To recap Fest 5 (2006), we caught up with Ian MacDougall, guitarist of the Riverboat Gamblers. The Gamblers won’t be playing Fest 10, but they’ve played enough Fests to hold the honored title of alumni. The band recently released Smash/Grab.
Scene Point Blank: How did you get involved with The Fest?
Ian: We are really good friends with Tony from No Idea. I'm not sure, but maybe this was around the time that To the Confusion of Our Enemies was pressed on vinyl through No Idea. Either way it was a blast. We played a show with Dead To Me, Lifetime, and None More Black. It was my first time seeing None More Black and I thought they were great.
Scene Point Blank: What’s your dominant memory from Fest 5?
Ian: I remember that me and Pat (our bass player at the time) were at that pizza place up a ways away from where everything goes down. We had those vouchers they give you for a free piece of pizza and a coke or something, I don’t really remember. I do remember looking at the time and realizing that Paint It Black were about to go on and that that was the one band we were really really stoked on seeing. We dropped everything and bolted down the road for what seemed like miles—but which, I'm sure, were just blocks—all out of shape and shit. We got there just in time to catch their set and it was great! Little did I know that we would tour together and make great friends with them a couple years later. I also remember watching a totally fucked-up, bare ass naked dude running away from people who were trying to stop him from driving home from either the Lifetime show or Dillinger Four show. Most likely D4.
Scene Point Blank: Did you watch many other bands? Do you recall a favorite?
Ian: I don’t really remember, as we weren't there for that long. Both the Blacks (None More and Paint It) were great. I...think...I saw Dillinger 4. I don’t remember too clearly. I think that’s what is supposed to happen there: time traveling from date of arrival to the few hours before you leave three days later sitting at a waffle house with Paddy Costello and Davey Tiltwheel comparing stick and poke skull tattoos and the deep artistic meanings of what it says underneath or over them. Punx.
Scene Point Blank: So how does Fest compare to other festivals you’ve played?
Ian: It’s up there with being one of the best in terms of familiarity with everyone who you're dealing with upon arrival. I remember that being really easy because festivals are usually a total fucking hassle. Check in here; go over there; put your gear here; now walk over there; you can only hang out in your dressing room for this amount of time before you have to go over here; can’t stand here blah blah. Who knows, maybe it was a hassle. I had a blast though. All your friends are there and you don't have to deal with all the ego and bullshit of seeing guys in bands that think they are hot shit walking around your town with stupid badges on their necks thinking that it’s some kind of award or medal for being a total fucking douche bag.
Scene Point Blank: You’re from a music/college town. How does it compare to Gainesville?
Ian: I dunno, I mean I always tell people in town for SXSW in Austin that “This is not Austin, so don't think that this is what it’s like all the time.” And the only time I can really think of ever going to Gainesville was during Fest so I'm sure that it wasn't a real representation of the town. So I guess I wouldn't really know.
I would love to go back. Everyone I've met from that place is really swell and has nothing but good things to say about it. Can’t wait to!
Scene Point Blank: To change gears a little, what influenced the song, “The Tearjerker?”
Ian: "The Tearjerker" was originally an uptempo anthem-y kinda rocker. We ended up trying it a few different ways musically and the final product seemed more interesting than the other ways we were playing it. We added some cool things like 12 string acoustic guitars (I kinda wanted to do a Killing Moon type thing) and that crazy slide guitar that a pal of Andrew Murdock came in and put down. Lyrically it’s got a big “break-up” vibe.
Scene Point Blank: Have you thought about repressing your first album or Backsides on vinyl?
Ian: Backsides is technically a 3rd record compiled of b-sides, covers, and collaborations with other dudes in bands. Jamie Wednesday wrote a song. Mark and Jeff from the Marked Men helped on a few songs and recorded the whole thing, too. It’s actually one of my favorites of all the stuff that the band put out before I joined, so I would love to see it on vinyl. There are no plans in the near future to have it pressed, but it’s definitely something to think about.
Scene Point Blank: Why did you pick “Heaven is Falling” for the Bad Religion tribute?
Ian: Fadi was behind all that. He loves that album and that song specifically. I think I remember him saying that he had wanted to cover that song just in general. Anyways, we hopped into a studio in the middle of tour, learned and recorded it all in one day. Had a blast!
Scene Point Blank: What about the split with Andrew W.K.? How did that come about?
Ian: Volcom set that up. We got a call asking if we wanted to do a split with Andrew W.K. and it was a resounding “yes” from all of us!
Scene Point Blank: As a band that’s on the road quite frequently, which city, outside of the US, is the most fun to play?
Ian: Gronigen is pretty great. They have a club there called VERA and the entire staff treats you so well. They've housed lots of people I look up to musically, and even give you a place to stay. Most venues in that area of the country do. I love that place!
Interview: Loren and Aaron
Photography: Gary Copeland