I interviewed Kill Lincoln on April Fools Day 2014 in McLean about their new record that was going to come out in a few months and touring which included their tour van bought through their Kickstarter, their first coast-to-coast tour, gambling and “Fuck you, Alan.” April Fools Day 2015 rolled around and I interviewed them in a different house in McLean as they just released that record Good Riddance to Good Advice, got back from another three-week tour with Sheila and announced they were “going on hiatus.” Despite the hiatus, Kill Lincoln and I couldn’t do a more serious interview. I had about about 45 minutes worth of the recorded interview with 25 minutes worth of “OFF THE RECORD!” stories and 10 minutes of laughing. I’m glad that before they play their last D.C. show that we could talk about their memorable moments, quick advice for musicians who want to start a ska band and the future of Kill Lincoln.
I think the first time I interviewed you was a year ago today and now you’re breaking up.
Mike: Yeah, that was like the most fun interview we ever did.
Marty: Yeah, that was a lot of fun.
Mike: Alan showed up late and we gave him shit. Tyler wasn’t here.
Marty: Yeah, it was at my parents’ house.
Tyler: That was the most fun.
Mike: That was definitely the most fun and Tyler-less. What were we last talking about? I think we were in the middle of recording.
Yeah, the record you said was going to come out in a few months.
Mike: Did we say that?
Mike: Well, it just came out.
Marty: I just finished mixing it like two months ago.
Mike: Sorry, guys.
Alan: You have to send us the other recording so we can hear all of the bullshit statements from last time.
Mike: I have it. We should go back and listen to it. We’ll play it as our intro song and it will just be that whole interview.
Alan: “The record will be out in two weeks.”
Mike: It’ll be like “So hey guys, when’s the record coming out?” “A couple weeks.” “What’s today’s date?”
Alan: “April 2014.”
Mike: We’re stupid jerks.
Well, now you’re breaking up so…
Mike: So who cares?
Ellis: It doesn’t even matter.
Anyway, how was tour?
Group: Tour, tour was good.
Mike: Tour was great. I had a great time. It was weird because not all of us were on the whole tour.
Tyler: There were changeovers.
Mike: There were three weeks, so Tyler was on weeks 1 and 3. Marty did weeks 1 and 2. Alan did weeks 1 and 2.
Alan: Hotez did weeks 2 and 3.
Mike: Ellis and I did the whole tour.
Ellis: We hate each other now.
Mike: We can’t stand each other.
How did that end up going? Apparently, you all couldn’t do three weeks with each other.
Marty: So we had Gu from Boardroom Heroes fill in on drums. We also had CJ, one of my friends from way back in college, fill in on bass when I wasn’t there… but he was there the whole tour.
Mike: Drew was there for the first week.
Marty: CJ actually has a guitar solo on the EP. It was my Christmas gift to him. He’s been asking for years to be on a Kill Lincoln record.
Tyler: Both he and Gu have filled in at other shows so it wasn’t a weird thing at all.
Mike: They’re awesome dudes. We couldn’t have done it without them. They’re awesome. We love you. Tour was great. The first week was places we had already been before on the big tour last year so all the shows were really fantastic. Pittsburgh was crazy. Detroit was crazy. Chicago was crazy. Kansas City and St. Louis happened.
Hotez: Denver was awesome. Salt Lake City was awesome.
Mike: I think Salt Lake was the best show. The second best?
Alan: Definitely it was up there.
What was the best one?
Mike: Tampa kids just went off. They went nuts. It was a skate park.
Ellis: Florida in general.
Tyler: Vegas. Vegas was good because it was the only house show on tour.
Mike: It was totally lawless. People were on the street, drinking beer and skateboarding. The neighbors didn’t care. It was cool. The cops have better things to worry about in Vegas.
Alan: I remember I went to bed and you guys waited four hours for pizza.
You waited four hours for pizza?
Mike: No, but we waited through two VHS tapes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and half of the Doug movie.
Ellis: The Disney one. It was terrible.
Mike: That was Vegas and then we had pizza. You didn’t need to know that.
That was the whole point you went to Vegas. You wanted that one pizza.
Mike: Just for that one pizza.
Marty: We did forty-five minutes on the strip, lost $15 really fast and Tyler lost $50 even faster.
I’m proud of you, Tyler. The last time you weren’t here so they talked about your gambling problems.
Alan: That’s right! I think there was a question of what is the topic highest on the list of things to talk about when Tyler’s gone and it was your gambling problem. It was no question.
