Search Results for "The Interrupters"

DS Exclusive: Warped Tour Bids Adieu To Hartford For The Last Time (The Interrupters, This Wild Life, Falling In Reverse and more)

Yes, this is yet another Warped Tour story written by a white guy in his mid-thirties. Relax; I’ll spare you the twenty-five-hundred word rumination on the demise of the Warped Tour as it enters the home stretch of its twenty-fourth — and final — jaunt around North America. It’s not the same as it used to be and I’ve long been wildly out of touch with most of what’s popular there and, ultimately, none of that matters. Yours truly’s first excursion to Warped Tour took place a three-hour drive from my house at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA, in 1997; a show that featured Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Pennywise and Blink-182 and Suicide Machines and Limp Bizkit and a sunburn the likes of which I’m still recovering from. I’ve made a total of eight trips to various different renditions of the Kevin Lyman-helmed annual punk rock summer camp over the years, and there’s no denying that the sheer scale and the popular music trends of the day have morphed a few times. And you can certainly make the argument that the corporate sponsorship bleedover has long since become “too much,” though I’d also present the case that a touring festival of this magnitude wouldn’t have lasted nearly a quarter-century without it.

What hasn’t changed since those early days, however, are the consumers that compose the core that turns out year-after-year; Warped Tour remains a rallying place for the misfits and weirdos and the punks and the metal kids and the hardcore kids to immerse themselves in a total sensory overload of punishing heat and loud music and art and food and more. Warped Tour could run for a hundred more years (much to Lyman’s chagrin) and that part would remain constant.

The touring lineup for Warped’s final run left more than a little to be desired in “the comment sections” of the internet, but you’d never know it from the gigantic crowd that showed up last Sunday in Hartford. The amphitheater portion of the Meadows Music Theatre – er, Dodge Music Theatre or Comcast Theatre or Xfinity Theatre or whatever we’re calling it nowadays – was packed to the gills all day, taking in main stage split in two to accommodate the Journeys Left Foot and Right Foot stages. It was far and away the most crowded I’ve seen in the four Warped Tour’s I’ve ventured to Hartford for. Truthfully, I was primarily there for The Interrupters. Fresh off the release of their third – and best – album, Fight The Good Fight (Hellcat Records), the quartet (with Reel Big Fish’s Billy Kottage filling in on keys and horns) are, without question, the most “old school Warped Tour” band of the newer school generation. A couple years back, they drew a decent crowd on the indoor stage at the 2016 Warped Tour; this year they had a huge, vocal fanbase out in full force and even whipped up a circle pit or two. Maybe the kids are alright after all.

We took in a handful of other events at the daylong festival. 3OH!3 played the Journeys Left Foot Stage just before The Interrupters, though we missed the “photo pit” portion of their frantic thirty-minute set. Epitaph Records’ duo This Wild Life manned the Right Foot stage immediately thereafter, and were a refreshing uptempo acoustic emo change of pace. Falling In Reverse played directly after The Interrupters and…well…made yours truly feel even older than he felt last time he saw Ronnie Radke and crew at Warped a few years ago. Also…there was a pretty sketchy wrestling ring set up on the midway of the festival grounds with several three-way matches (including the one pictured above with a guy in what we think is a crawfish jumpsuit) providing a different sort of entertainment for those who didn’t mind baking in the sun and basking in the glow of the Fried Dough food truck.

For our full photo gallery featuring primarily Interrupters shots, head below!



The Bar Stool Preachers (ska-punk) release video for “Choose My Friends”

Brighton ska-punk outfit The Bar Stool Preachers have released a video for their new song “Choose My Friends”. The song comes off of the band’s upcoming album Grazie Governo and features the lovely rasp of  Aimee Interrupter of The Interrupters. The new album will be available August 3rd wherever you get your digital music.

You can check out the rad new video below.

This is the first new release from the Brighton ska-punks since 2016’s Blatant Propaganda. if you’re a fan of The Interrupters or The Toasters you will undoubtedly enjoy these guys.



