Expectations. They're something every band contends with. Once you've established yourself with one record, people are certain
they know what they're getting with the next. But it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes it's time for a band to
take a step forward, to defy expectations and jump into something new.
Such was the case for Boys Night Out, a band that made this leap with their most recent album, "Trainwreck."
A concept piece based on a story of love, murder and self-destruction written by guitarist Jeff Davis, "Trainwreck"
cuts down on the screaming, ups the melody and attempts to break free from the scene Boys Night Out had been part of for years.
Though the change in style created its share of detractors, "Trainwreck" has also pulled in new followers for the
band. Those ready to get on board can check them out beginning January 26, when BNO heads out on a nationwide tour with Armor
For Sleep and Chiodos.
Rock Star Journalism: Obviously, the band's sound has changed since the "Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses" debut.
Would you say there are any elements of Boys Night Out that you think will always stay the same?
Jeff Davis: When I listen to our old stuff, I can tell there's some obvious differences; we've grown and changed a lot
with what we want to do with our music. But there's some fundamental stuff that's always going to be there -- the way I write
riffs or the way Connor writes his lyrics. Definitely the subject matter and the way lyrics are written, the themes we've
been sticking to are probably going to be there to some extent.
RSJ: Was the idea to move in a different direction with "Trainwreck" a collective decision within the band?
JD: Yeah, it was. It was also partly a conscious decision and partly unconscious. It kind of just happened when we started
writing again, but also before we went into writing we knew what we didn't want the record to come out sounding like.
RSJ: You've said that being tired of the scene is what led to trying something new with this album. What would you like
to see happen in the scene that would revitalize it for you?
JD: It might not be the music that I enjoy, but I don't necessarily want to see that scene change. It's a fine scene,
and there are bands that are talented and the kids have fun; it's not like there's anything fundamentally wrong with it.
I just want to see us get involved with some new fans and a new music scene, as opposed to the one we've always been involved
RSJ: What do you find interesting in music today?
JD: The new music I've been listening to a lot of is Ryan Adams. More toward the punk genre, [I like] Say Anything and
Minus the Bear. I don't listen to much new stuff; I listen to a lot of records that I've been listening to since I was 14.
RSJ: You've talked previously about how you never thought you'd get radio airplay. But now that there are stations playing
"Waking," how do you feel about the mainstream attention?
JD: It's fine, it's not like we didn't want that; it's just something I never really saw happening for us. Hopefully,
it just means that kids will come to the shows and enjoy our music, so it's definitely a good thing.
RSJ: There's a lot of mixed emotion about the attention the punk and hardcore scene is receiving now in general. What are
your feelings about this?
JD: Fans, especially in punk rock, have their favorite band, and once more people start hearing about that band, they're
bummed out. The amount of e-mails we've gotten like, "You guys are touring with Fall Out Boy? Oh, you're sell-outs,
next you're gonna be on MTV, blah, blah, blah." God forbid we should try to make a little bit of money and actually
be able to eat some food and have a place to live when we're not touring. So definitely, there's gonna be those kids that
don't want to see bands get attention; they want that band to be their own personal band and have no one else listen to it.
As far as I'm concerned, if we don't have to compromise our music or the values we've always had and can then have as many
people as possible come to our shows, then we're stoked.
RSJ: I saw the note on the website asking people to send in pictures of their Boys Night Out tattoos. Are you ever overwhelmed
by that kind of fan devotion?
JD: Yeah, definitely, it's a weird thing to see. It's also weird cause we started seeing kids with Boys Night Out tattoos
before we even had our first cd on Ferret. We'd play and kids were like, "Look at this!" and we were like, oh my
god, what are you doing? You're 19 years old and you've got a Boys Night Out tattoo and we don't even have a cd out? What
if you hate our next record? It's definitely flattering, but kind of scary.
RSJ: You once commented about disliking MySpace. Why is that, considering the punk and hardcore community is very well
represented on that site?
JD: From a band perspective, MySpace is the best marketing tool out there right now. It's pretty much all you need; it's
the biggest website out there. As far as that's concerned it's fine. It's not that I hate MySpace, but it bothers the shit
out of me getting messages like, "I'm gonna fuckin kill you guys, you ruined my life with your new record." It's
funny, but it's frustrating.
RSJ: The concept of the story contained in "Trainwreck" is illustrated in the video for "Medicating."
Who did the treatment for this video?
JD: Mostly the director, Mark Ricciardelli. Me and him just sat down and figured it out.
RSJ: It reminds me of something you said about how you could picture this album being done theatrically with the band
in the orchestra pit.
JD: Yeah, that's what we wanted to go for. Being on an independent label, you have a fairly small budget for videos,
so most indie bands come out with all performance stuff. I realized that we do need to have a fair amount of performance
stuff, cause kids like seeing that kind of thing in the video. But given the nature of the record, we wanted to get at least
a little of the story into it.
RSJ: Since this album evolved from stories you'd written, do you have any interest in having any of your writing published
in novel form?
JD: No, just cause I'm too lazy to push it that far. The stuff for "Trainwreck" was mainly taken from scribbles
and little paragraphs here and there; it was never actually pulled from one story that was written. It's something I do in
my free time and when opportunities like "Trainwreck" come up and I can apply it to something like that, it's amazing.
But aside from that, it's more just kind of a hobby.
RSJ: You've played Warped a few times now. That seems to be a love it or hate it experience for a lot of bands I've talked
to. How was that experience for you?
JD: Hate it. It's great exposure for the band, but personally, being in a bus for two months in a parking lot everyday,
being filthy and bored and crazy -- it's a lot to go through. Not to say we didn't have a lot of fun, cause we did, but the
last few weeks was definitely like, holy shit, I have to go home. That being said, I'd do it again -- not for the whole thing,
but maybe for a shorter period of time.
RSJ: I read that you actually prefer playing for younger crowds. Why is that?
JD: When you're there with these younger kids and these big crowds, they're there to see a concert -- to have fun and
see a band they love. Being on the receiving end of that feels a lot better than looking out into a lot of blank faces who
don't give a shit who's playing. We haven't really played any hardcore shows in I don't even know how long, but when you
get into things like that with the fashion aspects and the style, it's getting into that scene where kids just stand there,
and you have all the attitudes and you have people that are not there to see a show. It's kind of shitty.
RSJ: You're about to head out with Armor For Sleep at the end of January. Are you ready to get back on the road?
JD: About ready. We're definitely enjoying our time at home, but by the time we leave, I'll be ready to go again. It's
starting to get a little boring -- there's not much to do -- but the time relaxing is always nice.
RSJ: Though you're about to do another tour, are you thinking about when you'll get back in the studio again yet?
JD: We've been working on writing, and we're getting together a few times a week to work on these songs, so we're definitely
excited about it. I have no idea when we'd be getting into the studio again; if anything I'd say late this year.
RSJ: Do you have any thoughts on where the next album will go?
JD: It's gonna be interesting. There won't be a huge jump into some new thing again; it'll be a lot more in the vein
of "Trainwreck." It's definitely gonna be a little bit eclectic, but the same kind of vibe.
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