The Car Bomb Parade are a unique bunch of hardcore punks who have members from New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Massachusetts. Their latest is a 3 song EP titled “For The Brigade” which will be out on 7” vinyl on June 5th. Leading up to this new one they have been releasing new music on a pretty consistent basis since their “World War Anthems” EP came out back in 2014. In the last two years they have solidified their lineup and appeared to be getting more recognition from playing out before a global pandemic smacked down the live music scene. We got all four Car Bombers involved here (The Rev. Nicky Bullets- vocals, Will E. Ramone- guitar, Merf- bass, and Drummer Mike- drums) along with their cats to find out more in this May 24th interview. Lead photo by: Tim Daley. Graphics by: Bas Spierings.
IE: What’s up everyone? Thank you all for taking the time to do this. Can each of you start off with where you are at right now and what your day to day activities have been like over the last couple of weeks?
Will: Hello, Chris, good to speak with you again. I am currently in my living room, where I’ve spent most of my time the last 9 weeks because it’s where all my books and records are. I just went back to work full-time this past week but prior to that was only working a very small amount of hours. In a way that was a good thing because I really enjoyed being a full-time musician essentially. I also finished 3 books and watched all 8 seasons of “That 70’s Show” with my wife.
Merf: Hey Chris! Most of my time is spent in my living room with my cat (Fergie) and dog (Isabelle). Weekdays I am teaching remotely and trying to get my students to smile a bit despite this epic trauma. In the beginning I started drums and focusing solely on music, now it's two months in and it's shifted to a more balancing act of mental relaxation while watching television. I also noticed I do not watch movies as often as I thought. I have binged “Dead To Me” and on “Grey’s Anatomy” now.
Nick: Chris.. all love to you. I am currently walking in the dark on a mountain near my house.
Mike: Hey what’s up Chris? I hope you are doing as best as you possibly can during these times. Thanks for doing this interview, it is truly an honor. I am currently in the drum room of the house which is where I've spent most of my time luckily still working but from home. In between calls I’m practicing the drums every day for a couple of hours, spinning records while working on projects, finally digging into a huge list of bands’ discographies I have been meaning to check out for a while now. I also finished the Beastie Boys book which I highly recommend.
TOP LEFT- WILL, TOP RIGHT- MERF, BOTTOM LEFT- NICK, BOTTOM RIGHT- MIKE
IE: So the name THE CAR BOMB PARADE. It really stands out and is a one of a kind name. We have discussed this in the past but maybe everyone has not heard the story on how it came to be. Will, can you give us the rundown once more on how this came to be?
Will: I had a dream one night right when the band was first starting to jam and figure out what we wanted to be. In the dream I was attending the Boston Marathon (the year of the bombing) but dreams have a tendency to morph and change into strange things as they go on. So the marathon turned into a parade and as the floats were rounding the corner the vehicles transporting the floats started to explode one by one. People were shrieking like, “It’s a parade of car bombs!” I just had the name Car Bomb Parade stuck in my head when I woke up. Once I told the story to Nicky Bullets, he said “That’s the name!” I hated it at first and had other ideas for the band name which he shot down for being “too punk sounding.” I’ve grown to love its uniqueness though.
Nick: Will E. Ramone, with glee and excitement on every syllable, told me about this amazing dream he had. He told me about a parade of exploding cars, screaming, and anarcho-mayhem infinitum…. he cried “It... it...was like a… CAR BOMB PARADE... you think that’d be a good band name?” Why wouldn’t I? Will E. Ramone is a fabulously demented genius.
Mike: I read the review that you did on "Opiate For The Madness" after its release and based on the album's artwork alone I had to check these guys out. So when Will reached out to me a few months later I was already familiar and very interested in these guys. The name had already come to be so I can't take any credit for it. But wouldn’t you be interested based just on the band's name??!
Will: It’s funny how the name kind of became synonymous with what we’re all about. A parade is typically a happy, festive celebration of life and our assemblies are very much a positive gathering for us all to unify and celebrate togetherness with our punk and hardcore brethren. A car bomb is a highly destructive force, and if you’ve seen any of our live performances....
MIKE, NICK, WILL, MERF... PHOTO BY: MY GHOULISH ADVENTURES
IE: If you had to rename the band tomorrow based on any past dreams any of you have had in your lifetime what would the new band name be?
Will: I never, ever remember my dreams anymore unless I eat something before going to sleep. It didn’t come from a dream, but I really wanted to call the band HKD (Hate.Kill.Destroy) which is a song by The Business.
Merf: Oh man, I don’t think anything else can encapsulate our vibe. If anything, it’d have to be something ridiculously funny or outrageous... like The Broccoli Top 4.
Nick: There isn’t a better name… it is perfect.
Mike: I have the weirdest dreams which could definitely make for some interesting band names, but like Merf said I think the name "Car Bomb Parade" best defines our personalities, stage presence and the atmosphere at our shows.
IE: So before pandemics and quarantines started becoming things we talk about on a daily basis this band had a full head of steam building with playing out often, plans for a summer tour and a new 3 song EP set to come out. Tell us about these new songs and the EP and where you were planning on playing this summer.
