On August 27, 2010 one of my favourite bands, Attack in Black, played my favourite venue in Niagara, The Mansion House Tavern. I had a music blog at the time called, The Audible Substratum, and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to take some photos and interview a band that I'd spent many of my university years listening to. The guys were receptive-- I got a great little interview and some photos of lead singer, Dan Romano and guitarist, Spencer Burton. Unknown to me at the time was that this would be their final show, which has made these shots and the accompanying interview more meaningful.
Since then, the band members have moved on to other projects, Daniel Romano has his very successful, Juno nominated solo project, Spencer has begun to receive some critical recognition with his solo project, bass player Ian Kehoe has a band called Marine Dreams, and as far as I know, drummer Ian Romano is still out there contributing to other projects and touring with Dan. I've moved on to larger more successful music photography ventures than my little blog and started hitting a more commercial market.
Because of this movement away from our adolescent projects, this photo and accompanying interview have become a moment frozen in time for me, which is why when I was asked by Dine Alone Records for the use of this image for a re-release of Attack in Black's early albums, I was really psyched that it could also contribute to the history of Attack in Black.
Here is the original interview from that day as it was published at the time-- I'll always wonder about the new songs that they refer to:
In the mere three years since the bands’ inaugural LP, Marriage, Attack in Black has seen major line up changes, the move from external production to self production, sonic shifts that have transgressed genres, solo ventures from band members, and much of the turmoil generally experienced by far more seasoned performers. A question comes to mind when overlooking the shifting career of this young band: what is the cause behind their endless revision of form and sound?
August 27th, 2010, punk rock turned pseudo-folk act, Attack in Black, returned to the Niagara Region to play in one of Canada’s longest running taverns, St. Catharines’ Mansion House, giving me the opportunity to interview the two witty spokesmen of the band, lead singer, Dan Romano and guitarist, Spencer Burton, about the past and future of the band.
Dan Romano: So what did you want to talk about?
Darryl Block: Well I was interested in your progression. It’s been a big one right?
Spencer Burton: Like what chord progressions we use?
DB: No, not at all. Not even remotely. I was wondering—your sound changed a lot—very quickly. You self produced your second album. Why?
DR: Well fuck everybody man. Fuck the people who are trying to tell us what to do and what to sound like.
DB: I had heard that that was your attitude towards your albums. You guys release an album like Marriage, that gets a lot of plays and then you completely change your sound three months later on The Curve of the Earth.
DR: What we did is skyrocket to success and then we just fucked everybody up after that--just for kicks. We don’t even like the shit that we’re doing now. It sucks. It’s like Linkin Park. They’re a good band. They just play shitty music because people like it.
SB: Actually—I wasn’t going tell you guys but, this is my last show with Attack in Black. I’m in Linkin Park now.
DB: Really. Next question: your lyrics have a down tone to them all the way through your albums. Where is that coming from?
DR: Well, the ones that I write don’t really mean anything.
SB: I just go to the thesaurus and look up sad and then just use all those words.
DB: Your albums are a lot of death and love. Where is this coming from? Your sound changed and the lyrical themes stayed the same. Are you guys bummed out? Do you have to be bummed out to write?
DR: I only write when I’m happy.
DB: So music bums you out. You guys are happy and then you write music and it bums you out?
DR: Maybe. I don’t want to think too much about it.
SB: I make up stories sometimes like saying that the next song is about a woman who left me. But no one ever leaves me.
DB: Obviously. I saw you guys at The Horseshoe Tavern in February. You [Dan] fucked up the lyrics and started making it up as you went along.
DR: I feel like my brain is shrinking. My memory section is just like, all gone. I don’t remember dates—I don’t remember words to songs that I’ve written.
DB: I noticed you guys wouldn’t play your song, Marriage.
DR: I know. It’s kind of weird, but I don’t even know what that song sounds like. I really don’t.
SB: Marriage? I tried actually learning it today because I thought it would be really cool to play. I tried it like, 2 or 3 times but I didn’t have a copy of the CD.
DB: You guys don’t play those songs together anymore?
SB: Well, we play other songs together; we have some new songs and stuff.
DB: Well you guys are releasing another album together—or so the Wikipedia article says.
SB: I run the Wikipedia article for Attack in Black and it’s true. Seriously though, we’re going to play a lot of new songs tonight that may or may not be released in the near future. If they are released that’s sweet. If they are released, may the people be well prepared.
DR: Well, what do you say we go play a set?
SB: Yeah, we should play a set.
DB: Thanks for your time guys.