Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fred Mills: Why I Love Mark J. Mulcahy (Blurt Video Tribute)

Mark Mulcahy

Dine on a buffet of video and audio clips culled from the man’s entire career…

By Fred Mills, Blurt Editor

Elsewhere on the site this week we have an interview with Mark Mulcahy, former Miracle Legion and Polaris (The Adventures of Pete and Pete) frontman and solo artist extraordinaire whose wonderful new album, Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You arrived recently via his Mezzotint label. By way of additional tribute, then, I’ve pulled together some of my favorite Mulcahy moments currently lodged on YouTube; I was a huge fan of Miracle Legion from the New Haven group’s early-’80s beginnings (I even, uh, bootlegged a couple of live shows by the band that I taped – or, more accurately, I made sure they were available to plenty of fans but no, I didn’t sell them), and have remained a fan of Mulcahy over the years. So being able to revisit the music, below, has been a total pleasure. Continue reading

John B. Moore: Crazy & the Brains: The Interview

Crazy and the Brains

JBM checking in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

I DON’T WANNA GROW UP / JOHN B. MOORE

By John B. Moore

They already had a vocalist and a xylophone, so starting a punk rock/anti-folk band was just a given.

On their first full length, Let Me Go, New York/New Jersey four-piece Crazy & The Brains bring to mind everyone from The Black Lips The Dead Milkmen (though frontman and guitarist Chris Urban readily cops to not listening to these Philly punks).

With witty lyrics, a quirky, but impressive punk rock sound, these Anti-Folk acolytes even managed to snag scene mate and former Moldy Peaches member Adam Green to share the mic on this record. Urban was cool enough to talk recently about the band, the record and learning his songs in French.

 

So let’s start out with how the band first got together.

Well basically mine and Jeff’s (Rubin) band broke up. We had been playing in that band since high school and had no intention of ever stopping but our singer quit very unexpectedly. We were left kinda confused and didn’t know what to do. We both knew we still needed to play music but we didn’t have any equipment. Jeff was starting college for music and took his xylophone from high school to practice on. He studied classical percussion performance so he pretty much needed to learn how to play every instrument ever. We knew we didn’t wanna just pick up right where we left off with our first band (which was pretty much a straight forward punk band in the sense that it was loud distorted guitars, bass and drums). All we had between the two of us was my acoustic guitar and his very shitty drum set and then his xylophone which he just used for school. I don’t remember why or who but one day one of us was like “fuck it, let’s try and make some songs using this thing”. Jeff was practicing on it non-stop anyway, it was always around so we just decided to try it out. The things we were coming up with sounded cool to us and we just started developing our own style I guess. After a while playing like that we decided we wanted to be louder. Jeff met Brett (Miller) at school one night and brought him to one of our shows. I’m guessing Brett liked it because he’s been in our band ever since. I don’t think we even asked him to join. One day he was just behind me playing bass drinking a 40oz with his brother Lawrence behind him playing drums and doing Tim and Eric jokes.

How did you get Adam Green to sing on this one?

I first met him at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York. Then one night he was at a show we played in Brooklyn and he told us he liked our music and hooked us up with a cool show opening up for Har Mar Superstar and Ted Leo. After that, I don’t really know, we would see him around at a lot of different things. We know some of the same people. One day I just decided to ask him to be on a song and he was down. I’ve always really liked songs that featured other artists. Collaborating on music is such a cool thing to me. Every time I see an artist I like has a song featuring someone else that’s the first song I listen to on the album. We were throwing around a lot of ideas on who to ask, what song to do, or who would even wanna be on a song of ours… but I don’t know it just kinda came together. We’re gonna try to perform it live together for sure.

This album reminded me a lot of the great Dead Milkmen records. Were you guys fans of the band?

To be honest I didn’t really come up on them too much. I mean I respect them a lot; I think they’re definitely an awesome band. I understand the comparison. They have that punk spirit, a lot of energy and their own style but stylistically I think we are very different. Todd (Wolenski) who runs Baldy Longhair Records is a huge fan of them I think that’s one of the things that turned him on to us. A lot of people who like our music tell me they are fans of them too, I think that’s cool.

That being said, do you have any influenced that would surprise people?

