Interview: Knuckle Puck

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When you’re in your 30s and your hear the words “pop punk” you cringe. You think of snot-nosed skateboard kids who whine about girls and zits and high school. You recall the days of your teen-dom when you listened to the “good” pop punk that proliferated the early Warped Tours. In essence, when you hear the phrase pop punk you become a judgmental, cranky old man.

Do yourself a favor then and listen to the Chicago born pop punk brigade called Knuckle Puck. They’ll blow every preconceived notion about the current state of the subgenre of pop punk right out of your mind. They’re an amazingly talented group of young dudes who leave it all on the floor on every single track they record and on every stage they perform on.

Pop-Break caught with the band as they get set to perform at The Skate & Surf Music Festival in Asbury Park this coming weekend.

Photo Credit: Jamie Moore
Photo Credit: Jamie Moore

Pop-Break: I love the name of your band. Please tell me it’s a reference to The Mighty Ducks.

Knuckle Puck: It’s not necessarily a reference to The Mighty Ducks. We actually got it from a Stick To Your Guns t-shirt, which said “Knuckle Puck Crew.”
 
PB: We spoke with the guys from the band Handguns recently and when we asked them about who was a must-listen band in the scene, you were one of the first they mentioned.  To me there seems like an endless sea of bands in the punk scene right now — what do you think separates you from the pack?

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KP: I think one aspect that helps is that we’re from Chicago, as opposed to being from either the West or East coast. There’s not too many bands in our genre from that area, so I think it potentially helps us stand out a little more.
 
PB: You’re heading out on tour with Man Overboard, Transit and Forever Came Calling on Alternative Press’ Heart Attack Tour. Can you talk about how you were selected for this tour? Also, how does it feel to have the definitive publication on the punk and alternative scene select you to be on a tour they’re sponsoring?

KP: Our manager, Zack Zarillo, is friends with MOB [Man Overboard, who’s headlining the tour] , so he helped us a lot with getting on that tour. As far as Alternative Press sponsoring, it’s crazy. We grew up reading that magazine, so it’s really cool.
 
PB: Speaking of selections, Taco Bell picked you for their Feed the Beat 2014 Roster. Can you talk a little about this and does this mean free tacos for life for you guys?

KP: It does mean free food, but only for when we are on too. Taco Bell rules. It’s really cool that a big name such as Taco Bell recognizes that bands need help when on tour.

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PB:You’re returning to New Jersey for the Skate & Surf Festival in a few weeks. Are you guys stoked to be performing at a fest just steps from the beach? When you guys have down time who are you looking forward to seeing perform the most? Also, do you have to adapt your performance style or setlist for an outdoor concert like this as opposed to performing in a club or bar?

KP: We are very excited for Skate and Surf. We’re looking forward to seeing Midtown, Saosin, Citizen, Light Years, Bellwether, What’s Eating Gilbert and more. Our set will have to be a little bit shorter than normal, but it’s easy to adjust to a shorter set. As far as playing outside goes, it’s a little weird because you’re not used to how everything sounds, but it’ll still be a good time.
 
PB:If someone reads this interview and is interested in checking you guys out, what song or songs would you suggest to people that would really capture the essence of Knuckle Puck?

KP: I would definitely recommend “No Good,” “Gold Rush,” “Give Up,” or “Your Back Porch.”
 
PB:For the rest of 2014 are there plans for new music or any new tours post-Man Overboard?

KP: Yes and yes. Keep your eyes peeled.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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