For the Love of Punk Exclusive by Ross Hostage
A soulful, sweaty mixture of rock n’ roll swagger and punk rock grit, Riverboat Gamblers have made a career of defying genre and expectation. I chatted with singer Mike Wiebe about their recently released sixth record, their current tour and what kind of trouble you can get into on the road.
(Ross Hostage): You just started a run of dates that takes you out for the next month. What kind of preparations do you take before hitting the road?
(Mike Wiebe): Start drinking. Get in a fight with your girlfriend. Get shifts covered. Work everyday and be stressed out. Overpack with clothes you will never wear (kimono, check). Forget to pack meds that you need to live. Make insane plans you will never follow through with on the road (I’m gonna get up early everyday and jog and do my taxes in the van).
This tour takes you through Canada for a few days. Do you have any interesting border stories?
Oh man… I’ve had guns drawn on me and got cuffed and locked in a cell all for an 11-year-old speeding ticket I got in New Mexico. I was listening to my iPod when I saw the look on one of the other guys faces. I was so shocked because of the guns I didn’t even ask what I had done wrong until I got put in the cell. This was going into the US, btw.
You released your latest album, The Wolf You Feed, in May. What do you want people to know about this record? Are you playing a lot of those songs live? How do you feel it mixes in with the rest of you set?
I mostly just want people to know that it’s out! We are just now getting to tour on it… So it feels kinda weird. I really do think it’s the best thing we have done as a whole piece of work. We are doing a bunch live and try to squeeze them in at appropriate moments. It’s hard because we are so excited by the new stuff but we know it’s best to trickle it in. Some people haven’t seen us in years so they wanna hear old stuff. I feel like it mixes with the rest of the set ok sonically, but it’s easy to tell a crowd reaction difference in playing new stuff as opposed to old stuff. Still… It’s nice. People have been singing along to the new stuff. It’s a great feeling. I strongly encourage this behavior.
You guys have already released two videos off of the new record. Why did you choose to make them for “Eviction Notice” and “Comedians”?
It just sort of happened that way. Originally, it was gonna be “Comedians” and then working with directors that wanted to do various songs just kind of took over. We want to do videos for half the record so it’s a matter of who we can work with and when and how to stretch a meager budget.
Who in the band is most likely to win at 1). a foot race, 2). arm wrestling, and 3). a drinking contest?
3. Depends on contest rules. Is it who can become the biggest mess the quickest or who can handle their shit or who knows that well whiskey shots are just a horrible idea?
Riverboat Gamblers released The Wolf You Feed on Volcom Entertainment earlier this year which is still available in all your favorite formats HERE. They are currently on tour and you can check out those dates HERE.
Check out their video for the song “Comedians” from The Wolf You Feed below.