The Pistola Press

A Philadelphia music blog

The So So Glos Interview

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The So So Glos opened for Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at the First Unitarian Church last month. The Pistola contributor Joe Gallagher had the opportunity to catch the show. His photos/review of the show can be found HERE. A few weeks after the show, drummer Zach Staggers answered a few questions Joe had for him. Zach talks about the city he calls home, the idea of DIY, their plans for the future and more. Interview below.

You guys create a really vibrant yet gloomy and worrisome picture of a city in your songs (“Island Loops,” “My Block,” etc.) Can you describe that a little bit? Is this stuff you see or think about when you step outside?

Zach Staggers: New York has always been our inspiration for our music. We grew up moving all over this metropolitan area, even did time in the suburbs, and we always reflect on what we see. So, yeah, the city, we have a relationship with it… out comes emotion, problems, politics. We love this city but its a rough time, a lot of the time. It’s exactly that, vibrant – you know, you got everyone here from all over the globe doing their thing, but its also a dark place, not much light gets through your windows and there are a lot of problems specific to New York that put an rough edge on the New York’s greatness.

Can you talk a little about the inspiration-for and the scene-around the Market Hotel?

Zach: We started the Market up with Todd P, Joe Ahearn, and a bunch of other kids. We were looking to live some place cheap after our first long tour and we figured a more communal approach in a place that we could play in and practice in made the most sense. Living there was a lot of fun. Todd puts on shows there, at least, twice a month and we would play at the Market often, which was great. Get out of bed and play on your living room stage and have all your friends over.

What are some other NYC DIY ventures worth talking about?

Zach: We are currently involved in Shea Stadium Brooklyn, which is run by our producer, Adam Reich, who is a life long friend (and Mets fan) from Bay Ridge (where we are originally from). It’s really great. He has a basic studio set up and is recording all the bands that play at Shea. Eventually, he is going to have a website to stream the material and he is calling it “Live At Shea Stadium”.

Are you guys like The Ramones who were “brothers” but not “actually brothers”? Or are there some legitimate blood-ties?

Zach: I met Ryan and Alex when I was 3 years old. They are blood bros, 2 years apart. We had a play date and our parents met. Then my dad and Ryan and Alex’s mom got involved and married soon after. Making us brothers. so yeah, we are brothers. The So So Glos officially adopted Matt at the end of 2007.

I think you guys are one of the rare punk bands that ISN’T JUST a punk band. What do you think about that?

Zach: We aint. We write what we want. We don’t try to be punk, or whatever. We write songs that sound good to us, about things that we think are important. I would say our songs are closer to The Kinks and Elvis Costello than Crass or The Voidoids. It’s all in good fun, and fuck a label on a band. We are The So So Glos.

Do you guys have certain ideas about punk or DIY that may be particular to the band?

Zach: We just try and keep it real, you know. I think the all ages movement, which fights for the right of kids to see shows, is an important one. We try to play mostly all ages shows and if we do end up playing a bar, we make sure that we sneak the little kids in the back, if they came to see us. Doing things ourselves has always been the most effective way to get things done, so until there is a better way we are totally DIY, baby.

Who were your “gateway bands”? What bands, growing up, showed you a new way of thinking or punk rock or whatever else?

Zach: The original punks, you know them! Sam Cooke was one, in the face of American racism and oppression, he twisted the night away.

Do you guys feel a certain kinship with a band like Titus Andronicus? The way I see it is both bands are kind of these “proud underdogs…” but you tell me.

Zach: Titus are our best friends and we do feel a certain kinship indeed. We just went out on a huge tour with them, called the “Bring On The Dudes” tour. It was epic. I think Titus was as they say, ‘Born to die’. but I would like to have a bit more optimism, just as I think we do in our music, and say, “We will rise above proud underdogs. Maybe we will one day be insecure frontrunners.’

What are your guys plans for 2010? Any new material in the works?

Zach: We are writing a new album, and dare I say, I am really excited about it. I think people are really going to take to it. It should be out late in spring of twenty ten, the future!


Written by Colin Kerrigan

January 6, 2010 at 10:21 am

Posted in Interview, Music, Philadelphia

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