DS Exclusive: Fighting The Good Fight with Kevin and Aimee of The Interrupters

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you were a band that had achieved some modicum of success in a relatively brief period of time. For argument’s sake, our definition of “success” here includes the following parameters: signed to one of the most successful independent labels in the music game; put out not one or two but three albums on that label, all of whom were produced by one of the bigger and most recognizable personalities in the the punk music scene; headlined a couple of your own successful cross-country club tours; played the main stage at a handful of wildly successful punk rock festivals; toured several continents with one of the last quarter-century’s largest rock bands on the planet; got added to regular rotation at your hometown (Los Angeles) rock radio station which, in spite of prevailing trends, remains a taste-making force in the game. Oh, and let’s also say that all of these accomplishments – and more – happened within your first half-dozen years as a band. It would be natural, maybe even expected, if some of that love and those accomplishments went to your head, and you maybe started to take some things for granted, right?

Not if you’re The Interrupters.

We caught up with Aimee and Kevin from the band over the phone the Friday before last, which happened to coincide with the release date for their third – and best – studio album, Fight The Good Fight (Hellcat/Epitaph). Amidst the hustle and bustle that an album release date can entail, and after exchanging our usual pleasantries, we got interrupted (pun largely intended) by the duo receiving an incoming call that they couldn’t ignore, as it was from none other than Tim Armstrong. Armstrong is not just one of the godfather’s of the last three decades of punk rock, he’s been a constant big brotherly presence in The Interrupters’ career, signing them to his Hellcat label imprint right out of the gate, producing and appearing on all three of their albums to date, imparting his unique wisdom on the quartet along the way. For more than just the obvious reasons, The Interrupters are a band that considers itself and its crew a family, and Armstrong is as big a part of that family as anybody. And so the sheepish excitement in Kevin Bivona’s voice when we returned to our call and explained why they had to break standard informal phone-interview protocol and put me on hold was not only palpable, it was downright refreshing.

It would certainly not be the last time that our conversation would trend into events that were notably surreal. Any fan of the Interrupters knows that they spent a great deal of time touring Australia, Europe and South America as direct support for Green Day over the last year. It found the band not only getting to play their upbeat blend of punk and third-wave ska to a large number of new ears, it also created a situation where a different high-profile Armstrong, Green Day’s inimitable Billie Joe, ended up with writing credits on a song (“Broken World”) on the newest Interrupters album. Here’s how Kevin Bivona explains it: “We were in Santiago, Chile, and we played a show, and there were a couple of hours before we had to go to the airport, so we were hanging out with Green Day and their families. It was an amazing experience. And (Billie Joe) goes “hey, I have an idea for a song that I think could be a really cool Interrupters song.” And he grabbed a guitar, and he kinda pulled Aimee and I aside and he played it for us, and he said “I don’t know, I think this would just be a kind of cool thing for you.” And he played it for us and we said “Yes! We love it!” Upon returning to the States, the band got to work on filling out the remainder of the song, and doing so in a manner that would do right by the Green Day frontman.  “I wanted him to be proud, because he thought enough of us to give us this riff that he could have obviously turned into an amazing song for any one of his bands. We sent the song back to him right when we were done with it, and he texted us back that night and he was so excited about it and happy to be a part of it. It’s so surreal, too, to have a song with a riff written by Billie Joe Armstrong and produced by Tim Armstrong…”

If you’ve had a chance to dig in to Fight The Good Fight yet, you’re probably aware that Billie Joe’s involvement wasn’t the only surreal part of the album-making process. While Tim Armstrong has lent his iconic vocal stylings to a track on each of the first two Interrupters albums, FTGF’s “Got Each Other” finds each of Rancid’s members chipping in, an idea that came from Armstrong himself. “Matt and Lars are in the Bay Area, and Branden lives in Utah,” explains Bivona. “When it came time to get the actual recording done, we were kind of down to the wire, so we actually had Jesse and Justin get in our tour van, drive up to San Francisco, and set up a mobile studio to record Matt and Lars’ verses and run them back down. Simultaneously, I’m on the phone with Branden in Utah, and he has a studio in his house…He sang on the choruses with us, and he sent it to us to mix that night. It was really down to the wire.”

