By paul

Paul: Hey Todd, how are you?
Todd: Great thanks. My face muscles are still a little sore from laughing at the Bruno movie last night.

Paul: How did the label come up with the concept of the Punk Goes…series? Was there anything that inspired you to do it?
Todd: It wasn’t thought of as a series initially. Some of the Fearless bands at the time were recording albums and happened to turn in bonus tracks that were cover songs of metal songs to Bob (A&R/founder of Fearless). Bob likes metal, his bands at the time liked metal, and a light bulb went off I guess.

Paul: The first Punk Goes… was the ‘metal’ version in 2000. Why did you choose that genre of music and how did you go about selecting the bands?
Todd: Like I explained above, the bands drove it. Punk Goes Metal had some Fearless acts on it like Bigwig, Strung Out, The Aquabats, and Dynamite Boy. Bob had done some other compilations at the time and contacted other bands that had contributed in the past, like A New Found Glory, AFI, The Ataris, Guttermouth, etc. And they were into it, so it came together.

Paul: Did you always plan to do a follow-up or was the public reaction something that inspired you to then go for Punk Goes Pop (which is actually my favourite of the series…)
Todd: No, once the Punk Goes Metal album got a good reaction, then the series was solidified, although it was never intended to go this far.

Paul: Punk Goes Acoustic came up next and again you got some bigger bands on the comp. By this time were bands approaching you more than you were approaching them? Do you think the idea of bands re-working their own songs worked better or worse than covering other acts?
Todd: Punk Goes Pop was very successful and the recognition made it a lot easier to get bigger bands to do it. I can’t say that covers vs. originals worked any better or worse.

Paul: You then went for 80s/90s and Acoustic 2. Why did you decide to revisit the acoustic side? Is this something you;d consider doing again?
Todd: Backing up to Punk Goes 80s and 90s, there was hesitation to even release those. It is distracting to put these compilations out when we are trying to develop our roster of our own bands. The licensing for all of the cover songs is also a lot of work. But whenever we would shrug about doing a comp, everybody would request that we do it and we would give in. We revisited the acoustic side because there had been a lot of demand for it, and Punk Goes Acoustic 1 sold better than 80s and 90s.

Paul: Punk Goes Crunk – a stroke of genius or a record that didn’t quite work out as well as it looked on paper?
Todd: Actually, Punk Goes Crunk was the one that brought the series back. We really were finished with doing the comps after Punk Goes 90s. What happened was another record label was working on a covers compilation called “Yo! Indie Raps” and they had already recorded about 6 songs for it. That company went out of business, they knew we had a brand for this, so they asked us to complete the project for them. Since half of the work had been done, we decided to make a go of it. We put a bunch of bigger bands in the studio and completed the tracklisting pretty quickly. That compilation had magic. It really reacted with kids. On paper, it’s actually the most successful album in the whole series, selling 700,000 singles.

Paul: Over the years have many bands turned you down, only to then beg you to be part of a later Punk Goes… record?
Todd: No. Bands either want to do it because it’s fun and they genuinely want to be a part of it, or they don’t. I can’t think of any cases of a band changing their mind.

Paul: Are there any covers which, looking back, you wish you’d not said yes to? Conversely, which is your favourite version across all of the series?
Todd: There have definitely been some songs that we wish the band’s didn’t cover because we could tell it was going to be a disaster to begin with. However, it’s supposed to be fun for the band, and that includes letting them decide what song they think would be fun to cover. We have started giving bands a list of approved tracks though. This way they can’t get too far off track. My personal favorite is Further Seems Forever’s version of “Bye Bye Bye” from Punk Goes Pop 1.

Paul: I heard the 2010 installment is to be classic rock covers. is this right? Any bands confirmed so far? How many more Punk Goes… installments can we expect?
Todd: Yes, we haven’t come up with the final name yet, just the idea to do either classic rock or arena rock covers. No bands are confirmed yet. We just announced the idea about three weeks ago. I can’t say, how many more there will be. As long as our email box still gets clogged with requests, I guess we’ll give in. When Michael Jackson passed you wouldn’t believe how many requests for Punk Goes Michael Jackson we got.

Paul: As a label are you looking at how you release music…with CD sales on the slide are you looking more at MP3/downloads and even vinyl releases or is the CD still the staple release?
Todd: Yes, very closely. CD’s are still number one, as far as what format people pay money for. We’ve known for quite some time that the CD’s days are numbered. It’s even more true for our customers, because they are mostly teenagers. Our young customers will be the first to fully transition into MP3, if they haven’t already.

Paul: Finally, If you could have any band be part of the series, who haven’t done it already, who would you have and what song would you like them to cover?
Todd: I know I won’t get my wish, but I love Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight”. I haven’t much thought into who could pull it off. Perhaps an older band with a great singer who is balding.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]