The Anti-Folk scene had a HUGE influence on this music. When we started this we had no idea what we were really doing or if there was even a place for guitar and xylophone music. We would go to these Anti-Folk open mics and wait six hours for our number to be called to play our song. We watched so many artists perform all types of crazy shit from spoken word poets, to folk singers, to people singing opera, to rappers, to dudes banging on drums and yelling. There was really good amazing music and also really fucking awful music, but all of it was extremely inspiring. Other than that obviously Punk and all its different sounds and its energy and attitude. Jeff is really inspired by classical music and piano players like Ray Manzarek and Ray Charles. Early 60’s soul and girl groups definitely influence us. The Miller brothers love a lot of 70’s hard rock n’ roll like Black Sabbath and The Stooges, and I know a lot of that stuff has an influence on their playing. Lastly, standup comedy has a huge influence on my songwriting and I also think the music too. I don’t know how to explain it but if you listen closely you can hear Andrew Dice Clay in Brett’s bass playing.

Do you guys plan to tour much behind this album?

Hell yes. We’re going to Canada this August but before that we are gonna play shows all around the East Coast. We just came back from Ohio a few days ago and we also plan to go back to the West Coast. We’re gonna bring this record to as many people as we possibly can. If you’re having a party hit us up! We will play!

What’s next for you guys? 

Europe! I want a girl to teach me how to sing “Snacks” in French!

Fred Mills: Watch Videos of Tom Petty Live at the Hollywood Fonda

Petty 1

June 3 in Cali, and in hi-def to boot.

By Fred Mills

They say young people nowadays get their primary new music fix via YouTube, and not specifically from videos. Of course, some of us, ahem, old folks find reason to frequent YouTube from time to time too, more likely from videos. And here’s a textbook reason: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers live at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California, last week.

Petty Setlist

It’s worth noting that there are a TON of clips from the Fonda posted, but one enterprising Petty fan in particular appears to have gone above and beyond by posting clips of what appear to be every song performed at the concert—and in HD. Hats off to YouTube user “razorstarzz” and to the superb audio and video quality. This is just awesome. Below, check out a couple of tunes, then hop over to YouTube and/or the razorstarzz YouTube channel to watch the rest of the songs (full setlist is above). Meanwhile, go elsewhere on the BLURT site to check out our photographer Scott Dudelson’s awesome photo gallery of the Heartbreakers’ Fonda show on June 11…

MORE THAN JUST A TALL ORDER: James McMurtry on Guns

James McMurtry

A gun owner himself, the Texas singer/songwriter/rocker ponders assault weapons, crime bills, the Sandy Hook tragedy, mental illness, and the contradictions therein.

 BY JAMES MCMURTRY

 I used to think I had a clear opinion on gun control. I didn’t much care for the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the bill we now refer to as the “Clinton Crime Bill”, which included a ban on “assault weapons,” or was it “assault type weapons,” each a silly term in my view, one that seemed to be defined more by the cosmetics of the offending weapon rather than by the function. A semiauto variant of an AR-15, with its tall battle sights and grim black plastic stock, looks scarier than a Browning BAR hunting rifle, sleek, and stocked in fine hand checkered walnut. But they both function the same way: with each squeeze of the trigger one round is fired, one empty casing is ejected and one fresh round is chambered. The old argument that the AR is of no use to a hunter is now moot due to the advent of accurized versions with match grade barrels and good scopes. The coyote hunters and the feral hog hunters seem to love those things. So the criteria for rifles that can be termed “assault weapons” grows ever more murky. To me, an assault weapon is a weapon that happens to get used in an assault.

    On August 1, 1966 Charles Joseph Whitman killed fourteen people and wounded thirty-two others in and around the Tower of the University of Texas during a ninety-six minute sniping rampage. Whitman did most of his shooting with a scoped bolt action 6mm Remington, a rifle that looks and functions pretty much exactly like my deer rifle. Whitman also had an M-1 Carbine (not to be confused with the M-1 Garand, which chambers a much more powerful round), a fast-handling and reliable semiauto rifle that had been popular with soldiers in World War Two. Most accounts of the Tower shooting that I’ve read suggest that Whitman didn’t get much use out of the M-1, probably because the .30 Carbine round, for which it was chambered, did not have nearly the effective range of the 6mm Remington. The aforementioned AR-15, now considered an assault rifle, had been available for civilian purchase since 1963, but if Whitman knew this, he apparently didn’t feel the need to purchase one.

