Tuesday, June 28, 2011
By Kevin Toomey
Lucky Gator Records
October 26, 2011
In my last review (Noise by Numbers - Over Leavitt), I mentioned the growing influence of the 1990s resurgence and how it could be a bad thing. This time around, I’m getting a '90s vibe that I’m not bummed out by even though I probably should be. Lipreader’s (ex-Das Kapital) Broken Heart Attack 7” out on Lucky Gator Records presents four songs with a sound reminiscent of Jawbreaker or a less political Broadways. I think I like it better because Lipreader doesn’t sound like they’re trying to recreate the signature sounds of their influences, but instead take that sound and make it their own.
The record starts off with a bit of a snoozer, “The Next Train Home,” but it’s over before you get a chance to really give it much thought. The next track, “CHOKE,” brings it back up with a song about the ex-girlfriend that can simultaneously make a guy want be with her as she is “choking out all the life I have left.” Depressing as it sounds, this is a song I kept going back to. The band’s own description of: “Sad songs. Happy guys.” is pretty accurate. The last two songs, “Blankets and Sheets” and “Sleeping In,” are also really good and almost sound like a toned-down Off With Their Heads. All songs are available streaming on the band’s MySpace, two are up for free download at Lucky Gator Records' site and the 7'' is available for $5 here.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Photo by Getty Images
By Jason Duarte
So Tom DeLonge had this to say:
“We have these songs that are total throwbacks, exactly what people know Blink is. Then we have songs…that are madly different and experimental, (and) songs that are prog-rock blink music, taking a blink song but (adding) stadium rock qualities to it. I really think we have a tremendous, diverse palette. We will have the album that I think is really modern and relevant to where we are in our career.”
Wow. Sound stadium rock much? I admit I do miss the old Blink stuff Dude Ranch and pre-Dude Ranch. Hell, even pre-Take Off Your Pants and Jacket I enjoy. I don't care how many punk points I lose by saying that. However, I'm excited yet skeptical of this new stuff they're coming out with. I remember that S/T album they came out with in 2004, and that was when they died to me. I used to love Blink and go to their shows whenever they came around Chicago back in high school, but then after I graduated high school, they released that shitty record then toured with No Doubt and I haven't seen or listened to anything they've done since. So anyways, if this is a throwback to old Blink, I'd be into it. If it's a continuation of where they left off; they're still dead to me. But I'll still probably go see them for old time's sake when they come to Tinley Park with My Chemical Romance just for the hell of it. The new song is tentatively called "Up All Night" and hopefully it's not a Records, Draft or Unwritten Law cover.
Blink's new song HAS been leaked and you can listen to it right here!
I didn't think this would ever happen. Riot Fest just announced at 9 a.m. that Glenn Danzig will play a Misfits set with Doyle October 7 at the Congress Theater in Chicago. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. via TicketFly. Apparently, there will also be Danzig and Samhain sets as well. I am so beyond stoked for this. I hope the Misfits play "Horror Hotel." What do you guys want to hear? And who's coming to Chicago for this? I'll keep you posted. Thanks for reading and loyally following Squid. I love you.
Photo by Patrick Houdek
By Chris Carlton
Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, John. Can you give us a little history on Vacation Bible School?
John Polydoros: "Hey, thanks for taking the time to want to talk to us. We've been a band since late '97 or early '98. It's been so damn long, we really can't remember which it is. We formed in the northeastern 'burbs outside of Chicago, and spent the first several years writing pretty immature and terrible songs, while trying desperately to play the Fireside Bowl, which was the best venue on the planet. It smelled like beer, and faintly of urine, or the other way around; truly, truly awesome. We've spent the last several years kicking around the Midwest, with an occasional jaunt out west or down south. We've recorded three full-length records, and three 7-inch splits in the roughly 13 years or so that we've been a band. We are extremely lazy, but I think we're looking to turn that around. We recently discovered that people in other places like our band, and now that the shock of that has worn off, we're gonna get off our asses and try and hit the road to play for some of these people."
SPQ: Your split with the God Damn Doo Wop Band came out in April of 2010. Are there any plans for a new release in the coming months?
