Hello! Welcome to “Under 1000”, a column highlighting artists with under 1000 likes on their official Facebook pages. Each piece will profile and interview an artist we feel is worthy of your “like”, with the hope of spreading their sound, and getting them that all important fourth digit. Thanks for checking it out!
Artist: The Bingers
Facebook likes: 973
There’s something to be said for a band that has as much fun performing as their audience has listening. A spirit of inclusivity, of accepted imperfection, of “why not?” – all qualities that help an artist work toward the ultimate goal: making sure that everyone has a good time.
Good times are had by all in the form of Chicago punks The Bingers. This spunky trio, made up of brothers Teddy and Ronnie and their buddy Jack, makes fuzzed-out surf rock that could make a statue boogie. Their latest LP Stay Satisfied, out now via Tall Pat Records, is a crash course in head-banging, knee-shaking garage rock best listened to over cheap beer in your friends’ basement. Peppered with shout-along refrains and 60’s rock nostalgia, the record rips a hole through the genre’s front door and doesn’t stop to say sorry.
For this week’s Under 1000, I spoke to Teddy about the album, their blend of classic and contemporary rock sounds, and that time The Lumineers opened for them. Find our conversation below.
MEB: First and foremost – why do you make music?
Teddy: Well, being that we’re all songwriters, each of us have our own personal reasons and varying goals we wanna achieve. But, speaking for this particular band, it started out as a way to stay sane once we all started full-time jobs. I don’t think I could ever be someone who just works and comes home to turn on the tv and pass out before doing it all again. It’s a way to escape, to have a small say in the kind of life you wanna live. It’s really fun. And at the same time, we all were programmed by cartoons in the late 80’s that told us playing guitar and skateboarding were cool.
MEB: Your music does a great job of blending both “classic” and more “modern” rock and punk sounds. How do you go about finding common ground between the two?
T: We all grew up on classic sounds. There was a great Chicago oldies station back in the day — 104.3. As little kids, seeing the joy that some of those songs brought to our parents kind of made a lasting impression on my brother and I.
Right as we entered puberty, our parents got a divorce. And that combination, plus skateboarding, led to somewhat of a rebellious thing. Nothing mean-spirited, just youthful punk stuff being stuck in the suburbs. We found a lot of our favorite music from this time in skate magazines/videos. It’s actually right around the time we met Jackie too. So as we got older, that young energy of those skate punk days sorta melted in our brains to the sounds and structures of more classic rock & roll.
MEB: Who would you say are some of your “classic” influences? Who would you say are some of the more “modern” ones?
T: I’d say our classic influences include bands like, but not limited to Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Sam the Sham, Dale Hawkins, Buddy Holly – the hits from the early rock n’ roll era. We each have our favorites — Ronnie’s more into the major scale sounding stuff, and Jack and I kinda gravitate toward the swampier, minor key jams — but basically stuff with a solid beat you can shake it or twist to, combined with memorable melodies.
Our more modern influences follow those same guidelines, but have a punk rock kinda edge to it. Stuff like the Gories, Oblivians, Cramps, Tag Falco’s Panther Burns — most of that is still a bit old by today’s standards. Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ show, even some of Thee Oh Sees. Right around 2010 there was a bunch of bands that had a good vibe like that — X-ray Eyeballs, Vivian Girls, early Ty Segall, etc.
MEB: What sets your new record “Stay Satisfied” apart from your previous releases? What kind of mindset were you in when you wrote the record?
T: Well, we all feel like if it’s the last thing we do — it’s the best representation of what this band has meant to us. We each have a few solid, single type songs on here. In addition, we made sure to include some down time, slower burning stuff for the sake of the album. Too much of anything gets boring.
MEB: Tell me about the weirdest show you’ve ever played.
T: THAT TIME THE LUMINEERS OPENED FOR US!
Our friend Brendan books at this club Reggies on the south side of Chicago. One afternoon, he called us and was like “would you all be able to do me a huge favor? The headlining band just dropped off this bill and we need someone to fill it asap.” We agreed to play the show later that night. When we got there, the place was packed. We were like “this is awesome — these guys have a pretty good following!” We noticed everyone was kinda in hop-a-train clothing. Mustaches and overalls and sundresses and cowboy boots. So The Lumineers play – and we had no idea who they were before then. They did their thing really well. The whole crowd was into it and dancing.
Next, we get to the stage. No joke, by the time we finished our first song, there were like three people talking to each other at the end of the bar. It was great.
MEB: What’s the one thing you hope people take away from listening to your music?
T: We’re not expecting to change anyone’s life. But if there’s any young dude or dudette out there going through a tough time, and they’re able to escape that and have some momentary fun while listening to us…what that’s all we can hope for.