    On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb, made mostly from fertilizer, in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed one hundred and sixty-eight people, nineteen of whom were children in the second floor day care center. Four hundred and fifty more people were wounded in the blast. McVeigh didn’t even use a gun.

    I don’t know why the news of the Newtown shooting shook me up more than most similar events in my memory. Perhaps it was just one too many for me. It took a while to sink in. My local gunsmith told me the news as he was inspecting a revolver I had brought to him for repair. My first thought was “Here we go again.” I didn’t think about the children, or the parents, or anything to do with the actual tragedy. I only thought about the culture war that was about to heat back up. I didn’t worry that the government would come take away my guns, because that won’t happen. But I knew the NRA would fan the flames of such hysteria until the gun shops were swamped and the ammo shelves empty – which is what is happening.

      I tried not to watch TV that day; I didn’t want to see that show again, the police tape, grief-stricken people hoping to see their children, their hopes fading with the light of day….  too much. I didn’t want to hear the same old arguments, more guns, less guns, as if any course of action could really make us safe.

     I couldn’t quite avoid the TV; it was on in every bar. And I did see something different this time, something cold and practical that might make a tiny difference, might….

     I could barely hear the sound, but I watched a brief interview with law enforcement personnel who were explaining the changes in police tactics that had been implemented in the last decade or so. In the old days, first response police officers, when faced with a school shooting in progress, were told to wait for the SWAT team. Apparently, enough people died while the first responders waited for SWAT, as per their orders, that the orders were eventually changed. Now, the first responders are told to go right in, walk past the wounded and kill the shooter if he won’t be arrested. The sooner the shooting stops, the lower the body count. Sound philosophy I think, but a tall order for a cop who might not be as well armed as his or her adversary. And here, I find a crack in my old opinion on gun control.

 ***

 Another aspect of the Clinton Crime Bill that I used to think was silly was its restriction of a firearm’s magazine capacity to ten rounds. I didn’t see what good such a restriction would do. If we assume, however dubiously, that the shooter abides by the law and only carries legal magazines of the proper capacity, what’s to stop him from carrying a satchel full of extra mags with which he can shoot all day? Nothing’s to stop him, of course, but he will have to re-load more often, and here is where that silly old gun bill might finally have a practical application due to the evolution of police tactics. I was reading a gun magazine in a supermarket the other day. There was an ad for a company that makes extended high capacity rifle magazines. The ad said, “If you’re reloading, you’re not in the fight.” If a school shooter is not extremely well trained and has to change magazines under duress, he’s out of the fight for a second or two, and the highway patrolman, or the deputy sheriff, or the city constable who just happened to be there will have a second or two to fire at the shooter without risking return fire. If I were any kind of a cop in that situation, I would sure appreciate those seconds. The tragedy would still have happened, but the body count might be lower.

     Might…. might be the best we can do.

    Of course, the Clinton bill did not get rid of extended magazines. It left a loophole whereby the mag would be legal if it were manufactured before the ban went into effect. Gun companies rushed production on high cap mags and used them to sell piles of guns. Ads that stated, “Comes with two pre-ban magazines!” were common and effective. I don’t mean to suggest that these manufacturers were evil for doing this. The nineties weren’t good to gunmakers. Bankruptcy and reorganization were rife in the industry then. One of the economic problems with the gun business is that for the product to be safe to the user, it has to be too well built to ever have to be replaced. If one is to sell more of such a product, one must find a way to make customers want more. One of the best tactics when faced with such a situation is to scare the customers into thinking they’ll never be able to get any more unless they buy now – the tactic that seems to be the sole raison d’être for the modern NRA. It works. A shop I frequent had its best sales day of its history two days after Newtown, thirty-eight thousand dollars in sales, mostly in rifles of the sort now commonly referred to as assault rifles.

     One might justifiably ask if any restrictions on new weapons could possibly do any good when there is so much hardware already out there. Sometimes the attempt just seems futile and pointless, one more bill to make politicians look like they’re doing something. But what is a society to do?

     Now it’s gonna get real dicey.

     If we are to call ourselves a society, we will have to behave as a society. We will have to pass laws and make deals, and none of us are likely to be satisfied at the end of the day. This is a symptom of a condition known as Democracy.

    Some of my shooting buddies will howl at me for even considering the notion of gun restrictions and I don’t blame them. The vast majority of gun owners, even those with a penchant for high capacity semi-autos, even those with full auto permits, the vast majority never do anyone any harm. And I’ve always hated the “need” argument so often brought up by some who have never fired a gun. It’s true, no one needs an Uzi; but nor does anyone need a Porsche, and no one will ever deny a person the right to own a Porsche, even though Porsches are designed to run at speeds far exceeding most US speed limits, and if driven at such speeds on public roads may endanger innocent citizenry.

     It’s not an exact analogy, but perhaps worth noting. People I’ve known who have owned Uzis and various full auto weapons just used them to shoot up farm trash dumps and junk cars, an expensive but thoroughly fun past time which wouldn’t be the same if one had to change mags every ten rounds. I can’t blame a shooter who has always acted responsibly for being annoyed at gun restrictions, even if said restrictions could actually be proven to be good for society as a whole. Often it seems that the one bad kid on the playground spoils the game for the rest of us and our hard ball gets taken away, but that’s life, and we have to start somewhere. We have to try something, or at least talk about trying something without immediately descending into factionalized shouting matches, each person shouting the slogan from his favorite bumper sticker to which he has chained his identity.

    I don’t want to take away anyone’s Uzi. I don’t want to restrict anyone’s right to dig up a hillside with an AK-47, but I want that constable or deputy to have an extra second to make the shooting stop; that way, someone gets to see their child, someone who wouldn’t without that extra second. I don’t know of a fair way to make that happen. And no, I don’t know if the unfair way would work either, but it seems like it might, at least in a case or two. Might…. once again. One must try.

 ***

 Of course, it would be better if the shooting in the schoolhouse never started, a much taller order. We must remember that guns are just a part of the mix that far too often results in horrific tragedy. Guns are merely enabling tools for some killers. The desire to kill does not start with the gun. Timothy McVeigh killed more people with a truckload of fertilizer than any single American shooter has killed with a gun. The thread that runs through Tim McVeigh, Adam Lanza and Charles Whitman is not just mental instability, but rage, pure unfathomable rage. And we are an angry people these days. I don’t know why. I suspect that our world is changing faster than we are capable of changing. Some of us feel left out; some of us feel outnumbered; so we’re fearful and angry. Our societal anger needs to be acknowledged and addressed, perhaps diagnosed and treated, as do our individual angers. Our whole approach to mental health needs to be re-thought, and not re-thought in accordance with Wayne La Pierre’s moronic mental health data base insanity. We take our kids to the doctor for physical checkups on a regular basis, but rarely do any of us see a psychiatrist before contemplating suicide. We’re still scared of the stigma, the red brand of craziness, for which our relatives once would have simply locked us away and pretended we had never existed rather than attempt to grapple with the psychological complexities of the human mind and the chemical complexities of the human brain.

    We need to look at mental health as simply a part of health, toss away the stigmas and treat it, monitor it, and fund the treatment, a tall order indeed.

  ***

 James McMurtry is a Texas-based songwriter and musician who regularly contributes to BLURT, where you can read his politically- and socially-charged “Wasteland Bait & Tackle” blog. Recent topics have included life in Central America, green/clean energy, the iPhone and the Occupy movement.

Carl Hanni: Quintron & Miss Pussycat: An Appreciation

Quiintron

Deejay/archivist CH genuflects before the underground New Orleans duo for his latest “Sonic Reducer” column.

 SONIC REDUCER / CARL HANNI

 By Carl Hanni

 That vaguely industrial throb coming out of the speakers? That’s just the gears slowly starting to move before the low rent drum machine kicks in, followed by an organ theme down low and dirty, followed by another, higher organ line and then, just like that, we have lift off and have already achieved cruising altitude. But where is this thing going? And how did we get here? And where is here, anyway?

 “Witch In The Club,” yeah. A pean to the murky dangers and most likely illicit pleasures of night clubbing in the sprit-infested deep underground of New Orleans. A steady rolling, deliriously catchy and danceable bayou boogie, built on Quintron’s thrumming Hammond organ groove. The purveyors are New Orleans Ninth Ward power couple Quintron and Miss Pussycat. Quintron: lanky, rock & roll cool like Lux Interior was rock & roll cool, player of some seriously badass organ and his infernal home made rhythm contraption, the Drum Buddy. Miss Pussycat: blonde thrift-shop misfit goddess, player of badass maracas, and mistress of puppet shows that veer from the surreal to the raunchy and the apocalyptic. They both sing, write the songs and extrude a New Orleansian version of yin and yang; he’s seemingly aloof and not especially approachable, she’s engaging and definitely approachable. Oh, and they play the devil’s music.

