Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with Matt Hart of Squirtgun

My geeky self and Matt Hart (Squirtgun)
By Chris Carlton

Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Matt. Fans know you as the lead singer for Squirtgun. Can you give us a little history on how the band got started?

Matt Hart: "Squirtgun started in 1992-93, though we weren’t called Squirtgun at that point. The Giorgini brothers (Mass and Flav) and the inimitable Dan Lumley were in a band at that point called Rattail Grenadier. I was in graduate school at Ohio University studying philosophy and teaching logic. For a variety of reasons that I can’t remember, Rattail’s singer (their fourth, I think) quit the band. That’s when I got the call from Mass to come to Indiana and do some demos with Rattail. The connection there is that during the late '80s, I was in a band in Evansville, IN (where I’m from originally) called Freaks of Nature, and we used to play shows with Rattail (who were from Lafayette, IN). That’s how we all became friends in the first place.
At any rate, in the spring or summer of ’93, I did go to Lafayette to do some demos, but it became pretty clear to all of us that with me singing, it wasn’t going to be Rattail anymore (they were a more hardcore/metal-ly band, and I just didn’t have the throat for that). Plus, I had a bunch of songs to add to the mix, and I started writing lyrics/melodies for some music that the other guys had already worked up. That’s how it all started. I think in those first sessions we recorded “Social,” “Mr. Orange,” “Allergic to You,” “Long So Long,” “Liar’s Corner” and “With a Grin and a Kick,” among others. Because of Mass’s connection with Lookout! (Records) at that point, it made sense for us to try and get a deal with them. Mass wanted the band to have a cartoon-y, pop-punk sort of name, and I came up with Squirtgun (I wish I hadn’t, but I did. In retrospect, I should’ve come up with Piano Smash or Death’s Head Rabbit or Notes after Blacking Out—anything but Squirtgun)."

SPQ: I had the chance to see Squirtgun play, and actually meet you a couple of years ago in Chicago when the band played with Teen Idols and 88 Fingers Louie and you guys were amazing live! Are there any plans for another Squirtgun album or possible tour?

MH: "I’m glad you liked the live show. We had fun doing those a couple of summers ago, but I kind of think that was it. The end. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before, and we’re all still great friends, so I guess anything is possible, but Flav is a research scientist in genetics at the University of Leicester in England now. Mass just got his Ph.D in Spanish and is teaching at several colleges/universities. I teach writing and literature at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (a four-year college of art and design) and I’m a poet (more on that below). Dan writes for the Lafayette newspaper. Additionally, Flav and I both have young children, so it’s tough to get away to rehearse, much less tour. The truth is, I haven’t even picked up a guitar, other than the toy guitar my daughter has, in more than a year. I get the same charge writing and reading poems that I got playing in bands, so it’s hard to imagine going back to music, but if something comes up that’s too good to be true…well, I’ll never say never, but there are no plans."

SPQ: Who were your musical influences growing up and do you think those influences come through in your songwriting?

MH: "Songwriting? Oh man, I’m sure it’s mind-boggling to some people, but I don’t write songs anymore at all—none. That said, the music I grew up with certainly influences who I am as a poet. In fact, I just wrote a long essay in four parts for Coldfront Mag online where I discuss exactly the connections between punk rock and my writing. You can see them here:

One thing I don’t discuss in the essays above is how much music performance, especially punk vocalists, have influenced the way I perform poetry. I think I’ve always been someone who likes singers/bands that nearly fly apart on stage. That’s certainly something I’ve always tried to do. There’s a recklessness to performance, which is both thrilling and potentially disastrous. I mean, if you’re really in it, you’re totally weird-wired and also vulnerable as hell. Every time I walk on stage/up to a mic whether it’s playing with a band or reading poetry, I’m trying for ekstasis—that is, to be literally beside myself, watching myself, the audience, the vast and the void.
Actually, I want a similar thing to occur when I’m writing; I want to 'wake up' typing with a poem in front of me. I get pretty wound up whatever I’m doing, but this keeps it exciting. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s terrible. Extremity is crucial. The experience has to be full-throttle. Volcano mixed with trickster mixed with stars and giant heart. Giant vision, giant voice.
In this respect, my influences were and still are bands like Alice Cooper, Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, The Sex Pistols, The Circle Jerks, The Germs, Lifetime and Jawbreaker. More recent bands I’ve really been into are The Blood Brothers, Forgetters, Shellac, Titus Andronicus, The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady.
I like performances (and try to give performances when I read) that are volatile, dynamic, noisy and declarative. I mean, whether I’m at a poetry reading or a rock show, I always want to have my face blown off and leave feeling like I’ve just seen something which is nearly inexplicable, totally surprising and somehow also provocative (both physically and intellectually). I want to be moved, and I want to move other people. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, 'Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.' To me, this is the bedrock of punk rock, and it’s exactly the reason so many of us are so wide up awake even in our sleep. I’m looking in performances for something ecstatic (and there it is again, ekstasis), something outside the outside, totally in fits—like breathing fire by creating a flame thrower in one’s gut, not metaphorically but for real with the real."

SPQ: Back when you first started out playing in bands, pre mid-90's punk explosion, was it hard to find places to play outside of house parties?

MH: "We definitely played some house parties, but we also played a lot of gymnasiums and college student centers, VFW Halls, and little all-ages clubs that would pop up here and there (then disappear just as quickly). For example, Mass’s Spud Zero in Lafayette, which was around for a couple of years and hosted everybody from The Zero Boys and Screeching Weasel to Naked Raygun and Green Day. There were plenty of places to play, and when there weren’t, we created them. We did it ourselves, and that continues to influence who I am. I don’t ever have the sense that there’s something I can’t do. Not having money or resources is no excuse to not follow one’s dreams and passions. DIY all the way. Make it happen.

SPQ: How do you feel the scene has changed since those early days? Do you feel the scene has gotten better or suffered in the wake of "mall punk" and bands like Green Day going multi-platinum?

MH: "Well, given that Squirtgun’s most famous song is in a movie called Mallrats, I don’t really think I can disparage mall punk. I mean, where I come from, mall punk is all there was/is? I was mall punk in 1984. There was no such thing as punk rock in southern Indiana back then. We had nothing to do and nowhere to go, so we hung out at the mall—and hatched plans to have shows in people’s basements, etc. I once played a show in a stairwell, between a basement and a first floor. I played a show in a kitchen in Knoxville, TN. I’ve also played shows in soccer arenas. The point is: punk is and always has been about doing it yourself. The labels don’t matter. Labels are the antithesis of punk.
As for the scene, I don’t really think there’s much to say. And even if I did think there was something to say, it wouldn’t make any difference—which is a great thing. I’m just one guy, and I don’t even go to shows anymore, so I don’t really know anything about the scene—not even whether or not there is (or ever was) one. The important thing is that to some extent or other, there will always be young people in revolt—both literally and figuratively/artistically. And that means things may ebb and flow, but punk rock and its various tributaries (those established and those not even thought of yet) are a fact of our existence, which is lucky for us."
SPQ: Are there any newer bands out there, not necessarily punk bands, that you really enjoy listening to?

