BHP Best Albums of 2012

For the record, I suck at blogging and I apologize.  Maybe one of my New Year’s resolutions will be for me to pay more attention to this blog of mine.  In all seriousness though, I have been busy with the paying gig and school, so please excuse the lack of posts and whatnot.  I really do plan on changing that.

Moving from Ohio to New Mexico earlier this year was pretty hard on me for more reasons than one.  The number one thing, aside from extremely missing all my friends and family back home, is the lack of continual live shows out here.  Sure, I could drive to Albuquerque to catch something, but that is a 6 hour round trip I would prefer to avoid alone.  El Paso even had a couple good shows I was all about until I found out they were either sold out or that I had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning.  Yeah, getting old sucks.  Luckily for me, I still can keep up with new music and pretend I know what is going on.  That is not to say that Las Cruces doesn’t have a music scene, I just have not gotten my feet wet in it yet.

Regardless of my situation, 2012 was an exceptionally good year for music.  I am sure you can easily think of 5 albums that blew your mind this year.  I know I can, in fact I have a whole bunch.  With 2012 is coming to an end,  I suppose it is my time where I get to tell everyone my top albums of 2012.

I think what kills me the most about talking about all these great releases is that I was not able to review them like I originally intended to.  So, do me a favor if you can; if you have not heard of any of my top picks below, please check them out.  Thanks.

In no particular order, here are a bunch of releases that amazed me in 2012:

 

Masked Intruder – Self-Titled Release

-Surprise release of 2012 if you ask me.  The most unique pop-punk you could imagine by a group of fun dudes in ski masks.  I can not even tell you how many times this album played over and over in my car this summer.

 

Luther – Let’s Get You Somewhere Else

-I was so looking forward to this release by these Philly champs.  Easily one of the best releases of the year.  This band is going places.

 

Ma Jolie – …Compared To Giants

-More Philly love.  Once upon a time, Ma Jolie played a basement show for a couple of cool dude’s birthdays in Akron.  They rule and you need to check them out.  Still shocked no one has signed them yet.

 

Cherry Cola Champions – Self-Titled Release

-Last year they made my 2011 Best of list with their EP.  This year they debuted their full-length release and it just rules.  I can not even tell you how many times I have spun this amazing album.  Solid dudes too.

 

Lucero – Women & Work

A bunch of good ol’ boys making some good ol’ music.  I really dug this album a ton.

 

Tony Sly / Joey Cape – Acoustic Volume Two

-This covers project sequel by two of the best names in punk rock was just all so good to listen to.  Sadly as many of you know, Tony Sly passed away on July 31st.  Needless to say, this record is more important than ever to this fan of Sly who has been providing tunes to my ears since I was a young punk rocker.  RIP Tony…

 

The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

-This band continues to impress me and I am so stoked to watch them mature as musicians in such a short amount of time.   Now that they are on the Epitaph roster, I am pretty sure things will only excel for them.

 

Cheap Girls – Giant Orange

-This is one of those bands that if you have no idea who they are, you need to familiarize yourself with them immediately.  I loved this release from start to finish.  I am also so bummed to have missed them live twice this year!!!  Oh well.

 

The Sidekicks – Awkward Breeds

-Right at the beginning of the year, The Sidekicks shot out an incredible release.  I love this northeast Ohio band.

 

Annabel – Youth In Youth

– Right at the end of the year, Annabel shot out an incredible release.  I love this northeast Ohio band.  Deja vu.  You have no idea how proud I am of these guys.

 

All Dinosaurs – Rules Of Civility And Decent Behavior

Right in the middle of the year….just kidding.  All Dinosaurs did release an hard album that I am still having trouble getting my hands on the vinyl version.  I am not even sure if that is the right album cover above, that is how hard of a time I am having finding it!

 

Old Flings – Spite

Found this pop punk folk indie 90s rock awesomeness totally on accident.  This Asheville, NC trio has my approval.  Looking forward to seeing more from these guys.

 

Joyce Manor – Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired

-This was the quickest and most well written release of the year if you ask me.  9 songs in 13 minutes and it all makes perfect sense.

 

Dikembe – Broad Shoulders

-This was a release I almost overlooked – I said almost…  Boy am I glad that did not happen.  Killer album.

 

Hot Water Music – Exister

-It took me exactly two listens of this album for me to fall in love with it.  These punk rock heroes have not lost their touch at all.

