The date was August 14th 2014, it’s a day I’ll always remember. I was invited to take in a show at the Slidebar in Fullerton by my good friend Mike Berault. Mike was excited because local promoter Tazy Phyllipz had a very cool band playing their album release party at his Ska Parade Lounge show that night. I remember it was a Thursday night, there was nothing out of the ordinary going on. I saw a lot of familiar faces from the OC ska community, so it was a very positive atmosphere.
Honestly, I was talking to so many people that night I lost track of which band was playing. As the night went on, I noticed more and more people rolled in and the crowd seemed very animated, almost a cartoon-crazy anticipation. It didn’t dawn on me just yet why. Then it happened, I was talking about something to someone… AND 10 seconds into their first song, I knew whoever that band was on stage was special. I turned around immediately… the song was “A Friend Like Me” and the band was The Interrupters.
Since then, I’ve been playing their music, writing stories about them and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know them as people. Of all the bands I’ve covered in nearly 3 decades of covering music, I can honestly tell you that this band is special in more ways than one.
The following year I wrote a featured story in the OC Weekly on how this band would be the next big thing to bring on the 4th Wave of ska. I recognized immediately it was a pretty bold statement so did my Editor, Nate Jackson. Much respect to Nate, because he published the story in its un-edited form.
As expected, I got some push back on that story, but truthfully…. inasmuch as I was rolling the dice, I didn’t think it was much of a risk. Bottom line, this band was energetic, with a great sound, great lyrics and they were polished beyond their years. Maybe Tim Armstrong had a little to do with that. Whatever the case was, they were ready in my opinion to blow up.
What I think people should know about this band is not the basics of their sonic vision or how uber-cool they are, but they are literally a family, and they are good people who care about the right things.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to see good things happen to good people.
Then again, this band earned their success. It was not handed to them, and their music catalog is becoming as impressive as their character as people.
In more recent times, the band has added a more robust sound and added former Reel Big Fish Trombonist and keys god, Billy Kottage. Let’s just say he’s like the 5th Beatle. Their tunes are evolving and their fans couldn’t be happier.
A few years ago, before the band blew up, they were opening at a local festival. I was lucky enough to sit down with a few bands to chat for a few stories I was working on back then. One memorable interview was with the Queen of TwoTone Ska, Pauline Black. I asked Pauline what bands she was looking forward to seeing that day, this was her response.
“I’m very excited to check out The Interrupters. I’ve heard many good things about them from people I respect… their lead singer, Aimee… she is special. I think we’ll be hearing from them for some time.”
Pauline Black | The Selecter
The core band features brothers Justin, Jesse and Kevin Bivona and their dynamic lead vocalist, Aimee Interrupter. Collectively they have delivered a sound and vision that has taken them on a rise through the music industry that has seen them hit the highest points that all bands strive to achieve.
Truth be told, the Music Gods have looked down favorably on them. The Interrupters have had countless charting hits, they’re Warped Tour favorites, they’ve done the late night run.
After all, you know you’ve made it when you’re the featured act on Kimmel.
Over the years, their music has literally exploded with fan favorite hits like “By My Side,” “She’s Kerosene,” “She Got Arrested,” “Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” and “Gave You Everything” just to name a few.
Their music has also been used on some of our favorite shows. Their hit “Take Back The Power” was featured in a trailer for Showtime’s Shameless.
Currently, their cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” is featured in season 2 of Netflix original series, The Umbrella Academy.
So what’s next for the Interrupters? Like most bands, they are sidelined from their crazy touring schedule. Over the past few years they’ve toured everywhere on the planet with the biggest names in the music biz. With the current state of the global pandemic, they’re taking a break from the road. They’re taking it easy, or as much as possible while spending time with family.
That all being said, they are working on new music. The thing that gets me about them is that like Travis Barker, they can make music out of anything and make it sound good. AND covers, they kill with those.
A few years ago I was a benefit in L.A. It was at a large estate in Beverly Hills, yeah … one of those swanky events… but, it had some cool-ass bands playing. It was also for a very good cause. So it didn’t surprise me that the Interrupters were on the bill.
I recall standing behind the stage and as luck would have it, I was standing next to Lynval Golding of the Specials and Rhoda Dakar of the Bodysnatchers. We were talking about the bands playing that night, and about the Interrupters. At that moment, they went into a Clash cover that was imply amazing. It was surreal when Lynval, Rhoda and I all looked at each other at the same time and we all just said “DAMN!” That’s how good this band is.
We’re not sure just yet when life will return to normal, but in the meantime, The Interrupters are working on new music. They recently provided a new song for the Joe Strummer birthday tribute live stream show. As anticipated, they put together a very cool Strummer cover of “Get Down Moses.”