So, I already told you about The Scutches. They are keeping the pop punk spirit alive and simply a ton of fun to listen to. Ten Songs, Ten Yearsis one of those albums that is simply made for summer. Vin and Rich were kind enough to answer a few questions for me so that you could love them some more. With influences from The Beatles, to Elvis Costello, to Rush (which I must admit is refreshing to the girl who loved Rush when it was super uncool in her punk scene) we get a deeper understanding of the elements that make these guys so fun to listen to.
First off, thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. I am a huge pop punk fan and this album was a ton of fun. Let’s start off with introductions, who are you guys and what is your role in the band?
Hi, thanks for taking the time to interview us and for enjoying the record. We had a lot of fun writing, arranging, and recording it so, we’re glad that the listener does too. Vincenzo – guitar, and vocals. Rich – drums, and vocals.
What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written? What’s the worst?
Vin :: To be honest every song that makes it on a record has a real deep meaning for me, I can never sing something with passion if there is not a real story behind it. That being said I do not have a “worst” lyric yet. I will tell you my favorite one currently from the new tune Don’t Go, “things aren’t as simple as they always seem, always repeating a deadly routine, I swear I’m clean but without you I won’t be, walking drunk alone and unhappy, don’t go”.
As a writer, I am always curious about a band’s writing process. Is there a primary song writer or lyricist? Is it a collaborative effort?
Vin :: It was different for this record because in the past there were so many lineup changes so it was always me writing and arranging everything then. I would bring a song to rehearsal and we would work it out. Now, I usually demo stuff at home and I have the lyrics done. I send it to Rich and we arrange it together like we did for this last record.
How did you get involved in punk rock in the first place? And what made you become a musician?
Vin :: Woo, do you have 10 years just to discuss the Beatles? When I was about 5 or 6 I remember my Mom always playing the old 45’s of Doo Wop and stuff like Richie Valens and Buddy Holly. Then my Aunt gave me a Beatles tape and a Beach Boys tape and I flipped out. I know everyone says the same things when they first heard the Beatles but I was back then and still am completely enamored with them. I still get chills whenever I put anyone of their tunes on. Years later in junior high, I found the Ramones and it was the same thing. I found out they were influenced by the Beatles and Beach Boys so naturally, I love the Ramones just as much. Basically 3 bands taught me how to write, sing, and play.
Rich :: I grew up in a musical family much like Vin’s. I also have a lot of siblings so, I grew up hearing all kinds of music. I had this bug for music since childhood. I loved the drums and still do. My older sisters would listen to bands like The Ramones, The Circle Jerks, Gorilla Biscuits, plus a lot of the new wave bands like The Police, Elvis Costello, and so many others. So, I guess you can say my introduction into punk music was from them. In junior high I started to listen to more punk music on my own. I took more of a liking to ska bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Edna’s Goldfish, Voodoo Glow Skulls, among others.
Was the album conceived to have a distinct flow and order or was it simply as a collection of songs?
Vin :: Yah know this record was a little of both. More of a collection of demos both new and old I had laying around, and about 2 songs I happened to write days before we were scheduled to go into the studio. It just so happens they fit real well together.
Rich :: Yeah, we did arrange them in a way that there were some similarities. We definitely had a basic idea of what order we wanted the songs in on the record before we recorded them.
What are your favorite tracks on the album? And Why?
Vin :: I love all of the songs for different reasons but Full Steam, Don’t Go and, Weekend Boyfriend seem to stand out a bit more. It’s like having kids you really can’t pick a favorite.
Rich :: I like them all too. I remember Vin playing the line for Weekend Boyfriend for me at a rehearsal one day and I was really digging it. We worked on that song immediately, arranging the parts.
I have to ask, as an ascetic choice, why a secret song? Why not as a listed track on the album?
Vin :: Well for one I always liked the idea. Whenever I bought a record and found a unlisted bonus track, I got stoked. Also, that song didn’t really seem to fit the flow of the record as a whole but I wanted it on because that is a special song to me.
Rich :: We also had the idea of doing something special since this year marked 10 years of the band. We had this joke on a phrase that Paul McCartney said before he took to the stage for a show he did in Red Square, “Red Square, red jacket!” So, we adapted that to Ten Songs, Ten Years. The eleventh track would’ve not made sense listed on the record. It’s still a funny little play on the idea, there technically are 11 songs on the record.
As a fan, what is the best show you have been to?
Vin :: That’s a tough one Andrea… because they never play and they never ever tour and I love them as friends. Anyhow, I’d have to say “Le Volume Maximum” at Insubordination Festival 2009.
Rich :: That is a really tough question. I’ve seen so many shows its hard to pick the best one. Can I pick more than one? Seeing Rush in 2001 in Hartford, Ct. just after their hiatus was a big one for me. Foo Fighters and The Police would be other real notable concerts to me.
Dream line up for a show that you are playing?
Vin :: Oh man.. Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Methadones, Scutches.
Rich :: Yeah, I like that line-up throw in The Police and Rush and it doesn’t get better than that.
First album/tape/cd you ever owned?
Vin :: I’m pretty sure it was either “the Beatles beginnings” on tape, or it could have been “the best of Roy Orbison” tape.
Rich :: Hmmm, it probably was a Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa cassette that was given to me by a family member. The first one I bought with my own money was the “Lithium” single by Nirvana on cassette. I believe that had “Been A Son” live as a B-side.
What are your guilty pleasure bands?
Vin :: Well, I don’t believe in the “guilty pleasure” thing but I know what you mean. Blink 182, Pennywise, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift
Rich :: I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for listening to what they enjoy. If you like it than enjoy it and F everyone else.
There are kids discovering punk rock every day, what bands should they be listening to?
Vin :: Well I just hope any kid that discovers punk rock today does not forget about the past bands. If it weren’t for the Beatles, Tommy James, Motorhead, the Ramones there wouldn’t be all of these bands like Nirvana, the Pixies, Methadones, the Mopes, the Proms, the Connie Dungs, and so on.
Do you have any irrational fears?
Vin :: Getting my face eaten off by someone on “bath salts”, getting attacked by a shark and, being in a plane crash… seriously.
Rich :: Nothing really that’s irrational.
Secret (nonmusical) talent?
Vin :: Tying a cherry stem into a not with my tongue 😉
Rich :: People tell me I’m a good impressionist.
Worst job you ever had?
Vin :: School custodian.
Rich :: Deli clerk.
Describe the band in 5 words.
Vin :: sarcastic, loud, fast, sexy, smooth
Rich :: We, will, rock, your, world!