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Drug Church

Hailing from Albany, New York, Drug Church has carved out a unique niche in the post-hardcore world. As articulated on their Spotify page, “They’re an unabashedly aggressive band that writes hooks you can’t stop humming — too poppy for the heavy crowd, too heavy for the poppy crowd.” And yet Drug Church’s proprietary sound continues to open new doors and attract new fans. In this episode, we speak with vocalist Patrick Kindlon and guitarist Cory Galusha about their influences, their name, their thoughts on creating good music, and much more.

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Transcript

Speaker 1:
Welcome to an Ernie Ball podcast. It starts now.

Evan Ball:
Hello. Welcome to Striking a Chord, an Ernie Ball podcast. I'm Evan Ball. Today we have the band Drug Church on the show. They were recently in LA playing with Thrice, and I caught up with singer, Patrick Kindlon, and guitarist, Cory Galusha. It's always nice when we can get two band members on the show to get a better glimpse of the inner workings and dynamics within the band; so we get a wide variety of artists on this podcast. If you haven't heard Drug Church, they have a very unique way of bringing together heavy and catchy at the same time, and Patrick the singer is a character, definitely a frontman, and he's very insightful in his own way, so look out for that. Bands inherently are interesting because they have a certain cast of characters with different personalities, different ideas, and Drug Church is definitely no exception here, so I think that comes through in this episode.

All right. In this conversation, we talk about the formation of the band, their name, influences, band dynamics, the art of creating big riffs without being corny, trying to plan your career versus letting it happen more naturally, how having limited abilities can lead to great art, and more. Ladies and gentlemen, Drug Church. Okay, Patrick Kindlon and Cory Galusha, welcome to the podcast.

Patrick Kindlon:
You nailed Galusha.

Cory Galusha:
Thanks.

Patrick Kindlon:
That was really good, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yes, yes. It's Italian actually.

Cory Galusha:
Who knows? I have no idea.

Evan Ball:
In an alternate universe, you never joined a band. You never came across a microphone or a guitar. Do you ever think what your life might look like? Lawyer? Work at a zoo?

Patrick Kindlon:
Probably not. Probably not.

Cory Galusha:
Def not.

Evan Ball:
Podcaster?

Patrick Kindlon:
What do we look like? I don't know. You might nail this better than us. We both look like we'd be seasonal workers at a waterpark.

Evan Ball:
Yeah that's good.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah we're working at Water Slide World.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yes, Glens Falls, New York.

Evan Ball:
That's not a bad life. Get a little bronze and ...

Cory Galusha:
Do a little landscaping on the side.

Patrick Kindlon:
Hard to prepare for the future. I'll say that but, yeah, we snow plow in the winter. We landscape in the summer. We listen to terrestrial radio through our truck speakers while we do these things. We're outside too much, develop melanoma. It's a tragedy.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
All right. Good thing we're in the real world.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay. Let's go back to the beginning, so how does Drug Church come into existence?

Patrick Kindlon:
Okay so everybody in the band, with the exception of me, was playing together, and they were playing sort of a, I would say, a ... God damn. Name those-

Cory Galusha:
Sam-I-Am, that kind of emo-ish rock.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah. What is that God damn ba- "Last night on the mass pike."

Cory Galusha:
Oh, Get Up Kids.

Patrick Kindlon:
Get Up Kids.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
They were playing that sort of shit, and they accidentally wrote songs that didn't sound anything like that, and they said, "Oh unless we're going to change our band entirely, I guess that's a new band, these new songs," and then they debated who they wanted to sing, and I somehow got nominated for that job.

Cory Galusha:
You were low on the list of ... You were the last person.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah okay so they asked everybody else both locally, regionally, and nationally, and-

Evan Ball:
But you were on the list at least somewhere.

Patrick Kindlon:
... And then arrived at me, yes.

Cory Galusha:
A list.

Patrick Kindlon:
So the auxiliary list, I made the cut, and the idea first was to almost intentionally be local. Do a few shows a year. Maybe put out something if compelled, but then early on, No Sleep Records asked us if we wanted to do a 7-inch, and we said, "Yeah, let's avail ourselves to that opportunity," and then not that we're not motivated people, but this band has been easy to keep motivated because there's always been some new offer; so while we had no ambitions to be anything but a local band, you go from 7-inch, and then somebody says, "Would you be interested in doing an LP?" And you go, "Yeah, I guess I wou- Yeah sure," and then another one, and then people say, "Why aren't you on tour?" And, "Bah bah bah bah," and so it was a very ... To anybody listening that's young and is starting a band or whatever, my advice to you is to have no clue, no plan, and no ambition, and things might work out at least as well as it has for us.

Evan Ball:
But is that a testament to having the right chemistry? Things happen to come together with the right ingredients?

Patrick Kindlon:
We fight like dogs though. We fight like animals. The chemistry, it's a interesting chemistry. We're very bad to each other. You know what I mean? So I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. We do make good music I think so, yeah, perhaps.

Evan Ball:
Okay I want to come back to that actually.

Patrick Kindlon:
Okay.

Evan Ball:
All right so normally, I don't notice band names at all. Drug Church tends to pop a little more than the average name, so is there any story or explanation behind the name?

