Chicago may’ve lost Oprah and an extensive book club, but who needs to read when you have the music of The Super Happy Fun Club? Their latest Go Fun Yourself sounds like if you took Rise Against, stripped away the politics and made Tim McIlrath a happier man. Mix that with an overall celebratory vibe, and you have a sound that will make you, well, go fun yourself. If the “mental masturbation” of “Light Pollution” doesn’t make you a fan, then the quick paced punk style of “Billy the Entertainer” will. Then you have “Partners in Crime.” By far a stand out track that is one of those songs that’ll make you grab your pals in the crowd and sing with as much passion as you can. So if you like the idea of some upbeat rock that’s all about a good time? Please Go Fun Yourself.
And when the guys aren’t partying and talking shit on one another, you can find them…partying and talking shit on one another, with some music put in the mix. So keep reading to see what the men of The Super Happy Fun Club had to say about the science of Chicago air, friendship, Green Day and so much more.
Kendra: Did the band name spawn from any or all of you being in a club in school?
Phil: Funny story it actually stems from the Boys and Girls Club of America. We all grew up in the western burbs and met when we were young in the Boys and Girls Club and found music together there. We felt that our lives came full circle from all the fun times we had in the club singing songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” so we should use a reference our past. We are best friends since the club and we are now back together creating better songs than Michael Jackson or Judy Garland ever sang!
Kendra: Aside from music, you all talk a lot of partying, but which is better…to go to one, or to throw one?
Stubhy: We love going to parties, of course, but Pat and Phil have the perfect house to throw a party at. When all else fails we throw our own SHFC parties!
Kendra: Now to the music. Chicago’s been a grand breeding ground for bands over the past decade. What’s in the air there?
Phil: Air is primarily made up of nitrogen (78.09%) and oxygen (20.95%). The remaining 1% is made up of argon (0.93%), carbon dioxide (0.039% as of 2010) and other trace gases (0.003%). Water vapor (water in its gaseous state) is also present in the atmosphere in varying amounts, by up to 2%. That being said we just work hard, and have passion for creative art.
Kendra: Whether it be the science behind the Chicago air or the love for music, I heard a lot of comradery throughout Go Fun Yourself because the excess of gang vocals and such. With that I wanted to know how important is friendship when it comes to being in a band, especially yours? Because I talked to this one guy recently who said him and his band mates are just that, they don’t hang outside of the music.
Brad: This band was founded on the idea of playing with friends. It’s pretty important to longevity. I’m still best friends with my old drummer of over a decade; Pat, Jeremy, and Chris have been playing—and been friends—for twelve years or so. Stubhy and I have been friends about 8 years. You get the idea. The reason it’s so important in general to be friends is because a band is like having X-number of girlfriends. In our case each of us has 5 people who we have to be cooperative with, understanding to, apologize to when necessary, etc. We all have emotions and we all need to stick together and realize that the bottom line is, no matter what, we’re all friends at the end of the day. I say to any band that isn’t friends with one another, enjoy your breakup because it’s right around the corner. In our case we were too old not to be friends and immediately have fun. We could have put together studio musicians like other bands our age around here, but we opted to play with people we believe in and want to have a beer with. In my old band we went through five or so guitar players and the tryout consisted of twenty minutes of hearing them play the songs, and three hours at the bar to see if we could have fun hanging out. That’s how this band is. I guess the bottom line is we wouldn’t have a member in this band that wouldn’t be up for waking up and hitting the bar.
On the other front, thanks for hearing that come across in the music. We have three ex-lead singers in the band (I guess Stubhy isn’t an ex) so instead of fighting over vocal time we decided to have fun with it and make some sing-along parts. It was pretty cool because Jeremy jumped in on that too. One of my favorite parts about this band is that so many ideas come out that nobody truly remembers who did what. Stubhy writes all the words and melodies, but everyone contributes the rest. Even Chris (from behind the drums) came up with a backup part in one of our first practices. I guess I lied, I do remember some of who did what.
Kendra: Next topic, your live show. Right from the second “My Life’s A Mess (Yeah Yeah Yeah)” started, I envisioned nothing but a great time when you guys play. How would you describe your time onstage?
Stubhy: It’s a manic time. We don’t fit the pop punk/pop rock – we don’t pose or have choreographed jumps. We let our music do the talking and get into it in our own way. The most frequent comment that we get is that people can tell how much fun we are having even though our songs are so intense. People feed off of that. It’s the best compliment we could ever get.
Kendra: What do you guys try and do different when you’re up there in front of a crowd?
Stubhy: To be honest, nothing but just be ourselves. We have a great banter between the six of us not because we plan it but just because we’ve all been friends for so long and we know how to have fun with each other without coming across rude or offending anyone. I think people in the crowd relate to that.
Kendra: Going off your very stand out song, “Generation,” what do you think your generation will leave behind musically? Like something along the lines of The Beatles, Springsteen, Nirvana? Or have all the legends come and gone already?
Brad: Surprisingly I think people will look back at two of the bands that flew under the radar as far as being “legends in the making.” The first band is Green Day; who has gone through 2.5 generations of fans. I’m not old enough to have been going to shows when 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours was released, but I definitely own the record on tape, CD, and Vinyl. I bought Kerplunk right when Dookie came out. They did several more records which I surely bought the day they came out, and then they hit it big again with American Idiot. I always tell people if they would have released Warning in 2011 people would have loved it (most fans didn’t get it when it came out). That’s my long-winded way of explaining how they keep getting new fans. If you ask any 15 year old kid it’s likely they’ll say American Idiot was their first single/record. Some might say it was Longview/Dookie. The rest know they did the 10” and 7” compilation called 1.039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours with their old drummer first.
The second band I have to say is in “legend” status has to be the Foo Fighters. Above all their success and record sales the most impressive thing is that Dave was so good he made people actually forget he was the drummer of Nirvana. Kids who are Foo-fans are actually shocked when you tell them he drummed for one of the most influential bands in the history of music. The closest thing you have to that happening is Phil Collins after being in Genesis. I can’t get over how impressive that is.
Some people might say that behind the scenes guys like Butch Walker should be put into that category for how many hits people like him have written for other people, but did he really influence anyone to think outside the box? Not really. Green Day and The Foo Fighters definitely did.
Will we ever have another Beatles? No. Oasis proved that. There’s a lot of quality lessons to be taken and a lot of quality musicians to teach them though, and that’s all Nirvana did—they taught us to think differently and hear music differently. It will be done at least once every generation I’m sure.
Kendra: That was a very well thought out answer, I hope kids today do appreciate Green Day and Foo Fighters for what they have brought and continue to give to music. Now Go Fun Yourself is out and about, but what’s up for The Super Happy Fun Club the rest of 2011?
Stubhy: So much, so much. We have a lot of shows that aren’t confirmed yet but will be. All I can say right now is that no one in this band ever thought that we’d be getting a chance to participate in some of the opportunities about to be confirmed. Also, we never stop… it’s time to start writing album #2. I want to put out a new album whether five or ten songs or somewhere in the middle like Go Fun Yourself every eight months or so.
Kendra: Lastly, you guys say you like to talk a lot of shit, so if I asked you to make me a mixtape of the Top 5 sort of “Fuck You” songs, what would you send me?
SHFC: “Dre Day” Dr. Dre
“I Will Survive” Gloria Gaynor
“Head Like A Hole” Nine Inch Nails
“Hit the Road Jack” Ray Charles
And then I’d put the Purina commercials “Meow, Meow” song on repeat so it’s stuck in your head for weeks because that is the ultimate middle finger!