Friday, January 20, 2012

Interview with Dan Vapid And Mike Byrne of Dan Vapid & The Cheats

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass guys. I really appreciate it.

Dan Vapid: You're welcome!

CM: So the album is officially recorded and you guys are in the mixing stages now. When can we expect a release date?

DV: I don't know yet. We are talking with some labels right now, so whoever gives the best offer will be the one who puts out the record. So, right now what I really wanna do is finish up everything. It's 16 songs and we may use all 16 songs. We may not. But we'll definitely use 14. But when it's all mastered we'll figure out what label will release it. And I'm thinking we'll have the record out by early next year. probably January or February.

Mike Byrne: In the past our records were done slowly. But with this one, we went in and it was finished.

DV: Yeah, and we've already started the cover so, I think once we figure out who's gonna release it it should be a pretty quick process.

CM: Mike, you were telling me that this is some of the best material Dan's ever written. How do you feel this album compares, musically, to what you did in The Methadones?

MB: Well this record has such a wide variety of songs. I mean Dan pretty much had all these songs written before we even started this band. And the band would pretty much set the tone for what the album would sound like. So, like with The Methadones, the songs he would write would sound like The Methadones. And Sludgeworth songs would sound like Sludgeworth. So with this time he wrote some cool punk songs, some power pop songs, some new wave style songs and some Ramones style songs. And it's just a really cool record.

DV: Yeah with The Methadones we tried to make a conscience effort to not sound like the bands we were in before The Methadones. This time I'm doing Dan Vapid & The Cheats and it was like let's just write a record and see what happens. With The Methadones it was a case of "okay, we don't wanna sound like these other bands." And by doing that I kinda missed this whole idea of writing what came naturally. Not that those songs didn't come naturally. It did. But you would just kinda suppress that side. And now I'm just kinda over that whole thing. If it sounds like a Screeching Weasel song, that's fine. If it sounds like a Riverdales song, that's fine. And if it sounds like a Methadones song, that's fine. I'm just gonna roll with it and realize that the goal is to have as much fun as I can making the best music I can.

CM: When the album comes out, will it be released on vinyl?

DV: Yeah, I'll make sure of that.

CM: Colored vinyl?

DV: Colored vinyl, just for you!

CM: SWEET! What can we expect from Dan Vapid & The Cheats in 2012?

DV: Well, in 2012 we got offers to go to Spain. We got offers to go to Italy. We got offers to go to Canada. So we just have to figure out what we CAN do and see if it happens.

MB: We definitely have plans to tour.

DV: We have some plans to maybe go to the east coast. I'm a stay at home dad. I just had a baby so my time is a lot more limited. So I'm hoping to just try and do this while I can do it. Obviously things have changed from the way they used to be from like...

CM: Piling in a van and here we go?

DV: Yeah. We're a little bit older now you know.

MB: If we get to play Detroit or in Indiana we'll go. But I'm also limited in my time too with my job. Dan's the same. But with The Methadones we would do a pretty big tour. And it was good for us. But now we can't go out for weeks at a time and tour.

DV: It's like what can you
do at this point in life. You know I'm not 24 anymore and we can't tour on end. So now we gotta see what works for us where we're at in life. And I think we're doing that really well. And I think it's gonna be a lot more fun now because when we do what we do, it's fun. If it's fun and we're having fun, we'll do it. But we can still be an active band and I can still be a dad and I can still balance it out.

MB: We realized when Dan started this band it was gonna be called Dan Vapid so we knew it was gonna be a fun show. We kinda wanted to try and musically remind people of the old band. But we also wanna try and do something new and fun. It doesn't have to sound like anything we already did.
And if the stuffs fun we'll just do it. In the past it was almost like a job where we're like okay let's go punch the clock and do the show. It's no fun feeling like that.

DV: For me, based on what happened is that I got frustrated a lot because I wanted to take us to the next level but it just wasn't in the cards for us for whatever reason. So it kinda ruined the moment for me because it was like "It SHOULD be like this. We SHOULD be doing a lot better." Y'know this time around we know what should be done and to just accept the situation. And really just enjoy the band and try and make the best music we can and just have some fun. So what happened with The Methadones was we kept trying to go to the next level and trying to push that square peg into the circle and it just didn't work. But now the goal is no matter what we do is to just be a band and enjoy it.

MB: Back then, in Europe, we would play these great tours shows and then we would come home and we were just burnt out. We were all burnt out at different times. When I was burnt out from touring those guys were good. And then Dan was burnt out when we were coming back into it. So it was hard to tour as much as we would have liked. And it was just that way for the last 3 or 4 years. And that's just where we were at. We just kinda got as far as we could get. So in the end there was no one saying "Oh lets stick it out." We all just kind of agreed to it (The Methadones disbanding).

DV: I think it just ran it's course.

MB: When the whole Weasel thing fell apart the owner from Cobra Lounge sent me a text asking me if I thought Dan would be interested in doing a show that weekend that would have been Weasel Fest. And I told Dan "Hey, I'll play guitar for you and you can keep all the money." I have a job and Dan was out of work at the time so I'm sure he would have done the same thing for me. But he had to think about it for a few weeks.

DV: Yeah, I really didn't wanna do it at first. Actually I didn't wanna do anything at all. I mean, everybody knows what happened with Screeching Weasel and what a catastrophe that was. And when I got home I was thinking well, The Methadones didn't happen, and this didn't happen....maybe it's time to just stop. And then I said hey, wait a minute, I really don't wanna stop. I just realized, hey, lets try and forget about trying to take this thing to another level. Trying to make this thing happen. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. It's really that simple. Lets just go out there and try and enjoy the moment like we used to. Now I feel like this band symbolizes a new beginning, a new way and a different attitude.

MB: I'll tell you, that very first rehearsal with this band was the most fun I have ever had playing ever! We played Methadones songs, Mopes was just a lot of fun. And Dan was playing with Simon (Lamb, The Cheats bassist) before. And Simon and I were playing in the Cliff Johnson band. So for years Simon and I would talk about getting a band going too. So when Dan and Simon and Mike asked me to play it was just a fun idea.

DV: And I didn't wanna do a whole Methadones thing either. But when Mike called me and said that he was willing to play guitar it just seemed right. I mean he knows all the songs already anyway. So I just called Simon and see if he was interested and stuff like that. And then it came down to drummers. And we got Mike (Soucy). And at first it was like why is this like The Methadones with another bass player? And it's really not that band!

CM: When I interviewed Naked Raygun not too long ago, Pete (Mittler) had nothing but great things to say about you guy's He's really happy.

DV: I think he was thought at first "oh, well it had to be me". But he knows that it really wasn't that way at all.

MB: As far as Simon went, I mean Dan was playing with him, and I was already playing with him in the Cliff Johnson band. So it wasn't anything against Pete. And we're still good friends.

DV: Yeah, I mean it just kinda happened that way. It wasn't a planned thing.

MB: Plus we really love playing with Soucy. So it's great having him around.

DV: And he's local, which was cool because I wanted a band that was local. Because there was a point where it hit me that it would be a lot of hassle and a lot of money on gas to get to and from practice for each of us. So it just worked out that way. So we're really happy and excited about how things worked out.

CM: Awesome! Well, I wanna thank you guys again for talking with Critical Mass. It's been a blast and I'm stoked to hear the new album when it comes out. Thanks again guys.

DV: Thank you.

MB: Not a problem. Thanks Chris.


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