Interview: Max from The Invaders
MNSKA reporter Patrick Larson took time to interview Max, the frontman for veteran Milwaukee ska band The Invaders, via Facebook Chat. In the interview, Max talks about the future of the band, the delight of finding their records in random stores, and how the only ska on TV is in commercials.
You can see what The Invaders are up to on their MYSPACE PAGE.
You can check out the entire interview after the jump.
First off, I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to be interviewed
So, it is my understanding that recently 2 members of the Invaders left the band, do you have any plans to replace them?
Already have. Nick Buendia on bass, a seasoned player and music teacher and Jeff Carpenter on drums. Jeff was in The Elevators, Hi-Ball Holiday and the Socialites. He had filled in on drums for us many times over the last 3 years too. Great drummer! Oh, their first show will be at the UWM Gast Haus on April 29th
Alright, it sounds like things are going good right now
Yes. Our sound will be a little different as we are changing the bottom end, but we are excited about it. Our year is also booked fairly in advance with good shows and we are working on a record label deal too!
So you have been in contact with some labels then?
They actually contacted us, which is a change! Window Licker Records out of Chicago would like to add us to their line-up and it means distribution, recording assistance and bookings with a reputable, indie-label.
Does this mean any US tours planned in the future?
I wish. No, part of the deal we are hashing out is that we are unable to tour due to jobs, kids and responsibilities. Those days are likely over unless someone offers us gobs of money to do it. And that will not happen to a Ska band! We will likely do some Chicago dates and other Illinois venues. We still are open to playing Wisconsin more and perhaps Minneapolis too. Recording is still a priority as this band has not released nearly as much as we could / should have over the years.
Ah, well that makes sense, at least you will be able to do some touring. Are you currently working on any new recordings?
We’re working on new songs. We also have 6 new songs we are currently doing that need to be recorded too. Obviously, we need to get Nick and Jeff comfortable with a boat-load of Invader music and then concentrate on new stuff again with them. So, there is some delay to it all right now. Our next release will hopefully be on WLR but I cannot say now, when that will be.
Yeah, I can imagine, especially with the Invaders being around for over 20 years, you’ve certainly got a big catalog of songs to be learned by them
You got that right. Sometimes it’s a curse. As an artist, you want to create new music and stay fresh, but you have to honor the standards people want to hear. Of course they always seem to request the one old song not in the set or rehearsed! (laughing) Yes it has been. But there was the Hiatus from 2000 to 2006.
Oh, I actually did not know about that, but that kind of leads into my next question. Being in a band that has been around for such a long time, what are some factors that have helped the longevity of the band?
Mostly my stubborn determination. Not to sound corny, but I just love playing Ska music and it’s part of my soul. Luckily when people have left the band, the remaining members were always as determined as I was to keep the project going. After a while you find yourself the only original member, although some return after a time like Karl, who was in the band back in the 80′s! The split is 2000 was actually because we had a chance to go national and tour full time, but some members including myself could not commit to that and it just imploded the band that was quite good line-up at the time. New Ska band projects followed, but it was always like starting over. We di a few Invader “Reunions” and they were so well received, that I just went back to it and here we are again! Perseverance applies here!
Nice, I’m glad to see that you can keep your passion going. I was realizing that a lot of ska bands still playing today only have one original member, such as Dave Wakeling’s version of the English Beat, The Toasters, but that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. Although a band’s sound does change considerably
Yes. I do miss those bands hey-days and sounds, but those days are not coming back. One thing in life is certain and that is nothing stays the same forever. I’ve always found it important to honor past Invader members by keeping songs they had a big part in, at least sounding the same. Leaving new songs to new members. I have been lucky, that fans have not seemed to concerned with who’s playing as long as it’s Invader music they are hearing. For that, I love our fans and thank them for their loyalty!
So true. That’s great that you honor the former band members and their contributions to the band. I saw posted on your myspace that the Invaders will again be playing Skappleton. I’m not sure if you are allowed to say, but could you give a little preview of some of the bands that will be playing this year?
Honestly I have not heard anything myself yet. They are always so slow getting the info out. I can say that STD will play along with Hired Geeks, Umbrella Bed and the usual cast of bands. No clue on a head-liner. I am working on another Milwaukee Ska-Fest too. Last year was a disaster with the freak snow storm we had in late March, but this year I’m looking at August at a better all ages & 21+ venue. I will keep you posted.
Alright, thanks a lot. Sounds like a good show so far. I remember hearing about the Milwaukee Ska Fest disaster. I hope this year will run smoothly.
Yes. you can’t fight Mother Nature! There will be less bands on the bill, if I pull it off this year, but If I can work out the venue, it will be great! We are excited about Skappleton, it’s always a great time for the bands too! Kenny and Crew do a great job and have put a lot of effort (and sweat and blood) into keeping the tradition going. Sucks that the University does not support such a great event anymore, but I guess times are tough.
Yeah. How have things been at Tanner’s compared to at the university?
Tanners is great! Acoustics could be better, but the sound guys do a great job. There is a Bar/Pub too for the 21+ types. Two stages to keep things flowing like it was at the University. The folks that run the place seem to like us too.
