Mustard Plug

By paul

Paul: Hi Dave, how are things in the Mustard Plug camp?
Dave: Things are going well…thanks!

Paul: You guys have been going for almost 20 years now, what do you think is the secret to your longevity?
Dave: I think the key is to sincerely enjoy what you’re doing and the music that you play. When we started out we picked a style of music that at the time was completely obscure in the U.S. and we never expected to be rock stars. But we did it because we really liked playing it and still do.

Paul: I am sure you will have fans who weren’t even born when you first started out as a band! You’ve also seen trends and fashions come and go, including the ska scene. Do you think ska is strong right now? Are there any contemporary bands you’ve seen/played with right now who interest/excite you?
Dave: I think the ska scene is fairly strong. It reminds me a little bit of how things were in the early 90’s before things got really big in the U.S.. I don’t really see it getting too much bigger for the near future, but you never know. It actually seems to be doing a little better in the U.K. than in the U.S. right now, at least there seem to be more bands coming up right now. There are a few new bands in the U.S. : Deal’s Gone Bad from Chicago haven’t gotten so good in the past few years that I offered to manage them. I could see their next record really breaking them into new places. The Aggrolites keep getting better with every album and their live show is incredible. It seems to be mainly the more Jamaican rooted stuff in the U.S. that is doing the best. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up in the U.K. when we come over.

Paul: You have also been a band and musician as the internet has grown and grown and made it even easier for bands to be DIY. As a band that’s been fiercely DIY since the start, do you think the internet and the MP3 has made it even easier for bands to forego label help and do it all themselves?
Dave: It’s made it easier to do certain things, like communicate with your fans and distribute your music, but it’s made it a lot of things harder too. It’s a lot harder to run an indie record label because the internet and illegal downloading has made it hard to sell records and distribute them since it’s shut down most of the indie record stores. It’s also made it harder to stick out from the crowd because there are so many more bands competing for the same fans attention, who are also distracted by so many other things. Kids are getting bombarded by media stimuli from so many different places now.

Paul: Does it frustrate you when you see bands ‘fast-tracked’ without doing the hard yards on the toilet circuit, then put in fancy studios and given songwriters to help them write catchy hits blow up on radio and MTV? The cynic in me would say a couple of bands on your label may even fit into that category…
Dave: It doesn’t really bother me because I’m not really part of that world. I don’t listen to that stuff or interact with them at all. Those types of bands have always existed. I’m just a little disappointed that these pre-packaged boy bands are now being marketed as “punk”. As far as Hopeless goes, I’m not sure if they really consider themselves a “punk” label anymore I guess you’d have to ask them that. As I said we have no interaction with any of those bands, I’m not even sure who is on Hopeless right now. It’s not like the early days when we were doing shows with Digger and Falling Sickness and Against All Authority.

Paul: Who came up with the idea for the ‘Never Get Out Of The Van’ DVD? How long did it take to put together, as you must have had a lot of material for it…
Dave: We actually came up with the idea in the days before Youtube, when it seemed like the most viable way to show who the band was from a visual perspective. I actually started shooting video on our first tour in 1994 without a specific idea of what to do with it. We started putting stuff together around the time of our 10th anniversary in 2001, but ourselves and the director, our friend Ben Isbel, got a bit distracted from time to time. It was a huge undertaking too. I had shopping bags of old video tapes for him to go through. So yeah, it took us about 7 years to finish. It’s nice to have it finally out and have some sort of band history documented.

Paul: You do seem to take time between records writing and recording…is there a reason for this?
Dave: It does keep getting longer between records. I think it’s mainly a result of getting older. We all are a lot busier now and it’s harder to get together to work on songs. Also, at this point there is a lot less pressure to put stuff out. People like new songs but they mainly come to hear the classics.

Paul: For the younger readers who may not be aware of Mustard Plug, which song and album would you recommend to start out?
Dave: I’d start out with our greatest hits record, “Masterpieces”. It has most of our best songs, a few videos, good liner notes etc. and you’ll hear a lot of the songs we still play. After that, I guess I’d say get our newest one,”In Black and White”, since none of the songs are on Masterpieces. 1997‘s “Evildoers Beware” is still our most popular though.

Paul: I read somewhere you’re self-recording a new album as we speak. Is that right? Can we expect new material in 2010? Will it be released on Hopeless?
Dave: Right now we’re just recording one new song. We’re going to release it digitally so it’s out before our U.K./European tour. We have a bunch of new songs we’re working on so hopefully we have an album’s worth of stuff by the end of the summer, but I doubt we’ll have a new record in 2010. I’m not sure how we’ll release it. I’m sure we’ll talk to Hopeless about it, but our main focus is writing songs first.

Paul: You’re back in the UK and Europe for the first time in a few years this coming April. What can we expect from the Mustard Plug live experience? Are you familiar with any of the bands in the UK ska scene?
Dave: We started the band basically to play party music for punk rockers and that’s pretty much what you can expect from a Mustard Plug show. I’m familiar with a few of the bands, (Random Hand, King Blues, Pama, SB6), but that’s about it. I’m pretty psyched about playing with Mouthwash and Dirty Revolution. I’ve heard good things about both bands so it should be a really good time.

Paul: What are your plans for the rest of 2010?
Dave: After we get back from the U.K. and Europe we’re going to mainly focus on song writing. We always do a handful of show here and there but noting too extensive for a while. I’m sure we’ll tour in the fall but nothing is lined up yet.

Paul: If you have any final words for our readers please leave them here.
Dave: Please come out and see us when we come to the U.K. They’re going to be awesome shows and you never know when we’ll be able to make it over next.

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