The veteran players of this band have been on the tour for several years now and are one of the proponents of bringing back the ska movement, or at least making it cool again in the words of the lead singer, lyric writer and melodica, David "Dwayne" McWane. Recently, I had the chance to sit to sit down with Dwayne in Montreal, where they are playing their current run of the Warped Tour and we talked about everything from the clues kids were supposed to find in their album titles, some surprising favorites on the tour to some future projects we can expect!
You guys just came out with a new album, Fluent in Stroll, You guys just came out with a new album, Fluent In Stroll? How would you describe the album to someone who's never really listened to you guys before who's never had a chance?
We try to put the definitions of the record somewhere in the title. Like, 'Strictly Rude' was supposed to say to the kids that there weren't as many punk songs, you know? 'Fluent in Stroll' What's stroll? Um, we describe it as hopscotch double dutch, soul, ska reggae. It's kind of got that little two girls from Brooklyn playing jump rope attitude. You know, you think you're going to be witty and say something but they actually school you in wit. 'Get out of here, Uncle Charlie!'
I know you guys are veterans on Warped Tour-
It's so weird to hear that. I mean, I guess we are.
Do you have any advice for any new bands that are coming out on the tour. You know for someone like Lights who must look up to you-
I mean your music isn't exactly the same style but kind of like it's her first full year of the Warped Tour but what kind of advice would you give to new bands who haven't played it before?
I would definetly say and this might crush a couple people but I'd just say don't do it in a van. You know, if you're gonna do it in a van, at least know that one of your members is probably gonna quit the band by the end. It's just demanding too much from you cause it's so hot. It's cool if you're in the van for a week or two but not too months so I wouldn't recommend it and the other thing is just grandma, truly grandma advice. It's no matter what, you're going to get caught up in the whole thing because it really is anarchy. Try to put sunblock on, and you have drink at least six waters every day and if you don't, you are just going to become a moany crankypuss then they'll deserve it. You want to have a good time so yeah yeah, you're gonna get as much beer as you want, don't worry, you know what I mean? Just make sure you drink water, you know what I mean because no one wants a cranky band guy.
Yeah not at all. Especially when you're on the road for a while. I mean you guys have been on it since the beginning, haven't you?
Yeah, Yeah. Isn't that crazy? First week is always party week and second week is jesus I got to slow down week.
How does it feel to, I mean you obviously have played Canada now, but how does the difference feel between playing Canada and the US scene. I know it's sometimes hard for acts to break into Canada.
Well, I mean to..describe Canada. It's so simple, some people even forget to say it and it's...Canada is to me, America without european influence and style and to me, it's America if it was perfectly right. So it's cool because Americans can still get their homebase draw but you guys just have so much more style that really is accepted in the states for some reason and you have more openness to being free enought to want to have a good time while some Americans might be introverted and "We can't have a good time yet, so we drink our drinks", you know what I mean? You guys have more natural positive attitudes.
Well I guess that's a good thing.
Are there any bands that you're excited to see this tour?
You know what? There was no band that was like in my playlist, you know that like, 'oh my god, i can't believe we're playing with bananas blind'. You know what I mean? But The Suicide Machines were that for me a couple years back. I was like 'Oh my god, I get to watch The Suicide Machines every day'. NOFX would be that but, except, I've just been lucky enough to see NOFX on so many different tours that you know, it's like I bet they would count but I have been, so I'm kind of just a little vagabond walking through going 'what's out here?' and I do like P.O.S. and um, I thought the Millionaires, you know them?
I saw a bit of their set this morning. Yeah they're interesting for sure.
A lot of people hating on them um but I don't know. They made me smile? So um, Andrew W.K. in the past, that was really lucky to be on that tour. Every day to watch Andrew W.K. was so cool.
Do you have any projects coming up after this tour? More tours? More Music?
Yeah, let's see. Right now, our video's being edited and it's for the song 'Fluent in Stroll'. That should be out in I think two and a half weeks. Our DVD, called 'Built up For Nothing' should be out in our fall tour in November and I have a book called 'The Gypsy Mile', but I have a new book of fourteen years of lyrics coming out in a month and then a new book of poetry coming out in November called 'The Art of Boredom'.
That's what I was actually going to ask you about because I heard that you also write poetry and stories. How do you balance it all? Does it ever come through in your lyrics?
Yeah, you know it's one of those things where I can't stop writing material because Big D had me writing lyrics so much that I got into it and then there would be things I would want to write but aren't really relevant at all for like a ska band's lyrics. You know, I could write it but then people would be like, 'Jeez Dwayne, I don't think this is really going to make it into a song' so I just kind of was writing and didn't stop and then once I stumbled apon, well I always liked John Steinbeck and different authors, just different guys, I realized that you're allowed to write. You know what I mean? It's not just for the elite, some of us are, some of us can go for it and it would be illicit readers.
My last question is I know there are a lot of ska bands on this year's tour, more then it has been in the past. Do you think ska's becoming a bigger genre and more bands are coming out or do you think it's going to stay the same?
You know, it's like everyone everyyear asks how's the ska scene? and it's like it's always the same. It's always the same. There was only one time when it got really really big in the nineties but other then that few couple years, it's just same same same same same. You know what I mean? Is it going up? Is it going down? It is what it is. You know, there is one difference that happened this year and that is the cool people, meaning people who don't listen to ska, don't mind it now. And if I want to be a dilweed about it, I'd say that everyone was hating on ska because it was the lame style of music and I think lamer styles of music have surfaced and so ska actually can now be pushed towards the light because everyone wants to hate on other stuff. It's kind of like the geek in high school, there was a new kid and now the new kid's the geek, and the old geek's okay now.