 There might not be a whole lot truly new under the full musical moon, but there are always potent regional and local hybrid’s out there, and Quintron has long been perfecting a mutant strain of swampy, low-brow gutter raunch. From his willfully crude early solo recordings up to his most recent – ambient field recordings made during a long residency at the New Orleans Museum of Art – Quintron has always gone his own way. But that Quintron way is not exactly uncharted, and there was likely a path, of sorts, which he widened and made his own. Quintron does, after all – and even though he’s not a native – live in New Orleans, the cradle of American music and the birthplace of jazz, R&B and good portions of blues, soul and rock & roll to boot. Not to mention the even more localized sounds of the second line strut, bounce and NOLA hip hop, and, out in the bayous, swamp pop and zydeco.

 So, “Witch In The Club” is indeed part of a long tradition, where the rolling-dice-with-the-devil spirit of rock & roll and R&B went straight to the tap root and got filtered back via the voodoo histrionics of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the agitated boogie of Bo Diddley, the smart-ass sexuality of Andre Williams and even the country fried swamp boogie of Tony Joe White. It not hard to spot some potential localized precursors, especially the low-fi recordings of the great New Orleans organist James Booker, and some of the earliest solo recordings by NOLA icon Dr. John, back when he added the double soubriquet The Night Tripper to the end of his already assumed name. In fact, it’s not big of a leap to consider Swamp Tech, the record that “Witch In The Club” is taken from, as being a modern bastard child of Dr. John’s classic Gris Gris album from 1968. Just add several decades of punk rock, raunchy soul and a stubborn DIY POV, and the line opens up.

 New Orleans has always been a city of local characters, from the shoe shine guy that tracks his lineage back to Marie Laveau to larger than life musical characters like Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, Ernie K. Doe, Professor Longhair and Big Freedia. Quintron and Miss Pussycat are part of that tradition, and “Witch In The Club” is one of their many hedonistic calling cards.

 So, Quintron and Miss Pussycat are part of a murky environment that not includes almost a century of music of dubious moral standing – from Storyville jazz to astoundingly profane hip hop – but more recently includes a whole subculture of New Orleans based circus crews and modern freak shows. It’s largely a hermetic, sealed sub-sub-culture, one that doesn’t instinctively open up to outsiders, but also one with a direct sense of purpose and it’s own code of right and wrong. Herein you will find folks that more than flirt with any number of dark sides. Forget hyperbole, story telling and clever word play. In New Orleans, it’s entirely possible that there is, indeed, a witch in the club.

 ***

 This piece was originally written for the latest issue of Oxford American, but, for reasons beyond my control, wasn’t included in the magazine. The entire magazine is dedicated to Louisiana music and is, as always, worth seeking out. 

 Carl Hanni is a music writer, music publicist, DJ, disc jockey, book hound and vinyl archivist living in Tucson, AZ. He hosts “The B-Side” program on KXCI (streamed live on Tuesday nights 10-12 pm at KXCI.org) and spins around Southern Arizona on a regular basis. He currently writes for Blurt and Tucson Weekly.

John B. Moore: Beans on Toast – Interview

Beans on Toast

JBM checking in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

I DON’T WANNA GROW UP / JOHN B. MOORE

By John B. Moore

While not exactly a household name in the U.S. (yet), UK singer/songwriter, punk folk poet Beans on Toast (need any more proof that he’s British?) is about to take on the U.S. Tagging onto Frank Turner’s tour, armed with an acoustic guitar and a tight set list of brilliantly dry witty songs, Beans (given name Jay McAllister) will be playing America for the first time.

He was kind enough to trade some e-mails back and worth talking about his new album Fishing For a Thank You, touring with Turner and being a England’s lone Parrot Head.  


You’ve had Ben Lovett and Frank Turner each produce one of your records. Who produced this one?

It was produced again by musicians Lee (Smith) for the band Middleman and Jamie (Lockhart) from a band called Mye Mi. They have a wicked little studio up in Leeds where everything is recorded to tape.

