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Interviews: The Methadones talk their legacy, the state of punk, and new music

The Methadones have been a staple in the punk rock scene for many years. Led by lead vocalist and guitarist Dan Vapid, the band has produced some of the greatest albums of the genre. The band has recently reunited to play a series of high profile shows, including the upcoming Punk Rock Raduno in Bergamo, Italy. Punknews’ Jason Baygood recently had the chance to speak with the guys to discuss the current state of the band. You can check it out below.

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Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Let’s bring the folks up to speed. What have you guys been doing music career wise since we last saw you on stage back in 2017 in Chicago?

Dan: I’m a father of three, married, work for the USPS, and play in Dan Vapid and the Cheats. I enjoy writing songs and do so regularly. I’m in the busiest time of my life. Kids will do that.

Pete: I think that is when I first started playing in the Bollweevils. I have played many shows with them since that time but I have recently moved to Florida so I can only join them for occasional shows now.

Mike: I played in Dan Vapid and The Cheats and Airstream Futures.

Simon: I’m new to the band, but I’ve played in The Cheats with Dan and Soucy for around 11 years.

Before the world shut down, you had multiple shows planned back in 2000. This included shows in St. Louis, Chicago, and the annual Punk Rock Raduno in Bergamo, Italy. Did such cancellations discourage future plans or make the desire to do them even stronger?

Dan: We just waited it out. We all have things going on in our lives and knew that time would pass. When the pandemic settled down we got back out there.

Pete: Actually, this year we are trying to play almost all of those same shows. The only one that is missing from that list was a festival we were supposed to do in Germany right before Raduno. No clue what happened to that though.

Mike: In the beginning I didn’t want anything to do with playing for over a year. But when Simon and I started practicing about a year ago, I wanted to do nothing BUT play. It’s a pretty cool feeling and I really hope to do more next year. ​

Simon: I didn’t do anything for the best part of a year and a half. Didn’t go out or see anyone. Now that we are finally able to play these shows, it’s awesome. Soucy and I have been practicing every week for a while now and are locked in. These shows so far have been a blast and we can’t wait to do more. I was fortunate enough to catch your first reunion show since the 2017 shows a few weeks ago at T1 fest in Chicago. Personally speaking, that show was phenomenal. What are your guys’ thoughts on the performance?

Dan: Great. I think the enthusiasm between the members is what’s most inspiring. Back when we were a band (2010) we were stuck in a negative feedback loop. Now it seems mostly positive, at least from my perspective.

Pete: I felt like that was an amazing show. I feel like we played well because the energy of the crowd was spectacular.

Mike: I thought it was one of our best ever. We’re a different band than we were in 2010 and I think our focus is better now. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the crowd, but they were amazing.

Simon: That was my first show playing with The Methadones and it felt great! I love playing with Dan, Soucy, and Pete. We sounded great and the crowd was awesome.

How much preparation went into that show as well as the follow up show in St. Louis? Was it difficult to draft the setlist?

Dan: Mike Soucy and Simon practiced a lot, which helped tremendously. They both live in Chicago. Pete and I practiced on our own. I am in southern Illinois and Pete is in Tampa, Florida. It took a few hours to select songs. We all had songs we knew we wanted in there and took it from there. I had to go back and listen to them and think of an order. Thankfully, we agreed rather quickly.

Pete: There were several text messages between us about that. At the end of the day, I was too busy with other stuff to worry too much about it. The other guys sent the list that they had worked out and I thought it was pretty good.​

Simon: I think Dan worked the setlist out a while back while we were still on some sort of lockdown/restrictions easing. It gave me time to learn it and get familiar with the songs. I think the current set flows really well.

Fans certainly noticed the lineup change with the departure of long time guitarist Mike Byrne and the presence of Dan Vapid and the Cheats guitarist Simon Lamb. Anything you can tell us about this lineup change?

Dan: Sure, we get to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about certain factors I won’t get into. That’s private. Some of those factors create that negative feedback loop. That part has been replaced by something more positive. The engine of morale runs better. The lack of enthusiasm is a killer for a band. Many times when that goes you can drive the nail right into the coffin.

Finally after years of planning, the Methadones will make it to Bergamo for this year’s installment of Punk Rock Raduno. Is an event like this surreal for the band?

Dan: It is. That’s why I always try to go back. All of my favorite things in this world come together at once and make for a beautiful and fulfilling life experience.

Pete: I’m pretty excited about it. The last time we played in Italy was in 2008. Those were the best shows of the tour. I’m always happy to go somewhere that is somewhat outside of my comfort zone.

Mike: I can’t wait to play. Like Pete said, Northern Italy always had the best shows for both Methadones and Cheats. The crowd always knows our songs and has such a great energy. It is surreal telling people I’m leaving the country to play in Italy! Incredibly humbling and it reminds me of just how fortunate I am.

Simon: I agree with Dan, Pete, and Soucy. We are so fortunate to be able to travel across the world and to play in a place as beautiful as Italy. The fans there truly are the best around. There isn’t much that beats that.

