Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Interview with POOR ME!

Critical Mass: Thanks taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guys. For anyone new to POOR ME, can you give our readers little history on the band and how you guys got together?

Brett: Of course!  Well, we formed at the end of 2010.  The band started with a few aimless jams at Nick's place, just the two of us.  We added a drummer. He didn't stay long. We added a guitarist.  He left, too.  We were kind of bummed at that point, as you might imagine, so I got a hold of my old drummer, Jimmy, from a previous band. He joined right away and also introduced Nick and me to Mike, the bassist. We had a couple other roster changes since, but it's been Nick, Mike and myself since the beginning.  It feels like GIR has been around the whole time, but he's relatively new. Otherwise, we have two records out and have toured the western U.S. a few times over those 5 years.

CM: Your newest album, "Cosplay", was just released in December. And it's a conceptual piece about comic book super hero's. How did you come up with such an original idea for a concept album?

 Brett: I saw a sweet documentary series on PBS about superheroes, actually.  They described our infatuation with comic book heroes and the cultural saturation of summer blockbusters. It got me thinking about why I never really liked Superman. I can't relate to the guy, honestly.  He doesn't seem to struggle emotionally or physically in comparison to, say, Batman or Spiderman.  So, the PBS special gave some clarity to my long held beliefs that there is often more to learn about yourself when something is a struggle, and that there is often more to learn about others when you share in their struggles. It seemed logical to put the two together by writing songs from the comic hero's perspective, forcing me to exercise some empathy into their story arcs. It also keeps songwriting fresh,

CM: When it comes to songwriting, is there a primary songwriter? Or does everyone contribute when it comes to writing?

 Nick and GIR write the guitar rhythms, which is where we start. Nick will usually start something cool and GIR will finish.  Otherwise, GIR will do the whole instrumental section in a single sitting.He has an art brain specially tailored for melodic hardcore.  It's nuts, actually.  Past that, though, I simply play the guitars on repeat and write all the vocals and lyrics, tweak song structure, etc.  Mike and GIR contribute their own bass and drums somewhere along the line, and voila!

CM: Who are some of your personal musical influences?

I'm just gonna give you a random list here because we love so many bands : The Gamits, Queens of the Stone Age, Rise Against, Thrice, Against Me!, The Flatliners, Bad Religion, NOFX, Anti-Flag, Hot Water Music.

CM: You're no strangers to the touring cycle, having toured in the past. Will we see POOR ME doing some more live dates around the U.S. this spring and summer?

Brett: Yes, a summer tour in support of Cosplay is in the cards. We chatted about touring as far as Chicago again this summer like we did in 2013. We released both records since then, so we are definitely overdue to get back up there.

CM: In the past the bands played SXSW and Riot Fest. Are there any fests that you'll be involved with this year that you can tell us about?

Brett: Well, we didn't really try to book SXSW this year despite doing it in the past. I'm not sure why. But, we will try to get on Riot Fest again and start touring more so that FEST is a real possibility in 2017. We will do some local stuff like FoCoMX and see about UMS this year, too. Otherwise, we will just try to soak up as many well-promoted shows as possible to get POOR ME out there.

CM: I think you guys are well on your way to establishing a name for yourselves in our scene. Has there been any label interest in the band as of late? And do you intend on releasing your own albums in the future?

Brett: Yea, we've seen a real increase in support from the kids in Colorado. Cosplay has landed really well, we think. Still, I don't think we are label-ready at this point. There are still some aspects of how we operate that we want to address before we start looking hard for a label. We want to be taken seriously, of course, so we try to evaluate ourselves through the lens of a label and evaluate from there. I'd say we will probably see how this summer tour goes and re-gauge this question at that point.

CM: Is there a website you guys wanna plug where fans can get up to date news, gig dates and get merch?

Brett: Yea, we need to shamelessly plug ForTheLoveofPunk.com The site is run primarily by a handful of genuinely good people in the Denver and Chicago areas. They have a really good media ethic where anyone can submit news and have a fair shot to be published. If you want punk news you won't find on every other site, check this one out.; they are always experimenting with creative new segments, promos, and a cycling cast of writers interested in different things (myself included).

CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass guys. Stoked to get you out to Chicago for a show soon. And I wanna wish you all nothing but the best in 2016! Thanks guys.