JP: "We did a limited CD pressing of our most recent record, "Ruined the Scene," back in December, and it looks like the vinyl version will be out mid-summer. Our buddy Justin Schwier at Underground Communique Records is putting it out. For those who don't know Justin, he's one of the best dudes ever. After that, we have a split with The Brokedowns that will be coming out as soon as we record two new songs. Did I mention we're lazy?"
SPQ: I recently saw an online interview with Dear Landlord where Brett Hunter said he was a fan of the band. Will there be a DL or Copyrights tour with VBS in the future?
JP: "We would love to do that. We actually had the opportunity to go out with Dear Landlord recently, but circumstances were so that we couldn't do it at the time. We won't miss out if we get a second chance at that, I don't think. We really enjoy both of those bands, so hanging out and getting to see them play on a nightly basis would be all right with us. Its also worth noting that they're all quality guys too."
SPQ: Has the band played many shows outside of the Chicagoland area? Are there any plans for a tour outside of Illinois?
JP: "We've done a handful of shows the last couple of years throughout the Midwest in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We've been fortunate enough to be asked out to both Awesome Fest, in San Diego, and The Fest in Gainesville, FL the last three years, which have only gotten better for us each year. We're genuinely surprised, and stoked each year that they'd have us back. Again, touring is something we're planning to address soon. We occasionally get a message from someone that says they live in Texas, and we should play there, and now we're thinking, hey, that's not a bad idea."
SPQ: I hear a lot of influence in the band's songs. What are some of your musical influences and how do you incorporate them into the bands songwriting?
JP: "We, especially Ryan, grew up on Chicago punk rock, mostly. I lived down south as kid, and then out west, so I was listening to a lot of crusty weirdness, as well as anything Lookout! Records put out. We don't really make a conscious effort to incorporate our influences, so much as that it just happens. I think we just write the kind of music we want to listen to."
SPQ: Are there any VBS shows coming up in the coming weeks?
JP: "We're hoping to be able to play with the Slow Death, and Dan Padilla at Underground Lounge on July 2nd. We're planning our record release show for mid-summer, and we'll be playing at The Fest in Gainesville this October."
SPQ: The band recently played the Windy City Sound Clash show at the Subterranean here in Chicago. Was this your first time playing WCSC?
JP: "Jeff Wegner, the brains behind WCSC, has been nice enough to ask us to play each of the three years he's put on these shows. Its been a great time each year."
SPQ: Is there a website you would like to plug where fans get get up to date news on new releases, shows and merch?
JP: We have a MySpace, and Facebook page that we are terrible at updating. Underground Communique is ran much better. Even its Facebook page is more informative than our own."
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Jason Duarte
Grave Mistake Records
April 5, 2011
After releasing the Midnight Movies 7'', Night Birds released a collection of everything they've recorded to date; the 2009 demo, the Art of the Underground 7'', the S/T 7'' and the Midnight Movies 7'', and called it Fresh Kills Vol. 1. This gem's only available on CD, but it's enough to hold me over until the band's first proper full length, The Other Side of Darkness. I saw them a couple weeks back at the Lucky Gator Loft in Chicago with Canadian Rifle and they played a few new ones.
The album starts with "Killer Waves," off their AOTU 7'', which is one of my favorites. It's a fast, intense and urgent song about the apocalypse coming in the form of (can you guess?) worldwide killer tsunamis. It's sometimes a lovely daydream, but then something happens like in Japan that makes you think twice about how much you actually romanticize the idea of near-human extinction. Nevertheless, I get it. Night Birds isn't hating on anyone, but the band's music is rooted in a sort of fantasy/escapist mentality.
Take for example "Thrilling Murder." Lead singer Brian Gorsenger sings about waiting in line at the grocery store when some asshole with a full cart cuts him off, wasting his entire afternoon. It's nice that Gorsenger didn't actually stab him in the neck, but the song's a great release for what happened that afternoon. I always hate it when I'm cut off, and for a brief second, I go to the extreme and think something like, "If I had a knife, I'd cut your dog's throat, then slice it from sternum to abdomen and hang him outside your front door right after you go to sleep." Never would I actually do such a thing to a cute, innocent pooch, but nevertheless, we all have those impulses and tendencies (if you don't admit it, you're in denial).