Patrick Kindlon:
Not a story but I'd say an anecdote, so I'm in another band, and so I've been touring for a while now, and when you see a lot of scenes, you see a lot of local bands, and when you see a lot of local bands, you see a lot of bands that have terrible terrible names, right? And we kept a running list of local-sounding band names, so whenever we would think of a local-sounding band name, we'd write it. Like Scum Hornet. You know what I mean? Something that is just so local that you can never imagine it breaking through in any meaningful way because it's just ... Like Torch the-

Evan Ball:
It's from a band generator maybe.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Or maybe probably worse.

Cory Galusha:
Oh, yep.

Patrick Kindlon:
Right right. Worse than that. The mind of somebody who's breathing practice space air-

Evan Ball:
Lead paint?

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah yeah yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
The whole thing. And on that list of terrible band names, terrible very local-sounding band names, was Drug Church; and when our only aspiration was to be a local band, I threw out the name Drug Church as a highly local-sounding band, and it stuck. Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Really? And everyone agreed?

Cory Galusha:
Almost universally, yeah. I think originally, our guitar player Nick had Gravel as a potential name.

Patrick Kindlon:
Also very local.

Cory Galusha:
But then it turned out to be already a Jade Tree band-

Patrick Kindlon:
There you go.

Cory Galusha:
... And so we just chose Drug Church I guess.

Evan Ball:
All right so we shouldn't try to picture what it means.

Patrick Kindlon:
Not at all.

Evan Ball:
With a church that preaches about drugs, or it's a commentary on churches in general?

Cory Galusha:
No.

Patrick Kindlon:
Zero commentary.

Evan Ball:
Okay. Don't think about it. Just-

Patrick Kindlon:
Don't think about it, no. Just think, "Oh that sounds local." You know what I mean? "Oh that's playing the local biker bar or road house or ..."

Cory Galusha:
Yeah. "They're playing Mother's Roadhouse, and-"

Patrick Kindlon:
Mother's Roadhouse on Colonie Shaker Road in Albany, New York.

Cory Galusha:
Very local reference.

Evan Ball:
All right so you kind of alluded to this already, but I think it's something that's cool about your band is that you can hear these different influences, but it doesn't sound disjointed or forced, and maybe it is in the background, but it comes together nicely. You have your own sound, but I'm wondering. In the beginning, did you guys have different visions for the band, or did it come together fairly harmoniously?

Patrick Kindlon:
Well Cory can speak to his end of it, but I think that everybody is big fans of what we started off by ripping off which is kind of the Nirvana contemporaries that never did as well, so we're talking about Seaweed and acts like that that is really genuinely top-tier alternative rock that you were kind of only into if you were into skate videos or you were into hardcore, but then your friend starts playing something that's a little bit more melodic, and then somehow you're at this thing where everyone's wearing chain wallets or whatever it is; and we were all fans of that. That was sort of the vision, and if you listen to our early material, it's ripping that off with a very inferior voice. Some of those dudes could actually sing, and I can't, and then as time goes on, the only time we argue about music is if something sounds corny, and then there's a fight over can it be redeemed, or is it corny? But otherwise, we're pretty much on the same page with most everything.

Evan Ball:
Okay. You're on the same page musically, or you're-

Patrick Kindlon:
Musically. Oh as people, we couldn't be on-

Evan Ball:
You come from different places, but you're okay with everybody's ideas and how they come together?

Patrick Kindlon:
Well so I think you just nailed it, so we got one dude who's a Less Than Jake superfan. We got a couple hardcore kids. We got a dude that just listens to that type of music that I don't even know if it's got guitars in it. It's like Paramore where you're like, "Is that a real guitar? Is that a fake guitar? I don't know what that is." You got an alt dude, but the commonality between those is that more driving and aggressive alternative rock that, like I said, was contemporaries with Nirvana.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
You could say with the sub-pop sound to some degree but never went as big.

Evan Ball:
I wrote this quote down just because it stood out, but you, in some interview, said multiple members of the band are fans of that type of post-grunge-major-label shit rock.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah, so they get angry-

Cory Galusha:
Absolutely.

Patrick Kindlon:
They get angry when I describe it like that, but that's what it is.

Evan Ball:
Cory seems at peace with that. I think he's ... Yeah.

Cory Galusha:
I mean, yeah, that's pretty accurate. Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah but some people get defensive, so in that giant gold rush after grunge or right around grunge, right, where major labels were signing up anybody with a guitar and a bad haircut and just being like, "Okay well you're alt," some of that was irredeemably bad, but some of it is gold, and a lot of it was what we are which is kind of if you rip off the Pixies but are aggressive; and that's a sound that I think resonates still. I think that still has some ... There's still gas in that tank, which you can't say necessarily for a lot of genres of music or a lot of sub-genres of rock music. Real quick, an example for people that don't know what I'm talking about. We don't sound anything like the Toadies, but if you listen to the Toadies, there's commonalities that will occur to you which is, "Oh I bet some of these members used to be in punk bands. Oh I bet this guy can't really sing. This is driving instead of ... It doesn't pull back. It drives in places where ..." for example, indie or college rock.