What can you tell me about Fishing For a Thank You?
It’s my fourth studio album in four years, keeping with my promise of putting out a record on the same date every year (1st December). Last year for the festival season I put together a little band of merry men to help me keep in time with myself. At the end of the summer we went to the studio for a weekend and bashed out the record. So the record has trumpet, accordion and some fine beats.

Do you have any guests on this record?
Yes, Rosie Doonan (a great folk singer from a big musical family), happened to be passing through and sung on the song “Orange.” The song also has a The Zulu Traditional Choir who were rehearsing in the room upstairs so we coaxed them down to finish the record; That and some small interludes from a mate’s five-year-old boy. All of these were by the luck of the draw. Also, Dan who played trumpet in the band also plays trumpet for The Pogues, which is pretty impressive.

When you tour the U.S. next month, will it just be you on the stage or will you bring along a full band?
After the record was recorded I disbanded the band, and am again solo for this year, so I will be solo for the upcoming tour.

You’ll be touring the U.S. with Frank Turner throughout June. Do you know what to expect? Have you ever spent this much time on the road with him?
I’ve spent a lot of time on the road with Frank, from very small early shows to big UK tours and even the Wembley show. So I’d say I know what to expect from Frank’s side, however these will be my first real shows in the U S of A. This, for me, is very exciting mainly because I’m not exactly sure what to expect.

Do you have any musical influences that would surprise people?
Probably quite a few. It may be worth mentioning that my Dad raised me on Jimmy Buffett records. Jimmy Buffett is pretty much unknown over here but I know it’s the opposite over there. Would it be a surprise that I’d say I’m a bit of a parrot head? I’m pretty varied in musical taste, though, and like to sample everything going down.

What’s next for you?
In a nutshell: USA / Festivals / Studio / Tour / Release album / Tour / Repeat….

Those are all the questions I have. Anything else you want to mention?
Not really, mate. If you’re happy then so am I.

***

John B. Moorecan be found at : Blurt/New Music Magazine/InSite Atlanta Magazine (Music Editor)/Innocent Words/NeuFutur Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at his handle @Jbmoore00

 

John B. Moore: Frank Turner – Interview

Frank Turner

 

Longtime Blurt Blogger John B. Moore checks in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

By John B. Moore

It’s been about almost a decade since English punk Frank Tuner walked away from life in a hardcore band and swapped out the distorted guitars for an acoustic one.

In that time he’s turned in an impressive collection of albums, packed Wembley Arena, served as opening act for the London Olympics, and managed to help define the punk rock singer/songwriter genre. He’s known best for his injection of wit and humility into songs about growing up, growing old and politics, and even with an acoustic guitar, you still can’t hide the punk kid inside. Need proof? Listen to “Thatcher Fucked the Kids”—which, in light of The Iron Lady’s demise this week, seems uncanny in its anti-revisionist timeliness.

On the eve of releasing his latest album, Tape Deck Heart (due April 23), and first for Interscope Records, Turner spoke briefly about the label change, playing the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics and future plans with his hardcore side project Möngöl Hörd.(Below, check out “Recovery” from the new record.)

[jwplayer mediaid=”33715″]

First off, congrats on signing with Interscope. How did that come about?

In basic terms, they asked, (laughs). The opportunity was there for me to think about working with a different label in the USA, and Interscope seemed like the best place for me. They’re a great label.

When I last interviewed you England Keep My Bones was just coming out and you were going on your first tour with a full band. Has that changed the way you play at all having that full sound?

Well, it alters the live show, sure – actually I’ve been touring with a full band since 2007, on and off. It’s a bigger sound for the live show; it’s very much where my head is at right now musically. The line-up of the band is set. The Sleeping Souls are my guys.

You also played Wembley since we last talked. What was that experience like?

It was amazing, everything went to plan! It was a show that my team and I worked on very hard for a long time. It was also something of a risk – I wasn’t at all sure that I’d sell all the tickets, or that the music I make would work in that kind of live context. In the event it all went swimmingly.

Had you had a chance to meet Billy Bragg before asking him to play that show with you?

Yeah I’ve known Billy and played with him for a few years now. Great guy.

You also had the opportunity to play before the Olympics. Are you surprised by how many people can relate to your songs?