I highly suggest everyone who's a fan of The Ergs!, Deep Sleep, Psyched To Die, Hunchback, the Misfits, Dead Kennedys, any skate punk and/or any hardcore check out the Night Birds, because briefly and bluntly, they rule.
Fresh Kills, Vol. 1 track listing:
1. Killer Waves
2. Midnight Movies
3. No Way Home
4. Bad Biology
5. Triple Feature
6. Prognosis: Negative
7. Thrilling Murder
9. The Gift Givers
10. Harbor Rats
11. Send Me Home
12. Living In the Middle
13. Can't Get Clean
14. Paranoid Times
15. Squad Car
Check out Fresh Kill, Vol. 1 here. Check out "Landfill Land" off their upcoming release, The Other Side of Darkness, out August 16 on Grave Mistake Records. Fresh Kills, Vol. 1 as well as the band's previous releases can also be found on Grave Mistake's web site.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Photo by Scott Misturini
By Chris Carlton
Sundials: "We're a three-piece pop punk band from Richmond, VA. Harris plays guitar and sings, Carl plays bass and sings and Cory plays drums. We got started as a band in late summer/fall of 2009 when Harris approached Carl and Cory about starting a band that sounded like Young Widows. Clearly, that isn't what we ended up sounding like, and the Young Widows guys would probably squish us if we ever made that comparison. We ended up writing six songs and recording them as an EP that is available for free download at www.ifyoumakeit.com. We played our first show in October of 2009."
SPQ: Your new album, Never Settle, is such a departure from what most 'punk' bands are doing in this day and age. You have a sound and style all your own. What bands are you guys influenced by?
SD: "We all grew up in punk, but in slightly different sub-genres. Cory comes from the DC suburbs, and grew up listening to a lot of stuff put out by Dischord, as well as bands such as Malady and Hot Snakes. Harris grew up listening to a whole bunch of stuff, but has been hugely influenced by '90s indie rock bands such as Pavement and The Lemonheads as well as pop punk such as Alkaline Trio. Carl listens almost exclusively to Punk O’Rama 4 and The Beatles."
SPQ: Do you all contribute equally in the songwriting process or are there certain songs where one person writes a majority of the lyrics and another comes up with the melody?
SD: "All three of us write music and lyrics. Usually, one of us will have a song that is almost completely finished and then we will start practicing it together and work together to arrange the song and give it a little more of a cohesive shape. You could say that we write songs individually but arrange them as a band."
SPQ: You guys are currently on the road with Timeshares and Hold Tight. In July, you head over the pond for shows in the UK with Caves. Is this your first extensive tour?
SD: "We’ve done plenty of touring in our short life as a band, including a 27-day tour of the eastern half of the US last summer but have never done anything quite as crazy as leaving the country."
SPQ: Are you guys excited about touring outside of the country?
SD: "It's hard to fully express how excited we are for the UK tour. Caves have been so wonderful in helping us make it a reality and we can't wait to live in a van with them for a few weeks. We really don't know what to expect over there, but we are beyond ecstatic at the opportunity. Our main concern right now is that we'll get deported or someone will use the cruciatus curse on us for making too many bad Harry Potter jokes. Oh no! There's one right now!"
SD: "We have already finished recording and mixing songs for an Art of the Underground Single Series 7" and a split 7" with Caves to be released on Kiss of Death. We plan on having at least three more 7"s out by the end of 2011. We try to keep pretty busy."
SPQ: What can fans expect from Sundials in the coming year? Will we be seeing a Sundials US tour in the near future?
SD: "Extensive touring is difficult as all of us have been in school for the entirety of the band's existence. Carl just recently graduated, but Cory and Harris are still working towards getting undergrad degrees. We’re certain that we will end up doing a full US tour, but it probably will not be until we release our second LP."