You know what? I made an R.E.M. reference the other day, and I realized that makes me 112, but okay let's say Modest Mouth which only makes me 90. Where Modest Mouth often pulls back, the stuff that we're referring to typically drives through. It typically puts its foot on the gas, so that's, I think, the common trait.

Evan Ball:
Yeah no. Again I think, just to reiterate, I think it seems like a real strength at the end of the day that you guys have these different influences. Patrick, are you involved in the music-writing process, or do you come in ... What does the writing process look like? Is it sort of vocals as a separate layer?

Patrick Kindlon:
So check this out.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Patrick Kindlon:
So I'm not going to fault music press. Continue to write about us, everybody. I appreciate you, however they always give me songwriter credit. They sometimes call me primary songwriter, so I'll see a writeup, and it will say "Drug Church lyricist/songwriter Patrick Kindlon". I don't know how to hold a guitar. I can write little songs on a mini keyboard that make it sound like I got a head injury. They're cute. You know what I mean? But they're not good songs, so to answer your question, this is me clearing up a common misconception. I can't write for shit, so typically what happens is they will write. If something is egregiously outside of what I feel comfortable with, I will aggressively tell them no, but otherwise, I don't touch anything.

Cory Galusha:
And we just ignore you anyway on that.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah but then I'll try to tank a song. I'll just-

Evan Ball:
So are you in the room when they're coming up with the music?

Patrick Kindlon:
Depends. Typically I avoid them for as long as possible.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
For example on this new record, I will show up at the end of the recording process where drums can't be changed. Likely, bass can't ... Well bass could still be, but anyway the point is that some-

Evan Ball:
Do they lock you out until-

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Songs will large- Yeah, nobody wants my input because here's my input. I go, "Maybe during that bridge, you could do something more like da na na nu nu nu nu nu na," and they'll be like-

Cory Galusha:
No.

Patrick Kindlon:
"Those aren't notes. What instrument are you even playing? Is that a guitar? is that a bass?" You know what I mean? And so I'm frustrating to be around because I have ideas, but it's like a child trying to explain it to you. You know what I mean? Like, "What if this part went harder," and they're like, "What does that mean? Is it faster? Do you want people to play harder? What does it mean?"

Cory Galusha:
Yeah well I mean the thing about the whole writing process is that with him not being in the room when we write these songs, we force ourselves maybe to make it more interesting, musically, so then because there's no vocal, so we're just kind of sitting there like, "Oh this is boring without ..."

Evan Ball:
Okay, yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
That's a good point.

Cory Galusha:
"... A lot of things going on," so then when the vocals come in, it turns out all right.

Patrick Kindlon:
I had no idea what a pre-chorus was before I joined this band. I've been in band since I was in high school. When they introduced me to the idea, I said, "What is that part? What is that little-"

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah. That's your favorite quote. "How many times does that part happen?"

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah because-

Cory Galusha:
We're like, "What? I ..."

Patrick Kindlon:
So I'm totally unfamiliar with a band that has ADD this bad. They don't recognize it, but this it The Dillinger Escape Plan of alt where they feel like they have to ... "Oh that part was boring." No it wasn't. It was four measures of a good chorus. Keep it." You know what I mean? "What are you talking about? It's not boring," and then they're like, "No no no. We decided to do a half on the ..." "Why? Why? No reason?"

Cory Galusha:
no. No reason.

Patrick Kindlon:
So they do do that. That's a good point actually. They are writing as though there's no ... This has to carry without vocals. You know what I mean? Which is actually not a bad strategy, so to people that are familiar with Cheer, if my voice sounds passable on that record, and I think it does, that's because the engineer, Jon Markson, is a very patient man. I'm much more comfortable barking than I am attempting to sing, so in my own comfort zone, always go more aggressive. I think it's also harder to mess up aggressive.

Cory Galusha:
True.

Patrick Kindlon:
It might not be great, but it's not going to be terrible.

Evan Ball:
Well since you brought up Cheer, and I've read various commentaries that tend to draw a line between Cheer and everything that came before it, was there a musical shift? Or what are people talking about when they say that?

Patrick Kindlon:
So when we heard the record, we're like, "Wow that sounds good," and we're like, "People are going to accuse us of being good on purpose."

Cory Galusha:
Right.

Patrick Kindlon:
And so we kind of ran with the narrative that that was our go-for-it record, but the truth of the matter is, like most things in life, just money and time. We had more money, so we had more-

Evan Ball:
Writing's exactly the same.

Patrick Kindlon:
Oh yeah.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah.

Evan Ball:
You're not striving for some different objective, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
No. This is not defending our DIY integrity because if you guys have a briefcase full of money, we can talk about anything. You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Right.

Patrick Kindlon:
It's fine, but I don't know if they can write anything other than what they're writing. I think efforts to change directions would veer off a cliff very quickly.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
So, no, honestly the only real difference between Cheer and previous records is when you have a budget, you got more time to sit there and go, "Do I really like that?" And then a huge difference is vocals, but for vocals in particular, it is possible to be too polished for sure but not when you're as low-talent as I am. It's impossible. You can't polish me, so by taking that time, all we made sure we did was get the best possible takes, and as a result, I think that the record benefited a lot or at least is easier on people's ears in a way that I am still comfortable with.

