Hannah McFaull, who last spoke to The Street Dogs back in Oct last year for us, catches up once again with lead singer Mike McColgan to see what the near future holds in store for the band music wise as well, as to get the low down on the band’s new side project.
Readers of my articles will know that I have an unwavering admiration for musicians who tell it like it is, who stand up to power and who generally are willing to speak up for others.
I have been a fan of the Street Dogs for this reason since their first demo started doing the rounds in 2002, and with every album their particular style of Street Punk never fails to get the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
I interviewed singer Mike McColgan back in October, when the band were in the process of releasing controversial single ‘GOP’, and their announcement that the band were taking a break in December, left me a very forlorn punk girl.
The good news is that my heartache didn’t last for long. The band are recharged and back, with more plans for 2013 than most bands would attempt in a decade. It was time for a catch up again, and so Louder Than War got in touch with Mike to get the details about what was going on in the world of the Street Dogs.
Louder Than War: So, Mike, it’s been a while since we last spoke, how are you?
Mike: I am doing great! Supposedly on some self imposed break but new Street Dogs songs, side projects and tour dates have all but scuttled that idea!
You announced the supposed break in December, what prompted the announcement?
I think we wanted to catch our collective breath after basically being on tour for 8 straight years. This break will only wind up being six months after all as we fire the chariot back up for a tour across Europe this summer, playing festivals and headlining shows from July into August.
You all seem to have plenty of things filling your time which makes me think none of you appear to know how to take a break, is it an occupational hazard of being a touring band?
Haha, we definitely do not know how to take a break. We have all been insanely busy but in a way that somehow has served to sustain us and keep us from going insane.
We have finished up a batch of new Street Dogs songs that will be coming out soon via our new label Pirates Press Records. We have also completed work on a side project tentatively titled FM359 and we are wrapping up completion of a live album and live DVD.
All of this will be via Pirates Press who we have had a longstanding relationship with and (who we) more recently chose to work exclusively with, as we believe they are the best label out there right now.
What can you tell me about FM359?
Mike: I can tell you that FM359 will be more of a rock record with folk twinges. I am very excited about it, I really believe people will love it.
I know you’ve been recording with Rick Barton, your old writing partner from your DKM days – was it like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers being back in the studio with him?
Rick truly is a force of nature. He is live wire as a person and songwriter, meaning he is for the most part, always energetic and enthusiastic. He is a great songwriter and me and him always have had a good, natural songwriting chemistry that is natural and not forced. It’s always an honor and a privilege to work with him.
As you just mentioned you’re back in Europe this summer (and making my year by playing Rebellion), what do you look forward to most about playing shows there?
We are well received in Europe and the crowds we play to are super energetic and knowledgable. This particularly pertains to the UK and we eagerly look forward to playing Rebellion. I think the thing I like most about playing shows in Europe is during festivals you have so many good bands to see and for me that never gets old.
Who is the worst person in the band to sit next to on the tour bus, or have you got seating arrangements down to a fine art now?
At this stage of the game we all have our little idiosyncrasies that drive each other nuts, so there is not one particular person who drives me nuts more than the rest of the gang. Like any working dysfunctional family, we find a way to not kill each other, live together on tour and carry on for love of the music.
Last time we spoke it was in the run up to the Presidential Election in November, and the Street Dogs Army were in the process of distributing 20,000 copies of your controversial single ‘GOP’ (see video above) at Republican events. Were you pleased with how the single was received?
I was elated at how originally people thought the single was pro-GOP only to discover upon hearing it that it was fire and brimstone against. That part of it still makes me very pleased.
Do you think Obama will be freer to pursue a more progressive agenda now he’s secure in his re-election or do you think it will be much of the same? What would you like to see as his top policy priorities?
I think he will be more inclined to be progressive in a second term for sure. I hope that job creation and creating more jobs as a result of manufacturing things in the United States comes to pass.
I also hope that he continues to push for more clean energy initiatives. I also hope that somehow that he can find a way to repeal the Citizens United law as it has cheapened and sold what was left of our Democracy.
You’ve got two singles coming out on Pirates Press Records later this spring, what can we expect from these releases?
A more focused and sonically superior effort than ever before. Somehow I think we managed to channel collective internal strife into some of best songs ever. Crazy how that happens right? Our pain becomes our music’s gain.
Which bands that you’ve played with or heard recently make you excited about music in 2013?
My two current tips are a band from Dublin called Ireland Riptide Movement, who are great, as is the band Marching Orders, who are from Australia.
I second the Marching Orders recommendation wholeheartedly! Thanks for taking the time to talk to Louder Than War, see you at Rebellion!
Look out for upcoming singles Rust Belt Nation and Crooked Drunken Sons when they are released on Pirates Press Records later this year. Catch Street Dogs on tour throughout Europe this summer, for more details visit their website. And make sure you check back with Louder Than War tomorrow for the exclusive European stream of brand new tracks by the band!
Street Dogs can be found in all the usual places. As well as their website (see above) they’re on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter & Youtube. Their label, Pirates Press, can be found here and you can order the new single here.
All words by Hannah McFaull. More writing by Hannah on Louder Than War can be found in her author’s archive. Hannah also blogs from An EastEnd Girl: musings from E3 and is on Twitter as @hannahmcfaull.