 

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

An amazing follow up to their debut that continues their musical expression of fun and living life the rock n roll way.

 

Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

-I have adored Dinosaur Jr. since I was a kid.  This release shows no wear and tear of the boys whatsoever.  Love this release.

 

The XX – Coexist

– I remember years ago when I heard Portishead for the first time and the chills I got.  The XX brought back that feeling on their sophomore release.

 

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

-Haters, hate.  I loved this release.  Catchy as hell.

 

Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever

It’s like The Lawrence Arms unplugged, but different.  Seriously though, this was a solid release by a great musician that may have slipped through the cracks for many.  If you like honest, real situations expressed in music, listen to this.

 

The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

-This band continues to impress and remains one of my all time favorite bands out there.  I will admit, this album took a couple listens for me to fully appreciate it and now I just can not stop listening to it.

 

The Fake Boys – Pig Factory

-Once upon a time, a bunch of dudes from hardcore bands decided they wanted to play the music that they grew up on.  The result is this gracious nod to the 90s that is enjoyable as hell by this music lover.

 

Titus Andronicus – Local Business

-There is just something about this album that appealed to me.  Punk / Indie / Rock goodness.

 

NOFX – Self-ENtitled

-I was like 6 years old when this band first started.  I have been a fan of them since high school.  They have once again not failed in putting out a clever, hilarious pop-punk gem.  If you can not appreciate this band for doing things their way for over 30 years, then I must tell you, they probably do not care, nor do I.

 

Mixtapes – Even On The Worst Nights

-Pop punk dudes and a nice young lady from Ohio continue to make fun singable tunes for all to love.  It was almost impossible to not like this release.

 

Minus The Bear – Infinity Overhead

-I really can not say much about this release aside from how great it is.

 

I am sure I missed a couple there and for all you know, I added more after I initially posted this.  Like I previously mentioned, 2012 was a great year for music.  It seemed like every other week something new and noteworthy dropped.  I really think that this year was the best year for music releases in a long time.

I am proud of all my friends who are in bands that released albums this year as well as the ones who played tons of shows and toured their hearts out.  Nothing pleases me more than seeing you all do what you do for the sake of loving music.  Keep it up everyone.

In 2012, a bunch of bands called it quits or parted ways.  Leatherface broke up as did Daytrader (I really thought they were going to find a replacement for Tym too).  I was so bummed when Spraynard announced they were finished.  Refused broke up again, although I was not really phased by this.  I was bumming when I learned Ween announced they were no more.  Apparently Chumbawumba disbanded too but no one cared.   Ninja Gun even announced at the Fest that they were through – that sucks in my book.

Luckily for us music lovers, as fast as bands break up, new ones form and release sounds for us all to hear.

Let’s see what 2013 has in store for us all.  I can only hope it is just going to continue to get better.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Interview: Jim Domenici of The Fake Boys

Earlier this year, I threw a record on my turntable by a band I had never heard of.  I did it out of morbid curiosity and honestly was not too sure I was going to even get through the first side.  Of course I judged a band by its cover and had no right in doing so, because that record ruled.  The band is called The Fake Boys and I made sure I did a proper review on them clearly pointing out that they reach back to the 90s and should never have been considered a pop punk band.

I do not know honestly why I was hesitant in spinning that record.  Maybe I need to just cut that crap off.

Anyways, I am glad I introduced myself to The Fake Boys.  If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the 90s and fed off the music scene, chances are you will love this band.  They recall alternative rock, grunge rock, and true punk rock in their style making for a style this music listener really appreciated.

Recently I was able to catch up with signer/guitarist Jim Domenici of The Fake Boys post-Fest.  It’s a little bit of a read, but let me tell you, this may be my favorite interview I have done to date.  Jim’s mind rolls just like mine does in ways and it was just fun shooting the breeze with him.  Check it out:


BHP: So, tell me, since I once again missed out on it…how was The Fest?

JD: We had a great time [and] got to see all our friends from around the country in one stop.  I tucked myself away at a bro bar and watched football for the majority of my time.  Overall, Fest exceeded my expectations and we couldn’t have been happier

Football huh? College or pro?  What teams are you a fan of?  I’ll always be a Browns fan for life.