SPQ: Is there a website where fans can reach you and get news, tour dates and merch?
SD: "We recently started a blog for all things Sundials, you can check it out at www.sundialsva.tumblr.com.The blog has links for tour dates, news, and our Bandcamp, where you can download most of our stuff for free. We have yet to organize an official merch store, but you can buy records and shirts at both www.trafficstreetrecords.com and www.toxicpoprecords.com."
SPQ: I want to thank you guys again for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo. I seriously love the new album and I want to wish you all the very best on the tour and in the future. I hope to see you in Chicago real soon. Thanks again guys.
SD: "Thanks! Hopefully we’ll see ya in Chicago in the not to distant future."
"Riot Fest Chicago 2011 Lineup
October 5-9, 2011:
X (playing Los Angeles in full)
Youth of Today
ALL (Scott, Chad and Dave)
Down By Law
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Larry and His Flask Dusty Grooves
The Holy Mess
The Van Buren Boys
The Infected Black Actress
Plus a whole bunch more to be announced soon."
I think Weezer's a bit weird (but I would love to see them play their old stuff), but I am really really excited for this. Even the smaller bands; Chinese Telephones, Cheap Girls, The Holy Mess, the Neutron Bombs, Shot Baker, The Copyrights, Banner Pilot...all those bands rule. I'm stoked.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Broadways / Bomb the Music Industry / Ratasucia / Spraynard at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco
Friday, June 17, 2011
Alkaline Trio / Hot Toddies / Kepi Ghoulie / The Atom Age at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Squid Pro Quo is going to San Francisco! Er-is in San Francisco I should say, for the Asian Man Records 15th anniversary festival! As I'm typing this, I'm 36,000 feet above sea level and Chicago is a distant anthill. I awoke sharply at 3 a.m., and got a ride from my roommate's dad to O'Hare International Airport, where we parted ways, and I headed to security with my essentials on my back. As I made my way to the place where they touch you, then yell at you for ejaculating, I ran into Katie Hovland – Chicago concert acquaintance and Jaded In Chicago photographer. We reveled in excitement to see Slapstick before the sun awoke in a sleepless, exhausting state, and then we passed through security. The other half of Jaded In Chicago, Bill, met us on the other side, as he actually works at O'Hare. The three of us trekked over to the food court near our C gates, and I got the cheese danish. I walked back to their gate with them, as their flight was scheduled to take off an hour prior to mine, and we talked music, travel, work, all the while crossing our fingers as the rain fell, the lightning flashed and the thunder rumbled. Katie and Bill's flight began boarding, and they got their two standby seats. I began heading across the way to my gate, when I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask if their flight was one-way or if it had layovers. The ladies said it was one-way, and I asked if they knew if the weather was going to improve. The one woman said it was supposed to get worse and that last week, they had a line all the way down the corridor. “Really?” I said, “Because mine's supposed to take off in an hour.” I asked if it was possible to hop on this one, as I already had a ticket for the 7 a.m. flight. She typed a bit and told me there was a $75 charge. “Ah, OK. No thanks,” I said. I began walking to my gate, and I hear the woman yell something. I wasn't even sure if it was at me, but I turned around and she waved me back over to the desk. She said she'd waive the fee because they want to get as many people out of the airport and on their flights as possible, and seated me next to my friends, Katie and Bill.
What luck! I stepped on the airplane, waited until the lightning cleared the area, and here we are, chugging along to San Francisco, California! Now I don't want to make this too rambling and off-putting, but I haven't seen a whole lot west of the Mississippi River, especially as far west as one could get. So the last couple of weeks have been nerve-wracking. Don't get me wrong – I'm super excited to get there and go to these shows, but I'm just as excited to see San Francisco and be as much of a tourist as I possibly can. I looked at the surrounding area via Google and noticed the Anchor Brewery is right by the venues I'll be frequenting all week. Being a homebrewer and avid beer connoisseur (so I pretend, anyway), I am excited if not to take the brewery tour, then to try a few fresh, tap beers. The weather's supposed to get up to 73 degrees today, so I am excited for that. I'm excited to be near the ocean. I'm excited to fill my lungs with slightly salted air. I'm excited to not be at work this week. I'm excited to get out of the Midwest. I'm excited to cross off a few more bands on my list of “Bands I Thought I Would Never See.”