Tyler: I wouldn’t say it’s a gambling problem in the sense that I’ll be home and I’ll have to go to the casino…. but if I’m at a casino, it’s troublesome.
Going back to tour, where else was good?
Hotez: Austin was good.
Mike: We had a good Austin show. It was during SXSW but was not actually SXSW. It was during the day and free. Nothing else was going on and it was full of people. It was great.
How was getting stuck in the SXSW traffic?
Marty: The only part that was annoying was driving across west Texas. Every pit stop we had had a van with a band in there, asking if we were going to SXSW.
Mike: Houston was… I almost missed a golden opportunity here…. Houston, we had a problem. It smelled like cat pee.
Tell me the Houston story then, if it smelled like cat pee.
Ellis: This place was called Super Happy Fun Land. Super Happy Fun Land was an abandoned warehouse. The sound guy put on the whole thing by himself and we get there and walk inside. It looks like an abandoned warehouse with like Raggedy Ann dolls everywhere. It was full with old furniture and theatre seating. The stage was actually really cool. I liked the stage.
Hotez: It was all these weird mannequins. Every bizarre old Christmas decorations placed there…
Ellis: Anything you could have had a nightmare about was there.
Tyler: If you had fifty dumpsters of a little kid’s room in a warehouse, that’s what this place is.
Mike: Or your grandpa’s garage. Weird stuff. They definitely had cats and it definitely smelled like cat pee.
Ellis: We basically played to two other bands.
Tyler: There were two fans who also came to see us though.
Mike: Yeah! That was actually my favorite part of tour – the fact that people came to see us in places we didn’t expect. What surprises me is when people are like “Hey! I liked your band.” I’m like, “What? What’s wrong with you? Have you listened to the band?” People actually came out to see us though. In Marietta too…
Alan: Don’t look at me. I wasn’t there.
Mike: In Marietta, Georgia, it was a pretty terrible show, but one guy drove from Atlanta, which is 45 minutes away, just to come see us. That made that show worth it and great.
Alan: That happened in a few places.
Where else did you didn’t expect people to come out to see you?
Ellis: Don’t worry about it. You weren’t there.
Mike: We had a great show at Shreveport on a Monday night.
So because Alan, you’re saying you weren’t there for half of these shows, what was your favorite?
Marty: He was there for a lot of it.
Alan: Yeah, two-thirds. Pittsburgh was good. Denver was good. The whole first week was pretty solid. San Diego was really weird.
Mike: Our van didn’t get robbed in St. Louis. We were quite worried about that.
Ellis: Apparently St. Louis is like a hub for car theft.
Mike: We were hawkeyes on the van so it was fine. There’s no story there.
The story is the fact that you didn’t get robbed.
Alan: Sheila also didn’t break down. She just messed up a couple times.
Mike: It was an ignition coil and a spark plug.
Alan: And a tire we had a plug put in. That was it.
Mike: Alan’s kind of like the van maintenance guru. He was checking the tire pressure every day. He noticed one was getting low. He was like “We should probably get this checked out.” We were like, “No, it’ll be fine. We’re going to the pancake house.” So we went to the pancake house and Alan took the van to the garage. He was like, “We found a nail in it. We’re going to repair it.” With our mouths stuffed with pancakes, we were like “Oh, that’s great, Alan. We’re doing good here, so go find something to eat. We’re fine here.” We were eating pancakes and he got the van fixed.
Alan: I had a very nice In ‘n’ Out experience all by myself. I can get pancakes anywhere.
Going to San Diego, how was that show weird?
Mike: At this venue, they project videos onto the band. So there’s a movie playing on us.
Marty: Unless you’re actively trying to pick out what’s going on in the movie, you don’t notice. It’s just looks like stage lights.
Mike: If you’re playing, there’s a monitor behind the bar that shows you what’s playing. We’re going into a song and I look up. It’s Pink Flamingos. I’ve never seen the movie but there’s a scene where there’s a dude that takes off all of his clothes. I’m like “Okay, that’s weird.” Then he gets on his back and he sticks his legs up and gapes his ass, holding it open. It’s right on Gu’s face. I stopped playing. I just stopped like, “Guys! Guys! There’s an asshole! There’s a big asshole! What’s happening?” They’re like “What’s wrong with Mike?” That was San Diego.
What was Kill Lincoln’s tour playlist?
- Bootsy Collins – “Bootzilla”
- Tim Armstrong – way too much.
- Big Sean – “IDFWU” (Kill Lincoln’s song of tour. They performed it for me.)
