Bruno Mascolo of Drive A
Drive A is leading the way to usher in a new generation of punk that harkens back to the old days of punk. The young quartet (Bruno Mascolo on vocals, Jason Nott on guitar, Cody Root on drums and Taylor Knowles on bass) pride themselves on delivering raw, honest punk songs that pack a punch of equal parts substance and asskicking. Their debut album “Loss of Desire” offers up songs that we can all connect with – anger, frustration and malcontent.
The band recently wrapped up the Bamboozle Road Show tour which saw them sharing the stage with the likes of Hanson and Boys Like Girls. Not where you’d expect to find a rising punk band but these guys made the best of it by poaching as many fans as they could and bringing them over to the Drive A side.
After spending most of the year on the road the band feels closer than ever and is letting the creativity flow as they work on their follow-up album. They also just announced that they’ll be hitting the road in September and October with Escape the Fate and Bullet For My Valentine where they’ll hopefully be trying out some of their new material.
We recently caught up with outspoken front man Bruno Mascolo who was as brutally honest as we had hoped.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette
Your album “Loss of Desire” has been out for a little over a year now…can you tell us what the last year has been like for you guys?
It’s been a crazy year. We’ve been on tour 75 percent of the time, it’s been great. We’ve made a bunch of new fans and met lots of great people. By the end of the year we’d go back to a city that we had played earlier in the year and see a lot of familiar faces. We didn’t’ have that so much at the beginning of the year so it was great to see how our hard work was paying off.
Everyone in the band is pretty young yet you all seem to have a healthy respect and admiration for punk bands that came before you, did you grow up around music?
There really isn’t anyone in my family that listens to the music that I listen to. I was just drawn to bands like Green Day and that got me into punk rock and then I started listening to all of the earlier punk bands that had influenced them. That type of music just seemed more dangerous and I could really connect to it a lot more than the new pop shit that’s coming out today.
So with that in mind, what are your thoughts on the current state of punk music?
I think right now there are a lot of bands coming out that are pop-punk who’s biggest influence would be bands like New Found Glory and then there’s another side where bands are straight up hardcore but there’s really nothing out there right now that’s in between and I think that’s where we are. We’re not pop-punk but we write songs that hardcore fans remember. We do shit that rocks.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Out of Focus” can you tell me how that song came together?
Lyrically that song was inspired by a show that we played out in Los Angeles. Every time we play out in L.A. the crowd is just total shit. People here are so jaded and they don’t appreciate music. They’re not throwing things at us or anything but to get a reaction from people in L.A. is tough, their lives are out of focus and they just don’t appreciate it as much as people anywhere else in the country. It’s kind of like a little stab at that.
I know that lyrically all of the songs are pretty personal, is there one that you feel closest to?
I would say “Loss of Desire” because that was kind of the theme throughout the album. A lot of people give up on their dreams and their goals and just stick with whatever will get them by. We wanted to influence people to chase that. You only live once so why not do something that you love.
So would you consider that the theme throughout the entire album?
It runs through a few of the songs.
You’ve started writing for the new album, what can you tell us about that? How far into it are you and do you have a timeline?
We’ve written about six songs, but no lyrics yet. I’m about to start on that. We’ve got about thirteen ideas. We’re going to write for the next month or two, until we feel like we have an album that will kick everyone’s ass. We’ve been meeting with some producers and we want to cut the album really raw, with a 70s vintage punk sound. I don’t really know about the timeline yet but it’s already sounding cool.
So digging a little deeper into the writing process, is everyone in the band involved?
I probably do the majority of the writing but everyone’s involved. Everyone helps out, it’s not like I write the songs and just bring them to the rest of the band. Touring and living together for so long has created such great relationships that it’s really allowed us to be creative with one another.
And as far as the lyrics go, those are all you?
Yes. I’d feel weird if someone else wrote the lyrics. I’d feel like a puppet singing someone else’s words.
It seems like the true essence of the band is your live performance, is that your favorite place to be?
I think so. Once you write a song you can’t wait to play it live and share it with people.
You recently wrapped up the Bamboozle Road Show tour with a lot of bands that you might not likely be paired with which could be seen in both a negative and positive respect. Do you think playing with different kinds of bands is a benefit to you as a band by allowing you to draw in a different crowd?
Yeah definitely, we went into it with that attitude. We don’t have a huge fan base so we were all about stealing other band’s fan base. A lot of the bands on that tour didn’t know shit about music prior to 2001 and we have a strong knowledge of music history. We wanted to go out there and let people know that there’s more than just disco beats and catchy rhymes – you can write music with substance and songs that have something to say. I think we showed a bunch of younger kids what punk rock is about. At least I’d like to think we did.
So were there any bands on the tour that you grew close to despite your differences?
Musically I really wouldn’t say that I would listen to any of them besides maybe Good Charlotte because we grew up during that scene so it’s a little soft spot for us. But we definitely became friends with everyone on the tour, they’re all nice people.
So as far as a learning experience, what did you take away from that tour?
It was our first tour that was an all day event so we learned how important it was to get out there and hang out at the merch booth and talk to people and give people a personal connection to the music. It’s just as important as playing live. When you’re on tour you should be meeting as many people as you can and making as many friends as you can. That was something valuable that we took from that tour.
The band holds pretty regularly scheduled live chats with your fans on Stickam, how important is this one on one interaction for you and what do you take away from it?
It’s so important. We just started those chats a few weeks ago. We had no idea that Stickam even existed. We did it once and figured no one would tune in and like 30,000 people tuned in. We talked about the tour and the people that we met and we gave shout outs. All of our hardcore fans reach out to us on MySpace and Facebook and our whole band knows the names and stuff about our fans. It surprises people that we care about our fans that much but that’s so huge. If you don’t care about your fans, you’ll be forgotten quite quickly.
For music fans who are listening to your album for the first time, what would you want them to take away from it?
I would just want them to give the songs a fair chance and take away that we’re an honest band. We’re not going to disappear any time soon, we’re going to continue to do what we love doing.
Your sound has been described as paying respect to the past, standing up to the present and kicking down to the door to the future” – do you think that’s an accurate description?
I do. We’ve seen a million bands that have no knowledge of the music that came before them, it kind of amazes me. The people who are supposed to be creating the future of music don’t even know the past. The people who really who make the best music are those that have something interesting to say and know about all the bands that came before them.