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Apr 17


Interview with the new US Punkrock All-Star-Band
ENGuest: James Menefee (River City High) and Kevin Carl (Sloppy Seconds)

Interview with the new US Punkrock All-Star-Band

First of all, It's great to have an interview with you, How is it going?
James: Thank you very much. This is officially my first interview for Higley, so it is a red letter day for me! It's going well, the trees in my backyard are blooming. I hate winter, so I am in a great mood for the next five months.
Kevin: It's going good, it's my day off, having an awesome cup of coffee, thanks for asking.

Tell us a little bit about the story of Higley. How did this band got together?
Kevin: Oh man...i as i have been saying to other people who asked this question if i had kept a diary or documented it on film it would be a lot easier to explain...i started the higley idea a few years after g-whiz broke up, like 6 years after i would say. i started writing songs again after i bought a drum set and got a tascam portastudio 424 mklll and started making demos of the songs i was writing, i probably had 20 or more songs by 2008 so i called bill stevenson and asked if i could come out to the blasting room and record some songs i had. so i went there in march of 2008 and bill and i went through the songs and picked songs we liked or had all the lyrics written, that's when higley was really born i guess.

In your Bio, you can read that you have put the band on hold for a longer time. What happened?
Kevin: The delay kind of started when we were in the blasting room. my buddy was suppose to sing on the songs while we were at the blasting room but he had a business that was getting busy about the time we were in the studio and he had to go back to take care of his business so we didn't get the vocals done and at the same time bill was starting to get sick. and for a year or so we tried to get the vocals done for the 5 songs we recorded at the blasting room but i lived a few hours away and we could never get days off at the same time. so for a few years after that i tried to get the vocals done with other singers but something would always come up with the other singers with other music projects or their band would go on tour or something. in the mean time i recorded 4 more songs with my friend drummer bob hoag at his studio flying blanket recordings. it got to a point maybe late 2014 i almost just gave up getting it finished. i actually contacted bill late december 2014 and told him he could have the songs,i give up. then about 3 weeks after i told bill he could have the songs my buddy pete nehring called me and told me about his pal james menefee, so i contacted james and he was like lets do this, get ready go!! that was january 2015,so we did vocals for all the songs that were written to that point in june 2015 and did 3 more songs with bill a few months later with james bringing 2 of his songs and we did all the final stuff in august 2016.

You have been a punk rock musician for a very long time. What are your motivations to continue? Do you still feel connected?
James: The older I get, the more I love punk rock. It's crazy. And I'm, even more open-minded now than I was when I was kid, so whatever narrow view of the world I had as kid in to punk rock only limited me. Sometimes I'll think it's a younger man's game, but nothing makes me happier than playing shows, playing loud music, being onstage, and writing songs. Touring is tougher as you get older, that is no doubt. The limited mindset I was referring to earlier hurts when you are trying to listen to new music, but it helps drastically when you are dealing with the squalor of being on tour haha. You just don't know any better. I haven't had dried ramen in 15 years! I do not feel connected at all anymore, because I am no longer part of a scene like I was when I was a teenager. That's the difference between being older and playing punk and being younger, in my experience. As a kid, I found acceptance (when I wasn't even searching for it), but that is what you internally search for as a teenager. You are trying to find an identity, struggling to figure out who you are. At this point, I know a little more about who I am.
Kevin: To tell you the truth i don't know why i still try to do music or what motivates me to keep trying. i try to get get away from the music, i moved from all my friends who were playing music to get away from it, i moved up in the mountains in northern arizona to get away from it but here i am finishing a record. no, i don't really feel connect i haven't really been part of the music scene or played in a while.

