sense of the word in that the bulk of the album’s ten tracks create the impression that you’re watching a play unfold before you. Ten sets of different characters performing in front of a studio audience, all narrated at side-stage by frontman Craig Finn’s trademark sprechgesang vocal stylings. “Grand Junction” gets the festivities underway and the atypical time signature (6/8? I think? I’m not good at musical theory but I think it’s 6/8 and I asked my brother and he’s a music teacher and he said yes so we’ll go with that) is an immediate signal that we’re not in Kansas (or Brooklyn…or Minneapolis) anymore, Toto. Tad Kubler and Steve Selvidge trade off some nifty guitar work in the bridge that’s as close as we’re getting to a solo. “Sideways Skull” comes next, and was an early single for a reason as it is probably the most “Hold Steady song on the record. It feels like it could be set in a universe that’s a continuation of Open Door Policy‘s “Family Farm.” There are big, swirling guitar sounds and a big, cathartic build-up with plenty of oozin’ aahs. Lyrically, it’s filled with the dark humor and oddly specific references (“the jacket held together by the rock band patches”) that somehow make the imagery instantly relatable, as does the referential nod to the home state shared by both THS multi-instrumental wizard Franz Nicolay and I. “Carlos Is Crying” has a super fun swing in the verse, complete with a spanky guitar groove and some layered harmonica and keys (from Nicolay, no doubt) providing the texture. Wonder if the dickhead in Denver is the same fella that cut his hair in the airport bathroom back on Thrashing Thru The Passion?

Understudies” is a real unique and interesting song. There’s a slow-build organ-centered intro that provides the backbone until the Bobby Drake’s drums kick in about a minute later, then there’s a super theatrical Galen Polivka bass groove laid down over some dramatic strings. Lyrically it’s layer upon layer of metaphor and it’s tough to tell if you should take the story literally or figuratively or if it even matters which one you choose. “Sixers” is one of my favorites. There are a couple of big pseudo-starts that hint at a musical direction before the real mood is revealed as a mid-tempo rock song. There’s no real chorus per se, but there is at least what seems like a standard structure, but then we get to an interlude that just kind of takes over. It’s one of the REAL theatrical vignettes, and it’s followed by “The Birdwatchers,” a song that caught me off guard at first but has become a very strong favorite. There’s a real interesting musical bed/intro, and it like “Sixers,” it plays as a theatrical vignette. There are horns, but they largely serve as texture and not a lead instrument, though they do devolve into a bit of a free-jazz sound at times. There are also bells and chimes, and the curtain just kinda ends on the song and the story, the latter of which is also riddled with metaphor and double meaning.

“City At Eleven” has no real chorus. It may be the most “Craig Finn-ish” song on The Price Of Progress. “Perdido” which translates to “lost” and which has an almost hypnotic guitar melody, a evokes a sort of slowed-down version of the Ella Fitzgerald/Duke Ellington standard with which it shares a name. “Distortions Of Faith” is a smoky, blues waltz number. The guitars are drenched in reverb and the song has a long, descending outro. “Flyover Halftime” brings our procession to a close with what is maybe the second “Hold Steadiest” song on the album. The guitars growl but they don’t overpower. We’ve got a hornets reference! And we’ve also got a fan on the field…

Because of its focus on scope and texture and scenery rather than catchiness or bombast or catharsis, The Price Of Progress is more of a grower than a shower, but it’s also the kind of album, that once it does grow, it takes over and becomes probably The Hold Steady’s most instantly re-listenable album since at least Teeth Dreams (I know the fanboys will be in a tizzy over that statement, but that’s a great rock and roll album and you know it).

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Exclusive: Check out Minneapolis punk solo artist J.P. Winters’ new video for his debut single “Never Blending In”

Dying Scene’s always been about putting the spotlight on new bands and today we’ve got another bitchin’ new band err… solo artist! for you to check out. Everyone say hello to J.P. Winters from the home of the four time Super Bowl losing Vikings, also known as Minneapolis, MN! We’re premiering the video for his […]

Dying Scene’s always been about putting the spotlight on new bands and today we’ve got another bitchin’ new band err… solo artist! for you to check out. Everyone say hello to J.P. Winters from the home of the four time Super Bowl losing Vikings, also known as Minneapolis, MN!

We’re premiering the video for his brand new debut single “Never Blending In”. Check that shit out below, and stay tuned for more to come from Mr. Winters in 2024, such as: More music! A podcast! Other cool things! Follow him on Instagram to keep up.

This premiere is brought to you in part by Punk Rock Radar. If you’d like your band’s music video to be premiered by Dying Scene and Punk Rock Radar, go here and follow these instructions. You’ll be on your way to previously unimagined levels of fame and fortune in no time!

Video produced by Randall Kilgore

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Interview: 75% of the Brokedowns on their Highly Anticipated 6th Full-Length, due out Jan. 20th on Red Scare

Sometimes referred to as Chicago’s best kept secret and other times called the funniest band on Red Scare, for all of us not currently living in Chicago, we know them simply as The Brokedowns. After officially closing the book on 2022 on a high note with a live show during the late hours of December […]

Sometimes referred to as Chicago’s best kept secret and other times called the funniest band on Red Scare, for all of us not currently living in Chicago, we know them simply as The Brokedowns. After officially closing the book on 2022 on a high note with a live show during the late hours of December 31, they claimed the honor of the last band of 2022 at Reggie’s Rock Club and rang in the New Year in style. Their 2023 is started off on an even higher note, however, with the release of the quartet’s 6th studio album titled “Maximum Khaki”, the band’s fourth release on Chicago label Red Scare.

Out of the gates, the group’s first single “Obey the Fumes” damn near knocks your fuckin’ teeth in. Lead guitarist Kris Megyery kicks the song off with a killer, in-your-face opening riff that sets an excellent tone for the next thirteen tracks of this quick, humorous, thought-provoking punk masterpiece.

In my opinion, this record is what a punk record should be. The songs are fast, both in tempo and duration, with only one track breaking the three-minute threshold (and even that comes in at an even three minutes). The release comes equipped with intriguing, chuckle-inducing song titles that, upon questioning with the band, have both deep and sincere subject matters. After listening from beginning to end and finding myself starting over, I fully understand the pride that these guys hold in their finished product.

“There’s nothing I really regret on [the record],” said Megyery. “At this point I’m usually like ‘Fuck it’s coming out in a few days, this sucks.’ But not with this one, that’s a good feeling to have.”