Pro.  I’m a New England Patriots guy through and through though I would like to see them get away from this pussy pass shit and get back to defense.  The Buffalo Bills are also my guilty pleasure.  I know they are in my division, but I love the dirty culture.  Other then that, I can get behind the Browns, Niners, and Chiefs.

Nice.  So were you able to check out a lot of bands you wanted to see?

Luckily, we got to enjoy all of the bands we wanted to see.  Negative Approach was great; most brutal.

More importantly, how was your set?

Anyone there who means anything to us was in the room singing along and headbanging the whole time.  Probably the best show we’ve ever played.  I realized how lucky we are to do what we do.

Seriously, what feelings do you have when you play your heart out to a crowd and see them all singing along with you?

I can’t even explain.  I’m just a regular dude who tries to be as selfless as possible so the shit I write about really floors me.  To see people connect or even just appreciate my art enough to apply my songs to their own lives is the only reason I’m alive.  I’m a lucky guy.

Who else did you guys get to play with that night? 

House Boat, Pretty Boy Thorson, and Vacation all destroyed Nelly’s. We were all lucky to play such a solid venue to such a dope crowd.

So, let’s talk about the Fake Boys. Is there any special meaning behind your band’s name?

Our band is an open book.  The name, lyrics, melodies, song structures, album art, and even Facebook posts are all meant to be ripped apart so i don’t want to give away too much, but anyone who knows us personally knows we don’t front.  In a scene that blows it’s load over anyone and anything made of paper or plastic, we are definitely the odd men out but that’s ok.  We want the listener to figure things out for themselves and apply what they dig up to their own lives.

Can you give me a little history on how The Fake Boys became?

We all played in hardcore bands for years and as we got older we really missed melody.  We combine the ethos and aggression of hardcore with our love for song writing and crafting melody.

Nice way to formulate what you are now musically.  So was it always just Jim, Joe, and Jay? That’s a lot of J’s.

No, we’ve had a few drummer, but this is the first time we’ve felt like we’re all on the same page.

What was it like growing up in Lowell, MA?

We all actually grew up in different parts of Massachusetts and moved the band to Lowell to write the This Is Where Our Songs Live LP.  It’s a great city and reflects the working class values we believe and has always been a vibrant art community.  That being said, because of it’s mix of culture, it’s a wonderful place to create for good, honest, hard working people.

It is so easy for me to hear 90s alt rock in your sound. Who are some of your influences?  I am sure that is a very open ended question…

Well, I’m 30 so what do you expect?  For us the 90s sound is not a trend, it’s something what we grew up on.  Unlike the fake punk boom of 1994 that destroyed music as we know it, the explosion that came before it was the first and last time we saw real people getting their due for making real music in our lifetime, besides a few important bands who broke through i.e. rage against the machine and  Against Me!.  The early 90s explosion was driven by that hardcore ethos that lives within us, it’s something innate that we just can’t shake.  It’s not so much about a sound but about a way of thinking.  The bands that really do it for us are  Nirvana, The Fastbacks, Superdrag, Negative Approach, Ramones, Black Flag, Poison Idea, The Beatles, and Dinosaur Jr.

I’m 35. I hear ya about your preference in sound. I’ve been listening to more bands than ever that I grew up with like Hum, Promise Ring, Quicksand, and Dino Jr. just to rifle off a couple.  Do you really need to just blame all the fake 94 punk acts?  What about all the new bands or even the old bands that just keep trying to stay alive and really have no business doing so like dare I say Green Day and sadly Jane’s Addiction?

Ha ha, I don’t mean for shit like that to be taken too seriously as most of the time I’m just trying to entertain myself while putting my true feelings on the table.  The differences between people’s taste is important and keeps music from getting boring.  I don’t know why people seem to get bummed when I write about how I don’t like a band.  Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that I think others shouldn’t be.  I grew up on bands like Nirvana and the Ramones who hid nothing.  Kurt liked Eddie but was pretty vocal about how he thought Pearl Jam was terrible!  The Ramones hated the Sex Pistols and Johnny was a proud Republican.  These bands were powerful because they kept it real and didn’t play the game for the sake of doing better.

