An Interview with Comeback Kid: Don’t Even Mind Ryan McGrath January 21, 2015 Interviews It goes without saying that Canada’s heavy-hitting quintet, Comeback Kid, are considered to be one of the most iconic household names in hardcore for over the last decade. While fans and supporters would always find themselves nostalgically turning back to their first two full-length efforts, Turn It Around and Wake The Dead, the band still continues to stay consistent after all these years. This past summer, Comeback Kid put out their fifth studio album, Die Knowing, which is their first studio release since 2010’s Symptoms + Cures. Staying true to their fiercely energetic and melodically-driven hardcore sound, Die Knowing further exemplifies that the band hasn’t slowed down at all, despite the huge gap in between their last album release. From traveling across the world and playing as many shows as possible, no matter how big or small, Comeback Kid continue to embrace every single opportunity that comes their way. Fresh off of the overwhelmingly positive response from this eccentric release, Comeback Kid recently started off the new year on the road in support with Four Year Strong, Expire, Handguns and Heart To Heart. A few weeks before their North American tour, I spoke with Comeback Kid lead vocalist Andrew Neufeld about what he looked forward to the most about touring the States once again, his take on genre-mixed show packages and the overall reception of Die Knowing. You’ll be starting out the new year by coming back to the United States with Four Year Strong, Handguns and Expire. What are some things about this tour you are looking forward to the most? Well, we don’t really tour the States very often. We’re from Canada right, so… I mean, the last time we did the States, I think it was some shows in the beginning of 2014 or maybe like, March or April. So, it’s been a little while and we’ll get to go to some of my favorite cities and it’s just a good time in general. I think the tour is just a solid package. I was actually curious on how you have crossed paths with the Four Year Strong guys. What was your relationship with the band? How long has this tour been in works? We did a tour with them back in I think like, 2010 or something like that… I don’t know, 2012 or even ’11. But we’ve toured with them more even before and we just met them then. We’ve done it before and you know, it’s just another tour. It’s been in the works maybe like, six months ago or something like that. Considering that this particular tour features a good amount of diversity, what do you think are some of the advantages you’ve experienced from taking part in genre-mixed shows? It’s always good for us… like, we just enjoy being able to play to different kinds of people. I mean, it would get kind of boring if we had to play with the same kinds of bands all of the time. We like to mix it up and we like to play in big rooms and smaller rooms and festivals and… small fucking bar shows with, you know, more melodic bands, more heavy bands. I think we kind of put ourselves into a pretty decent position where we can play with lots of different kinds of bands and different kinds of shows. And for me, variety is a spice of life, you know, so I’m into that. Now, do you think it’s kind of cool to be sharing the stage with newer bands who might have grown up listening to Comeback Kid, or considered you as an influence when they first started getting into hardcore and punk? It’s definitely flattering that someone’s gotten into our band before at a young age or whatever, which is cool for us. Yeah, we were really into that sometimes, but at the same time, we’ve been able to go on tour with bands that we’ve looked up to. I’ve spoke with several bands in the past who’ve told me they grew up going to shows where they would see pop punk bands play with hardcore bands, and metal bands play with hardcore bands, and vice-versa. Throughout your history in the band, were genre-mixed shows and tour packages a lot more common when Comeback Kid was starting out? Yeah man, we’ve been doing different mixes of shows ever since we ever started as a band back in like, 2000. So, it’s not a new thing for us—I don’t think it’s a new thing in general. I can see where you’re coming from and I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of tours that are just “hardcore tours” or whatever, but mixing it up is something that is not new for us. We’ve been doing that ever since… or ever since I started going to shows. Like, back when I started going to shows in Canada, there would be like, a street punk band, then a hardcore band and you know, some more metal-type bands playing together, so we’ve been always kind of been doing it. We always try to do it as a band too because we take influences from so many different kinds of music. We’re a hardcore band, but you know, we try to do different things with our music. Yeah, I know when I started going to shows back in like, middle school or high school, I started going to metalcore shows and from there I kind of started getting into hardcore and punk rock and other stuff like that. That’s awesome, man. And I mean, hopefully, you know, someone will see Expire—maybe they just came to the show to see Four Year Strong or whatever, but they’ll go see Expire and be like, “Fuck, this band kicks ass,” and will be able to go check out more bands that Expire has gone on tour with or plays with, do you know what I mean? These kinds of shows can be gateways for certain people just like how you got into other hardcore bands, you know I mean? It all flows together. So with this tour coming up, what should fans expect to hear from your set? Since you put out the new record last year [Die Knowing], has it been challenging at all to incorporate a lot of the newer material in your sets considering that a lot of fans might be more eager to hear more songs off of Wake The Dead and Turn It Around? We were always never the kind of the band that just plays “new stuff” or just plays “old stuff.” Like, we’re just going to play a mixture of stuff and we’ll play a lot of our new record that we just put out, Die Knowing. But yeah, we’ll definitely be playing old songs too. We’re just going to play a few songs from every record… just the bangers, you know? (laughs) It’s almost been a year since you put out Die Knowing. What has been the general reception of the record so far? It’s been awesome. We’ve been able to go to a lot of countries and with the response for the record, I’m lucky that we’re able to play a lot of new songs, and they go over just as good, if not better that older songs, you know? That’s exciting, and it’s fun to play because it’s more fresh. I know the last time I remember hearing about a new Comeback Kid was maybe Broadcasting. Since there has been a pretty huge gap in between each release you’ve put out, has there been any amount of pressure to stay consistent and release new material regularly, or has it been more of a natural progression to go at your own pace? Yeah, for sure. We’ve been a band for more than 10 years and it almost provided us with a little bit more maturity. We kind of do it at our own pace and it’s not about, “We need to write music and get this out before this date, or else we’ll lose our chance,” or something like that. We’ve been able to stay pretty consistent and go at it with our own pace. Die Knowing came out in 2014, Symptoms + Cures came out in 2010 or ’11, so there’s a three- or four-year break. But you know, we still stayed busy and we were able to do our thing and a lot of different countries that a lot different bands don’t go to. Like I said, being able to go to different places and play different kinds of rooms and get into different kinds of situations because that’s what we kind of strive to do. Now that you have this new record under your belt, has that thought of wanting to write more material come to mind amongst both you and the band just yet? Or would you rather just take one day at a time and let Die Knowing sink into your fanbase first? Yeah, we’re definitely not in a rush to get a new record out. I don’t know… we’re always writing music and I always have song ideas, so I’m still writing. But as a matter of going through the whole thing, you know, getting a whole other record out, like anytime soon is probably not realistic. I would like to let our new record breathe and I’m not in a rush man, you know? With that being said, after your North American tour, what are some other plans that are in the works for the rest of the year? We have some festivals and some European touring in the spring. Before that, we’re going do some stuff out West and in Mexico. We might even have some time off over the summer or something like that. We’re actually releasing a 10″ record on Record Store Day this next coming year. It’s going to be a six-song live kind of thing and a cover we just recorded when we recorded our last record—it’s “Territorial Pissings” by Nirvana. Oh good choice, I’m a huge Nirvana fan. Nirvana was that “gateway band” for me to get into heavy music, so that rules. (Laughs) That’s sick. I’m sure they’re that band for a lot of people. Comeback Kid will be playing at Irving Plaza in Manhattan on Jan. 22 and at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Jan. 23. Die Knowing is out now on Victory Records. 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