MH: "More recent bands I’ve really been into are The Blood Brothers, Forgetters, Shellac, Titus Andronicus, The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady. Additionally, I love jazz—especially super noisy, squealy, squawky, tear your hair out jazz, e.g. Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra. Love those Sonic Youth Records (SYR), Sonic Youth records (the super feedback-y noisy ones), Storm and Stress, DNA.
But man, I listen to everything from classical music to bluegrass to hardcore.
I always wanted to be in a hardcore band. Johnny Whitney, late of The Blood Brothers, has the most kick-ass voice of anybody. Blake Schwarzenbach, too. And Darby Crash."

SPQ: In recent years, as mentioned, you've worked at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and have even started writing poetry. Has any of your writing been published?

MH: Just to be clear, I started writing poetry long before I was in Squirtgun and I’ve continued writing it very seriously all these years. I have three published full-length collections, Who’s Who Vivid (Slope Editions, 2006), Wolf Face (H_NGM_N Books, 2010) and Light-Headed (BlazeVOX, 2011). A new book of poems—my punk rock book of poems—Sermons and Lectures both Blank and Relentless will be published in the spring of 2012 by Typecast Publishing. I’m really excited about that one. My hope is to open some punk shows reading from it. It’s pretty out there, weaving together references to early punk rock, my own personal life, and various philosophers/philosophical positions as a way to talk about human feeling/being, visionary activity and transcendence. The poems are really fiery, and it would be awesome to deliver them in front of a wild at heart, punk rock audience.
Speaking of the Sermons and Lectures, I should mention that a different section of it appears at the end of each of the essays I linked you to above.
Beyond that, there’s a ton of my poetry out there for anybody who’s interested. I also give tons of readings, so it’s pretty easy to catch me live. Over the last 10 or 15 years, I’ve given readings from NYC to San Francisco and everywhere in between. Last summer, I read in China for the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and the U.S. Department of State. This fall, I’ll be back in NYC and also Portland, OR and Seattle. It’s great work if you can get it."

SPQ: Can you give us some of your influences as far as literature?

MH: "Yeah, I tend to like things that are surprising (both in terms of their content and the way/s they use language). I love the Romantics, the Surrealists, The Beats, The New York School Poets, etc. Here’s a reading list:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (especially the Conversation poems)
John Keats
John Clare
The Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud
“Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville
Emily Dickinson (one of our weirdest poets!)
Walt Whitman
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
The Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein
The Dada Painters and Poets, Ed. Robert Motherwell
The Poetry of Surrealism, Ed. by Michael Benedikt
The Dream Songs by John Berryman
The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara
The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan
Flannery O’Connor
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Wallace Stevens
On the Road, Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans and Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Gregory Corso (anything)
On Bear’s Head by Philip Whalen
Dean Young (anything)
Indeed I Was Pleased with the World by Mary Ruefle
This Is Not a Novel by David Markson
Grave of Light: Selected Poems by Alice Notley
Haruki Murakami (especially the short stories)
Donald Barthelme
Kenneth Koch
Lydia Davis
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
The Tennis Court Oath by John Ashbery
The Savage Detectives and 2666 by Roberto Bolano."

SPQ: Do you enjoy writing poetry as much or more than writing music or is there a nice counterbalance between both art forms?

MH: "I love writing/reading/performing poetry. Writing music, I was never very good at. I never really cared all that much about being a musician. I wanted to be a front man. I wanted to go the distance lyrically/melodically in dissonance and harmony, but more than that, I wanted to be a presence on stage. I wanted to throw myself against the wall. I wanted to be music. With poetry, I can do that. I do that. I try every day to do that."

SPQ: Is there a website where we can get news on what you're up to; where we can get some info on your literature writings, music news, possible new releases, upcoming appearances or merch?

SPQ: I would like to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo. It was a pleasure talking with you, Matt. And I hope we get to hear more from you in the future. Thanks again.

MH: Thanks, Chris. It was fun.

Dan Vapid & the Cheats show review/set list (5.27.11)

Friday night was the first show for Dan Vapid & the Cheats, which was held at the Cobra Lounge in Chicago. Off the bat, it was an interesting crowd. I eavesdropped while hiding behind my $3 tall can of Old Style, and heard British accents in several groups. A guy named Tor from Norway came out and introduced himself to me, and I know other Europeans made the trip as well. I talked briefly with two girls from England who came out but their accent was so heavy and the music playing over the PA was so overly loud, that I couldn't hear a thing they said.

Sheboygan, Wisc. pop-punk rockers, The Jetty Boys opened the night. Lead singer/guitarist Drew Fredrichsen is a great entertainer with a very active stage-presence. Even if you don't like the music, it's hard to take your eyes off the stage because it's entertaining. I've seen The Jetty Boys a number of times now, and it's always fun and they seem to get the crowd into it. The Kurt Baker Band played next, sandwiched between the Jetty Boys and the curious Dan Vapid band. Kurt Baker was great - he played a number of Leftovers tunes, which I was all about. I've seen The Leftovers a bunch of times, and they were great. Mike Byrne of The Methadones was supposed to play guitar for them, but I don't think he wanted to do double duty that night, as he was playing lead guitar for Dan Vapid & the Cheats. They were great though - infectious punk-rock influenced power pop. Like Fredrichsen, Baker captivated the audience with his dancing, engagement of the crowd and positive egotism, reminiscent of Joe Jackson or Elvis Costello. The Kurt Baker Band was excellent.

Finally, the moment I'd been waiting for - Dan Vapid & the Cheats. I knew the lineup was 3/4 Methadones (Dan Schafer, Mike Byrne, Mike Soucy) and 1/4 Screeching Weasel 2k10 (Simon Lamb). They opened up with The Methadones' "Say Goodbye To Your Generation." Pete Mittler (Methadones) came up and played bass on a few tunes, which was great for me, because a part of me thought I'd never see my favorite live band ever again, and lo and behold, they were playing all together on a stage Friday night. It was short-lived, and Lamb returned to bass. During "Someday" by Sludgeworth, Joe Principe (Rise Against) took over on bass, and looked like he was having a great time up there with Dan, Mike B. and Mike S. They played a fair amount of The Mopes ("The World Don't Revolve Around You," "My Heart Won't Bleed For You," "Baby Doll," etc.), Sludgeworth ("Someday," "Anytime," etc.), Methadones ("Say Goodbye To Your Generation," "Bored of Television," "Transistor Radio," etc.) and The Riverdales ("Make Way," "Heart Out of Season," "Crash of the Moons," etc.) songs as well as Screeching Weasel's "High School Psychopath," which Schafer told us he wrote after high school. They also played a new one called "I Could Be Into You (If You Were Into Me)," which will appear on The Black Sheep Band LP that both Schafer and Byrne recorded on. They had Black Sheep Cafe chef James Toland up on stage to sing backup vocals. During The Riverdales' "Crash of the Moons," Adam Cargin of The Riverdales 2k10 came up and gave Soucy a break on drums. It was fun interacting with Byrne. I even brought a yellow guitar pick in my pocket to throw in his mouth (I missed). They also played a cover of the Pointed Sticks' "Out of Luck," which appears on The Methadones' "21st Century Power Pop" album.