I'm excited to meet and spend some time with Mike Park and my friend Mike Yannich and my roommate and his brother. I miss my other half, Susanne, already and know I will until I return, but I have her with me in spirit. That doesn't make me miss her less, but makes me feel better about getting to explore without her with me. I can't wait to tell her all about everything. I'm going to try to add to the hour and a half/two hours of sleep I accumulated last night. Stay tuned to us and Jaded In Chicago as well. They have some KILLER material coming and I can't say I'm not a bit envious. Westward!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
By Chris Carlton
Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Eerie. You recently had a book of your photographs taken throughout the years released called Misery Obscura. How did the book come about?
Eerie Von: "I wanted to put a book out for years; couldn't do it. It was just the right time for it to come out, and it did; just luck."
SPQ: You recently talked about doing a book signing tour for Misery Obscura. How did the tour go, and are there going to be any more dates in the near future?
EV: "Couldn't get the money together to do a book tour, and the publisher wouldn't front it, so it never happened. I'm staging art/photography shows myself. The first one is in Columbus, OH on June 25th. I hope to do more if I can."
SPQ: Some of your photos were used in the insert for the Misfits "Walk Among Us" album dating back to your high school days. How did you get started in photography?
EV: "I started shooting sports, and the pretty girls at my school. You can get friendly with everyone if you take their picture! It was just something fun to do, then I got pretty good at it."
SPQ: You've played so many different styles of music throughout the years, from your days in Rosemary's Babies to Samhain to Danzig up to your solo career. What are some of your musical influences?
EV: "My musical influences are many, but mostly '50s rock 'n' roll, motown, the blues and punk."
SPQ: On top of being a musician and photographer, you're also a skilled painter. How long have you been painting?
EV: "I've been drawing and painting all my life, since about five years old. I've only been selling the 'Fiend Art' for about 12 years though."
SPQ: You've been keeping busy since your last album, 2009's Kinda Country with your book release, art tour and working with Kara Clark. Are there any plans for a new solo record?
EV: "Working on a new record now, when I can. Been pretty busy lately, but I plan on releasing a new record in the near future."
SPQ: When the new Kara Clark album is in the can, will you be touring with her in support of the new release?
EV: "I don't know if I will be doing any touring with Kara Clark, but I may do some dates here and there, or get up and do a song. Her new EP is fucking awesome."
SPQ: Fans and Fiends around the world are always wondering, will there ever be a reunion of either Samhain or Danzig with the classic lineups?
EV: "I don't think there will ever be a reunion of those original bands."
SPQ: Is there a website where fans can find news on upcoming releases, tour dates and merch?
EV: "Right now, it's best to go to the Facebook fan page. I don't have the new EerieVon777 page up yet and www.eerievon.com is not my site."
SPQ: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Eerie. I hope we get to see you in Chicago real soon! Thanks again.
EV: "It's been a pleasure. We hope to take the art/photography show to Chicago!"
Monday, June 13, 2011
Photo by Patrick Houdek
By Chris Carlton
Luke McNeill: "It was sort of planned to wait a while between records just because we felt like we were always rushed in some way or the other on past records and we wanted no time constraints with this one. It kinda got out of hand though and each step took forever. We forgot how lazy we are."
SPQ: The band's last album, 2008's Learn The Hard Way, was a really strong album. What can fans expect from the new album?
LM: "Well, this new one is definitely our poppiest and weirdest album. That's relative though, of course. It's still a punk rock album after all; kind of, anyway. It was produced by Matt Allison who did Make Sound and the Methadones split. It's definitely our best-sounding record in terms of production. It's also my favorite in terms of lyrics/themes."
SPQ: Can you give us a little history on the band? How did you guys get together?
LM: "Me and Adam have been playing together since we were 15 years old. We decided to start a heavily Screeching Weasel-influenced band at first, then we've tried to at least put our own influences and spin on the tried-and-true formula of melodic punk rock."
