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!