Comeback Kid is currently tearing across the U.S. on the "American Assault" tour with Propagandhi. It's been over two years since they last came out with their latest full-length record, Symptoms + Cures. Punknews interviewer Jason Epstein sat down with Comeback Kid vocalist Andrew Neufeld to talk about the tour, their plans for a follow-up album and some exciting 10th anniversary shows the band has in the works.
What are some of your favorite hardcore bands of all time? Madball would probably be my number one.
All right, so now tell me some bands that your fans might be like, "Whoa, you listen to them?"
I don't know, I don't think any of the music I listen to is too far out there but I have a wide variety of music that I like. I like everything from Neil Young to Sigur Ros…
What have been some of your best memories playing shows?
For me, some of the memories that stick out in my mind are the funnest and wildest when we've been able to go to places overseas, aside from North America and Europe [tours] like Southeast Asia and South America and places like Santiago, Chile. We did a tour with Sick of it All down there and kids were like stealing our waters while we're playing and doing stage dives and it was super awesome. And playing Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or playing in Tokyo or something like that. Those have been the stand outs just because we kind of get out of our element a little bit. When we go back there we kind of know what to expect, but being out of your element a little bit is kind of fun. You're just sensing so much more I feel like in those situations.
Yeah, you're out of your comfort zone.
Yeah, it's cool. And the kids just go…there's so much energy…it's pretty intoxicating.
Is it sort of a dream come true to tour with country-mates Propagandhi?
Yeah, it's fucking awesome to be on tour with them. This is the 2nd time we've been able to tour with then. We toured Japan with them like three or four years ago. For me…I got a split CD - Propagandhi and I Spy - in a cardboard box when I was like 13 years old I think, so I was introduced to Propagandhi at the same time as like Green Day. Dookie was coming out that year. so I've been listening to them more than half my life, I'm 31 now and they were definitely kind of like an entry-level band for me, like a gateway to learning about other punk rock and whatever. In my opinion they've gotten better as a band and they're incredible musicians and it's pretty cool to watch them every day live. We get to tour with bands we like all the time but it's only a couple times a year we get to tour with bands we really like.
How has the transition between your previous and new guitarists been?
We kind of just roll with it. We donât really give ourselves too much time…we just got Stu, Stu just joined a half year ago and we've known him from the last decade of touring because he used to play in Misery Signals and Living with Lions and we actually flirted with the idea of him playing with us like six years ago when I stopped playing guitar and started singing in the band. I know that the member switch history is a little confusing with the band. There are three of us original members. Right now I feel great about the line-up but it's not too much of a big process, just people learn the songs and learn the set list. Just usually learn the quickest set list possible so we can keep on playing, you know? But Stu and all the guys we've gotten before…usually they can just pick it up and they know the band's songs already so it's a fairly smooth transition and Stu's probably a better guitar player than all of us, so it works out well.
What are the band's plans for the next year or two?
Right now we're writing, but that's going a little bit slow because we have a lot of tours lined up. We're going to tour Canada, we're going to go to Australia next year. Madball has a tour called "Rebellion" they do every year, so we're gonna do that tour. Our big plan for 2013 is we're gonna do a whole bunch of 10 year anniversary shows for when our first record Turn It Around came out and we're going to be playing songs from Turn it Around and Wake The Dead (our 2nd record) with me playing guitar and our old singer singing. So we just confirmed our first show that I'm not allowed to announce yet but we're probably going to be doing a handful of shows on the east coast, west coast and Europe.
Are those going to be full album shows?
I can't see it being really full album shows because there's probably some shitty songs on both records. But we're going to make a good-sized set list off both of those records with our old singer Scott singing. I mean we still hang out all the time, he's been wanting to do it and get back in there a little bit. It's just going to be a super fun thing and it's going to be for Comeback Kid listeners.
It's just going to be in big markets…east coast, west coast etc.?
Probably. You never know, but we want to do it in small pockets. We're not gonna do a full tour and we'll have to wrap it up in 2013. Besides that, hopefully by the end of next year we'll have a new record.
Cool. Lyrically, will the new record have a more positive direction or is there more darkness to the lyrical content?
It depends on what you consider…do you consider any of the records positive or dark necessarily?
Wake Wake The Dead has its darker moments.
See, to me overall it's a positive record. In think Broadcasting… was a little bit of a darker record. I don't know I always feel like we're writing kind of bright music. With our last record, Symptoms + Cures to me it seems bright, but I don't know if it came off like that. I haven't written the lyrics yet, so I dont know. In all of our songs we're going to sing about what's going on whether it's positive or negative. I'd definitely like to be better at writing positive lyrics that aren't cheesy, so that's kind of like a challenge.
Negative lyrics can come from a positive place sometimes…you're kind of looking at that spectrum between good and band.
Lyrics are the hardest part for songwriting and for me.
Does it always come last for you?
It's always last because I come up with riffs, that's no problem, arranging vocals, that's definitely like the biggest challenge as a songwriter for me at least.
Will there be any expansion on the musicality of the band as there was with Symptoms + Cures?
I write a lot more of the punk rock sounding stuff that the band has and I write some of the heavy stuff too. Jeremy, the other guitar player, writers a lot of the heavier stuff, so it's kind of hard to say. We just have a few different kinds of music coming together and we all kind of put it through a filter and butt heads until we can agree on a middle ground. We definitely try to take the elements of the records from the past and bring them into this, but it's also kind of hard. I've tried to write a song that's like, 'I thought that this song from this record was really good I want to write a new song for the new record that kind of sounds like that song', you know what I mean? But I feel like that never really works, so I feel like it's kind of hard to go into writing a song with a certain direction in mind. Usually you can't do that…usually it just comes randomly. You don't know where it comes from, but you just find it.