Last Thursday night, fellow Live from the Fallout Shelter host Sean and myself, ventured out to see Small Brown Bike at the Great Scott in Allston with a few of our friends. The Michigan born post-hardcore-beard-punk band recently got back together last fall and have released two seven inches, “Composite Volume 1” and “Composite Volume 2”, since then off of No Idea Records. The band would be playing their first show in Boston in seven years to a sold out crowd at The Great Scott. We had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Reed, lead singer and guitarist, before the show, which I can only imagine was like watching Chris Farley interview Paul McCartney on Saturday Night Live. Enjoy!

Tom: So why don’t we start by having you introduce yourself.

Mike: Hi, this is Mike and I play in Small Brown Bike. I play guitar, yeah, I play guitar.

Tom: So you guys have recently released two new seven inch records, the Composites 1 and 2. What was the motivation behind having these as separate releases instead of just one big recording and are there more of these releases to come?

Mike: Well, I think it just started as an idea, like we had originally started writing some songs last summer and the first two that we kind of finished up and felt like they were ready we said to ourselves, well we didn’t really want to just come out and do a full record, we wanted to do something that was a little more bite size and little pieces of music. So the first one we got out just because the fest was happening and we wanted to just make sure we had it out and literally got them the day of the fest last October. So I guess at that point we didn’t really want to do the big full length, we wanted to kind of come out in pieces. We’re going to do five of them total and the way that it happened was Dan our drummer does graphic arts and he had five paintings and collages that he had done in school on his wall in his living room and we were just sitting around one day after practice and we came up with this idea to do one for each painting or whatever and that was that. So the covers of each record are based on his collage, its actually the collage scanned in at a smaller scale.

Tom: So there are three more coming out?

Mike: Yeah for sure. So its just a matter of you know when, I don’t know. We’re kind of doing when we feel like its, you know like when we have songs. Right now we’re working on getting newer songs and obviously getting a record together but right now its just like yeah there will be three eventually.

Tom: So the reunion this time around seems to be a little more significant than from when you guys reunited back in 2007 for those shows. You guys even have a Twitter account now.

Mike: Haha, yeah we’re really 21st century.

Tom: What are you guys currently up to and what does the future hold for Small Brown Bike?

Mike: Well, I think we’re really just kind of taking it really day by day week by week kind of thing. The main thing is just having fun and being together writing songs again. I don’t know, sometimes you get so caught up in the business stuff or the we have to do this, we have to do that kind of thing. It’s a huge part of our lives but its not like the number one priority so we do it when we can all get together and get a chance. So right now we’re just writing new music basically, we’re playing these four shows on the tour and then we don’t have any shows scheduled after this. It really kind of just comes and goes. We look ahead about three months and decide what we want to do and then just go from there. So right now we’re just writing new music and mainly that’s done. My brother still lives in Chicago so we just send each other ideas on mp3s and stuff and get together when we can. So that’s the main thing, just writing as much as we can.

Sean: So you’re doing the five Composite albums. Will there be a full length encompassing those?

Mike: Yeah that’s the idea. Eventually we’re going to do five of them and then eventually the idea is to do an LP with all of the songs on it and we’d probably remix everything so it sounds more cohesive because each one we record in our drummers basement and have a friend mix them and so we kind of buy more gear and they, well I hope they sound a little better each time, so by that fifth one we’ll probably just remix everything and make it a full LP with everything.

Sean: So are you going to do more touring after that?

: Well, I don’t think we’ll ever do a big tour again. It’s not the same, I mean never say never, but its hard to see that happening where we just do like a full US five week tour. So stuff like this where we come out and play four or five shows, that will happen and we want to go out to the west coast this year. I mean, obviously we always had fun coming out here and playing shows and the west coast is fun and Chicago and Michigan were always fun. So I don’t know, its hard to say. Right now we don’t have anything scheduled at all. We’re kind of just like I said focusing on writing new music and that’s about it.

Sean: So do you think those are mostly going to be headlining shows or you’ll maybe be jumping onto somebody else’s tour?

Mike: I mean, if it comes up where somebody asks us to tour, I’m sure we’ll do the right thing, obviously we would totally consider it. But we don’t have a booking agent right now, we’re kind of just doing stuff on our own so that’s kind of part of that, is you know when you have a booking agent they know other booking agents who can get you on tours. So I think we’re just having fun kind of headlining right now and playing smaller shows with like two to three hundred people which is still huge, I mean that’s not a small show by any means. So its been fun just doing our own stuff and then we can play a longer set with some old songs and some new stuff too.