- Riff Raff – surprisingly little
Marty: At one point on tour in the van, CJ was like “Marty, if I hear another punk beat, I’m going to stab you.”
Mike: Then, he put on Mars Volta and I was going to stab him. That band is unlistenable! You can’t listen to Mars Volta. They are terrible! They are terrible band! I’m serious.
Marty: That’s Mike. I disagree.
Mike: I’m serious. They’re terrible! They’re just trying to be super weird and it doesn’t make sense.
Ellis: If they didn’t have vocals and they called themselves a jazz band, they’d be really good.
Mike: Maybe when I run the van off the road.
Marty: You should email them.
Mike: I think I will. I think I’ll start a Twitter war with them. “Hey, your band’s not good. Also, I’m in a ska band.”
Ellis: That’ll go really well.
Alan: “We’re on hiatus.”
Mike: We broke up. Haha! You can’t say anything about me!
Would that be your advice for upcoming musicians? Don’t sound like Mars Volta.
Ellis: Don’t be Mars Volta or a ska band.
Alan: Don’t be a ska band.
Ellis: Do something else.
Hotez: Be a rugby team.
Ellis: Be a softball team. Be any kind of team. Just not a ska band.
So moving on to the Mini-East Coast Tour coming up.
Hotez: We’re playing Boston finally, which we never played before. It should be cool.
Alan: We’re playing the Mas-SKA-rade. Get it? You pay less if you wear a mask.
Tyler: I want to see who actually shows up with a mask.
Alan: Joke’s on that guy.
Mike: We’re doing our shows with The Best of the Worst, which is cool because we’re buddies with those guys. Great band, great dudes. Great bands, great dudes. We have a split coming out with them.
After you break up, you’re coming out with a split. Awesome.
Alan: It’s like Tupac.
Tyler: It’s the split split.
Mike: We managed to play with all the bands on the split on our final tour which is great: The Best of the Worst, Still Alive and Station Cases.
So this Saturday at Black Cat, what should we expect?
Mike: We’re all excited.
Alan: You should be too! We’re playing all the hits. It’s going to be standard weird.
Mike: We might have guests to help us out.
Hotez: It’s going to have some Vaudeville and some burlesque.
Ellis: There is going to be some tap number.
Mike: Actually, I might have a surprise for all of you. We may have a new music video. It may or may not be for “Dad Fight.”
Are you going to be like Dave Grohl and play for three hours?
Ellis: We probably could. We can drag this out for as long as we want.
Mike: I don’t think we have three hours of material. I think if we played every song we had, we could maybe do two hours. We’re going to play for probably an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s going to be grueling for all who are involved.
Hotez: Just thinking about that…
Marty: I jump around too much during the first few songs. I gotta pace myself.
Mike: Saturday will be fun though. I think it will be more fun than sad or weird. We had a good run. We did cool things. We met a lot of good people and played a lot of good shows. It shocks me every time people come out and see our band. Every time we play a show, I sit backstage and convince myself that no one is coming. It happened to us for years. “Are people going to show up? Oh that dude came and brought five of his friends. Cool! It’s a show!” or “Drew’s here! It’s a show! It’ll be fine.” Now, 200 kids show up – “kids”, we’re all old now – 200 adults. It blows my mind. It really means a lot to all of us that people want to see the band and want to enjoy our mediocre brand of ska punk or whatever it is. Or they enjoy yelling and chanting things at Alan. We’re going to play a lot of stuff we haven’t played in awhile and we’re going to play a lot of stuff off the new record.
Alan: All equally scary. We’re going to have to follow Boardroom Heroes, who haven’t played a show in awhile but are going to be awesome and are going to embarrass us. Walk the Plank is so great too, and so are Enemy Insects… who will hopefully scare everyone. We’re going to be scared.
Ellis: It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
Hotez: At the worse, you get to witness a trainwreck!
Mike: Come out for the trainwreck! One last trainwreck!
Group Chanting: One last trainwreck! One last trainwreck!
Kill Lincoln wasn’t great with serious interviews, but they did want to thank all of the people who came out to see and support them, the people that have helped them out on tour, and the local promoters who have helped them along the way. See them one more time at Black Cat this Saturday night. Also, buy a record because they have too many. They said that they’re either going to leave a box of records at the metro or dump them in a river with a bag of puppies. “For every record you don’t buy, a puppy gets it,” an unconfirmed source says.
Note: Kill Lincoln does not condone puppy murder. (Still, go get the record.)