1. How did you get your band name? Originally I wanted to call it "The Social Club" because I want an inclusive relationship with our fans rather than the traditional band versus fan relationship where the band is put on a pedestal and sometimes beyond the fans' reach. I attempted to get the URL TheSocialClub.com and discovered it was already taken. Not only was it taken but it was taken by a group that was a little more participatory than we planned for the band - - TheSocialClub.com is a swinger club! Not exactly what we were looking for. The next day, while driving to LAX, I passed Manchester Blvd and the name resonated with me. I have family from northern England near Manchester and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge Man U (Manchester United soccer) fan!
2. How did this band get started? My goal was to blend American and English indie/punk influences and create a "social club". Being a "social club" not only connects me with fans more tightly but it also enables me to switch the line-up of drums/bass/rhythm guitar and play with amazing, different musicians depending on where I am in the world.
3. What bands are you influenced by? Way too many to list but a few are The Clash, Social Distortion, Rancid, The Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones, The Libertines, Dropkick Murphys, Frank Turner, and the list goes on and on.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why? Pretty much any of my influences but I'd love to tour with Mike Ness (with Social Distortion or his solo band). He has created such a signature sound that many people across generations have connected to. That coupled with the fact that 30 years and 9 albums later his songs still represent the voice of the common blue collar worker. The parties on a Dropkick tour would be crazy. I also think touring with The Hold Steady would be great since Craig Finn and I both grew up and cut our teeth in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. And then also who doesn't want to sit down with Joe Strummer?
5. Best food to eat on tour? On a budget or no? Subway is always a good call.
6. Why should people listen to your band? In today’s music bands rarely have something to say. More often than not the message is, "party party - life is great - party". I think this creates an illusion that the life of a musician is one big party…a lifestyle the fans will only dream of but never have. That’s just not the case in real life. Yes life as a musician does have some amazing moments, but those amazing moments are coupled with life’s dark times; just like everyone else. The Manchester Social Club isn't afraid to let people into our real lives, show them everyone has good times and bad times. In our songs we say and stand up for what we believe. Through our songs, we also want to encourage fans to stand up for their own beliefs, whatever those beliefs are.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with? I'll have to go with Cristiano Ronaldo. I would say Beckham or Rooney but Ronaldo's played for both Man U and Real Madrid.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank? Congress -- for giving me fodder to write about.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I would strip the money grubbing execs from their jobs, make them janitors, and replace them with one of the thousand intelligent people who actually care about great music that stands for something.
10. Memorable tour experience? You know, whoever buys the furniture for hotels really needs to think before buying. On one occasion we grabbed a legless couch, and began surfing it down the stairs to the lobby. Then we booked a Holiday Inn just outside of Des Moines and found foot stools on rollers at the end of each hallway. We proceeded to set them up facing each other in the middle of the hallway, ran and jumped on them and began jousting.
11. What does AP.net mean to you? With so many music websites that just blow smoke in hopes of getting the attention of the labels/adverts, it's killer to have an authentic site that’s dedicated to punk and that puts the music first.
12. What is your favorite song to play? Out of the songs off our new album "Soapbox Standards," I really enjoy playing “One By One” and “We Won't Go Down.” The songs are a bit opposite of each other. "One By One" talks about how we've rolled over and let the government control us in a sense, but then the flip side of that is "We Won't Go Down."
13. What is your vacation spot of choice? I'd have to say Paris/London/anywhere in Spain. The people and how they live in Europe is vastly different than how we do here in the states. Then also the art and culture in all these places - it’s constant inspiration.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood? I'd have to say Guns n Roses. My parents were huge fans and I learned to play guitar by learning "Appetite for Destruction;” playing more in the pocket while being a tad sloppy at times.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? Anything that would help me get a date with Emma Watson.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals? Couple cigarettes, a few whisky cokes. And I tend to constantly pace back and forth before shows.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you? I also love underground hip hop (Atmosphere, Brother Ali, etc).
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish? Considering that most big radio is owned by a few media conglomerates (Clear Channel, CBS, etc), it’s hard to appreciate local radio. That being said, I do love indie and college stations that are free to select the music they like based solely on the music itself.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time? What working indie musician has spare time? But I do love watching a good soccer match with a Boddingtons.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have? Well they're hidden; isn't that the point?