The show was a good time, and while I know a lot of people from out of town were bummed that they couldn't see Screeching Weasel, I enjoyed myself more Friday night than I would have had I saw Screeching Weasel. I like all Dan's bands more, and the songs are better, in my opinion. The Cheats didn't have any merch, which was something I was curious about. I did pick up a free two-song CD from Kurt Baker with the songs, "Why You Gotta Lie" and "Don't Steal My Heart Away." I had a great night, which only got better Saturday and Sunday.

Set List:
Say Goodbye To Your Generation (The Methadones)
Make Way (The Riverdales)
Heart Out of Season (The Riverdales)
Baby Doll (The Mopes)
Transistor Radio (The Methadones)
Back To You (The Riverdales)
High School Psychopath (Screeching Weasel)
Diabolik (The Riverdales)
I Don't Wanna Go To the Party (The Riverdales)
Bored of Television (The Methadones)
My Heart Won't Bleed For You (The Mopes)
I Don't Wanna Live Forever (The Riverdales)
The World Don't Revolve Around You Anymore (The Mopes)
I Could Be Into You (If You Were Into Me) (The Black Sheep Band)
Riverdale Stomp (The Riverdales)
Crash of the Moons (The Riverdales)
3-2-1 (The Methadones)
Turning Up the Noise (The Methadones)
Anytime (Sludgeworth)
Someday feat. Joe Principe (Sludgeworth)
Far Away (The Methadones)
Out of Luck (The Methadones' Pointed Sticks cover)
I Don't Know How To Say Goodbye (The Mopes)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Interview with Milo Aukerman of THE DESCENDENTS

Photo from Epitaph.com
By Chris Carlton

Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Milo. So the Descendents are back touring after 15 years. How does it feel to be back on the road playing to packed houses full of fans?

Milo Aukerman: "I have to admit, I was a little stunned at the level of response. We go away for 15 years, and come back with an even larger audience? But from a different perspective, it does make sense: there are many out there who never got to see us in the '80s or '90s, so people are really committed to coming out for these shows. I’m totally loving it, especially because I watched the extreme toil that ALL carried out for many years, and Bill (Stevenson/drums)/Stephen (Egerton/guitar)/Karl (Alvarez/bass) deserve every bit of the attention we are currently getting."

SPQ: Can you give our readers a little history on The Descendents and how you got involved with the band?

MA: "Bill started the band with Frank Navetta and Tony Lombardo in 1978. They put out a single in 1979, “Ride the Wild”/”It’s a Hectic World,” and Bill started selling it at high school during recess/lunchtime. I was a classmate of his, and bought a copy of it, and loved it immediately. I heard where they were practicing at the time (The Church in Hermosa Beach), and showed up at a practice, professing my love for their music. They actually had a girl singer at the time, who never showed up to practice. So there was a mike set up, and I said, 'Hey I know Hectic World, lemme take a crack at it!' It wasn’t a 'tryout' at all, just me having some fun, but they asked me to join a few weeks later; not that I could sing at all, but I guess I had the right level of enthusiasm! We practiced like crazy for the next year or so, then recorded the FAT EP (1981). Then all the other records after that (dates in Wikipedia). We played locally in L.A. and San Francisco from 1981 to 1985, then did our first U.S. tour (to be followed by many others). We didn’t go to Europe until 1996."

SPQ: I see and hear a lot of you in so many young bands these days. Being an influence to so many I have to ask, who are some of your influences?

MA: "Beatles, X, Germs, Black Flag, The Last, Bad Brains. Extreme punk (especially L.A.-based), plus melody."

SPQ: Back in the band's early days, you guys played with bands that are now considered legendary in their own right. How was the scene different then as opposed to now?

MA: "Some of the bills were unreal – Black Flag + Minutemen + Saccharine Trust + Husker Du + Red Cross + us, etc. That will never happen again! We were the young unknowns on these bills, and that was OK, because the Black Flag/Minutemen guys were always helping us out, putting us on the bill, helping us record, etc. I felt like part of an extended punk family during that period (1980-1983), and it was definitely a legendary time for South Bay punk rock. The DIY ethic really crystallized during that time, thanks to Greg Ginn and SST."

SPQ: When the band's '95 comeback album came out, it was a surprise to see that Frank Navetta and Tony Lombardo played on a couple tracks ("Dog House" and "Eunuch Boy"). Where Frank and Tony brought back for those songs specifically? Or were those songs unused tracks from the '80s?

MA: "Bill invited them to contribute songs, to 'join the party,' so to speak. Frank came in with “Doghouse.” Tony had a great song that didn’t make the record, “Gotta” – it’s on one of the CD singles. Those were relatively new songs, whereas “Eunuch Boy” was an old song; in fact it was the first one I wrote for the band back in 1980 (Tony wrote the music, I wrote lyrics)."

SPQ: The band's last album, Cool To Be You, came out in 2004, but the band decided not to tour in support of the album. Why not tour behind such a strong album?

MA: "Thanks for the positive review! Unfortunately, I really couldn’t commit to the touring; I had recently started my job at DuPont and didn’t have much vacation time to use, nor could I take a leave of absence. We went into that record knowing we would not be able to support the record through touring. Fat Mike was also aware, but still wanted to put it out, ‘cause he was so into it."

SPQ: With the new tour and the band playing here in Chicago at Riot Fest in October, are there any plans for a new Descendents album?

MA: "Not at this point. I’ve got some songs, and I’ll bet the other guys have a ton (they always do!), but trying to figure out how to fit in recording will be difficult. As it stands, I’ve used every vacation day from my job that I can, so there’s no time left for recording. We’ve had to prioritize our activities because of my schedule, and so far the priority has been on doing shows, because there is such a huge demand for it."

SPQ: I understand ALL are gonna be doing a show with every singer they ever had. Will there ever be a history of the Descendents show where you'll bring out Frank, Tony, Ray or Doug to play a few songs from their time in the band?

MA: "That would be fun! Something like that has happened the last few years in Fort Collins; the band puts on an event called Stockage, where there has been a reunion of sorts (without me, though). One year, Bill played with Frank and Tony, for example (original power trio lineup! Yeah!). Sadly, Frank died a few years back, so the true original lineup is no more. Ray and Doug are still available, so maybe they can show up sometime and play on some of the old stuff."

SPQ: Being a father, it must be hard to be on the road. Do you or the other guys bring the family on the road with you?

