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The band has spent the better part of 2011 touring the new record which dropped in January doing a headlining run with main support coming from Miniature Tigers and currently find themselves out with fellow pop-punk patriots Saves The Day! The band will be heading overseas and then getting to the point where they think what comes next? As can be read about in the interview, while there still may be a few things that aren't liked the band is trying to shake it up and bond about the good things by exploring the area and really spending time together. Seeing them live last night, it's so clear that they are happy to be back together playing live as a band and it was clear that the fans are too!
You've been cited in a lot of my past interviews from screamo based like Silverstein to full pop like Yellowcard as a major influence and inspiration. So maybe who were some of your inspirations to start doing music?
Well for this band in particular, we grew up on like Fugazi and Superchunk and Weezer was a pretty big influence initially and then eighties pop like The Cars but now I would say that we've kind of switched it up and listen to a lot of everything. Fugazi is the one we always come back to. Just like we all like them a lot (laughs) and we don't all agree on any one band very often.
Perfect and then obviously the new record, it's the first one since you guys came back together. How do you think it's been going over so far? I know this tour has been seven dates selling out.
Good. I mean it's different and I think another thing is that there seem to be two kind of people that like our band. There are those who want us to only play our first two records over and over and over again and there are those who are willing to allow us to evolve and those who are willing to allow us to evolve seem to like the third record and those who only want us to play our two first records aren't going to like anything we do anyway so that seems to be the continental divide on that one.
Perfect and then did the songwriting change for this record or how did it go about?
It was collaborative. It was more like how we made our very first record in that we all just kind of got in a room and threw ideas out and just figured out what stuck. The record after that it would be more like someone would come up with an idea or a completed song and would bring it to the band.
So this one differed from the past records?
It was similar to our first record and different to our second, third and fourth.
Then maybe where would you say is one of the stranger places you've found inspiration maybe recently? Like for one of your songs. Like something some one said or something happened.
A song on this record is about Marie Laveau who is a voodoo queen from New Orleans. Well she's a mother and a daughter and there's not a whole lot of concrete history about her but I've kind of become kind of fascinated about her because it's not like, when you start looking into what voodoo is, it's not just buying Tchaisky dolls and putting pins in them. It's a very like kind of fascinating way of worshiping the dead to a certain degree and well to a lot of degree. So I thought she was really interesting. I've never written a song about a voodoo queen before so I can strike that one from the list!
Your list of inspirations.
Of random things to write songs about.
Then obviously you guys had some time apart from each other. Maybe how do you think that time helped you guys as musicians and as this band again today?
It helped us appreciate the things that we liked about each other opposed to focusing on the things that we don't. There are definitely things that we don't like about each other but it's kind of like, did you ever have like a really intense relationship with some one and then you drifted apart or maybe like it was a romantic relationship but you broke up and you were like I never want to see that person again and then like three or four years later you're like yeah you know we can sit around and talk about the good old days or like try and do something. So like I mean even this tour which is kind of a weird tour, we've been just like celebrating the absurdity of it and we've kind of rolled with that and we'll get home and we'll scatter and we'll get the hell away from each other for three weeks.
Then that's what I was going to ask obviously you're out on the road with Saves The Day and Chris has had that band for about sixteen years now and then these guys have been around for the last few years. How do you think it's been going with the two bands?
I think it's a bit of a retro package but I think it's not unfair to say that there's probably a lot of people who like Saves The Day who like us as well and vice versa. I mean I've known Chris, we've known Chris, for a really long time. We've always gotten along with him and we met the new guys in the band just recently and it's really good. It's really good! Good friends and they stole our luggage last night!
They stole your luggage?
So they're going to have to pay for it! We were drunk.
Maybe how do you think, well obviously you're the singer of the band and you've had this band for years how do you think you've personally grown or the band's grown since the beginning? Obviously you've aged but.
You've stayed the same age the whole time.