The result of the last-minute collaboration is textbook Interrupters: an infectiously danceable, high energy rallying cry preaching the timeless notions of friendship and unity. “I cried my eyes out when I heard all of Rancid singing with us on that song,” says Aimee. “The first time I ever heard Rancid in my life, when I was in high school, I cried when I heard “…And Out Come The Wolves.” I felt like I wasn’t alone in the world, and that other people understood me. We brought that message on “Got Each Other,” and to hear all of Rancid sing that message not just to me but through my speakers with me…”We don’t have much, but we’ve got each other”…I was so happy and so grateful, and I can’t really describe how full circle and surreal that moment was.

While many of the tracks on Fight The Good Fight deal with themes that we’ve come to know and love from The Interrupters circa 2018, we also find the band digging a little deeper, turning their mirror inward in ways that were missing on the first two albums. Tracks like “Gave You Everything,” “Room With A View,” and “So Wrong” resonate as the band’s most personal – and arguably most compelling – tracks to date. Says Aimee: “I feel like when you write a song that moves you and touches you, and you’re going through an authentic experience and writing your truth, a lot of times for me that’s therapy. I’m writing to get things out and I need to process this stuff and this anxiety that’s happening in my heart and my mind. When I process that and put that into lyrics, if that helps me and gets me through it, then hopefully that can help somebody else. That’s what this is all about…loving people and helping people and connecting with people through your music.”

The band’s quest to bring their music and their positive energy to as many people as possible has generated numerous unforgettable experiences. As they get set to head out on the last leg of the final installment of the Warped Tour this coming weekend, they’re sure to add a few more to the list. “Just when we think we’ve checked everything off the bucket list, some new opportunity presents itself and we are blown away with gratitude,” says Bivona, the sincerity palpable in his voice. “Even doing the Amoeba Records in-store performance a couple nights ago was surreal. Getting added to our local radio station, KROQ, which is what we all grew up listening to, is surreal. There’s never going to be a time where there isn’t an amazing opportunity that we will be thrilled with.

Head below to check out our full Q&A with Kevin and Aimee, and stay tuned for upcoming tour announcements in the very near future!



The Interrupters stream new album “Fight The Good Fight

LA ska punks The Interrupters are now streaming their new album “Fight The Good Fight” on Hellcat Records. The entire album is recorded mostly to tape in order to capture the energy of their live shows.

According to guitarist Kevin in regards to their approach on recording the album, “There’s a certain feeling you get from that process that you can’t really get digitally. There’s no overthinking anything—everyone’s got to be fully present and committed. It was definitely high-pressure, but also really fun.”

The Interrupters last released Say It Out Loud  in June of 2015.

Check out the new album below.



The Interrupters release video for “Title Holder”

Los Angeles ska-punk band The Interrupters will release their third studio album “Fight the Good Fight” on June 29th via Hellcat Records. Ahead of the release, the band have released a lyric video for “Title Holder” from the album. The video was directed by Tim Armstrong, who also produced the record.

You can have a watch below.



The Interrupters announce new album “Fight The Good Fight”, stream first single “She’s Kerosene”

Los Angeles ska-punk band The Interrupters will release their third studio album Fight the Good Fight on June 29th via Hellcat RecordsFight the Good Fight was produced by longtime collaborator, Rancid frontman, and Grammy Award-winning producer Tim Armstrong with the band at Ship-Rec Recorders in Los Angeles. The album was mixed by Grammy-award winning mixer Tom Lord-Alge (Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Weezer). Pre-orders for Fight the Good Fight are available here.

The first single shared is “She’s Kerosene” is streaming below. In the track, frontwoman Aimee reflects on breaking free from narcissistic abuse (“I really hope when people listen to that song, it helps them feel empowered to leave a toxic relationship,” Aimee says).