Keep scrolling for all kinds of cool stuff: music videos for “Obey the Fumes” (which coincidentally was done over a Zoom call as well) and “Samurai Sword Decontrol”, info for their record release show January 28th at the Burlington in Chicago, and the full Q&A with Eric, Kris and Mustafa. Cheers!

Header Photo by Meredith Goldberg

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

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): So first off, congrats on the new record. I know it’s not technically out yet as of this intervew, but I’ve listened to it several times and I love it guys. How long has this been in the works, I know your last release 2018?

Kris Megyery (KM): Yeah I think we started recording in February but we did the bass tracking March 7th 2020. So pretty much we started recording right before the pandemic and then we finished it up like last summer.

So you started recording back in 2020, but are these songs a lot older than that?

Mustafa Daka (MD): I remember, Kris, we recorded for like a split or something and you were like hey while we are at it, let’s just like demo all these songs you had just shown us, so like there’s a kind of a real rough recording of all those songs like a year earlier so like 2019?

KM: Right yeah it was that Copyrights cover song for the Red Scare comp. And my idea was to try to record a whole album that we’ve never practiced once and I thought it would go awesome *laughs*. And we did, we recorded that Copyrights song and then we just like live recorded the whole album and I remember during the session being like ‘holy shit this is gonna work’, like we just did the whole album in like a couple hours. And then we got home and listened to it and we were like ‘oh this is a turkey’. *laughs* So we went back like a year later to perfect them.

So I always like to ask this with new releases, did you just kind of collect these songs over time after your last release or was it like ‘alright let’s write another record’ and you just sat down wrote songs and recorded?

KM: Yeah the way we operate as a band for at least the last 10 years since I’ve had kids is pretty much just like whoever writes a song, like me or John, we make demos with the song and then everyone kind of learns it from the demo, like we don’t “get in the lab” *laughs* or spend tons of time. Like this shit all goes really fast because it has to. So it wasn’t over time and we never do that over time. Usually like we don’t even think about recording anything until we have a chunk of songs. There’s never like we’re just knocking around one song like normal bands do. Normal bands are like ‘hey let’s work on this one song and it slowly grows’, where us it’s like we binge it all man*laughs*.

MD: I will say, it’s been funny that Kris, since you’ve had kids, you are real quick to just hit us with like a bunch of demos and some of it’s like a Casio drum kit and everything or sometimes it’s just like the drums that he’s got laying around that he micd up. But you’ll hear his kids all over it, so I think it’s awesome. Where you have kids that might kind of get in the way of your being able to write and record demos, Kris kind of just combines those two times together so it’s like ‘well I’m gonna hang out with these kids, they may as well get involved’ *laughs*.

KM: Where a normal person would be parenting, I’m demoing *laughs*.  

So does this record kind of have a theme, I know like with your last release you tackle like some of the thrills of living in the Midwest. Does this have any kind of main theme or does each song kind of have a different theme?

KM: Well a lot of our songs are like political in nature I guess. The last one was actually a lot more personal songs about like growing up and shit, and a lot of like bummer songs. The year we wrote that album like we had a bunch of people close to us die in like one short period of time, so that’s a bummer record for me. But this one is definitely more about just the cultural nightmare we’re all going through, living in our country and you know all that stuff, all that groovy shit.

Where’s the name of the record come from, Maximum Khaki?

KM: So the word khaki, I kept using as this like reference to just like the banality of evil, like bland evil, not referencing like the soldiers, but referencing the accountants who are making the atrocities happen. And when I would write a song I would have the word khaki written in there. It probably started from that Charlottesville rally you know where everyone was wearing khakis, probably stemmed from that. I think John brought it up, he’s like ‘there are like 6 songs where you mentioned khaki’. So khaki was used as a reference to just like bland cruelty. And we were going to call the record “Khaki Majesty” and right before we started making artwork for it the Slow Death from Minneapolis who we’re friends with announced their new album “Casual Majesty”.

MD: I think I told those dudes, I was like ‘you know we’ve got an album coming out called “khaki majesty”, but yeah not anymore’.

KM: I didn’t blame them or anything, but they definitely heard from our attorneys *laughs*.

MD: Yeah I don’t talk to those guys anymore *laughs*.

I know your artwork for the album always comes into question, what drew you to Ryan Duggan for this record cover?

KM: We love him. He did the album “Species Bender” and we love that record cover of ours. And we’ve always loved everything he does and he does with his artwork what I think we’re trying to do as a band, which is like be funny but not be overtly funny; be kind of very subtly funny. And he probably doesn’t want to be connected to us that way *laughs* But it just always makes me smile, always makes me giggle and always makes me think in a nonlinear way, so kind of a no brainer [to go with him]. He’s always been like doing posters and stuff like that around Chicago, and in the last 10-15 years he’s really developed a reputation. He’s got a really unique style.

So starting with “Obey the Fumes” that’s a kickass opener, that’s an awesome opener you guys put out. Walk me through kind of the meaning behind that because I know you said it was about breaking bad habits in one of the press releases, but can you dive in a little bit deeper maybe?

KM: Yeah, initially, like in my head what I see is like an 80s beer commercial where you’re working in a factory, you wipe your brow, you crack open a cool Coors. But in our like dystopian hellscape that we live in, it’s like glue. So you go to your job, and in this case the protagonist of this song goes to a job where he gets skull-fucked by demons every day, and he just wants to crack open a nice thing of glue and fuckin’ cut loose. But that’s the funny version, but it’s like about trying to break bad habits, specifically drinking, like negative drinking habits in a culture where it’s everywhere.

That was actually one of my favorite tracks off the record, do each of you guys have any favorites you’re excited for people to hear once it’s released on Friday?

MD: I love our samurai sword song, that’s probably one of my favorites and I think is the only song that I used to click track on for that whole album.

Eric Grossman (EG): I like that song yeah. “Cinnamon Kings” is probably a highlight for me.

KM: Yeah that song “Cinnamon King” is like our favorite probably. It’s only like 15 seconds long, but so much fun to play. Been playing it live for like three years, we love that one. I like it all, I think it all kind of moves really fast, it’s super short, it’s like our shortest record. It moves along pretty quick, there’s nothing I really regret on it and at this point I’m usually like ‘Fuck it’s coming out in a few days, this sucks’. But not with this one, that’s a good feeling to have.

Yeah I know guys that regret releases they put out because they do it in such a short amount of time, so I mean that’s a good feeling to have.