We will reach out to you when we get Chicago lined up so maybe we can hang!

Interview with Rick Barton from Continental (former Dropkick Murphys)

Rick Barton: Hello Whitey! Just so you know we are simply Continental! 😊
The new album is being mixed this first week of Mar and will be released on June 1.

CM: You've said via Facebook that this particular album has some of the best material you've ever recorded on it. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

RB:  Well basically I believe there are 3 or 4 songs on the album that are worthy of upper echelon mention! By that I mean I've (we've) finally entered into the arena of the bands I grew up listening to. It's one thing to make up a song and record it and think it's good and all of that. But for me I've always considered everything I've done (up until now) to be a couple notches below those cats! And here's the best part; we recorded and mixed the album for under 2 grand! Tom Petty couldn't record and mix one song for that amount! 😊

CM: Once the albums released do you guys plan on doing any touring to support the record? It will any shows be more local for you guys?

RB: We only tour and only do 1 local show at the end of the tour. We're doing a U.S. Tour from June 1 til July 4. Then we'll be doing an extensive European tour from Sept 7 thru Nov 15.e only tour and only do 1 local show at the end of the tour. We're doing a U.S. Tour from June 1 til July 4. Then we'll be doing an extensive European tour from Sept 7 thru Nov 15. only tour and only do 1 local show at the end of the tour. We're doing a U.S. Tour from  1 til July 4. Then we'll be doing an extensive European tour from Sept 7 thru Nov 15.

CM: People may remember you as being a part of the original Dropkick Murphys lineup. When you guys formed the band, did you have any idea how important you guys would be to the punk movement of the mid/late 90's?

RB: Nope!

CM: 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of DKM's formation. Do you and the guys still stay in touch? And are there any plans to work together again in the future?

RB:  I mostly stay in touch with Al and I still work with Mike! Kenny and I have a few laughs every 6 months or so. I see the rest of the band once in awhile and another of my old bands Everybody Out did 3 tours with DKM back in '08 & '09. I'll only say that you never know what the future holds! 😊

CM: Growing up who were some of your personal musical infuences?

The first record I ever bought was Killer by Alice Cooper in 1973 when I was 12 yrs old. I'm an old rocker at heart but at the same time I really gravitate towards all the amazing songwriters of my time like Paul Westerberg, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zant, Shane McGowan, Pete Shelley, Jake Burns, Frank Black etc. The list goes on and on!

CM: You recently played with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at their Boston show. How far back do you and those guys go? And what was it like playing with them for a couple songs?

RB: Joe Gittleman use to roadie for my old band the Outlets back in the early 80's! And of course Dickie was no stranger to the front row at an Outlets show and would make occasional road trips with us! We were all part of the same crew!!!

CM: Are there any new bands out there that really get you excited? Anyone we should be looking out for?

RB:  I'm into an amazing country guy named Sturgill Simpson. He's not "new country". I love John Grant. The last sort of punk band that I really got into was Against Me. I'm sure you'd know a lot more new punk bands than I do! 😊

CM: Is there any websites or links you wanna plug where people can stay up to date on your new music, shows and merch?

RB:  Just Continentalband on FB I suppose!

CM: Rick, I wanna thank you again for talking with Critical Mass. I'm excited for the new record. And I hope we can get you guys out to Chicago for a show. Thanks again man.

RB: We love Chicago! We've played there the last 3 yrs with The Tossers. Def one of our favorite bands!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Music Reviews: POOR ME - "Cosplay"

With so much crummy music being stuffed down the throats of the general public in recent memory, it's really hard to imagine a time when REAL music was being created in bedrooms, basements and garages. So when I see a young band with some actual potential, I get all giddy inside. And that's exactly how I feel when I hear POOR ME, who just released their second album "Cosplay".

Hailing from Denver, CO, POOR ME are giving a much needed kick in the ass to the same old same old we've come to expect from new bands on the scene. Gone are your typical Blitzkrieg Bop rip offs and your Green Day wanna be's. In its place there is an album that showcases a band ready to make you stand up and take notice with frantic rhythm and monsterous riffs that make this listener wanna tear shit up. Songs like "Clean My Head" and "Smash It Out" make me glad I'm still in love with our scene. And it's refreshing to see a new generation of punks that GET IT!

