Many of you might not be familiar with the name Crucial Dudes, but hidden somewhere in the swamps of New Jersey hail this promising five piece. After just releasing their stellar debut album ’61 Penn’, we caught up with guitarist Alec to discuss Lifetime, the new record and the state of Pop Punk.
Let’s start things off by stating your name, your role in Crucial Dudes and your favourite Lifetime record?
My name is Alec and I play guitar. Easy question! Hello Bastards.
For those who are unfamiliar with Crucial Dudes how would you describe your style?
Fast punk rock. As simple as that.
Where did the band name originate from and who was the mastermind behind it?
Billy, our guitarist, came up with it. We just thought it was really funny. It’s even funnier seeing how mad people get when they hear our band name.
Can you tell us briefly how the band was formed and what inspired you to start a band from day one?
Billy and Jason played in a band together before this and when that band broke up, they asked me to play guitar in a new band that they were starting, which happened to be Crucial Dudes. Band members came and went, including myself, and we picked up Cheeks and Brandon along the way and that bring’s us to where we are today. We all just really wanted to play music that we loved (cliche answer, I know). When we started the band, the whole hardcore-pop punk thing was getting super big and super annoying and we kinda just wanted to knock that away and play music that sounded like Saves The Day.
There was an unmastered leak and a free Bandcamp download at Christmas, but ’61 Penn’ was only officially released a few weeks ago. Why was the official release of the record so long after it was put online?
What a lot of people don’t understand is that there is so much more to releasing a record then just recording songs and then a month later putting them out in some sort of physical manner. Album Artwork is a huge process in itself. Getting the physical records pressed, the lp’s and cd’s, can take weeks or sometimes even months to be done. It’s a long wait, but it’s all worth it when you’re holding your own record in your hands at the end of the day.
You’ve been through a bunch of labels before on and off, but how did the signing to Jump Start Records fall into place?
Haha I wouldn’t really call it a bunch of labels. There were a few other record labels interested in putting the album out but we weren’t super sold on any certain label yet. And I’m not saying that to bad mouth them, they all are in it for the same deal, and that’s to put out music that they really love and all that good stuff, but we just wanted a label that seemed to fit us and felt like home. A good friend of mine who works at Jump Start Records, Kevin, played our first ever show with us in his old ska band. He really was into what he heard and about a year and a half later he told me to give him our record so he could show it to his boss, Jeremy, at Jump Start. Kevin was playing the record in the office one day at Jump Start and minutes later, Jeremy called me and asked to put out the record. And it was the same phone call that got me a job at Jump Start. It was a good phone call.
Explain the writing and recording process for ’61 Penn’. Who did you choose to work with in the studio this time around?
As the far as the writing process goes, Billy and I sat in my basement from January-May of 2010 and pretty much wrote the whole thing while Cheeks, our drummer, was at school in Hawaii. Cheeks came home from Hawaii and we practiced the songs for about a month and then we headed into the Gradwell House in Haddon Heights, NJ and recorded the album. Dave Downham recorded and put up with us the whole time. Dave is the best dude. He was my first guitar teacher when I was 9 so I’ve known him for a long time. It was really comfortable working with him and a whole lot of fun.
Apart from the obvious major influences, what bands influence you that would come as a surprise to most people?
Hmm. I don’t really think we have any influences that come as some sort of huge surprise. We all just really love The Bouncing Souls.
How has the feedback and overall response been from ’61 Penn’ since being released?
The feedback so far has been awesome! It’s been nice seeing that the record could mean just as much to some other people as it does to the five of us.
At some point In the near future are you planning on releasing a music video?
Holy shit, I hope not.
What is your personal opinion on the current state of pop punk in the states?
My personal opinion? I’m probably going to catch some crap for saying this, but I kinda hate it. There are few bands out there playing right now that I would really consider "pop-punk". But the ones who are doing it well, are seriously awesome. (See: Caleb Lionheart and HisDayHasCome)
Besides Crucial Dudes are any members playing in side projects or anything?
Side Projects? No, not really. My friend Kevin has a band called Aspiga and last year he lost his bassist a few weeks before they were supposed to go on tour. He needed someone who could learn the songs quickly enough on bass to do the tour with them so he asked me to do it. So I’ve just been playing with them live until Jason comes home from school so we can do Crucial Dudes full time.
There are hundreds of new bands forming each year, who should we be on the lookout for that you have been listening to lately?
Shared Arms. Shared Arms. And also..Shared Arms.
Has there been talk with the band of travelling to Australian shores? If so make it happen!
Unfortunately, not yet. Hopefully it is something we will be able to do in the future though! Fingers crossed.
Can fans expect another release this year?
What’s planned for the rest of 2011 for Crucial Dudes?
15-day tour with HisDayHasCome on the east coast/mid-west. A Split 7" with our canadian brothers in Shared Arms. We will also be featured on a Descendents tribute digital album. Nice!
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words or shout outs you would like to add?
Thanks for letting me ramble on! Never stop fighting for the shit.