KM: I wanna warn the listeners, I may be wrong. You might hate this *laughs*, don’t take my word for it, I’m too closely attached to it to have a unbiased opinion.

So I gotta ask you then, some of these other titles are very intriguing. “Honk if You’re Horny” *laughs*?

KM: *laughs* Yeah real subtle.

Tell me about “Osama Van Halen.”

MD: It sounds funny to hear.

KM: It’s a real bummer, but it’s funny. But I was thinking about just like how you know Eddie Van Halen was an innovator, in a very creative way, but like Osama Bin Laden was also an innovator you know what I mean *laughs*, just in a different way. So like the chorus is about like a 4 minute mile because it took forever for people to run it, but once people ran a 4 minute mile like everybody was doing it. So once Eddie Van Halen fuckin’ busted out a power drill every jack off with a power drill could do that. But once someone does whatever fuckin’ atrocities in the newspaper every week, once you see that it makes it that much easier for the next dildo to do that.

That’s actually really cool, I wasn’t sure which direction you were gonna go with that *laughs*. So this is your 4th release over at Red Scare, I take it you’ve had a pretty good experience over there with Toby?

KM: Definitely yeah! Yeah he’s great.

MD: He sends me hoodies and shirts sometimes, and pens, it’s awesome.

EG: Lots of swag. Moose has to pay for them but he gets them *laughs*. When Moose orders it, he gets it.

MD: Sometimes I get $0.69 off and sometimes I get $4.20 off *laughs*.

So from what I’ve seen, the Chicago and Chicago suburbs, the whole scene is flourishing, makes me jealous down here because it just seems like you guys have stuff going on every night. What are some local bands that you guys want to name drop as influences or just bands you’re into?

MD: Wig, I love Wig. I love Permanent Residue, they’re fantastic. Salvation, of course Meat Wave is one of my favorite all time bands. Lollygagger‘s a great band, shit I could keep going. Oh, Avantist.

KM: I’m listening to that Stress Positions EP over and over again for the last couple weeks that’s fuckin’ kicking my head in. Obviously Meat Wave, all the bands Moose said, Wig. Yeah there’s a lot of good shit, there’s always good shit it’s the third largest city in America. Where are you at?

I’m down in Nashville.

KM: Oh yeah that’s not a place known for music *laughs*.

Speaking of locals, Deanna Belos, in “Corndog Sonnet” she named you guys. So when are you guys gonna the line “listen to Sincere Engineer” in one of your songs *laughs*.
MD: I don’t write lyrics

KM: It’s hard to work that in, I’ll figure it out. It’s a little lengthy. It’ll probably be in a super offensive song title, she’ll be like ‘hey thanks but no thanks’ *laughs*.

What about outside of Chicago, what kind of influences do you guys have?

KM: Well the obvious answer, everyone compares us to, collectively we all love Dillinger 4. That was like a huge influence for us. Fugazi’s like my favorite band of all time, that’s creeps in there a lot you know.

MD: Toys That Kill

That’s actually the one that you guys reminded me of on this last record, it’s actually in my notes for the interview *laughs*.

MD: I will absolutely rip off Toys That Kill. Jimmy will send me a text message for like whatever we put out and be like ‘oh I heard it’s great’ and I’ll be like ‘listen to this song, that’s the song I totally ripped you off’ *laughs*. I always am like thinking of Toys That Kill whenever I’m playing somehow, I just love love love those guys and I love their drums.

So your album release is on the 28th, where are you guys playing that?

EG: That’s at the Burlington, which is also pretty close to Moose.

MD: I like it because it’s pretty close to the practice spot so it’s like you just gotta pick up the gear, drive just a few blocks and go right back.

KM: Moose’s love for venues are all based on geography *laughs*.

You’re playing with Chinese Telephones, Dangerous Chairs and Permanent Residue, have you guys played with all those guys before?

KM: Chinese Telephones we haven’t played with in at least 10-12 years. And the other two bands we’ve never played with, but we’re friends with all of them. We wanted to play with bands we haven’t played with in at least a decade or never, but they’re all great super great and I’m super excited for all of them. I love them all.

What about your guy’s strict touring schedule? In one of your interviews you said out of town shows 3 a year, do you have those three out of town dates booked up yet or what’s the plan?

KM: There’s a bidding war going on, it’s like when a city hosts the Olympics because when we come to a town it brings a lot to the local economy *laughs*, the dispensaries.

MD: No we haven’t booked anything yet out of town, but we’re gonna definitely play a lot more this year hopefully. We might do as many as four shows out of town *laughs*.

EG: Yeah maybe. We’re talking about maybe.

So when did you guys form, I’ve seen a few different dates, but I’ve come up with 2002?

EG: What you define as the band as it is today was 2002 yeah. John and I have been playing together for a really long time, way before that probably ‘96 or ’97, somewhere around there. I mean we weren’t really serious about it and the band that you see today was 2002. I think that was when we first played with you Moose, right?

MD: Right, I used to watch you guys from like ‘96 and then in 2002 is when I joined the band, holy shit *laughs*.

KM: Yeah we should have changed our name when Moose joined because I feel like it all became kind of different.

MD: But I saw the first Brokedowns show, I wasn’t in the band but I think John was fourteen I was 18

EG: Yeah I think I had just joined the band at that point. I don’t know if I even played that one maybe I wasn’t in yet.

KM: But John was like a fuckin’ 7th grader *laughs*.

MD: I have a DVD that my friend’s uncle sent me and it has the Brokedowns playing like before you and I were in the band Kris. I think it was Taylors last show in the band. Kris and I weren’t even in the band at the time, Eric was but …

KM: Today those are referred to as the who gives a shit years *laughs*.

I’ve talked to a lot of guys who have either quit music or stopped for an extended period of time after doing it for so long, and I mean you guys have been at this for a while and I mean, based on the new record, it doesn’t seem like you guys are slowing down. What’s kept you guys going?

KM: We’re all very close friends and we don’t do much and even when like we were young, the band was never like the top priority. And because it’s never been the top priority, we’ve never had to like really sacrifice. It’s created a very low pressure situation you know.

MD: I always said it was like fishing buddies, but we play music together instead. It’s like when we lived together, sometimes our Fridays are Saturdays would be just going into like Kris’s garage or whatever and just playing for hours, get drunk in the process and sweat it out right.

KM: It’s just as simple as like if someone doesn’t want to do something, we don’t do it. And then the three people that did wanna do it just quietly resent them behind their back *laughs* and we vent to each other about how terrible that person.