Evan Ball:
So that was a couple years ago. Is there a new album in the works right now?

Patrick Kindlon:
So this tour ends today, and we start recording in seven days or eight days.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah. We're going to do three days of demoing at the end of next week and then go right into the studio for a couple weeks.

Evan Ball:
So the songs are written?

Patrick Kindlon:
I wouldn't say all that.

Evan Ball:
Okay. Started. You complete them in the studio.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yes.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Patrick Kindlon:
Which is the process on Cheer as well.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
So I would say that Cheer, the riffs were written before going into the studio, but the songs were not. The songs needed somebody and everybody to say-

Cory Galusha:
Eh, we had half of it.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah but-

Cory Galusha:
And that's kind of the process here too is everybody has their ideas somewhere, and then we'll just get together and figure it out.

Patrick Kindlon:
I think the best move-

Evan Ball:
But you're confident enough at this point that you have the songs in a place where it's time to get into the studio.

Cory Galusha:
Right. Yeah for sure.

Patrick Kindlon:
Also I think a thing that is underrated, you get very confident when you're spending somebody else's money, and it has to get done. Okay my mother was taught to swim, like so many people of her generation, by being pushed out of a boat. You know what I mean? My grandfather rode to the middle of a lake and pushed my mother out of the boat, and that's how she learned to swim. Now that technically might be abuse. I don't know, but she learned how to swim very quickly, and that's how I feel about spending other people's money. If the songs weren't ready, they're going to be ready pretty quickly, and so I'm a big believer in that.

Evan Ball:
Any different characteristic of this album or different approach or-

Patrick Kindlon:
Here's my questions to you, Cory, because I actually don't know. Heavy or less heavy?

Cory Galusha:
I think we discussed trying to get a little heavier. The song that we put out just before this tour called Bliss Out, which was from the Cheer sessions, was-

Patrick Kindlon:
Good plug.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah. Check it out. Spotify. That song was a little bit heavier. It didn't quite fit the sequencing of Cheer, so we left it off conveniently for-

Patrick Kindlon:
A rainy day.

Cory Galusha:
... A rainy day, and that was the beginning of this tour and gets people excited about new music.

Evan Ball:
So is there a push and pull between the direction you think you should go in versus maybe what people end up resonating with best?

Patrick Kindlon:
Oh yeah. The things that I would think are going to be the songs or ... And I think this is true of most musicians, right?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
The thing that you think ... So okay. Phenomenon in every musical outlet I've ever had is the guitarists have no idea what the song that the audience wants to see is. They have no clue.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
So when we're putting together a set list to play live, these dudes are throwing out sounds that the crows is going to hate us, and I say, "What is wrong with you?"

Evan Ball:
Is it guitarists specifically?

Patrick Kindlon:
Guitarists want to be entertained the entire time they're playing their instrument.

Cory Galusha:
You want to play whatever is the most fun.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah yeah, but you guys also like when people like us.

Cory Galusha:
That's true, yeah. Yeah I was going to say I've noticed on this tour that Unlicensed Guidance Counselor, pretty simple song. People love it for some reason, and it's not any more complicated than ... It might be simpler than some of the songs on the record, but I think probably the lyrics are what people identify with, and I know you probably don't like that, but people will find anything in-

Patrick Kindlon:
What's the Tom Petty motto? "Don't bore us to get to the chorus."

Cory Galusha:
Right right, exactly.

Patrick Kindlon:
You know what I mean? And that's what people like, but a guitarist wants to be entertained the entire time they're playing. They spend a lot of time trying to be good at their instrument, so you want not to shred necessarily, but you want to entertain yourself the whole time.

Evan Ball:
So do you step back and have band meetings and say, "Look. This is what we should do. This seems to be resonating with other people-"

Cory Galusha:
Nah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Oh no no no. It's just techs that are like, "What are you, stupid?"

Cory Galusha:
Right.

Patrick Kindlon:
It's just highly aggressive techs.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah I mean the beginning of a tour, somebody will put together a set list, and it's usually the crowd favorites, and we try to, every now and again, try to throw in different songs, and Pat usually has something to say about why are we playing that one? We should be playing this, and we go back and forth but, yeah, I don't know. We're all willing to try-

Patrick Kindlon:
The day before ... No that's not true.

Cory Galusha:
Nah.

Patrick Kindlon:
The day before we leave for a tour, there is typically a big fight because they have put together a set list-

Evan Ball:
They.

Patrick Kindlon:
They, my enemies, have put together a set list, practiced it, and then spring it on me going, "Oh I thought we could play this one this tour," and I look at them with cold dead eyes, and I say-

Cory Galusha:
"No one wants to hear that."

Patrick Kindlon:
I say, "Nobody on Earth wants to hear that. [inaudible 00:22:40]. No." You know what I mean? And then we fight a lot, so we compromise in that if I can physically remember the lyrics, I will try. You know what I mean? I'll try to sing that song, and I've never tanked one on purpose. I'll be honest. I've never ever gone out and preformed so badly that I never ... It's not like the guy washing the dishes, and then he leaves the little bit of food on there so that nobody ever asks him to do the dishes again. It's not quite like that. I usually try very hard. Sometimes things break and don't get played again.