MA: "We’re actually not on the road these days. What I mean is, we can only do a handful of shows per year, so I’m rarely out of town for more than a few days. Although it would be great to be able to play more shows, there is a silver lining, and that is that I’m not an absentee father or husband. Back in 1996-'97, we toured like crazy, and I would come back from tour and be useless as a husband. Luckily, I didn’t have kids back then. This time around, my wife and the kids are coming for a few shows, and that’s perfect. Any more than that, and they would get sick of it! Bill’s and Stephen’s wives have come to a few shows also, plus their kids. It’s a family environment (aside from the stage volume and dirty lyrics)."

SPQ: After this tour, what can we expect from The Descendents? Are you back for good, or just for now?

MA: "'For good?' Do you realize how old we are? Seriously, it’s been a blast, and as long as we can stay healthy and the shows are fun and people want to see us, we’ll keep doing it; on a limited basis, of course. I keep assuming we will eventually fade into obscurity, but so far I’ve been wrong, so I’ve stopped predicting the end."

SPQ: I know I speak for a lot of fans when I say it's great to see you guys back again after so long. Is there a website where fans can keep up with Descendents news, shows and buy merch?

SPQ: Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo. It really is an honor for me to interview you, Milo. I'm looking forward to the Chicago show in October. Until then..."Thank you for playing the way you play!"

MA: "Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you in Chicago!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

'S/T' by Sore Subjects

By Kevin Toomey
Rating: 4/5
S/T 7''

Chicago three-piece, Sore Subjects, offers four songs in typical Ramones-inspired pop punk style on its debut EP. That is by no means a demeaning comment; Sore Subjects is very good at what it does. Unlike most bands that unabashedly ape The Ramones, Sore Subjects brings a better sense of humor than most Ramones-core ripoff bands do. The first track, “Gimme a Dee Dee,” is about going to the barbershop and asking for the Dee Dee Ramone bowl cut as a statement of teenage rebellion (kinda ironic since Dee Dee hated The Ramones' uniform look). “Sore Head” is a song that I’m finding constantly stuck in my head since it’s one of the catchier songs on the EP. “Tall Boys” is a creative ode to Old Style tall cans. I really like the lines, “Spend my time more bounce to the ounce/Doubling my intake now that it’s Krausened.” The last song is a catchy one about being friends with sideshow performer Schlitze Surtees, who appeared in the movie, Freaks. If this 7” is any indication, the first full-length album from Sore Subjects is going to be a good one. You can pick this EP up when Sore Subjects plays Panchos on June 2nd with The Transgressions, Flamingo Nosebleed and Prepare to Die.

Alkaline Trio/Smoking Popes at The Metro, Chicago this August

According to the Metro's site, Alkaline Trio will be playing two nights with The Smoking Popes and River City Extension on Monday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 2. Tickets will be available here at noon on Thursday, June 2 or you can get them now here.

Monday, August 1:
Alkaline Trio/Smoking Popes/River City Extension
$27 advance/$30 day of
Doors 6 p.m./Show 6:30 p.m.
All ages

Tuesday, August 2:
Alkaline Trio/Smoking Popes/River City Extension
$27 advance/$30 day of
Doors 7 p.m./Show 8 p.m.

These are totally going to sell out June 2. I can't wait to see my favorite band, Alkaline Trio, with another one of my favorite bands, the Smoking Popes. These shows are going to be great!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview with Kira Roessler of Black Flag

Photo from www.alicebag.com
By Chris Carlton

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would like to state that I do not do interviews with the purpose of being confrontational or mean-spirited to the artist. This is a hobby for me, and a fun one at that. I send out many interview requests and get very few back considering. So the ones I do get, I appreciate. I would never go out of my way to be rude or hurtful of anyone's feelings. That being said, here is my interview with Kira Roessler.

Squid Pro Quo: Thank you for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Kira. A lot of people may remember you as a former member of the legendary band, Black Flag. Can you give us a little history as to what you were doing before, and how you got involved with the band?

Kira Roessler: "I played piano from 6 to 11. I started playing bass at 14 to join my brother's prog-rock band. I was never good enough to do that. My brother and I got into punk rock and we started playing together in my first band, Waxx. I played in several other bands in the Los Angeles area for 7 years before I joined BF. I knew the guys in BF from shows and stuff, they were my favorite band when I was playing in DC3 with Dez Cadena and Henry (Rollins) called and asked if I wanted to stay after DC3 practice and jam with Bill and Greg (we practiced at the same place). After we jammed, they asked me to join.

SPQ: During your time in Black Flag did you find it difficult being a female in a predominately male, and I'm sure ignorant, punk world?

KR: "Um...ignorant? You mean that a woman might be able to play? I guess I disagree with the premise. And as to it being difficult to be a woman, I have no real frame of reference. As I mentioned, I played bass for years before BF, so I never felt that it was significant that I was a woman; I knew I could do whatever I set my mind to. That being said, it was an extremely difficult physical challenge to be in BF."

SPQ: How do you feel punk and hardcore in general has changed since the early '80s? Do you feel it's gotten better or worse?

KR: "I have no idea. I do not participate enough to have an opinion. As for 'punk' and 'hardcore,' what is the difference? I mean, hardcore is more punk than punk? We (in BF) never called ourselves 'hardcore;' that was others and after the fact." Punk was supposed to be about going against what was (I thought) so I am not attracted to bands who are following some rules about what they think they should play or look like. So hopefully it has changed in the sense that it doesn't sound anything like it did then."

SPQ: What's your relationship with your former band mates? Do you still keep in touch?

KR: "Not really. I have had minimal contact with them."

SPQ: Do you think there will be a Black Flag reunion, and would you be interested in playing if it happened?

KR: "Greg did play a gig with some former members. I have no idea but if I had to guess, I would say that he doesn't want to do a re-hash and I would tend to agree. As to whether I would do it, the opportunity to play with those guys would be very tempting."

SPQ: Post-Black Flag, you were in the band, dos, with Mike Watt. Over the years, you both recorded a few albums, the last being the '96 album, Justamente Tres. Are there any plans for a new dos album or possible tour?

KR: "Dos has a fourth record coming out in July. As for tours, Mike is a busy guy and I work for a living, so the most likely thing is that we do some gigs here and there like we have for 25 years."

SPQ: Do you have any favorite albums or songs that you've played on?

KR: "Because you didn't mention them, I will mention that I played on Twisted Roots recordings and with a band called Approximation. Dos is probably the sentimental favorite because I express myself the most in that format and happen to really like the bass. I also have come to appreciate writing material that breathes and where there are spaces, as supposed to more of the 'wall of sound' effect."

SPQ: You're an Emmy-winning dialogue editor who's worked on television as well as such feature films as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and more recently, Twilight: New Moon. How did you get started in the editing field?

KR: "Actually, through playing bass. My brother was working on composing some music for a student film that a guy named Bryan Franklin was editing/mixing. Bryan was running a small company that specialized in sound editing. We became friends and after a couple of years, I twisted his arm into hiring me. I started just answering phones and doing office work as I learned to be an editor."