At the end of the day great bands are are not manufactured, pre packaged and sold to the highest bidder. They're working at their craft, fine tuning it and making a difference in the way we hear music. And POOR ME are well on their way to being one HELL of a great band!

4/5 stars

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Interview with Darren Chewka from Teenage Bottlerocket

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Darren. I know you're a busy guy, so I'll just jump right on in. You're officially the new drummer in Teenage Bottlerocket. How did this come about? Did the band contact you about trying out? Or was there an open audition process that took place?

Darren Chewka: Thanks for having me. It's been a crazy couple weeks for me but I still remember Ray contacting me on a Monday afternoon. I knew it was a Monday because I was still in my underwear lying in bed watching TV or playing video games. Mondays are my only day off from everything... My job and the 4-5 local bands I'm usually in. He asked if I wanted to come down and see if it'd work. This all came about as I think every time TBR rolled through Edmonton Old Wives would open. We just became friends from that.

CM: With the tragic passing of Brandon in November, TBR fans worldwide wondered if the band would ever regroup and perform live again. Now that its official, how have the fans reacted to the news of your hiring?

DC: The reaction I've gotten from people everywhere has been amazing! I've felt the love from all over the world. Edmonton has been great, everyone has been so supportive. And without them, I wouldn't have any of these opportunities given to me now. It's been so overwhelming, but in a great way.

CM: Now you guys already have new show dates scheduled for March. Will we be seeing a full blown TBR tour in the near future? Or are these more warm up gigs than anything?

DC: Yeah, we got a Two'ur in March that I think are gonna be bananas. Laramie on the 11th and Denver on the 12th. Both shows with Gamits and the Nobody's. Not sure how to label these shows... Ray has a solo record coming out soon and he may get busy with that for a bit and we need to see what we got before things get hairy. Look for an announcement in March regarding on what's up for the summer with TBR... should be a ton of chances to see us.

CM: You also play in the band The Old Wives who are based out of your hometown of Edmonton Alberta. Will you continue to play with TOW as well as TBR? And if so will it be difficult to not only juggle two band's, but two band's in different countries?

DC: Shaun and Ryan are my two best friends. I'm going to try to do my best to juggle both. Like I mentioned, I'm usually juggling a pile of bands in Edmonton... I've only screwed up scheduling a few times so I'll just have to be on top of that a little more. The whole Edmonton to Laramie thing was pretty easy for the first weekend. It's a quick flight, and then a couple hours drive to Laramie. Compared to playing shows in different cities in Canada that's pretty quick.

CM: I understand the new Old Wives album is complete and the band is shopping it around looking for a label. How's that coming along? And is there a possible street release date for the new album?

DC: We literally just got back the masters so we haven't shopped it around quite yet. It's the best Wives record yet. We have a couple labels in mind but we'll see how that pans out. With the delays with vinyl lately, I don't see it coming out till summer.

CM: Who were some of your musical influences growing up? And how have those influnces helped shape your style and sound over the years?

DC: Oh man, that's a loaded question. I was and still am all over the map when it comes to music. Dave Grohl was probably my first huge influence but once I started finding music (which was hard growing up in a small town in Alberta) it really expanded. I had a friend who started ordering all kinds of shit from the SST catalog and that got me into Black Flag and Descendents. I remember hearing the drums on "ALL" and going "Whoa... they are so loud, and huge sounding..." and they were up front and in your face. I had another friend who started diving into the Lookout! catalog and I think the first record he got was "My Brain Hurts". The drums were so simple but so perfect at the same time. I had to get everything Dan Panic ever played on. That spun off to Aaron Cometbus from Crimpshrine and Pinhead Gunpowder. Looking back now, I can't believe how much of a nutbar I was over Screeching Weasel. I even flew to Chicago with my then girlfriend to see a one time only Weasel show at the House of Blues back in 2000. I froze up when I saw Dam Lumley after the show, he probably thought I was going to attack him with a knife or something. Anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah I really got into that Lookout! stuff. And Dinosaur Jr. Oh yeah, and a friend of mine also had Fugazi's "In on the Kill Taker" that I think I borrowed off him more than he had a chance to listen to it. I could go on and on... I'm just rambling now. Atom Williard for president.

