Soon four Illinois rockers will find themselves on the road to Gainesville, Florida for the large gathering of punk-lovers known as The Fest. Scene Point Blank recently spoke with The Brokedowns' Kris Megyery about the latest happenings with the band, as well as touching on some of the band's past adventures.
Scene Point Blank: You're playing The Fest 7. Have you played any other festivals? How do you like it compared with a normal two/three band show?
Kris Megyery: We played Mauled by Tigers Fest this year in Chicago. Last winter there was a little fest type thing in Elgin called "Ian's Party" and hopefully that becomes a tradition ?cause it was very fun. I guess it's not a whole lot different than a regular show except for the amount of partying. Stumbling around blind drunk for three days isn't usually the result of a normal show.
Scene Point Blank: Are you touring on the way to Gainesville?
Kris Megyery: Yeah we are playing eight or nine shows on the way down.
Scene Point Blank: Have gas prices affected how much you tour?
Kris Megyery: Gas hasn't affected us as much as babies, jobs, school, time wizards, and jive. The longest we have ever toured for is around twelve or thirteen days. When we get home we are weathered beyond belief. We each look like Jack Palance and talk about how rough "the road" is. Then we talk to other bands that go out for months and months at a time and we feel silly.
Scene Point Blank: Is there any place you'd really like to play, but haven't had the chance? Overseas?
Kris Megyery: We're planning on going to the U.K. next May or June. We've never been west of the Colorado River so I suppose we should do that at some point.
Scene Point Blank: Do you play mostly basements or venues? Preference?
Kris Megyery: We play venues more than basements lately just because there aren't a lot of basements around us these days. Luckily there are a whole lot of great venues in and around Chicago lately. If we had to choose between a basement and D.I.Y. venue or a traditional "rock club" we would definitely skip the latter.
Scene Point Blank: You have a lot of onstage banter. Do you ever script anything?
Kris Megyery: God no. We have never scripted anything. I would hope if we did it would come off a lot better. We definitely need to work on tightening up the time between songs when we play live. That is always a case of too much drinking. Sometimes it works; sometimes it's a train wreck. We can never tell which is which. It usually takes someone we know well to pull us aside and say, "That was rough to watch."
Scene Point Blank: How large of a role does booze play in the stage banter?
Kris Megyery: 100%
Scene Point Blank: Has anything ever been misconstrued later? With the number of blogs and show review sites out there it seems like it's only a matter of time before you end up with a rivalry.
Kris Megyery: As far as being misconstrued I can't think of anything. One time we were opening up for some awful emo band and Moose had a mic and introduced every song in Albanian. Not one word of English was uttered and aside from a few chuckles it was mostly blank bored faces but I occasionally still crack up about it. I read a live review in a newspaper once that said "if you have the sense of humor of an eighth grader and absolutely hate good music The Brokedowns are the band for you."
Scene Point Blank: On the emo thing, what's the most mismatched bill you've played on?
Kris Megyery: We used to play with tons of awful bands just because there were not a whole lot of good bands around here. For a while it was just getting ridiculous but lately Chicagoland is overflowing with great bands. We're fortunate enough to not have had any real horror stories as far as mismatched bills aside from opening for Plain White T's once and Local H once. Both of which felt like being the unwelcome guest speakers at a douche convention.
Scene Point Blank: Is it a challenge to win over a new audience, or is a lost cause when this happens?
Kris Megyery: It probably is a challenge but unfortunately we're not very hard workers so either it works or it doesn't.
Scene Point Blank: What's in the works now? Are you recording?
Kris Megyery: We have a split with the Sass Dragons that will hopefully be out in October. And we have a bunch of songs recorded that will either become a bunch of splits or a new full-length. We're not sure yet.
Scene Point Blank: New Brains for Everyone was your first release on Thick. Do you consider it your debut? How do you reference the Big Action releases?
Kris Megyery: No we don't consider it our debut. We love These Colors Don't Run (The Musical). We still play songs off of it and still have copies of it. Let the Disappointment Begin is quite embarrassing. We don't even have copies of that to sell I don't think. We were pretty much a different band back then; we had a different drummer we really should have changed our name when Moose joined but he insisted on keeping it. It's probably a good idea ?cause I wanted to call the band "The Elf Farts."
Scene Point Blank: Was New Brains for Everyone released on vinyl? How about the next record?
Kris Megyery: Our friend Jim does a great label called Cassette Deck and he has talked about doing it on vinyl. As for the next record, who knows? By the time we get around to doing it all current audio formats won't exist and it will just be uploaded directly into your skull.
Scene Point Blank: I see you listed as a "Chicago-area" band in most media. Is it your mission to rep Elgin, or is this an irrelevant issue?
Kris Megyery: Well none of us live in Chicago so we don't say we are from there. We know lots of bands that do that and its kind of silly. But now none of us even live in Elgin anymore so we'll just say we're from Earth.
Scene Point Blank: You were in the Vicelords. What's going on with them?
Kris Megyery: Jon and Moose are active in the Vicelords and Eric and myself are inactive members. You can't really "leave." It isn't that easy. The Vicelords will find you. Vicelords have a full-length titled I Christen Thee Vicelords that should be out in the fall sometime.
Scene Point Blank: Do you prefer to keep busy with constant projects or do you like to have some downtime between records?
Kris Megyery: If it were up to me, we would constantly be making new music. But we don't have a practice space so it's kind of tough to do. We always feel bad having to ask people to let us play at their house. You're trying to relax and watch some Gallagher DVDs on a Thursday night but you can't hear his mallet smash a carton of eggs 'cause you've got four stoned morons playing the same riff over and over again in your basement for three hours.
Scene Point Blank: How does the band balance having day jobs and with a home life?
Kris Megyery: I'm self-employed so it's fairly easy for me but for the other guys it seems to be pretty tough finding time to do everything. I'm sure it's the same for most bands. We're pretty much the most domesticated band you could imagine. We're a living, breathing episode of Full House and I'm totally Uncle Jesse.
Scene Point Blank: With the long hair?
Kris Megyery: For sure the long hair. Shorthaired Uncle Jesse is bullshit.
Official Website: http://thebrokedowns.com
Thick Records: http://www.thickrecords.com