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Published: 2012/07/05
by Mike Greenhaus

Marc Brownstein: Bisco Revival and Conspirator’s Arrival

It is funny that after 16-years of nitpicking setlists and songs, now Disco Biscuit fans are just excited to hear you play together.

MB: For sure, 100%. We’re not breaking up today. Every band breaks up eventually, everything dies eventually. But for us, we’ve got plans through 2013, and we know what we’re doing with the Biscuits. We’re a little shaky on what our fall plans are for Conspirator right now, but it’s nice to kinda sit back and have the fans know that they’re getting more Biscuits shows. It’s gonna be spread out and spaced out, and we’re gonna come in and give our all to that. It’s exciting for us that the fans are there, man.

It’s so exciting meeting up at Camp and meeting all these kids brimming with excitement—when sometimes, for me, it’s a little frustrating, admittedly, trying to bring a new band to a fanbase that’s emotionally attached to the old band’s music. It gets frustrating sometimes because you’re playing all new music in a different style, obviously. This is a long process and these are two different bands, and they are potentially two different fanbases. All music isn’t for everybody, and if you’re gonna dedicate yourself to making something that’s totally different, you maybe have to come to terms with the fact that not only is the music gonna be totally different, but maybe the fanbase is too.

Biscuits fans have been really supportive of us this year, more so than I could’ve ever hoped for. We’ve been out on tour road-dogging it, and as it’s been growing, there’s been a phase of Biscuits fans supporting me and Aron. I can’t thank them enough for sticking with us through it because I know it hasn’t been easy for the fans—and it is hard for us to maybe not know exactly what the future’s going to hold, and not know who you’re going to be playing with, who’s gonna be there. I feel almost more now than I have in a really long time just wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and just so overwhelmed with the excitement involved with what’s been going on—and the possibilities of what’s about to go on.

Do you think 2013 will be a year where the Biscuits record more and tour more?

MB: I want to say that I think we’re going to tour more. That’s what I want to say, but I just don’t know. One thing I can tell you for sure is that I’m going to be on tour. There’s no way I’m not. The only way I won’t be on tour is if I’m dead, and I don’t plan on doing that for a long, long time. So, I’m going out, everybody’s different, and I hope that as we continue to take a break we’re extending the longevity of something that is very special to us—and a lot of people out there. That’s what it’s about—extending it into the future.

If we go like we did in 2009, it’s over, man. You just can’t do that anymore. The dynamic of a lot of bands isn’t strong enough to withstand the hardships and the lows that the road brings to you. It’s hard. Living in a bus is tough, it’s tough business. While I’m sort of built for it, it’s in my DNA to be out there on the road, I totally understand if Jon doesn’t want to tour—I get it. It makes sense to me. How could you possibly want to do that forever? In the same breath as I could say how grateful I am, and how incredible it is, there’s a part of me that’s envious of my friends who don’t have to live nomadic lifestyles in order to take care of their families.

There are times where I look at people and say, “Man, I can’t believe that person put himself in that position,” but for me the passion and the art and the crowds is addictive. I love it and, whomever I am playing with, I push them so hard when I’m out on tour. I’m trying to learn, maybe, to find a little more balance because I don’t want to drive this band into the ground by touring so hard that we all burn out.

Conspirator is different—we wake up and all four of us go to the gym together. It’s a little bit more disciplined in terms of a healthy lifestyle. Not to say that if the Biscuits went out on tour right now it wouldn’t also be disciplined in terms of a healthy lifestyle—we just got to a point where we wanted to live healthy—and in Conspirator we have been living healthier, so it hasn’t run us down as much. We’re not getting sick and going out of commission for two weeks or whatever.

What type of tour could you see the Biscuits going on in the near future?

MB: If something comes along like Identity Tour and that makes sense we’ll go and play the whole country. We love playing the sheds. Maybe next summer, if a tour came together that made sense for us, with the right acts. Maybe something like Identity but more in line with what would work in the Disco Biscuits world. I wouldn’t rule that out. Fuck, I’d do it, but I don’t know if everybody would want to do that. Who knows what’s gonna happen? That’s just me daydreaming. But that’s what I do. I’ll sit on the phone with someone and I’ll start daydreaming, and then come up with an idea like that. I’ll call my manager, Kevin Morris, and be like, “Yo, what if we set up a 20-show tour in summer of 2013 with this band, and that band and this band, and try to get something together.” That’s how it happens. It’s just brainstorming.

When I interviewed you guys in 2004, around the time of the last Biscuits breaks, you said that one of the Biscuits’ mantras was that if someone doesn’t want to tour, you take a year off and you let people have their space and digest and don’t push them to the point where it becomes an unhealthy situation. That’s a smart plan for any band looking for a long term career plan.

MB: That’s 100% true and 100% right. We don’t break up. Everybody’s like, “are you guys breaking up?” The Biscuits don’t break up. We take time off until everybody is ready to play again. We’ve learned from watching other bands that when you break up, generally what ends up happening is that you get back together. So, instead of breaking up, we just take our time, do our thing, and that’s how we operate and that is what our business plan meant. We’ve discovered that as a business plan, it’s almost more sustainable to play less shows—less is more. I’m sorry, Mississippi and Arkansas.

You play better shows, the demand goes up, the shows are all bigger, everyone is in a great mood the whole time. You don’t give yourself a chance to run yourself in a downward spiral. With 25 shows there’s no downward spiral. It’s like five vacations together. We’re not together long enough to hate each other. It becomes more sterile and more friendly and more about the music—less about the bullshit. It’s great. Whatever it is, the way we’ve been doing it has been so exciting on both fronts.

I’m excited to get back on the road with Jon and Allen, and fucking throw down the way that we know how. That is the only we know—other people throw down in other ways, we throw down in our own way.

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