THE SCANDALS aus New Jersey (Punkrock) und NOWHERBOUND aus Austin, Texas (Punkrock / Folk) waren vor ein paar Monaten in Europa auf Tour und haben sich in meiner Heimatstadt zu einem gemeinsamen Konzert getroffen. Zumindest Jared Heart (SC) und Chris Klink (NWB – früher BORN TO LOSE) kannten sich bereits aus der Vergangenheit und von gemeinsamen Shows. Da man sich gegenseitig sehr sympathisch und die Show auch einfach gut gelaufen ist, entschloss man sich dort, sich gegenseitig für BurnYourEars zu interviewen. Wie das aber mit Musikern (und Musik-Schreiberlingen, bei denen die Bands hinterher pennen) nun mal so ist, kam es an dem Abend nur noch zu alkoholischen Getränken aber zu keinem Interview.
Nachdem sich der Staub nach den Touren der Bands gelegt hat, entschloss man sich nun, das Ganze einfach via E-mail zu lösen. Hier nun die Abschrift dessen, was sich die alten Freunde gegenseitig aus den Rippen geleiert haben – der Einfachheit halber ausnahmsweise auf Englisch.
NOWHERBOUND interviewen THE SCANDALS
What is your memory of our first meeting? Apologies about the mic btw...
It was a pretty memorable night I must say. It was Asbury Lanes in I want to say 2008? The Scandals, Born to Lose, Burning Streets, and Somerville Town Drunks. It might have actually been one of the first times we headlined the lanes. (Which we didn't realize until we got there). This was also the first meeting of you guys as well as Burning Streets.
All I remember is playing after you guys the house mic was a bit 'moist'. When I sing I have a tendency to pretty much bite the mic and during one song I took a huge breathe and in turn inhaled a huge lougie from inside the mic. I'm pretty sure I immediately turned around, spit, and gagged for a few. I will never forget the taste of half caramel half cigarettes. Thank you for teaching me the lesson to use my own microphone wherever I go.
How has your experience with The Scandals changed you over the years, or has it? I know that's a bit vague, but I guess what I'm asking is ... has touring and/or lineup changes changed your outlook on the music, the band's direction, or songwriting at all? Do you feel like you're in the same headspace you were when it began, or has it been a bit of an evolution for you?
I think in some respects my thoughts have changed and in some they haven't. I think my ideas on touring and songwriting have become a bit more streamlined and efficient since I have some idea of what to expect and enough experience on how to figure out the problems when they come up.
When it began I was an underage kid who would buy you a shot at the end of the show and now I'm the 25 year old who will still do the same. I love the road, and I'm extremely grateful to be able to meet the people that I have crossed paths with.
Old or new, what bands have been most influential to you over the years. I won't ask for favorites, as I don't know that I could personally name a favorite band ... Instead, what band(s) have most influenced you as a player/singer/songwriter?
This is an intense question but here are a few that have really had an impact on my music.
One Man Army, Far From Finished, The Wallflowers, Lucero, Rancid, Lenny Lashley, and so much more.
Since you asked about tour gambling, I'll flip the question around ... What is the most you've lost while on tour, and to whom?
Oof, this is a rough one, usually because if I lost then I was probably a bit intoxicated. I think the most I lost to a single person was Danny from the Gaslight crew. We had a huge c-lo game going after our show with them in Richmond with about 8 of us and it escalated to a 20 dollar buy in, and ended up in two pushes and rebuys. So i was in a total of 60 bucks on the third roll and lost.
I believe the pushes were on trips and clo as well which was nuts. I was still up for the night after winning a couple rounds before that but that was a heavy loss. The most I've lost in general was in Cleveland on a day off when I didn't realize I was playing "crapsless craps" for 20 minutes. What the hell is the point of that?
When are YOU coming to Austin? Much love, my friend.
Asap! Hopefully when the weather gets cold I can make my escape! Hope all is well brother.
THE SCANDALS interviewen NOWHEREBOUND
Do you feel that the energy of shows both within the audience and the band changes drastically from an electric band to an acoustic band?
Of course ... but as you mentioned, I think that's true both on stage and in front of it. If you're lucky, a crowd's energy is a direct reflection of the energy the band on stage puts forth. So ... if I'm sitting on a stool, I don't expect the audience to be crowd surfing or pitting for example. For me, acoustic shows are best when they're in a more intimate setting, as the songs are more stripped down and tend to be more personal in nature. In that setting, I prefer open ears to getting drenched in beer.