I’m not a little bitch, so I’m not going to lie about my taste to sell records or make friends.  Anyone offended needs to lose their ego.  It’s just for me personally, the 94′ explosion never did anything.  When I look at it, I see a departure from the independent nature of the early 90s and the start of “we will do whatever you want, just pay us.”  It just sucks that the culture that bent over for business is what people commonly refer to as punk.  That’s just not punk to me, so I guess maybe I’m not punk.  To be honest, I try my best not to mention Green Day in this mess ever.  I think they’ve written some really great songs.  I’m a fan up until Warning, and besides that “Minority” song, I think Warning has some of their best material.  I also do not dislike music just because it’s a specific genre or from a certain time period, I dislike music when I get a feel that the song writing is dishonest.  I don’t write because I want to, I do it because I have to, so maybe I’m a tough sell.  I like any band who I think writes good songs.  I think of music from a next level perspective, I’ve learned to ignore all genres.  We are a band and when we go on tour we play with other bands and I take them for what they are  with no influence from public opinion.  With that being said, there are a lot of great bands in this country and they know that I’m not talking about them.  I think Lipstick Homicide should be the biggest band in the world and they’re going to be; they could save rock and roll.

Damn dude…well said on many levels.  Moving on, Pig Factory was a killer release by you all. When can we expect a follow up?

Aas soon as we wrap up this trip, we are going to demo some new jams.  We’ve actually been playing a new one called “Red, White, and Bouge” on this current tour.

I have seen a lot of people label you guys as pop-punk including someone at punknews.org, but that is far from the truth. What do you have to say to those who are quick to label your sound in one genre?

I mean, people can only speak about what they think they understand.  The fact is, I grew up on bands, not specific types of bands. The Beatles were a fucking band, The Ramones were a fucking band, as bands grew you wanted to grow with them because you liked the fucking band! For me, the best part about rock and roll was wondering what a band was going to do next.  With the pop punk scene,  you don’t seem to see that as much because most people within the scene aren’t intelligent enough to do so  It’s insecurity that scares people from thinking outside the box.  We come from the strongest hardcore scene in the country and shit is real, so we honestly don’t give a fuck about pop punk scene.

So, what is up with the cover for Pig Factory?

I want people to put the record on, read the lyrics, examine the cover and figure it out for themselves.  Like I said, this band is an open book.

I did that exactly with Pig Factory. I felt like a teen all over again examining everything from the vinyl itself to the lyrics. I wish more bands would do that.  iTunes really ruined that experience if you ask me.

I agree.  People I went to school with in the 90s who don’t go to shows or know anything about punk have emailed me and said things like “I haven’t gave a shit about music since high school and i just want you to know that you’re record brought back feelings i thought i would never feel again” and that’s what it’s all about.

I love that you have no problem vocalizing your thoughts over certain social networking sites. From salt intake to being of age when In Utero originally released, I am always entertained and intrigued by what I read. One of the posts I found interesting was pertaining to how you were once a 22 year old brainwashed Republican. What happened to you that broke the chains of self-closure within the comfort zone you were trapped in?

I took a principles of logic class and it fucked my life up for good in the best way possible.  I realized that the choices I’d been making weren’t logically sound and were in no way reflective of who I really was as a person.  I realized that being happy was the only goal worth having and that it was easier to achieve than people think or don’t think.  When I examined my life choices up to that point, I realized that the driving force behind them was insecurity, status, and money.  I was completely brainwashed.  It’s hard to think back on my life without getting upset, I was such a miserable person.  I wanted to die but was too much of a fucking pussy to do anything about it because I was caught in that comfortable, corporate net.  In the end, I have no one to blame but myself, but with the help of logic, philosophy, hardcore, and a good friend, I was able to figure out who I really am and how to live my life to it’s fullest potential.

I’m glad you got there, but I don’t think you should blame yourself at all man. You came to terms and moved to where you want to be. Honestly, I’m still hoping to find that
niche that takes me to a new level where I can honestly say I’m living life to the fullest.

Right, life moves.  We gotta move with it and to think that where we are today is where we will be tomorrow is absolutely illogical.

So I know you are going to be wrapping up a tour, but what is next for The Fake Boys?

Just going to spend the holidays with my friends and family, get back to busting my ass at a job that i truly love with all my heart, and i’m going to write the greatest rock and roll record of all time… again.

Tell me why people should listen to your band.

We’re real.

Anything you would like to mention?

Save the country, buy American, and lose your ego.