SPQ: What's more fun for you: playing music or working on TV and films in the editing department?

KR: "There's that 'fun' word; always trips me up. OK, here we go. If I have to use that word, the most 'fun' is writing songs or bass lines in my room. Playing live has so many elements to it aside from the actual playing that it is therefore, less 'fun.' And work is challenging, at times creative, at times exhausting and demanding. I get paid well, so there are perhaps 'fun' moments, but they can be fleeting. I would use the word 'satisfying' for all these things."

SPQ: I know recently your home was burglarized and your custom-made bass was stolen, only to be retrieved about a week or so later, and the thief arrested. What's happened to this guy since then? Has be been prosecuted?

KR: "I have no idea whether he was even arrested. The last thing I knew was that the police had a copy of his driver's license. Remember they probably couldn't even prove he was in my house, just that he was in possession of stolen goods. They would only have followed up with me if they had come across other stolen items from my home, which they did not."

SPQ: What was it like getting that call saying your bass was found? You must have been ecstatic.

KR: "I was. I rushed to the police station and the officer said he usually makes the person explain how they know the item is theirs, but the look on my face said it all."

SPQ: Well, us fans are very happy you were reunited with your bass. Is there a website that you would like to plug where fans can get in touch with you and find out what you're up to these days?

KR: I have a Facebook page and post to it pretty regularly. Won't be long before I hit my 5,000 friends and then I will have to create another site, but I will and there is a dos Facebook page too.

SPQ: I can't thank you enough for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Kira. It's such an honor and a pleasure. Thanks again.

EDITORS NOTE: Upon receiving Miss Roessler's answers, I realized maybe I should have worded my second question differently, as to not confuse what my intentions were. Below is an open letter to Miss Roessler, and her response.

SPQ: Thank you very much for the interview and your time.

I want to apologize for any misunderstanding on question 2. What I meant by "ignorant" was the fact that there were so many guys playing in punk bands that they seemed quite macho and ignorant to a certain degree; too much machismo going on, it seemed to me. It wasn't until I heard "Not Just Boys Fun" by 7 Seconds that I actually heard a band stick up for women in punk rock. And Kevin saying that women are just as talented and strong as the guys. So, I am sorry. I should have rephrased that question.

But again I want to thank you for your time. I really do appreciate it.

All the best,

KR: "And I am standing by my disagreement. In Hollywood when punk was starting, there were lots of girls in bands and not in bands who were key parts of the movement. The faces gracing the covers of the fanzines were as likely to be female as male. A little later, the Orange County effect occurred and the scene did skew a little more male, but the women defined the fashion, for example. And again, I never really caught shit for being a girl."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Show Review: Hot Water Music at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee (May 18, 2011)

Photo from MTV.com
By Jason Duarte

Last night, May 22, Hot Water Music played the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI. The band was incredible, as always, and last night marked the fifth time I've been lucky enough to see them perform live, and now in two different states!
The show opened with Hostage Calm, which was OK. They had a lot of strange tempo changes and I wasn't digging them. The vocals weren't very good either. Second was Make Do and Mend, which I actually liked a lot. They were a bit heavier, a lot louder and more put together. They still didn't really do it for me, but I liked their stage presence and their set was good, overall. Before Hot Water Music played, a band called Fireworks played, and they were OK as well. They reminded me of New Found Glory, in that they were very poppy and jumpy and high-pitched. The music was good, and I saw Chuck Ragan watching them and bobbing his head, but I couldn't get into it. Luckily, the venue had seating, so it didn't feel like an eternity sitting through three bands to see Hot Water Music (we had also been in Milwaukee since about 2 p.m., walking around, drinking and killing time, so we were already tired).
Hot Water Music took the stage around 10:30 p.m., and opened with "A Flight and a Crash," and it was like suddenly, I had all the energy in the world. the crowd went nuts and instantly, a mosh pit in the middle broke out, lasting the entire set. It was intense, but not violent, just people moving around more or less, and not so heavy on the pushing side. A lot of people fell down, but nobody got injured, which was nice. They played for an hour, and their set was great. I really wanted to hear "Southeast First" and "Free Radio Gainesville," but they played some of my other favorite songs off No Division, so that was awesome. The band looked like it was having a good time as always, and as always, they made it known that they were happy to be there and thanked us all, which is always nice, and puts us more on the same level. Not many bands take a minute to thank everyone for putting them on a stage, but Hot Water Music is among the most humble and it's one of the many little things I love about that band. They maintained a high-energy crowd and I know I was singing along to every song, and was left wanting more after an hour. They left the stage and promptly, a crowd of stomping feet and clapping hands lured the band back to its place on the stage. They played "Hard To Know" and "Turnstile" as an encore before the night was finally over. One of the stagehands handed me a set list and I bought a new Hot Water Music T-shirt, a couple of pins and a copy of their split 7'' with The Bouncing Souls.

A Flight and a Crash
Trusty Chords
Old Rules
Jack of All Trades
Paper Thin
Our Own Way
All Heads Down
At the End of a Gun
The Sense
Hard To Know

Show Review: The Cars at the Riviera Theater, Chicago (May 18, 2011)

Ric Ocasek, The Cars (vocals/guitar)
Photo by Andy Argyrakis
By Jason Duarte

The Cars released its first album in 24 years, Move Like This, on May 10. In support of the new record, they've embarked on a U.S. tour. On May 18, they stopped at the Riviera Theater in Chicago to play a sold-out show. The line was around the corner, but when doors opened, it quickly filled the venue, and the wait wasn't long. I got lucky and scored a ticket for $15 less than face value on Craigslist, because this guy's friend couldn't make it, so I was happy.