Punk In Drublic Festival announces 2018 dates

Punk In Drublic Festival is hitting the road this year, stopping in 6 different US cities throughout May.  The shows will feature NOFX, Bad Religion, The Interrupters and Mad Caddies, with Bad Cop / Bad Cop or The Last Gang opening the show.  You can check out all the dates and locations below, and you can find all the other info you need here



The Interrupters begin recording new album

Los Angeles ska-punk band The Interrupters have announced they are currently in the studio working on a new album. The LP is being recorded with Tim Armstrong and Brett Gurewitz, and it will be the band’s third full-length release.

The Interrupters last released Say It Out Loud in 2016 through Hellcat Records.



The Interrupters announce co-headlining tour with SWMRS

L.A. ska band The Interrupters have announced a co-headlining tour with SWMRS.

You can check out all the dates and locations, including a break where The Interrupters will be opening for Green Day, below.

The Interrupters last released Say It Out Loud via Hellcat Records in June of last year.



DS Photo Gallery: Dropkick Murphys and The Interrupters at Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)

 

For the last fifteen-or-so years, Massachusetts-based Celtic punk icons Dropkick Murphys playing a string of hometown shows has become as synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as their musical forebears Mighty Mighty Bosstones doing a similar thing has been with Christmastime. As the band’s popularity has increased, so too has the size of venues at these St. Patrick’s weekend shenanigans, and the last two years have featured dates at the Agganis Arena, the state-of-the-art, 7200-capacity hockey rink located on the campus of Boston University. For many bands, the tendency on such a large stage might be to play “just the hits” in order to cater to the casual fans, but Dropkick Murphys, as it turns out, are not one of those bands. Say what you will about their level of “Tessie”/”Shipping Up To Boston”- inspired fame, but Dropkick Murphys have long been conscious or remembering the fans that’ve been there since the days when the clubs they played would fit within the confines of the stage of the Agganis (case in point: yours truly first saw the Dropkicks in August 1997, when they played in between the Mr. Rogers Project and The Pietasters at the Living Room in Providence).

A confetti cannon (seen above) and the instrumental “Lonesome Boatman” from the Dropkicks’ latest release 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory (released January 6th on their own Born & Bred Records) introduced the band to the stage before they proceeded to launch into their 2007 hit “State Of Massachusetts.” If I can take a minute to inject myself into this story, here’s where I publicly apologize to Ken Casey & Company. I think it’s important to point out that I count myself as one of those hometown fans that’s been hypercritical (unfairly so) of the band over the last dozen post-“Tessie” years, though that’s strictly a musical critique; their tremendous fundraising and community work and their ongoing penchant for giving local bands a break is not only beyond reproach but is ultimately the stuff to which all bands should aspire. But I’ll tell you what…since the 90 minute set that began with the opening tenor banjo riff on “…Massachusetts,” yours truly has been not only back aboard the Good Ship Murphys, but more than a little embarrassed about having jumped off in the first place.

The setlist on this night, as on most nights, was pretty varied and all-encompassing. Sure 11 Short Stories… was well represented, but so too were earlier albums like Do Or Die, Blackout and The Warrior’s Code on songs like “Boys On The Docks,” “Time To Go,” and, of course, the latter album’s title track, which is a shoutout to local boxing legend “Irish” Micky Ward who was, of course, in attendance. What’s perhaps most impressive about a Dropkick Murphys set circa 2017, aside maybe from their ability to keep a crowd constantly fired up, is the level of sheer musicianship among the group’s core. Ken Casey is, by his own admission, not the world’s most astute bass player, but he’s also their unquestionable heart-and-soul. Drummer Matt Kelly and principle frontman Al Barr are about as quietly strong-up-the-middle as you’ll find. Like the band as a whole, the trio of Tim Brennan, Jeff DeRosa and Kevin Rheault (longtime tech who’s filling in for James Lynch on this run), however, don’t get nearly enough credit. At any given time, the three trade off between guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, tin whistle and keyboard duties, rarely manning the same battle station for more than two or three songs in a row. The seamless nature that things seem to run in that regard is  really awesome, in the literal sense of the word.

