I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Boys Night Out's Jeff Davis via email.
The band is currently on tour with Olympia, June and Emanuel in support of their June release Boys Night Out.
Would you please state your name and your role in Boys Night Out?
My name's Jeff and I play guitar In the past, you guys have seemed sort of reluctant to perform some of the songs from Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses live. Now that they were redone and updated for the Fifty Million People Can't Be Wrong EP, any chance fans will hear those versions live? Ya, we always like to mix it up and throw one of those old songs into a set. I don't even know if we would play the exact version as it is on 50 Million…. That wasn't us saying, "This is how these songs are from now on, this is how they'll be played live," it was more just us wanting to show the songs in a different light in recorded form.
The transition between Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses and Make Yourself Sick saw an obvious change in the band's sound, most noticeably that there was more singing than screaming. A lot of people seemed to have a hard time dealing with the different sound. Are there still people who complain about it, and what do you tell them when they ask?
Why?? Most of Broken Bones was written 10 years ago. So yes, we've changed a lot over the years, and our musical tastes and ambitions are nowhere near where they were when we were kids. It shocks and confuses me that we do still get messages from people asking us why we scream less, and why we 'pussied out.' We've been changing non-stop since the day the band formed, and all these complaints and comments are coming many years too late. I would have hoped that with Trainwreck people would have really gotten over the fact that we didn't sound like we used to, and we were making a move in a new direction, but we still do get the odd hanger-on who's clinging to that broken bones sound, and just wants us to still be that band.
You guys have toured with some bands who play music pretty different from BNO material (I'm thinking Catch 22). Has it been hard performing to crowds who may not be used to the kind of music you play?
It's tough at times. The Catch 22 tour was so many years ago, we didn't give a shit who we toured with, and didn't care what kind of reactions we were getting, we just needed desperately to be out on the road, playing to whoever would listen. Much more recently we toured with Less Than Jake in Europe, and that didn't go so well. Their fans did not dig us in the least, and it was common to get cigarettes, pints of beer and all kinds of other shit thrown at us while we were playing. Sometimes the booing was louder than the front-of-house speakers during a song, and it was almost all we could hear. At this point of the game, that kind of thing is hard as hell to handle. We pulled through, and some of the shows ended up alright. It's always hard for us to find an appropriate band to tour with. We always seem to fall through the cracks of what's popular, and we rarely go over well when opening for bigger bands.
A lot of bands don't make it through as many line-up changes as Boys Night Out's gone through. What do you think has kept the band going despite so many changes?
Our passion for music. We love writing it, recording it, listening to it and playing it, and switching up members here and there is not even close to being discouraging enough to dissuade us from continuing to play.
In an older interview with us, you mentioned you'd be interested in taking the self-concept album Trainwreck to a different level, be it a movie, stage show, etc. Has any progress been made in that direction?
There's been a lot of fans who have wrote us with interest in making it into a movie for their film school projects, or for high school plays and stuff like that. Aside from that, we're terribly poor, and have no resources to take the album to any real visual medium.
Do you consider Boys Night Out a band who is in a constant state of re-inventing itself?
I suppose. When we did Trainwreck it was a conscious effort to step away from what we had been doing and to try something new. We sort of got that out of our system, and are more focused on just having fun, and writing the music that comes naturally to us.
What do you feel has been the general fan reaction of the new album?
It's been mostly positive. Kids are singing along at shows, and they look like they're having a good time.
I've read that the songwriting on previous albums was split between you and Connor. Was it any different on the self-titled record?
Well, I've typically written the skeleton for most of the songs on guitar, brought that to the band, and everyone writes their own parts. Connor writes the lyrics and melodies, and I help out occasionally whenever I get an idea that I think may be appropriate. With this record Andy was a big help, and contributed a fair amount to the overall writing process as well.
What made "Up with Me" the track you decided to shoot the video for?
We always felt a sort of special connection with that song from the moment we finished writing it. We love playing it. Our label felt the same way, and really liked the chorus. so…it's the first single.