Well, this is a lot of talent squeezed into one night. For Friday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Takeover, seven punk and rock bands commandeer the Hook and Ladder for loud ‘n’ proud performances throughout the night in all three of the theater’s performance spaces. New music from Fret Rattles! Fast and fun punk from New Rocket Union! Energetic sets from The Mighty Mofos and The Short Fuses, quartet Mad Mojo Jett, even Devil’s Teeth from Milwaukee!
Adding to the already irresistible showcase for rock fans, the hot rod of fuzzed-out, organ-drenched garage-punks of SUPERMODIFIED will also be releasing a new EP. To hear more about the project and party, we checked in with keys player Allison Achterkirch about the band, upcoming music, the interconnectedness of the rock scene and . . . what did you say? We can’t hear!
DISPATCH: SUPERMODIFIED is a SUPERgroup of sorts, with rockers that bring with them over a dozen bands’ worth of experience. How does being so seasoned impact the band dynamic and the music?
Allison Achterkirch: All five of us come from eclectic ends of the music spectrum, so figuring out our band’s “sound” was a challenge (of the best kind). We work consciously to sound different from our previous bands and emphasize what sets us apart – keys from a goofy, clumsy classically-trained pianist; guitars from an outlaw country surf bum; bass from an old soul punk in a young body; drums from a former punk guitarist with a lo-fi primal swing; and vocals from one of the most unique bearded growlers on the scene. Playing for so long in our past lives made us very sure of what we didn’t want.
Do you consider the debut EP—which everyone should get at the Hook show this Friday—to be a pandemic record? Or is it high octane rock music that the band would make anyway? How was the recording process?
This set of songs were written in 2019 but definitely reflect some of the absurdity of the last 2+ years. There’s a dark song, a supernatural song, a car song, and a spaceship song—but we would have made all of these regardless of the world exploding around us. That being said, the pandemic made recording a hot mess. Our guitarist, Mutt, is an equipment nerd extraordinaire, so the band made the decision to DIY it. One track completed and the world shut down. The five of us then attempted to pass around recording equipment, but there was no way to catch our live show energy without us all in the same room …so we put everything on hold. Once we started again, there was the new wrinkle of vinyl supply and extended delays to have records made. Thankfully, through music friends, we were introduced to Aaron Robertson of A&A Audio who does very small runs of hand-made lathe-cut 7” vinyls. We got it done. Thanks to Ali Jafaar at Escatttic Studio for mastering the 3 new tracks. Fun Fact: Ali mastered all three releases that are being released Friday.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Takeover of the Hook includes the fast-paced Fret Rattles (also releasing an album), local legends The Mighty Mofos, fearsome punk twosome New Rocket Union, for sure at least one Joe Holland outfit, and several other bands that have regularly blown up the small stages in town. How’s it feel to be in that mix? Will anyone have any hearing left on Saturday?
Most of us have been in a band with Joe Holland, so I think we’ll be okay. And, no, on Friday, the vast majority of audience members will have previous hearing damage, so we are contractually obligated to play even louder.
Like the makeup of SUPERMODIFIED, the rock scene here is pretty dude-heavy. How’s it being the only woman in the band and a woman in the rock scene here?
You guys are friggin’ gross. Mostly kidding, but the inevitable question does hit on multiple levels:
1. It takes an amusingly long amount of time for dudes in bands to be comfortable enough to make fart and poop and dick jokes around me. Dudes, seriously. I’ve changed diapers. Whatever. Also, I play music with people who make music I like and can write songs with—panmusical?
2. I’m a big girl. I’m taller than most men. I tell myself I haven’t had the same kind of traumatic experiences many women in music have. I don’t usually wear makeup. I still wear the unisex uniform of the grungy 90s. I own flannels, wear my concert t-Shirts over long sleeves, possess Doc Martens and Converse Chucks aplenty. Ugh.
3. My first experience in a rock band was an abusive one.
My connection to the majority of my band is an admittedly masculine pastime: car shows. Growing up in rural Central Minnesota, our main family summer activities were rod runs and car shows. I have spent many a weekend in a soggy pup tent and/or mouldy Jayco pop-up camper only to have to ride in a small town parade in some random rumble seat because I was cute and my grandma made me killer retro outfits (there’s probably a pretty good song in the last sentence, hmu). BUT, every Saturday night there was a live cover band and I thought that was the ever-loving shit and always wanted to be in a band. Fun Fact: I wasn’t in a band until I was 30 and living in Florida, of all stupid places.
Oh, and one of the first lessons of rock I learned: always leave them wanting more.