Evan Ball:
Do you guys do votes? Just a majority rule thing?

Patrick Kindlon:
No it's more a sullen, "Let's yell at each other," and then somebody will be like, "I don't know why he's being a dick." You know what I mean? And we'll work it out that way. We'll work it out through, first, overt argumentation and then vibes, just vibing each other.

Evan Ball:
Vibes, yeah.

This is just something I came across. I think it was from an article you did with Vice. We'll link to it in show notes. I think it was Vice.com (actually it's https://www.revolvermag.com/music/drug-church-big-riffs-weezer-clones-mike-pattons-world-class-trolling). I just thought it was interesting. We'll see if this fits into the podcast, but you were reflecting on a purely original genre, and you said, "It's almost never intentional, and when it is, it's quite contrived and stupid. So many things probably are born out of limitations." I don't know if you remember saying that but-

Patrick Kindlon:
Oh no for sure. I mean-

Evan Ball:
Why I bring it up, that kind of struck a chord with me, no pun intended ... I'll have to strike that.

Patrick Kindlon:
No keep it. Keep it.

Evan Ball:
Was trying to get around that one, but I thought that was true. That was a good observation that ... Do you remember saying that, or does that feel-

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah no.

Evan Ball:
Oh okay.

Patrick Kindlon:
I believe that. A lot of things, I just talk out of my ass, but I do believe that.

Evan Ball:
I guess where I'm coming from ... We've had some people on the podcast, and I've talked to people that are more schooled musically, and I've thrown that criticism that, "Do you lose anything being schooled?" And it was like, "No. I'm still ... You can still express yourself. You just have more tools, more virtuosity to express yourself."

Patrick Kindlon:
Sure.

Evan Ball:
But I think that quote sort of gets at that's sort of the flip side. You're basically like, "You're naturally restricted," and you come up with something maybe real and original.

Patrick Kindlon:
Well the fight the other day ...

Evan Ball:
Boxing?

Patrick Kindlon:
... The Fury Wilder fight, so everybody admired Fury's performance because it was like a boxing master class. If you listen to the nerds, he's an excellent boxer who, on that night, was a great fighter, and Wilder on the other hand has one asset. If he doesn't optimize it, he loses. You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
But up 'til this point, he's optimized it because he's created workarounds for his complete inability as a boxer. He's a fighter, but he's not a boxer. This is all boxing nerd stuff that I've been absorbing for the last two weeks, but the point is that both of those approaches have merit. There is something to be said for virtuosity. I think it really only has value when there's a lot of character to it. I mentioned Rush earlier. Listen. Some people don't like Rush. Nobody could accuse it of not having character.

Evan Ball:
Yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
You know what I mean? So that, to me, is a band that the virtuosity is just in the service of character, and it's great, but if you're just virtuosity for the sake of it ... I'm going to get weird for a second. I had a conversation with a guy at a shoe store the other day who was explaining to me ... He was like, "Oh you're a musician." I said, "Yeah." He says, "My son's a musician." I said, "Oh that's a terrible life." He said, "He's struggling because nobody's good enough to play with him," and alarm bells are going off a little. Red flags are going, and I'm like ... We kind of hashed out that his son ... I won't say social problems or anything like that. It wasn't like that. It was the frustration of being great, of being great, being better than the best local player that you can find so that somebody can't keep up with you, and it's an irritating night for you, and you can't keep a band together because you are performing on a ...Point is that all sounds like a hell. I think just get together with some dudes that are all decent musicians. Play within the confines of your ability. You know what I mean? And you will by accident write good songs; so a friend of both of ours is a horrendous guitarist. He's ass. He's not good at what he does, but-

Evan Ball:
What's his name?

Patrick Kindlon:
Shout out. We're pumping him now, but because he's aware of that, he plays within his abilities, and actually it's like, "Oh I could've ..." This is very capable songwriting because he's aware of his limitations, and he's maximizing what exists within those as opposed to comparing himself to somebody that is greater, trying to do that now, failing terribly, and so basically what I'm trying to say is don't try to achieve anything in this life. Stay in your shit.

Evan Ball:
Right, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Don't strive. Don't work hard. Just if you suck, just be the best at sucking that you can be.

Evan Ball:
Got that kids? Alright let's take a quick break and then come back, hear more from Patrick and Cory of Drug Church.

Evan Ball (Ad):
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Evan Ball:
So being however many years you guys are into the music life, if you could rewind the clock, is there anything you would do differently? Stay strategically or whatever, if you could keep your same brain, your same knowledge and go back, is there anything you would do differently?

Patrick Kindlon:
I'm sure my finances in some way. I'm sure I could've approached the practical aspects of life far better. There's kids that are ... They're our age, but I think of them as maybe a little bit younger. They made a tiny bit of money in music. They still play, and they still do well, but they made a tiny bit of money in music, and the immediately invested in stocks and shit and are now making money, and I feel dumb as hell.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
You know what I mean? Really truly dumb as hell because these are dudes that ... It's so easy to be a lunkhead musician. It's so easy to be just a musician. The only advice I have for anybody, and again we're not so successful that we should be giving anybody advice, but the people that I've met who are the most fulfilled and most capable of approaching life are people that are staying busy, and if that means that you're off of tour for two months, well why aren't you learning lock picking? Why aren't you ... Well that's a dark one. I don't know. Pick something else. Why aren't you learning that something that ... I don't know. Coding, and I barely even know what coding is, so any of that stuff.