MD: It’s always Kris, we always hate Kris.

KM: That’s funny because I always hate you *laughs*.

MD: Oh shit that’s so funny because I hate you even *laughs*.

KM: Honestly though, 21 years, like the band is old enough to legally drink now and I can’t think of an actual fight, like a single one.

EG: I don’t think so, no.

MD: Maybe something I did, probably. If we fought, it had to have been about something I wanted to do or didn’t wanna do.

KM: I love that false modesty there *laughs*.

So you guys have been referred to as the funniest guys on red scare, who’s second, who’s coming for your title right now? I saw Sam Russo a few months ago and that dude was pretty funny.

KM: Wow. We would never say we’re the funniest. Brendan Kelly is obviously insanely funny. The Copyrights are really funny, they’re super funny.

MD: Like personally those guys are funny as hell.

KM: They refer to movies as Kilmers and books as Grishams; every book’s a Grisham and every movie’s a Kilmer, that’s a good bit *laughs*. I love that bit.

Okay, last question here. I know the record’s not even out yet, but do you guys have any other upcoming plans far future maybe? I know you’re kind of known for doing splits, do you have any of those planned for the coming future?

EG: Not really, we don’t have anything planned. Got a bunch of stuff demoed.

MD: I was gonna say Kris already sent us demos for whatever we’re gonna do next, it’s probably gonna be a split.

Any bands that come to mind for doing splits?

KM: We were supposed to do one with Canadian Rifle actually, so probably them. But they recorded their songs and we never recorded ours *laughs*. So we blew that one. But there was a pandemic, in case you didn’t notice *laughs*.

Well that about wraps everything up, I really appreciate you guys taking some time and sitting down with me. Once again, congrats on the new record and good luck with the album release on the 28th.

 

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

DS Interview: Greg Norton on the legacy of Husker Du, surviving cancer, and his kickass new supergroup, UltraBomb

If ever there was a band that exemplified how the changes in the music business since the dawn of the Covid pandemic both giveth and taketh away, you could reasonably make the argument that that band is UltraBomb. Since the band is still in its relative infancy with a grand total of one live show […]

If ever there was a band that exemplified how the changes in the music business since the dawn of the Covid pandemic both giveth and taketh away, you could reasonably make the argument that that band is UltraBomb. Since the band is still in its relative infancy with a grand total of one live show and one album that is almost officially released in all the current formats of the day, we’ll give you the so-called twenty-five-cent version first.

UltraBomb is a three-piece international supergroup, and I know the term supergroup gets thrown around somewhat liberally from time to time, but this one checks whatever boxes you need it to check for that term to apply. The band consists of Dublin-by-way-of-Canada based Mahones frontman Finny McConnell on vocal and guitar duties, Jamie Oliver (the one from UK Subs and SNFU, not the chef, though they’re both based in the UK so you can’t be 100% sure of that I suppose) on the drums and none other than Minnesota icon Greg Norton of Husker Du fame holding down the low-end.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Norton for a super fun phone call about how the project came together, and the story is an interesting combination of a sign of the 21st century digital times and good, old-fashioned punk rock. After about a decade-and-a-half away from the music world altogether post-Husker Du, Norton dipped his toes in the water and eventually started playing in Minneapolis-based three piece band Porcupine. Eventually, Porcupine’s bandleader decided to change direction, leaving Norton again without an active band. Enter: the magic of Facebook. “Finny and I had been Facebook friends for quite a while. (He) is a huge Husker fan,” Norton explains. Once Finny saw that Norton was bandless, “he sent me a message and he’s like “well, I’ve got this idea. I know the greatest punk rock drummer on the planet, Jamie Oliver. He drums for the UK Subs, and I think we should put a band together.

As it turns out, this may have been news to none other than Jamie Oliver, save for a little behind-the-scenes finagling. “At the same time (he was messaging me,” Norton explains, “Finny messaged Jamie and said “hey, let’s put a band together with Greg Norton!” And Jamie’s like “I’m in!” With step one – the lineup – now set, the band got to work on the other important early band decisions. “We were trying to figure out a name for the band, and a friend of Jamie’s suggested UltraBomb.” Boom, step two: complete. “I had a photo of my daughter Coco with the lollipop and sunglasses, and a friend of mine locally here in Red Wing took that photo and put the atomic bomb in the background, and I’m like “holy crap, I’ve got the album cover!” I slapped “UltraBomb” on that picture and sent it over to Jamie and Finny and they’re like “That’s it!

With a band lineup and name and album cover all squared away in relatively short order in August 2021, there came the came somewhat superfluous next steps of A) actually meeting each other and B) actually working on music. Turns out, Finny had a plan for that too. The following month, the Mahones frontman was playing a series of solo shows in Europe, and just so happened to have some time booked at a studio in Berlin. Jamie, as fate would have it, was also going to be in Berlin. All they needed was Greg. As he tells it, “Finny mentions to me that he’s got four days booked in a studio, and all of a sudden it’s like “well, I should go to Berlin…” I had never met these guys. I book a flight, fly to Berlin, Jamie picks me up at the airport, and that’s the first time we meet face-to-face. The next morning, we’re in the studio getting set up, and Finny shows up, and that’s the first time we had ever met face to face too. It was the first time the three of us had been in a room together. We get set up, Finny had been writing riffs for the band, and that first day we wrote four songs. The second day we wrote the following six.”

The result of that whirlwind, four-day session, is Time To Burn. It’s ten originals plus a Norton-fronted cover of the Dead Boys’ classic “Sonic Reducer,” all banged out in less time than it took me to transcribe our conversation (below). It’s got a raw, throwback vibe, as you might expect from an album that was essentially written on the fly in the studio and grew out of a collection of basic riffs Finny had stored up and a volume of lyrics that Norton just happened to have with him that weren’t initially set to any real music. And while the band essentially got together over Facebook Messenger and the album essentially came together over the course of a long weekend, getting to the point where there was a physical album available for the general public to get its respective grubby little mitts on AND getting to the point where the multi-national trio could play shows together has been a grind of epic proportions.

