Interview The Rumjacks

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GRIMM: I have to say you do seem to be like, in terms of the genre, in terms of the songs that you played, you really seem to have found your stride in the band. From what I could hear or what I could hear from the album. It all fits very well.

Yes, thank you.

GRIMM: Now, seeing that at the moment COVID is still going strong and there are a lot of tours postponed and cancelling is ongoing and everything is unsure… We’ve lost a lot of festivals on the way. Say that things would return to normal again, what songs from the new album, or the other albums if you’re so inclined, are you the most excited about to play live?

So a lot of the songs of the album or the way I write, I just imagine it live. You know, I almost like ‘Sainted Millions’ that has such a big chorus. I want to stadium singing that you know, like –

GRIMM: yeah, that sounds like good times!

Yeah! So that’s kind of the way I write. So a lot of these songs are meant to be live, like ‘Sainted Millions’ will be a great one live. There’s a song that I’m just dying to play live that’s on the album called ‘Wonderust’, it’s just this like… really dancey ska song. And I don’t know why that’s the one that I am like, “I can’t wait to get on stage so we can just like tear this one up”. But I don’t know, It’s weird. It’s not even like one of the standouts for me on the album but I don’t know why it’s the one I want to play the most.

GRIMM: It sounds like quite a few of the new songs on the album will be real energizers for the crowd. So it sounds very fun. Actually that’s what I wanted to get to in the other question. The live performances, they were always a huge draw card for the whole band. Are you… well, I don’t actually know. Do you have any previous experience? Performing live?

Yep. So, I have a really similar style band called Mickey Rickshaw. We’re described as a young and still punk rock Dropkick Murphys. So yeah, that band has been playing for about six years or so. And so I don’t know, the live show with that band is, that one’s crazy. Because there’s eight of us, it’s basically… I would call it a drinking club, instead of a band, you know, it takes the spirit of Boston and just like, throws it into the crowd. So… I don’t know. Onstage is the only time I feel like myself, as weird as that sounds. I don’t want to sound like “ugh, such a musician thing to say”, but not really like… Onstage, that’s my favorite time of this life that we get, You know.

GRIMM: Hey it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, you know?

Yes, absolutely.

GRIMM: It does sound amazingly fun from what I saw. I didn’t see you live yet. But I did see the acoustic performance and some photographs of you in mid performance. And it does look like you are just having fun out there. That’s really cool!

Yeah. Oh, and The Bouncing Souls. Sorry. Do you know the band The Bouncing Souls?

GRIMM: No, I don’t think I do.

They’re an East Coast punk band. And they gave me the biggest inspiration in music ever. So I take the spirit of that band with me everywhere I go.

GRIMM: I’ll definitely look those up. Well, at least you don’t seem nervous at all in the pictures. Like you come alive. But do you get nervous beforehand or…?

Absolutely, yeah, it’s weird… I used to never get stage fright or anything like that. But in the last few years, obviously not with the Rumjacks because we haven’t been able to play, but my other band, we’ve played with like Flogging Molly and Rancid and all these big bands. And before these big shows, I’m like, “Oh, geez”, kind of starting to get like the, I don’t know, the jitters. But of course, you know, a few beers usually takes care of that. But yeah, I don’t know…

GRIMM: So it really just sinks in like, Oh, this is – this is for real. We are going right now.

Yeah kinda. Also The Rumjacks, they play BIG festivals. And I have never, never been in front of that many people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people in one place on some of these stages that I see videos of them on. So I do not know how that is going to go, I’m actually terrified about like, Rock Poland or Woodstock Poland? I forget the name of the festival. It’s just a sea of human beings that go as far as the eye can see. And I’m like… I don’t know. The time will tell?

GRIMM: I think when the time gets there, everyone gets nervous. But I think you’re gonna do fine. Speaking about festivals, are you looking forward to any kind of festival or any like place that you’re looking forward to? Or like literally, that’s where I want to go?