And I've probably suffered from that. You know what I mean? I've probably suffered from, "Okay I tour again in three months. I'm going to make the focus of my existence planning for that, making sure that everything's good," and then kind of letting the other parts of my life fall by the wayside in some respect. That's not good, so I'd probably do that different, and the other stuff I think is almost impossible to ... If you attempt to dial it in, I think that you fail. I think that it has to be some level of accident because the bands that feel super methodical, the bands that feel super planned out, that stuff is working now.

Lana Del Rey says that she didn't pick her name, that her manager did, and she just says that with no sort of ... That seems normal to her, right? And generationally, that's an affront to my sensibilities. I'm like, "Oh my God, what? Why would you ever admit that?" But that is now okay, and that is now cool, and that is now a thing, but I think that that level of oversight and planning and strategy to your career in an art is really difficult, and it's not just really difficult. It's often fruitless, so shout-out to Lana Del Rey. She's doing fine, but I'm saying that it's a ... When I run into bands, guitar acts that are trying to manage five people, and they're strategizing ...

There's a painting. I don't know if it's in Princeton. It might be in the library in Princeton. Supposedly it's not haunted, but it's jinxed. It's of Shackleton's expedition. Shackleton's? Might be. Whatever. Wherever they got eaten by goddamn polar bears. The name of the painting is Man Proposes, God Disposes, and it's just like, "Yeah the best laid plans, man." You know what I mean? Like, "Oh you got a plan? Oh sick." You know what I mean? "You got a strategy? Well okay." You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Right.

Patrick Kindlon:
"Best of luck," so I think it's good to have an overview or an outline, but once you start trying to micromanage your ... And that's what I'm saying. I wouldn't change much because I'd have to trip into things anyway.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah.

Evan Ball:
What do you think, Cory?

Cory Galusha:
That makes sense to me.

Patrick Kindlon:
Sold, all right.

Cory Galusha:
That's all I got to say. I'm the Andy Richter of the podcast. Yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah. Sounds good.

Evan Ball:
All right. Influences. Who are both of your bit influences?

Patrick Kindlon:
Oh well my answer doesn't satisfy anybody because we don't sound anything like this, and I'm not saying this to be a cool guy in any way. To be honest, I don't know if this band is cool right now, but Echo & the Bunnymen to me are the best chorus writers in the history of guitar music, and I didn't realize it until kind of far into my musical career, but I was like, "Oh am I ripping this dude unintentionally?" Because I liked a lot of that stuff as a kid, but I always thought that I was ripping off Paul Weller or somebody like that that's sort of smart-ish; so The Jam was when you're a kid, you get really into The Clash. Some kids start with Sex Pistols, but also I'm speaking to a generation by the way. Some kid's going to write in and be like-

Evan Ball:
Who?

Patrick Kindlon:
"I started with Asking Alexandra." You know what I mean? Whatever. I loved The Clash, and then I got really hard, and then there was a stop over at Stiff Little Fingers that I loved, but The Jam for me was a thing that I listened to for years because it was smarter, maybe a little more grandular and less anthemic because it wasn't attempting to be punk. It was attempting to be something else like, I don't know, maybe a variation of pub rock in some way, but the references were more grandular, right? So highly-specific, things that felt like you were experiencing them. They weren't about revolution or taking over the world in some sort of way like the line from Down in the Tube Station where it's, "Have you got any money?" "A little money and a takeaway curry. I'm on my way home to my wife," and that's a highly-specific ... Or another example, I think the best example in all of music, is the Gorilla Biscuits song where he says, "I'm not perfect. I'm just Civ," so him. That's insane where you reference yourself so-

Cory Galusha:
Yourself, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
That's a crazy person singing that song, but that sort of grandular thing is something I always admired, and I thought I was doing it, but then I forget what record ... Crocodile or ... But whatever I was listening to a couple years ago, I was like, "Oh I think I'm ripping off Ian. You know what I mean? I was like, "I think that's what I've been shooting for this whole time is these choruses that are smart," because he's saying a lot about religion specifically in these pop songs. They're brutally slashing basically the idea of faith apart in these songs that got radio play, and nobody thought about it. Nobody was like, "This song is a bit much." You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Nobody thought that about them. That's maybe lyrically. Performance-wise, I'm legitimately trying to do Lou Koller Sick of It All 1996. That's what I'm trying to do. I've never achieved it, but that's what I'm shooting for. It made the biggest impression on me when I was a kid. Biggest impression in the world.

Cory Galusha:
For me, honestly I think I started with Metallica when I was a kid, and somehow I think it got to punk rock and hardcore and Fugazi and all that. I mean-

Patrick Kindlon:
You're a big Soundgarden guy.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah love Soundgarden. That was my first favorite band was Soundgarden.

Patrick Kindlon:
Okay so you went from-

Cory Galusha:
And I still love them today.

Patrick Kindlon:
You went from metal guitar to guys who could clearly play metal but chose to play alt rock.

