Chicago ska-pop septet Blue Meanies celebrate the release of their new album Full Throttle. Interview by Steve Tauschke with Blue Meanies bassist Dave Lund.
So is it true Blue Meanies met at a MotoX race?
"Half of us yes!"
Do you still ride?
"Not so much anymore. We're on the road so much. I actually wish I didn't have a bike anymore. It's an old Honda. We're just too busy driving around in our van. We're constantly touring, touring too much. But we love it. We're getting a little sick of the US so we're going to Australia and Japan."
Much has been made of Californian ska bands .. how's the scene in Chicago?
"It's great! We have a guy here called Chuck, he's a local DJ and he pretty much revived the mid-west ska scene with bands like Suicide Machine and Mustard Plug and us, well we don't really claim to be a ska band. But he kind of really got the scene going again here in the mid-west."
You have an early EP featuring covers from Motorhead to the Turtles .. there's a fair gulf between the two stylistically?
"I'm more of a Motorhead fan but I had fun covering the Turtles song. Our keyboard player is the big Turtles fan. We originally did that for a picture disc 10"that we released on our record label here."
You seem to enjoying toying around with covers versions.
"On our official releases we don't really put covers on there. Well, I guess there is a couple, I take that back (laughs). The Hot Chips (label) wanted some extra stuff and we had some we'd done for the 10". We also did another cover called Dummy Room on the album by a Chicago band called The Vindictives."
What a great band .. are they still kicking around?
"They are a great band. Actually, we had originally recorded that song to do as a 7" split with a friend's band but which we never ended up doing. The Vindictives singer Joey has a lot of medical problems. I read an article about all the medical problems he's had and he's had some really bad luck. I know he got into a car accident which compounded some of the problems. So they may play a show here or there but not much. Live, we don't play that many covers. People still want to hear Ace Of Spades or more recently Happy Together but since we got a new guitarist a couple of months back we haven't learned that yet. But covers are just for fun and everybody takes them that way."
You must get all types coming to the shows?
"Sure, we get all kinds of people, little girls and boys on up to people in their early 50s, well, not so many of them, haha! But every once in a while you'll run into somebody who seems a little older and that's kind of cool because they seem to be able to process it a bit better and talk about it whereas kids just like it because they like it - which is good too."
I believe one old timer in Neil Diamond saw one of your shows in New Jersey and signed you to a publishing deal?
"Yeah, we're on Bicycle Music out in Los Angeles, a publishing company started by Neil and another guy. They're our publishing administrators and they get us all sorts of stuff in movies and commercials and that sort of thing.'
Did you get to meet the great man?
"I didn't get to meet him. He got hold of something and mailed us and I just heard about it after the fact. I don't think he was at the show for very long."