Monday, March 30, 2015

Win Tickets to see The Suicide Machines + More!

It's hard for me to describe what a Suicide Machines' show means to me. Detroit has changed over the last twenty years. I have changed over the last 20 years, but somehow The Suicide Machines have managed to stay relevant, fun, and entertaining throughout the last 20 years without changing the essence of who they are and what they do. Sure, the lineup has changed, their music has changed, but the experience of going to a Machines' show has remained authentic.

The Suicide Machines were the first band that I crowd surfed to, the first band that let me hang out back stage, and the first band that let me drink on the side of their stage. Their shows were always packed with young punk kids looking to have fun, dance, and let loose. When I think of a SM show, I think of sweat, screaming, unity, and fun. So much fucking fun. I think of letting loose and singing at the top of my lungs in a crowded room with tons of like minded people. The funny thing is, I'm not talking about 20 years ago, I'm talking a few months ago at Black Christmas.

Somehow, the band still gets on stage and kills it and the crowd still gets sweaty as fuck while the scream, dance, and sing along. There are always tons of younger fans at their shows, which makes me wonder to myself how the hell did you find this band while simultaneously thinking I'm so happy you found this band and get to experience this show. Lately, when Ive seen bands from my past I have felt really old, but somehow, the Machines make me feel really young again. I so am excited to see the guys back at St. Andrew's and I'm looking forward to following them as they embark on their first national tour since who knows when. I couldn't help but smile when I saw that some out of state shows like Boston were already sold out. It is nice to know that there are like minded people in other states who know that they're in for a good time. I also need to mention that every band opening the show and going out on tour with the band is amazing. This includes on of Jay's side projects Break Anchor, Rich's side project Bastardous, and Derek Grant's solo music.  It's also going to be interesting to see Derek Grant take the stage in place of Ryan V.

The Machines will kick off their tour on April 3rd in Indiana and will play their second date of fourteen shows here in Detroit. They will be playing St. Andrew's Hall on Saturday, April 4thTickets for the show are $18 in advance and doors for the show are at 6:30 p.m. You do not want to miss any of the opening acts. You also don't want to miss my up close and personal interview with Rich from The Suicide Machines. I had the rare and weird opportunity of asking a friend all those dorky band questions you can never ask in public without looking crazy. But, before you read ahead  to a learn a lot more about Rich, the Machines, and the legend that has become Black Christmas, we have a little surprise for you. We have a special prize pack to give away courtesy of Black Iris Booking and all of the bands on the lineup. We have one pair of tickets to see the show and a t-shirt from every band playing the show. You will walk away with a t-shirt of your choice from each band on the lineup! That's four shirts and entry for two into this event! If you would like to enter to win, please email your full name to We will email the winner the day before the show and give them details on how to claim their prize.

HID- When did you join the SM and what albums did you record with them?
Rich- "I joined in 2002. I recorded A Match & Some Gasoline, and War Profiteering Is Killing Us All."

HID- What is your favorite Suicide Machines song to play and why?
Rich- "Hmm… I love playing 'Your Silence', 'Capsule', 'Keep It A Crime', pretty much the later, heavier material. No dis to the ska, though! love playing all of that, too."

HID- Wikipedia says the The Suicide Machines Broke up from 2006-2009, would you say that is true?
Rich- "Yeah, I’d say that’s accurate. For one reason or another, everyone went their separate ways in 2006. We played a bachelorette party & couple of benefits in 2009 for shits and giggles. Word got out that we did those, and then we started getting a few show offers here and there. If something sounded fun, we did it. We weren’t setting out to become ‘active’ again. We’ve really only been averaging about 5 shows a year, so it’s still just a once-in-a-while kind of thing, the impending tour aside."

HID- What made you decide to go out on a big tour after taking so many years off of National and International touring?
Rich- "I mean, really, just fun. The one-offs and short runs we’ve been doing have only been cause for a bigger itch to scratch to hit the road. We’ve wanted to do a longer stretch of shows for a few years now, so it’s nice to be finally, albeit barely, pulling it off. I mean, Ryan couldn’t even break away to come out with us for these two weeks, so Derek Grant is making the trek with us. If Derek couldn’t have made it, we wouldn’t have done it. It’s tricky! (Cue RUN DMC.)"