Cory Galusha:
Right right right.

Patrick Kindlon:
And I didn't want to jump on your train, but I don't think you're trying to do Soundgarden.

Cory Galusha:
No.

Patrick Kindlon:
But I think that there's more of that in your DNA currently than Metallica.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah. There was something about Soundgarden when I was a kid. They had Black Sabbath riffs with a Beatles sensibility almost, and I always liked the ... I don't know. That just feels like two totally different bands to put together. You don't necessarily hear that right off the bat, but if you listen to it enough, you can tell Chris Cornell, he's more the Beatles guy, and the rest of the band is more the Led Zeppelin Black Sabbath doomy kind of stuff-

Patrick Kindlon:
They do a think that I think we aspire to on some level which is have big riffs and not be corny.

Cory Galusha:
Absolutely.

Patrick Kindlon:
That's tough. You know what I mean?

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
And they threaded that needle pretty expertly, a couple missteps but pretty expertly.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Cory Galusha:
Yep.

Patrick Kindlon:
Because if you gave a kid ... Not a kid. If you gave a 25-year-old a guitar right now and said, "I want you to channel Led Zeppelin," it would be the worst music you ever heard in your life, right? But Soundgarden is small-room Zeppelin in some ways.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
You know what I mean? And they did that perfectly.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Sorry, you got me talking.

Evan Ball:
All right, the answer to this question's probably lots of things, but what inspires your lyrics?

Patrick Kindlon:
Well that's a good question, so having been in other bands for a long time, my lyrics in the band that I've been in for years and years are nothing like Drug Church's lyrics, and it seems like that would be impossible that it's not intentional, but it's really just I think that if you're really listening to the thing that you're singing to, you'll be prompted in different ways; so if I joined a klezmer band tomorrow, I'm sure that the content would not be like Drug Church's. If I joined a rush-style band, I'd probably want to get more intellectual just because the music is doing so much, but with Drug Church, for reasons I guess I don't understand, very early on it became kind of themed about not doing great. Here's the way I would put it. It's about the pressing things but funny. That's how I would say it.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Well that's ...

Patrick Kindlon:
Because tell me if I'm wrong. Earnestness takes a certain dude. There's the dude that can do earnest. He can do the sincerity thing that ... He can say the corniest chorus, and everybody feels it, but if I did that, people would be like, "I think this dude's real corny," because they'd sense that I wasn't in my own skin doing that corny chorus, so my vibe, I guess maybe as a dude even but at least certainly within this band, is morbid topics through a lens that I hope we can all laugh at or at least see the funny in it.

Evan Ball:
So are you talking societal criticism or-

Patrick Kindlon:
No usually more specific than that so this is kind of a bummer to people that have ... Maybe they grew up in a political punk scene, or they think that everything has to have an agenda or in some ways is important to be propaganda. I have no desire to engage anybody in an argument about any of the things I'm singing about. To me, I don't understand why somebody can't ... Big Black, right? The band Big Black. Those songs are about morbid topics, but it's not advocacy. There's no position to be held. It's documentary. You know?

Evan Ball:
Yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
The idea would be analysis, not advocacy or condemnation. "Here's this." You know what I mean?

Evan Ball:
Yeah, so drawn from maybe people you come across in your life?

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah. Yeah often. Often, yeah.

Evan Ball:
How do you guys record as a band? Is there a process? Drums first or you guys all record live together?

Patrick Kindlon:
It's varied from record to record. It has.

Evan Ball:
There's a question in his face [crosstalk 00:40:46]-

Cory Galusha:
It's always been the same, man.

Patrick Kindlon:
No, the J. Robbins record's different.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah, that's a little bit different. Yeah generally drums first, guitars, bass, and then vocal's always last.

Patrick Kindlon:
What are drums playing to?

Cory Galusha:
We'll do a scratch track kind of thing. Sometimes, a lot of times, and I'm trying to think of how it was on Cheer, I think Nick either in the room with Chris or across the glass in the control room kind of playing together-

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah just doing scratches. I have no idea if Chris is ... I mean I'm assuming he's playing to a click in the studio. Is he not?

Cory Galusha:
Yeah yeah yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Okay so-

Cory Galusha:
But not ... Nick or I wouldn't do a scratch guitar only for him to then play to later.

Patrick Kindlon:
Right.

Cory Galusha:
It would be more "live"-

Patrick Kindlon:
You're performing with him.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Oh okay. Yeah yeah. Okay. What are the best parts and worst parts of your job?

Cory Galusha:
Worst part-

Patrick Kindlon:
Yes.

Cory Galusha:
... Just your space in the van.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah this is a big-

Cory Galusha:
Your row in the van-

Patrick Kindlon:
This is a big bone of contention.

Evan Ball:
I don't want to stir anything up here, but-

Patrick Kindlon:
No it's a big bone of contention.

Cory Galusha:
His nest, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
So I don't think by nature I'm a difficult person, but I respond like a true child to ... And when you said, "What would you have done if you didn't find music?"

Evan Ball:
Yes.

Patrick Kindlon:
I'm not a violent guy at all. I can't imagine a circumstance where I'd see myself in prison, but any effort to lecture me or tell me how things are supposed to be, I respond like a infant, like a child.