CM: As of right now have you and TBR even started tossing ideas for new songs? Or will that be a work in progress?

DC: No new songs in the works as of yet, but there is talks of something... That's all I can say about that .

CM: Any chance of a Bottlerocket/Old Wives tour in the future?

DC: Maybe? Who knows! Anything is possible.

CM: Now its time to let you plug away any and all projects you're currently involved in. Are there any band's, websites, pages or online stores you would like to plug?

DC: Look for the Old Wives album in the early summer, I didn't think we were ever going to get it done and we faced a lot of adversity in the process. I'm really proud of it and the guys I got to do it with.

CM: I can't wait to see you guys in Chicago! All the very best to you, TBR and The Old Wives. Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass, Darren. I greatly appreciate your time.

DC: Thanks for having me. Maybe I'll see you July 23rd!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Interview With Vincenzo Scutchartney from The Scutches

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass. For anyone new to The Scutches, can you give us a brief history on the band and how you got started?

Vincenzo Scutchartney:  Glad to do it!, I started the Scutches as a name just to record under about 11 years ago on my own after playing drums in so many bands for most my life. Got a good solid line up by 2006 starting touring then from 2007-2011 there were a bunch of line up changes finally got a solid team by 2012 and pretty much have been none stop releasing records and playing out for about 10 years.

CM: You recently returned home from a short tour in support of your latest release, "Glass House". How was the tour for you guys?

VS: It was great the run was just over 2 weeks and the responses from the people we meet and the crowds just keep getting better and better. Makes those 8 hours a day in the van way worth it.

CM: Speaking of "Glass House", how has the response been from fans to the new songs?

VS: Ha, ya know its fun to answer questions like this cause people have favorite songs off every album right? but these last to releases we had out "ten songs, ten years" and "Glass House" seemed like everyone wanted to hear all the songs off both. so I'm guessing that's a good thing

CM: You also just recently did a split 7" with the Shocktroopers. How did that collaboration come about and will you and the Shocktroopers be sharing the stage in the near future?

VS: Shit yeah we are already speaking with Shocktroopers about doing some shows next year together. I believe Tyler from Shocktroopers either saw us open for Teenage Bottlerocket or Miguel from TBR put him in touch I forget the exact conversation with him cause it was over 3 hours on the phone. But yeah Tyler called me and said he's starting this label Tranquil Records and they have some new songs they would love to release with us so of course I jumped at the change. Great dudes, great band

CM: I hear a lot of different influences in your music from punk to pop to surf. Who are some of your musical influences?

VS: See I have different influences for different reasons especially when it comes to music but just to name a few, Richie Valens-Buddy Holly-the Ventures-The Beach Boys-the Beatles-Ramones- Motorhead- Johnny Cash- Tom Petty

CM: Now besides playing guitar, you also play bass and drums as well. How long have you been playing music?

VS: Yeah well ill be 31 this year so as early as I can remember probably like 23 , 25 years. I started playing drums when I first heard the Beatles I was 6 and had built a make-shift drum kit out of a drum pad and a set of bongos I had, used my moms cookie tin as the snare and started playing along to Beatles tapes. Then I got a guitar when I was about 10 never really did anything with it until I was around 13. I was more pulled towards drums... ha I still am for that matter And ya know Bass came along few years down the line when I really started to understand song structure, melody and guitar.

CM: Until recently most of your albums were only available for digital download. Do you feel that the trend of buying physical CD's is behind us and digital is the way to go? Or will you continue to press CD's and vinyl with upcoming releases?

VS: Well yes and no cause I mean we all have ipods and shit like that so digital is good in the sense that its easy to download and carry with you but then its bad cause know ones buying records, I buy records, all my friends buy records but that's a small percentage of the world. We will always release physical albums especially vinyl.

CM: Speaking of upcoming releases, Are there any plans for a new Scutches full length in the works?

VS: I'm always writing songs so maybe, there are alot of factors to way in with recording and releasing full records so yes but not any time soon right now we are focused on touring, we are pretty much touring into 2016

CM: Will we be seeing you guys on the road later on in the year?

VS: For sure we are talking about doing a big U.S. thing early 2015 and some cool surprises already lined up for this year.. So we are pretty excited.