There were tour dates canceled due to the waxes and wanes of Covid restrictions. There were production hold-ups because, as you might have heard, Adele and Taylor Swift and Beyonce released albums on vinyl and gummed up the works. And then, last summer, there was the most serious hold-up yet, when Norton was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Routine bloodwork revealed a possible diagnosis and a referral to a urologist, and from there, things escalated quickly. “They do an MRI, they do a biopsy, they kind of map out everything that they want to look at, and then you get on the surgery schedule,” says Norton. While the band did have to cancel a run of England tour dates as a result, they were able to squeeze in a one-off show – their first ever – in Minneapolis last July. Four days later, Norton was on the operating table. “I was in the hospital for one night,” Norton explains. “They want you to get up and walk around and be active and get back to your regular normal life as quick as possible.”

Norton is quick to point out that his follow-up appointments and his margins after the operation are all A-OK, so he can finally get back to that “regular normal life” of a touring musician. Not only are physical copies of the record FINALLY just about available (with a little help from DC-Jam Records) tonight, May 11th, UltraBomb will play not only their second-ever show when they hit the stage at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, but it’ll mark the beginning of a tour that’ll keep them on the road for the rest of the month. They’re teaming up with Bar Stool Preachers for a run of eighteen shows in twenty days – the longest run Norton will have been on since the last real Husker run decades ago. It’s a run that Norton and the crew are excited to finally be undertaking. “I’m sure nostalgically I look back on those (lengthy van-based Husker Du tour) days and remember them fondly. But the reality is I’m sure we’ll be in the van and going like “how many more hours do we have to go? I have to pee!

The UltraBomb/Bar Stool Preachers “It’s Got Legs Tour” runs from May 11th in St. Paul to May 31st in Denver, making stops in places like Memphis and St. Louis and Phoenix and LA and, of course, Punk Rock Bowling, along the way. Check out the full rundown here! You can stream Time To Burn below on Spotify and, most importantly, scroll down for our full chat, complete with lots of goodies about the Husker Du days, his fourteen-year-absence from even touching a bass, his entries into the free jazz movement, and much more!



Oddly enough, yes, the following Q&A is condensed for clarity and content purposes.

Dying Scene (Jay Stone): Thanks for doing this! I consider this an honor and a privilege, man. As a fan for a long, long time, it’s really cool to be able to get to chat with you, so thanks!

Greg Norton: You bet! So you’re in Massachusetts?

Yeah, I live just north of Boston.

Ok! I loved playing Boston back in the day. Some epic, epic fun times.

So, I’m in my mid-40s and that makes me the right age to have not been old enough to see Husker Du live…where would Husker have played in Boston? I’m trying to think of what was around for venues back in the day…The Channel probably? Or The Rat?

We played The Rat several times, we played The Channel several times. I can’t recall the venue that we played there towards the end, after The Channel (Editor’s note: it was Paradise in 1986 with Soul Asylum opening or it was The Orpheum Theater in 1987 with The Feelies opening. I know, right? Here’s a link to a sweet Husker database I found after we spoke.) Boston was on our very first trip East, and I remember coming into town and we were thinking that we were going to have to rebuild a fanbase and grow it from the ground up like we did out West. And we got to Boston, and the show was packed, and it’s like “oh, there’s this thing called college radio now, and there’s a lot of colleges in Boston!” 

And a lot of music colleges specifically!

Right! For sure! Probably a year and a half after that (editor’s note: 3/22/84), REM called and asked us if we wanted to open for them at the Harvard Fieldhouse. We were like “hell yeah!” So we tacked on a couple extra shows and drove out there. Playing with Mission of Burma out there was great. A lot of really great memories of Boston.

As someone who was born at the very end of the 70…

So you were just a wee lad during the Husker years!

I know! I’ve been in and around the scene in this area for a long time now. I grew up in New Hampshire, but we were close enough to Boston that depending on the conversation, you could call yourself part of the Boston scene. But the scene was so different in the mid-80s than it was in the mid-90s and it’s almost unrecognizable now from either of those times, but that’s a scene that I wish I had been born a little bit earlier into. 

Yup, that was a great one.

So anyway, yeah, thanks for chatting about this new UltraBomb record. It’s super fun, and I have to say that when I first read the press release maybe a year-and-a-half ago now, during that initial announcement that you and Finny and Jamie were putting a band together, I remember thinking “wow, that seems like something born out of Quarantine.” Where you guys are all physically located and the way it came together, that just sounds like it would be a perfect project for a bunch of guys who had nothing to do for nine months or whatever so they put a band together. Is that at all close to accurate?

Well, the getting it together over the internet part is accurate. Finny and I had been Facebook friends for quite a while. Finny is a huge Husker fan. Mahones covered a Husker tune. I had been playing with a band in Minneapolis called Porcupine. That just didn’t ultimately work out. I loved playing with those guys, but the guy that was the band leader – it was his band and he decided he wanted to change directions, so then I was no longer playing with Porcupine. Finny saw that and sent me a message and he’s like “well, I’ve got this idea. I know the greatest punk rock drummer on the planet, Jamie Oliver. He drums for the UK Subs, and I think we should put a band together.” At the same time, he messaged Jamie and said “hey, let’s put a band together with Greg Norton!” (*both laugh*) And Jamie’s like “I’m in!” 

That’s awesome.

That’s really how UltraBomb became a thing. Then we were trying to figure out a name for the band, and a friend of Jamie’s suggested UltraBomb. I had a photo of my daughter Coco with the lollipop and sunglasses, and a friend of mine locally here in Red Wing, when that was first up as a family Facebook post, took that photo and put the atomic bomb in the background, and I’m like “holy crap, I’ve got the album cover!” I slapped “UltraBomb” on that picture and sent it over to Jamie and Finny and they’re like “That’s it!” This is all in August of 2021. Skip forward a month and Finny is in Berlin doing a solo tour and Jamie just happens to be in Berlin. Finny mentions to me that he’s got four days booked in a studio, and all of a sudden it’s like “well, I should go to Berlin…” I had never met these guys. I book a flight, fly to Berlin, Jamie picks me up at the airport, and that’s the first time we meet face-to-face. The next morning, we’re in the studio getting set up, and Finny shows up, and that’s the first time we had ever met face to face too. It was the first time the three of us had been in a room together. We get set up, Finny had been writing riffs for the band, and that first day we wrote four songs. The second day we wrote the following six…

So wait, you guys weren’t trading ideas over Zoom or whatever in this whole process? It was really like “pick the lineup and the name and the cover art and then go write a record in the studio?” That’s fascinating!