It's a rarity to have an acoustic tune littered with 'Heys' or 'Ois' or big gang vocals, so an expectation of aggressive circle pits or the like is somewhat unrealistic and would feel somewhat out of place ... just as a crowd sitting in chairs or on the floor would feel awkward if you're doing a high energy punk rock set. I've been asked many times if I have a personal preference, and the simple answer is 'no.' I love playing music, and the older I get, the more I like playing different kinds of it.
The first 3 records were largely acoustic, blending elements of punk, folk, and country. 'Mockingbirds' was a return to the louder more punk rock approach. 'All We Got Is Everything To Lose' is sort of a blending of both. Our next record is slated to be heavier and faster than 'Mockingbirds,' and its subsequent release is being talked about as a hardcore record, but we'll see. Play what you like, and if you're lucky, the crowd will follow ...
Whats the most amount of beers you've ingested during a set? (Spilled beers not included)
Ha. No idea. I'm a pretty quiet guy who struggles with terrible social anxiety, so beer has always simply been the necessary confidence booster for me to feel comfortable under stage lights ... liquid courage if you will? I acknowledge how crutch-ish that sounds, but it is what it is. Thankfully, when I'm drinking, I'm usually a happy personable drunk, otherwise I fear none of my bands would have lasted very long. I know and have known plenty of people who feel right at home on stage, I've just never been one of them.
Has anyone ever asked you to "sing cleaner"?
Im a nightmare on engineers. D-essers, don't work. Auto tune doesn't work. It just is what it is. The other major contributor is that my natural (clean...er?) voice resides in bass octaves. Problem is ... in a loud punk rock band, that range is often all but inaudible. Some venues have great PAs, great monitors, great sound engineers, but as often as not, you walk into a place and find that you're working with a small practice PA, no monitors, and the promoter attending to the engineering duties for the evening. In that setting, you can be sure that very few will be able to hear a lower cleaner vocal.
So ... as a singer (or screamer, I guess), you have to be ready both for the good stage/room sound along with the bad. If I want to be heard, I largely have to dwell at the top of my vocal range to ensure it, and with that, comes the gruff. Funny thing is, when I was younger, I wanted the grit and gravel of some of my favorite punk rock singers, and now I'd probably prefer a cleaner offering, but years of one have made revisiting the other pretty tough (too many vices, too many nights screaming, etc.).
Who's the band that's lost the most amount of money to you in dice while on tour.
No idea? Other than the occasional round of Threes Away (usually for no more than 5-20 cents), I really don't gamble on the road that much anymore. In the early days, it passed the time, but we'd often be betting with cigarettes or drink tickets. After losing all of the former or the latter a few times, you start to think better of it.
It also seemed like anytime someone lost a series of rolls, the gauntlet got thrown down by way of a 20 dollar pot, at which point, I'm out. Watched those pots push too often, and suddenly you were in a dice game for 60 to 80 bucks, which on the road (or at home for that matter) is way too rich for my blood.
When are you coming to hang in Jersey? (Bring your own mic this time though ...)
I wish I knew. Sadly, we really haven't ever done a proper tour of the states in this band, largely because it's just too expensive, especially now. When faced with the choice of doing multiple well organized tours through Europe over the course a year, or one American tour that hemorrhages money from day one, it isn't much of a choice.
Sadly, in my experience, a lot of American promoters still think a single Facebook post, hanging one poster (of the 10+ you sent them), offering the band one drink ticket per person, no food, no place to sleep, and 50 bucks is good enough. It isn't. Not if you want to make it to the next town anyway. It's never been about the money for any of us, otherwise, we all would have quit years ago, but as you know, days off cost money. Days on do as well. If I'm lucky, I'll still be doing this 5 years from now, but who knows?
And if I'm fortunate enough to be able to enjoy another few years of touring, I'd rather do as much of it as I can (before I'm too old, too irrelevant, or too tied down with real life), which likely means touring overseas. The boys and I really do desperately want to take a trip up east though, whenever we can make it work (translation=break even). The northeast was a home away from home for me for so many years, and I truly miss those friends, bands, and cities. We were always treated like family, and I owe most all of the best years of my life touring to the kindness we were afforded from the folks up there. Fingers crossed, we can find a way to make it happen ... sooner rather than later. And for you, Jared, I will bring my own Mic.