CM: Is there a website you wanna plug where fans can get up to date news on upcoming releases, tour dates and merch?

VS: Yeah you can get all our music at thescutches.bandcamp.com and any news from the band you can view on facebook.com/thescutches also #thescutches @thescutches

CM: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Vinny. I greatly appreciate the time. And I wanna wish you and the guys the very best in the future! Thanks again man.

VS: Thank you Brotha! keep ROCKIN'!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Interview with The Young Rochelles

Editors Note: Hot on the heels of their debut 7", "Cannibal Island", Rookie, Ricky and Ray Jay sat down with Critical Mass to discuss everything from songwriting, to their musical influences to recording their debut full length. I hope you enjoy, and help spread the word on this amazing new band.

Critical Mass:  Thanks for taking the time to talking with Critical Mass guys. For anyone who doesn't know who The Young Rochelles are, can you give us a little info on the band and a who's who as far as personnel?
Ricky Rochelle: I’m Ricky. I sing and play drums in the Young Rochelles. We began in January 2013 and we were born from the New Rochelles.
Rookie Rochelle: I’m Rookie Rochelle and I play bass.
Ray Jay Rochelle: I’m Ray Jay and take care of the six-stringing and backup singing.
CM: What separates The Young Rochelles from The New Rochelles? And what has the response been to the new band as opposed to the old band?
Ricky Rochelle: Different voices and songwriting separate the two bands. There’s a healthy interest in the Rochelles music. I’m happy with the positive attention the Young Rochelles have received so far.
Rookie Rochelle: The New Rochelles were Ricky, Rookie, and Ronnie Rochelle. The Young Rochelles are Ricky, Rookie and Ray Jay Rochelle.
Ray Jay Rochelle: In regards to the sound, Ricky, Rookie, and I have put what little minds we have together to write a catalog of originals that cover a lot of ground, but still stay exciting.
CM: The bands songs are very catchy and melodic. And you can hear a lot of different influences in your songs and sound. In your own words, who are some of your personal musical influences?
Rookie Rochelle: The Ramones.
Ricky Rochelle: Thanks!! I can’t get too specific because my influences are everything I hear.
Ray Jay Rochelle: The Ramones, Green Day, The Methadones, The Descendents, Teenage Bottle Rocket, and Anthrax.
CM: The band’s first ever released recording was a cover of "Less Than Zero" by The Methadones for the "Sorry to Keep You Waiting: A Tribute to the Methadones". Was that the first song the band recorded up till that point? Or were you already working on the "Cannibal Island" tracks?
Rookie Rochelle: We recorded “Less Than Zero” the same time we recorded the “Cannibal Island” EP.
CM: Speaking of "Cannibal Island", I have to admit that I was blown away at how amazing those tracks were even before you put ‘em out. Have you guys been picking up new fans since the release of this EP?
Ricky Rochelle: All right. Yes. Even my girlfriend says, “There had to be someone who’s heard a song since and become a fan. No?”
Rookie Rochelle: Hope so.
Ray Jay Rochelle: The response has been great and our merch is moving, so I would say so!
CM: The video for the first single, "I Need My Mommy to Do My Laundry", is so fun and great to watch. Any plans for a second video?
Rookie Rochelle: We’ve had some cool ideas for more videos, but we will probably wait until we record the next batch of songs before we film another.
Ray Jay Rochelle: There is a lot going on in regards to the EP already, so it will likely be for something off of our next release.
CM: When can we expect a debut full length from the band?
Rookie Rochelle: Hopefully soon, we’ve been writing for it.
Ricky Rochelle: Our focus right now is writing for a full length.
Ray Jay Rochelle: We want to deliver a record with nothing but winners, so when all the tracks are golden, we are going to hit the studio.
CM: Are there any plans for the band to hit the road in 2014? We would love to have you guys in Chicago in the coming months.
Rookie Rochelle: I’d love to get on the road a little more with this band. Hopefully 2014 brings us the opportunity to do so.
Ray Jay Rochelle: We have been offered a couple of opportunities, but it has to be just right. I could use a couple of weeks sleeping in a van with my LJ.
CM: What else can we expect from The Young Rochelles this year? Another EP? Possibly a split or another comp?
Rookie Rochelle: We have a whole crop of new songs. We are deciding now how exactly they’ll be released. Possibly a full length, maybe another EP and a split 7inch. But in 2014 we definitely have our version of The Ramones “Animal Boy” album coming soon.
CM: Are there any websites/is there a websites you guys would like to plug? Anyplace where fans can get a copy of Cannibal Island, get up to date news on further releases, merch and tour dates?
Ricky Rochelle: If you buy a t-shirt, we’ll consider a tour. Hey, at least we’re not asking for donations!
Ray Jay Rochelle: FacebookBandcamp, and  Storenvy.

