Rad Girlfriend Records (Mikey Erg, Raging Nathans, etc.) are putting out the new LP from STARTER JACKETS on May 20th, a band that includes members of Attic Salt, The Copyrights, Hospital Job, etc., and today we’re pleased to give you their first single off of the release, a power pop / punk rock tune “In Smithereens”.
“‘In Smithereens‘ is pretty self-explanatory. I wrote it in 15 minutes after me and the misses both were suffering through one of the worst hangovers. It was one of those ‘I’m never drinking again this is stupid’ kind of Sundays. It didn’t stick obviously.” – comments Luke McNeill
The Starter Jackets, who formed in 2016 in a practice space near the interstate in Springfield, Illinois, features members of Hospital Job, The Copyrights, Attic Salt and Local Drags. They all figured two to three bands a piece wasn’t enough – better do another one. Fred Malcom plays drums, Carter Bibb plays bass while Luke McNeill and Lanny Durbin split vocals and guitars. They play power pop/punk songs about dead technology and classic sports team logos.
Interview conducted by Josh Goldman of The Raging Nathans, The Dopamines, Rad Girlfriend Records:
Luke, you play in Starter Jackets, Hospital Job and The Copyrights. You write songs for all of these bands, so how do you designate the songs you write for each band? Do you have a specific band in mind when you are writing a song or does that come later?
As they’ve gone on they’ve all sorta developed into their own sound so I’m pretty sure what songs are for what bands. Sometimes they migrate, but not usually.
You and Lanny Durbin split the songwriting duties. On all of your releases your songs alternate on each record. Was that a conscious decision when you started the band or did it just end up working out that way?
I guess it was pretty conscious, it just made sense to alternate between the two of us. I’m excited by how well they blend on this new album. I think it’s a super strong set of songs.
What’s the song writing process like for Starter Jackets? Do you and Lanny each come with full songs ready to go or do you get together and write songs as a band? Or both?
Since all of us are old and have day jobs and shit, we don’t really have time to “jam.” So yeah, me and Lanny have songs pretty much ready to go, but of course when we do get together the other guys usually have some good ideas and we tweak ’em a bit.
A lot of people may not know this, but you’re actually a lawyer, right? What exactly do you do and what score did you get on the LSAT?
I do criminal appeals, and I did pretty good on the LSAT! 168 I think?
As a songwriter, you’re right up there for me with the great songwriters of your genre. Can you tell me who has influenced you as a songwriter?
Thanks man! As far as punk guys, I grew up with D4, Screeching Weasel, as well as classics like Ramones and Misfits. Outside of that I listen to a lot of country and alt-country. I think old Wilco and Old 97s and Whiskeytown records are brilliant and they’ve definitely influenced me lyrically. I like new guys like Tyler Childers and Vincent Neil Emerson a lot too. And Marked Men and Mind Spiders and all that Denton stuff, as well as everything Todd Congiellere .
The early Starter Jackets stuff had some synths and keyboards in it. It seems like that has been phased out on the new album and the last few 7”s. Why the decision to leave out the keyboards?
I guess we didn’t want to be too gimmicky. The set of songs for the first LP I felt called for them more aesthetically and musically. We’ll still pop ’em on there if it calls for it. There’s a few spots on the new album, but probably because we couldn’t reproduce that stuff live went into it too. You know any Springfield, Illinois-based synth players?
Who are your top five Favorite sports franchises in history?
I feel like this is a trick question.
- Stl Cardinals
- SIU Salukis
- Denver Broncos
- Kennesaw State Owls
- Whoever’s playing the Cubs
What’s in the future for Starter Jackets?
A new record out on RAD GIRLFRIEND! It’s called Dead Malls and absolutely rips. Gonna play some shows on it and maybe hit the road.