Mustard Plug

By paul

Hi, can you please introduce yourself to our readers!

1. My name is Brandon Jenison and i play the trumpet and sing backup vocals for Mustard Plug.

For the uninitiated, how would you describe Mustard Plug‘s sound?

2. I guess the best description I can think of is a hybrid of ska rhythm, energetic rock, pop sing along, with a punk rock-soul.

The band has been going since the early 90s – what would you say is the secret to your longevity?

3. I believe it’s due to our ability to want to play our music for as many people that we can. We’ve never given up on our original plan of rocking out, drinking beer, meeting the fans, and generally having a good time.

You’re set to release new record ‘In Black and White’ which I, and a couple of other people who I know have heard it, believe is arguably your best yet. While many bands come out with the ‘this is our best record yet’ spiel every time they put out a record, is this a belief your band has?

4. I think everyone in the band will agree that we worked really hard at making this batch of songs kick serious ass. We were rejuvenated with energy by gaining our new rhythm section of Rick Johnson on bass and Nate Cohn on drums. They injected a dose of power into all of our old asses that have been in the band for over twelve years or more.

It’s also very much a ska record – was there ever any intention to throw some devil horns, chuck on some black clothing, dye your hair and start screaming your way onto the radio and MTV?!

5. Angel trumpets and Devil trombones always exist on Mustard Plug records, but we’ve never bent our musical direction in any way shape or form other than our own path. I mean, with every record, you get some stinkers, but they’re our stinkers. Some of us are going gray though, so maybe we should start dyeing our hair. Dave, our singer, does get a little gritty on this new record but it’s not that bullshit that’s on the radio.

Why did you choose to work with Bill Stevenson and what is he like as a producer? Are there any records he has worked on that helped make up your mind to work with him?

6. Bill Stevenson is an icon to me. We’ve worked with him previously on two other records and the decision was not hard to make. I think this third time is the true charmer and it all went really well in the studio. He’s a great role-model for aging punks who still like to make music and tour. The Blasting Room and its family are such an awesome, self-contained work tank. Bill makes really spicy food that will make you sweat and poop a lot, also.

Why choose Hit Me! Hit Me! as the first single?

7. I think it was just a good representation of our “sound” in general. It’s a good sing-along, and its got that fun herky-jerky ska beat.

You did a video for that track too – what is the concept and was it a fun shoot?

8. We made the video at the Icepick in Muskegon, MI. I don’t know if there was really a concept, but we filmed it at 1/3rd the original speed and then when they edited it, sped it up to the original tempo of the song. It was funny to “play along” with the slowed down track – it sounded like we were on ‘luudes or something. I think it cuts quickly and suits the feel of the song.

You’ve been with Hopeless for around 10 years now, have you ever been tempted to jump ship and work with another label? What is it about the Hopeless guys and gals that have made you stay for so long?

9. I guess we’ve just had contracts and good friendships that sustain themselves pretty well. We were one of the first bands that really helped them grow and we also grew along with them. It’s very different than when it first started but the attitudes of the owners and workers remain the same.

Many ska bands during your time as a band have managed to go through the trends and wind up on major labels – some with success, others with little success. Was signing to a major ever an option for you? Is it something you’d ever consider doing?

10. No, we were never really courted by majors. Being from Michigan might have something to do with that. I think if the right deal came along we might try it but this far in our “career” we probably won’t ever see that happen. Who knows?

With the internet and iTunes as prevalent in the industry as ever before, do you consider the majors to play as important a role in the music industry as they did, say, 5 or 10 years ago?

11. Not a chance, it’s all changing right now and has been creeping up on them for a while now.

Whilst on the subject of iTunes and MP3s, when you sit down with the label do you look at how many CD sales you need for a record to be deemed a success? Has that changed now that legal download sales can often outstrip physical CDs? Does it concern you that music may not be available in a physical format in years to come?

12. Fans and fans-to-be end up at our shows and physically buy the album from us sooner or later, so I guess getting the music out there for free first can be more helpful than harmful in a certain way. Sure, we want to profit from our music, who wouldn’t, but we know that people who really care will support us.

There are some fantastic UK ska, or ska-influenced bands, around at the minute. Have you managed to check any of them out? Are there any ‘new’ bands that rock the Mustard Plug collective stereo?

13. I saw and played with some great bands in the UK last year. The music play list in our van is pretty expansive since everyone has I-pods and stuff, so I can’t think of any one thing in particular we all listen to.

You once toured Japan, how did that experience differ from touring the
US and other parts of the world?

14. We went to Japan 3 times, actually. Its like night and day compared to the U.S. I love it though, the food the culture, everything. There are some great bands over there too, like Nicotine and Kemuri and Potshot.

On a similar note, when can we expect to see you in the UK again?

15. Hopefully next year. We’ll be touring the US for the six months or so, and then we’ll see what’s up. I’d go tomorrow if we could – I need proper chips and a good pint.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]