Interview with Mike Poorman from Hot Rod Circuit: For The Music

10 years after emerging into the music scene, Hot Rod Circuit called it quits. Three years later they’re back to play some shows and celebrate the release of never before heard music on a 7-inch vinyl via Run For Cover Records. The mini-tour, which contains eight total shows starts out on the West Coast and ends in Massachusetts with a stop at Hoboken’s own Maxwell’s on Nov. 17 and Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on Nov. 19. In transit, drummer Mike Poorman spoke to me about the strong bond he has with his bandmates and what this tour is really about.

Which show are you more excited to play? Maxwell’s or the Music Hall Of Williamsburg?

Oh boy, that’s a loaded question. I think we’re excited to play all the shows. I think all of them are going to be different and special seeing how we haven’t played in so long. All the places that we’re playing were places that we loved playing so I think that they all will be equally as fun and interesting.

Why did the reunion take so long to come about after Krazy Fest?

We originally were going to tour in October. We weren’t really sure what we were going to do. We didn’t really have any formal plans, we kinda just decided to play Krazy Fest because the organizer for Krazy Fest used to tour with Hot Rod, he use to tour manage the band for about a year. We hadn’t really thought about doing anything before that, so when he asked us to do that it kinda got the gears turning. We were going to tour in October but CMJ happens in New York for a week so it was just better to wait. So it wasn’t any premeditated thing, it kinda happened that way for timing.

I’ve heard that you guys have a vinyl coming out.

We do. There’s a 7-inch coming out for the tour. We wanted to have something to put in people’s hands while we were out there. It’s no precursor to anything in the future; we haven’t talked about anything past the shows. We’re not thinking of doing anything past November. We had a couple songs that Andy started working on and we all really liked. One of the songs on the record we actually put out a couple of months on iTunes. We also did a cover of Superdrag’s “Sucked Out” for the 7-inch as well.

You’re also releasing songs via Facebook depending on the amount of “likes” the Hot Rod Circuit page gets, why is that?

We had three unreleased songs and I’m still trying to get my hands on the third one. I know it exists but Andy’s hard drive that it was on crashed so we’re trying to get it from Tim O’Heir, who recorded it. Yeah, I’m trying to do as much as I can to promote the shows. I figured giving people some songs that no one has heard before would be a great way to get the visibility of the tour up and give people something new that they haven’t heard. We’ve always been a very family and fan-driven band and I just figured the people would appreciate getting a couple treats.

You mentioned some treats, what about tricks?

It’ll be a trick to relearn all these songs. Actually, I’m learning eight or nine different songs that I’ve never played on before. That might be a trick, getting to learn all these songs. We’ll see. We’re going to practice next week right before the shows. We’ll see how that goes. Before Krazy Fest we didn’t even get to practice with Casey [Prestwood, guitarist]. He just flew into Kentucky and when we hit the stage that was the first time we played. This time we’ll actually be able to practice all together.

What is the set list looking like for the upcoming shows?

I can’t tell you any specifics. We’re going to play songs off of the entire catalog. We are going to play the song that we did for the split 7-inch that we did with The Anniversary that’s up on our Facebook page right now. “This One’s For Andy,” which always has been a favorite that we never ever play. I think right now if we throw one of the new songs in there, we have 22 songs that we’re planning on learning so that we’re able to switch out and do a different set each night. It covers every single record so hopefully people will enjoy that. With the Krazy Fest set we only played songs from the first three records so we thought we’d give people a bit more variety this time around.

What have you been up to prior to the reunion?

Since I left the band, I’ve been producing records. I opened my own studio in 2005. I’ve been recording bands even while I was in Hot Rod. I’ve played in another band called The Tower And The Fool based out of Providence. Andy has been playing in Death In The Park. He was in a band called Terrible Things with Fred of Taking Back Sunday and Josh of Coheed And Cambria, but he’s no longer doing that. Casey has a country band that he and his wife play in out in Colorado. They are incredibly and they just had a baby right before Krazy Fest. Jay has been playing music and he has two kids now. Everyone is doing well, even though everyone is spread out all over the place.

