The So So Glos aren’t just another DIY punk outfit from New York. With their quirky yet thoughtful lyrics and Brooklyn edge, the boys have managed to set themselves apart from the crowd to become one of the biggest up-and-coming punk bands in the country.
Despite their hectic touring schedule, The So So Glos’ lead vocalist Alex Levine managed to find time to chat with LAmb about the group’s latest release, their public recording studio Shea Stadium, and growing up in Brooklyn. Check out our interview below, then be sure to catch the band’s show at The Smell with Diarrhea Planet on September 21st.
You guys have a pretty interesting backstory. Mind sharing the tale of how The So So Glos were formed?
Zach, Ryan, and I are brothers who’ve been a band since 1990 when our parents spilt up, then remarried. We came into contact with some chemical ooze in a NYC subway and a rat named Splinter gave us some instruments to play. Matt joined in 2007, and we became The So So Glos. The rat formerly known as Splinter went on to change his name to Adam Reich.
How has growing up in Brooklyn helped to define your sound?
We moved around a bunch growing up. Brooklyn made us loud, more obnoxious, and in your face. The suburbs made us angry, and the combination of the city/suburbs made us confused. The clamor and clatter of the city makes your voice increase in decibels to compete, and you can get swallowed in the silence of a suburb. You have to be a song and dance man who screams to be heard in Brooklyn.
What exactly is Shea Stadium and how did the idea come about?
We’ve always had a place in the all-ages community of NYC. At first it was random spots, then the Market Hotel, then Shea. The idea here is that there should be safe, fun spaces that are open to EVERYONE and that echo the music/art that you find in them. Shea is a public recording studio that we helped start up with our oldest friend from Bay Ridge/our producer Adam Reich.
Is it difficult to maintain an all-ages venue when a lot of your time is spent playing shows all over the country?
There’s a whole team of people holding Shea together nowadays. When we’re not on tour, we’re throwing boxes of drinks up the stairs and sweeping floors. We’re cleaning up broken glass, living the dream…
Have you seen any fresh and exciting talent come through Shea Stadium?
Too many to name. Check out Heeney for starters. Those boys can rock and roll. Best new music.
The So So Glos have been releasing albums since 2007. How does it feel to have finally garnered some media attention with the success of your recent release Blowout?
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, it still makes a sound. That’s a lot like the So So Glos’ back catalog, which is coming back out of the forest soon…stay tuned kids.
How is Blowout different from your previous three albums?
We started over when recording this one. We stripped ourselves from all that was holding us back and became completely independent. We entered the studio younger than we’ve been, envisioning a clean, loud, strong record. “Clarity” was a word that we kept repeating.
Blowout is a direct and fun assault that isn’t hiding behind a wash of reverb or pretending. All of our records are quite different from one another, and they’re all a bit conceptual. Believe me, I can talk about the concepts behind them for hours on end, but I’ve found it better to let them speak for themselves.
The So So Glos are a very DIY band. Do you find it difficult to do so much work on your own or are you happy with the creative freedom?
Yes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Last year you cohosted a show at your very own Shea Stadium to benefit the National Lawyers’ Guild, which helped and supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Are throwing benefit shows something that is important to you as a band?
Sure. That was a cause that we could get behind, so we supported it. All you can do is do what you must…
You have opened for a myriad of seasoned bands including …And They Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, The Futureheads, Matt and Kim, and Titus Andronicus. Any of them dole out some good advice or words of wisdom?
All of those tours were special and unique in their own ways. We picked up bits and pieces of inspiration from most all of those folks. Trail of Dead are such a tight musical group. Watching that machine go on night after night was therapeutic.
Has touring been a different experience since the release of Blowout (an increase in the number of groupies, a more eclectic audience, etc.)?
The road stretches on and on with no visible end in sight. The highs are getting higher and the lows are getting lower. The sentiment remains.
The So So Glos Tour Dates:
09/14 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza*
09/17 – San Francisco @ Brick & Mortar*
09/19 – Long Beach, CA @ Alex’s Bar*
09/20 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
09/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell*
09/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room*
09/25 – Norman, OK @ Opolis*
09/26 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada*
09/27 – Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken*
09/28 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s*
10/01 – Orlando, CA @ The Social**
10/03 – Gainesville, FL @High Dive**
10/04 – Lake Worth, FL -@Propaganda**
10/05 – Tampa, FL @ Plan B Block Party**
10/06 – Charleston, SC @The Royal American**
10/08 – Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge**
10/09 – Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe*
10/10 – Hattiesburg, MS @ The Thirsty Hippo*
10/11 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree Cafe*
10/12 – Mobile, AL @ Alabama Music Box*
10/20 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre^
10/21 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall^
10/22 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room^
10/24 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant^
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ The Metro^
10/26 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues^
10/27 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre^
10/28 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom^
10/30 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk (outside)^
10/31 – Beatmont, TX @ Club Heat ^
* w/Diarrhea Planet
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