Direct support on this night, as on the bulk of the month-long tour, came from The Interrupters. The ska punk quartet have been mighty busy over the last nine months or so since releasing their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud; since playing the duration of last year’s Warped Tour, they headlined full Europe and US tours of their own before heading back across the pond to open for Green Day immediately before this Dropkicks spot. It’s no secret that The Interrupters have been one of yours truly’s favorite bands to cover over the last few years, and performances like this particular one exemplify why, at least in part. The insanely talented (and yet somehow still wildly underrated) rhythm section of twin brothers Jesse (drums) and Justin (bass) Bivona keep the gas pedal floored, with Justin teaming with big brother Kevin (guitar, above) and frontwoman Aimee “Interrupter” as a three-headed ball of constant frenetic energy at the front of the stage. As Kevin mentioned when we caught up for an interview on these pages last year, the band are mindful that they’ve developed a sound product that definitely works, and if anything critical can be said of how they’ve made it work at the end of another long, successful tour run, it’s almost that they make it look TOO easy. (Oh, and they’re one of the only bands that can cover an Operation Ivy classic, “Sound System,” without sounding like a cheap, watered-down knockoff.)

Also opening this night (and most of the rest of the tour) was genuine Irish punk band Blood Or Whiskey. With all apologies to the Dublin-based sextet, a variety of communication mishaps between arena staff lead yours truly on a half-hour-long wild goose chase that resulted in me missing the entirety of their set, save for a song about frontman Dugs Mulhooly’s favorite pub back home closing down, only to be replaced by a coffee shop. Sorry lads…we’ll catch you next time around, we promise.

Head below for our full photo gallery from the Interrupters and Dropkick Murphys sets. And a special thanks to my much younger brother from another mother Nick Gold for the assist. Good on ya, bud.



DS Staff Picks: Jay Stone picks his top sixteen albums of 2016 with Spotify playlist!

I’m not entirely sure how, but we’ve reached the middle of December 2016 without the Earth’s core opening up and swallowing us all down into the burning fiery furnace below. That can only mean one thing; it’s time for people who spend all year pretending to be entertainment journalists to narrow down the most entertaining things of the last 365 days into bite size pieces. And in list form! This is the sixth one of these I’ve done for Dying Scene, so the intro stuff might start to get a bit repetitive. As such, I’ll spare you my normal rambling 1500 word babble and jump in to the music itself. You’re welcome.

As is usually the case, I didn’t trim my list to ten, in spite of our esteemed leader, Johnny X, instructing us to do so. What can I say; I’m not a fan of restrictions, or base ten number systems. I thought there was something apropos about reclaiming the number 16 from the giant shitstorm that was this year. I also genuinely love all of the albums in my final list, and if I were to submit this list a week from now, the last half-dozen or so might be in a very different order. I did adhere to the instructions about keeping the list Dying Scene-relevant. If you’re into expanding horizons, you should check out Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, Amanda Shires’ My Piece Of Land, Sadler Vaden’s self-titled album, David Bowie’s Blackstar, Wilco’s Schmilco, and probably a bunch of other mid-tempo stuff I’m forgetting.

As always, I didn’t include EPs, split-releases or live albums in my final list, because…because I didn’t. However, you should by no means skip toyGuitar‘s Move Like A Ghost, Useless ID‘s We Don’t Want The Airwaves and Dead To Me‘s I Wanna Die In Los Angeles on the EP front. You should also check out The Darlings‘ live album, and the Bundles/Dan Webb And The Spiders split 12-inch that came out a couple months ago. Oh, and Oklahoa’s Don’t Make Ghosts put out an EP, Death Ride, that’s easily one of the best debuts this year.

I did include tracks from all of the above, and obviously all of the below, on the Spotify playlist I curated for this story…scroll all the way down for that and hit “play.”

Check out my list below.



