Craig’s Brother – ‘People are really receptive to honesty’

Words: Miljan Milekić

I don’t even remember how I discovered Craig’s Brother, but I know it was some fifteen years ago, while I was still in high school. I also remember it was the song ‘Set Free’ that I heard first. Their energetic, yet melodic music accompanied by emotional and honest lyrics was everything I was looking for at the time, so they instantly ended up on my playlists. In the meantime, on the opposite side of the globe, the band was going through a turbulent period, even being on a short hiatus. For a moment they slipped out my focus, but the news that the band is going to release a new EP ‘Devils In The Details,’ their first new music since 2011, was more than welcomed. I knew right away I need to reach out to them, and luckily, I got the honor to do a short interview with frontman Ted Bond. Check it below.

*click on the photo to stream / buy ‘Devils In The Details’ EP*

‘Devils In The Details’ comes as a somewhat logical extension of your previous work, but on the other hand, it offers a more grown-up, more serious, and more diverse Craig’s Brother. How do you look at it, and where does it stand in comparison to past albums?
Ted: I am not sure how to answer that. I think we obsessed less about ‘Devils In The Details’ than our previous releases, but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. Without a doubt, it is our most accessible release ever, so I guess that’s good?

As a band, you always played your own rendition of punk rock, not fitting into any kind of mold, but rather embracing different influences, and searching for your own sound. You, definitely, kept doing it with the new EP. Where do you find the inspiration for your music today, now that the music scene is vastly different than when you first started?
Ted: At this point in my life, I am sitting on a pile of material that I have been working on for years. Recording new stuff is really just a matter of picking through the pile and deciding what belongs on the record. I am glad I have all that old stuff because I have no idea where I would find “new” inspiration… whatever that means. Though to be honest, I never knew where inspiration comes from. It just comes.

There was a moment when I felt like we were cutting edge. We were reading our culture well, and our music seemed to fit into it. I no longer feel that way at all. I could give a crap about where the culture is now. Does our music fit now? I have no idea. American culture has become so ridiculous that I am starting to check out. It’s no longer fun. So lately, when I work on new material, it’s mostly about the stories in my life that have happened recently. I am sure there could be some really great songs mocking the current situation, but I am just tired of talking about it, and so my songs have been focused elsewhere… mostly.

You were never afraid to go all personal, and open up in your songs, although it sometimes proved costly for you as a band. On the new EP, you did it again, especially on ‘Follow Your Heart.’ How hard is it to wear your heart on your sleeve, or do you just find it necessary to express yourself this way?
Ted: When the band first formed, we thought we were going to be a Christian band, and our faith was a big part of our thinking. None of us were especially close prior to forming the band, but upon forming it, we felt that God had put us together as a group of brothers who could be totally honest with each other and push each other to be better people. We quickly became really open with each other, sometimes too open. “Bro. You masturbate way too often to tell me every single time…” When we wrote our first songs, this just naturally carried over. At this point, it’s just what makes Craig’s Brother, Craig’s Brother. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves is the whole deal. Is it hard sometimes? Sure. But it’s better than the alternative, and it turns out, people are really receptive to honesty. So I am going to keep doing it.

Where do you see Craig’s Brother at this point in your lives, and your careers? Should we expect more active Craig’s Brother in the future?
Ted: I consider Craig’s Brother one of several vocations that I do. I have no plans on stopping. Expect more music and more shows in the future.

I’ll understand if you don’t want to answer this one, as it’s been a long time ago, but I discovered your band in 2003 or 2004 when I first heard ‘Set Free’ and then ‘Lost at Sea.’ For a moment, at least for us on this side of the pond, it seemed like you were on the verge of breaking out and getting the same attention as some of the other melodic punk rock bands of that time got, but it’s like it never happened for Craig’s Brother. What happened, and how happy are you with what you did manage to accomplish up to this point?
Ted: About the time we were really getting some attention in Europe and in secular music markets, we were getting shunned out of the Christian scene. The bottom line is our radical honesty is not what makes church moms happy. They don’t want to hear a song about masturbation when they are driving the kids to soccer practice. We were not too worried about being rejected by the Christian market, however, because we could see what was happening in Europe and Canada. Tooth and Nail [band’s label at the time], on the other hand, was not so forward-thinking. We had alienated their largest market, and so they dropped us. After that, it was hard to get any traction until Yellowcard took off, but by then we were just their “friend’s band.” [at the time, before joining Yellowcard, Ryan Key was a member of Craig’s Brother]

I’m one of the fans who never got the chance to see you play live, and I’m sure I’m not the only one on this side of the Atlantic. So, I have to ask this one – do you guys have any plans of playing Europe anytime soon?
Ted: Yes!! I am hoping to do a tour in 2020.​

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