Cory Galusha:
Absolutely.

Patrick Kindlon:
So they'll be like, "Hey could you clean up your garbage?" And I'll be like, "What's it matter to you?" And then we get in a fight because it's my garbage-

Evan Ball:
How were you in school? Were you okay with that?

Patrick Kindlon:
I was not a good student. Summer school every year. It was not good because when I figured out that you could blow off school the entire year and then go to school for literally six weeks and still get the same credit towards your graduation, I was like, "Why does anybody do anything in school?"

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Moral hazard. Yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
"It's crazy," so at any rate, that is a bone of contention we fight about. I am deeply inconsiderate when I feel pushed or lectured in any sort of way, so my space in the van is an unlivable toxic mess because-

Cory Galusha:
It's terrible.

Patrick Kindlon:
... Because any time somebody says, "Hey, why don't you throw that out?" I feel like they're condescending me, and I'll be like, "Why don't I throw you out? No."

Cory Galusha:
We have to secretly throw things away every stop, little by little.

Evan Ball:
What kind of stuff?

Patrick Kindlon:
Thirty cans of Yerba Mate by the end of the end.

Cory Galusha:
Lot of glass bottles just flying around the van, a lot of the Coca Cola glass bottles and the bottled Yerba Mates, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Bottles of Yerba Mate. All things that are going to-

Cory Galusha:
Whole Foods boxes.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah Whole Foods boxes, and that's not good because they've got food in them-

Cory Galusha:
With food in them still probably, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah that's not good. Listen, I'm not suggesting that any of this is good behavior. I'm-

Evan Ball:
Let's look on the bright side. What's the best part of your job?

Patrick Kindlon:
I still really like ... So somebody asked about this the other day because we've been out for five weeks which is pretty long. Bands used to do six week regular, but I don't find that very normal at all anymore. Most bands are shooting for something less than that. Fours week is where a lot of bands tap out, so this is a long one, and after my voice settles in and I feel in control, we could just be out indefinitely because I'm not a creature of comfort guy; so I would say honestly week three of a tour, I'm feeling much better than I am week one, and I love that feeling of a well-oiled machine that comes from playing every night, and particularly on this one, it's big rooms, and if everybody's doing their job, you can hear yourself. Everything's dialed in so that there's no excuse. If we play a pizza parlor in Podunk, there's reason why things couldn't be perfect, but if we have crisp sound on a big stage, that's ... If you're not doing well, it's on you. You know what I mean? And I like that.

Cory Galusha:
Oh yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
I like that, "Okay go out there and do it well," moment. I think that's fun.

Cory Galusha:
I'm going to just go the generic answer and just say I just love playing a show. Just playing a set, just being on stage for, on these, it's 30 minutes, and then you're off. I don't know. That never gets ... I've been playing guitar and playing in bands for years, and that's just always the funnest part of the day is just the performance, literally just ...

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah. Well there's not too many other fun parts. Let's be fair.

Cory Galusha:
No, I mean yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
There's not too many other fun parts of the day.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah, not really but I mean that's kind of why you do it is just for that, just to play the show so ...

Evan Ball:
So apart from music, what are your interests? Do you guys have common interests or individual interests?

Patrick Kindlon:
I write comics. He reads comics.

Evan Ball:
Perfect.

Cory Galusha:
I don't read any of his.

Patrick Kindlon:
He doesn't read mine. No, that would be a bridge too far-

Cory Galusha:
No I read a couple.

Patrick Kindlon:
... But depending on the members, this big divides between our hobbies, interests, et. cetera. The commonality is everybody in the band has a cutting, cruel, maladaptive, inconsiderate sense of humor; so the level that we can relate to each other best is being really unkind to each other. That's the thing that we all-

Cory Galusha:
Middle-school humor, but yeah-

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah middle-school humor. "Oh is this kid a little pudgy? I'm going to make him cry today."

Cory Galusha:
Yeah just cutting everybody down at all moments of the day, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Whatever works, yeah. On that note, Patrick, Cory, thanks for being on the podcast.

Patrick Kindlon:
Thank you very much for letting us.

Cory Galusha:
Thanks for having us, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Oh wait wait. Cory, what kind of guitar strings do you play?

Cory Galusha:
Ernie Ball. Lately, the Burly Slinky's. I used to be just a regular slinky guy. Yeah, I just started-

Patrick Kindlon:
But you grew a beard.

Cory Galusha:
I grew a beard, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. Burly Slinky's.

Cory Galusha:
I got burly, yeah.

Patrick Kindlon:
You got Burly's now.

Cory Galusha:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
It happens. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Ernie Ball's Striking a Chord podcast. Thanks Drug Church. They put on a great show that night, by the way; so this was the last interview we recorded prior to the onset of social distancing, so moving forward, we'll switch to remote interviews. Stay [inaudible 00:47:28].

Patrick Kindlon:
It's two minutes, and it's heavy. That's a good record for me. That's-

Cory Galusha:
It's two riffs.

Patrick Kindlon:
Yeah. Give me two riffs, two good riffs, memorable riffs, and make it two minutes and heavy enough that I don't embarrass myself.

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