What is the biggest difference between playing shows in the past and present?
James: Cell phones, the internet, GPS, gas prices, social media...these are things you could never have imagined when I went on my first tour. Rushing to the pay phone to call a girlfriend back home and paying astronomical long distance bills. Actually reading maps. Filling up the tank for $30. My favorite part about going on tour used to be being unplugged from everything. I would think "All the work is done, it's time to sit back and enjoy this." You are no longer unplugged, because you can always be reached. This wasn't always the case.
Kevin: I have no idea, i haven't played live in a while. back in the g-whiz days it was fun because the style, i guess it's called pop-punk, was so new and people didn't know if we were a punk band or a skate band or college rock band. so i felt we were punk for being kind of different. james, bill, greg and bob all play live still.

You have released your debut album at Dead Serious Recordings. How did it happen?
Kevin: It happened kind of quick. we released our album on our own digitaly thinking we would never find a label who would care and a few days after the release andy from dead serious contacted james and next thing you know we are on dead serious recordings. we are so happy to be on dead serious they are so upfront and really work with us, they are really like family which is how i think labels should be.

What was your first punk or hardcore show and how was this show?
Kevin: Wow!! that was a very long time ago. i think my first punk show was "jody fosters army" (jfa) back in 1984. i remember how scared and excited it was, i got into punk rock a few months before my first show and i remember hearing stories of dudes wearing razor blades on their wrist bands cutting people up in the slam pit (not mosh pit)
James: My first punk show was Inquisition, at a great Richmond venue called The Metro. inquisition was always my favorite local band growing up. Thomas Barnett, who went on to start Strike Anywhere, was such a great front man, even then. It was such a great show. Mark Avery played guitar for them, and he and I ended up playing in River City High together and are still best friends, and Russ Jones and Robbie Huddleston from Inquisition went on to form Ann Beretta, and every xmas those two guys and I play in a Clash cover band for charity. So, as you can see, that show has stayed with me forever.

Who is your greatest influence and why?
Kevin: My biggest influence was my dad. he played country music and wrote a song that buck owens covered and i would go out sometimes to see my dads band play when i was a little guy, i just knew i would be in a band also. brian wilson from the beach boys and of course bill stevenson really influenced me also because of their songwriting and their melodies and the way they could make you feel by listening to their songs.

Best album in 2016?
Kevin: Descendents hypercaffium spazzinate
James: I loved the Muffs reissue of "Blonder and Blonder," because I never was able to get that on vinyl, and reissues remind you how important certain records were to your life. What a great record. Bash and Pop's "anything can happen" record is incredible. Of course Descendents "Hypercaffium Spazzinate."

Best Movie you saw in 2016?
James: I'm glad you asked me this. I see a lot of movies, spend a lot of time at the theatre and at home watching films. I think Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden" was my favorite film of 2016. It had everything: a completely unique plot, great camera work, and insanely beautiful naked women. almodovar's "Julietta" is probably my close runner-up. he is in my top-three favorite living directors. As always, his movies remind me why I love film. If anybody reading this has never seen his movies, I strongly urge the reader to watch one right now. Do not delay!
Kevin: I don't watch new movies do older movies count? if so then "strange brew" or any bruce lee movie.

What do you love or do in life besides playing music?
Kevin: Hanging out with my son bryce. other than that i work all the time.
James: I've been a bartender at the same small pub for thirteen years. Alejandro Jodorowsky said in an interview the best way to continue making art is to have a job that allows you to do that, because art will rarely allow you to make money. I love film, books...i grew up in the south of the US where there is a lot of history so I really enjoy touring battlefields and going to old houses.

What are your future plans? Any tours planed? Maybe a second record?
Kevin: We are trying to get some shows booked locally. maybe a tour in europe, that would be fun, we will be talking about that soon i hope. Wow, a second record...if it goes the way our first one did i would be an old man when it gets done. but we now have somewhat of a band now so it could be possible.

Thank you very much for this interview... any final words to our readers?
Kevin: You are welcome, thanks for wanting to talk to us....hope to see you soon in place near you.


Autor: Zechi
Magazine established by Pierre Brost in 2003 with Michael Hohmann
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Magazine established by Pierre Brost in 2003 with Michael Hohmann
Designed & Programmed by Pixelizer - Creative Media & Web Design