The Brokedowns released two splits this year. How did each of those come together?
We recorded a big chunk of songs, it was two years ago, it was Christmas of 2011. It wasn't really enough songs to do a full-length, it was like, nine songs. So, we just divided that into three splits. We did the one with Wide Angles the year before, and all those bands are buds of ours so it kind of happens like that.
You seem to have a put out a lot of splits over the years. Any reason why?
We have the lowest self-esteem in the world as far as bands go, so if a label asks us to do something, we'll just be like, "oh, a split, it's like the easiest thing to do." It's only two songs and it's fun and we have a lot of friends in bands. It's just fun, it's easy. No pressure.
Are there any bands you haven't done a split with that you'd like to?
Quite a few actually. I think there's a few in the works, down the road. We actually just finished recording a full-length last weekend and we're already talking about other splits.
Anything you can tell us about that new full-length? When will it be out?
No idea when it will be out. It's all recorded, it needs to be mixed. We recorded a ton of songs, so we need to throw a shitload away. We recorded 28 songs.
So you're set for the next few splits then?
We're stocking up for the winter. We'll probably throw out at least half of that. Like I said, we have horrible self-esteem.
With Species Bender your sounds took a more melodic turn, which seems to continue on this most recent splits. Is the new stuff along the same lines?
This is definitely… I think a few of the songs are definitely the most melodic things… Very, very melodic. Then there's a couple that just sound like screaming nonsense, but I think this album will be the most melodic thing we've done.
Has the more melodic sound just been part of a natural progression?
I always feel like we start off kind of melodic and then we are too self-conscious and then we accidentally remove the melody from stuff. It's interesting you say that, I don't think it's a conscious decision, it's just how the songs are going.
The Brokedowns do not seem to play outside of the Chicagoland area very much. Why is that?
We have a strict no-leaving-Chicagoland policy. We're older, a couple of us have a shitload of kids, everyone's got jobs, stuff like that. We try to get out as much as possible, but it's hard. We're going to do more this year when we have an album out for sure.
I live in Fort Lauderdale, so I still don't expect you to come here.
That's got to be amazing though, don't you just lay on the beach all day and smoke weed?
That is what most people do around here.
It's 500 degrees below zero in Chicago.
It's 76 here today.
The gray sky removes all color.
Toby Jeg said that you're the funniest member of the Red Scare family. How'd you earn that honor?
He's a funny dude himself. There's quite a few funny dudes. That's a lot of pressure on me. I don't know what to say. I feel like I could tell you a fart joke right now.
So you can't tell me anything funny?
I can't do that. Jesus Christ, what am I? I mean, if you got a few drinks in me I could tell you some insane stories about shitting my pants or something. That would probably be pretty funny. I'm stuck in traffic in the city right now.
So you'll be playing Ian's Party in a few weeks. What's that like?
Oh, that's hilarious. That started years ago. Our friend Jim Miller… I think he was inspired by The Fest in Florida. We took him to Fest with us in Florida in 2006. He wanted to something like in Chicago, but in the winter. He named it after our friend Ian just because he knew Ian would be upset by it. I think this is the sixth or seventh one. It's just a shitload of bands.
We used to actually do it in the town where we're from, Elgin, which is like 30 miles outside of Chicago, which was really funny then because people drive like 30 miles out to the suburbs for this thing. Now it's just in the city. These things are fun but, I'm sure you're aware, it's just fucking exhausting.
I'll tell you something funny now if you've got a second. In Minneapolis, Jesse and Dave from The Slow Death this summer decided to do something similar and they had a thing called Fuck Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis. I'm a dad, I have a two-year-old and my second baby was like, a month-and-a-half old, and my wife dropped me off up there, we were going up to her parent's house. So she dropped me off up there and I hadn't drank for about a month and a half, so we played the worst show we could possibly play and I stayed up for another 12 hours.
The next day I was trying to find a train, and I literally ended up in a marathon in Minneapolis. Stumbling around Minneapolis I ended up in a 10K marathon, trying to find a train. I looked like a monster and all these people were upstanding citizens who were up at 7 a.m. running. I vomited in front of the police. I fell asleep in a bus station and got hassled by security. It was like a three-hour-long nightmare.
Switching gears completely, have you finished your holiday shopping yet?
I haven't done any. I'm horrible. I come from a family of hippy bohemians where they didn't really want to acknowledge holidays. So I'm like an unfrozen caveman who has to be guided along by other human beings who tell me how to go through life and that I'm supposed to buy presents for my children. This is all new to me.
On a related note, one thing I discovered in the course of doing my shopping was that every musician has a fragrance these days. If The Brokedowns marketed their own fragrance, what would it smell like?
Well, me and Jon, our part of the fragrance would be barbecue sauce or something like that. Erik's part you would throw in beer or something like that, and it would all be dominated by Moose's blunt smell. He smokes blunts. He smokes flavored blunt wraps. He's a connoisseur of blunt wraps.
I noticed that your Facebook page makes regular reference to that.
Yeah, he's the Stephen Hawking of blunt wraps. He's going to lead us into the promised land.
Yeah, it would be horrible. You know what it would smell like? It would smell like a fucking juggalo. Whatever a juggalo smells like that's what our fragrance would be.
You'd just bottle that essence?
Yes! Body odor, malt liquor, barbecue sauce and weed. That sounds like us.