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  • Brian Alesi

Mick Collins, from Detroit garage-punk icons the Dirtbombs, and I spoke a few moments ago. He had gotten his days mixed up, and had accidentally gone to the airport in New York a day early. He doesn’t fly to Seattle until tomorrow. He has a new phone, and his computer’s been on the blink.

At least now you don’t have to pack for Seattle. Where’s the rest of the band?

Or now I can pack better. The band, we’re all at home, in the places where we all live now. Chris lives in Portland. Pat and I are in New York City. Ben is in Nashville. And Ko is in Detroit. We’ll meet at the hotel in Seattle before the show, probably at the bar.

So no rehearsal? Y’all are good to go?

Well, we’ve been kind of off since 2008. We played a few shows in 2010, but really, we’ve been mostly off duty. Ben has a 9 to 5 job, Pat has a job, and Chris has been touring with another band. I’ve actually been recording a new Dirtbombs album. No one knows any of the songs yet though [laughs].

You all mainly just play Mariah Carey songs now anyway.

True. And everyone knows I love “Victim of Love.”

Mariah Carey can sing in 17 octaves. The only things that can hear her are cockroaches and head lice, and bats.

Yes. I think it’s like a four or five and half octave range. I have a pretty broad range, in the opposite direction. Bats can hear her, but elephants can hear me [laughs].

What’s the new Dirtbombs like? Any surprises?

Oh yes. The new record is finally the bubble gum album I’ve apparently been talking about for years. People have told me I’ve been talking about this album forever. We’re going to call it Ooey Gooey Chewey Cablooey. It’ll be out in January, on In The Red.

The Dirtbombs play Fisher Green stage, Sunday September 2 at 5:45pm.

What are your thoughts on Shishkaberries?

I don’t know what Shishkaberries are.

It’s a festival food, a bunch of strawberries on a stick, dunked in chocolate. With sprinkles. They look like deformed dildos.

Bring me two.

Any more shows after Seattle?

We’re playing All Tomorrows Parties in New York in September. We won’t really tour until the album comes out, in the Spring.

What’s been the process for recording the new album?

I’ll get a metronome click track going. Then I’ll lay down scratch guitar and scratch vocals. Then I’ll go back and fill everything else in as it comes to me. If the band is around, I’ll get the drums live with a scratch guitar track, and then go back and do everything else. But since they’re not around, I’m recording just about everything myself. I’m producing too.

Is it hard to be objective when you produce? How do you listen with fresh ears?

It’s funny, no one’s every asked me that. I guess I’ve done it for so long, I don’t have an answer [laughs]. We’ve always said we’re our own worst critics. Where people think we may have done something great, we’ll dissect it, and tear it apart. I feel like I’m always objective. What finally makes the record is what’s left after I’ve discarded everything else. I try to make sure there’s no filler, ever. I never cut a song just to fill up space. Also, my day job is as a record producer, so I treat my own records like anyone else’s. I feel like I can tell when a take is off.

Who have you been producing lately?

Right now I’m working with a local New York band called the Juggs. I’m also recording an LP with Lala Brooks from the Crystals. We’ve been getting songs together. The record label decided we needed another uptempo number though, for a record that we haven’t recorded yet [laughs]. At some point between now and Wednesday afternoon I have to have at least one more uptempo song.

You bleed uptempo feel-good hits. Now that you missed your flight, you have another day to work on it.

Exactly. I’ll give her a good rockin' dance number.