Recently I got a chance to catch up with Gabe and Rob from Midtown before their show at The Metro in Chicago. The band is one of the many hot bands coming out of New Jersey.  Their first release Save The Day, Loose The Girl is a rock and roll masterpiece not to be missed. The discussion included everything from Napster to politics and third parties.

Who are you and what do you do? 

Rob: I’m Rob, I play drums.

Gabe: I’m Gabe, I play bass and sing vocals.

Ok, the thing that everyone talks about is your live shows.  Everyone says they always get their moneys worth when you guys are up on stage, you guys go the whole nine yards, and play with so much energy. 

Gabe: Seriously?

Yah! Do you have that in mind, do you try to be spontaneous and get crazy always up on stage? 

Rob: I always get crazy.

Gabe: That’s a good question.  We do whatever feels good.  We enjoy playing and its such a rush.  If we’re playing for five kids like when we first started out it was difficult to get into things.  It was really hard to get into it on stage when you would drive for six hours and no one would be there.  We feed off the crowd you know?  If kids are into it and they’re digging what we do, we just want to play our hearts off.  Are we spontaneous?  It depends on the show, it depends how you feel, how everything is mixing in well.  If it’s a good show, the sound is really bad, and we can’t even hear ourselves and we’re just playing terribly we’re not ganna be into it.

How did you get signed to Drive Thru?

Rob: Actually Gabe knew Drive Thru from his previous band and when we recorded our first EP we knew we wanted to find a label that had a wider distribution than Pinball Records, which we were on at the time.  When we were recording the EP we put the telephone up to the speaker in the recording studio when we were talking to Drive Thru and they loved it at that moment so much they were like “Ok we want to sign you”.  The thing about it was that we wanted not only to work with good people; we also wanted to work with our friends.  So that’s how we started working for them.

Are you guys coming out with an album soon?  Are you ganna go back to the studio pretty soon? 

Rob: We’re actually ganna take some time off hopefully and write a whole bunch of new songs.

Do you have anything in mind with what it will sound like?  Will it be more experimental? 

Rob:  I don’t think its good to write a specific kind of sound, you might have an idea but I think if you automatically play a certain type of sound all the time your creativity might be hindered. Gabe:  If anything its gonna be the same because Save The World, Loose The Girl was so varied.  Hopefully it will be more of that, that variation.

What do you think is your favorite song to play live? 

Rob:  I like playing “Recluse” when I’m not completely exhausted.  “There No Place Like Home” is a lot of fun too.

How do you guys write music?  Is it a team effort?  Does one certain person take on a responsibility? 

Rob: Somebody usually brings the song to the table and then we get input from everybody else.  Gabe writes A LOT of lyrics, hes good at that.

What do you guys usually listen to? 

Rob: Well in the van I’ve been listening to The Agency, which I really like allot.  Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Lifetime.....those four bands I listen to a lot.

Gabe:  We usually listen to our friend’s bands like New Found Glory, and Saves The Day.  So tell me some of the notable New Jersey bands that are going strong in the scene now. Thursday, they just signed to Victory, they’re a great band.  They came from the same town as we did.  Some up and coming bands that are real good are Random Cask, Outline, and Shady Green Terrace is another great band, they have Thursday’s style.

How do you guys feel about Napster? 

Rob: I think its great!  A lot of bands, especially a lot of bands who don’t have any distribution, get their name out, and especially now any band can tour across American and they can have people sing along, in fact almost any one in the world can as well.  I just think its really good for the small bands.  For the big bands that its ganna effect?  Don’t they have enough money already? That’s how I feel already.  Metallica is one of the richest bands on the Earth, I can’t imagine how much money they are loosing vs. how much money they are making and already have made.In reality, I wonder if people are listening to bands they would’ve never listened to before if it wasn’t for Napster, EVEN bands like Metallica.

Gabe: Well listen, its been proven that ever since Napster has been around.....

CDs sales have been up… 

Gabe: Exactly!

Rob: So whos to say its really hurting any band?

Give me a notable tour story. 

Rob: Ok if you want an abbreviated version......theres this balcony when we were playing on Gabe’s birthday and the bartender was nice enough to be thoughtful and keep bring out shots for Gabe.  Lets say Gabe was a bit inebriated after the set.

Gabe: I was what?

Rob: Inebriated.....and he decided what I’m ganna do is in the middle of the song none the less, I’m ganna climb up a balcony, Eddie Vedder style, and I’m ganna start playing the bass.  We were all afraid he was going to jump off, and most likely kill himself, because he was really drunk. Lucky he didn’t, but we lost him for two hours and some random person pulled up and told us “You’re friend is in the middle of the street, drunk”.  So we walked down the street, and there Gabe is passed out on his 21st birthday.  Happy birthday Gabe!

Gabe: Ok give me some more questions.  How bout this, how did you feel about me wearing a scarf on the cover of our album?

Well you know, I understood that it was New York, and it gets cold there, and you need to protect your neck from the cold.  I never thought any less of the band! 

Gabe: Hey just because I wear a scarf doesn’t mean I don’t know how to fucking rock and roll.

Exactly! So you want some political questions now? 

Gabe: Yah, we’re a band with political views. Ok, as you know theres some election coming up, Gore vs. Bush.  I myself think that out of those two choices Gore is way better.

Rob: I don't think Gore is the best.

Do you like Nader or any of those third party candidates?

Gabe: Naders great, he always been looking out for the average American, against big companies.  Right now we are a country thats just run by big companies, its all invested interests, and everyone's doing stuff just for money.

Well you definitely don't like the Republicans then because everyone in that party has a hand in big business especially in oil investments.

Rob: I think George Bush is INSANE, he CRAZY.

Well are you going to vote then?

Gabe: Yah, we're definitely ganna vote.  In New Jersey, Al Gore is almost sure to win.  Because of this there is no need to vote for him, it is unnecessary.   If you vote Ralph Nader and he gets 5% of the vote he qualifies for campaign finance, which means next time The Green Party will get 12.6 million dollars from the government to use for the next election.

Rob: I think it was complete crap that he didn't get a chance to take part in the debates.  If you realized this, we have one more political party than Communist China does if you think of it in reality.

Gabe: People are scared.  If they put these third party candidates in the debates, the big companies are scared because those are the people who sponsor the debates.  Its like a big baseball game.  You see all these movies and its a joke.  The one movie, A Distinguished Gentleman with Eddie Murphy and hes a congressmen and he says "Are you for or against the environment?"  And he says, "We have money from either side, so it doesn't matter and you can chose what side to take the money from."  Thats bullshit!

Well you have strong political views, do you think you'd ever bring politics in your music?

Gabe: Its hard for us.  Me personally, I've tried to write political lyrics but I can't.  Some people are good for it, they have a knack for it.  I would love to be able to, but I just can't. We incorporate politics in other ways.  Sometimes during our set we have people come up and speak because just because we aren't going out and expressing it in our music doesn't mean that we don't have any political views because we do.  If we can do it in any way it helps.  For us, when we were growing up, punk rock really helped us get allot of new ideas.  We're also big on animal rights, we fell strongly about it too.

Thanks for the interview? Any last thoughts?

Rob: If you wanna visit our website its www.midtownrock.com!


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