7-Inch Review: State Lines – Self-Titled EP

I am one of those guys out there who has no problem admitting that they like the band Brand New.  Yeah, I can be a little sensitive when I need to be and sometimes pop-punky emo rock is all I need to soothe my nerves.  I am beyond the point in life where if you question me about this confession that I will challenge you to a duel with fists and a spiked club, but you get my drift.  Point is, I like all sorts of music and it was no surprise to me when I first heard State Lines and immediate dug them.  They sound relatively close to a younger Brand New and I am sure they are completely aware of that.

Earlier this year, State Lines, with help of Tiny Engines, released a 4 song self-titled 7-inch EP.  The result is a quick listen, but those four songs beg to be played over and over again.  They may have formed in 2010 and were probably born right around the time I was kicking ass in high school, but they do not sound very novice at all.

Speaking of high school…that guy on the cover of this 7-inch reminds me of Rotor Man.  Unless you grew up in Cleveland and went to Geauga Lake in the 90s, chances are you have no idea who I am talking about.

Anyways…

“5’s On The Elephant” started things off and was hands down the best track of the four.  This song that reminded me of the all the bands I started branching out to once I became a late fan of poppy punk  thanks to a girl who used to work with me at a record store back in the day.  It was almost a blend of Brand New and Taking Back Sunday and I completely was sucked into it.  Pounding drums matched up with catchy guitar playing just carried along a fun vibe throughout.  “Plenty Of Time” followed, but was not nearly as powerful as the opener.  Still, it was a good track that sped up halfway though.  B-side “Win Free” was another solid track to listen to.  I loved hearing the raspy voice of Dimitri met with Werring’s harmonic singing throughout the track.

Here’s hoping that this EP is just a sample of what they have in store for their next release which should be coming up shortly.  So what if they sound like Brand New? They sound amazing and I think that hey are well aware of that and plan on acting upon it.  Here’s hoping that their follow up LP drops very soon. I am stoked about this young act and can’t wait to see where their talent takes them next.

Check it out for yourself and see what I am taking about:

Album Review: Luther – Let’s Get You Somewhere Else

In case you did not know, today is a very important day.  No, not because everyone is being all political and American and waving their “I Voted Today” stickers in the air, but because today a sweet punk rock band from Philadelphia by the name of Luther is celebrating their 2 year anniversary.  That right folks, there are way more important things going on today other than this rich man presidential selection campaign bull mess.

In all seriousness though, Luther has a lot going for them and has grabbed a ton of attention since forming in 2010.  The band caught my attention in a good way last year and their EP topped my Best Of 2011 list with Siblings & Sevens.  Since that EP was released, they have toured non-stop and caught the attention of a little record label home of the Bouncing Souls.  Recently, the band released their first full-length album entitled Let’s Get You Somewhere Else on, you guessed it, Chunksaah Records.

Without talking them up too much, I will say listening to Let’s Get You Somewhere Else brought back memories of me years ago when I first was introduced to bands like Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker, and even the Bouncing Souls.  From the moment the album started, I was enthralled and wanted to immediately be their biggest fan.  At my age that might sound a little far fetched, but what I am trying to say is that I got that same feeling of a musical satisfaction, you know, that great feeling of knowing you just listened to something not just good, but amazing.

Luther’s debut EP, Siblings & Sevens, really rubbed off to me as DIY punk rock album with some folky style sewn in and I absolutely loved everything about it.  Let’s Get You Somewhere Else was an amazing follow-up with the band sounding like they just had fun creating all the songs while improving their sound as a band.  From the moment “The Concrete Sound” started, you cold just hear the confidence the band had in recording the track.  The track “Heavy Monday” really was just a fun song all around to listen to with plenty of lyrics that have flowed through my head once or twice at the beginning of a workweek.

I loved how “The Glory Bees” started off with a certain 90s rock feel only to transform into a catchy ass track.  Maybe it was the mono-toned opening vocals that reminded me of yesteryear, but the song picked up  and changed style in a good way.  “Backyard Fence Appeal” kicked things up a bit with a faster paced track with “oh my good look at this mess around me” repeating throughout.  How could I not like that track?  I was singing along my first time in.  “The Second Star” really was a deep track to listen to and I really dug the lyrics throughout.  I especially loved the lyrics”rotting like an apple and bringing down the tree or so it goes that the devil is strong, the devil is right for turning on us and letting us lie here.”