SPQ: What are your personal musical influences? And do those influences show up in your songwriting and playing?
LM: "I like tons of stuff, and I'm sure I rip off everyone I like equally. I'm a big fan of '90s alt-country like Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco, Whiskeytown; old-people stuff like that. I'm also pretty into hip-hop lately, at least the Wu-Tang family and east coast stuff. As far as contemporary punk rock bands, I still really love Dillinger Four obviously. The Dopamines, Dear Landlord, House Boat and Iron Chic are all great but everybody knows that. I'm pretty obsessed with Fucked Up too."
SPQ: The band has been a non-stop touring machine for the last few years. Are there plans for more European dates as well as state side dates for this album?
LM: "I think we're actually planning on touring Europe next year again. This year, we're gonna do the west coast in early September, and then do the eastern U.S. in late September/October."
SPQ: You're also a producer and engineer, and worked at Sonic Iguana Studios. Can you name some bands and albums you've worked on throughout your career?
LM: "The only band I've produced besides my own in the past five years or so has been House Boat. They're all my friends and it's a blast getting together with them every once in a while to do a record. Back when I worked there full-time, I worked on records by The Riverdales, The Groovie Ghoulies, Common Rider, Squirtgun, The Lillingtons, Teen Idols, Beatnik Termites and a bunch of other ones. It was really fun and Mass taught me a ton of shit about producing and engineering both."
SPQ: Do you find it just as enjoyable working on other albums as working on a Copyrights album?
LM: "Hmm, I think it's more fun working on our albums just because they're my songs and I'm more 'emotionally attached' or whatever. But it's also a ton more stressful and you second guess every possible thing. For the House Boat records, I don't even care if the tracks get recorded. I think there's a song on their new record that doesn't have a lead vocal. Whatever, people won't even notice."
SPQ: The Copyrights released an LP of all its past albums. Will the new album be released on vinyl as well?
LM: "Yeah, we were really adamant about vinyl being released the same time as the digital formats. Adam Alive is taking care of the vinyl on the new record so we're not worried, it'll be out when the digital comes out."
SPQ: With the new album coming, are there any big festivals that you guys have signed on for that you can confirm?
LM: "We're doing the usual Insubordination Fest in Baltimore and The Fest 10 in Gainesville, Florida. I think we're also doing Red Oktoberfest in Chicago in October."
SPQ: Is there a website you would like to plug where fans can get news updates, tour dates and merch?
SPQ: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Luke. I'm looking forward to the new album and catching you guys live again. Always fun seeing you guys live. Thanks again.
Friday, June 10, 2011
By Chris Carlton
Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Dave. It's been more than 10 years since Diesel Boy's last album, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet. What have you been up to since the band split up?
SPQ: Can you give us a little history on the band? How did you guys get together?
DL: "Oh, it's a long and boring story to be honest, but Diesel Boy had a few folks leave the band in quick succession. Right around the same time, a band we were friendly with called Escape Goat had basically the same thing happen. So three dudes from Escape Goat joined me in Diesel Boy and that was (the) lineup (of) our first two albums."
SPQ: On songs like "Cock Rock," you mention being a fan of '80s metal bands like Dio, Dokken and Metal Church. Growing up in the '80s, I actually listened to some of those bands. Did you really listen to them or was that just tongue-in-cheek fun?
SPQ: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
SPQ: I gotta tell you, the song, "Waltz of the Disappearing Girl" was one of the greatest songs I feel you did in Diesel Boy; such a beautiful song, and a huge departure from what we came to expect from the band. Was that song autobiographical?
DL: "Thanks. And yes, that song is about a specific person. There are actually a few songs on the Rode Hard and Put Away Wet record about that girl. Most of the Diesel Boy songs contain autobiographical elements, or were at least inspired by someone in some capacity. That song is autobiographical though. I was hurting over that girl when I wrote it and the lyrics and whole song just kind of spilled out in a matter of hours, which wasn't usually the case for me. And it was recorded in one take in the living room of the recording studio."
