Review Fix chats with The FillIns’ Alex Stiff and James Nunn, who discusses the band’s origin and new single “Lock and Load.”
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
Stiff: After quite a few years of trial and error, trying to get our footing and get the right mix of people; I really have to say everything fell into place at the right time. Mikey just popped on over when I was jamming at the new bassist’s house. I had never met him before but he asked if he could join after an audition and he blew me away! James met us after an opening slot for Wednesday 13; I had moved to bass at that point and was looking for a new member. We started chatting after the show and a few weeks later (after a good bit of admitted pestering on his part trying to find a band to play guitar in) told him to bring a bass to practice one day and let’s see what happens; later that night he was the official new bassist. Early last year, our long time drummer decided that music wasn’t the right path for him anymore and suggested we contact Adam Patterson of DEADLOCK NCHC. I had already talked to Adam some and knew he could do a great job, so naturally, he did and here we are today.
I really do have to say that even with all of the lineup changes over the years, this is by far the most fun and best group of guys I’ve played with and I’m so looking forward to the future.
Review Fix: What makes you guys unique?
Stiff: I don’t think you can really typecast us. We’ve always teetered between rock n roll and punk rock. We get called “punk” a lot, which I guess is ok, but I’ve never seen ourselves as punks in a punk band. But we’re not really “rock n roll” either, but I’d say we’re closer to that than punk. Then we have Mikey and Adam that have metal and hardcore backgrounds, so naturally, the songs will have a heavier beat and solo to it, so it really gets this weird punk/rock/metal combo and I really think that shows on this new record too.
James Nunn: We all have grown up playing different variations of rock n roll, and somehow when we get together, we build this Frankenstein of all of the best qualities we bring to the table that you hear all over this new record.
Review Fix: What groups inspire you?
Stiff: Groups that don’t follow trends and just makes music regardless of if it’s cool or not. I’ve been digging on a lot of groups that have this garage / 70s glam vibe to them and they released new albums this year and are relatively new bands.. when I hear stuff like that, it gives us hope that some good rock n roll may soon be making a comeback.
Review Fix: How was Lock and Load written?
Stiff: That was one of the last songs written for the new album “The Time Is Now” and I think it’s one of the coolest riffs so far. It came from a previous song called “Walking Disaster” which no one beside myself really liked it; James liked the pace and chord progressions but said it was missing something. So that night I sat in the spare room plugged in and just playing that 3 chord song over and over, trying to add something new each time. Finally, I just started barring the B and playing with the notes in that box and found something that reminded me of something Paul Stanley of KISS would riff, so I started working with that then brought it to the guys and they just took it and ran with it.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this album?
Nunn: Goals: To play to as many people and places as possible. We’re just now starting to get around more outside of the Carolinas, and people seem to really get it and get into it, which inspires me to do it more.
Stiff: To really show what we’ve got. Last year we only had 2 new songs and didn’t get to do a lot of shows, so we were red hot and ready to go this year. We decided to record the new stuff we had, throw on the 2 singles from last year (including a remix / remaster of Saturday Night) and make it a cool $5 digipack set for everyone to enjoy. So my hopes and goals are to get this music in as many people’s hands as possible!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Stiff: We have an amazing show opening for legends The Dwarves, and Richie Ramone on his solo tour in Chapel Hill NC on July 8th. Getting to not only open for The Dwarves but to also be opening for one of the final 3 living Ramones? To me, there’s not much more I could really ask for on top of this new record and the vinyl 7in we got out earlier this year. Anything else will just be icing on the cake!
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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