It’s been 10 years since The Falcon dropped one of my favorite albums, Unicornography, so for me sitting down to write about this release is pretty compelling.
Anyone who fancies themselves a punk rocker has had to have heard of The Falcon unless they were living in a gutter. They are the enigma of punk rock supergroups and just dropped Gather Up The Chaps on Red Scare. I am sure most people who are reading this already have listened to it 100 times and pre-ordered 7 copies of the record.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I was going to like this release at all. Seriously, I just was not anticipating much of anything to get excited over, I mean it has been 10 years after all. Maybe it’s also because I am old and snooty and thinking that by bringing on
Hause, The Falcon’s dynamic might change.
Boy was I wrong. (Note: I am a huge fan of Hause and even have a photo of me and him where I am smiling and he is not – I just needed to disclose that.)
The Chicago punk rock supergroup for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about features Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms), Neil Hennessy, Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio), and the recently recruited Dave Hause (The Loved Ones).
“The Trash” started things off and immediately proved to me this album was going to be a good one. Hearing three vocalists from three of my favorite bands all chime in at once was awesome. Kelly’s rasp, Hause’s howl, and Andriano’s swooning mixed perfectly.
Hearing Andriano chuckle in “Sergio’s Here” made this satire of a track that much more entertaining to the point that I laughed each time I played the song. Seriously though, this track was just a blast to listen to and you can tell the guys were just having fun throughout. I loved the change up towards the end that just sent the song to bed. This reminded me of older Falcon material so much.
I loved Kelly clearing his voice in the middle of “The Skeleton Dance”. Maybe this was not scripted, but it sure did fit in. This high-powered passion-seeking tune was super catchy but made me feel all so dirty and almost depressed by the end.
“Hasselhoff Cheeseburger” may sound like it would have been hilarious given the song title, but I think I need therapy after listening to this track. I feel old AF right now. Hearing Kelly strain off “I only became a man because this ugly body made me” pretty much had me reflecting past choices in life for a moment.
“If Dave Did It” was probably my favorite track on the album. Obviously from the title, this song was almost all Hause making excuses and calling everyone out, but that did not stop the others from interjecting over him making it for one engrossing listen.
Andriano added his own touch with “You Dumb Dildos”, a song that spanned all over the place. At times I felt I was listening to a Westernized AK3, but in the end, everyone just went berzerk and there I was standing wondering what the hell just happened.
Gather Up The Chaps is totally unbroken when it comes to mingling in the punk and the rock with loads of nonsense and hard knocks. This album was quick and all over the place, but at no point was I ever bored listening to it. I think it is safe to say this is one of the better albums I have heard this year.
It seems like it has been quite some time since I dipped into my past and talked about a band I really dug.
Today for whatever reason, I thought about a band I absolutely adored in the late 90s. The first time I heard of them was on a 1998 Vagrant Records comp/sampler called Five Years On The Streets.
The band I speak of is New Jersey’s Automatic 7. Does anyone remember them?
The album I became a huge fan of was their sophomore release titled Beggar’s Life. It was put out by Vagrant Records back when they were a indie punk rock label.
With major similarities to Face To Face, Jawbreaker and even Unwritten Law, I immediately became a fan the moment I heard their song “Broken Record”. I loved this East coast band with a SoCal feel but sadly fairly certain that I never caught them live.
From what I have gathered on the good ol’ internet, the band disbanded around 2001 but reformed in 2006. I will be honest, I have not thought about them since my early 20s, but I am stoked that for whatever reason I thought about them today.
Fun fact: Trevor Keith of Fact To Face actually joined the band briefly in 1997. Perhaps that is where some of their sound derived from. I am ok with that.
If you still hold on to the music from your past and were a fan of 90s pop punk rock, check these guys out.
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.