SPQ: With four amazing albums under the band's belt, why did you guys break up?
SPQ: I know that you and the other band members live between Washington State and California now, which would make it hard to do a lot as a continued unit. But last year, you guys actually got together and played again. What was it like reuniting after so long and playing those songs again?
SPQ: The four of you still look fit, and you're not geriatric yet. What are the odds of a Diesel Boy reunion album and/or possible tour?
DL: "We talk about it. Time is the biggest issue for us. Most of us are married and have kids, which makes any kind of endeavor like that really tough. I suspect we'll do something at some point, but whether it's just a couple of shows or another record, I have no idea. I suspect something will emerge that will just makes sense and we'll do it."
SPQ: When all's said and done, what do you think people will remember most about Diesel Boy?
DL: "That's for the fans to decide, not me. I'm just pleased there are a loyal few who do remember what we did fondly I know we had a blast doing it."
SPQ: Is there a website where fans can get in touch with either you, the band or any other bands you guys are currently playing in?
SPQ: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Dave. It's been a blast getting the lowdown on all the questions I've always wanted to ask. I appreciate it. Thanks again.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Photo by SFWeekly.com
By Chris Carlton
Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, Jesse. People know you from your days in Operation Ivy and Common Rider, but I want to ask you about your current band, Classics of Love. Can you give us a little history on the band and how you got together?
Jesse Michaels: "The band started in 2009 when I was making some demos. A friend played a tape of the band, The Hard Girls, for me and I really liked it so I reached out to them and asked them if they would like to play with me. As soon as we played, there was instant chemistry and we have developed a good working relationship. I also really like them as people and we get along and have fun together. I never realized it but to me, this is actually the single most important thing. Given a reasonable amount of inspiration, almost any group of people that get along will produce something worthwhile because with bands, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts."
SPQ: You, like myself, are a big fan of all styles of music. From Cole Porter to Patsy Cline to Buddy Holly. What musical influences do you bring to the table when you're writing songs?
JM: "Lately, the primary influences are '80s hardcore and current neo-hardcore. So as far as old stuff, I am talking about Jerry's Kids, The Necros, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Youth Brigade, Seven Seconds, The Fix, Die Kruezen and so on. As far as new(er) bands, I am talking about bands like Set to Explode, Wasted Time, Government Warning, Socialcide, Nightstick Justice, Double Negative, early Fucked Up and so on. In addition to this, I have so much mid-tempo melodic punk ala The Clash, Menace and Stiff Little Fingers in my blood that it just always comes out somewhere."
SPQ: I know Classics of Love released the "Walking In The Shadows" EP in 2009 as well as a single for Art of the Underground last year. Are there any plans for a new EP or full length? Or a possible tour?
JM: "Yes. We have recorded demos for the LP and are very excited about our engineer and the songs. We have everything written, we are just waiting until the studio is available. So we are going to record the album in August."
SPQ: You were in the band Big Rig back in the early '90s. That band only lasted a few short months. If you don't mind me asking, why such a quick demise?
JM: "That band was primarily a project. I really liked those guys and liked the music they were playing but I did not want to turn it into a band proper because I couldn't exactly write songs in the vein that they were doing - it just wasn't quite the style I was used to. We managed to do a couple nice songs and Lookout! Records agreed to put out the EP. We also did a gig and it was fun. I am still in touch with several of the guys that were in that band, many of whom have gone on to do interesting things."
SPQ: I understand that you are/were a breakfast cook. Being a cook, I find it relaxing to do something I love. How did you get started cooking? Was it a life long passion or just something that fell into your lap later on in life?
JM: "Well, I am a good cook but I was not a very good professional cook. However, I managed to pull my weight and I tried to do extra things and be reliable to make up for my lack of natural ability. This is not false modesty, it's just how it is. The head chef at my restaurant was and is a great guy and he helped me to do it and taught me a lot about cooking and about having an incredible work ethic. There are things you can only learn by having jobs. It was a good experience and something I still do for fun."
SPQ: In this day and age of skinny jeans, bad haircuts and "mall punk" bandwagon jumping, do you feel the punk idealism and energy has been dragged through the mud in order to make a quick buck?
