Nathen Maxwell is pretty busy with his day job, playing bass for one of the most successful Celtic punk rock bands in the world, Flogging Molly. Let’s be honest, Celtic influences aside, they are simply one of the best things going in punk rock, period.
Between endless tours with Flogging Molly, Maxwell still finds time, occasionally, to work on his side project, The Bunny Gang. It’s been five years since Nathen Maxwell and The Bunny Gang put out their debut, ‘White Rabbit,’ but they are back with a fantastic follow up, ‘Thrive.’
Maxwell was cool enough to trade some e-mails to talk about the new record.
Innocent Words: I went and pulled out your last solo record and realized there was a rabbit on the cover and now your new band is called The Bunny Gang. What’s the deal with the rabbit theme?
Nathan Maxwell: The Bunny Gang means peace punks. The rabbit represents new life and abundance. To make a change these days, quite often you must do it from within the belly of the beast. Many have been and will continue to be sacrificed in order for us all to thrive. Also, the punk rock crew I grew up with in the South Bay of L.A. is called the Original Bunny Gang, or OBG PUNX.
Innocent Words: Is this band the same one that performed on White Rabbit?
Maxwell: White Rabbit was recorded like more of a solo record. My father Maxwell laid down the drums, then I overdubbed all the other instruments, rhythm guitar, vocals, melodica and bass. Afterwards the producer, Ted Hut, laid down lead guitar, space echo, etc. For Thrive, it was recorded as more of a full band experience with Nat Lort-Nelson on lead guitar, Mike Peralta on bass and Maxwell on drums.
Innocent Words: It’s been about five years since the last record. Obviously you’re pretty busy with your day job. Did you start writing these songs years ago or did you wait until you had a break with Flogging Molly and wrote and recorded all at once?
Innocent Words: Why did you decide to record in El Paso? What was the experience like?
Maxwell: I discovered Sonic Ranch in El Paso during Flogging Molly’s Speed of Darkness recording. I immediately fell in love with the location, studio, and people. I knew then that that was where I wanted to do my next record.
Innocent Words: One of the songs that really jumped out the first couple of times I listened to the record was “Sirens in the City.” Can you talk about the story behind that one?
Maxwell: Back when I was still living in L.A. I was working with a great musician and friend named Scott Abels. He showed me the riff and I went home to Harbor City and just wrote mainly about what I heard through my bedroom window, helicopters above and sirens through the city.
Innocent Words: Do you guys plan to tour with the record comes out?
Maxwell: Playing music live has and always been a huge part of what drives me. I plan on playing this music whenever and wherever possible.
Innocent Words: Has Flogging Molly finished the next record yet?
Maxwell: Flogging Molly is currently putting plans together to record our new record this year.
Innocent Words: You guys are also hosting the Salty Dog Cruise early next year. That sounds equally amazing and scary. How did that come about?
Maxwell: Pirates and the Sea. It’s just meant to be.
Innocent Words: Do you know what to expect?
Maxwell: A great time!
Innocent Words: What is next for you?
Maxwell: To keep on keeping on.