Ska may not be at the height of its popularity anymore, but that isn’t limiting Buffalo-based group Endive’s fan base. The seven-piece band, which includes a horn section, has been playing for five years. It will celebrate the release of its latest album, “Retox, Benders, and Other Short Stories,” with release shows in several towns, including Ithaca this weekend. Staff Writer Patrick Doyle spoke with guitarist Tony Kent about the upcoming record, the group’s history and an outrageous party where Endive once performed.
Patrick Doyle: How are you preparing for this weekend’s show?
Tony Kent: We have shows at both Ithaca and Fredonia and we treat the campuses differently. When we do Fredonia, we spend a lot of time doing handbills and flyering on campus. … With Ithaca, it’s more difficult because the Ithaca and Cornell campuses are much larger. For Ithaca, we have to do public forums, like interviews with local papers, radio stations and stuff like that.
PD: I read the album was recorded in “various basements and apartments” in New York. Was that difficult?
TK: Yes, it was very difficult. We got lucky, though. [I helped build] the studio we mixed and mastered at in Syracuse, so the engineers who I’m friends with were nice enough to let me do the drum tracks. When you do a recording the way we did it, you have to focus on getting the drums done right, because from there you record everything after the fact. You can do apartments and basements, but I mean, it’s hard. We’d be in my basement with a brutally loud
PD: I hear the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in your music. Are they an influence?
TK: A lot of us have a ska background. It’s hard for us to go and say we weren’t influenced by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They were such an awesome force because when they first started, their bread and butter was playing frat parties in Boston. That’s how they got to be infamous for being this wild and crazy band … and created this thing where everybody wanted them to play their parties. We’re more influenced by the Bosstones in that regard than we are musically.
PD: What’s the most ridiculous show you’ve ever played?
TK: We played for a show they have every year [at Fredonia] called Fredoniafest. … We opened for Stroke 9 and The Juliana Theory. That was all right, but what was way crazier was what happened that night. Our friend had a party in this townhouse and at 1 a.m. he said, “Why don’t you guys play?” So of course after a little too much consumption of beverages, we said, “That’s a great idea.” … I think five songs in, the cops came. Our friends said when we were doing our punk cover of “One of Us” by Joan Osborne … the cops were singing the song when they were leaving in the parking lot. That was wild, like a movie. You had kids running left and right diving into townhouses, and you had us trying to stash the gear and run.
Endive’s “Last One Down”
PD: If you could open for any artist or band, who would it be?
TK: Everyone in the band would say something different. I would love to open for Dropkick Murphys. I think we embody the same kind of thing they do in their shows. … The Mad Caddies, Goldfinger, there are a lot of bands now that I’d be like, “Dude, I’d love to open up for them.” Not to sound arrogant, but it seems like we’d want to play with our friends’ bands and headline or something.
PD: How are you guys using the Internet to promote yourselves?
TK: Facebook helped us more than anything else because it allows us to invite friends in certain areas and networks. In Fredonia, we’ve built a following and have all of our friends in our Facebook group. … We do the MySpace thing, as well. … We’ve got 1,800 friends on MySpace, but I’ve never seen them come to shows. We have tons of friends in our Facebook group that we know were coming to shows.
Endive will perform at 9 p.m. today at Castaways, 413–415 Taughannock Blvd. Tickets are $5 for the over 21 crowd, $7 under. For more information about Endive, visit www.endivesucks.com.