Yeah pretty much! We wrote in the studio. Finny would play us a riff and we’d be like “okay, let’s do that” and we’d hammer it into an arrangement. Once we were comfortable with it, we’d tell the engineer “hit record on this one!” Almost everything at that point was recorded either on the first or second take. Jamie had to leave the third day, because he had to play a gig, so that day, Finny and I were in the studio just cleaning up some guitar parts, adding rhythm guitar parts, stuff like that. And I said “well, I’ve got all these lyrics…” so I pulled out like 2000 sets of lyrics. Finny sits down and looks at them and he’s like “well, I’ve got the whole record figured out.” The next morning, Sunday morning, Jamie is back with us. Finny goes in and sings the entire record. We did some on-the-fly pencil edits on the lyrics just to make them flow a little bit better, but I was blown away with how well Finny took my lyrics – which weren’t written to his music – and made them fit perfectly.

That’s really wild. 

We got done and Finny’s like “there it is, bruvs. We created a masterpiece!” At dinner on the second night, we talked about covering something just for fun. We decided on “Sonic Reducer,” so at the end of recording all the vocals on Sunday, the three of us knocked out “Sonic Reducer.” It was the first time Finny and I had ever played “Sonic Reducer” with a band, and I sang it! That’s the one song that I sing on the record. It just turned out so fantastic. Jamie did the mix in London, and it just turned out so awesome. I love it.

I think that “Sonic Reducer” is the first song that I remember hearing as a kid that I identified as being a ‘punk rock’ song. Moreso than The Ramones – I mean, I knew who the Ramones were obviously as a kid, but there’s a different feel obviously about “Sonic Reducer,” there’s a different feel about Dead Boys than there is about the Ramones. That’s the first song I remember hearing and going “THAT’s a punk rock song. I need to know more about what this is!”

There’s a ferocity and an urgency to that song, right from the downbeat. 

It’s really sort of wild to me that, aside from meeting over Facebook and getting to know each other over social media, this is otherwise a throwback, “punk rock” record, and I mean that in like the most ideal way. That’s not necessarily what I was expecting because of the way that so many people were writing music over Zoom and trading song parts and files over Dropbox. It’s really sort of refreshing that even though the band came together on social media, the album was written with just three guys in the studio for four days. That doesn’t happen enough in this scene anymore.

Yeah, I would agree with that. It was written in the moment. It came together so naturally. It felt like the three of us had been playing together for years. Finny and Jamie are such great guys that I feel like they’ve been my best buds for decades. The engineer couldn’t believe that we were writing these on the spot, but it’s that urgent, in-the-moment feel. The record captures the feel of what went down in the studio and obviously, we all have our backgrounds in punk, and there is somewhat of a nostalgic feel to it, but it also is fresh and sounds like it’s made for today. 

Yeah, it doesn’t really sound like anything else. It’s a rock trio so it’s got that sort of “thing,” and it’s very raw. It sounds like you recorded it live and all in the same room together, which I like and appreciate, but it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there now. Did you guys even trade ideas about what direction you wanted or what kind of thing Finny had in mind or whatever, or was it really just “let’s put a band together”?

It’s funny, so when Finny first contacted me, he’s like “hey, you know, this will just be a lot of fun. Let’s play some Husker Du, let’s play some Mahones, we’ll through in some UK Subs, maybe some SNFU, and we’ll just get together and have a laugh, and maybe we’ll play some festivals. People will fuckn’ love it.” And then we were like “well, maybe we should write some of our own music too,” and then when it happened in the studio, it was like “holy crap, we just wrote an album!” We’re getting ready now to go out on this tour. Jamie is already here in Red Wing with me, Finny comes in Sunday (May 7th) and we’re getting ready. We want to start writing new material right away, and we might even try to get some recording done while we’re on the road. It’s kind of the nature of what UltraBomb is! 

You’ve got what, a grand total of one show together under your belts at this point?

Yeah, one gig! Last July, in Minneapolis, after another stumble to get the band out on the road, I got diagnosed with prostate cancer. We canceled dates in England, but we had this offer from the Hook + Ladder in Minneapolis to headline a summer festival that they do, so Finny and Jamie fly in for that, we play one show, it was a total blast – the crowd went wild, there were people losing their minds, there were people crying, it was so incredible. And then five days after that, I had my prostate removed. We took the rest of last year off so I could recover. My diagnosis is good, my margins are clean, and the doctors say I should be yammering on for a few more decades here. 

Hell yeah!

So that’s how we get to the It’s Got Legs tour, which starts Thursday (May 11th) in St. Paul. We’ve got eighteen shows through the end of May – we’re playing 18 shows in 21 days, and Punk Rock Bowling is the crowning moment of the tour. We’re doing two shows in Vegas, one club show where we’re going to open for The Dickies, which I’m really looking forward to. That’s a band that Husker absolutely loved back in the day. I’ve seen them numerous times. And then we’re on the main stage mid-afternoon on Monday, the last day. It’s us and then L7 and then Suicidal Tendencies and then Dropkick Murphys, so…

That’s all killer, no filler right there. 

Yeah, jumping right into the deep end! (*both laugh*) 

And you’re going out with Bar Stool Preachers on this run too, right?

Yup! They’re doing the entire tour with us up to Punk Rock Bowling. I think they’ve got their own shows set up for Punk Rock Bowling, and then the last tour of our run is in Denver on our way home. That’ll be without Bar Stool Preachers. Their new record is great by the way.

They’re such a fun band. They’re such a fun group to see live too. They put on a great show.

I’m looking forward to playing with them.

They can sort of play with a lot of different bands because they float between styles a little bit so they fit on a lot of different bills. I think I saw them with Bouncing Souls, and I feel like they were here with The Business and maybe Swingin Utters. Super fun band. Are you excited to get back out on the road finally?

Yeah, really excited! Porcupine did a few runs, usually just four or five shows. We did a support run with The Flesh Eaters, and that was great. Dave Alvin and John Doe and DJ Bonebrake. They were super nice guys, and it was great hanging with them for the week. We did a run of shows with Flipper with David Yow on vocals. And then Mudhoney and Built To Spill. Those were all short tours though, so this is my first full-blown tour probably since the last long Husker tour. 

That’s pretty wild. Do you miss that part of the music industry? Being in a van and hitting the road for weeks at a time?

