The Cynics: Coming back for more
Generally speaking, a cynic is a person who always questions whether something is worthwhile and believes people are purely motivated by selfishness, and not for reasons of good-will or honor. A cynic is a naysayer, a wet blanket, a downer and more-or-less just a complete asshole.
The Cynics, on the other hand, are a garage rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on the surface they seem to be nice guys.
The band was founded way back in 1983 and stayed strong until the mid-90s. It was not until 2002 that they would re-form, and they have been on-and-off since then. During that whole time span they have released eight albums, the last one being “Spinning Wheel Motel” in 2011, and have gone through about a dozen band members. The line-up has always had two constants in lead singer Michael Kastelic and guitarist Gregg Kostelich, who still call Pittsburgh home. The other two members are drummer Pablo Gonzalez and bassist Angel Kaplan, who both live in Spain, which obviously makes touring very difficult.
“We’ve very rarely ever played on the West Coast,” Kastelic said. “But, we definitely miss it. I think we have only played in Bellingham once with the Mono Men. I can’t remember the venue, but it was a fun time. I just spent the day shoveling snow, so the West Coast is sounding pretty good right now. I mean, shoveling snow is great exercise and all, but it is supposed to be Spring!”
When Kastelic is not shoveling snow, he is the front man for the Cynics and the catalyst for a raucous live experience that showcases the band’s bratty, fuzzed-out sound. For anyone that is a fan of the Stooges, the Fuzztones, the Mooney Suzuki and the Dirt Bombs, and every other band that came out during the early-2000’s garage rock trend (the Vines, the Hives, the White Stripes, Jet, etc.), this band will be right up their alley.
Over the years, the band has garnered fans from all over the world, including Steven VanZandt (aka Little Steven) from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and host of the acclaimed garage rock radio show, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.”
While the band is not touring to support a new album, Kastelic said the plan is to take some days off in order to work on new material and maybe get a couple songs recorded.
“The ideal thing would be to eventually release a 12-inch EP with four to six songs,” he said. “Albums are always too long for my attention span, so I want something with those deep groves in it—a really loud and quick album.”
The band releases all of their albums on Get Hip Recordings!, which is owned by Kostelich, the guitarist and co-founder of the band.
“I’d say if anything has changed for us as a band, it is that our recordings have actually regressed over time, rather than progressed,” Kastelic said. “We used to spend too much time in the studio, but now we just get in and get out—one-take for each song and recorded live with the whole band in the same room at the same time.”
Kastelic said, other than recording, the band has not really changed much as far as the music they play and how they play it: “I’d say another change we have made is that we don’t sleep on floors anymore. We used to always tour by the skin of our teeth, but now we have things planned out better. Touring is definitely much smoother and healthier now.”
When asked what has kept the band going this whole time, Kastelic said he wasn’t quite sure, but could only speak for himself.
“That is really a question I ask myself everyday,” he said. “I mean, really, the music is what keeps me going and keeps me alive, as cliché as that sounds. The whole reason we started is because there is something wrong with our brains, in which we just can’t let go of this band. We can’t stop pursuing a career in this industry that has repeatedly slapped us in the face. It’s like some kind of ‘abused wife syndrome,’ in which we get beat-up over and over again, and get no respect, yet we always come back for more. It’s a sickness.”
The Cynics will be making their triumphant return to Bellingham when they play on April 12 at the Shakedown with The DTs and Brother James and the Soul-Vation. The cover is $5 advanced, and $6 on the day of the show.