Coming back and seeing everyone at Krazy Fest and seeing everyone’s family there it was really awesome for everyone to be at really good places in their lives and to come back together just under really cool circumstances. Everyone’s been good and everyone’s been busy and still playing music. It’s pretty good. It’s no secret that we’re all getting older. None of us are really touring anymore. Andy isn’t really touring anymore, and he was the only one who still was. Everyone is secure in what they’re doing and just having fun. I think we’ve all gotten back to playing music for the fun and the love of music. I’m not saying that we’ve never loved music but there is no business, no pressures and no distraction. There’s just writing and playing music because that’s what you love to do.

What were some of your fondest memories of being in Hot Rod Circuit?

That’s a good question. Just traveling with the guys, playing shows and doing what we did. It was all really great. But I think it’s the bond that we formed. I keep on going back to this whole idea that we’re a family and a lot of bands say that. But our parents were involved and were supportive. Jay’s parents especially because they gave us a place to practice. I think the relationship that we built together, between the band members and everyone’s families, that was just different than anything I’ve ever experienced being in any other band.

To this day I still talk to these guys every couple of days even after I quit the band. It’s just different. We all have a huge respect for each other as people and as musicians. I think my fondest memory is all the experiences I shared with these guys: Going over seas, traveling the country for 8-10 months of the year. There are definitely days that you don’t get along but for the most part we really are like brothers. It’s just a good feeling to look back after all this time 11 years later after I joined the band and I think that we’re better friends because of everything that has happened to us today. I’m just a sentimental guy.

Do you have any particular expectations for the upcoming shows?

The only thing we’re expecting is to have a lot of fun. I mean we are going out with two bands that we’re absolutely great friends with and even most of the opening bands are bands that we’ve toured and played with; with the exception of a couple. Cartel have been really good friends of ours and they’re doing the Midwest and East Coast dates. No Motive is doing the California dates with us. They’re old label mates and friends of ours. The band Smoke Signals, who are also on the tour for the Midwest and East Coast dates is Joe, who played bass in Hot Rod after Jay quit the band, and the piano player is in my new band now. I’ve also been recording him since he was about 17 years old for his solo stuff.

It’s a big family thing. Bob from Braid is playing with us in Chicago. I mean there are people along the way that are scattered about that are playing with us. We tried to make it as friend oriented as we could, we just want to have fun. It’s all about getting out there, playing those songs again and being around each other. We don’t really expect anything other than to enjoy ourselves. I think that’s the only reason we should be doing this.

What was or is your favorite song to perform?

That’s a really tough question. I’ve always really enjoyed playing most of the songs off of Sorry About Tomorrow. “Safely” is up there. I really felt like that was a different direction for us. I guess I feel like that whole record was a step toward maturing a little bit. I like playing a lot of the old stuff. There was an album out before I was even in the band and I am a real sucker for some of that old stuff like “Weak Warm” and “Irish Car Bomb.” Those are two songs people love to hear. Those two songs are fun to play, especially “Irish Car Bomb.” People really like that song a lot and sing along to it. “Safely” is probably my top choice.

Do you really think this is the end of Hot Rod Circuit?

I don’t know. We haven’t said it’s going to be the final goodbye. But we haven’t really talked about anything after these shows. I don’t think there will be anything after but I don’t want to say it in case in two years we’re all in the same place and decide to play or why don’t we record another song. We don’t want to be one of those bands. We honestly have no plans past Nov. 20.

Can I say it’ll be the final thing? No. Can I say that it could be the final thing? Absolutely. This thing wasn’t about money or any other motives. Just the sheer fact that Krazy Fest was fun and we wanted to play some more shows, it’s been such a long time. This could be it or it could not. I don’t want to limit ourselves in case in a few years we decide to play another show. I guess we’ll have to see what the future holds.


Hot Rod Circuit will play Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Nov. 17, Theatre Of Living Arts in Philly on Nov. 18 and Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Nov. 19. For more information, go to