CM: Guys, it’s an honor to pick your brains for a little while. I wanna wish you guys nothing but the very BEST in 2014. Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass!
Rookie Rochelle: Thanks bud!
Ricky Rochelle: Right on. Thank you.
Ray Jay Rochelle: Cheers!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interview With Jamie Coville from Shock Nagasaki

Editors Notes: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the site that hosts this blog is not allowing me to upload photos. So, I will do my best to add plenty of link so you can hear Jamie's music via YouTube. Jamie is a pure talent, and NEEDS to be heard. I hope you folks will look him up and discover his musical talents. Thank you.

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Jamie. I've been a fan for over 14 years, so this is pretty exciting. You've played in the bands Libertine and Shock Nagasaki over the years. What are you up to currently?
Jamie Coville: Thank you! Well, I JUST got back from Spain; I spent some time over there working on some music & catching up with a few close friends BUT the best part was checking out some of the new music coming out of there right now. Really cool sort of Spanish lo-fi death rock scene going on which I'm digging right now. Also, Metadona Records out of Mallorca is putting out a ton of great KBD style punk rock. It was actually quite a surprise because I wouldn't have thought that on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea that there would be so many people that are really keyed in to some great underground music. Definitely had a few great nights just taking turns spinning records in the bar & the place would be rocking on all kinds of crazy shit. Some of the old Spanish stuff is KILLER too. But other than that man, a new Shock record will be happening sometime over the next couple of months. I think we're gonna do it in Berlin & I think there's gonna be a lot of people playing on it. The process should be a bit looser this time around; the sessions I've been around for at the Radio Dead Ones studio in Berlin have been controlled chaos with like, 20 people at all times & enough German beer to fill a swimming pool, so that sounds to me like a recipe for a good record.
CM: When I hear your songs I automatically hear your style of playing. Some people just have a sound that you instantly recognize as being their own. Who were some of your personal influences growing up?
JC: Anything that has heart can be influential. That's the main thing; I can get into anything that's real. You can't fake that. But for me, I started out with the obvious stuff, & then started digging deeper & your mind really gets blown when you realize just how many bands happened between '77 & '82- I mean before & after that as well, but there's a point in the 80's to my ears at least, where records started to sound different. They just didn't have that gritty, lo-fi, shitty sound that's so good. So late 70's/early 80's is sort of that sweet spot where almost anything sounds good to me. In EVERY town, in EVERY country, someone, somewhere started a band, & maybe only did 1 single & were gone forever. But there's a few of us out there that go to great lengths to find that stuff, haha. In fact, when I travel, I always make it a point to get area specific. For example, when I started getting into 80's Japanese punk/hardcore, it was like fuck this shit- I'm going to the source; forget about looking all over NYC for an Aburadako or Stalin record. And then you come back from Nagoya & Osaka with a suitcase full of the stuff, haha. Kind of like if you live in Syracuse, you might be able find an album by one of the greatest bands of all time: The Penetrators- (& then send it to me, hahah!).
CM: How old were you when you first discovered music and picked up the guitar for the first time?
JC: I started playing around 12ish. I kind of just got into music on my own. You'd have to go on straight intuition because there were no computers then, so there was a lot of winging it & hopefully not getting a raspberry. I bought the first New York Dolls album strictly based on the fact that Johnny Thunders was the coolest mother fucker I ever saw; had no idea who they were or what it sounded like; I just KNEW. I was always pretty dialed in; most of what I liked back then, I still like in some capacity. But I think the first couple of punk records I was exposed to were some Dead Kennedy's stuff &, haha, I remember clearly my parents thinking the DK record was the most fucked up thing ever because of the lyrics, & maybe the name of the band itself, haha. Actually, I just remembered this, but in elementary school, I had this art teacher who told us one day that her nephew's favorite band was called "Black Flag" & she proceeded to show us a bunch of Pettibons art & it was so colorful & just left an impression. I just met him recently & I should have told him that story, haha. I mean for a little kid to see "Slip It In" & just "whaaaat" ?! But the British stuff for me was mind blowing & still is. These days, I'm so far down the wormhole & I'm still invested in that era, but I've been paying attention to new stuff too, which I never did before. I had this thing, that if it came after '83, I wouldn't even bother, haha. But there is some good stuff out there if you look in the right places.
