Last year, Toronto, Ontario-based punkers Pup definitely made a lasting impression after opening for The Menzingers on their Rented World tour over the summer. With an explosive and highly eccentric self-titled debut, out now on SideOneDummy Records, Pup’s charisma and intensified energy on stage truly shines bright through vibrant hits like “Reservoir,” “Guilt Trip” and “Yukon.” From the second that you first listen to this record, you can tell that Pup is always down to party and are ready to rock from the get-go.

            When the band finally made their way back home after spending most of the winter in Australia with The Smith Street Band, I had the chance to catch up with guitarist Steve Sladkowski, and talked about their time adventuring in the “Land Down Under,” as well as their triumphant return to Asbury Park on an upcoming support tour with The Get Up Kids and Restorations

So you just got back from an extensive tour in Australia with The Smith Street Band. How was the tour? What was it like out there in Australia?

            It was beautiful. It was hot, I got a sunburn, and the shows were amazing. The Smith Street Band have like, a great following there, and we were really stoked that a lot of people knew the words to our songs and stuff too.

It was really, really nice, and we got to see tons of the country and just… I mean, it was an amazing experience. That we actually got to play shows on the other side of the world is still totally mind-blowing. That was the first time for us as a band, as well as for me personally, so it was pretty amazing

What were some of the more memorable night on this run? Any ridiculous stories you’d like to share?

We were playing this in place called Batemans Bay, which is between Cambria and Sydney on the East Coast of Australia—on the Gulf Coast. I guess one of the things that Australia kind of has… like, their drug of choice, which is speed, so people just do speed (laughs). And there was a guy who got really drunk, and clearly was on speed as well, who thought it would be a good idea to try and help us load out. There were about 20 people on the whole tour, so must of us didn’t need help loading out every night, you know what I mean? So he got really offended when we politely told him that we didn’t need his help.

Umm… and after, it got a little heated, and we end up finding him on the other side of our van trying to deflate the tires of the van (laughs). We had to just… he was told by security not to do that. That’s the “polite” version of the story (laughs). He was dragged across the pavement by someone—but yeah, that was pretty crazy.

Having said that, I don’t want that to be the only representation of the Australian people, because we met some amazing people who care so much about touring bands, and wanted us [to have] such a good time, you know? We were on the beach and learned how to play cricket and it was awesome—crazy, but awesome.

So, you’re back home and you have a lot of downtime from now until your supporting tour with The Get Up Kids and Restorations. What are you looking forward to the most with these dates?

            Oh man, I mean… just to play with a band like The Get Up Kids, who have been at it for so long and have built up such a following that has kind of a legend around them, so I am really excited to meet them, and to see how some of those records translate live, because I’ve never seen them before.

And it would be really cool to see the Restorations guys again because we haven’t seen them in a while. They’re good dudes, and they’re also on SideOneDummy Records, so we’ve made some friends. I feel like it’s going to be a fun tour—I am sad that it’s only going to be a week.

For you personally, were The Get Up Kids an extremely huge band that were prominent and influential band in you’re musical upbringing growing up?

            Believe it or not, no. [The Get Up Kids] was one of those bands I knew about when I was in high school. That [Something To Write Home About] was kind of one of those records coming out, and I was really into that music, but it was not—in terms of like, if they were a significant influence or anything—I would say that probably not. But we all appreciate the music, and we obviously know the records, you know? Especially the early ones like [Saves The Day’s] Through Being Cool and [The Get Up Kids’] Something To Write Home About; those are classics, you know? But yeah, not a huge influence per se.

Either way, I am still very excited for this tour, just because The Get Up Kids were a band that really hit me a lot personally growing up; especially when I was finishing high school. So I’m really pumped to see them again.

            Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s one of those things where… I feel like a lot of the sort of early like, 2000s “emo” and kind of, you know, that sort of music, is still kind of getting its due almost now. Like, I am actually in New York City right now, and I was having breakfast with [former Bomb The Music Industry! frontman] Jeff Rosenstock today, and we were talking about like, Jimmy Eat World (laughs) and how they’re still so awesome. And it’s really great to see that; all of that music hasn’t been forgotten, and it’s still getting the love and respect that it deserves.