The Interrupters release new video for “By My Side”

L.A. ska band The Interrupters just released a video for their song “By My Side,” and you can check it out below.  The song appears on the band’s outstanding sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, which was released on Hellcat Records in June of this year.

The Interrupters just finished a nationwide headlining tour with support from Bad Cop Bad Cop.  You can check out a review of the Boston show here.



DS Photo Gallery: The Interrupters, Bad Cop Bad Cop, The Doped Up Dollies and Mickey Rickshaw take over Boston

To refer to The Interrupters current nationwide tour featuring direct support from Bad Cop Bad Cop as “highly anticipated” would be understating things in every possible way. The seven-week run circumnavigates the lower 48, and serves as not only The Interrupters first full US headlining tour, but Bad Cop Bad Cop’s first lengthy full US tour as well. For those reasons, and I’m sure many others, the tour rightfully ranks as a giant milestone moment filled with countless smaller milestone moments in the careers of both bands. But there is something about the tour that also feels like a milestone moment for the observer. For starters, it feels like a bit of a throwback to the groundbreaking glory days of Epitaph Records and Fat Wreck Chords, respectively, a time period that formulated the punk rock listening habits of a great many of us. But more than that, and you’ll have to forgive my occasionally foggy-at-best memory, but in the recent annals of punk history (and probably the not-so-recent ones too), you’d be hard-pressed to find such a lengthy, well-received tour involving not one, but two female-fronted punk bands playing in front of such high volume crowds. To put things bluntly, the tour feels, on paper, to be important. (Check out our recent tour-previewing interview with Kevin and Aimee from The Interrupters here.)

If you’ve been following the tour via the respective bands’ social media accounts, you’re probably well aware of just how fun and positive and high energy things seem to be as the tour rounds into its second month. But just like calling the tour “highly anticipated” is an understatement of epic proportions, so to is referring to its individual shows as an amalgam of “fun” and “positive” and “high energy.” So when you add to that already stellar lineup two intense and passionate local openers (The Doped Up Dollies and Mickey Rickshaw) the net result is that the Boston stop equated to one of the better showgoing experiences of this or most any other calendar years. Touring in support of their stellar sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, The Interrupters overcame a few early-set microphone-related technical difficulties to blast through a 21-song set that left little-if-anything to be desired.

From the very first notes of set opener “A Friend Like Me,” the foursome never really took their collective feet off the gas pedal. Anchored by the rock-solid Jesse Bivona on drums, the front-of-stage trio of Kevin Bivona (guitar), Justin Bivona (bass) and of course Aimee “Interrupter” Allen on vocals served as a continuous ball of frenetic energy, endlessly dancing, bouncing back-and-forth across the venue’s rather small stage. There are very few bands going who seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs and interacting with crowds night-in and night-out like The Interrupters do. Loyalty and family are recurring themes throughout the band’s body of work, and they seem sincere in referring to their fans as part of their extended family. Another of their family members, David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table fame, joined the band on stage for a true-to-the-0riginal cover of the Operation Ivy classic “Sound System,” while all available members of the collection of opening bands joined the foursome on stage for a dance party during encore closer “This Is My Family” before posing for a now-trademark post set group shot.

As mentioned above, Bad Cop Bad Cop are providing direct support for the duration of this tour. If there were another band in the scene that can match The Interrupters level of frenetic energy and their seeming enjoyment of taking the stage and playing night in and night out, it would o doubt be Bad Cop Bad Cop. Making only their second-ever Boston stop – and their first with bass player Linh Le in the house (Masked Intruder’s Intruder Yellow filled in when the band opened up the Fat Wreck 25th Anniversary tour last year as Le was attending her best friend’s wedding), the band seemed intent on making up for lost time in front of a crowd that seemed all-too eager to welcome them back to town. Drummer Myra Gallarza, who is easily one of the more underrated pace-setters in the scene provided a stable foundation for the three-part monster of co-frontwomen Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill to trade riffs and three-part harmonies with the whirling dervish that is Le.