Anyway, the show had no openers - just The Cars were set to play at 8 p.m. They took the stage at about 8:15 p.m., the crowd cheered, and they went right into "Good Times Roll" off The Cars' self-titled debut album. Singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek barely said a word or changed his facial expression the entire set, which lasted an hour and a half, to my surprise. He was very stagnant and rooted in his front-and-center position on the stage. In an interview with Cars drummer, David Robinson, he said he quit playing drums in 1987; he had to not only re-learn all the songs, but re-learn how to play drums. It was totally worth it - I couldn't tell at all. There were a few songs they didn't play that I would have liked to hear; "Magic," "It's All I Can Do" and "Drive." I know the late Benjamin Orr is dead, but that didn't stop them from playing "Just What I Needed," which Orr sang. I mean, "Drive" was the band's highest-climbing hit and I'm surprised they didn't play that one. The set was loaded with new songs off Move Like This. They played 60% of the new album, which was cool - but I'd have sacrificed a song or two to hear some of the aforementioned better Cars pop songs.
The crowd was a bit of a letdown, I thought. Most of them were aged 40+, and I assume don't go to shows very often, especially at venues like the Riviera (a total assumption), but it felt that way, sensing their awkwardness. Some sang along to the hits, but there were a lot of uncomfortable and awkward looks being shot around. The woman in front of me had no problem letting loose and having a good time. She was dancing and singing along most of the show and made a cloth banner that read, "Welcome back, Ric," with a little heart dotting the I. Towards the end of the set, she knotted it up and threw it on stage, and it went unacknowledged. I could tell she was a little disappointed that he didn't pick it up. The show was great, but the biggest disappointment was during the hand-claps in "Let's Go;" you know the ones I'm talking about. Maybe a handful of other people and myself did that, while the rest of the audience stood like deer in headlights. I'm not saying I expect every crowd to be way into it, but this is The Cars, people. They haven't released an album for almost as long as I've been alive and they've got a still-huge fanbase - enough to sell out a venue in Chicago at $65/ticket - I would expect people be more active and let loose. I heard some other folks complaining about the audience's lack of energy as well, but I think the older the crowd, the less energy they're going to put into it. Had there been opening bands, I wonder how many people would have stayed late, or showed up for them. Anyway, all in all, it was a great show, just an out-of-my-element type of show. I got to see one of my all-time favorite bands, and despite the rude, drunk guy standing behind me who blamed me for him dropping his phone and the deer-in-headlights dusters, the show was pretty solid. You want the set list from that night? Make an iTunes playlist and re-live it if you didn't get a chance to go.

Good Times Roll
Blue Tip
Since You're Gone
Up and Down
My Best Friend's Girl
Hits Me
Touch and Go
I'm In Touch With Your World
Keep On Knocking
You Might Think
Drag On Forever
I'm Not the One
Sad Song
Heartbeat City
Let's Go
Movin' In Stereo
Just What I Needed
You're All I've Got Tonight

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interview with Nick McLenighan of The Reaganomics

By Chris Carlton

Squid Pro Quo
: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Nick. The Reaganomics' album, Lower The Bar is out now on Red Scare Records, and the band's been playing a lot of shows. I want to start by asking how the band got together?

Nick McLenighan: "Well, really we were in need of a bit of a break from Ryan's Hope and wanted to try something that was just all about having fun. Greg was writing songs for himself to play guitar and sing on, and I was writing these stupid songs that I wanted to sing on, and Terry caught the bug and before we knew it, we were doing these super low-quality demos and puttin' 'em up on the Internet. A guy named Joe heard 'em, said he would record 'em and that was that. We did the first EP/demo/whatever with just the three of us, and played our first show slightly after in October (or was it November?) of 2009. Been gettin' lucky ever since (with shows)."

SPQ: The band recently played with The Dead Milkmen and The Lawrence Arms at the Congress Theater here in Chicago. That's a pretty awesome bill. How were you guys received by the Milkmen/Arms fans?

NM: "Honestly, I'm not sure. It definitely seemed like we had a really positive response; a lot of people moshing, cheering, etc. We had a bunch of people singing the songs, which was super awesome. But you never really know. A lot of people came up afterward and said, 'great show' and shit like that, which is always nice to here. One review however called us 'green' and had some not-so-nice things to say about the set (it was more or less neutral, I guess). But he sounded pretty fucking typical, so I don't really care about that. So, short answer, yes, I think so. But who knows (laughs)?"

SPQ: I had the chance to see you guys open for Teenage Bottlerocket last year at the Subterranean, and I was won over from the jump! Do you normally win over the crowd easily like you did at the Sub-T?

NM: "Really, we are just glad if people are having a real good time during our set. I guess that means we have done our jobs. We are usually so occupied with having a good time ourselves and making each other laugh, I don't really know how effective our show is at 'winning people over.' I hope we do though, 'cause its fun to do this, and you can't really keep it up for too long if no one likes you. Although, I'm sure we would try."

SPQ: On the track, "Ed Hardy," off the new album, you have Kody from TBR as a guest vocalist. How was it working with Kody?

NM: "Super easy. He was such a nice guy, and he just nailed it right away. We recorded his vocals right after the show at the Sub-T, and he just did it. It was amazing. I was freaking out the whole time!"

SPQ: Are there any Reaganomics shows coming up?

NM: "Yeah, we have one on June 12th at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago with The Bouncing Souls. Really looking forward to it!"

SPQ: Has the band toured outside of Chicago? And are there any plans for a full-length tour?

NM: "The Reaganomics have yet to tour outside of the Chicago area. Really, I think we have only played one show outside of Chicago, which is crazy ' cause we are from Joliet! As of now, I really would like to get out and do some weekends, hit up some new places (maybe some 'old' Ryan's Hope haunts) and maybe do a fest or two. Depends on what we can get, and what we are all available to do. So to answer your question more directly, no concrete plans as of yet."

SPQ: Having 3/4 of The Reaganomics in Ryan's Hope, will we be seeing a combo show with both bands playing in the future?

NM: "That would be really awesome, but I dont know. I really can't say for sure."

SPQ: I know Lower The Bar is still pretty new. Are there any plans on hitting the studio any time soon?

NM: "I wish. That would be cool, but nothing planned as of yet. Hopefully the record sells!"

SPQ: How can fans get in touch with either The Reaganomics, Ryan's Hope or both? Do you have a website where we can find out about news, upcoming shows, new releases and merch?

NM: "You know how the Internet is nowadays: myspace.com/ryanshope and myspace.com/thereaganomix. Or, you can find us on facebook (both bands). I know it sounds lame, but with the cost and time it takes to keep up a website, we just rely on those sites as they are free to us."

SPQ: I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Nick. I'm looking forward to seeing you again real soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Riot Fest hints at MISFITS with GLENN DANZIG reunion show

Glenn Danzig / The Misfits

Riot Fest has been hinting all afternoon about a possible Misfits reunion with Glenn Danzig. Stay tuned to Riot Fest, as they will announce the full lineup next month.

Hear a 'new' Alkaline Trio song off 'Damnesia'

Check out Alkaline Trio's semi-unplugged version of "Clavicle" off their upcoming album Damnesia right here.

'Over Leavitt' by Noise By Numbers

By Kevin Toomey
Rating: 2/5
Jump Start Records CD/LP
August 2011

My first impression of Over Leavitt was to say that Noise By Numbers is a very apt name for this band. After a couple more chances, I can’t say that my first impression was very far off. While I like Dan Schafer’s work in most of the other bands he’s been in (Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, The Mopes, Sludgeworth, The Queers, Generation Waste), the majority of the material on Over Leavitt didn’t seem to really measure up to the songwriting standard that he’s set for himself in The Riverdales or The Methadones. The songwriting style isn’t that much different, although the sound of the band is a break from form. Everything '90s seems to be a thing right now and I guess it’s the case for punk music too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that once that fad is done, Over Leavitt might sound a little dated. Noise By Numbers are definitely going for a bigger type of sound than The Riverdales or The Methadones ever had, but the substance isn’t really there to back up the big feel that they’re shooting for. The layered guitars sound good on “Yeah, Whatever,” but the guitars aren’t varied enough for each to shine through and the effect is a mostly boring song, even though it’s one of the better songs on the album. “Swarm of Flies” pulls off the big feel a little better and I wish more of the songs stayed in this vein. Two of the other decent tracks are “Lost My Way” and “I Don’t Think So,” where I can really hear the attempt at recreating an early ’90s Replacements sort of sound. I’d say listen to “Lost My Way” and “Swarm of Flies” and you can probably pass on the rest of the album.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview with Rob Villanueva of I Attack

Photo by Canderson
By Chris Carlton

Squid Pro Quo: Hey Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo. Your band, I Attack, has been on the scene for a number of years now. Can you give us a little history on the band?