I definitely agree. I feel like the bands that came out of that era are the ones where, as you get older, you’ll learn to appreciate them even more over time. Not to mention, you can also even find new meanings to a lot of those older songs as well.

            Yeah, it hits you a little harder. Not just for the nostalgia, but it sort of like, you know… because those guys are sort of our age when they were making those records, so it’s interesting to kind of have that perspective of them now.

On this tour, you’re going to be coming back to Asbury Park for the first time since the summer. What is it like to come back to Asbury Park to play at The Stone Pony, or as I like to call it, “The House That Bruce Built?”

            I can’t, like… it’s like one of those things where there is such a “rock and roll myth” around it, that I don’t know what to expect, and I am really, really excited. Like, Asbury Park is so much fun to play, and to hang out in—this is going to be our third time playing Asbury.

We’re excited to go back to the Pinball Museum (laughs) and pay $10 to play with everything; we play a lot of pinball, and we love pinball. And, to have been at Asbury Lanes the last time, and this time now, The Stone Pony, I mean, the town has so much history, and the town has such a great, like, rock and roll mythology to it. It’s so much fun to play, and I think audiences know that. Those shows always end up being very special.

Also, how does it feel to see a lot of these tour dates overwhelmingly sell out from the very beginning?

            I love it, it’s awesome man. I don’t know, I still sometimes feel like I am going to wake up one day and people are going to like, think that it’s been a joke that we’ve been playing on them (laughs). It kind of sometimes feels like that, you know what I mean? Like, I’m getting away with something that I shouldn’t be getting away with. Because it’s something that we’ve all wanted our entire lives, and have just worked for and failed countless times—and now just to be playing shows, and to actually be playing to people every night, and get to do it in places that I’ve never would have even maybe been to before, or otherwise, it’s really humbling, and it makes [us] want to keep working.

Speaking of which, you’re also going to be playing Warped Tour in the summer. How did the opportunity come about?

            Umm… I think that’s just where they asked us. I know SideOneDummy is close with the Vans Warped Tour as well, but it’s just cool for the Warped Tour to seem like they want to have a couple of bands that are maybe, not like the “typical Warped Tour” band, so I am really excited. It’s one of those things again I guess… similar to like, The Get Up Kids and that early emo music when I was in elementary school and high school—the Vans Warped Tour was the shit (laughs); you’d get stoked about that. But believe it or not, this is my first time attending the Vans Warped Tour.

Yeah, we’re going to be on it for a month, and that will be nice. Hopefully we will have a couple of new songs written, and we will play a few new stuff on Warped Tour. We played some new stuff on the Australian tour too, and we probably will on The Get Up Kids as well. So we’re kind of taking the time in between to work on songs, and then hopefully, we’ll [have] some new music ready to premiere.

Will you be putting out a new record anytime soon this year? Or is it a wait-and-see kind of scenario?

            We’re hoping to get back into the studio late this year, and we’ll start tracking. But I can’t imagine if that record is going to happen anytime sooner, just because we’ve demoed a lot, a lot, a lot of new music, but it’s just a matter of completing things to our level of obsessive compulsive crafting… or mind neuroses, rather (laughs). But yeah, we’re hoping to get into the studio this year and get something together and ready to go.

With that being said, what else should we be looking forward to hearing from Pup throughout the rest of the year? What are some future plans you have brewing after The Get Up Kids tour and Warped Tour?

            Yeah, we [have] a few. There will be some festivals probably in summer, you know, and there will be gigs here and there. We’re just trying to figure out if anything is going to happen in the fall, but yeah—some more music, more gigs, more beers, (laughs) and more hangouts.

Anything else you would like to add?

            Umm… no, but I’m excited to be back in New Jersey. The show is sold out, but I feel like we’ve always have been accepted and shown a great time in Jersey, you know? I’m excited to get back to rocking out in Asbury Park.

Maybe Bruce will pop out and make a little appearance.

            (Laughs) I hope so… pick at his brain.

 

Pup will be playing The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on March 27 and The Paramount in Huntington, NY on March 28. Their self-titled debut album, Pup, is out now on SideOneDummy Records. For more information, go to puptheband.com.

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