Honestly, I love Europe. All of it. I love all of your north, south, east, west… Yeah. No, I mean, I don’t know. I’ve always felt more at home there than in the States. I mean, being from Boston. It’s a very European city, as I say. So I’m just really excited to be able to travel around all these countries and just see cities that I only dreamed of seeing and then of course, the band wants to do Japan and you know, other parts of Asia there’s even talks of going to China so I mean… Yeah, there’s a lot you know, travel is like my favorite. One of my favorite things in this world. So I think the band is leading to a lot of amazing opportunities.

GRIMM: It does seem like a dream come true.

Yeah, for sure.

GRIMM: So I wanted to ask something else. I did a little the digging around. And I found that your fans, or well, the fans of The Rumjacks are very dedicated. Has this like affected you in anyway? Have you felt the love?

A lot of them understand the situation that we’re in. Obviously a band would not replace their lead singer unless it got pretty bad, You know. So these guys have given 10 years of their lives to really make this dream happen for themselves. And I think a lot of people realize that it wouldn’t be fair for them to have to give up just because the singer made it impossible to continue as they were. So most people really are understanding. I totally get it though, replacing a singer like… You’re used to one sound and then you hear the new stuff and you go, this is not the same. Like I get it. But I think most people are extremely understanding. We got some hate, we definitely got some hate. And you know what, those people, it just shows they weren’t fans of the band. They were just idolizing a 50 year old man, they were fanboys of the old singer. And like, they can still idolize him, they can do that. In my opinion to idolize someone after knowing they’ve done some sketchy stuff, maybe that’s not the type of fan we want.

GRIMM: Understandable. It is a sad thing. And it’ll happen but it happens for a reason. And yeah, that’s how these things usually go, band members get replaced and from these things, I believe the band either moves on and takes on a new member. Or you can really not see the problems and just cover your face. And hopefully it all goes away. And I think they made a very bold choice. And I think they made a good choice.

Thank you!

GRIMM: Totally. So, yeah, after ‘Hestia’ are there any like… okay, it’s a little bit early, of course. But do you have any ideas for a next album, maybe a little tidbit that you want to share for the fans?

Yeah, so we went into the studio with about… I want to say like 30 song ideas, and ended up cutting it down, cutting the album down to 15 songs. It’s 14 released digitally, the vinyl has an extra song. Yeah, so there’s a little tidbit. But I think we have a lot of song ideas that weren’t complete enough to make the album that I definitely like… It’s early to speak, but I already know that the next album is gonna be cool, because we got ideas that were like, “Oh, it’s it’s so close. And it’s so good, but it’s not there yet”. And given that these other 15 songs are finished, we got to just get these out.

GRIMM: Yeah, I think you’ve given the fans enough to chew on for now and then when you got an extra one chomping at the bit, you’ll be ready for it.

For sure.

GRIMM: Yeah, that actually that seems like a good place to leave it for now. Do you have anything else to add for yourself? Anything on your mind?

Of course. Yeah, I mean for everyone who has supported the band in the past and is still continuing to, thank you so much. We are taking it extremely seriously we have a lot of respect for the music that was already made. And we’re not trying to erase that or anything, we’re trying to do it with the most respect we can. Live, all those old songs are still getting played for sure. And if you like the new stuff, that’s awesome. Thanks for at least checking it out. And being open minded about it. And for people that haven’t heard of us and are just like okay, who is this guy, what is this band? I know the genre of Celtic punk can be kind of a weird one. I think a lot of bands sound exactly like each other so… I don’t know, I think The Rumjacks have their own sound, it’s completely unique and… I don’t know. I liked the way this band has always done it that’s why I felt happy joining it.

GRIMM: Very nice words and I think you’re correct. The Celtic punk bands have a certain similar sound so to speak. But you guys… Yeah, you can hear it in the new album coming out very soon. It’s just a different energy. Personally, when I heard the album for the first time I was like, “wow I want to see this live”. And we need this right now, in these dark times. But this will do for now. Well, Mike, I would thank you very much for your time. Thank you very much for your words. I hope to hear from you soon. And until next time on the stage hopefully!

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  1. […] the whole thing. Mike (who was gracious enough to do an interview with us, which can be read here) is a new face to the Rumjacks, but that has not been a stumbling block for him or the band. […]

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