Make Do And Mend is a band from Boston / USA. They have two singles out (We’re All Just Living + Bodies of Water) and an album (on Paper + Plastick and in Europe on Shield Recordings) called End Measured Mile. Make Do And Mend is James Carroll (guitar / vocals), Mike Poulin (bass), Mike O’Toole (guitar) and Matt Carroll (drums). I was able to catch them live in Munich and another time in Brescia (Italy) on their first European Tour (together with Hot Water Music). At the Festa Di Radio Onda D’Urto in Brescia I got hold of James to do an interview.
While he was unpacking the merchandise (funny thing, while MDAM played their gig, the merch stand and about 70 Euro cash laid unattended there and nobody took a chance – is that the unity of a scene?) I did my interview, which did begin interesting, cause James ensured me that he still remembered me from Munich, which made me think a lot – why? (I took some pix but was not the only one, I followed the show but so did some other ones – guess it must be my perfect smile!) James was surprised and as well very proud that the album End Measured Mile got quite popular. He did not count on this and even told people before that he expected lots out there to dislike it. In his words: “it was a nice surprise”. In his opinion it is sort of a natural progression, Make Do And Mend tries the best they can in everything that they record and in what they write. They always try to keep on moving forward and moving upwards in writing songs. “So hopefully it is the best we have written so far and hopefully when we write another one, that will be the best we then have written so far”. By asking for his opinion about the best song James replied: “I don’t think I can pick a best song, we like all of our songs pretty well and when we write songs, especially when we write for a record, we are trying to write a whole record more than we are trying to write one song, it is one of the things where each song complements the whole”. We talked about good songs and James told me something interesting: “I was talking earlier with Mike (bass player) about certain songs, why we didn’t write that song and somebody else came up with it. One of the first songs I felt this way about was Remedy by Hot Water Music, I heard this song and to me that is what a song is supposed to sound like, that is what music is supposed to sound like. And now we start with the typical Rock The Cam questions.
RTC: how do your parents describe your music to their neighbors?
James: Good one, I think they call it Rock, Hard Rock, my parents are very funny, they are always telling me how they tell their friends about the band and are spreading our name in the mum and dad crowd.
RTC: what was your first and last record you bought?
James: 1st one was Crazy, sexy, cool by TLC, the last one uhhh I don’t know for sure. A record I was listening recently a lot is the newest record by a band called Sharks from the United Kingdom. It has all the songs that they have written from when they formed until last year. I have it in my car and before we left on tour I listened to it a lot, I really like it.
RTC: do you have a favorite book and if so, let me know why?
James: I do have a few favorite books and it is tough to make a call on this. I pick for now The Outsiders by Se Hidden. As a kid I have read this book and it was on of the 1st that got me really interested in reading. It is a story in the 1950s and in this time in the United States there was a group called the Greasers and they were kids who were just sort of offbeat and they didn’t fit in with the normal crowd. A lot of Psychobilly and Punk came from that and when I read it, I thought that’s cool, that’s what I wanne be.
RTC: did you succeed?
James: I don’t know if I am that cool (hahaha). I do not really fit in well with the in-crowd, but it is something I have certainly striffen for.
Changing the topic James told me that he likes his first time in Europe, that everybody has been really kind and the shows have been great so far and that Make Do And Mend are having a very nice time. While asking how a “normal” day on tour looks like I got following response: It is different on this tour because we have a driver, we play the show and then hang out after it for a long time. Then we just fall asleep in the van, drive and wake up the next morning at the new venue. It leaves us lots of time for hanging out but not so many time for sightseeing. Not so much like I would like to, we can walk around the general area where the venues are but depending on this, not so much of the sight sides. In Munich we took some time after getting to the venue to drive to Dachau to see the concentration camp – the museum, which was really really interesting. That was something that we really wanted to see, so we took some time to do that. Yes, sometimes we can make it to do some sightseeing.
There was not much time left before Make Do And Mend were about to start their set at the Festival so the Rock The Cam classic question (Imagine you are god and you are able to set up a festival of your choice – even dead people or dissolved bands – name me the 5 headliners) was answered by James like that:
2: James Taylor
3: AFI (but they are only allowed to play old songs)
4: Jimmy Eat World
Thanks James, play me a nice set, try to do some cool posing so that I am able to take some good pictures of Make Do And Mend live in Italy – good bye.