Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Interview: Can You Describe The Ruckus? The Sworn Enemy of Bad Times.

MF Ruckus
About a week ago, my phone kicked out this really amazing song.

It was twangy, country fried, all that stuff. I kind of thought that wow, I really hope that I can review this album. 

It sounded really good, fresh, and I've not had anything like this in awhile.

Thankfully, it turned out that this album wasn't released yet and I was onto reviewing it.


There wasn't anything else country on the whole album! MF Ruckus is definitely one of those bands that just plays however they feel at the moment. Looking deeper, they're strongly anti-subgenre and pigeonholing.

They just want to rock.

Glacially Musical: How did you guys get together and start this band?

MF Ruckus: A bit of a long story, but I'll try to give you the short version. 

Basically, most of us were involved in various bands in the Denver punk rock scene through the late 90's and early 00's. MF Ruckus is just the end result from years and years of collaborations, tour experiences, lineup changes..... 

It's all a pretty involved story that took 18 years to write. MF Ruckus, though, for all intents and purposes, started in 2011. I've known all these guys a very long time- Parker joined a few years ago, we picked him up from a SICK Denver band called The Outta Controllers after we lost one of our long time lead guitar players, Tay Hamilton. 

Tony we picked up in Chicago after seeing him play with his band Road Crew back in 2005. He moved out to Denver, surfed couches and gave us 5 years before moving home. He wasn't getting out that easily though. We still fly him out for gigs. Ty's been with us since 2003 or so, we've known each other since high school. Logan and I have been best friends almost our entire lives, close to 30 years. He started playing bass in Forth Yeer Freshman when I moved to vocals in 97 or 98. 

Like I said... a long, long story. It'll all go into a book some day.

GM: At what point did you notice that what you're doing was very different from the rest of the known universe?

MF: We've always felt like we were doing something special, but we get dismissed as a rehash or a cliche fairly often. 

Honestly, I'd attribute the uniqueness of our sound to a combination of diverse influences from within the individual band members, a willingness to experiment and, quite frankly, being completely ignorant to anything hip in a contemporary sense. 

There was a period where we absolutely worshipped Lynyrd Skynyrd and folks thought we were corny as fuck. We just play what feels right at the moment and go with it. Then we release it to the world and let the listener decide. 

GM: Can you give me five bands from five different genres you call influences?

MF: Thin Lizzy, Joe Cocker, Ween, Valient Thorr, Beastie Boys....Boom. Easy.

GM: How long did it take for MF Ruckus to really take shape in its current form?

MF: Well, after losing Tay Hamilton before "The Dirty Half Dozen" even released really threw a monkey wrench in our gears. 

We licked our wounds for a solid year after that. I'd say we really congealed as a unit on the first big tour we did with the current lineup. We did a month in a badass RV and killed every show along the way. 

It was when we realized that we had become heavier, louder, faster...more metal influenced. With Tay (and Rhythm guitar player Jerry Cass), we were far more Classic/Blues-Rock type of stuff. 

One member can make all the difference in the world. We went from being a 6 piece "stadium rock" band to what you hear now. One lineup isn't better than the other, but this group really does something special on stage. It's a lot of fun.

GM: The first song off of "Thieves of Thunder" I heard was "All My Heroes Are In Hell." It reminded me of Bob Wayne. Are you familiar with his work?

MF: I love Bob Wayne. His merch is awesome too. 

That dude is true outlaw country. "Heroes" is actually written by a band from Seattle called All Bets on Death. We love covering our friends' songs, especially when the band no longer tours or plays shows. 

We're kind of like preservationists. "Whiskey on my Mind" from "Dirty Half Dozen" is another homie song from The Von Ehrics out of Texas. We've even released two songs originally by Tony's old band from Chicago Road Crew. 

GM: Who are the heroes that are in hell?

MF: For me? Ronnie Van Zant, Ronnie James Dio, Bon Scott, Phil Lynott, Freddie Mercury, Joe Cocker, Waylon Jennings, Adam Yauch (aka MCA).

GM: Your bio and the presser I received pretty show a great disdain for being stuck into a subgenre. What's the subgenre you most want to stay away from?

MF: In my opinion, folks cling to the genres of Metal and Punk as some kind of excessive to the point of exclusive tribal affiliation. 

You get the pre-approved patches sewn onto your jacket and that's it. You aren't allowed to venture outside of those parameters as long as you pledge fealty to the tribe of that genre. 

I love the Eagles, even though the Big Lebowski says not to. I love Led Zeppelin, even though Screeching Weasel says not to. 

I think Motley Crue is an overrated sack of shit and their members are sad little men. Meanwhile glam/hair fans the world around worship them like they're the Beatles of hair metal or something. 

I hear a ton of bands that just frankly are not good, but because they look like a duck and quack like a duck, people want to suck their duck dicks! 

Mostly, though, we call ourselves a Power Rock band so that we don't have to say "We're kinda southern rockish metally punky country hardcorey...blah blah blah".

GM: So I have an idea, but what does that MF stand for?

MF: Mother Friendly, Maude Flanders, Morgan Freeman, Midget Fraternity, Mickey's Forty, Mighty Fine, Mutual Friendship, Minty Finish, Moral Fiber, Manicured Fingernails.....I'll think of some more...

GM: Since your music is a bit avant garde, what were the first kinds of comments you heard from friends and family?

MF: Believe it or not, we used to be horribly vulgar. 

My mom and dad are proud of how mature and marketable we have become, haha! We used to be very fratty and raunchy. Our parents come to shows, they support our success and our friends just love to party. 

I think any band really serves as the fire in the center of a concentric circle of friends and family. Those circles just spread out as a band grows in popularity. The biggest band you can think of still has friends and family who get to say "I saw them way back when...I've been here since day one!"

GM: What is there that we all need to know about MF Ruckus?

MF: We're just 5 buds doing our favorite thing in the world. It just so happens that our favorite thing in the world is to help it enjoy it's night off. 

We are the sworn enemies of bad times and we're coming for yours just as fast as we can. Hold tight. Help is on the way.

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