Will: The EP is titled “For The Brigade” and we just announced last week that it’ll be out as a 7” on June 5th and streaming everywhere as well. We released the first batch as an exclusive pre-order, and they sold out in 3 days which was pretty stunning. It’s 3 brand new songs that sound different from one another and kind of run the gamut of all the sounds this band offers. There’s your typical hardcore punk Car Bomb track (“The Purpose”), a more melodic street punk-sounding song that harkens back to our very first EP (“Be Your Own God”), and a punk rock party anthem (“Murder Party”) which is something we haven’t really done before.
Merf: Yeah, “For The Brigade” is absolutely epic. I can’t wait for folks to spin that. We had a lot going on for us. It is a bit heartbreaking. We had a mini-tour up to Massachusetts in April. Minor Disorder, those awesome humans who booked Sick Of It All for Costa Rica, reached out to us to do a tour over the summer. We were saving money, planning dates, looking into flights and whatnot… and well, no one is going anywhere. Costa Rica and Central America - we are still coming for you!!! As soon as we can!!!
Nick: “For The Brigade” has arrived! We scream from our very cores on this three-song masterpiece. It was the first recording we have done with this incarnation and the first I have sung on since “World War Anthems”. I am eagerly waiting to perform and tour as soon as we defeat the dreaded plague.
Mike: I can't believe it's finally out! In all my years of playing in bands this is the first recording I have ever been a part of that's out on vinyl. Huge accomplishment I have checked off. Out of all the bands and friends I have made music with throughout life I can honestly say this was the most fun and something I myself would go out to a record store to pick up. I am truly proud of these three songs, all completely different from one another. I am honored to be a part of this. I opened up a little more once we did the gang vocals pretending to be Roger Miret from Agnostic Front, Dicky Barret from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Tim Armstrong from Rancid. We had a ton of shows lined up within the tri-state area, a possible tour out in Costa Rica and not to mention the “Back To The NYHC Roots” series Drew Stone has been putting up. It has been overwhelming in a good way to be a part of all this, and then suddenly when it felt like we were taking over the world it all came to a screeching halt. We all communicate daily, making sure everyone is good. I think from our talks everyone is home practicing their instrument and bettering themselves as a player and getting inspired. I can't wait until this is all over, and we can play A7 again and explore new territory with our records in hand for your viewing and listening pleasure.
THE CAR BOMB PARADE @ THE COBRA CLUB, BROOKLYN, NY MARCH, 2019. PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY
IE: The band has seemed to have made the most out of the current quarantine situation. Either Will told me or you had a social media post that the band has been putting a lot of work in on new songs. How are you guys sharing ideas and how many new songs would you say you have put together in the last two or so months?
Will: As I mentioned earlier, being a full-time musician for 9 weeks was pretty incredible. The focus and perspective this time allotted to me just put the creative juices into hyper-drive. I’m constantly sending out riff ideas to the group via text, and The Rev. and Merf have been kicking ideas back at me, too. We have 8 full songs ready to go and a few more partial ideas I’m kicking about. This band talks everyday whether it’s about music or just life in general. We came together to be a band, but actually became family first.
Merf: Will sets the tone of a song with his brilliance. He’s probably rolling his eyes as I say that but it is true. I am a good “small riff” maker. I send whatever comes out of my hands to Will (on bass or guitar) and he puts our ideas together. It is really something else. I don’t know how he does it. Nick comes up with a basis for lyrical content, and we all chime in with our thoughts.
Mike: I've been getting scratch guitar and bass tracks from both Will and Merf, lyrics from Nick. I usually sit down a few hours a day to practice. I’ll play along to my favorite drummers, records etc. and after I’m warmed up nice and loose, got the juices flowing, I’ll be able to finagle some ideas. I always record my practice sessions because for the life of me I can't remember some of these ideas. It will usually be after playing along to a few albums I’ll start to groove on something and work on different drum fills inspired by the drummers I'm drumming along to. So at the moment I have a ton of recorded ideas that I have not yet shared with these guys. I am at home with access to only a practice pad drum set. Once we can all get together in person, these ideas should really come to life.
IE: Over the last couple of months the band has come out with two raccoon visuals, one from your new EP’s cover and the other from a band sticker. Why made you choose a raccoon?
Will: The raccoon actually dates back to our very first t-shirt design from 5 or 6 years ago. People still ask about that and want to get their hands on one. We’ll probably have to bring it back soon in some form.
Merf: I loved it when I first looked up the band before joining. Plus, the dark circles under my eyes make it a perfect match. Yeah, as Will said, people have been talking about that shirt for the last few months. It might be a good end of pandemic surprise? Maybe?
Nick: Raccoons survive it all. Its ability to overcome and adapt for a survival that suits its specific needs is something worth admiring. People are terrified of them, people love them, people kill them, people try to make them pets… but it is always the free and beautiful beast it is meant to be. And it’s never too scared to show you.
IE: This EP follows 2019’s “Opiate For The Madness” which had a really sick cover drawn by Rob Israel. How did that album cover come together, and how much input did you have into what was actually put out on that cover?
