I was a big fan of pretty much everything that came out on Honest Don’s, which is likely how I heard of this band. While Teen Idols are a pop punk band, they have an incredibly unique sound. Driving melodic punk rock with amazing harmonizing. I’ve been listening to the 1997 self titled album as I typed up this interview, and am still blown away at how great this band is.
I met up with the band backstage at a show in Detroit. The band members I hung out with that night (original lineup) included: Matt (drums), Keith (vocals), Heather (bass) and Phil (guitar).
This was the first time I met the band and they were super down to earth awesome people. I’m glad I managed to squeeze an interview out of the time I spent with them because we sat around chatting like old friends. “Do a lot of people really dig us?” Keith asked. I’m sure I responded positively, because everyone I knew at the show was there specifically to see Teen Idols. Heather told a story about getting snowed in with 88 Finger Louie (which, back in the day would have been a dream come true for me). “We drank so much beer those couple of days,” Heather said.
How long have you been on tour?
We’re not on tour now, we just came up from Nashville to do this show. But we leave March 2nd for Japan. We’ll be out there for a week and a half, getting back on the 12th.
And you release a new album a week later?
Some time that week..
Tom from Honest Don’s told me the release date for Pucker Up is March 23rd (1999)
No way! We didn’t know that! Yeah! We weren’t sure of a date yet, now we can tell everyone. Yeah and we head out in April, we’ll be back in Detroit sometime. We’re going to hit Chicago too. We’ll be on tour with the Lillingtons. They’re really cool, kind of like the Ramones. They’ll go really well with us.
How many songs are on Pucker Up?
14. A little longer than the last album and much better.
How did you all hook up on Honest Don’s anyhow?
We know Ben Weasel and Ben knew about that label coming out. At first that label was going to be a ska label and (Fat) Mike was like “There are so many bands that I like that aren’t ska and aren’t Fat Wreck Chords..” That’s how that label came about. We almost signed on Lookout!, but are happy to have signed on Honest Don’s. It’s just like one big happy family, everyone is really cool.
I read on a website about the band getting arrested. What happened?
Short version: We all got into a fight and someone was hit with a beer bottle and we got arrested for it. We were bailed, had to get a lawyer and go to court. Eventually, the red-neck chicks dropped the charges. (Fat) Mike was behind us all the way throughout it. The fans were also behind us. We had people writing in that saw the whole incident. They had no chance. It was a bar fight and these girls drug it all out, so that’s all.
Tell me about the new album
It’s great, better than the last one.
You’re all from Nashville presently, right? What’s it like down there? You just don’t imagine a punk band to come out of Nashville.
Yeah, it’s really tough. A lot of bigger labeled bands came out of California and you know, they have it so much easier out there. There’s just a larger scene out there. You figure most bands on the labels live in the general area. We don’t really have any good bands that come out of Nashville. Sometime in April we’re supposed to play with NOFX in Nashville. That’ll be the biggest show for that city. There is a strong loyalty toward local music though, it’s funny, you could have a high school band show adn like 300 people will show up. Then a bigger band will come through and like 20 people will come..
How did you hook up with Sonic Iguana Studios (Lafayette, IN)?
Home of Guns N’ Roses! Axel Rose grew up directly across the street from this studio. There was really no place in Nashville to record that we knew of. There was this place we used to record but the recordings were really crappy, so we hooked up with Sonic. Mass Giorgini is the guy that records there. He’s the bass player for Squirtgun. A really, really good bass player. We did some of the recording for the new album there. We had a lot of fun.
What’s up next for the band?
We’re going to Japan in March. That should be really cool. We’re all really excited about getting out to Australia. We all want to go out there so bad. We’re hoping to get on an Australian warped tour. That’d be way fun. They do a separate tour through Australia. We actually did some of the Warped Tour last year. It was like a punk-rock summer camp. It was a lot of fun. You’d just be sitting there and the guy from Bad Religion would walk by and we were all like “HEY!” but we met a lot of cool people and everybody was really cool.