Tag Archives: Masked Intruder

Concert Review: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes / Masked Intruder / Pears – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH – 04/12/2017

It’s not every day that you hear a cover band sold out a venue on a Wednesday, but that is exactly what happened last night at the House of Blues in Cleveland.

This honestly wasn’t a fluke though seeing how said covers band was none other than punk rock supergroup Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

If I am not mistaken, the last time the Gimmes even played Cleveland was back in 2003 at the Warped Tour, so this was a pretty big deal to all of the Gimmes fans out there.  Needless to say, I was pretty stoked myself to see they were coming back to my hometown with special guests Pears and Masked Intruder.

The Gimmes roster consists of Spike Slawson (Uke Hunt / Swingin Utters), Joey Cape (Lagwagon), Fat Mike (NOFX), Chris Shiflett (No Use For A Name / Foo Fighters), and Dave Raun (Lagwagon).  They have been covering various tunes for over 20 years now and do not take themselves very seriously at all.  The result is an overdose of fun covers of songs with a punk edge that in incredibly addicting  They have 8 covers albums out now featuring all sorts of genres of music and were bold enough to just release a “Greatestest Hits” album.

The one ever so slight downfall with this leg of the tour was that Fat Mike was not playing due to scheduling conflicts, but Jay Bentley from Bad Religion was filling in on bass duties, so there were no complaints from me.  Chris Shiflett also was not playing this stretch of shows, but his brother and Face To Face guitarist, Scott Shiflett was filling in.  If you notice the photo of the flier above, you’ll see that they even took the liberty of photoshopping Jay and Scott in appropriately.

The House of Blues slowly filled up before the show started with big thanks to the Cavs and Indians games both going on at the same time making for parking to be a pricey nightmare.  People of all ages even including some kids with their punk rock folks were hanging about.  I really liked seeing such a variety of fans.

New Orleans hardcore punkers Pears started the night off with a pretty insane set.  Sadly, I think less than 10 people were really into them and the rest were just trying to get their place in the pit for the other bands on the bill.  Those Pears fans did sing along to every single song and had a hell of a time.  Vocalist Zach Quinn noticed this and at one time jumped out into the crowd to hang out with his fans.

I am not sure the crowd really was digging what Pears were playing as many seemed to just observe and take in their set, but when the band played a cover of “Judy is a Punk”, the place erupted.  Playing a few songs off last year’s Green Star as well as some from their debut Go To Prison, I really dug what I heard and was reminded that I really need to listen to them more.

Masked Intruder took stage with Officer Bradford, but there was a noticeable inconsistency.  Red was missing.  Apparently Red was serving time for picking pockets, but  Big Luke Ferguson from Lipstick Homicide was filling in on drumming duties.  Jarret Nathen from Pears actually filled in for one song too.

Blowing through songs like “I Fought the Law”, “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight”, and “Saturday Night Alone”, the crowd was robbed of all of their attention by the masked musicians and were perfectly ok with it.

Blue at one point instructed the crowd put their hands up in the air and then the band proceeded to played “Stick Em Up”.  There is nothing quite like a sing along with plenty of profanity.

Officer Bradford did his thing throughout the set and at the end pulled a Har Mar Superstar and shed his uniform to reveal a singlet that showed off all of his manly curves.  His stage charisma is like Ben Carr from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in a sense,  but far crazier.

Between the dance party going on in the pit with fans and Green,  Officer Bradford dancing with the kids who were lucky enough to stand on the backside of the crowd barriers, and even a “literal” gracious mention by Blue to some “Grilled Cheese Sandwiches” place, the band kept the Cleveland crowd wanting much, much more once they finished off their final song of the night, “I Don’t Want to Say Goodbye to You Tonight”.

As this was my first time seeing Masked Intruder after missing countless opportunities before, I was impressed.  The Daft Punk of pop punk were hilarious throughout and sounded pretty great live.

The Gimmes took the stage just around 10pm to a packed house and started playing “Summertime” with Spike running onto the stage dressed to impress.  From there, it was an all out party with the band dipping into their huge catalog of covers.