All I have to say about “Rattlesnake” is that the recorded hand-claps were not necessary at all.  Great track, but the only hand-claps that should be played during this song should be when the fans clap along when the song is played live.  “A Quiet Stretch Of Weather” easily could have been derived from a Tim Barry track.  The lyrics “I hope I don’ die when I’m forty” are repeated throughout and once again relate to something I have thought multiple times.  I found myself really appreciating this track and almost wished more of their tracks carried the same brash poignant feeling.

I see really big things with Luther happening in the near future and it is easy for me to say that with Let’s Get You Somewhere being such an impressive release.  This foursome contains a bunch of top-notch guys I have had the pleasure of seeing live before (of course there was a small delay due to their van crashing earlier last year before they were able to make it to Cleveland), and let me tell you, they do not disappoint.  They have already won over tons of fans and I am sure there will be plenty more where that came from.    Their Philly pals The Menzingers have already skyrocketed in the punk rock scene throughout 2012 and I know Luther will in no time as well based on their talent without riding a single coattail.  If you like bands like the Sidekicks, Menzingers, Banner Pilot, Cheap Girls, and so on, you really should be checking Luther out.

Happy 2nd Anniversary boys.  Keep up the great work.

Oh, and check out how bad ass their vinyl is:

Yea, I can be artsy…deal.

Interview: Blue of Masked Intruder

Masked Intruder‘s self-titled release was pretty much the soundtrack to my summer this year.  Full of love songs surrounded by committing crimes, the album is a pop-punk gem that I know tons of people have enjoyed as much as I have.  Think Ramones and Descendants joining forces and becoming villains of love.

If you have not heard of Masked Intruder yet and like your punk poppy, you have no reason to not check them out.  To make matters even more fun, the band had chosen to hide their identity to the public.  Each of the four members in the band wear different colored ski masks to help tell them apart from one another.  At this time their identity has still not been revealed.

Recently I was able to chat with Blue, the lead signer/guitarist of Masked Intruder.  The result was one of the more entertaining interviews I have done in some time; granted he held me at knife-point for the entire interview.  I guess that is what I get for agreeing to meet a masked musician in a dark alley.  I am kidding of course…at least that is what he told me to say…

So, who the hell are you guys?

We’re Masked Intruder.  We’re a pop punk band.  We used to be total dorks, then we got wise and started doing cool shit like breaking the law and writing love songs.  We’re still dorks, I guess, but we feel cooler.

What’s up with the masks?

When you do the kinda stuff we do, you don’t want people being able to positively id you.  It’s not exactly something you wanna advertise, you know?  I am referring of course to writing pop music.  I mean, everybody likes a sweet song, but nobody wants to admit it.  People are ashamed to be softies.  It’s sad but true.  Also, we don’t want the cops to catch us.  Also, we think that our masks are pretty cool, and kinda go with the whole theme.

I agree.  Seriously, how hard was it really to find masks that matched your shoes and gear?  Was that planned?

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.  We were in the joint when we started, so we had to figure out a way to get the masks inside.  You can’t just go to amazon and order whatever in jail.  Or prison, for that matter.  You gotta be creative.  Sometimes, you gotta give a dude a blowjob, or stab a dude with a toothbrush you sharpened on your toilet.  We didn’t have to do nothing like that, thank God.  Still, it was hard.  But yeah, it was planned.  Everything about Masked Intruder was planned.  What do you think dudes do in prison?  You plan.  And lift weights, I guess.  And some dudes play chess too.  Of course, the worst part was getting color coded instruments.  You literally cannot get a guitar in prison.  We had to wait till we got out to do it, and it was still fucking hard.  It’s harder than you think to find a chance to nab the right color instrument.  Green ended up lifting a red guitar and just covering it in green tape.  It turned out pretty cool, actually.

You’ve been doing a good job keeping your identities safe so far.  You’re like a punk rock Daft Punk, but different.  How close have you all come to getting busted?

We been busted many times, but not as far as our secret identities are concerned.  We are pretty religious about our masks, too, so nobody really sees us without ‘em on.  Yellow is real religious just in general, actually.  He never went to church too much though, so he always get’s shit confused.  He thinks Jesus died on a x-mas tree.  It’s hilarious.  Actually, it’s really depressing.  But, hey, that’s Yellow!  Truth is, we aren’t really anybody other than our colors.  It’s like, I am Blue.  Green is Green.  That’s how we feel about it. It’s like, why does it matter what name is on my birth certificate?  You know?  There really aren’t any other identities to discover.  This is us.  We are Masked Intruder.