Yes, pleasantly so. The Olympics thing was pretty surreal. I mean, it was an amazing opportunity and a unique experience for sure, but it was certainly outside my comfort zone.

What can you tell me about the new album?

I’m very pleased with it; I think it’s a step up for me, musically and lyrically. The music is a little bigger, warmer, than before. Lyrically it’s a very raw, personal record.

What are your U.S. tour plans?

I’ll be in the USA a whole lot this year and next, (laughs). The Interscope team have big plans for my diary.

Do you have plans to do more with your side project Möngöl Hörd? Release an album maybe?

Yeah I definitely want to get a record together and a tour sometime. It’s a lot of fun, but the problem is that it’s not a main priority for me right now. It definitely has to sit back a bit while we work on Tape Deck Heart.

***

John B. Moorecan be found at : Blurt/New Music Magazine/InSite Atlanta Magazine (Music Editor)/Innocent Words/NeuFutur Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at his handle @Jbmoore00

Small Brown Bike: Interview by Blurt Blogger John B. Moore

Small Brown Bike

Our man in the moshpit checks in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

I DON’T WANNA GROW UP / JOHN B. MOORE

***

Small Brown Bike

By John B. Moore

You can’t say the guys in Michigan post-hardcore band Small Brown Bike aren’t doing their part to keep hope alive.

Comprising brothers Mike and Ben Reed, guitarist Travis Dopp and drummer Dan Jaquint, one of the best kept-secrets in punk rock called it quits in 2004 after playing together for more than a decade. They resurfaced for a handful of reunion shows in 2007 and decided to give it another shot with 2011’s Fell & Found.

While the band is not officially broken up now, they are all involved in a number of different projects and spread out across the country. The prospect for a new studio album from Small Brown Bike may be remote – at least for now – but the band is putting out a double LP retrospective on May 28 on Dopp’s own Old Point Light Records. Recollected is crammed with 17 demos, limited releases, covers, unreleased and alternate songs.

Dopp was kind enough to take a few minutes recently to talk about this new album, digging through old demos and the future of the band.

When did you start putting together the Recollected collection?

We started to talk about it after we finished The River Bed. We had an extra song from that record, that got us talking about how many songs/demos were never shared or were only put out on a very limited tape releases (40 copies… maybe). And when I decided to start up Old Point Light -my production company – I wanted to take on Recollected. Almost a year later and here we are. Putting out something that documents Small Brown Bike’s first 15 years as a band.

Did you come across any songs you had completely forgotten about or didn’t remember working on?

Yeah, there were some demos that I totally forgot about. It was more interesting how we arranged those demos and what they eventually became. Mostly the Dead Reckoning demos were very different from the album. The thing that weirded me out the most is when Dan mixed all of the songs – some of the jams I had no idea what it was, cause I’ve never heard the bass sound that way… or never heard them that clear.

Do you plan to do any shows around the release of this album?

As of right now, we don’t. We’re all so busy with our new projects, families, lives and we don’t live near each other. We talked about trying to do something. We’d hate to do something half assed so as of right now, no shows are planned for the release. But for Recollected I’m gonna be running some shows on the Old Point Light website called “The $3 Ticket Show”. This will be old shows that we’ve never shared. Right now I’m working on audio for it… it’ll be in the near future.

I last talked to you guys before the Harvest of Hope show a couple years ago and you were about to go into the studio to record Fell & Found. Have you been working on any new songs together since that album came out?

Unfortunately we haven’t. Mike (Reed) and Dan recorded an album for their new project The Fencemen. I’ve been recording a new record for my new thing Travis John and Dan also recorded another record with his other project White Gold Scorpio. Everyone’s so busy outside of Small Brown Bike.

So after Recollected comes out, what’s next for the band?

Not living in the same area or state makes the writing process or any plans of touring or recording very tough. We’ll be putting out music in our other projects… I feel like we’ll have a chat in the near future and decide what’s next for Small Brown Bike.

Those are all the questions I have. Anything else you want to add?

Recollected will only be available at www.oldpointlight.com. Before May 28th I’ll post the exclusive record stores in the states that will be caring it. Other than that, I’d like to share our appreciation to the friends and fans for sticking around and showing interest. Thank you always.

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John B. Moore can be found at : Blurt/New Music Magazine/InSite Atlanta Magazine (Music Editor)/Innocent Words/NeuFutur Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at his handle @Jbmoore00