BILL: So when did Shot Baker start up initially?
Tony: Around four or five years ago. I'm really bad with dates so I don't remember exactly.
BILL: That leads into the next question then, what was your first show as Shot Baker?
Tony: It was at the Lion's Den when they were doing shows. A while ago, a good handful of years ago, I guess four or five years ago, they had punk rock Fridays there. And that was our first show.
BILL: Why did you decide to re-record most of the tracks on your album?
Tony: Well, I guess when we had recorded it the first time the recording engineer... There was no production on that record. The recording engineer was just kind of, he didn't care if we did it right or not, he just wanted to get through it. And we were on a really tight budget and we BLASTED through that recording and my voice was SHOT. I think the metaphor that my bass player Nat said was that it sounded like I was gargling tacks.
Tony: So the main thing is that, you know, I think lyrics are pretty important in this band. Well of course I do, I'm the singer, of course, you know. So a big, big part of it was that we wanted people to understand what the fuck we were talking about. And uh, we just wanted it to be cleaner, a little bit more listenable. One of the big things, kind of the nail in the coffin for us saying, you know, "fuck it, we're gonna do this over again" is when we were sending the CD to radio stations and our first EP, called Time To Panic, was at the end of that CD. That was actually recorded with Dan Precision.BILL: At the Bombshelter?
Tony: Right, at the Bombshelter, and the Awake record was recorded somewhere else, it's called Volume Studios. So all these radio stations were like "Hey, we really like the CD but we're only going to play the last five tracks...”
BILL: Which were the Bombshelter tracks?
Tony: Yeah, which were the Bomshelter tracks, and they were a lot cleaner, you know what I mean?
BILL: You could hear the sonic difference in them?
Tony: Yeah! And not, I mean, I'm talking college radio shows, punk rock college radio shows. We're not talking Q101 or something, it was college radio shows were like "you know, it's great, we really love the last five tracks." I go "Of course you do! Because it sounds better!" and that's all there is to it, it sounds a lot better. So we kind of got down on the album for awhile and we were like "you know what, let's just fucking re-do it." Dan Precision kind of cut us a deal and we re-recorded the whole thing because we wanted to be proud of the record for a long time to come.
BILL: Especially since it's your first LP.
Tony: Yeah, we didn't want to regret it. It was our first album and we wanted it to reach a wider audience, we wanted people to understand it, to understand what we were yelling out. So that was a big part of it, we're really happy with the way it came out. It sounds a lot smoother, so it's not so sloppy, and just, it's not so gritty. Not that I don't like that sound, I actually like the gritty sound.
BILL: It just wasn't what you were going for for that one.
Tony: Yeah, it just didn't, we just wanted it to be a little more coherent, you know.
(Pete Mittler [Methadones] walks in)
Tony: I'm a rock star!
Pete: Fuck yeah you are.
BILL: Big fucking rock star.
Pete: It's all about you.
Tony: That's right!
BILL: You guys played The Fest this year, right? How was that?
Tony: It was fucking amazing. It was really, uh, the playing The Fest was great. I mean, it was really great. A lot of people from
BILL: No, I haven't yet, I haven't been able to swing it. I'm definitely fucking trying for next year though; I'm saving up my money now.
Tony: It's really great man. That is what punk rock should be man, it was really great.
BILL: Yeah, there's like twelve different venues each day...
Tony: It was like punk rock
BILL: Then let's go see Dillinger Four!
Tony: Yeah! Oh, it was so great, so great.
BILL: How did you end up hooking up with Mike and the Riot Fest guys?
Tony: Fuck. I'm swearing a lot, sorry. I'm drunk though.
BILL: Eh, it's the internet, it's safe.
Tony: Ha, alright. Uh, Mike had written us an email asking if we wanted to be on some Riot Fest compilation. He was going to make a compilation, and we were like "yeah sure, whatever." And this was before the second year, between year one and year two. He sent me an email, he sent his phone number, and I just started calling him and it turned out that he was a really easy guy to talk to. We talked a lot about music and what he was doing with Riot Fest and what we were doing, and eventually he just, he kind of asked if we wanted to be on Riot Fest Records. And you know, they had Naked Raygun and The Bollweevils, we fucking grew up on those bands. I mean, we GREW UP on those bands. I don't know if I'd be the same person if those guys didn't exist.
BILL: So you grew up in
Tony: Yeah, yeah, and they kind of, both of those bands, kind of in a way raised me, as silly as that sounds.
BILL: No, I completely understand, I know just what you're talking about.
Tony: Yeah, so it was immediately like "Goddamn. Yeah, man! Hell yeah we fucking want to be on Riot Fest Records." From there we just kind of built a relationship and now we're really involved with Riot Fest, just doing whatever, doing street team work, all kinds of grassroots work them, whatever we can do to help out. It's been really cool, it's like a little family, it's a lot of fun.
BILL: So the West Coast tour with Raygun and the Swingin' Utters, you're probably super fucking excited about that.
Tony: Yeah, it's totally surreal. It's pretty...
Tony: Yeah, we're, we're totally floored, I don't even know what to say. It's unbelievable, we can't believe it.
BILL: Yeah, that kind of says it all. I just have one or two more questions left. What bands would you say are your all time favorite
Tony: You know, the usual. I really, obviously, Naked Raygun, Pegboy, The Effigies, and then the newer stuff, well, I mean, newer stuff, I mean, when I was a kid I guess. And I'm not THAT old but I fucking loved Screeching Weasel, The Vindictives, all that stuff.
BILL: What about newer bands, ones you've been playing with?
BILL: Just newer bands in general that you're into now.
Tony: Lately I've been on a huge Copyrights kick.
BILL: That's not hard, they're great.
Tony: Yeah, totally. As far as newer bands that are going right now: The Copyrights, The Brokedowns, Das Kapital, who else is playing right now,
BILL: They're awesome.
Tony: They're going somewhere goddamnit! I guess I should also mention with the older stuff a lot of the Johann's Face stuff was a big thing for me. Things like Apocalypse Hoboken, Oblivion, Smoking Popes, all that stuff really. That was kind of the scene that I really got in to, you know, like No Empathy, The Fighters, all that shit was what was really happening when I really got into it as far as the Chicago scene goes.
(Nat, Shot Baker bass, walks in)
Tony: Hey Nat, look I’m doing a rock star interview.
Nat: I won't bother you then.
BILL: No, it's cool. So do you remember what the fist show you went to was as a kid?
Tony: It was either, and I don't remember which one came first, it was either The Ramones at the
BILL: I'm just insanely jealous you saw The Ramones. It sucks, they're my all time favorite band and they had to break up when I was 10. I'm done, you have anything else you want to say, last words?
Tony: Thanks Bill, you're an alright guy! That's all I got.