“The tracklist on this album is really about giving listeners a clear picture of who we are; a sparkly, pink, punk rock version of the Muppets.”
Rhode Island punk band Senior Discount recently signed with Paper + Plastick records (founded by Less than Jake’s Vinnie Fiorello) to release their recent album The Best Revenge.
The band has a decorated touring history, playing with bands such as Sum 41, Anti-Flag, and Gym Class Heroes. This summer the band was featured on the Hartford, Connecticut date of Vans Warped Tour.
Their album release, featuring fellow Rhode Island natives Badfish was packed, kicking the album off to a great start.
The album embodies a pop punk sound that captures an energy filled vibe while still hitting little notes of surprise. The album features covers of Cindy Crawford’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” as well as Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”.
You can purchase or stream the album on all major distributors.
We had a chance to talk with Chuck Staton about the new album, some of the deeper meanings behind a couple songs and what we can expect from Senior Discount now that they’re with Paper + Plastick!
Kailey Howell: The Best Revenge is your first album since 2009, tell me a little about the differences in writing and producing this album versus …And That’s Goodbye?
Chuck Staton: And That’s Goodbye was actually written in response to our bassist at the time leaving the band. It was really difficult for us – he actually quit onstage in front of 500 people – and we had a really great reputation previous to that, for putting on these very energetic, fun and funny shows. I was super concerned that people would think the band would be too different. So, And That’s Goodbye was a reaction to that. The song “And That’s Goodbye” is directly about him leaving the band, and the rest of the album was honestly written to show that we felt like we were behind held back, previous to that. We have more harmonies, more guitar leads and melodies, and just a tighter sound on that – and that was the entire focus of the record. “Show people that we’re not only going to be AS good, but we’re going to be better!” And we really wanted to take things to the next level for the band in general while showing people we were going to be better than ever moving forward.
The Best Revenge was really planned out with a national audience in mind. Our two previous releases (There Were Four Who Tried and And That’s Goodbye) are super varied. They have acoustic songs, violins, slower songs, sad songs – and I realized over the years that whether I like it or not, some people are going to be turned off by albums that are SO varied when they’re finding out about a new band. So with The Best Revenge being our biggest release that we knew would be heard by way more people than before – I was focused on making it giving a very clear picture of the band and what we bring to the table. First and foremost – it’s poppy, well-written, upbeat, energetic punk rock songs. So the tracklist on this album is really about giving listeners a clear picture of who we are; a sparkly, pink, punk rock version of the Muppets.
KH: Is there one song, or lyric that resonates the most with you? Why?
CS: Probably “Afterlife” or “Cindy.” “Cindy” is almost offensive, because it comes off as callous. But I wanted to write a true-to-form pop-punk single that could have been on blink 182’s “Enema of the State,” with a BIG twist. So instead of a love song, it’s an anti-love song, and I wrote it at a time when I felt worthless after a break-up, where I had bought a house for myself and my ex-girlfriend. We were together for five years, and she broke up with me right after I bought us a house, and it completely altered my perspective on love and on myself. I was dating lots of women and kind of pushing them away while also trying to say “I need to prove to myself that I am worthy of love and acceptance, with as many people as possible, to get back to normal after this huge break-up. I realize this is hurtful, and I realize that it’s unhealthy, but it’s who I need to be right now.” I think that it’s our most well-crafted song from a pop standpoint, but it’s also kind of our most despicable and I think the lyrics are a deceptively disturbing juxtaposition to the music.
In terms of JUST the lyrics alone – probably “Afterlife,” which is about the loss of two friends. I wanted it to feel dark and deep, and I wanted anyone who has lost someone they loved to be able to relate to it. I think the concept even behind the sentence “We never talked about goodbye” (which is the first lyric of the chorus) is something I’m really proud of – because saying goodbye to someone you love always feels so unfamiliar. You feel so lost, and I wanted to acknowledge that lack of knowing how to handle it.
KH: Your covers of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Three Little Birds” are great! Are there any other songs you guys would like to cover in the future?
CS: I have a big list of songs I’d like to cover. I don’t think it’s worth covering a song, unless you’re going to completely break the song and make it completely different, which is why I’m proud of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and ‘Three Little Birds.’ They both are so different from the originals, we’d have to accomplish that again. For me, off the top of my head I love Jason Derulo’s ‘Want to Want Me,’ I love Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships.’ I have a very cool idea for Lorde’s ‘Royals’ that we might do. And MANY Christmas songs. New ones too! Sia and Bonnie McKee each have amazing new Christmas songs I’d love to cover.
KH: The album work is very unique for this album, and different compared to that of your other albums. Could you tell me a little more about it?
CS: I created the album art, and I was SO specific about a feeling. As soon as we knew that The Best Revenge would be our label debut, I knew we had to be striking and specific. We knew we were going to release this poppy punk rock sort of throwback album (in terms of what pop punk means – now there’s a lot of hardcore in pop-punk, but we wanted the the pop of Blink 182 and the punk of NOFX) and I wanted the art to feel like it represented that.
My general thoughts were: 1. I wanted it to depict a beach vibe. 2. I wanted it to bring darkness to the beach scene.
So it started there, then I started coming up with what The Best Revenge could mean for a an album cover, and I came up with the happy life (“a life well-lived”) and the bloody knife (literal revenge). When I came up with that duality for “The Best Revenge,” I just had to figure out an aesthetic. I knew I wanted the beach stuff, and since I live in Rhode Island, a big part of summer is seeing things that are nautically-themed. Think of all the signs in the movie JAWS. The aesthetic for it was supposed to have the same aesthetic is a summertime Coca Cola ad from the 70s. That type of old, cracked, white paint is what feels like a New England summer to me. So I took the beach idea, and thought about making it painted, and incorporating that sun-bleached, cracked paint feeling to the entire thing. I want to stay humble about it, but I’m VERY proud of how it came out.
Most of all – I just wanted it to feel striking and that it captured the feeling of the album. And I think it does!
KH: What more can we expect from Senior Discount now that you’re with Paper + Plastick?
CS: I’m hoping more shows. I’ve been kind of open and honest that booking has been a disaster for us. Traditionally you would see bands playing lots of shows to push their albums but it just feels like I’m paralyzed independently booking shows for us. So my hope is to get some kind of agent that would help us book good shows. The reviews for the album have been awesome, the amount of streams have been incredible, and we have gotten some big one-off shows (our album release show in Providence was huge, Warped Tour, the Bosstones’ Cranking and Skanking Fest), I’ve been doing lots of great podcasts to push it – but what I pray for every night is the ability to play shows with similar bands to get our live show/music to new eyes and ears. That’s what I hope happens. That’s kind of what needs to happen.
*Photo courtesy of Small Frye Photography