Does the band have anything special planned for this set?

Mike: Nothing too different from what we did in Chicago. If we book more shows later this year and into next, we’ll revisit the set and make some changes. Theres ​​an unreleased song called “We Were Gonna Murder Arthur Dubar” floating around out there that we might do at some point!

Let’s talk for a bit about the current state of punk rock and especially the pop punk bubble in which the band exists. What has changed in your opinion, for better or worse, since the band was last active?

Dan: My goal was to always pop that bubble and say “C’mon guys, we can explore these roads as well. It’s ok. Trust me!” Sometimes the pop-punk scene feels like they’re always pitching a tent in their backyard. No, new adventures or landscapes. Many are content in a nostalgic standstill. Part of me understands that and the other side fights it. Yin and yang shit. I felt that way when the Methadones started and feel that way now. What has changed is that people are older. They have kids. Some which are young and tied up at home. Responsibilities change. Needs of the day change. The fan base shrinks. Some people write the sub genre off entirely, fair or not. Some of the very things that changed our lives are now kept away from.

Mike: I never thought of us as a pop-punk band. I always thought there were too many rules assigned to pop punk. But bands like The Dwarves, The Menzingers, and The Peawees play pop-punk that falls outside of those rules. I love those bands.

Simon: I can’t stand the term “pop-punk.” I’m way out of the loop with current bands in that genre, but I’ve been told there is another wave happening with younger bands…

As an avid vinyl collector myself, I have seen many veteran bands regain popularity due to album reissues. How has the reissue pressings of your past catalog impacted your fan base? Do you feel these have been of interest to only existing fans or an introduction to a whole new generation of fans?

Dan: Good question. I have limited experience with this question but tend to think it’s a combination of both. Vinyl collecting can give rise to taking a chance on a band, it seems. At least in a live setting. Will chew on this one for a while.

Pete: I don’t know. I think these shows that coincide with the vinyl release of the record give an opportunity to younger fans who didn’t get a chance to see us before to do so. I think that’s pretty cool. ​

Speaking of physical releases, what is your take on the resurgence of formats which were more popular prior to the CD era of The Methadones? I am speaking specifically of labels popping up dedicated solely to cassette, vinyl, and even 8-track.

Pete: WAIT!? 8 track!? I had no clue. I know about the vinyl and cassette tape resurgence. Although I may not totally get it, I do like that it’s easier for a band to produce their own cassette tapes and distribute them to people than it is for maybe CDs or especially vinyl.

Mike: I think it’s cool that people want those things, but for me it just takes up space. I’ll stick with vinyl and digital. Dan: It’s fine with me. Whatever floats that boat of yours and gets you rowing is my preference. To me, it’s about music not format.

Simon: I get the vinyl thing but cassettes and 8 tracks… I have no idea what anyone would want those formats.

Does the band have a preference on format for the release of music?

Pete: I have always been a fan of CDs and vinyl. I like the sound of the CDs but I like that the vinyl is big and you can look at the cover and whatever might be inserted in there.

Simon: Digital and vinyl.

Dan: I do not. I just want it to sound like it was intended to sound.

Overall, what format has produced more sales for the band’s lifetime? Physical or digital?

Dan: Believe it or not, the compact disc is the winner. You wouldn’t think that, but I’ve seen the data and the numbers don’t lie. Haha​

Mike: Probably digital. We recently got 2 albums back from our old record label so we get all the money directly now. It’s not a lot of money, but clearly over time it generated more income than CDs or vinyl.

You knew this question was coming since we are discussing releases: are there plans at the moment for new material from The Methadones?

Dan: We’ll see. If demand is there I don’t mind filling it. I love these guys and want to play with them whenever possible. That said, I do have a band (Dan Vapid and the Cheats) I need to focus my limited time on. That’s why I have been doubling up on these shows.

Pete: I don’t think we’ve really discussed it, but I would not be opposed to it.

Mike: Simon and I have been throwing some ideas around. Personally I’d love to do new material.

Simon: After St. Louis last weekend, we spoke about it in the morning at Dan’s place. I think it’s something that might happen organically if we keep going the way we are going just now. The band has experienced much success since first forming. Countless releases and tours to boot. Is there anything the band has NOT accomplished that you wish it had? If so, would such a thing still be a possibility?

Dan: Sure, lots. I wanted to tour Japan, South America, Australia, and visit some European cities we didn’t get a chance to play. Nothing is impossible, we would just have to go over the logistics to see if it could work or not.

Pete: Personally, I was always bummed that we never went to Japan as a band. Maybe a couple of other places as well. We toured in Europe but we never went to the UK. I would like to go there as well with this band.

Mike: Japan and South America for sure. Pete and I toured the UK a few times with The Bomb and we were constantly asked when The Methadones would make it over. I bet it would be a blast.

Simon: Scotland!​

Anything else you want to let the fine folks who read Punknews know about at this time?

Dan: Thank you for making this interview happen. Cheers!

Source: punknews.org

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