Rob Villanueva: "I Attack started back in 2001 with Dan (drummer) and Raul (rhythm guitar). They started jamming songs that they used to mess around with when they were teens in the late '80s. Dan and Raul grew up in the Pilsen neighborhood together and grew up listening to hardcore punk and metal. They started getting a bit more serious about rehearsing and soon recruited Jose Crudo of the famous Los Crudos to play lead guitar. At that time, Jose was band-less and was wandering around like a vagabond in search of beer, beer and more beer. Well, he stumbled passed Dan's building where they spent the day drinking brews and asked Crudo to jam with them. Jose was actually playing in a beat poetry jazz rock fusion band called Sonido Inkieto. He asked Juan Compean who played bass in Sonido Inkieto to jam with in this hardcore punk band which, at the time, had no name and no vocalist. They started off playing covers from bands like Battalion of Saints, Raegan Youth, Suicidal Tendencies and various other old school hardcore punk bands. Around that time, I was living with Benny Jodido, who was in the the group Los Jodidos that was active back then. Well, Benny was gettin fed up with his band and wanted to get something else started. He had known Crudo from goin Los Crudos shows back in the '90s at various DIY gigs around Pilsen and Lil' Village. Crudo had asked him to come by and try out. Benny was practicing with the fellas for a few weeks when one day, he had asked if I wanted to come along and hang out. During that practice, they asked if I wanted to sing a Minor Threat cover which I willingly obliged. I had never been in a band before and never sang live ever. Needless to say, they wanted me back the following week and the rest is history."

SPQ: Being a hardcore band, you must have had many major influences. What bands inspired you to start a band, and who still inspires you now?

RV: "For me personally, I take influence from urban decay, tragic beauty, color theory, graffiti, people with ideas, not agendas and skateboarding. I really get off on music that is from the gut and the heart. As a band, our musical influences are all over the place. On any given night drinking beers, you'll hear punk, house, metal, jazz, hip-hop and Vincente Fernandez just to name a few. We just like honest music it doesn't matter the genre."

SPQ: A lot of people feel the hardcore scene died off back in the late '80s, but there are still some great hardcore bands out there; some being of a political style. Is there any political influence in your band's music?

RV: "There are tinges of a political nature but it's more from an observational stance. Overall, we have no political agendas. We are interested in ideas. I cant stand soapbox vocalists with their fist in the air thriving on being "oppressed," especially when the lyricism is a dry as sand. I rather listen to a vacuum cleaner and read stereo instructions and that isn't saying much."

SPQ: Are there any newer bands out there that get you guys excited? Bands that still carry the torch into a new generation of hardcore?

RV: "As far as new bands go, I have been witness to a new generation of hardcore punk. A lot of bands had come and gone in the past 10 years. I can honestly say that they weren't just bearing the torch but rather exploded like a damn volcano burning everything in its path. Lots of basement, backyard, warehouse and other various DIY gigs that were just mind-blowing. One of my all-time favorites was a short-lived band called Non-Fiction Noise from the south side of Chicago. Oh, and ESKE; they rip it up!"

SPQ: How many albums and/or singles has the band recorded over the years?

RV: "We sadly had only released two recordings in our lifetime. A full-length self-titled LP on Wrench In the Gears Records and an EP called American Dream on Criminal IQ Records. We are overdue."

SPQ: Any new material in the works?

RV: "I Attack has an album's worth of material to record and we are currently getting ready to do such. We've had major ups and downs within the band. We are now on our third and hopefully final bassist, plus other self-destructive and reckless behaviors have set us back a bit as well."

SPQ: Have you guys ever toured outside of the Chicago area and are there any upcoming shows?

RV: "We've played around the Midwest but it's hard to tour when you have a career, kids to feed and/or the state of Illinios won't let you leave the state."

SPQ: Is there a website where people can check in for updates on shows, releases and merch?

RV: "Nope; just a Facebook and a MySpace page."

SPQ: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with us at Squid Pro Quo, Rob. It's really cool to see hardcore is still alive and kicking in Chicago. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys live! Thanks again man.

RV: "Chris, thanks for the interview and thanks to Squid Pro Quo for allowing us to share our story and thoughts! Salud."

I Attack will be playing with Verbal Abuse and Dayglo Abortions at the Cobra Lounge June 4th and with Silver Abuse and the Wanton Looks June 25th at Cobra Lounge.

Thursday unveils 'Magnets Caught In a Metal Heart' video, tour dates

From Secret Service PR:

Watch “Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart” here.

Inspired by artist Mia Pearlman’s cover art for No Devolución, Thursday reached out to British artists Davy and Kristin McGuire, who specialize in film, theater and performance art, to capture the album’s innovative artwork and translate “Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart” to video. Haunting paper cut forests, a mysterious metropolis and an eerie train set the scene for a dark and foreboding video that’s both conceptually and visually stunning.
“Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart” is the first single from Thursday’s recently released sixth studio album, No Devolución. The album has received mass critical acclaim with AVClub.com declaring it “isn’t a return to form for Thursday; it’s a searing, scarring reinvention,” and Star-Ledger exclaiming “No Devolución is the group’s bravest departure.”
See what other critics are saying about No Devolución:
No Devolución is inventive, remarkable, and the first true masterpiece of 2011” Absolutepunk.net
“downright beautiful” – Alternative Press
“Thursday has grown by leaps and bounds as their latest album, “No Devolución,” is on a completely different plane of existence as their previous work.” – BringOnMixedReviews.com
No Devolución is an evolution in Thursday’s sound, pushing past its boundaries and taking it further than it’s ever gone. The result is a beautifully poignant and cinematic album, a post-hardcore masterpiece.” – CMJ.com
“After a decade-plus of no small creative achievement, Thursday have outdone themselves.” – Kerrang!
“cinematic, equally discordant and lush, surprisingly melodic, and something you can dive into over and over. Fans of Mogwai, Radiohead or even the last Deftones record will be thrilled…” – Metromix.com
“This may very well be the best album Thursday has ever released.” – MindEqualsBlown.net
“Talk about a sea change; this is a reinvention from top to bottom.” – Pastemagazine.com
No Devolución is the band’s best work since Full Collapse” – Punknews.org
“a grand experience, full of depth and atmospheric subtleties that show off a new side to the group.” – Revolvermag.com
“This is Thursday leading what they now do best” – Rocksound
“Thursday have indeed stayed true to themselves, and once again raised the artistic bar in the process.” – Shockhound.com
“the band's most experimental effort to date, a sweeping, synth-y opus that veers farther from the band's post-hardcore roots than ever before.” – SPIN.com
“a complete work of post-hardcore beauty”- Sputnikmusic.com
the album is a marvelous display of Thursday’s maturation as a whole.” – TheSoundAlarm.com
Thursday will be touring in support of No Devolución with Taking Back Sunday throughout June and July!
Thursday Tour Dates:
June 12 – Sauget, IL – Pop’s
June 13 – Lawrence, KS – Granada
June 14 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 15 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 17 – Portalnd, OR – Roseland Theatre (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 18 – Seattle, WA – Showbox at the Market (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 19 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 20 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
June 21 – Reno, NV – Knitting Factory (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 22 – San Francisco, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 24 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 25 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 26 – West Hollywood, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 28 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
June 29 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 1 – West Hollywood, CA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 2 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 4 – Houston, TX – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 5 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 8 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 9 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 10 – Tampa, FL – The Ritz Theatre (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 12 – N. Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 13 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 14 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 15 – Upper Darby, PA – Tower Theatre (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 16 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live! (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 17 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theater (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 19 – Hampton Beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 20 – Boston, MA – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 21 – Wallingford, CT – The Dome at Oakdale (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 22 – Toronto, ON – Kool Haus (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 23 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 24 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 26 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 28 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Orbit Room (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 29 – Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 30 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)
July 31 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues (w/Taking Back Sunday)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Alkaline Trio's Dan Andriano releases album artwork, three new tracks off "Hurricane Season"