I was so stoked to hear “Jolene” and “Rocket Man” as well as “End of the Road” all in one night.  The band looked comfortable playing on stage and were just having as much fun as possible.

The Gimmies rocked out their version of the Beach Boy’s “Sloop John B” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” with the crowd singing along loudly.  They also gave Barry Manilow props for announcing to the world the truth before playing “Mandy”.

Cape and Shiflett basically manned the sides of the stage throughout the show.  Cape at times would just vanish leaving Spike to ask if anyone had seen him while Shiflett was just rocking out and having a good ol’ time with Bentley.

At one point during the set, Spike started rambling off a story about another venue in Cleveland he played at with another one of his bands where a awfully friendly man offered to pleasure him out front.  He was quick to admit it was Now That’s Class.

Bentley had me cracking up tons during the set.  When it was not his turn to play, he would pretend to start playing, hesitate, make faces, and then jump into action.  You could tell he really was enjoying the night.  At one point when Spike was shamelessly putting in a plug for Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits album that just came out, a fan in the front row held up the LP and Bentley took it from him.  The fan thought he was just going to hold it up for all to see, which he did, but then put it on the drum stage and left it there until after the set.  He eventually gave it back, but not before Bentley told the fan he would have to buy another copy.

As a special treat, Spike performed a couple of times with a plugged-in ukulele including a song from his other band Uke-Hunt as well as an amazing, intimate cover of Madonna’s “Crazy For You” and also “I Believe I can Fly” with Shiflett playing a Hawaiian riff with eventually the rest of the band kicking in.

With plenty of comedic banter between the bunch, they interacted with the crowd frequently, cracked jokes, and bashed current events just making for just a fun set.  It was like NOFX, but far less wasted.

After leaving the stage only to come back for a four song encore, the band called it a night, but not before thanking the crowd and handing off picks, drumsticks, and setlists to a few lucky fans.

I have to admit, I was kind of worried before the show after hearing that their Pittsburgh show had a shorter set the night before, but the Gimmes played for almost 2 hours.  The full setlist is listed below.

It was a  solid night for punk rock tunes with friends and fans alike thanks to a trio of Fat Wreck Chords bands.  It was my first time seeing all three bands, and I was thoroughly entertained.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Set List:
“Jet Plane”
“Who Put the Bomp”
“Science Fiction”
“Ghost Riders”
“Sloop John B”
“Danny’s Song”
“Country Roads”
“Crazy For You”
“I Believe I Can Fly”
“Isn’t She Lovely”
“Over the Rainbow”
“Rocket Man”
“Straight Up”
“Different Drum”
Spike playing the Uke
“All My Lovin'”
“I Will Survive”
“Sweet Caroline”
“End of the Road”

Click on a photo below to open the slideshow:

Music Video: Masked Intruder – “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight”

It’s official, Masked Intruder have won me over once again.  Check out their latest video for “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight”, a heartfelt punk rock stalking jam off their Red Scare / Fat Wreck self-titled release:

I just adore the 8-bit reference throughout; especially the end.  I hope to hell someone with a lot of time on their hands will turn this video into an actual game.  I’d play it.  Props to Patt Fink for creating this.

The band is currently on the road in support of the Red Scare Across America tour.  Seriously though, I am not sure this band has stopped touring since they dropped their self-titled release.  Pretty impressive.  I still don’t trust them.



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.

Who Are Masked Intruder?

I know…

…but why give up a good thing?

This pop-punk foursome has been turning heads all summer with their pop-punk tunage.  I have been getting a kick out of all the rumors that are sprouting up as of late.  I can tell you that they are not Dear Landlord as they played in New Mexico last night while Masked Intruder tore it up at Now That’s Class in Cleveland.  No one from Nothington or Teenage Bottlerocket is in the band either.  Beyond that, I don’t want to be the dick that ruined the punk rock Residents / Daft Punk for all of you.

Seriously, these guys are one of the most exciting bands to emerge this summer.  They really need to put out their self-titled on vinyl.  I think that would be an excellent idea.

Have you heard of them yet?