As I approach my 28th birthday, I can confidently say that your late twenties are weird. About a third of your friends are now living like your parents – nestled away in suburbia, raising children and remodeling their laundry rooms on the weekend.
Another portion is stuck in sophomore year, raging like it’s Thirsty Thursday every day.
The rest of us fall somewhere in between – figuring out the balance of growing up but not growing old, paying for both your student loans and the next round of PBRs, going out on Saturday night and regretting it all of Sunday (and most of Monday).
The good news: Denver’s rock’n’roll quartet Bud Bronson & The Good Timers feels your pain, and they want you to know that “we gotta keep it going while we can, we’re never gonna be 28 again.”
The band just released their excellent debut full-length album, Fantasy Machine, so I sat down with Brian, Luke, Austin and Forrest to talk about their new album, growing up, and the merits of rolling blunts over vaping.
Bud Bronson! Hi and thanks for doing this interview.
The influence of 70s power-pop like Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick is clear, but I noticed some other surprising elements… Plenty of early Weezer-esque guitar tones, and ‘Party or Party’ directly quotes a Taking Back Sunday song. So, who’s the emo fan in the band?
B: It’s part of my background, so acknowledging it is necessary…Got to give some love to ourselves for when we were 16 years old.
A: Those are like the first live shows you’re going to, and you’re like “Holy shit, this is an option? I can go here and just listen to music and rage with my friends?”
B: That’s the best! Those were the coolest shows.
A: That’s the energy, that’s the thing we’re trying to recreate or at least hold on to.
A lot of your lyrics touch on the changing dynamics in Denver, and Baker neighborhood in particular. What can we do to prevent gentrification from ruining cool scenes like what we have on South Broadway?
B: I don’t know… if people want go to the Hi-Dive and support maybe the last bastion of rock’n’roll, then they’re going to do that on their own… I don’t think people are going to do something just to like, “Oh, let’s go preserve things” …People just don’t think like that, they don’t give a shit. So hopefully the Hi-Dive and 3 Kings (Tavern), people just like what happens there and keep on coming out.
But part of Kitty’s South is even about the double-edge sword of nostalgia. Like, I think it sucks that they’re going to put in a Viewhouse. From the other hand, would I really prefer there’s a huge porno store and all this other shit, and have South Broadway be a big shithole?
Is that stuff, do we really want that to come back? I know a lot of the new stuff is really silly… there’s a store with like one skateboard, two pairs of shoes, and then like a camera in it, and that’s the store…
A: More of a statement than a store…
B: Right! Like, what’s the statement? But yeah, nostalgia often paints things better than they really were.
Clearly you are not fans of vaping, as illustrated by the album’s first single ‘Vapedemic’ – what are the BBGT-approved methods for consuming THC and why?
L: I think, hands down, rolling a joint is always going to be the best. But… I don’t shun against people vaping – it’s more of a comedic thing, we make reference to Star Wars and stuff, it’s more of a silly thing.
A: I think it’s an analogy for being frustrated with the cheap shallow instant gratification that you see so often now. The impatience of spending time of doing something… perfecting your craft. What’s his name, Ron Swanson, isn’t that his big thing?
L: I feel like you earn it, it feels more special instead of just rushing into something, it slows things down.
What’s the worst part of growing up?
A: It’s like, when you have a good friend and they’re changing… it’s such a cheesy word but it’s correct, they’re blossoming, they’re becoming like their own new person. But it is, it’s tough for me when you have a preconceived notion of how people are supposed to be, and they’re not the same.
I was also gonna say, we played touch football a couple nights ago and I was sore for like three days. So that was pretty awful. I was very surprised at how sore I was for so long. But maybe that’s just ‘cause I don’t work out at all haha.
Your new album was released by Illegal Pete’s record label, Greater Than Collective. Tell me about working with them, how has the experience been?
B: It’s been awesome ‘cause they’ve helped us do things we couldn’t do on our own… We still get to make our own decisions and do our own thing – they just make our vision possible, they’re not holding us back at all, which is pretty rare for a record label. And they’re great people!
What’s a common misconception about Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers?
L: I would say the ‘party rock’. We’ve been playing at Hi-Dive for a long time, and there’s definitely a stigma about Hi-Dive’s party bands.
A: I wouldn’t want ‘party’ to be an adjective describing our band, I want it to be a verb. We’re a band that likes to have fun and party, but I don’t think we’re like a “party rock” band – we don’t just rely on party gimmicks to come across.
I have the most fun every time we’re playing, so I guess it’s hard to say that I don’t feel like it’s a party, but that category can be sort of limiting for some people.
F: And like we’ve said before, it’s just not sustainable. “I party all of the fuckin’ time!”… no way.
Who’s gonna win the presidential election?
L: Shit… Who’s the guy that no one knows who he is? The democratic candidate?
L: Yeah! That guy.
A: Or Webb!
B: I hope Larry David wins. A Sanders/David ticket! Or maybe David/Sanders.
Listen and buy Fantasy Machine at the link below, and catch their album release party with The Outfit and Safeboating Is No Accident:
December 18th, 2015 at The Savoy (2700 Arapahoe St, Denver, 80205)