In a few short years, Chicago power pop/rockers Supermint have grown from a bunch of buddies jamming together to a nationally recognized force on the touring trails. After a self-titled release propelled them on the road with the Gas Giants and multiple dates of the International Pop Overthrow Festival, the gang gained a respectable club following throughout the Windy City and beyond with its unbridled energy and ballsy stage presence. More recently, the group converged for its second release Off To Stupidville, which has been supported by dates with the Gin Blossoms and currently The Black Mollys. That tour is slated to include an appearance at Chicago's Hard Rock Cafe to celebrate an updated version of the Stupidville project, complete with new packing and beefed up production. Here's more from a conversation with the group's drummer Randi Scott about the band's current dealings:
Livewire: What has been the band's main motivations for re-releasing and revisiting Off to Stupidville?
Randi: Well, there were many reasons, but the most important one was we had lost our distribution. About a year ago our old distributor had gone bankrupt. it was a real sucky time for independent music, as you know, and we were one of the casualties. It's hard to keep moral up with a band without problems, and this just complicated things for Supermint. We had bass player issues at the same time and things really looked grim. But, being the greatest band in the world, we stuck it out and found a new home at Oarfin. We used the opportunity to remix and repackage Off to Stupidville the best we could with the money we had and "wah-la." There is an orange Stupidville in all the stores now!
Livewire: What was the initial reaction about that project and how has it been improved?
Randi: Well, so far so good. People that I know and trust say they can hear the difference and you can't help but love the new packaging. When you open up the insert it looks like a roll of Lifesavers candy! We changed up the song order, took a few off, and added a Cheap Trick cover. I think it's a real strong CD now.
Livewire: Compare the newest project to your self-titled debut, which I know really caught steam as part of the power pop resurgence.
Randi: Stupidville has a different energy than the debut. It's more up-tempo and we sound more like a band, really. The debut was recorded only months after we officially became a band. I'm not sure I even knew all the songs on the debut when we started recording. Surprisingly it did very well as you mentioned in the pop/alternative circles, and took us from coast to coast. Stupidville is taking us to Europe!
Livewire: Speaking of power pop, I know you've participated quite a bit in the International Pop Overthrow Festival. What has that experience been like and what exactly does that Festival entail?
Randi: It's the coolest thing a band like ours could ever get involved with. It's founder, David Bash, and Supermint have become close friends over the last four years and we always play the ones in Chicago and Los Angeles. It's basically hundreds of power-pop bands from all over the world getting together to showcase what they've got in cool venues over the course of 2-3 weeks. Day shows - night shows - in stores - TV - radioŠIt's a really cool thing!
Livewire: What's the difference like between festival shows and playing your own tours?
Randi: The festivals are a blast because you just get to go do your thing...No worries. Doing your own tour takes a ton of work: planning the run, who will you take along as support or will you even take support, crappy pay during the week, egos, smelly tour buses - or even worse, smelly van/trailer. Did I mention ego?
Livewire: Tell me about first meeting up and touring with the Gas Giants.
Randi: We're just old friends and decided then to hit the road as a team. We shared a bus and some great times together.
Livewire: Now that those members have reformed the Gin Blossoms, how has that affected their relationship with Supermint?
Randi: Nothing has changed, except how much money they get paid! As we speak, I'm packing to hit the road and our first show is with the Gin Blossoms. We're all looking forward to seeing the guys again!
Livewire: What is your live show like for those who haven't seen it?
Randi: It's like MTV2- just the good videos. It's like a beef with hot peppers. It's like your favorite ride at Great America. It like Adult Swim meets the Marvelous 3.
Livewire: What can be expected beyond the traditional set at your record re-release party at Hard Rock?
Randi: I think there will be a safe sex film and maybe a driver's ed film if we have time. Other than that, our good friends The Black Mollys will be tearing it up with us that night. Don't forget boys and girls - Hard Rock Cafe Chicago. Thursday, August 12!
Livewire: Why did you choose the Hard Rock and what significance does that venue have with rock and roll in general?
Randi: Honestly, we wanted to be downtown and that place has always treated us great in the past. Cliff does a great job there and it's a cool room. Come on....It's the Hard Rock !!
Livewire: What are your plans to push the latest project beyond that launch date?
Randi: Tour, tour, and tour. We'd also like to have the 1st annual Concertlivewire.com Fickle Fall Frenzy Festival somewhere in Wisconsin. I'm sure tons of bands would love to come play!
Livewire: Any hints at what future studio projects may sound like and what the band's plans are for future recording?
Randi: We have about five in the bag right now [but] we'll have to see. I think we will try to release something new next spring, so we'll have to see where our musical heads are then. [We're] always changing and rearranging!
And for those who didn't catch it during Randi's shameless plugs, Supermint performs at Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago on Thursday, August 12. For more information, log onto www.supermintmusic.com