Awash in a sea of mediocre punk and throwback bands, the Los Angeles quartet the Bronx made a name for themselves starting in 2002. After being offered numerous record contracts after only two shows, the boys decided to set out on their own in order to have greater control over their music.
Well, they obviously did something right, as they now sell out clubs both in America and abroad night after night and produce records that are uniquely theirs. Incensed by the overproduction of pop music, the Bronx takes to recording everything live in a “three take” rule that leaves their songs with an imperfect but real quality.
Their self-titled album was released in 2003 by White Records and was helped along by ex-Guns n’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. The band has been touring incessantly since the release of their album, but lead singer Matt Caughthran took time out of busy van driving schedule to talk to Artsweek. The Bronx will be playing Saturday at Extravaganza held at Harder Stadium. For more information on the Bronx, check out www.thebronxxx.com.
Artsweek: So where are you guys right now?
Matt Caughthran: We are actually in Placentia [Calif.]; we’re almost home. We got off our tour in the UK and we had to fly back into New York because our van was in New York. I mean, once the tour is over you just want to go home so bad; it’s like we were all dreading this drive. We had to drive from New York all the way to Los Angeles. We’re 25 minutes away from home now; everyone is excited.
You guys are just getting back from a European tour. Where were you in Europe?
We did all of Europe and the UK. We spent like a week and a half in Germany. We did Italy and Switzerland, Amsterdam, Holland. Let’s see… Madrid and all around those places. We did a three week tour of the UK. It was awesome. We were in Europe for two months. It was a lot of fun.
Did you tour with anyone or did you go by yourself?
It was with this band called Danko Jones and this other band from LA that came out with us called the 400 Blows. That was the first time we were actually overseas where we could bring friends with us. It was fun having friends.
What was your reception like there?
It was awesome; it’s just getting better and better. It was our second time going to Europe and our third time in the UK. All of the shows were sold out. It was really, really cool. It’s good knowing that you’re not playing for no reason, that hard work pays off. The crowds are getting better and better each time we go. So that’s cool.
Have you ever played in Santa Barbara before? Or is this going to be your first time?
I want to say yes [we have] with Lagwagon [at the Coach House].
What are your future plans?
We’re doing like another two months of touring and the we have to stop touring and record something. We’ve just been touring so much and we don’t know how to write on the road yet because we are still a new band. So we have to tell ourselves, ‘hey, you gotta stop touring!’ So we are going to go back into the practice studio and spend about two months just writing the next record. Then we could do a West Coast tour or something like that.
Do you think you are going to be recording in much the same way you did on your last album? With live recording?
It’s going to be kind of like the same thing, but we don’t want to make the same record twice. So, there are definitely going to be some things that are different about it. I mean, we haven’t really thought about it too much and we don’t really want to. It’s kind of one of those things where we just have to write some songs and depending on how the songs come out, we’ll figure out how we want to record them.
What are you listening to right now?
It’s funny you should ask. We actually just pulled over and bought the new Morrissey record.
Oh! It’s so good!
Yeah, it’s pretty good so far.
It’s kind of different; it’s more loungey.
Oh is it? Yeah, I heard the “American Hamburger” song.
Well, it’s funny because he moved to L.A.
Are you serious?
I was reading an interview with him in Spin about it.
Yeah, yeah we have that magazine in the van, I just haven’t had a chance to get around to looking at it.