Punchline: Good Times and Delightful Tunes

Punchline has just unleashed their fifth album of melodic punk tunes entitled Delightfully Pleased.  Their second recording on their own label Modern Short Stories after spending time of Fueled By Ramen, the band delivers it all in the grand DIY tradition.  They’ve toured all across the country and have even done shows in Europe and Japan.  And once the members finish up with their schooling, they will no doubt be back on the road again, bringing the party to your own little section of the planet.  Here is a recent interview we counducted with one of the Punchliner dudes  to catch up on the good times and memorable tunes…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Punchline, and what is the most embarrasing song on your IPOD?.
My name is Chris Fafalios. I play the electric bass for Punchline, and the most embarrassing song on my ipod is Salt N’ Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex“. I’m not that embarrassed about it though.

How would you say Delightfully Pleased compares to the previous Punchline albums?
It is our most rockin’ from start to finish. All of our other albums had at least a few slow songs on them, and this one really doesn’t. We set out to write an all-out feel-good album, and I think we accomplished that. I also think that we managed to make our best album.

What made you decide to go with the title Delightfully Pleased?
Aside from the fact that we are all very happy to be making music together after many years, the title came to me in a dream. I know that sounds made up, but its not. My good buddy Ed Sellers, who has set up several tours for us in England, came to me in my dream one night and told me to name our album Delightfully Pleased. This was long before the album was written or recorded. We went with it, figuring it was a sign. Plus Ed’s a really good guy.

What made you decide to leave Fueled By Ramen and start your own label?
Our contract was up with FBR, and we had always wanted to start our own label. The timing was right, and our first release on Modern Short Stories was our last album called “Just Say Yes“. Since then, we have released albums from Massachusetts singer/songwriter Justin Oliver and a rock band from Pittsburgh called Spontaneo. We also released a kids’ book called “Whistle Pig” that was written by myself and Tony Hartman. Delightfully Pleased is our newest release, and we have a greater grasp on how to run a record label than we ever have. We are looking forward to putting out many more great albums on Modern Short Stories. We also plan on putting out much more of our own music on the label, because we truly believe that no one will work harder for your band than you.  And we’ll be releasing an album this fall from The Composure called “Strings Attached“. The Composure features two members of Punchline (Paul and Cory), and they’re a damn great band.

Who did the fantastic artwork for the cover and how much input did you have on it?
Our good buddy Justin Will did the art, and we think he’s well on his way to art super-stardom. We told him our idea of the “hell mouth” which was often depicted in Anglo-Saxon art of the 14 – 1500s. Each character on the art (the dophin, lion, robot, and viper) represents a member of our band. Justin took the idea and ran with it, and did a fantastic job. He has a site with some of his other work at girlmeetsbear.com. He is from Cleveland, has a moustache, and is great with puppets/puppies.

Where did you get the ideas for some of the lyrics? Please cite two songs in general and what the lyrics are about?
Inspiration for lyrics comes at us from all directions. The opening track on the album, “Seventy“, is a semi-autobiographical song that is basically about our band. We know that no one wants to listen to an album full of songs about being in a band, but we thought that one was appropriate. The song “21 Forever“, which has been the most popular song on the album so far, is about trying to keep a relationship going when one person is way too into partying. Don’t get me wrong, we like to party. We even have a song about partying on the album. We also have songs on this album about reinventing yourself, the television show “Lost“, taking a trip to Hell, being a truly good person, and an array of other subjects. We have at least one song for everyone.

What was it like touring with Hawthorne Heights and did you know Casey Calvert?
Those are our good buds, and they have been for a very long time…probably almost 10 years now. We played in backyards together long before we knew what we were doing at all. We knew Casey very well and losing him was awful. He was an amazing guy.

On your third tour to the UK, the Queen Of England invites Punchline to play one song at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you do for her majesty and why?
I would perform “Castaway“, the last song on our album “Just Say Yes“, with a full orchestra. I would do my best to bring a tear to the Queen’s eye with my basslines. I think the song is very fitting of royalty.

What was it like to tour Japan and what were the fans like compared to American fans?
We have had the pleasure of touring Japan 3 times, and we’ll be heading back again in November. Japanese fans are some of the craziest and at the same time most polite people you’ll ever meet. Many bands talk about the fact that the crowd will go completely crazy when you’re playing a song, but then the second the song is over and you go to talk, you can hear a pin drop. Its only because they are being very attentive and it is customary to be this way. It is different, but all in all they enjoy music the same way that Americans do.

With member changes throughout the years, what do you think has kept Punchline going after all of this time?
It has been nothing less than our love of music and desire to write songs. We strive to keep putting out albums that are better than the last, and we feel that we have consistently done that. As long as we like what we create more each time we record, we’ll continue to be a band. There is no reason to stop.

Any plans for shows here in the Los Angeles/OC area?
We’ll be making our way back out to California in early 2011. Our singer/guitarist Steve is finishing up his degree and will be finished in December, so until then we are only doing weekends regionally with the exception of the Japan tour in November. After Steve finishes, we’ll be all set to tour all we want.

Any final words of wisdom?
When the world brings you down, just forget about it and create your own! Also, eat pizza every day. I love you.
Thanks for interviewing me!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Punchline on Myspace

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