Ah nice. It seems like it has been a fairly smooth transition. I actually found “All That’s Normal Turns to Chaos” in a local record store here in Minnesota
Elevator Records did a great job getting that distributed. It’s always a pleasure to see that CD pop up here and there when I’m shopping myself. But, then I always think (when I see used copies)…who’s the SOB that is selling their copy! Hopefully they just burned it to their computer! We are hoping WLR gets “Where Ya Gone” out there just as much along with any new CD’s we record with them.
Actually back in 2008 at Warped Tour, I remember seeing Elevator Records booth and they were talking about the Invaders a lot and still had some comps featuring The Invaders
Very cool! Thanks for sharing that. I still stay in contact with Fernando who owns the label. Actually I think he owes me money! LOL! Seriously and humbly, he always tells me that people still ask about us and request our CD’s. WE’RE STILL HERE MAN!
I think he actually mentioned that there was a hardcore ska band now on the label
He had HC Ska on the label back in ’96. I think he prefers HC Ska to other styles. HC and Punk were the staple of Elevator. Right now HC is the staple of WLR too, but we would be the 3rd Ska band they are signing. They even designed a new logo just for their Ska bands!
Have The Invaders, or any side project of the Invaders played Warped Tour?
No. We have applied in the past and that was one deal that was going to happen in for us in 2000, but I explained that deal already. We have applied recently, but it seems (and understandibly so) that they are looking for young fresh bands to promote and not old icons like us. But, you never know. That would be a blast to play even on a few of the stops. There are so many Ska fans out there who don’t know us or never saw us. We are loyal to our old fans but you have to keep bringing in the new young fans too or you’ll eventually disappear into history. A big reason why playing WARPED would be a plus for us!
Yeah, recently, especially in the last few years Warped Tour has been adding classic ska bands like The Toasters, The Uptones, Fishbone, Assorted Jellybeans, etc. onto the bill
Well I don’t know if we have the clout or noteriety as those bands have, but I’m just sayin’!
Yeah it would be a great thing to see
I should mention that we are head-lining the casio stage again this year at Summerfest on Saturday, July 3rd! Last year was killer and we hope to repeat, if not improve on that groove this year! we played longer and later than any other mainstage did! Quite proud of that fact!
It was cool to see that news clip of you guys playing there in 2008
That was very cool. We had two slots that year and one was opening day, set up at the maingate on the hot asphalt. It was like 105 degrees! We slayed ‘em too and gave it our all! The news filmed us as people came in and to our suprise every day they had the Summerfest news on, there we were on the opening sequence! That was great exposure!
Yeah, its not often that a ska band is featured on TV anymore
Unless it is music used in commercials! It is amazing how much Ska is played to unsuspecting ears who have no clue, but love the groove. That’s it!!! Just need an Invader song sold to a company for commercial use and we are set! Money to play full time and record with!
It seems like ska music is a great advertising tool, people have actually have been talking about that on the mnska forum. Its always awesome to hear a ska song on tv or in a movie
There is an older movie titled “Somewhere in the City” with Sandra Bernard where a scene plays out where a guy is robbing a convienience store. The actor is wearing an INVADER Hoodie! Turns out he was the singer in “the Fenwicks” (who we played with a few times) and being a fan he thought wearing the colors would be cool for us. Neatest thing I ever had anyone do! I finally just found and bought a copy as I did not know about it until recently.
Wow, was it an independent movie, or Hollywood?
I think independent, but it was distributed and played in theaters. I found a copy on ebay.
I’m guessing you have obviously told other members of the Invaders about this?
We are going to get together soon and watch it. I’m going to invite past members to come too. It will be a reunion of sorts, Yes?
For those who don’t know about it, can you explain what the ska cruise is and how it got started?
We hooked up with Milwaukee Boat Lines who do a Summer concert cruise series on their boats. It started just as a one-off gig as a unique way to have our “Where Ya Gone” CD release show. But it went so well, they asked us back. Being the Invaders we thought dressing up would be fun, so we did a Love Boat theme. People loved it and the next year people came in costume on the boat! Last year we did “Night Boat To Cairo” and dressed in Safari clothes. This year we will have a Pirate Theme, so attendees take note! It’s like $18, but you get an Invader Concert with a Cruise and there is a bar on-board! All-Ages are welcome too! Our Cruise is June 18th.
Sounds like a fun event. And the final question is, do you currently have or plan to release a live DVD or just a DVD in general?
Would love to. Have wanted to for a long, long time. We don’t have any good videos at all really. Every time we had tried to plan something, it never panned out for different reasons. How hard is it to video tape a band? Being how visual we have always been, a DVD is long over-due. Actually, I also do have a lot of footage shot on tour back in the 90′s and at select concerts, but it is all on analog video tape and there is just no time or resources to work through it all. But rest assured I hope to get something out. Whether it will be recent or upcoming shows or vintage shows (or maybe both) I don’t know. It does please me that you asked! many fans at shows and on-line ask the same question. guess i should just do it!