HID- What city are you most looking forward to playing in?
Rich- "To be honest, I’m really excited we’re doing another show at St. Andrews Hall. We haven’t played there in ages. It has always been a special place to play for me. I’ve seen so many incredible shows there over the years, I always feel honored to grace that stage.

Aside from that, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to play Boston. We haven’t played there in something like 8 or 9 years. We have a lot of friends there I can’t wait to catch up with. I’ve always felt an affinity between Boston and Detroit – everyone I’ve ever met from there are honest, tough, good-hearted people. Everyone feels like family. It’s a home away from home."

HID- What kinda song lineup can we expect on this tour? Old Stuff, new stuff?
Rich- "Haha, old! We’re playing Destruction By Definition from start to finish. People have been asking for years, so their wishes have been granted."

HID- Tell us a little about the bands that are opening for you on tour.
Rich- "Well, funny thing about the tour is – Almost everyone in The Suicide Machines is their own opening act! Break Anchor (Jay Navarro), Bastardous (me), and Derek Grant (Um, well, Derek Grant, duh) solo will be opening. We all have new records out or in the works, so it’s one big Michigan punk-ska-rock dance party. Derek’s solo record Breakdown came out on Red Scare in January, Break Anchor’s new record In A Van Down By The River will be out April 7th on Paper + Plastick, and my newest endeavor, BASTARDOUS, will be releasing our self-titled debut on Bellyache Records Friday, April 3rd. Three differently styled acts, but all from the same collective family. It’s going to be a great bill. I personally am excited to do two sets a night. It’ll feel great to play that much."

HID- Is it true that you are the man behind Black Christmas? If so whats the story behind that fest?
Rich- "Well, I think the quickest answer is that Black Christmas was born out of necessity for Ramona (Caldwell, Black Iris Booking) and The Suicide Machines to put together the best possible show the Friday after Christmas.
The long answer? Well…

A few years back, we (The Suicide Machines) started doing our Christmas shows again (we used to
do them way back in the day, too). We’d always book them with Ramona/Black Iris Booking. Ramona & I would be working on the Machines show lineup/details/etc., and she’d occasionally mention the challenge of juggling her other bands that were reuniting for their own Christmas shows. There was always a conflict of interest - one band hurting the other bands’ draws. I think it took a year or two for us to realize – “Hey! Why don’t we put ALL of the ‘ Christmas shows’ on ONE bill!?” When I say “All of the Christmas shows,” what I mean is, y’know, Mustard Plug always does a weekend of Christmas shows, and then there would always be a bunch of bands whose members lived out of state that wanted to do a quick reunion since everyone was back home to see Mom & Dad. “Oh shit! Everyone from the Parka Kings will be home, they should do a show!” type stuff. Last year it was Telegraph. Putting any of those four bands up against each other is foolish. Putting all four on one bill is epic! Ramona wanted a name for it, we brainstormed, and Jay came up with “Black Christmas.”

How it usually works is - Suicide Machines pick out some bands to invite, Ramona picks out some bands, we see who’s on board, and then Ramona, Sarah (Norton), and I work out the rest. Ramona & Sarah do the heavy logistical lifting (contacting, negotiating, coordinating). I do just a little bit of reaching out, and then the scheduling for the night. When picking bands, I feel like my role is to come at it from a fan’s perspective - I try to think about which bands would bring the “What the fuck!?” factor needed to get people to the show that might not make the trip. What’s going to get the regulars out? What’ll get the someone that goes to one show a year out? I want it to be this show! – Is it unexpected reunions, maybe someone from out of town that no one might expect, a combination of bands you wouldn’t see anywhere else, or a few surprises here and there? Lately, it’s been all of the above. It’s generally a huge pain in the ass, but once the day comes, it’s worth every bit of sweat and blood."

HID- Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Rich- "Check out our new Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. We finally have that stuff after all of these years!"


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