Will: Our former singer, Dan “Family Man,” came up with the title and had the idea for some sort of mental patient as cover artwork. We got in touch with Rob and sent him a bunch of artwork from Pushead who did a lot of design work for Metallica back in the day. If I remember correctly we kept it pretty vague and just let Rob do this thing.
Merf: That artwork is something, eh? We felt that the title, artwork, and nature of the songs in general all had to match. It is a full album, we had to do it full send. Rob Israel really nailed it. We basically told him key words we wanted the artwork to feel like. He did it. Check out his work!
IE: Nicky Bullets aka The Rev, you are a founding member of this band but were also out of the band for about a 4 year stretch. You were also not the singer on the “Opiate For The Madness” album. Can you talk a little as to why you left and how you came back into the fold?
Nick: My life mate and love died of cancer. I had to raise and be with my little cub. That’s why I left. Life is so fucking gorgeous, man...but... she can beat you to death. When I heard Dan was out, I offered to fill in for the Knuckle Down Festival. When I got off the stage that night… I knew I wasn’t done.
THE REV. NICKY BULLETS PHOTO BY: COURTNEY "COOKIE" MCPHILLIPS
IE: Nicky, in most of or all of the photos I have seen of this band play with you singing you wear a clergy collar. The band also refers to your shows as assemblies. Can you give us some insight as to how this came to be? Are you a true man of the cloth?
Nick: I’m a true human… nothing more. We assemble because “shows” entail that not everyone in the room is family or a trusted friend. We assemble because humanity forgets to. We are not performing… we’re celebrating with our tribe and brigade. This occurs at EVERY ASSEMBLY.
IE: In addition to your shows being considered assemblies you also refer to your fans as the clan of brigadiers. Can you get more into this and how the name came to be as well?
Will: I remember The Rev. using the term in social media posts during his first stint with the band, like “Hey, brigade…” or “Attention, brigadiers…”
Merf: I’m not sure how it actually came about, but I think it must have been in a group chat or a practice that Nick was at. The four of us talk EVERY DAY in that band chat. So, out of that nonsense it seemed to stick and it’s part of our band. Can’t have The Car Bomb Parade without our brigadiers.
Nick: They’re our people. They’re the ones you meet for the first time and know you’ll love them.
Mike: When you're at our shows you’re family. Plain and simple. There's no barrier between us. You are part of the show you are attending.
MERF @ NIAGRA, NYC. PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY
IE: Merf, you have been in the band for about two years now. How did you end up with this whacky bunch? What do you got to say about the current day hardcore scene from a female perspective? Are you feeling the love out there from other bands and fans of the band?
Merf: Ha, I think the whacky is the tip of the iceberg. I joined the band after taking a break from being in bands for a few years. I was pretty nervous. Our mutual buddy and head of Knuckle Down Records, Larry, set it up. I fell in love with the music. It brought me back to high school. I love aggressive punk and double bass. Never was in a band with that music though. I don’t know if Will knew what a WACKADOO I was then, but I think everyone knows by now. Being one of the few females in the scene… It feels the same as what NYHC was back in the 80’s (from what I can hear and see on footage) - inclusive. Girls in the pit going just as hard as the dudes. I think the fans see me as just a bassist of a band, and I really appreciate that. We’re all dudes here!
IE: Everyone in this band has a cat. What are their names? Do any of them have any extra special cat-like abilities that a regular cat might not have?
Will: My wife named our cat Lucy-Fur. If sleeping for 23.5 hours a day is considered a special ability, then she is the most special cat I know.
Merf: Fergie. Who is a HE. My big boy. His ability is to run around my apartment thinking he is 5 pounds and half his size, when in reality he is a solid 18 pounds. Good for him though, right?
Nick: I have 3 cats. Loki, Kali, and Pickles the Stupid. Each of them can see the dead.
Mike: I have one cat, Tigger. I love that cat to death. He is my buddy for life and I let him know every second of everyday how much he is loved. He can play the drums. No, just kidding. He does like to fetch. I’m pretty sure that's a dog quality, not a cat, but he's damn good at it.
THE CAR BOMB CATS
TOP LEFT- LUCY-FUR, TOP RIGHT- KALI, BOTTOM LEFT- FERGIE, BOTTOM RIGHT- TIGGER
IE: Describe the perfect Car Bomb Parade show once we have stopped talking about pandemics and (hopefully) get back to some kind of normalcy.
Will: Us, Enziguri, and Crazy Eddie playing with Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All in Tompkins Square Park on a crisp September or October afternoon. Absolute perfection. Now, who out there wants to make that happen?
Merf: Wow, Will. Dude. Yes. I’d add Mindforce. I’ve been on their EP like ants on a popsicle lately. Can’t stop listening.
Nick: The one we are playing at any time. I love this and our tribe so ferociously.
Mike: The perfect CBP show.... we already had it. The first time we played the A7. All the smiling faces in that room, all the great friends we made, the love and support from our friends within the NYHC scene. If that day can just be repeated every day of my life, wouldn't it be grand?
WILL @ NIAGRA, NYC. PHOTO BY: STEVEN j. MESSINA
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