Fighting On: The Boxer Rebellion

September 22, 2009 by  

Boxerrebellion

Boxer Rebellion celebrated the physical release of their second album, ‘Union’ – last week, following on from the rapturous reception and critical acclaim the album received when it was made available to download earlier in the year. We talk to guitarist Todd Howe about touring, freebies and bouncing back…

You’re I the middle of a nice little run of UK dates to support Union’s CD release. Are you enjoying playing the album tracks live?

I really enjoy seeing fans who come back time and time again and knowing their faces. As far as tracks to play from Union, some songs just have sections in them which I can immerse myself in. The Instrumental section of Flashing Red Light Means Go, the second half of Forces, and Silent Movie do it for me.
We’re working hard to play Move On live, it’s not easy. We’re also
looking to introduce some electronics as well, possibly building Goro
Adachi to be the new set closer.

Speaking of live dates… you look like you’ve been on the gig trail for
ages. How do you find touring?

Touring is great. We’ve all learned how to fit in with each other.
There’s very much a Zen feeling in the band and with our touring party.
The US was nuts. Our first ever gig out there earlier this year was at
the Troubadour in LA and it was packed out with over 500 people! The
crowd was virtually all fans too. Our manager was getting calls from
every record exec in town to get on the guest list but we made them buy
tickets. It really was a nuts show! The fans were so loud, after we
finished the first song I had to turn around and face my amp to have a
little smile. The feeling of vindication is a good one. Piers broke his
kick drum in the second song – perhaps a bit too much adrenalin running
through the veins! That was a great gig.

You’ve thrown a whole heap of bonus material onto the ‘Union’ CD, and
you offer a download of your EP for free when fans sign up to your
mailing list. You like giving stuff away, don’t you
?

We do. I think the fans have earned it too. We wouldn’t be where we are
now if we hadn’t. We previewed almost all of Union long before its
release so to me, it’s worth it.

You mention your ‘what the fuck do we do now?’ phase when you became
unsigned after ‘Exits’ was released. How did you get through that as a
band and how have you found recording/touring/releasing as an unsigned
band?

I don’t know how to quantify the why we decided to keep going. There was
a very distinct desire to keep doing what I loved and a more distinct
fear of failure. I think for me it’s the fear of failure that keeps me
going sadly, although I am now doing what I love full time again. I
don’t even think we really considered splitting up for a second. Mercury
was a fucking disaster story from start to finish and we felt our music
never got to be heard properly. So we just went underground, wrote songs
and Union started taking shape. We wanted to make damn sure we didn’t
re-surface until it was done.

You received a bit of media coverage when ‘Union’ proved so popular on
iTunes but you couldn’t chart in the UK.

We actually didn’t realise it couldn’t chart until it went to number 2
on the iTunes chart in the UK. That was a great day. That’s when I took
my first sigh of relief. We charted at 82 in the US Billboard Top 100
that week. As far as the UK Official Charts Company goes, the rules have
now changed and Digital Only albums are chart eligible. I’d like to
think we made a difference there, I think the exposure our ineligibility
got was one of the catalysts.

Seems like producing great music, building a loyal fan-base, touring like crazy and kick-starting a mini-musical revolution is all in a day’s work for Boxer Rebellion – and to top it off their music videos are great too – try checking a couple of them out on Youtube if you have time to kill (I recommend ‘Semi Automatic’).

By Angela Slater


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