Girth Control-Ska, Punk and Margaritas

Written by on March 28, 2019

Girth Control wasn’t necessarily supposed to happen but then again neither was penicillin; I guess you could call it a happy accident.

The guys that make up Girth Control are actually three fourths of the still very active punk-Americana group, The Slaughterhouse Chorus. When lead vocalist and guitarist Chris had to take a break, Jay (Guitar), Bob (Bass) and Mark (Drums) still wanted to jam.

Jay: “So Chris got busy a few years ago, he bought a business and… ya know life kind of got in the way of the band a little bit. We slowed down, didn’t call it quits but we had to compromise and say alright we’re not going to play five shows a month, we’re not going to practice every week. So what are we gonna do? We’re going to start a dumb-ass, pop-punk, ska band, whatever it is. That’s where Girth Control came from.”

Mark: “We decided when we started the band that none of us could sing, so we all have to sing.”

Jay: “Chris Jordan, is the guy who can sing.”

Bob: “I think we all just got lucky that all three of us yelling at the same time sounds decent.”

Mark: “Yeah, somehow people don’t run, they don’t block or cover their ears. You only have to remember a third of the words. It’s less intimidating for us and people enjoy it. You never know where it (vocals) will come from next; did that come from heaven?”

RRX: “Hitting rewind to your teenage years, Jay, Bob and Chris were also members of the late ska band Public Access. The reason I bring this up, besides being a neat little factoid is because of the Public Access song “God Save the Scene.” This is lyric that has stuck with me.”

Jay: “I think I was probably eighteen when I wrote the words for that song; scene politics mean a lot more to you when you’re eighteen years old. It’s easier to find yourself in weird little clicks of bands that don’t get along with other little clicks of bands.”

RRX: “How do you feel about the local scene today?”

Jay: “What I think is really cool about Albany now is that everybody does seem to get along. We’ve done shows with bands that are very different from ours, bands that have what you would call scene-cred, that are hipper than what we are doing as a ska/punk band in 2019; it all seems to go over pretty well.”

Mark: “I feel like no one has any serious delusions because being in Albany you’re not gonna really “make it,” instead of trying to be something you’re not, everyone stays true to what they are. That’s the thing I like. It binds everybody together, i.e., you’re in this sick metal band because you want to be or an Indie rock band because that’s what you’re into. It’s not like going to Nashville and you’ve got to play country now, you don’t have to play anything because it doesn’t really matter.”

RRX: “That makes a lot of sense.”

Mark: “So everyone’s doing their own thing. I feel like there’s a mutual respect among everybody, we’re all in this together. We’re all a little too old to still be playing music. This is like holding on to that thing you still love. So we’re all doing it for the love of music.”

RRX: “So you’re not doing it for the money?”

Mark: “Well, I mean we did make enough money to buy that Margaritaville blender. You know, we’re still riding pretty high off of that.”

RRX: (As I sip my drink) “Are there any special ingredients in here?”

Jay: “You got to follow Jimmy Buffett’s recipe exactly.”

Bob: “We’ve experimented with other things, it didn’t go well.”

RRX: “Well obviously you all enjoy Margaritas which I guess makes sense given the fact that you are referred to as a party band.”

Mark: “I think like half of our shows are people’s birthday parties, it just kind of happened over the years. We call them girth-days. That’s the whole point of Girth Control is to be the party band. To be funny, try to make people laugh and joke around, play some dumb ska/punk.

Jay: “I think the beauty of Girth Control is if you have a dumb idea for a song, it is immediately a song. There’s a number of times we’re sitting around, oh wouldn’t it be funny if we had a song called “Wrecked on Triple Sec”? And then it’s a song the next day. Whatever stupid idea it is, you don’t have to think too much about it. People seem to laugh at it, which is nice.”

RRX: “When you released “Shorter, Faster, Dumber,” I was listening and I thought the short songs were samples and not the full length versions. It took me more than a minute to realize that was the entire concept behind the album.”

Group: (Laughter)

RRX: “It was like a light-bulb went off. Oh, I get it now! Are you going to keep writing short songs from here on out?”

Group: “No, No, No!”

Jay: “It was a specific challenge to ourselves.”

Mark: “We thought it would be funny to make our own “Short Music for Short People” (Fat Wreck Chords compilation) and we wanted to make a full-length that fit on a 45 RPM 7 Inch. We also though it would be funny if the first album was a live album because a live album is almost always the greatest hits of a band. We thought it would be funny to not have any album and put out a greatest hits.”

RRX: “On the first album you did a live version of the Water Slide World theme song, I almost died.”

Jay: “That was a spontaneous moment.”

RRX: “I always wondered if it was planned or not. Okay so that was legit.”

Jay: “Water Slide World is now permanently out of business.”

RRX” “You’ll have to cover the Great Escape song next.”

Mark: “We’re working on another album right now, we want to put out a double LP; we’re kind of going the opposite direction now.”

RRX: “Speaking of new music, you recently wrote a song about my colleague Ralph Renna.”

Jay: “I mean that was inspired.”

RRX: “Well deserved, Ralph in my opinion has supported the local music scene almost more than anyone over the years. I am curious about what someone has to do to have Girth Control write at least a 20 second song about them or perhaps even myself?

Bob: “Compliment us.”

Mark: “Ralph Renna did stroke our egos a little because he put us on his year-end list of best albums, next to like…”

Jay: “The Felice Brothers and Clutch, really good bands.”

Mark: “Bands that are actual bands, then he was like, oh and also Girth Control. We were like that’s ridiculous and then he wrote us this e-mail and the phrasing on it was so funny. He said “balls-out, full-blast internet radio.” He pretty much wrote the song without knowing it.”

RRX: “I believed he loved it, he didn’t tell me personally but why wouldn’t he?”

Mark: “I assume it’s his alarm clock in the morning. He wakes up, looks in the mirror and says I’m going to kill it today, Ralph.”

You can catch Girth Control and Smittix live on April 24th at 7pm at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany, supporting NYC’s finest ska group The Slackers. For more information on Girth Control visit girthcontrol.bandcamp


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