Yeah! Well, I’m sure nostalgically I look back on those days and remember them fondly. But the reality is I’m sure we’ll be in the van and going like “how many more hours do we have to go? I have to pee!” (*both laugh*)

Did that happen before, where someone would just hit you up about starting a band or joining their project? Was that a common occurrence for someone in your situation? I ask because I was just listening to your spiel with Mike Watt the other day. I don’t always listen to other shows or podcasts or things, but I love Watt and I’ve been blessed to talk to him a few times, so I used that as part of my research for talking with you, but I know he gets sent music all the time by people saying “hey, can you write with us?” or “hey, can you put bass riffs down under these tracks?” and whatnot, so was that a common occurrence where people would hit you up and ask about playing, and this time it just worked out? And I suppose, if so, why now and why Finny, because on paper it sounds like an interesting match…

You know, I dove into the restaurant world and became a chef and ran a place in Red Wing for seven years before I started my own restaurant. I went fourteen years without even picking up the bass. I thought “Well, that phase of my life is in the past now” and I just concentrated on the restaurant. It was probably early 2000s, there’s a jazz trio called The Bad Plus. Two of them are from Minneapolis, and they were playing a show and they had just released a record on Sony, These Are The Vistas, and they did a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” A friend of mine who was a regular customer and a huge music guy gave me a copy of the CD and said “hey, you should listen to this, I think you’d like it.” Right after that, they did an interview in a Minneapolis paper where Dave (King) and Reid (Anderson) were asked what their influences were. These are jazz guys, and they were like “growing up, Husker Du was a big influence on us,” and I was like “wow! That’s crazy!” I went to see them and loved the show. I wanted to introduce myself and say “hey, I really dig what you guys are doing!” and Dave immediately says “I have an idea for a band and you’d be the perfect bass player for it. So that became The Gang Font, which took maybe three years before we actually got together to play, but that was the impetus for me to get a bass amp again. I didn’t have any gear, so I bought a bass. 

Had you gotten so far out of music that you even sold all your equipment?

I still had my electric basses that I played with Husker, but they hadn’t been played in a lot of years and they needed to be cleaned up and tuned up and all that. I bought a cheapy Fender ¾ acoustic bass to play on and actually that’s still a bass that I’ll take with me to go camping and stuff like that. It’s a beater bass, but it works. It sounds good. That’s what got me back into playing bass. The Gang Font is sort of a hard group to nail down as far as what we are…

That is entirely accurate. I’ve spent a little time with The Gang Font stuff on Spotify. It’s definitely tough to nail down.

We actually have another album that we recorded thirteen years ago, in 2010, and I just saw Dave a couple weeks ago and we’re FINALLY going to try to get that released. After that, Casey Virock calling up and asking if I wanted to take over the bass spot in Porcupine is the only other thing really. Although recently, I have been in the studio and recorded a long improv kind of piece with Charlie Parr. He’s on the Smithsonian label, and he is a national treasure. He’s an acoustic player, but he’s also a guy who I met and was like “oh yeah, Husker Du had a huge impact on me.” That was fun playing with Charlie too. 

He’s from your area, right? He’s a Minnesota guy.

Yeah, he’s originally from Duluth I believe. 

I don’t remember when the official album release date was, because it feels like a lot of that stuff has become sort of a moving target since Covid, between digital releases and then physical CD releases and then vinyl releases. It seems for a lot of bands like there are always different release dates…but does it feel different now than it did releasing a Husker album forty years ago?

Yeah, it does. And this has been frustrating. We put this record out ourselves. We ordered 500 or 600 copies, and it’s a small order. There are so many pressing plants that have closed over the last couple of decades that a small order is not a priority for a lot of plants. Then you get people like Adele putting out an album or Taylor Swift or Beyonce, and all of a sudden everybody gets put on hold so they can press up three million copies or whatever. There kept being all of these delays in getting the vinyl. The vinyl is now finally on its way to the distributor. Here in Red Wing, I just got the box of record sleeves for the pre-sale so that I can autograph them! Finny will sign them on Sunday, then we’ll get those back over to London with the guy that is collating everything together, and then he’ll get the pre-orders all shipped out. So if you pre-ordered the vinyl, it’s coming! (*both laugh*) Hold tight, I promise this is for real this time! That’s been frustrating, and then the other goofy thing is that we wanted to have the record available, so we did release it digitally last year, so now we’re trying to get people excited and press excited, and they’re like “well this record came out last year…” and we’re like “yeah but the vinyl is coming! And we’re going on our first tour!” Back in the day, when the record came out, it came out! There was a drop date and you hit it. Hopefully for our next record, things will go a lot smoother. We’re working with DC-Jam Records here in the States and they’ll put out our next album, and they’ll also be distributing this one when it finally arrives at the distributor. They also made some CDs for us, so the stuff is coming!

For a band that started, met each other and wrote and recorded an album in four days, for it to take a year-and-a-half to finally exist physically has got to be mind-numbing!

Yeah! It came together so quickly and then it was just all of these delays and it was like “oh man, this is killing us!” 

If everything got pushed back because people ordered two million pressings of that Adele record, you know that 1.5 million of those are just sitting in thrift stores or the shelves at Target or Wal-Mart at this point. That was the wrong target market. 

Exactly!

That drives me nuts…and I don’t have a physical product that I’m trying to release into the world. I just get mad for all of you people who are creating the art and doing the work. I really applaud people who still put out music and stick to it. 

Yeah, I mean we had a lot of people who paid money on the pre-sale, and they’re still waiting…it’s crazy. 

And plus, you had the whole cancer bomb dropped right in the middle of all that…

Makes for an interesting last couple of years, to say the least! (*both laugh*) 

How are you now health-wise? You said before that things are good, all clear?

Yeah! Things are good. When they removed the prostate, the doctors said that it appeared that everything was contained, all of my margins were clean, all of my tests since then have come back clean, and that’s good. Actually, going down that journey, all of a sudden you start meeting all of these people that you know who go “oh yeah, I had that procedure done” or “oh I know somebody” or “oh, my dad had it done twenty years ago.” Prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer, and only because people usually don’t know they have it until it’s too late. I was lucky that something popped up on a regular blood test and it was like “you should go see a urologist.” So go out and get your prostate checked, all you men out there! (*both laugh*) 

Seriously! Go to your doctor’s appointments, go to your physicals, get your bloodwork done…

Right! Get the finger stuck up your bum. It’s all good! (*both laugh*) It only takes just a couple of seconds!

For someone who hasn’t gone through that yet, how long a process is it between when something pops up in your bloodwork and when you’re on the operating table and they’re taking out your prostate?

You know, the diagnosis happened pretty quick. They do an MRI, they do a biopsy, they confirm that it’s there. They kind of map out everything that they want to look at. Getting on the surgery schedule, then, actually took some time. That was a longer wait, but then the procedure itself, I was in the hospital for one night. They want you to get up and walk around and be active and get back to your regular normal life as quick as possible.

