One of the best ways of discovering new bands is by checking out who’s opening for my favorite bands. So when Lehigh Valley, PA’s Refuse The Conformity opened for Patent Pending back in June at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, I sat down with the band for an interview before the show.
Read on for the interview!
CIRCLES & SOUNDWAVES: For the record, can you all please state your name, your role in the band, and one random fact about yourself?
REFUSE THE CONFORMITY:
Charlie: Hi, I’m Charlie. I play guitar and I sing, and I’m obsessed with Lost and Green Day.
Sal: I’m Sal, I play the drums, and I hate Oprah.
Colby: I’m Colby, I play bass-
Charlie: -and back-up vocals, put that down-
Colby: -and I am- people call me “immature”, but it’s just a word that boring people use to describe people who are fun.
C&S: Where does the band name, “Refuse the Conformity”, come from?
Charlie: I went to a Catholic school my freshman year of high school, which was not very fun, and I was very against most of the things that they taught and preached and everything, and I was very against how most of the kids there were, and I was very different from how most of the kids there were. They were all listening to the same type of music and I was listening to punk-rock, and I wasn’t dressing like they were, so I was basically “refusing the conformity.” We made the band, and Sal was kind of in the same boat as me, even though he was in 8th grade at the time.
C&S: You talk about liking punk music; what does “punk” mean to you?
Charlie: It means to me just having fun.
Sal: It means love.
Charlie: So many musicians are just way too uptight and serious about everything that they’re doing, I think that one of the best things about being in a punk band is just having so much fun- kind of almost, like, treating it like a party, every show, and not really worrying.
Sal: You worry all the freaking time!
Colby: Tickets suck.
Charlie: Tickets do suck- you can worry about [selling] tickets. But other than that, you should really just have fun, and that’s really why I love punk music so much.
C&S: Talk to me about your favorite bands and biggest influences.
Charlie: My favorite band and biggest influence has always been and will always be Green Day. I’ve been obsessed with them since I was seven or eight years old; I love them. They were what got me in to the whole punk scene since I was a little kid.
Sal: I’m also a fan of Green Day. Other influences are blink-182, Good Charlotte, Bowling for Soup.
Colby: Well, really, this isn’t “my” kind of music, but I like to play it, I enjoy playing it. They sort of taught me to like it, if that makes any sense. Influence-wise, for my playing, when I first joined a punk band, it wasn’t really me, so I had to kind of transition, and the bands that really stuck with me were Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco- going from being the dubstep-slash-Black Sabbath-slash-White Stripes going to blink-182 is not the smoothest, but-
Sal: But he pulls it off.
C&S: How would you describe your music to someone from the 1950s?
Charlie: Angry, and… offensive. If it was someone from the 1950s, I would say they would find it offensive.
C&S: When you get to the venue for a show, what’s the first thing that you do?
Charlie: Meet the bands, stress over tickets, and talk to Clare. [Points to Clare, sitting to his right; Clare laughs.] Clare is our friend.
Sal: Clare is the sickest fan ever.
Charlie: We just met her today… what’s your last name?
Charlie: She has two first names, “Clare Kelly.”
C&S: What’s your favorite part of playing a show?
Clare: I like to scream.
Charlie: I love seeing the crowd’s reactions to everything; it’s pretty awesome. And by “crowd”, I mean Clare. [Clare and Charlie laugh.] No, it’s awesome to see the crowd’s reaction to everything that we do. It’s a fun time.
Sal: It’s pretty awesome, just the rush of playing on stage and having people watch you, but seeing the crowd’s reaction is probably the best part of it.
Colby: Acting like a complete moron, and people applauding you for it!
C&S: So you’re about to record a full-length…
Charlie: [Nods.] We’re about to record our first legit album that doesn’t suck. We made an EP about a year ago, and it’s trash, so we’re recording a new album next week. It’s called Fire! Fire!, and it should be released sometime this summer.
C&S: What’s the first thing you do when you get off stage?
Charlie: Hug each other.
Clare: That’s the wrong answer!
Colby: We do that every time, though!
C&S: Clare, what’s the right answer?
Clare: They hug me!
Charlie: No, Clare, we hug each other. We hug each other and basically say good job. And then we get ready for Patent Pending, because we always play with them.
C&S: What’s your response to haters or anybody who doubts your band?
Charlie: I don’t really care, I mean, I would just say I don’t really care what they think. If they don’t like us, then they don’t like us. We’ve had plenty of people that didn’t like what we were doing from the start, I mean, any kid that’s gonna start a band in high school is gonna get shit for it, because they’re starting a band in high school. We’re young kids and we’re doing things that most young kids don’t have the balls to do, to be honest, so I think a lot of kids don’t like us for the fact that we’re in a band at this age. I don’t really care at this point; I’m having fun, I’m 16, and I’m in a band, having a good time.
Sal: I’d tell them to go fuck themselves, probably.
C&S: Anything else you guys want to say?
Charlie: Check us out and keep updated with what we’re doing. There’s some cool stuff coming up in the next few months; it’s gonna be awesome.
Sal: Colby’s gonna get a new sweater vest.
C&S: Thank you for the interview!
Charlie: Yeah, thank you for interviewing us.
Thanks for the interview, guys!
[Editor’s Note- Fire! Fire! will be released this fall. Date TBD- stay tuned for updates!]