Groovey TV

American Standards Talk About Social Commentary and…The Jonas Brothers?

Phoenix hardcore band American Standards are currently on their Anti-Melody Tour in support of their latest album by the same name.  I caught up with the band at their recent show at 7th Circle Music Collective in Denver, CO to talk about music, yoga, and The Jonas Brothers.

Groovey.TV: Your album Anti-Melody came out about a month ago.  What have been some of the more notable moments since its release?

Mitch: This tour.  This is probably the most notable thing.  It’s been super fun so far.  It’s a lot of places we’ve played before, but not the same venues so it’s always really cool to go into those same scenes and get to see new places.  And for me, I’ve never been to a lot of these cities myself, I joined the band about two years ago so I’m getting to see a lot of new places now.

GTV: What’s it like touring with these guys?

Mitch: Well I’ve been touring since I was 16, so I’m used to touring, just not with these guys.  But it’s been awesome.  I was just telling my mom that on the phone.  But [our van] stinks.  We’ve got a can of Lysol for it now.

Brandon: I feel bad for the merch bin. Every time we open that thing up, I’m like ‘people are buying this stuff and it smells horrible. Why does it smell like that?’

Mitch: It’s the ink Brandon.

Brandon: Mitch is totally sure it’s ink, but I’m not positive.  I think everything just stinks.  But this tour has been crazy.  For example, we played this house show not too long ago – we try not to play house shows because you just never know if you’re actually going to play – and it was actually one of the best shows on the tour.  There were like, 70 kids stuffed into this living room and they weren’t there to fight, they were just there to have a good time.  They were crowd surfing in the living room, mosh pitting, and everything else.  It was fantastic.  We played a big one in Tulsa at the VanGuard with Hanson, the guys popular for MmmBop.

Steven: It was beer festival and they played right before us.

GTV: So they were like your opener?  Do you tell people that Hanson opened for American Standards?

Brandon: I mean, they haven’t been popular since the 90s so it’s kind of obvious.

Mitch: They had a single a couple of years ago.

Brandon: Oh really? MmmBop 2? Kidz Bop?

 Brandon: Every time you play with a band that you look up to you dream about having beers after the show and hanging out and talking.  Normally it’s like ‘hey, you had a good set’ and that’s pretty much all.  With them, we got to hang out beforehand, on the stage they talked about us, they picked up some t-shirts, we talked about wrestling.  They gave us some vinyls of the Salem EP before it even came out.  And then afterwards they were like ‘do you want to go back to the hotel? We have an open bar’ and we went there and hung out.  That’s what you dream would happen.

GTV: You’ve shared the stage with some other heavy hitters in the hardcore scene, which is a tough scene to break into.  Do you feel like those bands are welcoming of newer bands?

Steven: It’s weird to say cause if you look at my 13 year-old self and compare to my 30 year-old self it’s something I would freak out about.  And now I realize that they’re just people. They are all really cool people.  We had a show with 68 and after the show we were hanging out and Corey and I asked them if they needed help getting stuff on stage and they were like ‘no, we’re okay man’ and we started talking about equipment for an hour.  Talking about amps and pedals and I’m like ‘wait a minute, this is one of the bands I used to look up to’.  I used to pay money to see them play and now we’re just hanging out and talking.  It’s really funny.

Brandon: We’ve never experienced the rock star mentality from the bands that we have played with.  We’ll get that from a local band more often than we’ll get it from a national band.  I think that comes from national bands knowing to treat other bands the way they would want to be treated, as cliché as it sounds.  The only times we’ve had experiences that were lackluster were bands that have been doing it for 15-20 years and you can tell that they’re just going through the motions.  They think, ‘I load in, I play, I load out, I hang out on the van’.  Which isn’t bad.  We know what it’s like to be out on the road and how you want to take naps sometimes and not be around people.  But we’ve never had anyone do anything negatively.

GTV: I’ve actually heard a lot recently that local bands are usually harder to deal with than national bands.

Mitch: There’s a weird attitude when a band gets to a certain level it seems like, locally.  When people start showing up to your shows you start thinking you’re hot shit.  It either happens or it doesn’t.  It seems like when it happens those bands just go away cause nobody wants to hang out with a bunch of douchebags.

GTV: As a band, what do you want people to walk away from your show remembering?

Steven: I will say I hope they don’t walk away with any injuries.

