Droids Attack


by Kristen Winiarski
August 2008

Madison's Droids Attack Vs. Chicago's Imperial Battlesnake on the cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Brad Van (drawing)

Madison's Droids Attack Vs. Chicago's Imperial Battlesnake on the cover of Maximum Ink
photo by Brad Van (drawing)

Once fronted by a robot, Droids Attack is now focusing more on their music and getting their name further into the music world. Brad Van on guitar and vocals, Nate Bush on bass, and Tony Brungraber on drums, align this trio of hard stoner rock. With a CD release, vinyl, and radio campaign in the works, this band certainly has been busy since the story we did on them back in 2006. I had the opportunity to speak with Brad Van who told me a little bit about their past and the many, many projects that the band has for their future.

While it’s possible the famed robot suit may return for the show at the High Noon, Van says that it’s probably already received its fair share of abuse from fans. He has been in the suit himself and describes how it started, “Originally we were making a music video and it was like ‘When Animals Attack’ except with a robot. And I would get in the suit and act out various scenes and we decided, hey let’s bring him to our show, that’d be awesome!” As for a reappearance of the robot, Van says, “I’m in the process of rebuilding and I’ve been in the process of rebuilding the robot suit for a long time now. Basically whoever’s in the suit always gets harassed by the crowd. People having a good time wanting to fight with the robot, they actually end up punching it and denting it, girls jumping on it, trying to make out with the robot. Dudes dumping beer in the mouth hole and stuff like that. After a while the robot started looking pretty haggard. We stopped bringing him out to every show; we just bring him out every now and again for special events.”

Van is the songwriter for the group and he says, “I don’t like to write songs about typical stuff, about girls and feelings. So I try to get inspired by events that happen with us. Stories on the road kind of turn into a song. We got a song on our last album about this time we were playing a show up in Canada and we got stopped at the Canada border. The Mounties planted drugs on us to try and get us to admit that we were carrying drugs. It was really lame because we didn’t have anything on us but we told them we were a band so they were like, ‘Oh they’re a band, they gotta have something. Oh we found this! Where’s the rest of it?’ We were like, ‘What? That wasn’t even in there! That’s not our stuff!’ We didn’t want to argue with them though because we wanted to get over the border so we let them search the van and tear the thing apart and get the dogs out. Waste our time. We were sitting there for about two hours and when they were all done and satisfied, they let us cross. We were pretty pissed off about it so we wrote the song {Dope Smuggler}.” Whether it’s a song about corrupt Mounties or John Oate’s Mustache, the songs from Droids Attack are as varied as their experiences.

Droids Attack guitarist Brad VanThere are also songs that are written for and during certain experiences of the band. One of these is called “The Cardinal and the Pachyderm” which was recorded at the Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN and based on that studio and the Cardinal Bar in Madison. The song is to be put on a compilation CD to raise funds for the studio and the old growth forest surrounding it. The basic idea behind the song, Van says is, “a song about my spin on environmentalism. You know, kill yourself to save the planet. But it’s been said before; people can’t really survive without destroying the environment or living off the environment.”

In addition to their other projects, Droids Attack is also putting out a vinyl with Imperial Battlesnake. Van describes how this came about, “the very first night we met and played together, I told them, ‘We should do a split 7 inch’ as kind of a joke. And the guy from the other band, was like ‘Yeah, we’ve never done that before, we should do that’… and it was like, we just met! [laughs]Then we played several shows together, partied together, trashed some hotel rooms together. We had some good times and eventually it came up again. So each of us wrote a song about an incident that happened on the road when we were partying and that was to be the track list. Their track ran too long to be on a 7 inch record so we put out a 12 inch record and threw on some extra tracks to fill up the space. I’m really happy with it.” There are only going to be 500 released, so be sure to pick yours up early! They are being manufactured in California and sold at the CD release party.

Is he worried about people not being able to play the record? Van says, “There’s a huge collective market out there for vinyl and there’s a lot of people who are enthusiastic about it. There’s a band I really like out right now [Torche] they put out vinyl and that’s kind of their thing. I’ve been getting into it a little bit too, but to be honest with you, I don’t really care so much either way. [Laughs] If it’s good, I’ll listen to it on 8 track.”

Keep an eye out for Droids Attack’s current projects. Van says, “We’ve got a lot of stuff going on, we’re working on our 3rd album right now and we’re also working on another project that’s been in the works for a little while. It’s a pretty ambitious project, a 20 min long song that’s going to be an album all its own and it’s going to have a comic book that explains the story behind the song. It’s just like a big geek fest and it’s going to be the next project after the next album. So we’re working on that right now. We’re in the studio and about half of our third album is recorded and we’re working right now in between all the shows we’ve got going on, we’re trying to put the finishing touches on the last 3 or 4 songs for the album.” While you wait for that, check them out at The High Noon on August 15th at 9 pm! Bring funds for the vinyl!

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Droids Attack
CD: Droids Attack Vs. Imperial Battlesnake Record Label: Round 13 Records