The Sundresses are Cincinnati Rock Royalty. If you haven’t seen them play you must never leave your house. If you have never heard of them you may not have a pulse. Next weekend proves to be another busy one for The Sundresses as they have a free show at RhineGeist Brewery (opening for Eternal Summers) on Saturday, September 28th, another show that evening at Northside Tavern, and yet another free show at the Findlay Market MPMF Day Show Sunday, September 29th.
We caught up with Brad Schnittger of The Sundresses prior to their busy weekend.
The Sundresses are rock royalty in Cincinnati. Do you ever feel that way... does it create pressure?
We totally are, you're right. We've been saying that since the beginning when no one know who the hell we were - or cared. What's that saying? "In the land of the blind..." the something, something... I don't know, I guess it does add some pressure now that we're at that point where a lot of people think maybe we should have blown up by now; in the good way or the bad way. I feel a little bad for our fans, sometimes, because we're slower than shit at making records. We actually have one done right now, like totally done, but we're kinda scratching our heads with what to do with it. So we're moving on to the next one already. The outside perspective on our band, though, really has never added much pressure to us dresses. It's the internal pressure that's the real fucker. That's why we're so intense, I guess. Or stupid, depending on who you talk to. We're the nuclear fusion of American rock and roll. It's really true. That's what we are..
SXSW, MPMF, Nelsonville...you have played festivals, bars and bigger venues. What is the most fun?
The best is touring. We miss touring. I have some seriously fond memories of SXSW, though...2004...or maybe 2005. Fond, yet oddly vague memories of being there with some great Cincinnati bands; Pearlene, The Buffalo Killers, The Heartless Bastards. I remember being at some huge party in a movie theater inside a mall after hours. There was booze everywhere, people were makin' out and smoking all kinds of whatever - all while watching The Triplets Of Belleville. It was surreal. I grew up in suburban West Chester, OH and the thought of that level of debauchery inside a mall was mind-blowing and extremely gratifying. Yeah, from 2004 to 2007 was an exceptional time in Cincinnati for playing rock and roll. Any show during that time will likely be my favorite. I mean, when you're in your early twenties, the world is your oyster and we took absolutely full advantage.
What is your favorite part about being a band in Cincinnati? Has that changed now vs. when you started out?
The best part is that nothing has really changed since we started out. Before we started it definitely sucked. There was a vacuum left behind from the post-Nirvana/MTV/grunge/alternative whatever era in this city. We tend to think we filled and created a sort of big bang on the scene that has persisted. Pretty arrogant, right? Well, it wasn't just us dresses, but we were part of that big bang around 2002/2003. Since then, it has been a fairly steady and consistent "great place to be in a band." I've heard other bands comment on what it's like being a Cincinnati band, too, and the thread seems to be that there's a decent amount of musical variety and a sense that this city is like a "no man's land" where time doesn't really move much or exist. That sounds really dumb, and probably isn't exactly right, but it's close. Plus it's pretty cheap to live here, of course.
For that 1 person who has never seen you live, what can we except at a live show?
You can expect to get drunk and dance. You can expect to see others getting drunk and dancing as well. You can also expect that people will want to have sex and take drugs. If we're playing a more family-friendly event, you can expect children to dance and parents to buy an extra beer and maybe stay longer than they planned. If the homeless are in attendance, they will also dance. I cannot stress enough that those things are really true at our shows, whereas, there are other rock bands that do not actually have that effect on their audience, though they will profess it. There have been very very few shows where those things were not true. We actually made a couple start fucking in The Green Lantern (Lexington, KY) last year. Like during the show. In the venue. The place holds, like, 50 people. C'mon? We played so hard these people could not wait to move it to the bathroom or out back or to their car because at our shows, that is actually appropriate behavior.
What is next for The Sundresses?
Same thing as ever… Try to write some songs and play them for people. Drive all over the country if we can. Meet weird people. Try not to leave Jeremy in Nashville again. Then try to release records sporadically, but mostly just have fun. We have a new member now (Dave Reid - former drummer for The Dukes Are Dead) and he is awesome. He's brought some welcome new energy to the mix. We're a four-piece now which is interesting. Jeremy and I are dual front men. Mackenzie is front and center spinning around per usual. We're a better band for it. You might say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but we're more like "we're broke fuck you we do what we want". ...We have that record done, like I mentioned before, but the trouble is it was recorded as a three-piece and now we're a four-piece and we sound different or maybe better. I think better mostly. I think the jury is still out, to be honest. It's more fun now, so I don't really care either way because it's actually fun again. There was a long period where it was not fun for me, personally, but that's for the memoirs. We're heading to Detroit to record it again in two days time with Chris Koltay; an old friend and former Cincinnati scenster. That should be interesting, too. The band has gotten very interesting lately with Jeremy driving us dresses forward. I had been driving the band for many years, but I've got two kids now and don't really want the extra stress. So for me, as long as I'm having fun with it, we're moving forward. If you've ever driven with Jeremy, you know it's not exactly relaxing, but he gets you from point A to point B eventually, so I'm guessing that's what is happening here. I certainly don't know for sure, though. :)
Findlay Market MPMF Day Show
Sunday September 29th