I live in Narnia thank you very much! I think we've always had a weird kind of cocky attitude to us and I think that that has only further solidified over the years. We do things because we want to do them. I don't know it's kind of hard to explain. We take what we do very seriously but we don't take the parts of the road that should not be taken seriously very serious. Again we try to enjoy ourselves because I mean it can get really mundane. Getting on a highway then being in a car then the venue then the hotel then being on a highway.
Then this is obviously bringing it a little bit around but maybe what was the first like big moment where you were like this is going to be something? This is going to happen and it's going to be staying power.
Oh, staying power? No idea. There's a moment in, now this is interesting because it was actually on the way to a show in Rhode Island, in Kingston I think. It was a house show. It was our very first tour with Braid and we ended up at that show, we ended up setting up both bands gear and switching back and forth doing each others' songs but I remember on that highway we were driving on the highway and I was like, because we only really intended to like go out for that summer and everybody was going to go back to school, but I was like you know what we could do this. Like we're getting paid to do this and it's really fun. That was a really distinct memory of that. I don't know if I ever thought of this being a sustainable anything past that point. I certainly didn't think sixteen years later we'd still be playing some of those same songs that we played in that basement in Rhode Island.
Then this is a little bit different but obviously you have the new record to pull on and being something a little different because it was your first reunited record, how are the live sets? Like how do you go about them? Like are you taking from all of the records or is it focusing on the new record?
No it's not. It's about five or six songs off of the new record and then the rest well it weighs pretty heavily on our second record which is our most popular record so we try to balance it between like stuff from that record, stuff from our first record then also shit Jim sings as well as shit I sing. Slow songs versus rock songs like we try to do the ebb and flow of that then I know there's like people that have come to multiple shows on this tour so for them it's like I don't want to play the same set all the way through. Like 'Oh you're coming to three shows? That's great! You get to hear all these songs three times. All the way through.'
Then this is kind of goofier but you have been steadily touring this past year. Like before this you were out headlining with Miniature Tigers so you have been touring for a while recently so what you would you say are the three things you must have while on the road?
I don't know that I have must-haves necessarily. We enjoy good coffee and we'll go out of our way to find it. We enjoy sampling local beers which is specifically said in our rider. At least a six pack of a local or regional IPA. They always give us fucking Harpoon whenever we come here though and I've had Harpoon for ten years! Then we try to find fun things to do and I mean that's not really so much like something at shows necessarily but like so far on this tour, let's see, we've gone hiking in a gorge, we went to the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, we got to eat some really good food, we have been to the ocean twice. We took the ferry from Long Island to Bridgeport, Connecticut which was awesome. We tried to drive up the 1 all the way up here today but it was just taking forever. It took us like forty five minutes to go like three miles. It was like 'oh isn't this another quaint New England town. Yes it is! Can we please go on a fucking road?' but yeah I mean just trying to mix it up and then we got to have friends. We've been doing this for a long time now and we have friends everywhere we go so seeing them and seeing how they're doing is one of the best things. So coffee, beer and friends and fun.
Then obviously this is taking it back a little bit! What was the first CD or cassette you ever bought as a kid?
First cassette I ever bought with my own money was the first LA Gunz record. First CD I ever bought with my own money was Sound garden's 'Badmotorfinger'. The first LP I ever bought was probably a KISS record but I don't really remember. Everything else was a blur.
Then the first concert and do you think those musical experiences like influenced you personally your style or The Get Up Kids in general?
Well when I was in junior high, I got really into hair metal like Motley Crue, Guns and Roses and all that kind of stuff so my first concert was LA Gunz, Dangerous Boys and Torah Torah. You may not know who any of those bands are. Saw Motley Crue one time so those were my first concerts ever but I don't know if those really shaped me as a musician. My first concerts were gigs that I played in peoples' basements. I played my first show when I was fifteen and I was the youngest person there by like four years so my self was initially more shaped by experience and then you know since seeing a lot of performances but anything's better then that first gig.
Then to end it off, what's going to be coming up? Are you guys going to be taking a little break from touring?
Yeah we're doing international stuff for the rest of the year. We're going to Japan and Australia and New Zealand and then we're going to Europe for a month and then I think that will be it for a little while. Then we're going to regroup and figure out what we're going to do next.