Mitch: It happens though.

Brandon: I thought I broke my fingers last night.  I punched the stage.  It’s not that bad right now but it looked like a huge lump yesterday.

Corey:  It was twice the height of that.

Brandon:  I literally thought I broke those two fingers.  But now they feel fine.  Immediately when I got off stage there was a man sitting at the bar that said ‘you want to do a shot of whiskey and another beer.’  Did that, went in the van, fell asleep, woke up, and bam.

Mitch:  But for a real answer to that, personally I want people to come off motivated.  When I would go to shows I would see half an hour of an hour long set and think ‘I’ve got to go home and play drums’.  For me personally, that’s what I want is for people to be so amped up about the set and they’re so excited about it that they’re like ‘I’m going to go home now and I want to write music’ and ‘I want to share this with people’.

Brandon: It would be cool if people walked away and felt like there was a community vibe to it.  I think there are certain shows and you feel like the odd-man out to it cause there’s the hardcore kids, the metal kids, or whatever cliché group they’re in and you feel like you’re outside of that.  I think it would be awesome for people to feel like they’re apart of these and to meet new people and new experiences.   Either that or I want them to walk away thinking ‘that band was absolutely horrible and I can do better’ and then they go off and do it themselves.  Honestly, that’s what got me into music.  I remember seeing a local band a long time ago and I remember thinking ‘I don’t even play guitar, but I can do this’.  And then I started doing it and now I’ve been doing it for 15 years.  So if someone hates us so much that it inspires them to do something great then that’s fine with me.  I just don’t want them to be lukewarm.

GTV: What is the craziest thing to happen at one of your shows?

Brandon: Corey gave a girl a black eye.  He’s also given himself a black eye multiple times.

Mitch: We had a show where there were a bunch of fights.  There were like, 20 people there and they all started fighting; it was a whole ordeal.  Cause we’re not about that at all, we hate that kind of stuff.

Brandon: I should say when Corey gave her a black eye it was not on purpose.  He’s not a woman beater, the microphone fell off stage.  It was her first show ever and she keeps saying it’s the best thing she’s ever been to.  She posted this YouTube video about it afterwards.  We felt so bad we were just like ‘take all our merch, take everything we own’.  She was a champion about it.  There’s definitely been some ups and downs.

Corey: We did two house shows at my parents’ house once and we did a huge circle pit and some guy’s ass went through the wall.

Brandon: It made the perfect ass print.

GTV: How did your parents’ feel about that?

Corey: Eh, they dug it.

Brandon: They fixed it like, the next day, didn’t they?

Corey: Yeah, we just went out and fixed it up.

GTV: That’s some supportive parents right there.

Corey: Yup. It’s awesome.

GTV: Your album just came out and you are currently on tour, but is there anything new in the future that we should be aware of?

Steven: We’ve actually already been talking about writing.  We have a few riffs already started.  So once we got one thing finished we’re already back into it.  So that’s one big thing and we’re already discussing going back out, depending on how it works out.

Brandon: There is a festival that we’ve done a couple of times in Idaho that we might do a west coast tour for in August.  We really all want to do an east coast tour.  Maybe in the next year it’d be awesome to get out to the UK.   The people that actually press our vinyl are from the UK, so those are all things that we really want to do.  But like Steve says, we wrote this album two years ago, we recorded it a year ago as of June so this stuff is already old to us.  So we’re ready to start writing new stuff.

Mitch: And I mixed it so I hate it.  I’ve heard these songs so many times.

Brandon: This is going to be the first time ever in six years that we wrote another album with the exact same lineup.  We have a new member every time, usually the drummer.

Steven: But Mitch has been sticking around.

Brandon: We made him sign a contract.  We gave him a promise ring.

GTV: So you’re saying you’re like the Jonas Brothers of 2017?

Brandon: Essentially.

Mitch: We’ve drawn that comparison.

GTV: If you were a Jonas Brother, which one would you be?

Mitch: Nick Jonas

GTV: Are you only saying that cause he’s the only one you know?

Brandon: I’m trying to remember the others.  Which one sings ‘Body Is A Wonderland’?

Mitch: That’s John Mayer.

Brandon: That’s the Jonas Brother, I am John Mayer.

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Photo Credit: Go-Go.  Check out Go-Go’s American Standards gallery.

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