Something To Do
Fun third-wave ska-punk in the tradition of LESS THAN JAKE and REEL BIG FISH, Milwaukee’s SOMETHING TO DO has been kicking out the good times for rude boys and girls for damn near two decades. With that impressive longevity for any band and a long record of touring and performing, they’ve honed a killer rock & roll ska live show that they’re bringing to Madison’s Crystal Corner on April 20th with Madison wasted ska partiers 4 ASPIRIN MORNING and Minneapolis’ Space Monkey Mafia. We talked with their bassist and singer Ropin’ Rodeo Nate, who’s a Wisconsin music scene veteran and multi-instrumentalist, about the upcoming show and their latest album, Design For Living.
MI: What are the bands that you guys love to listen to?
RRN: Seems like we’ve spent a lot of time talking about and listening to THE INTERRUPTERS, COURTNEY BARNETT, SHANNON & THE CLAMS and our ultimate frenemies in DIRECT HIT. Also, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about AEROSMITH but so far, I’m not really seeing a lot of enthusiasm there.
MI: What’s your favorite thing about ska, specifically the ska-punk that you guys specialize in?
RRN: The dancing! I like all kinds of music but anything that a person can dance to is the very best. Runner up is probs the ska community - a fellow I sort of know put it well recently when he said “Maan, ska fans are the most ride or die”, which is 100% true. Ska people have STRONG FEELINGS for ska and I am here for it.
MI: What’s the latest song that people should check out to know what Something 2 Do is all about?
RRN: I guess the one I’m most proud of from our latest album is called “Richard Spencer Punched In The Head”, which is about when Richard Spencer, famed/terrible white supremacist, was punched in his dumb head. Specifically the song kind of walks through my feelings about him and the whole “punch nazis” thing - one part hating that whole awful movement, one part wondering if throwing punches accomplishes much. We’ve had a lot of media-type papers/websites/etc. not want to cover or talk about it (specifically saying “we don’t want to include anything about that here, it’s too controversial”, which, wut?) but it’s a song that I’ve had a ton of people mention they really like which is rad.
MI: Is there any theme that runs through your latest album Design For Living?
RRN: I’d say musically it’s a good showcase for what we can do and I’m very happy with how we recorded it, which was virtually all live (over dubbing vocals after the fact). We challenged ourselves to write, learn and record way faster than we normally do which created some tension but which ended up turning out v. solid. Lyrically it’s our usual mix of songs about feeling bad, feeling good, dumb cultural stuff (Arrested Development, nightmares about Paul Newman) and the random political thing, which is the usual mix of themes that run through all of our albums.
MI: What does that album title mean?
RRN: It’s taken from the excellent 1933 Ernst Lubitsch pre-code screwball comedy where Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins and Wisconsin’s own Frederic March get tangled up in a “menage a trois”. Highly recommended, I give it 5/5 Nates.
MI: What can people expect at the Crystal on 4/20 (whoa, man)?
RRN: All of the bands are pretty ace and so, I suspect it will be ace plus. I have a lot of great memories based around the Crystal and so, I’ll probably be openly happy weeping while we play.
MI: You guys have been around for a long time, how do you keep it fresh? What are some ways that you guys stay inspired?
RRN: We’re pretty good about continuing to work up new stuff and forgetting how to play old stuff, so, that keeps it relatively fresh. Most of us are always fervently listening to new stuff which probably inspires us to rip off new things. We also do a lot of extra stuff - recording theme songs for tv shows or monster movies, learning other bands songs, etc.
MI: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
RRN: A few of our members have had babies so it’ll be a not super-busy summer, though we have a number of rad shows to announce and we’ll get a little travel time in, playing Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, etc. Also working on new songs and probably gonna lift some weights and get super buff.
MI: Anything we missed?
RRN: Here is where I let it be known that we absolutely yearn for a brewery to make a Something To Brew official S2D beer; I’ll do a lot to make this happen.
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Something To Do
CD: Design For Living Record Label: Self Released