JM: "Every social movement that begins underground and with extremely creative, intelligent energy, eventually gets co-opted by the more normal, mainstream crowd. They take what's cool and make it tacky and obvious, and they are the ones that get the money. It happened with the hippies, it happened with the beats, it happened with goth, it happened with hip-hop, it happened with rave culture, it happened with gay pride, it happened with skateboarding; it happens. That's the nature of the world. Of course, all those crappy bands are annoying but really, who cares? I have been into music for literally 30 years and as far as I remember, there were always crappy bands. Some of the shit that went on in the '80s and '90s was so God awful, it made me want to scream. It's true that so-called hipsters are the single most annoying example of this dynamic in history because nobody has gone so far to co-opt symbols of non-conformity and make them into bland fashion, but what can you do? There are still great bands. These days, all you have to do is find one and follow the connections on the various social media. If you find one that you really like, chances are you will find 100. I think a person could spend an entire year on great Japanese bands alone and never get to the end of it. So yes, there is definitely a lot of shit out there, but there is also a lot of great stuff. The digital age means there's more of both, for better or worse. Well, the hipsters have taken tattoos, collecting obscure records, funny hair, tight pants and screaming into microphones. If real outsiders are so unimaginative that they can't come up with something different, beyond what we are all used to, then they deserve to be co-opted."
SPQ: Are there any newer bands out there that you feel are true to the music? A band where you think, "yeah, they have the right idea?"
JM: "Well, I am not very in-the-loop these days to be quite honest. But just in Oakland alone, there is a great underground hardcore scene; bands like Face the Rail, Comadre, Punch, E-Coli, and so on. Shit, there's dozens of good bands out here. La Plebe is astonishing for example. Frankly, I think the scene is better than ever, it's just that there is such a glut of underground music everywhere that it's harder to get noticed. There are always great bands in Portland and Chicago. Young people are getting smarter, not dumber. If you want to know about a lot of great bands, just use the standard web-research tools and one can find about a million in an hour. I remember just out of curiosity, I went on Interpunk once and started following all the little "people also bought" links from well-known bands I liked and within a few minutes, I had discovered this lesser-known but incredible band called The Observers, who changed my whole perspective on music. Actually they are pretty well-known in the underground punk scene but I mean lesser-known to an old fuddy duddy like me. The Spits were an incredible pop-punk band in the true sense of the word, meaning not just another Ramones knock-off. I don't know if they are still around. Government Warning was fantastic. And so on. The whole Richmond, VA hardcore scene. Out Cold from Boston - not around anymore, but they got it right all the way. In the larger stage stuff, Sharks are phenomenal. At the really commercial level, The Vaccines are great. Don't even talk to me about metal, it's ridiculous. There is tons and tons of great stuff out there. Plus it's all free now apparently, ha ha. Things are way different from when you had to dig through five record stores to find the Descendents 7" and then put it on cassette tapes to give to all your friends."
SPQ: You've played ska, straight-up punk and singer/songwriter acoustic music. What's next for Jesse Michaels? What can your fans expect from you in the coming months?
JM: "They can expect the band I am in, Classics of Love, to record a record. I don't want to jinx it but from the demos, it looks like it is going to be pretty good. So what's next is an album of '80s hardcore-influenced songs, very fast and short, with intermittent mid-tempo punk, ska and rock influences thrown in."
SPQ: Is there a website where we can find out out about news, new releases, upcoming shows and merch?
JM: "Probably either the Asian Man site or my public Facebook page."
SPQ: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo. It was great to interview you and I'm looking forward to the new Classics of Love record. Thanks again.
JM: "Thanks for the questions and best wishes to you and all your readers!"
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
By Jason Duarte
Photo from Inhabitat.com
Check out House Boat's BandCamp page to listen to the freshly-posted, "A Song In Which I Try To Convince Myself To Stop Being Such a Fucking Idiot" and their cover of INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart." The latter is available for free download, so grab that! Oh hey, would you look at that, I'm wearing my yellow House Boat shirt today.