 Your self-released album is incredible.  I am sure you know that.  I am just curious to see who some of your major musical influences are?

Hey thanks!  We have a lot of musical influences, but I guess everybody says that.  You always wanna give a cool answer, like, some obscure band that will prove how hip you are.  The truth is, we like a lot of stuff that wouldn’t even make us seem cool if we said it.  Like, I really like Taylor Swift.  I think the songs are sweet, alright?  I don’t know how much it influences me, as such, but I definitely like the idea of perfect pop songs.  Pop of all kinds gets us going.  You know, Eddie Money, Buddy Holly, Lady Gaga, Green Day, Weezer, Abba, Queen.  That’s good shit, if you ask me.  We all did our time listening to nothing but punk in the 90’s.  Well, not quite.  I think Green used to listen to some weird shit, and Yellow maybe listened to Boys II Men a lot.  I guess I did own Doggystyle on cassette.  Anyways, yeah.  We have a lot of influences.  One thing that’s definitely true is that we were listening to the Four Seasons a lot while we were first working on the record.  Red had this double LP, with a bunch of their songs.  He loved it so much, he used to carry it on him at all times.  Then, one day, it got eaten by a dog when he was doing a b&e.  Allegedly.

Man, sad story about that LP… You’ve been touring with Teenage Bottlerocket and Nothington lately right?  How did that go?

In a word, it was really fucking cool.  Both of those bands are just awesome dudes.  We couldn’t have gotten along better, you know?  I mean, I guess we could have made out with each other and stuff.  I don’t mean that those dudes are gay.  I mean, it would be ok if they were, but I don’t think any of them are.  We’re not gay, neither.  Not on the outside, at least.  You do what you need to do to get by when you’re on the inside, you know?  Anyways, the tour was great.  Both of those bands are so good, it’s great to see them do what they do every night.  It’s a real pleasure to share a stage every night with class acts that them.  That goes especially for TBR, which are easily one of the best live bands any of us have ever seen.  The response to us was really amazing too!  We love our fans!  Especially the girls.  Double especially the single girls, or girls who maybe have boyfriends but would be into leaving them for a sketchy musician in a mask.

I heard you dragged Toby from Red Scare to the Cleveland show.  Wouldn’t that be considered kidnapping?

No way was it kidnapping, he was stoked on it.  Something you should know about Toby: he never misses a chance to party with a bunch of dudes of questionable integrity.  I mean never.  I’m pretty sure he would have put his wedding on pause if a douche bag in a leather jacket had asked nicely enough.  Actually, he probably wouldn’t a done that.  He’s got tact.  That’s why we admire him.  He is like a real mentor to us.  He thinks we oughta give the crime thing a rest, but then we just ask him for more money, and it’s understood.  Like I said, you do what you gotta do.

Money makes the world go round.  Any arrests or close calls while on tour yet?  

We were worried about getting into Canada, but those people are really nice and let us right in.  Come to think of it, that was a really dumb thing for them to do.  I mean, people in Canada don’t even lock their doors.  That’s what we heard, at least.  We ended up not having enough time to case any houses seeing as how we were playing every night, though.  Oh well.  Red did almost get picked up for skateboarding in San Diego.  He was all like, “skateboarding is not a crime!”  Then the cop was all like, “vandalizing is a crime, though, and you are doing that too.”  This was true, of course, but it wasn’t Red’s fault.  He just hates rules, you know?  You can’t blame him.  Why should we respect a society that don’t respect us?  Anyways, it turns out it wasn’t a real cop: it was just a parking lot attendant with a mustache and sunglasses.  Maybe not what you would call a close call, but it was scary at the time.  He ended up being a pretty cool guy though.  We traded him some CDs for some weed.

Did you have anything to do with the Bouncing Souls’s gear getting ripped off?

Absolutely not.  It sucks that that happened.  It was kinda weird that they got ripped off right around when we played with them, but it wasn’t us.  We wouldn’t wanna steal from a band we like.  For one, we assume they don’t have much money on them at any given time.  Bands don’t really make much money these days.  For two, we respect those dudes and what they do and we wouldn’t want that to happen to us.  There may not be honor amongst thieves, but there is honor amongst touring bands.  If you are gonna rob someone, make it somebody less cool.  Like, a lawyer or a stockbroker or something dumb like that.

