Flying High with The Falcon

Music Interviews

SLUG: I’ve always really liked that your music is thematically tied together on each album, and another thing I’ve always enjoyed is the balance of humor and seriousness in your songs, like naming a song after a Cormac McCarthy book and also referencing Half Baked in the lyrics of the song. Could you talk about that a little bit?

Kelly: I fancy myself to be somewhat intellectual, although that’s probably an overblown assessment of my mental prowess, but at the same time I love Revenge of the Nerds and Ghostbusters. I think that’s how a lot of people are—you like to read 100 Years of Solitude, but you also like watching Family Matters. Those two things don’t need to not be able to coexist. The greatest art, to me, is created when people are putting two things that are at odds together. Let’s say you want to start a band, and your favorite band is Bad Religion, and you play songs that sound just like Bad Religion, and you only listen to Bad Religion, you’re just gonna be diminishing returns—it’s like eating your own poo for nutrients. What’s really cool is when a bunch of punks from Brooklyn who play hardcore start a hip-hop group. Then you have the Beastie Boys: They took that punk-rock sensibility and applied it to something new, and that’s when you have new art. The idea of butting two seemingly disparate things together for the sake of creating something interesting has always been very appealing to me. Have you ever heard that band Modern Life is War?

SLUG: Yeah, I love that band!

Kelly: Okay, those dudes told me this story, so I don’t think I’m talking out of school here. Their favorite band when they started out was The Lawrence Arms, and they wanted to be a band that sounded like The Lawrence Arms. When their singer came in, he was like, “I can’t sing like this, I’m just gonna sing like a hardcore singer,” and they didn’t know much about hardcore, so they came from this gritty, Midwestern punk-rock perspective and ended up making one of the most dynamic, cool, interesting-sounding hardcore bands because it was a bunch of different things mashing together.

SLUG: They have some cool concept albums too, now that you’re saying that I can see it, but I wouldn’t have thought of them as big Lawrence Arms fans.

Kelly: I wouldn’t either, but we played some festivals with them and they all walked up to me and I was like, “Ummm, what’s this gonna be like …” and they were like, “Dude! We’re such big fans!” I was so surprised. It was awesome! I love that band—I think they’re great.

SLUG: The Falcon did an East Coast tour a few months ago, and you’ve played a few shows on this current tour so far. What has it been like playing songs from the first Falcon album, especially since it’s 10 years old now and so thematically different from Gather Up the Chaps?

Kelly: It’s weird because we’ve graduated from the age of people who go to shows to significantly older. At these shows, there are some people who know every song, and there are people who just know the old shit, and there’s people who just know the new shit because there’s such a divide in terms of time. Those old songs are so fun to play. Because The Falcon never really toured, I’m not really burnt out on them—there’s only a handful of times I’ve played these songs. Some of the older ones tend to be the favorites, as they are with any band, so the response always makes it really fun. Some of those old ones are a lot more positive and upbeat than some of the new ones, so they’re a nice palate cleanser from the fucking darkness.

The Falcon will perform at Kilby Court on July 9 with The Copyrights, Sam Russo and Mikey Erg.

Flying High with The Falcon
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