The Epic Return of My Superhero

My Superhero was kicking it for nearly a decade before calling it a good long run.  The Orange Country punk/ska collective had been on Warped Tour two years in a row, and on their own, supported such noteworthy acts as Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, and Feenix TX.  Their notable recordings included SKAteboard Music, Solid State 14, and a vastly underrated final EP entitled Send Gas.

A final show took place at front man Brian Gilmore’s wedding in 2003 – after that, the various members would disappear into other bands or into other familiar situations such as day jobs and home life.  And now after a chance encounter, My Superhero has decide to do a reunion show, and will be headlining the Glasshouse in Pomona on September 17th!  We recently caught up with two of the members to find out more about their return, possible future gigs, their remarkable past on Warped and other live shows, and other heroic topics.  Check it…

Part One – Brian Gilmore

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in My Superhero, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD?
Brian Gilmore, I sing and play guitar. IPOD- Tiffany, I Think We’re Alone Now.

What have you been up to musically and otherwise since the breakup of My Superhero in 2003.
After I got married, the band called it quits. About a year later, I played and recorded with a local alt-rock band called Elijahfell. I also played bass with a good friend playing the blues (Smokehouse Brown).

What made you decide to do a reunion show, and is this is one time thing?
Mike mentioned it at a birthday party and I just kind of blew it off, I didn’t think anyone actually cared to see My Superhero play again! One time thing? I think most of us would do it again as long as it didn’t interfere with jobs & family. Extensive touring wouldn’t happen but playing locally might.

How has it been to rehearse together after all of this time?
We have had so much fun playing again. We never dreamed this would happen – we have enjoyed every second of it. My biggest concern was finding a drummer. I knew Chris Clawson was out and I had no idea how we could replace such an important part of this band. We called up Chris Bivens. He had played drums with us in 1999 on the Edna’s Goldfish/Gadjits national tour. He was unavailable but he said his brother Tim would be down for it. As it turns out, Tim used to come to our shows as a 12 yr old kid and learned to play the drums listening to My Superhero. Tim has been awesome and is a solid drummer.

When you look back on the old My Superhero songs, what do you think about them now?
SKAteboard Music: lots of jams thrown together with lyrics that didn’t really mean much (except for Coley and Steve… true story)

Solid State 14: We are most proud of this album. No pressure from anyone, I wrote about my life at the time. I think we found our identity with that one. The whole thing was done DIY and it captured our sound, exactly.

Station One: This was a struggle from day one. We were over playing ska music and the monster scene we once knew was dying. We were in love with Jimmy Eat World and Weezer’s Pinkerton album and we wanted to write rock songs. Our label at the time didn’t agree and that is why Station One was so weak (in my opinion)

Send Gas EP (final MSH recording): Songwriting-wise, this is my best work. We aren’t anything like the My Superhero of old but I’m proud of this album and the way it sounds. We only released 1000 of these but it’s on itunes if you want to judge for yourself.

What was the experience like playing Warped Tour and how many dates did you play?
It was a total fluke getting on Warped 1999. We were asked to play 2 dates on a side stage. Our manager at the time had called Ryan Immegart at Volcom and asked if he would check us out. Within a few hours of playing our time slot, Ryan said we could join the Volcom stage for the entire tour if we could get ourselves to each city. We literally drove home, quit our jobs, packed our suitcases, and kissed our girl friends goodbye. It was an amazing experience! Most people don’t realize how hard that tour really is. Especially if you can’t afford a tour bus or RV. We would drive all night, show up to the arena parking lot for load in around 7am, help the Volcom guys build the stage and sound, put up posters and flyers to tell people what time we were playing that day, play the set, take turns selling merch at our booth, hit the Pennywise BBQ, and do it all over again the following day. If you plan on joining Warped Tour, drink lots of water and get used to not taking a shower!! For Warped Tour 2000, Kevin Lyman actually noticed how hard we worked the previous year and asked us to come back for the west coast leg.

What was it like doing tours with bands such as Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats, and were they cool to hang out with?
The very first shows we ever played were with these bands. We were lucky to have been in the right place at the right time and to have made friends with them. Aaron Barret was at almost every show we played and at times seemed like our biggest fan! RBF took us on tour when the song “Sell Out” was all over the radio and MTV. That was an amazing experience. The Aquabats have also always been good friends of ours. When we toured with them, the best part was getting to be part of their stage show. I was usually the guy dancing in the magic chicken and cyclops costumes on stage. I have to say, touring with The Aquabats is super rad on a nightly basis. It’s been great to see both of them continue their music careers and succeed! We can’t wait for the new Aquabats TV show.

Brian, when you look back on your previous band Barney’s Bicycle, what do you think of it now?
Barneys… we were kids. Huey and I have played in bands together since we were 14. When we formed Barney’s– we learned how to play our instruments really well. I always wonder what might have happened if our drummer David never left for college!? I still can’t believe how complex those songs were and to think we were only 17 when we wrote them. Nothing but great memories and music always kept me out of trouble.

Favorite and least favorite My Superhero on the road memory…
Favorite memory would have to be meeting my wife in Rexburg, Idaho while touring with The Aquabats. We are still happily married with 3 little boys. Least favorite would be a couple memories… first: Randall’s Island, NY Warped Tour 99… over 100 degrees with 90% humidity, no trees, $6 bottled water, and nothing but dust from the mosh pits. I ended up getting a lung infection shortly after this show. Second: Missoula, Montana- We were supposed to be playing at an upstairs bar on a weeknight. We went up to watch the band we were touring with. There was a bartender, a cocktail waitress, a homeless guy and his dog in the bar. We asked for our dinner per diem and were told they would provide food instead. They brought out a loaf of bread, a huge pot of mystery stew and some ice water. As we pondered if the food was safe to eat, the homeless man’s dog walked up to the stage, looked up at the band playing, and took a shit right on the floor! After a quick band vote, we skipped the dinner, the show and tried to get out of Montana ASAP.

Do you have any messages for My Superhero fans?
Thanks for staying around and remembering the band once known as My Superhero. It always amazed me to find fans who knew our music all over the USA. We did everything back in the day when the internet brand new – I can only imagine how far our music has traveled today.

Part Two – Mike Berault

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in My Superhero, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD?
Mike Berault-Accordion/Keyboards/Vocals…it is a toss up between “All That She WantsAce of Base and “Saturday NightBay City Rollers

What have you been up to musically and otherwise since the breakup of My Superhero in 2003.
I have been playing a lot at home and a lot more guitar. For a short time I wrote a music column for a very short lived website. For the last year and a half I have been involved in a non profit called Live Fit Revolution, and, I am currently developing a story on the MSH Reunion that will be submitted and aired on NPR.

What made you decide to do a reunion show, and is this is one time thing?
I was actually hanging out with Jon Halperin from the Glass House when I ran into Tazy Phylipz. He asked me about a reunion and I thought he was joking. A few months later he asked again and prefaced the conversation with “I’m Serious…” Tazy proposed that we get back together for one night and asked for everyone’s contact info and within 30 minutes it was all set up. Our original drummer Chris declined to do the show, however a fan of MSH named Tim Bivens stepped up and he already new all the songs so…here we are. It is crazy how everything comes together.

How has it been to rehearse together after all of this time?
The rehearsals have actually been the easiest part. We all seem to just fall back into it without much technical difficulties. I also realized as a grown man now how lucky I am to be able to play with a great group of musicians that I can also call my friends. Let’s face it, none of us are the same guys that we were at 15 years old, we all have families and careers and lives. To be able to come together has been awesome.

When you look back on the old My Superhero songs, what do you think about them now?
The cool thing about MSH is that we were always influenced by so many musically diverse bands. Also, coming up in Orange County at the time we did, so many differnet types of bands would play together. You couldn’t help but be a melting pot of musical styles watching bands like No Doubt, fIREHOSE, Suburban Rhythm, The Knuckle Brothers, the Ziggens, Weezer. I think the songs hold up because they sound a little different than a stereotypical Ska Band. We pretty much ignored the OC Ska formula: Not so much Punk, No Horns, No Girl Lead Singer, and we still made a niche for ourselves.

What was the experience like playing Warped Tour and how many dates did you play?
In 1999 we did pretty much the whole thing from California to the end in Florida. It was a crash course into a Circus lifestyle. The way we did it too, in a van…there was no escaping the sun or the noise. I spent a few days in the AC of the Black Eyed Peas bus. What was great about it is, we got to witness first hand the experience of touring where the only real fun that we had throughout the whole day is the 30-45 minutes you have to play your set. We also got to play with some great bands. Randy from Pennywise told me: “Just keep playing, everything else will work itself out…” It turned out to be hard advice to follow.

What was it like doing tours with bands such as Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats, and were they cool to hang out with?
All of those guys were great! Aaron form RBF was probably our biggest advocate. He would take us on tour, play with us locally. He even photo copied our merchandise catalog and passed out our catalog everywhere they went on tour. We were getting orders from England, Indonesia, you name it. The Bats were so fun, on the tour we were on somehow, some of us got sick, and were really miserable. Those guys would do whatever they had to to make things fun. I remember playing wiffle ball outside a venue for a few hours before a gig, they were simply a blast.

Brian, when you look back on your previous band Barney’s Bicycle, what do you think of it now?
I am still a fan of Barneys!

Favorite and least favorite My Superhero on the road memory…
Favorite memory…playing with the Cherry Poppin Daddies in Denver for probably 1000 kids. It was an all ages club but all the kids up had to stay up on the balcony while the over 21 crowd was on the dance floor.  We had the whole balcony crowd jumping and I thought that balcony was gonna come down!

Least favorite: White out conditions going through Nevada outside of Reno in February on tour with RBF…I legitimately thought we were gonna die.  We were following a Big Rigs tracks when all of a sudden we looked and the tracks ran into a ditch, there was the 18 Wheeler in the ditch…I thought we were going in right after him.

Do you have any messages for My Superhero fans?
Thank you all for all your support! After all these years, we all have a profound appreciation for anyone who is that loyal. You are all the best!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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