Bullets To Broadway

By Andy

In a flurry of power chords and sweat-sodden foreheads Bullets to Broadway supplied the balls on the recent nationwide Less Than Jake tour, opening for the legendary Gainsville ska punkers. Consisting variously of members of the now-defunct Teen Idols as well as Rehasher, Bullets are a gloriously energetic blast of punk rock, laced with the melodies that made Rehasher a band in their own right, rather than “that bloke from Less Than Jake‘s side-project” and the sheer kinetic rhythms of Teen Idols; in short, they are brilliantly fun.

Opening on a tour headlined by one of the best-loved punk bands ever to have crossed the pond is never easy – just ask any of NOFX‘s tourbuddies – but Bullets to Broadway acquitted themselves impressively. “It’s been unbelievable,” says bassist Heather, “before we came we had no idea what it would be like.” “Yeah,” continues Matt the sticksman, “we came over with Less Than Jake [when playing with Teen Idols] and it was alright, not insanely over the top or anything. This time has been way better.” Why do you think that has been? Kevin, vocalist for Bullets as for the Idols pipes up. “We’re not going for any image or any shit like that…except maybe the band with the worst hair. Kids are coming up to us after the shows and noticing how much of a good time we seem to be having, and a lot of bands aren’t doing that any more. So many bands have managers and big buses, that’s just the wrong way to do things.” “We’re just having fun and putting ourselves out there,” smiles Matt.

‘Drink Positive’, the début EP from BtB, is a glorious adrenalin burst of fast, catchy punk anthems-in-waiting. Released via London’s Household Name Records, it’s clear that their relationship with HHN is hugely important to them. “They have a lot of respect over here as far as labels go. I was aware of them, because Toby who put our CD out in the States with Red Scare asked if we knew anyone over here, and I’d met Lil before on that Less Than Jake tour and he gave us some Captain Everything stuff. The original plan was to go out as Teen Idols with Captain Everything, but obviously that never happened. I emailed him and said we were looking for someone to put it out over here, he asked us to send him a CD and here we are.” ‘Drink Positive’ certainly fits in with HHN’s recent licensing of solid punk rock albums (cf Bombshell Rocks‘ ‘The Conclusion’, Satanic Surfers‘ ‘Taste The Poison’) but Bullets seem sure that they can do better. Aware that their current sound is a literal amalgamation of their previous bands, the band doesn’t seem too bothered about pushing the boundaries just yet. “ Most of those songs were written separately,” notes Matt, “like Geis would write some guitar parts and send them to Kevin…it just kinda came out like this. It does sound like Teen Idols and Rehasher but that wasn’t a conscious plan. We don’t know what we’re going to sound like until we actually record an album. Everyone’s getting ideas, and now we all live in Nashville it’s much easier to get it all sorted.”

After the demise of Teen Idols, one of the most loved and respected bands in the sphere of punk music, the collective members of Bullets took stock before deciding to go forward with another band. Even in the environment of a tour, where the real world intrudes no more than a different label on the beer bottles every few nights, the band appears to be comfortable leading this dual life, certainly moreso than with Teen Idols. “The balance between the real world and being in a band is still the same. We still all have jobs, we all work,” says Kevin, before recounting the constant narrative of being in a band: “Go home, save some money, go on tour, lose it all, come back, do it again.” But it’s obvious that this time, with Bullets, there is the palpable sense that all these sacrifices are far more tolerable. Heather, who was only 18 when she joined Teen Idols, makes it clear that she is a lot happier with Bullets. “You can’t just be in a band and tell people what to do. Teen Idols was more us being forced to do stuff. It was more like one person telling us what to do.”

“With Bullets we treat each other more with respect and work around each other, rather than all these strict rules. [After Teen Idols split] we had so much shit that we had to take care of in our lives. We basically took about two years off from it all, then one day Kevin just said “hey, I’m ready” so we gave it another shot. It was a really good feeling…we just showed up in the basement to play a bit and looked at each other and it was like “man, so this is it then!” We were drinking and laughing our asses off, it felt good.” The relaxed atmosphere in the Astoria‘s cramped dressing room (think: matchbox with sink and mirror) certainly confirms this, as the band finish each other’s sentences and joke around while Gui picks something large and furry out of one of his bodily orifices and proudly displays it for all to see – regimented this aint – while their live show is as effervescent as their conversation. They’ll be back in May for a full headline tour, and will no doubt continue making friends and influencing people.


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