Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview with Back Alley Riot

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guys. Can you give us all a little history on Back Alley Riot and how you got your start?

Back Alley Riot: Well, Danny, Matty, and Mike started playing together in a band called Graveyard Ruckus which was shortlived.  Graveyard Ruckus started as a side project of a band called Rosedale and eventually both bands ended and Back Alley Riot was formed after.  A couple bass players came and went due to commitment issues, but we finally found Russ and became a real family after.

CM: The bands latest release, "My Girlfriend's A Serial Killer", is an amazing EP. Just packed with so much attitude and amazing playing. How do you feel this EP compares to the bands first album, "Dead End Wine Mixer"?

BAR: Our first album was a blast to record, but it was before Russ joined the band.   Russ brings so much more to the table and we feel our sophomore release "My Girlfriend's A Serial Killer" is much stronger as a result.  Before the recording of MGASK we started our own studio and really got to take our time to achieve the sound we really wanted with that release.  We are aiming to achieve the same thing when we go back into the studio.
                    B.A.R. L-R Matt Jankiewicz (drums), Russell Katzenmaier (bass/vocals), Mike Nakis (vocals/guitar) and Danny Starks (guitar/vocals)

CM: When I saw you guys play live I was automatically blown away at how much energy and excitement goes into your performance. But once I listened to your CD's I have to admit you guys have a sound all your own. It's got a hint of outlaw country, a splash of rockabilly and plenty of punk rock excitement. So, I have to ask you guys who are some of your personal musical influences?

BAR: We have so many influences when it comes to writing music that it's tough to just pick a few, but the most influential ones probably would have to be Johnny Cash, Mike Ness, Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen, Matt Freeman, and Johnny Ramone.

CM: When it comes to songwriting, is it a group effort or is there a primary songwriter in the band?

BAR: When it comes to writing our songs it is an open door policy and anyone can bring something to the table.  The majority of our songs are written by Mike as a country/rockabilly song, which is then brought to practice and everyone puts their own stamp on it.  The rest have either been written by Danny or co-written by Danny and Mike.  However on the upcoming release there will be songs written by each member and we feel they are some of the best tunes yet.
CM: The band has a brand new video for the track "Whiskey Over You". It's a really fun video and a great tune! Can you give us a little insight into the video shoot and how you guys chose this track to become a single?

BAR: Well, we have been approached at many shows by fans new and old stating that Whiskey Over You is their favorite tune and since we are avid whiskey drinkers it just made sense to make a music video for that song.  In fact we even have a fan who comes to shows and buys each band member a shot of whiskey after we play that song.  Now if we just wrote a song about ham sandwiches, we would be all set.
The video was a blast to shoot.  We got a bunch of our friends to come out (at 9am on a Saturday mind you), and we pretty much drank all day.  Danny and Matty had quite a few ideas they used for the video along with suggestions from Mike and Russ and a few friends who were at the shoot that day.  All in all it was a great collective effort on the whole bands part.  Both Danny and Matty have more ideas, so expect to see more videos from Back Alley Riot in the near future.

CM: The first 2 releases were independently put out by yourselves and sold at shows. But you recently signed on with my label Infested Records, and we will be re-releasing the first 2 releases in the coming days. Is there any new material in the works for either later this year or early next year that you wanna talk about?

BAR: We have about 6 new, unrecorded tunes or so that we've been alternating through at our recent shows and we have several more up our sleeves.  We are hoping to be back in the studio this summer/early fall to record a full length that we are hoping to release by the end of this year.

CM: The band recently made a trip up to WI for a show. Was this the first time out of town? And will we be seeing anymore out of state gigs in the near future?

BAR: Yes, we recently played Franks Power Plant in Milwaukee with the Wiscoholics and it was our second time playing that venue.  FPP is a great venue, the staff is awesome, and we love playing there.  As far as out of state gigs, we have played a few and we are ramping up to do many, many more.
CM: Is there a website that you guys wanna plug where fans can get some merch, news on upcoming releases and show dates?

BAR: Our website is where anyone can get ahold of us, find out about upcoming shows, or hear our most recent music.  We are currently looking into some redesign ideas to offer merch on, but we have quite a few items available at our Bandcamp page as well.

CM: Gentlemen, it's been a blast picking your brains and I'm stoked to see you play live again. Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass! I really appreciate it!

BAR: We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and we're looking forward to everything in store for us at Back Alley Riot.

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