CM: Let's go back in time. As I mentioned earlier, you were in the band Libertine back in the late 90's and put out some solid releases like the "Rise Above" EP, "Guttersnipe Glamour" 7" and "See You In The Next Life" album. How did you guys get together? And what was it like playing in a band with Belvy K? (who people may remember as being in 7 Seconds for a short time and an original member of D Generation)?
JC: Well, let's see…I was up in Syracuse at the time. Young & pretty green around the edges as far as never having been out on any tours or even having to be somewhat responsible within the confines of a "professional" band. I used to hang out at this joint called Styleen's Rhythm Palace; they used to have some really good punk/alternative type nights in the early days. I knew this crazy chick who kept showing up with this dude who looked like he could have been in D-Generation, ya know with the hair & shit. Turns out he WAS in D-Gen, haha, but anyway, I think we must've drank a bunch of times before one of us idiots finally put 2 & 2 together & realized that we both played & needed a band. Why he was in Syracuse in the first place- I think he was taking a little rehabilitative leave of absence from New York City & getting himself healthy. There's not quite as many distractions in Syracuse. I think while upstate, he'd started planning something out with Bobcat (those guys used to play together in The Catatonics, an early hardcore band that did an EP in '84 called "Hunted Down" right before Belvy bailed to join 7 Seconds). Then somehow or another I came down to sit in with 'em & they kept me around. Then we just started rehearsing & recording all the time & trying to jump on any show we could. We toured with U.S. Bombs when "War Birth" came out which, I think that must have been the apex of Duane's insanity. I've seen some legendary U.S. Bombs shows & legendary Duane Peters antics as well. We played with The Misfits, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Warped Tours. We did so many stupid fucking shows too, but regardless of what it was, they'd book us on anything. Belvy was an absolutely amazing drummer; that's what he did in D Gen & 7 Seconds. He did an old U.K. Subs record too. But he was singing in Libertine.
CM: People may not realize that there has been song bites from the tracks "If Wishes Were Horses" and "See You In The Next Life" used over the years on MTV shows like Cribs. Did you guys give them permission to use your songs? And have people come up to you in the past and said "Hey, I heard your song on MTV"?
JC: Yeah, I would actually get that all the time- "Hey, I heard this song or that song on MTV" or whatever. I was probably the last one to find out that they were using that record in the editing room on so many shows. A couple of years after we split, I just started receiving royalty checks in the mail. After a while I didn't even bother to see what it was being used on. I don't watch that shit anyway, & the list got pretty long with all of these ridiculous shows- "Pimp Your Mom" or "Date My Ride" or whatever the fuck they do. I still get 'em so apparently that record is still kicking around over there. Is MTV even on anymore? I remember a song or 2 being used for a movie around that time as well. Fucking God awful movie with Steve Zahn, but Belvy was in it for about a 1/2 a minute maybe, haha. When the Shock record came out, TKO got a song on some other show too. It's a bunch of crap & I have no idea who watches that stuff, but when the mailman comes by & all of a sudden you've got drinking money, it's hard to complain, haha.
CM: In 2000 you guys did a split CD with American Heartbreak called "You Can't Kill Rock N Roll". Again, solid material from both bands. But you guys split up not long after that release. Was the split on good terms? And do you still have contact with your former band mates?
JC: It wasn't on good terms, haha. I think we'd done a U.S. Tour that year & then went to Europe for a month. And then we were supposed to come back & hop on the Warped tour & the pressure cooker just finally exploded & it was like me & Belvy yelling in each others face. That was it really. Someone contacted me later about the remaining tours that we'd committed to, but at that point I had no interest in going thru the motions. It's like what I was saying about the "heart & soul"; it was a meaningless, irrelevant band & it needed to be taken out back & put out of it's misery. That whole thing was just a vehicle to play & go on tours & have fun, but I had no heart invested in Libertine. I usually don't even acknowledge that band when I'm talking about music with people. Shock Nagasaki was my deal & I'm still proud of that.
