The Copyrights were on stage Friday, July 12th, 2019
Let's just put it out there: The Copyrights are one of the best pop-punk bands around. The four-piece from Carbondale, Illinois, has been delivering the catchiest albeit razor-sharp pop-punk songs over the years. And though they say they might be feeling older, they most certainly are not losing their touch. They're gonna perform one of the most anticipated sets at Punk Rock Raduno 4 together with Kepi Ghoulie, forming The Kepirights, as well as tease us with a bunch of new tunes on their own set. Here's what songrwiter and drummer Luke McNeill has to say about what's going on with The Copyrights these days. Put on your best smile and get ready to get “stuck in summertime” with The Copyrights at Punk Rock Raduno 4!
Hey Luke, we've been missing you guys around here, we are always happy to have you! Are you excited about this tour?
Of course! Punk Rock Raduno has been on our wishlist for a while, and we're always down to go to Europe.
It’s been a while and we know you've been in the recording studio in the last months... Let’s get it out of the way, tell us something about your upcoming record.
Well, lyrically it definitely isn't a happy album. It's been a tough couple years. Musically, it's also a bit more aggressive, but still (hopefully) catchy and hooky.
Talking about how fast time goes, how does it feel to be a group of friends that has now become one of the most relevant bands of the genre? How do you balance your life as The Copyrights with the four members living in four different cities and your other projects?
It's tough. Adam has a daughter now, and the rest of us all have full-time jobs in separate cities. That kinda sucks, but it also makes getting together and playing Copyrights shows special, since it's kind of rare for us now.
What were the most influential bands for you during the years?
Pretty standard early on. Screeching Weasel, Ramones, Dillinger Four. But we all listen to a big variety of different stuff, and I've never tried to "sound" like any certain bands or songs when I'm writing.
You never really get too obviously political or patently deal with social issues in your lyrics, and still it’s clear you’re very critical of the world we live in. Do you feel any sort of responsibility as a punk-rock band when it comes to the message you wanna send?
I think the main responsibility is to be honest, and that's not even really a "responsibility", more of a principle. I've never felt that any band has a responsibility to do anything. As a listener, I might disagree with whatever they're saying and choose not to listen anymore or whatever, but there's no responsibility on their part to appease me. I've also always found topical political songs to be instantly dated, but of course there's tons of exceptions with people writing about political themes in a clever and universal way. I've definitely touched on political stuff in my lyrics in the past (and in this next album too), but I usually try to do so subtly rather than right on the head. I feel like it's more effective and durable.
The Copyrights got together with Kepi Ghoulie and only a few months ago Re-Animation Festival was released, while the Observation Wagon split EP is now being co-released by Red Scare and Stardumb. Could you tell us how the idea for The Kepirights came up? What should we expect from the show at Punk Rock Raduno 4 with Kepi, any surprises on the setlist?
We used to go see Kepi in St. Louis as teenagers, and he was always a ball of energy and great live, and he's obviously an amazing songwriter. We became friends from playing in the same circles, and he asked us if we wanted to record an album. My instant choice was Re-Animation Festival because it was always my favorite growing up. So yeah, we recorded that more than five years ago! Anyways, stoked it's finally getting released. As for the setlist, yeah it should be a good mix of all the classic Ghoulies stuff and maybe some surprises.
Any band you're particularly excited to see here at the Raduno?
I love The Creeps, and of course Dan Vapid, but he actually lives nearby now and we get to see him pretty regularly.
As you said, Dan Vapid is also playing PRR4. I'm thinking about the Methadones/ Copyrights 2009 split here: tell us something good about the Methadones. And something bad about the Methadones...
Good: Methadones released at least three of the best pop-punk albums of all time, and they're four great guys that we consider lifelong friends. Bad: they don't play anymore!
What’s the importance of punk-rock labels nowadays, any label you'd wanna mention? And a city or festival every punk-rocker should go to at least once in their lifetime?
Labels are important in the sense that they'll support you financially if you need it, and I still think there's some value in labels being sort of "gatekeepers," meaning that a record or a band is good enough for at least someone to spend some of their own dough to get them heard. Otherwise, there's just so much music and it's so easy for anyone to get their music everywhere with Spotify, Apple Music, etc. As far as labels, Rad Girlfriend, Red Scare, and Stardumb have always been cool to us, and I'm a fan of a lot of stuff from Drunken Sailor and Dirtnap. Obviously, the Fest in Gainesville is the perfect festival for anyone into this kind of music.
Let’s play a little game: if The Copyrights had to play at the perfect festival, what would be the bands you’d wanna share the stage with?
Off the top of my head of active bands: Mind Spiders, Toys That Kill, and The Rubs.
Now tell us... how far into that “Worn out Passport” thing have you gotten?
Good! There's still a ton of places I want to go, but I've been lucky to be able to travel quite a bit. Looking forward to Raduno!
The Copyrights interview
From Punk Rock Raduno 4 fanzine - 2019