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Interview: The Briggs

words by Christopher Connal | photo by Gary Copeland
06.20.2008

briggsOriginally published in Verbicide issue #24

There is an exciting consistency to California punk band The Briggs, a band who tour endlessly and seem to release an album or EP each year. Fresh off a tour with the Dropkick Murphys, the Briggs found time to record their new album, Come All You Madmen, before hitting the road again with Anti-Flag and Street Dogs.

Singer and guitarist Joey LaRocca says of the rigorous tour schedule, “It’s made it a little more challenging, but we managed to work it to our advantage this time around and use our touring downtime to write a record — which might be the new way we do things, honestly.”

The new album was recorded in March by Mighty Mighty Bosstones bassist Joe Gittleman. “It was the single best recording experience of my life,” comments LaRocca. “It was the way I want to feel about every record we do. I want to listen to it all the time, so at least I’m a fan.” The Briggs wanted a raw, live feeling to come through on the record. As LaRocca explains, “We did it in as few takes as possible to give it urgency.”

As with their other albums, themes of pride and identity are prevalent throughout Come All You Madmen. One song about hometown pride, “LA,” might remind listeners of the Dropkick Murphys love affair with their hometown of Boston.

“I feel our style of music is carried a lot by pride in who you are and where you come from, and we wanted that to be more prominent. Besides, most people think we are from Boston, and this will lay that to rest once and for all.”

Clarification on the band’s origins might have been necessary for some, considering the album features guest appearances by two well-known singers from the Boston area: Ken Casey of Dropkick Murphys and Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, something Joey was appreciative of: “These guys have been amazingly supportive. To have them be so willing to lend their voices to the record made it that much more special.”

For the summer, The Briggs will once again be playing the Warped Tour alongside friends including Horrorpops and Street Dogs. “I’m really looking forward to spending the summer with some of our really good friends and playing some of our new songs for fans,” says LaRocca. “I’m not,” he adds, “looking forward to frying my ass off on hot cement.”

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