The three young men, no longer boys, of Minneapolis band the Crash Bandits are crammed into a booth of the bar portion of the Triple Rock. Empty beer glasses sit on the table between the three friends as they open up about their new album and excitedly make plans for the next week in Austin, Texas for SXSW. Their third record, Closer, captures much of their charged energy, something that is not easily contained.
Before their album release at the 7th Street Entry -- a place they claim as the "best venue," then glancing to see if anyone has heard, add, "After the Triple Rock, of course," -- the trio shares with Gimme Noise about the new album and moving on from their old fanbase.
The Crash Bandits came together during the interim between the end of Matt Brown and Nick Westgor's old band Skies Alive and Kevin Goff's the King and the Thief. The three had been friends for many years and decided to casually jam for fun when they became musician orphans. In TCB, Matt Brown took on a new role with lead vocals, something that he missed out on in Skies Alive.
Music is second nature to all three members. Brown grew up in a musical household with his brother Pat Brown -- formerly of the Semester and Sing It Loud, currently as a solo artist who tours with Mod Sun. "Of course my brother was a huge influence on me. You kind of grow up with that hero worship of your older siblings," Matt says of his brother. When Goff comments on how big of a fan he was of the Semester, Westgor adds, "I guess you had to settle for Matt when Pat wasn't available to be in your new band."
With the lead singer role for Brown came songwriting duties. The group would get together and play for hours. Brown shares, "We wrote so many songs, and we'd forget them every time. We'd practice, write songs, play covers -- this went on for a while until we finally said we should form a band." Kevin adds, "We eventually had to record our demos so we'd remember them. There were a lot of songs that got lost in that time." When pressed if any were good, all three laughingly answer simultaneously, "Probably not."
Brown continues, "We had a very 'not-give-a-fuck' mentality about the band, which was awesome. The group started out as not being serious, and our goal was to have fun -- we still adapt to that."
That adaptation led into the direction of the sound. The trio wanted to move past the pop-punk sound that they were related to and into more of a punk/grunge aesthetic. Nick gives some insight into the sound, "We keep everything short and sweet; we play ten songs in nine minutes. If you're gonna tune, you gotta find time to fit it in -- sometimes that's after the song is over."
This mindset has found a way into the way in how they have released their music -- in quick succession. In the two years that they have been together, Closer will be the third album they will have put out. Matt shares, "We're always writing; bands should always be doing that. Never stop."
During crunch time is when they get most of their work done, something driven by producer Knol Tate. Goff elaborates, "Knol makes you get it done. If you don't like a take, it doesn't matter. We work best under pressure, and he makes things smooth and organized and straightforward. He makes a product."
How quickly things move for the band is a testament of their generation, in how music is consumed, yet they cite it more a preferential thing rather than a generational thing. Goff explains, "You see musicians like Beck. He recently released his first album in six years -- and it's great -- but that's not the way we work. We want as many people as possible to listen to us."
Are they chasing their dreams or running away from failure? Westgor admits, "You try not to think about 'What if this doesn't work out?'" Yet they understand there's always more to learn. Nick continues, "New ideas pop into my head every day. We're not done making mistakes yet, and we might never." Matt affirms, "No one has it figured it out yet. No one. No one's ever like, 'I'm at the top and I'm never going down.' When I was sixteen playing in bands, I always compared myself to other musicians. Every time you get to that level, you realize there's so much more to do."
The Crash Bandits will release their EP Closer at the 7th Street Entry with Dan Mariska and the Boys Choir, The Person and the People and Glow Mechanics.
18+, $5, 7 pm
Purchase tickets here.
Patrons will receive a free copy of Closer with entry. GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS