THIS IS CROYDON FEST INTERVIEW with HUB CITY STOMPERS
The first ever THIS IS CROYDON FEST is just over 2 weeks away on APRIL 28th! Tickets are moving fast, and we suggest you
GRAB YOURS ONLINE TODAY BY CLICKING HERE or stop by the Taproom to snag them fee-free. Walkups will be available as well for this all-ages SKA-A-PALOOZA!
As we move closer to the big day, we wanted to keep rolling with our coverage of the amazing bands that will be bringing the riggity-ruckus for you LIVE! This week we have the one, the only, the pride of NEW BRUNSWICK NJ: HUB CITY STOMPERS. Read more about HCS below and make sure to GRAB THOSE TICKETS today!
-To start, for those who may not know, could you introduce yourself, the other members of the band, and give a brief bio of Hub City Stompers?
Reverend Sinister is how I’m known stage wise but my proper name is Travis, and I’m the frontman/vocalist. Also in HCS is Jenny Whiskey on tenor sax & vocals, Reggae Bob on bass, Rod Gorgeous on guitar & vocals, James Kelly on trombone, Pukey B on drums, and HanOi! Jay on guitar.
I founded HCS back in 2002 when my prior band, Inspecter 7, went on a bit of a hiatus from touring and activity. The HCS line up features members and former members of other NJ ska bands such as Inspecter 7, Bigger Thomas, Bomb Town, Professor Plum, Predator Dub Assassins, and The Best Of The Worst. HCS has toured nationally and internationally and released 6 albums. We each live all over New Jersey but were founded in and are based out of New Brunswick, NJ, a.k.a. “Hub City”.
-HCS has a new album, “Hater’s Dozen,” coming out April 20th, right before THIS IS CROYDON FEST. What was the writing and recording process like for the album, and are there any tracks, in particular, you are fond of that fans should get ready to hear live?
The 13 tracks on “Haters Dozen” are comprised of some brand new songs written in recent years, some songs we wrote years ago and performed since but never recorded before this, as well as a new version of an already recorded song. So the writing process for this has come from every which way. The recording process took about a year from first recording to release, due to all our crazy schedules and that of the studio, but it was a smooth and enjoyable process. It’s been a while since our last record so it was mad refreshing and exciting to get back in the studio to lay something down. Plus the songs came out sounding great, and there are a few special guest appearances from the likes of King Django, Coolie Ranks, Roy Ellis, P-Dub, and the late & great Roy Radics which really put it over the top.
It’s a really solid album so it’s hard to pick out band favorites or speculate on what the fan/public favorites will be, but I’m guessing songs such as “Bring Back the Dorks”, “Phantom”, and “Philly WTF?” will likely be standouts, be it live or just on the album.
-Hub City Stompers, of course, are named after the “Hub City” of New Brunswick NJ, where you were formed. New Brunswick has been a birthplace to so many influential bands from NJ, but has faced challenges over the years. Do you still have connections to New Brunswick and how do you feel the evolution of the city has helped/hurt it since forming the band?
So much of my musical life and past is ingrained in New Brunswick that New Brunswick will always be ingrained in me.. The same goes for the band in general. It’s our namesake, it’s where it all began.
If you look at it from a city business and economic point of view, as the city of New Brunswick, the corporations, and others responsible for this “evolution” no doubt do, then I imagine said evolution has been wonderful. But if you look at it from the point of view of those in the New Brunswick music scene throughout the years, this “evolution” is a nightmare. Important venues such as the Melody Bar and The Roxy are long gone as a result. And we had even lost our long-time hometown haunt The Court Tavern, as it was picked up by wrong hands, but we now have it back in under the management of New Brunswick scene people that we know and trust. So that’s a rare win in situations like this. Credit and acknowledgment really need to be given to the New Brunswick basement scene, which has existed from the get-go and never stopped amidst all of this. It’s really the main factor in the survival of underground music in New Brunswick in general.
-Speaking of New Brunswick…favorite grease truck sandwich? What are your thoughts on the city removing the trucks last year?
You’d get a different answer from each HCS member on this (except perhaps for Rob & Jenny, who both dig the Fat Darrell), but my personal fave is the Fat (Veggie) Butt. Yeah, leave it to me to pick a veggie sandwich as a fave of the “Fats”. I was in a bit of a panic when I heard that they were removing the grease trucks. Thankfully, when they scattered, the best one (RU Hungry) was simply relocated right down College Ave. So all was not lost. And though I miss the nostalgia of the actual trucks, it’s hard for me to complain that RU Hungry now is a full on storefront. As long as those sammiches stay put here in New Brunswick I won’t get nitpicky about the venue.
(*note for the record: bands that we’re friends with that tour through NJ get fat sammiches purchased for them courtesy of HCS (just ask Deals Gone Bad, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Rude King, and The Hardknocks, who are among the out of town bands whose digestive tracts were permanently altered by this Hub City culinary treasure).
-If you have had the pleasure of trying Neshaminy Creek beers before, what is your favorite? If you haven’t had the chance yet, what is your favorite beer style?
Mudbank Milk Stout is my (and my girlfriend’s) jam. We had it at one of the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Markets and had to go back for a couple (or six) more.
-Thanks to the Rev for taking the time to chat with us! Check out some HCS music below and get ready for them on April 28th, only here at NCBC!