“You know, I hate to call it a ‘reunion,’ after like two months,” Mike Kinsella told CL. “That's like, one guy going to rehab or something.”
Kinsella is happy to joke around when we talk about You Blew It!, which is the opener on his band’s upcoming Florida shows. Kinsella’s own band — American Football — is in the midst of its own reunion 20 years after the release of a debut LP, and these Ybor City, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale dates mark American Football’s Sunshine State debut.
Before Tampa debut, American Football’s Mike and Nate Kinsella talk reunions, new music and more
The shows are also the first shows for You Blew It! since the Orlando band announced a hiatus last fall. The decision to get back together for a string of shows opening for American Football was probably an easy decision for You Blew It!, which is heavily influenced by the Chicago scene's elder statesmen, but the band didn’t even know if the offers to do the shows were real.
“We actually heard through a couple different channels. Our close friend tipped us off, and then it ended up coming in officially via our agent. So there was a brief limbo period there where we weren’t sure if it was real or not,” Tanner Jones, frontman for You Blew It!, told CL. “Tour offers dried up near the end of when we were fully active even, so getting word that American Football was interested was obviously a pleasant surprise.”
Jones admitted that the announcement to put You Blew It! on pause was a little abrupt, even for the band, so the opportunity to close the chapter in a more traditional way was appealing.
“The idea of revisiting 45 minutes' worth of material that we haven’t touched in almost a year is a daunting one for sure, but I’m a little bit surprised by how ingrained it is in our muscle memory,” Jones said.
Read the rest of our Q&A — and get more information on the Ybor City show — below.
American Football w/You Blew It!. Fri. Aug. 10. 7 p.m. $28.50. Orpheum, 1915 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City. More info: local.cltampa.com.
Could you tell me about who reached out with the offer to not just open the Orlando American Football date, but all three Florida shows? What was the first thought when you got that correspondence — did it feel at all similar to that feeling when Jade Tree called asking for some music?
We actually heard through a couple different channels. Our close friend tipped us off, and then it ended up coming in officially via our agent. So there was a brief limbo period there where we weren’t sure if it was real or not. Tour offers dried up near the end of when we were fully active even, so getting word that American Football was interested was obviously a pleasant surprise. Getting the offer from Jade Tree was poignant, and this was too. I have a feeling this will end a bit better though.
In many ways, Abendrot is a difficult and dense album, emotionally, thematically, musically. These shows opening for a band that influenced you is obviously thrilling, but does the idea of revisiting some of that album — or any of the You Blew It! stuff — feel daunting? What’s the vibe like at practice, and how much do you have to practice considering the time off?
The vibes are really good. There’s still some push and pull when it comes to things like what the set list should look like, but to me that’s just an indication that everyone’s really passionate about this. The decision and ultimate announcement to put a pause on the band was a little abrupt even for us, so we’re really happy to have the opportunity to close the chapter in a more traditional way. The idea of revisiting 45 minutes' worth of material that we haven’t touched in almost a year is a daunting one for sure, but I’m a little bit surprised by how ingrained it is in our muscle memory. It becomes effortless again really quickly. The brain’s a really impressive thing.
I think there was that element where You Blew It! started to almost tour or write music to make money, which was no fun for you guys. Has any of the fun come back as you prepare for these shows — I mean it’s another nostalgia fest in a way, which was what was kind of weird about playing bands like Taking Back Sunday, Early November, etc.?
It got to be really grating. We allowed our narrative to be controlled by others, and we spent a long time hoping it would change. I found myself struggling with a lot of resentment, which led to some unhealthy tendencies and a strict adherence to the industry-standard record cycle in an attempt to stay relevant. It just became too exhausting. Abendrot was our attempt at gaining control of our narrative, but it was maybe too little, too late. As far as tours go, I suppose you could say some of the runs we chose to do ran perpendicular to what we were hoping to achieve, but I find it hard to regret them. They were some of the best experiences we’ve had as people, and at the end of the day I’m happy that we were able to have them.
Do these shows mean that the Tom Mullen 10-year- reunion tour is off?
Haha. God. If people even remember who You Blew It! is in 10 years I will be absolutely gobsmacked.
You’ve kept busy since the breakup. Could you talk about the coffee project and whether or not you’ve been able to rekindle some of the friendships that were suffering when the band was out on the road for seven months a year? Has the band been able to put its significant others first now?
Full time music/touring is truly such a selfish pursuit. It’s been really satisfying to actually be a part of close ones’ lives in a meaningful way since we’ve taken time away from it. As far as YBI! goes, we always got along well, but it’s been pretty cool to just be friends instead of bandmates. Career-wise, it’s been a bit harder. You let a lot of career opportunities bite the dust in the name of touring, and right now we’re in a grey area between the two. We’re working on it in our own separate ways, and Easy Luck is my version of that.
You kind of went on a mini writing spree after the breakup. Are you still writing music? If so, what’s it feel and sound like to you?
Ever since Easy Luck became a thing, it’s been difficult to allow myself to do anything but work on moving that forward. In the spare time I do have, I mostly like to spend it outside running or playing soccer. However, when everything aligns I’ll casually mess around with songs, but it’s few and far between these days, and mostly consumed by exercises in learning different styles.
I had a good time talking to American Football about your band — are you gonna try and talk/hang with the band, or is this something where you don’t wanna meet your idols?
Haha, that’s really good. Since YBI! would spend so much time in Chicago, we ended up with a lot of mutual friends with Mike, so I’m excited to finally meet him in that aspect alone. I really do admire him and the rest of the band as artists though, so avoiding them would just seem like a missed opportunity I think. Besides, Mike seems like he’d make a really great drinking buddy.