Speaking of three-part harmonies, direct local support came by way of The Doped Up Dollies, a trio that rather famously started as supporting vocalists for David McWane and his band of Boston ska veterans, Big D and the Kids Table, before branching out as a unique, standalone act. The Dollies bill themselves as a three-piece act that play a “fusion of hopscotch/double dutch, ska, reggae, blues and soul,” and backed by a band that I’m pretty sure consisted of eighteen parts (honestly, I lost count but I think there were a total of nine members on the small club stage), including McWane himself, the trio of Brie McWane, Sirae Richardson and Erin McKenzie (pictured in that order above) present one of the more unique newish acts in the game. The variation in styles keeps the band from being pigeonholed, and allows them to fit in perfectly in myriad settings, and they proved to be a fantastic sonic change of pace on this particular bill without sacrificing much, if anything, in the way of overall energy.

Mickey Rickshaw, another stage-crowding local band (I’m relatively convinced that there are 8 of them, but again, the stage was small enough that I might have lost one or two or seven of them), opened the show off with about as frenetic a set as you can get. The band play an unapologetically fast and loud blend of Celtic punk that somehow, because of their energy level, make that occasionally well-worn sound seem fresh and vibrant. In a scene, particularly locally, that can seem crowded and redundant, Mickey Rickshaw have rather quickly made a name for themselves as the cream that has risen to the top.

Check out our full photo gallery below!



DS Interview: Kevin and Aimee from The Interrupters discuss “Say It Out Loud,” their first US headline tour and working with some cool friends

Last week in Santa Barbara, The Interrupters kicked off a lengthy US headlining tour — their first — that’ll keep them on the road for a total of seven-and-a-half weeks. This comes on the heels of the California-based four piece releasing their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, earlier this summer; an album that, if you haven’t heard it, you should make sure you check out before you finish that “Best of 2016” list. The band have breathed new life — infectiously fun life — into a scene that had become a bit stale by injecting a lock-tight brand of ska-punk that hasn’t been played this well in a decade-and-a-half.

Dying Scene caught up with Aimee “Interrupter” Allen and Kevin Bivona, the frontwoman and guitar player respectively, for an engaging conversation a couple days prior to leaving for tour. If you’re even peripherally familiar with The Interrupters body of work, you’re no doubt familiar with how prevalent the themes of family and unity are in their work. Look no further than tracks like “Family” and “A Friend Like Me” from their self-titled debut album or “By My Side,” the lead single from Say It Out Loud, for first-hand proof of that.

It doesn’t take much in the way of conversation with any of the band members to realize just how genuine those themes are. When Aimee joined up with the three Bivona brothers (twins Justin and Jesse man the bass and drums, respectively), to form the band, what could have been a tricky-to-navigate situation felt, in fact, pretty natural. “Kevin and I had already been writing music together for a year when the twins came in,” says Aimee, before confirming that the twins do, in fact, seem to have their own language (which is fairly apparent if you’ve had conversations with the two): “the twins definitely have their own communication and chemistry far beyond anything you can imagine and are pretty much a single unit when it comes to the drums and bass.”

The hard work that the band spent on the road, particularly over the last year, paid off when it came time to record the follow-up to the self-titled debut. Say It Out Loud is more cohesive, more energetic and more instantly enjoyable than even their first album was. “I think that just playing together live, going out there and playing songs and just being together and figuring out who we are as a band really helped us have a really strong foundation of what we were about,” says Allen. The infectious, high-energy feel is by design, continues Bivona, as the band used the input gained from crowd reactions at their live performances as a barometer when it came time to fine-tune tracks for Say It Out Loud. “With the second record, we would always be like “let’s try this background vocal” or “it would be great if we could get the crowd to sing this with us.” Just trying to keep it high-energy and fun.”

As you’re no doubt aware, the band holed up in the studio with Tim Armstrong (as Allen calls him the Fifth Interrupter) and made the most of what, in hindsight, seems a very brief amount of time to piece the new album together. “Top to bottom, we only spent like maybe six days (recording the music for Say It Out Loud),” explains Bivona, eventually sounding amazed at his own words. “We did vocals over the course of the next two weeks maybe, including background vocals. And we mixed in a month. When I say it out loud, it seems like a long time, but it wasn’t that long in terms of the actual hours put in!”