Since you are a punk pop band of mystery, tell us something we may not know about you all? 

We are actually really nice dudes and easy to get along with.  People always think we are gonna be these hardened criminals, but we aren’t.  We are soft criminals.  We are all kinda dorks, too.  I am really into horror movies.  So is yellow.  We all like comic books a lot too.  Also, Red is a vegetarian.

When are you releasing Masked Intruder on vinyl?

Originally, we wanted to release the vinyl at the same time as the CD.  There were a lot of setbacks, though, so we had to push the release back a couple months to October.  Then there were more setbacks, so we are looking at releasing it just in time for xmas.  We feel bad having to push it back like that, but it was out of our control.  It was like we were cursed with all these setbacks.  Not as bad as Def Leppard or nothing.  I mean, Red still has both his arms.  But, still.  Setbacks are tough.

Will it come with a promotional ski-mask?

That’s a good idea!  We will have to see about that…

What ever will you do when someone robs a bank and says Masked Intruder was their influence?

We hope that never happens.  We don’t advocate other people doing crimes.  We would prefer it if we were the only ones doing crimes, since that means more take for us.  If some birdbrain ever did rob a bank and try to say he got the idea from us, we would probably try to sue him for a portion of the money he stole.  I don’t know if you can do that, but we would definitely try.  If we were so famous that people were gonna copycat us, we should be able to afford pretty fancy lawyers.  Like, Johnny Cochran is a good one.  Or, it would be cool to have Saul Goodman.  He’s just a tv character, I know, but still.  He is a awesome lawyer.  Way better than the public defenders we are used to.

Saul rules.  I say go for it if it ever happens.  So, you got a knife motherfucker?  Sorry, that song rules in so many ways.

Thanks!  It was inspired by true events.  Allegedly.

Who’s the dame on “Heart Shaped Guitar” getting all sorts of freaked out?

It’s Maura from the band Mixtapes.  She was the voice I pictured when I wrote the tune, so it was beyond rad that she was able to do it.  We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

No shit.  That is awesome.  Please tell me there is a video in the works…

There is a video in the works.  You will see a few videos from this record.  Could be you will see one of them pretty soon. You didn’t hear that from me.

Hear what?  Maybe it’s too soon to be asking this, but what are the chances a follow up to this release is going to happen?

The chances of a follow up to this release are at least 100%.  We never stopped writing songs, even while we recorded the first album.

Will it be about love and bath salts?

We ain’t written a song about bath salts yet, but you never know.  That shit sure is a wild ride.  Somebody should write a song about it if we don’t.  I think it’s a safe bet that there will be a bunch of love songs on any records we put out.  Then again, we can’t say for sure what all will be on the next full length, since we are still writing for it.  For all we know, all of the songs that will end up on the next LP are yet to be written.  When we feel like we have the tunes to put together a full length that beats our first, we’re gonna.  There is a pretty damn good chance you will see another EP and maybe a split or something from us before then, though.

You are hitting the road again with Teenage Bottlerocket right?  They must really like you all.

They do!  And we like them too!  We are in like.  Actually, they are seriously probably my favorite band.  It’s pretty awesome to have them like us back.  Now, if only we can get that action working on hot chicks…

Speaking of chicks, what’s the best way to get a chick to fall for you while you are on house arrest?

I wish I knew!  The best idea we have had yet is to write the best songs you can and then record them and try to get enough people to listen to them that the girl ends up hearing them and liking them and falling in love with you from your lyrics and then you meet up and discover that you both secretly love each other like in the end of a Taylor Swift video or a Tom Hanks movie or something.  It’s a long process, but we figure it’s gotta work out eventually.  Then again, you never can tell about these things.  Girls are like Chinese: they are basically impossible to understand.  I mean, Chinese people understand it, I guess.  So, girls are like English if you’re Chinese, and like Chinese if you’re English.  Or, I mean, American.  Unless you are an American that speaks Chinese or a Chinese person that speaks American.  Anyways, girls are confusing.  You just gotta wear your heart on your sleeve and hope for the best.

Supenia of love…  You can use that if you want.  I like you guys that much.

Fuck yeah!  Thanks!  I picture “Lawnmower of Love” by MTX with the words changed.  I guess that would probably get us sued.

Eh, I say go for it.  You are masked, they will never know who to sue.


Check out Masked Intruder’s self titled release available on their Bandcamp and through Red Scare Records.