CM: As you've mentioned, after Libertine's split you were in Shock Nagasaki. You guys put out the album Year Of The Spy some years back. Was this the only release the band put out? Or is there more material out there?
JC: "Year Of The Spy" is the only record we did. TKO put that out in the States & we had another label out of Holland do a Euro release which included a press of 300 white vinyls. There's some 7"s & we were on a, shit ton of comps, but all stuff was pulled from that record, except for 1 old version of Palisades that turned up on a comp.
CM: Is Shock Nagasaki still around?
JC: It's around in the sense that I've never stopped writing songs & that there was never a decision made to end it. I've always just kind of looked at it like some weird art project. Anything aside from the piece of wax on the turntable is incidental. I don't care about how it's done, or who get's involved, or even if anyone knows what the band looks like or anyones names even, haha. To me, that stuff, in a lot of cases detracts from the music anyway. Ya know, take Rudimentary Peni; I love the fact that you could Google Nick Blinko, & there are no pictures to be found, haha. Maybe there's 1 or 2 bigfoot style photos, but it really lends itself to the music, because you don't have those distractions, & your imagination can just run wild with it. That & the fact that I personally don't have any interest or patience for that whole world of self promotion. A Shock record will end up right where it belongs, because the right people know about it, & the wrong ones probably don't & I'm perfectly content with that scenario. It's not really about getting bigger; it's more to exist to be discovered now or 20 years from now just like 98% of the shit I would be spinning on any given day. If you want to talk about Libertine, that went against everything I'm saying here, so it wasn't a hard decision to bail. Some people can't resist taking a bite of out the forbidden fruit. That's fools gold. Give me a bottle of wine & a guitar and as far as I'm concerned, I'm wealthy, haha. I'd rather make an album that retained a bit of credibility & garnered a bit of respect over time than to jump on the fast track to nowhere. The money will go away. The record will exist long after you cease to exist. And besides, there are some people- I'm one of them- that couldn't do it that way if they tried. I love music too much to cheat.
CM:  With the music you've put out over the years, what do you feel is your greatest musical achievement?
JC: It doesn't exist yet
CM: What can we expect from Jamie Coville in the near future? And new releases or tours on the horizon?
JC: Well, the Shock Nagasaki record; It's funny because I really started writing in Kreuzberg after that tour in 2006. Instead of getting on my flight back to the States, I shacked up in Berlin & the plan was to not slow down, & to stay there & write & demo out a bunch of songs for a new record. Some of the guys came back & hopped on other tours filling in, etc. & we never did get to the 2nd record. But a lot of that stuff from back then will be on this record. The good ones are just as great as when I was working them out years ago, so it's like, just getting to this point where your going, it's got to be born sooner or later. It'd be a shame to just never get around to recording it. And actually, I was out in Berlin earlier this year with the whole crew & my buddies band "The Uprising" was doing an EP, so we're all in the studio drinking beers & doing backup vocals, & I said to myself- grab a bunch of the guys & we'll hole up in there for a while & knock out a couple of these Shock tunes for a single, just totally on the dl, & press 'em up. But we just didn't have the time then & also, I'd like to see a whole record happen, not just a single. It's gonna be good man; I feel like, it's been so long since the first record came out, but all of that time in between- it really gives you the space to just let the songs happen when they're ready to happen. Even now, after 7 years, I'm still thinking to myself- I'm so glad we didn't record this a few years ago, because something just came to me this morning & it kills, & we wouldn't have had that line or that riff back then. I'm cool with doing a record every 10 years if it's great, not just good. And the first one, I would've done some things differently listening back. So I feel like this new one has got to be spot on. The songs are fucking ace though
CM: Jamie, it's been an honor to be able to talk with you. Your music has given me so much joy over the years and I thank you for the gift of music you've give the world. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass. I greatly appreciate it.
JC: Cheers & thanx !