THE SWAGGERIN’ GROWLERS: INTERVIEW (April 25, 2009)
Boston based The Swaggerin’ Growlers have just released their 2nd full length CD – Keep Your Head Held High. In honour of that momentus ocasion we asked Johnny Swagger a few dumb questions.
s’n’o: First off, can we get a brief history of the band and personally how did you get involved in playing Celtic-punk?
Johnny Swagger: The band started, like all good folk bands, in the pub. Over pints of Franconia Notch Brewing Companies’ Mountain Stout, in the summer of 2004. We rehearsed in Seth’s (of the Pubcralwers ) basement and played our first show on St Patrick’s day of 2005. Somewhere over the last two years we had a lot of lineup changes, as well as a relocation down to Boston. We finally locked everything down in the beginning of this year, and decided it was high time we put out a new record. Now, we’re off to take over the world.
As far as Celt Punk Goes: Flogging Molly got me interested, and the Pogues changed my life: The idea that you can cause that much intense insanity with acoustic instruments is glorious. It’s hard to avoid the influence of Irish music on the folk scene here in Boston, and in New England as a whole.
S’n’O: Your Head Held High! is your 2nd full-length. How does it compare to your 1st (The Bottle and the Bow)? Is there growth, maturity, keyboards etc., or did you go the AC/DC, Ramones, Motorhead route?
Johnny Swagger: It blows it away, outright – I couldn’t be more proud of the family. There’s a whole lot of growth on this record, and a lot more of our influences shine through considerably more: Bluegrass, Old Tyme, Ska, Swing, and Hardcore. We recorded the majority of it at the band house, behind a schedule that can best be described as insane, so we could have it out for the 17th. And we pulled it off, goddamn it.
S’n’O: I know you headlined the Middle East Club in St. Patrick’s Day for the CD release party. How did it go?
Johnny Swagger: It was a few people shy of selling out, actually – It was a complete frenetic mess. Jubilant, boisterous, brash. I’ve played hundreds of shows at this point in my musical career, and I can definitely say this was my favorite show to date. We were completely surrounded by friends and family, both on and off the stage, and the after party easily ran until 6am. Could anyone ask for anything more? I was in awe the whole goddamn time.
S’n’O: Any plans to tour to support the new release outside New England? Anyone you’d like to tour with?
Johnny Swagger: You better believe it. We plan on fully supporting this record over the next few years, in the states and abroad, starting this summer with a full US tour, then again in the fall. Stay tuned, we plan on announcing dates in the next week or so. Anyone got a van they can sell us? Growlersarus Rex is a little too battered to be roadworthy at this point.
S’n’O: myspace or facebook?
Johnny Swagger: I’ve done more social networking in our living room during a folk jam than on either of those. But Myspace is great for porn and spam and facebook is great for being a creepy stalker. so naturally, we’ve got both, and you should check them out.
S’n’O: In closing, anything you’d like to say in general?
Johnny Swagger: Check out our friends, The Old Edison and Faulty Conscience, our sister bands. They’re both gearing up for new releases in the near future. Also a big thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, the friends we’ve made, and the bartenders that didn’t throw us out when the damn well should have. Oh, and buy our new record, and come out to a show or fifty. Cheers.