That’s amazing. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m glad you got checked out because like you said, too many people don’t until it’s too late. 

Thank you!

Since putting UltraBomb together and writing in the studio, has that prompted you to keep writing, whether it’s lyrics or other music? Do you have a lot of ideas to flesh out once you get on the road and start working together?

Oh yeah, sure. I keep writing lyrics all the time. Finny has been writing riffs for UltraBomb, so there’s a good chance that we’ll be able to get a record out – or get one recorded at least – most likely by the Fall. We’re going to even track some stuff on the road. The idea is that we might have a new single ready by the end of the tour, which is fantastic. 

Well if you have twenty-one days together, that’s like a quadruple album based on the way Time To Burn came together…

Right, exactly! Jamie last night was like “what if, for each show, we came up with a new song? Then at the end of the tour, we’d have 18 songs, and that’s a double album! Let’s do it!”

That’s old school, Husker/Minutemen style!

Yeah, Watt and I were talking about Double Nickels (On The Dime)…that was going to be a single album. They had it ready to go, and then we dropped Zen Arcade and they’re like “oh, they did a double album! WE better do a double album!” (*both laugh*) They went into overdrive to write the rest of that record. Even Joe Carducci from SST wrote lyrics for that record. He wrote “Jesus & Tequila.” It was just a fun back-and-forth between us and The Minutemen. We love those guys. Miss you D. Boon!

When a guy like Watt says “we were inspired by your band to raise the bar” because Zen Arcade was obviously an iconic album and then it lead to Double Nickels… which is a legendary album…does that still feel cool to know that it was that sort of competition between you created something like that?

It is, yeah. The SST camp back then was us, the Meat Puppets, Minutemen, then Saccharine Trust and of course Black Flag. But Meat Puppets, Minutemen and Husker, the three of us, I think that was the nucleus of SST at the time and of the stamp that they left on the world. Meat Puppets are still out and playing and it’s great that Derrick (Bostrom) is back in the band. I’m excited to hopefully see them out on the road. They aren’t on the road right now – Curt (Kirkwood) lives in Austin, I think Chris and Elmo (Kirkwood) live in Phoenix – so I hope they all come out and check us out. I’d love to see those guys. And of course Watt never stops.

He’s unreal. He really kinda is. I don’t understand how he just keeps going. And he does that show all the time on top of making music, and he always puts like three hours of music on each show…

Oh yeah, yup. He said he’s been doing that show for twenty-two years. Man…that is awesome.

He’s one of a kind. They definitely broke the mold with that one. 

Yeah, when you talk about going on the road, he’s like “well when ya shoving off?” and “where are you dropping anchor?”

Yeah, you really have to pay attention when he talks because he’s got so many Wattisms that take a minute to process sometimes…

Oh yeah, he’s his own pirate! (*both laugh*)

Thanks for doing this! I don’t want to take up too much of your afternoon and I try to be mindful of folks’ time. I really appreciate getting the chance to pick your brain even a little bit. As someone who grew up wanting to be a bass player for a while – and has long-since put that aside – but it was guys like you and Watt leading into guys like Ament in the “grunge” era who sorta revitalized your era’s sound, that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I really enjoy getting to pick your brain!

Well thanks, I appreciate that!

And good luck on the road! I’m really excited for you guys to be able to be out there and I hope people show out for you. It’s a really good run, and a really good bill!

Yeah, I think they will! People are listening to it. If we’re coming through your town, go get your tickets! If we’re not coming through your town, follow us on Spotify or subscribe to our YouTube channel! We’re going to do a lot of content tor YouTube for this tour, maybe do some live streams, maybe do an UltraBomb travel log. Hopefully, the record will come out in stores while we’re on the road, and we’ll have copies of it on the road so people can come get it signed! 

It’s got to be a pretty cool thing still to have a physical copy of it when it finally shows up, yeah?

Oh I can’t wait to put it on the turntable! Being able to hold it is super exciting. 

Everybody go pick it up. Listen to UltraBomb. Like I said before, it is very much a quintessential “punk rock” record, and I mean that in the truest, most idealist sense of that term. My interest was piqued just by the original announcement…like “how are Greg Norton and Finny going to sound together…” It really does fit well. It’s really cool and really fun and hopefully you make your way to the Northeast some day. 

Oh yeah, definitely. We’re planning on a lot of US tours next year. East Coast, West Coast, all over. Finny got turned on to Husker Du when he was 18. He had just moved to London and he had just missed our show and he wanted to basically try to make his way in the London music scene, and then he heard Husker Du and he was like “oh shit, maybe Minneapolis is where it’s at!” The very first song that he sang (on this record) was “Time To Burn,” and it was funny, I had to tell him “Finny, stop trying to channel Bob (Mould). You’re not Bob. Just be Finny!” He couldn’t contain himself; it was like “oh man, here I am in a band with one of my childhood idols,” you know? He’s a great guy and a fantastic writer and musician and his sense of composition is awesome. And Jamie is just fucking amazing, that’s all I can say.

He’s playing with Mahones now too, right?

Yeah, he was just out with the Mahones in France, and he’ll be doing another tour in I think mid-June or July. He’s also drumming with Anti-Nowhere League right now, so he actually is going to fly home to London from Denver because he has Anti-Nowhere League stuff coming up that first weekend in June. I plan on coming home and relaxing a little bit, and he’s going to go home and go out on another punk rock tour. 

And yeah, speaking about Mahones covering “Makes No Sense At All” before, I could see that there are some hints of Husker on this record that I think people will enjoy. Not just because it’s a power rock trio, but there’s some of that feel.

It’s funny, I think a lot of that is just the way I play bass. Somebody commented after hearing it that it was like “wow, it’s cool hearing all those Husker basslines…” and it’s like, “well, no, those are Greg Norton basslines.” I play how I play, and I don’t really have a particular thing.

Did that change after fourteen years or whatever it was of not playing bass? Or was it just muscle memory when you went back to it? 

There was some muscle memory. I think Gang Font was a good project for me to get back into it, because Dave’s idea was to just let me play whatever I wanted to play, or to play however I heard the music. Erik Fratzke and Dave would write the music and a lot of times they would just start playing something and I would just start playing along however I felt like. I loved it. I’ve always been a big avant-garde jazz fan, so that was fun. 

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.