Sean: How about a Small Brown Bike/Hot Water Music show?

Mike: Always, I’d love too! Yeah, I’d love too, absolutely.

Tom: They only play in Germany.

Mike: My other band played with them in Chicago, what, two years ago. So yeah, I could see it happening if those guys were into it.

Tom: That would be the best thing ever.

Mike: Haha, thank you.

Sean: So after “Dead Reckoning” came out, you guys changed things up a little bit and you guys released “Nail Yourself To The Ground.” The last song on that, “A Table For Four”…what is that about exactly? Or what things?

Mike: Well, Travis wrote it, Travis wrote the lyrics to it so I don’t want to speak for him exactly. But I will say its based in reality, like we don’t really write stuff that we don’t believe in. But that song, we still play it and its one of our favorite songs to play and its just become one of those epic things that we like doing. I think we’ve all taken our own meaning from it. That’s about the best I can answer that one.

Tom: What does the future hold for your other projects, La Salle and Able Baker Fox?

: I don’t know that’s a tough question too. We don’t plan very well. Nathan, from Able Baker Fox and I keep in touch and almost every time we talk we say we have to write more music and we have to do something but he’s busy with Coalesce right now. I think it will happen again, I think we’ll eventually do something when we have the time or when we start sending ideas back and forth. Right now, I’m kind of focusing on writing songs for Small Brown Bike so that’s like what I want to do. But you know, I guess the lesson from Small Brown Bike is that breaking up doesn’t really mean much anymore, it’s like we get back together. So that’s the way I look at Able Baker, its like we just kind of aren’t actively doing anything right now. Same thing with La Salle, my wife and I still write music and we have a ton of songs and its just that you know we’ve both been in school and working and stuff so we just haven’t been out playing shows. But who knows when we’ll pick them back up again. Right now there’s no plans to do stuff.

Tom: At WUML, we play a lot of underground music. Are there any bands that you listen to who you think don’t get as much recognition as they should?

: Yeah, there’s a ton of bands. Well I think like Bridge and Tunnel and Your Skull My Closet who are both on tour with us right now, I think both of those bands are amazing and they’re not played on top 40 radio stations by any means but we respect them and appreciate everything that they do. Old Growth is another band that has one of the guys from Twelve Hour Turn in it who we were big fans of and toured a lot with back in the day and they’re just an awesome band. I don’t know I guess that’s all I’ve got right now off the top of my head. But yeah, I’d recommend those three for sure.

(At this point, one of our friends Nick stepped in to ask a question.)

Nick: What was the band that just kind of got your juices going? Name a few of them.

Mike: Well, when I was really young and getting into punk rock, 7 Seconds was a big one. We all skateboarded so they were huge in getting me into that kind of stuff. Then like as we started writing our own music, Jawbreaker was huge obviously, I mean, I remember the first time I heard that band it was just different and something that I wasn’t used to. I had heard punk and pop punk way before that but they were doing something that just kind of pushed it into a different kind of territory so I still remember hearing them for the first time for sure. And yeah, Hot Water Music was another one of those bands where I remember it was just a fluke and like a friend of mine was going to see them in Kalamazoo and they played in front of like ten or fifteen people and I just went and was like yeah I’ll go check out this band from Florida, they were playing with Giant’s Chair, who I loved at the time and it was just those four guys just pushing it, and it was just crazy, in front of like, you know there were probably thirty people at the show or something like that but to just see that energy…there’s a huge list, I could keep going. Even bands like classic rock, like Led Zeppelin and stuff, just growing up I loved that music. It goes on and on.

Tom: So for the last question, I ask this to a lot of bands. It’s really stupid and silly. Who do you think would win in a fight, all the humans in the world or all the ants in the world?

Mike: The ants? In a fight? Like a fist fight? Because ants don’t have very good fists.

Tom: That’s true, I never thought of that.

Mike: That’s my answer. Yeah, in a fist fight I guess we’d win because we have fists.

Tom: Alright, good enough for me. Well, thanks a lot for the interview. It was a pleasure and have a really good show tonight. We’ll be out there rocking out.

Mike: Awesome, thanks!

Keep an eye open for the next time Small Brown Bike hits your town as they put on one amazing live show. You can buy “Composite, Vol. 1” and “Composite, Vol. 2” at and check out the band’s music at .


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