Sports Bar - I Want to Waste Away With You
This may be a little late, but we didn’t want to rush the listening process…Sports Bar released a new EP called I Want to Waste Away With You, which is on par with their previous hits and wins. There is a really in-depth write-up by Andrew Necci on RVAMag.com, btw.
Wasting stuff is a recurring theme throughout music, with examples like Foo Fighters’ Everlong or Phish’s “Waste” or DMB’s “Waste” or T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland…I digress. It’s just really sweet that amidst all the cool punk sound, the lyrics discuss monogamy and growing old together. (Also, you’ll notice that the cover art is some naked grandparent drawings which are, and I kid you not, NSFW. Even though the bodies are sort of androgynous, I’d still be pretty embarrassed if a coworker or boss saw me looking at this.)
Reminiscent of elements of The Queers and likened to contemporaries, Portland’s Mean Jeans, Sports Bar is thrashing a whole new system of garage, punk, party rock and more. Really catchy melodies and engaging chord progressions kick this up a notch. Dig on some “Big Mac Yeah” for the latest slice of anthemic Americana. You’ll probably notice the allusion to “Dancing With Myself,” which brings a great song full circle. We wanted to dig a little deeper, so we asked drummer Stuart Holt a few questions:
Sounds of RVA: What are some of your influences?
Stuart: Our influences are all over the place. I know that Kemper [Blair] and I grew up listening to a lot of pop punk and classic pop records mixed with 80’s metal and good ole rock & roll. I also was, and still am, a huge fan of soul, funk, and Motown. Basically we developed our style by being in a ton of bands together in the past and eventually combining our favorite aspects of those past bands into something new. Brent [Delventhol] and Mark [Miller] also both bring a lot to the table as far as our overall style and influence. Each currently play in other groups that are similar to Sports Bar in ways, but different enough to make it interesting. PS. I know that i didn’t mention a single actual influence and I’m sorry. That’s a tough question.
SOR: Who composes your songs?
Stuart: Generally Kemper and I write all the songs, but in most cases we don’t write together. Usually one of us will write something that is loosely structured, maybe a few chords and some basic lyrics or a lead riff and a vocal melody, and then we’ll try it out at practice. If we all like the basic idea of the song then each person usually contributes, which will hopefully result in something that resembles a cohesive track. That being said, there are songs that we’ve recorded, like “Movie Screams”, where Kemper basically had the entire song written before he even played it for us. The final recording of that song was almost identical to the first time I ever heard it. On the new EP Kemper wrote “I Want To Waste Away With You” almost entirely by himself. I wrote the music for both “Daniel Song” and “Big Mac Yeah” and then we all collaboratively came up with the structure and lyrics. lastly, Kemper wrote “No Insight” with the exception of the lead guitar riff, which Brent and I wrote together.
SOR: Is “Daniel Song” about a real friend of yours?
Stuart: “Daniel Song” is about our good friend Dan Owen. Usually I’d feel bad dropping his full name, but, like a couple of assholes, we actually put it in the song. I wrote the first verse and the chorus of that song like two years ago as a joke, but we never finished because it’s dumb. Then Dan himself started asking us about it recently. He’d always be like, “When you guys going to finish that song about being a man?” So that inspired us to make it about him and we finished it in one practice. The cool thing about that song is that the four of us all stood around at the practice space and came up with the lyrics together. That almost never happens.
SOR: Where did you record the EP?
Stuart: We recorded the EP at our practice space at the Bike Lot over in Manchester. We did drums, bass, and rhythm guitar live then went back and punched all of the leads and vocals. We actually ended up recording over ten tracks, but when we listened back to them we realized that they worked better in small groups plus we were going to need a lot more time to finish some of the other ones. So, we decided to release the four that were ready and that made sense together as an EP. In the mean time we are currently working on finishing up the rest for another release later this summer.
SOR: Are Kemper’s vocals doubled in some of these songs?
Stuart: We double Kemper’s vocals on a lot of tracks because that’s ultimately how we will end up performing them live. When we play shows Brent, Mark, and I back Kemper on almost every line with a few exceptions. That being said, I sing backups on the EP for Daniel Song and Big Mac Yeah and Brent sings backups as well as a few sweet harmonies on Waste Away With You and No Insight, so it’s not all Kemper doubling himself. I don’t fully understand what we’re doing when we record. I usually have an idea going into it, but it almost always changes. We are all self taught when it comes to recording, so the best way to describe Sports Bar in the ‘studio’ is as one big experiment. If we’re able to capture the same intensity as when we play the songs live then everybody’s happy and we call it a day. We’re not out seeking perfection. Just the essence. I think people are capable of filling in the gaps.
Catch Sports Bar on 4/16 @ Strange Matter with White Fang (Portland garage freaks on Burger Records), Denney & The Jets (Nashville garage blues, also on Burger Records), and Dwight Howard Johnson (Charlottesville garage pop). 10:00 pm, 18+, $8.
photos by Samuel Dixon Photography