The Riverboat Gamblers seem to be everywhere lately. Between tours with Alkaline Trio and Social Distortion, a catalog of seven-inches and singles put out over the past couple of years, last year’s Smash & Grab EP and a number of different side projects (Broken Gold, Ghost Knife, etc.), its’ easy to forget that it’s been about three years since their last full-length.
Ice up the Lone Star because the boys from Austin are back!
Darker, but still widely infections, The Riverboat Gamblers recently released The Wolf That You Feed, and if OPEC cuts these guys a break, expect to see them at a venue near you.
Frontman Mike Wiebe spoke recently about the new album, gas prices and why they will keep churning out full albums despite living in a single-focused world.
Innocent Words: How was playing a show with Tenacious D at SXSW earlier this year?
Mike Wiebe: SXSW was great and exhausting. On top of playing a whole bunch, lots of friends are in town and there is lots of business to be conducted. The very act of getting from point A to point B is exhausting because of the extra 40,000 people in our not-so-big town. I’ve even tried to lay off the consumption, but it is still exhausting. The Tenacious D show was really great, as were the other two shows we played. I am jealous of Tenacious D just having to carry around acoustics, though.
IW: Do you ever feel territorial at all having your adopted home taken over by bands across the country for one week a year?
Wiebe: I like it. I can see that it would be annoying if you weren’t involved in music. It is such a force of nature in Austin. It almost counts as a whole season. It is good for the economy too. That being said, once a year is enough.
IW: You’ve played some shows with Social Distortion and Alkaline Trio recently. Do you plan to tour much more??
Wiebe: I certainly hope so. We are planning stuff right now. With gas prices touring isn’t getting any easier, but we still love it and try to get out as much as possible. We would like to hit some new parts of the world where we have never been.
IW: What can you tell me about the new record?
Wiebe: It is called The Wolf that You Feed. It camesout May 22nd. It was a long process of writing and there were some delays, but it was totally worth it. We worked with Ted Hutt [Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly] for preproduction and then recorded in Dallas with Stuart Sikes [White Stripes, Loretta Lynn, Rocket from the Crypt]. We finished it in December and are very anxious for the world to hear it. I think it is the most cohesive album we have ever done. It is my favorite…its dirty and dark.
IW: Along with the Smash & Grab EP, you’ve put out a number of splits and 7-inches over the past couple of years. Do you see a day pretty soon when you’ll stop putting out full-lengths and just issue songs as you finish them?
Wiebe: I like having a proper album. I would like to have more EPs and 7-inches come out more regularly, but I like the album as a concept. I like a body of work that is meant to be heard together, whether people listen to it that way or not… I am not opposed to putting out singles and then culling together a collection album though. Although it is sometimes extremely frustrating, I would like to record more often.
Wiebe: Yes, we have been playing six or seven live. We road tested them on the Alkaline Trio tour; It felt great. We used to trickle new songs in much more gingerly, but we figured “fuck it”. We opened with four new songs and it felt great. It is kind of strange getting older as a band and having so many songs to choose from… they are all your babies and some are going to just have to get cut.
IW: You guys have been a part of some great side projects. Will there be another Broken Gold or Ghost Knife record? Any other projects?
Wiebe: I know Ian is always working on other stuff, so I’m sure there will be more Broken Gold. I just started writing new Ghost Knife songs… I’ve got about four that I like. I am hoping we record some in May, maybe for a 7-inch. I think that the guys in High Tension Wires – that’s me and the Marked Men fellas – are writing some new stuff too.
IW: What’s next for the band?
Wiebe: We are getting together some videos for the new record. Trying to figure out our touring schedule for the rest of the year…We already have started writing new stuff, slowly but surely. Mostly I think we are just excited about getting this record out. We’re super proud of it, and it’s brought a new excitement to the band that is palpable. I want to perform it for the world, dammit.
IW: Cool. Anything else?
Wiebe: Follow us on twitter @thegamblers.