The Hauntings – an Xperience Monthly Interview with Rob Smittix
Written by Staff on October 6, 2023
RRX: We are here with The Hauntings, if you could pass the mic around and tell everyone who you are and what you do in the band.
BR: Thanks for having us Rob. I’m Ben, I sing for the Hauntings.
MB: My name is Matt Bastard, I play the drums.
DW: I’m Dan Wade, I play the guitar and push pedals.
MB: John’s not here but he plays bass. He’s here in spirit.
RRX: He is. I appreciate you guys coming in on short notice. It just came across my radar today that The Hauntings are playing Wild in the Trees Music and Skate Festival (10/7-10/8) in Lake George. And… you’re welcome, it’s actually my fault that you’re playing the fest.
MB: Oh, right on thank you bro!
RRX: I didn’t know if you knew that.
BR: Yup, we did know that. We really appreciate it.
RRX: So basically what happened was my band Smittix was supposed to play the event but due to unforeseen circumstances we had to pull out. I thought Frankie Cavone (Mirth Films) was going to be upset but he wanted you guys more than us anyway! He really wanted you to play!
BR: He asked us a couple of months ago but we were in a transitioning period.
MB: We were in a state of limbo, we weren’t even sure if we were able to accept gigs or what our schedules were going to be. Then we figured things out pretty quick and now were having fun!
DW: I said hey they want us to open up for DRI and BOOM the band is back together!
MB: That’s actually what happened.
RRX: You can’t turn that down. So how did it feel playing with DRI?
BR: It was incredible. That was definitely the best show we’ve ever played I think as a band.
DW: I looked out and all I saw was our own festival T-Shirts all over the place.
MB: It was really cool for us because when we got up on stage… this was probably the biggest show we’ve ever played. We literally looked out and saw all of our friends. All of our friends and all of our shirts in the crowd. Everyone was going nuts, so any nerves that we had before going on stage were gone. We just kind of pile-drived the energy and it was sweet.
RRX: To play with DRI, that’s a real resume builder.
BR: It was awesome too because punk shows in Albany usually don’t do very well. At this one the crowd was really into it. The people were dancing and not just standing there. People were really into us.
RRX: The first time that I seen you live was at Wild in the Trees last year and I thought to myself: what a breath of fresh air. I don’t know how old you guys are but you’re definitely younger than me. I feel like kids these days (people in their 20’s and early 30’s) believe that Blink 182 is the biggest punk rock band that ever existed. Pop-punk is real punk to them, it kind of hurts my soul. So to see The Hauntings come out and do real punk rock music, I was reassured that punk is still alive.
BR: You don’t see it very often.
MB: We just play what we like man. We don’t try to be like anybody, we don’t try to do anything specific. We come up with a riff, we’re just jamming, drinking beers, come up with stupid lyrics and all of a sudden we have a song.
RRX: That’s how the magic happens.
DW: It’s all experiences. I tell them about it and they write about it.
MB: A lot of our songs come from Dan’s stories after band practice. ADD takes over and he does not want to pack up his gear, so he will tell the tales of his life. And… he’s got some tales. A lot of the most recent songs that we’ve written are literally stories that Dan told us.
RRX: Dan you’ve got a nick name right?
RRX: So you didn’t have that much of a break in the action with the band.
BR: About 8 months, Matt had a baby that’s what happened.
MB: About 8 months yeah my daughter was born November 8th, so we took a break right after Wild in the Trees. Once I got my schedule figured out it was time to play again because I can’t not play drums. I was going stir crazy not hitting things.
RRX: Congratulations on being a man that had a baby. Did you cut the cord?
MB: I did. We went o’natural, I cut the cord with my teeth, it was a hell of an experience.
BR: Ate the placenta. Yeah.
MB: Of course, with garlic and olive oil.
RRX: So what do you have in the works?
BR: We’re hoping to record with Don Fury on September 30th and it’ll be really quick after that. We’re trying to release it in October. We’ve got a couple of shows in October that hopefully we can tack on an EP release to these shows. There’s a song about Dan, there’s a couple of songs about Halloween, there’s a song about getting drunk at your job and a couple other miscellaneous songs.
RRX: (Looking at Danimal) Getting drunk on the job, you did that?
BR: No I wrote that song. They’re not all about Dan. We’ve got a song called “Always Check Your Candy,” that’s about people finding razor blades in their chocolate bars on Halloween.
RRX: I never understood why people did that.
BR: I don’t really know if people act did that or if it was just an urban myth. I’m sure it has happend.
RRX: Have you ever had to call into a job and you’re nervous to talk to the boss? That’s how it was for me having to call Frankie and tell him that my band couldn’t play Wild in the Trees. I was hoping he wasn’t pissed but he was like no sweat. I knew right away in the back of his mind he was going to ask you. I asked if he needed help replacing us and he said nope, I’m on it. I imagine he called you right away.
DW: I got the message and I was like, I’ll ask the guys. Boom we’re on it.
RRX: Wild in the Trees in 2022 was the highlight of my year.
BR: It was a ton of fun.
RRX: I’m not even blowing smoke, The Hauntings were my favorite group there and that’s because I’m really into punk rock and I saw some real punk rock that day. Not that I didn’t enjoy the jambands because I did and the vibe is fun but… if every genre fanbase supported their scene like the jamband fans do… imagine if the punk scene was like that? We need a Greg Bell for the punk scene.
The Hauntings will be playing October 8th at Wild in the Trees in Lake George Noon-1pm Tickets can be found through https://www.eventbrite.com
By Rob Smittix.