Counterpunch Interview

After a mammoth tour including various dates with NOFX, we caught a few precious minutes with Counterpunch during a small break from touring..

What’s your individual histories and how did the band come to be?

Well, I grew up very much a hard rock kid (thanks to my older brothers) with a heavy diet of Van Halen, Motley Crue, and endless other hairbands. I discovered the whole 2nd wave ska movement when I was 14, and it led me to Op Ivy. From there I discovered Rancid and started working my way back through the entire Ramones/Sex Pistols/Clash/Dead Milkmen/Bad Brains world, which was rad, but didn’t really grab me. Coming from that huge shredding guitar world of hard rock and stuff, I wanted more harmony and sweet guitar riffage. That’s when the whole mid 90’s Epitaph/Fat records sound just blew my mind. Bands like Bad Religion, Strung Out, Lagwagon, NOFX, No Use For A Name, and even the punk ska stuff of Blue Meanies, Less Than Jake, Slapstick, etc I just brought what I thought could be done to another level. That’s basically how I got into punk in general. As far as Counterpunch goes, I was playing in a punk/ska band that called it quits, and I knew right away I wanted to start a new project. I called up Jared, jammed a few times, and started what would eventually become Counterpunch in 2004 under the name Dear You (I know….horrible, right?) with a drummer named Ross. We wrote some stuff, none of it super awesome, and the seed was planted. A few line up changes (obviously none involving Jared or me…) and here we are today.

10 year anniversary- How does that feel?

Bizarre. Seriously. It feels like yesterday we were sorting things out in my parent’s basement…

Is music fun for you, or is it a need or passion that you HAVE to do?

Honestly it’s both. If your passion isn’t fun to you, then you’re not in the right business. I’m just fortunate I guess to have figured things out at an early age. Go me.

How is working with Mr & Mrs Hefe @ Cybertracks? Have the NOFX guys taken under their wing at all? Have you learnt anything from those guys, or any other bands you’ve crossed paths with?

As a touring artist, you can learn things from everyone. We all have our ways we do things, but being out with friends and seeing how they handle identical situations is a learning experience you can’t replicate. And as far and Jen and Aaron go, they are literally some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They get it. We (Counterpunch) are truly blessed to have found them.

For such an established band how did it feel to be taking the role of supports?

I don’t feel like we are established really. I feel like we are totally a support band at this point in our careers, but if in some cities people think we’re some huge headliner we are the furthest thing from it. I’d much rather play on a tiny stage in front of 30 people and just hang out with everyone who came to the show to have a beer and thank them. When I grew up this scene was a community. Everyone hung out and just went to shows regardless of who was playing. I like to think that we’re a bit old school like that, and still keep that close to our hearts because that’s how we conduct ourselves at live shows. We wouldn’t be doing what we are if people weren’t hanging out and just having a great time at shows.

So your 3rd full LP is just out, how does your writing process work and what do you think differs with this album to your past work? How have the new tunes been received?

It’s a little early in the game to figure out how things are being received, but as an artist you really can’t concentrate on that kind of thing. People are going to love and hate your album no matter what you do, and you can’t get wrapped up in that. You’re putting yourself out there pretty hard by releasing music, but you aren’t doing it to see what people think. Fuck them (sorry..). We do this because it’s what we love, and if other people are into it, then cool.

As far as the writing process, I think this is the most complete album we’ve done. Everyone had 25% stake in writing and structure and we were able to bounce things off each other every step of the way. We finally had that solid fourth voice in Jim (drums) and I think it made a world of difference.

What did you think of the UK? Have you been before? See many sites?

I love the UK, I just wish we had more downtime to see some actual sites. This is our second trip to England, and we had a blast! You spend so much time driving from show to show that it’s really hard to make things work as far as what you want to see in individual towns. Hopefully next time we have like a private helicopter, or something, to scoop us up and fly us wherever.

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SPEED ROUND!
What would you like to be remembered for?

Epic Beards

Done!

Dream dinner guest, dead or alive?

Ghandi

How long do you spend in front of the mirror?

Shaving days….10 minutes / non shaving days….5 minutes

Your favourite swear word?

Fuck…..yeah. That get’s said a ton. Along with add-ons such as fuckballs

Best excuse you’ve ever used to break up with someone?

Hmm.. Don’t really know. Never had to make it abrupt or awkward, although I did tell my ex that she was bat shit crazy before she threw my shit out a second floor window..

Best day of your life?

The day my Brother and his family came back from being abroad (he’s in the military).

Religious, spiritualist, Humanist or none?

I deal in logic. That’s not to say that there isn’t a higher being, I just believe that organized religion in it’s current state will be the end of this planet.

Worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?

Your mom.

Last band you went to see live?

A Wilhelm Scream/The Flatliners

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Pro Skater

What would you say if you met the queen?

Um, nice hat?

Last time you were starstruck- if never- who would make you starstruck?

Meeting Lars from Rancid for the first time. It’s just crazy to meet your idols. Thankfully he was the coolest guy ever.

Weirdest moment of your life?

When my brothers swung the hammock my parents had in our back yard upside down with me in it 4 times in a row. Needless to say I fell out. It sucked ass.

Would you prefer to only ever whisper or only ever shout?

Shout for sure

Worst job pre-band?

Selling speakers out of a van.

A shoe shop that comes to you? That sounds awesome!

Who would you like to hear cover your song, and which song?

I’m too humble to answer that question. Anyone that wants to cover anything should just do it because that would be rad.

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New album “BRUISES” out now!

By Kimberley Bayliss

Kimberley is Vulture Hound's Live Editor and a Photographer.