Check out "Hurricane Season," "Hollow Sounds" and "Let Me In" off Dan Andriano's upcoming album, Hurricane Season, on his facebook page.

Interview with Denis Buckley of 88 Fingers Louie

Photo by Jordan Lee Photography
By Chris Carlton

Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to speak with Squid Pro Quo, Denis. A lot of people remember you as the frontman for 88 Fingers Louie. How did the band get started?

Denis Buckley: "Dan, Joe and our first drummer Dom had been playing under one or two different names with another singer. When he got the axe, they asked my friend Eric to try out and I tagged along since they practiced just a few minutes from me. Eric bombed (nerves), so I was asked to give it a shot. I guess this would have been at the end of 1992/early 1993? At any rate, the band officially started writing and playing in April of 1993."

SPQ: 88 released some now-classic albums. What were some of the high points and low points of being in the band?

DB: "Getting out of the Midwest was definitely a high point! Canada (especially central and eastern) always treated us well, and getting to Europe was amazing. On the low side, the factors that led to the breakups of the band certainly stand out. I'd never been the best communicator and I'd let shit fester and then blow up at the guys. Plus I'm Irish all around so there's the whole temper thing. Basically, I didn't handle being on the road very well-too much drinking and various other vices-and after being away for maybe a week, I'd start to go crazy without my family and would begin to harbor resentments."

SPQ: After the band split up Dan Precision and Joe Principe went on to join Rise Against and Glenn Porter joined Alkaline Trio. What were you up to for those first few years after the bands initial break?

DB: "Upon Jeff Dean's invitation, I joined what became The Story So Far in 1999 and had some of my greatest experiences musically. My time with them ended in 2001 and I didn't do anything until 2003 or so and then started singing with Undercast. That band went nowhere fast...just a weird dynamic. Explode and Make Up began in early 2005 and Zero To Sixty was around from 2007 until Fall 2008."

SPQ: A few years ago, you and Dan formed Zero To Sixty and played around a little bit. Did you guys ever record any material?

DB: "Nothing more than a four-song demo, which is too bad. We had some great tunes that we never recorded, but in the end, those guys wanted to do more than I was comfortable with at the time."

SPQ: When 88 regrouped with John Contreras on bass and John Carroll on drums, did you feel the band got a warm welcome back after so long apart?

DB: "Oh man, that first show back in August of 2009 was mind-blowing! There are so many memories from that show that I'll keep forever, most especially introducing my son before we played "Joyboy" and seeing him stagedive during "Blink" (apparently the song I wrote for him 'wasn't fast enough')."

SPQ: It kinda felt like in the blink of an eye, we had 88 back and just as quick, you broke up again! What forced the second break up? And will we ever see the band back together again?

DB: "In an effort to clear this up, let me first say that the band was only supposed to play one show. ONE. The buzz surrounding the reunion was pretty high and we got a few other offers (Riot Fest, Groezrock) that were too good to pass up, so we went with it. I maintained throughout these shows that we were taking things one show at a time and not looking too far into the future. My time with 88 has always ended messy and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. The band for me came to a stop after plans for a European tour fell through (who's going to say no to Europe?). Out of that came a few great shows in Canada, but once that finished, I wanted to walk away, and for the first time do so without malice. I hesitate to say 88 "broke up," but there are no plans to do anything anytime soon. Give it another 10 years maybe."

SPQ: You're currently in the band Explode And Make Up with members of The Bomb, The Methadones and Tomorrow's Gone. How did you four get together?

DB: "Jeff (Dean) had demoed some hardcore jams and just asked me if I'd want to work on them. I've known Pete (Mittler) for a good 20 years or so (he's MUCH OLDER) and we'd never played in a band together, so I knew EAMU would be fun based on that alone. EAMU's had a few drummers over the years and it's nice to be able to play with Ech (Mike Echemendia) again."

SPQ: EAMU released a split and an EP. Are there any plans for a full-length album?

DB: "Good question. We probably have at least another EP in us, but as far as a full length goes, it wouldn't happen very soon. We have other bands we're involved with; Jeff has All Eyes West and Noise By Numbers, Pete has The Neutron Bombs and I recently started playing with some friends and family in Eventuals. I kind of like sporadically recording and releasing EPs, so we'll see."

SPQ: Being from Chicago, you must have a lot of influential bands that have played a major part in your songwriting. Who are some of you favorite local talents?

DB: "Coming up, it was our peers: Bollweevils, Apocalypse Hoboken, Oblivion and The Fighters. Going back further, I loved Gear, Sludgeworth, Life Sentence and of course, Naked Raygun and Pegboy. As far as newer bands, I'm quite fond of Damp Hay and Textbook."

SPQ: Nice! Well, before I let you go, where can people find more info about what Explode And Make Up are up to? Is there a website where we can find info on releases, shows and merch?

DB: EAMU does have a Facebook page (as do all of the aforementioned bands) and you can usually keep current on our happenings through our label: http://undercomm.org/blog/

SPQ: I want to thank you again for talking with us at Squid Pro Quo. I can't wait to hear new music from Explode And Make Up! And look forward to seeing you guys live again in the near future! Thanks again for your time, Denis.

DB: "Thanks for asking, Chris! Now go listen to some (old) Soul Asylum, you nutty bastard."