Armstrong not only lent his professional expertise to the process, inspiring life and impromtu jam sessions when ideas seemed to have become stagnant, but he was also the consummate professional when it came time to take advice from the band. Armstrong contributes vocals to the Say It Out Loud track “Phantom City,” a bit of a darker, mysteriously gritty sound than has been the band’s proverbial bread-and-butter. “Once it comes down to him singing on an Interrupters song,” says Bivona of the inimitable Armstrong, “he is totally willing to take as much input from us as we’re willing to give. Obviously, when Tim’s going to sing on one of your songs, you’re like “dude, do whatever you want!”  But he’ll be like “lyrically, what do you think of how I’m doing it?” He wants it to be good and he wants us to be happy in the end.”

Armstrong’s involvement with the band has not only sparked a slew of “what’s it like to work with Tim” questions from reporters and fans not unlike myself, but has spawned a fairly noticeable number of people who write the band off as a project, or, as a follow up to the similarly composed Distillers of the late 1990s. Whether the band is mindful of that feedback (unfair feedback, in this writer’s opinion) depends on when you asked them about it. I think that when we started out we paid more attention to it,” starts Bivona, before Allen quickly adds that she is not one to pay attention to the commentary. I don’t know what the fuck anyone is saying about us, good or bad. I read the articles about us, but I don’t look at comments.” Instead, the band focus their energy on their family, which includes their ever-growing fanbase, seeking to keep the energy and the audience participation at live shows high, creating an immensely enjoyable experience for all parties involved.

As should be fairly apparent, it’s not just four (five??) Interrupters that compose the band’s family. Guest appearances abound in the band’s videos (see above), on its albums and at live shows. Less Than Jake, for example, appear almost in their entirety on a track on the new album, the by-product of a seemingly chance four-hour jam session inspired by last year’s It’s Not Dead Fest. As Bivona tells it, “Less Than Jake was staying at a hotel literally a mile-and-a-half away from our house and we were working on the record. I hung out with a couple of the guys the night before, and I said “hey, do you think we can put something together and maybe have you guys come over and give a listen and see if you like it?” And next thing you know, they’re all at our house, and we worked on “You’re Gonna Find A Way Out” all in a night’s work.” 

The band also lent their skills to the upcoming full-length from Washington-based street punk band Noi!se, specifically on “The War Inside,” a heart-breaker of a song that tackles the all-too-real issue of soldiers returning home from foreign battlefields only to be faced with a much scarier and more prolonged war of their own: PTSD. While Allen herself is not a former soldier, the issue of PTSD is still all-too real, and lead to perhaps her most haunting vocal duties to date. “I have PTSD, so I get it,” says Allen rather matter-of-factly. “I have all the love in the world for the United States military. Twenty-two soldiers kill themselves every day, and we’ve got to do something. Anything, really. We’ve got to help stop this shit, and the only tool that we have…or that I have…is music!”

The Interrupters tour kicked off last week in Santa Barbara and runs through November 26th in San Diego. Head here for the full rundown to see where you can catch them! In the meantime, check out our full three-person Q&A session below!



Green Day announce North American club shows & European tour w/ The Interrupters

California pop-punk icons Green Day just announced two tours in support of their upcoming album Revolution Radio. The first is a North American tour that will see the band playing small club shows. The second is a European arena tour featuring support from The Interrupters.

The North American run starts in September (tickets on sale this Friday, Sept 9th at 12pm EST), and the European tour will kick off in early 2017. See if there’s a show near you below.

Green Day’s upcoming album Revolution Radio will be their first record in 4 years, serving as a follow-up to 2012’s ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy. Listen to the album’s first single “Bang Bang” here.

UPDATE: 3 shows have been postponed and 1 has been cancelled. According to a press release, this is “all due to illness affecting several members of the band and its crew.”