Interview: Trophy Lungs open up on the state of pop-punk, the Boston punk scene, and new record ‘No Judgement’

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Trophy Lungs need no gimmick. Born last summer in what they dubbed “the sweatiest of practice spaces,” the Boston punk trio are an adrenaline shot of rock and roll fury. Comprised of pieces of past bands Wolfie Burns, the Tin Thistles, and 3TV’s, the Lungs are quickly staking their claim around town in various circles and scenes. Their latest single, “Dad’s Away On Business,” is a battlecry pop-punk firecracker that recalls the best of ’90s Rancid and the one-offs and stalwarts on the better Punk-O-Rama comps we all grew up in.

In advance of their No Judgement record release show Saturday at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, Vanyaland caught up with bassist/vocalist Kelly McGuire, guitarist/singer Kevin Bogart, and drummer Brendan “Bren” Guerin to tackle some of the hot topics of punk today — from the fashion of pop-punk to Boston’s crackdown on DIY spaces to what’s the best Punk-o-Rama comp ever.

And yeah, we also get into the video for “Dad’s Away on Business,” and why they didn’t hire a friend to play the “Dad” to shake his first at all the tomfoolery the band got into while he was away. Nope, no gimmick necessary.


Let’s dig in, this one’s lengthy!

Vanyaland: Is there a more unfashionable brand of music in 2013 than pop-punk? Or am I out of the loop?

Kelly McGuire: I think that pop-punk/punk is actually super strong right now, especially in Boston. If you take a look at the past five years bands like Dead to Me, the Flatliners, RVIVR have all blown up, plus here in Boston we get to play with some amazing acts that have really pushed us to get better. Bands like the Offseason and Mr. Fahrenheit are just crazy good, and getting to play with them all the time has really helped us figure out what kind of band we want to be. Even if they all lose terribly to us in drinking contests.


Bren Guerin: Right now Boston has a really awesome scene for local bands, who might not all have a strictly pop-punk sound but definitely take a strong influence from those kind of bands. And with events like the Fest in FLA and Pouzza Fest up in Canada, it’s obvious that there’s a pretty big fan base for these kinda bands.

Kevin Bogart: I think the term “pop-punk” has exploded into this mega genre that is having an identity crisis. We never set out to be a pop-punk band, we just wanted to play music that we listened to growing up. We all came from three separate bands that played three separate styles of music before this, and Trophy Lungs was a way from us to come together and have fun.

A million trends have come and gone since this genre’s explosion in the ’90s — what keeps it going? It seems like new bands are emerging all the time…

McGuire: I think at the end of the day this music is a great place for people to let loose and really be themselves. Despite the fads and the rules that pop up this music has been super consistent at providing really positive scenes across the country and kids will always gravitate towards that. There’s a few people working crazy hard and loosing money all the time to keep that scene going and they are the unsung heroes of our world and most of the credit should go to them.


Bogart: Music like this creates a community for people who don’t have anywhere else to go. When I was a kid music was my way of calming down. All the natural bullshit of being a poor kid would constantly test me and the only way I would be able to catch my breath would be to listen to the Misfits and skateboard with my friends before we went to a shitty VFW hall to watch Death Threat. Music isn’t a trend, there’s just a lot of shitty people who try and make it that way.

Guerin: Punk has always been music for young people, or people who pretty much refuse to grow up and become boring old farts. So it’s that kind of energy that comes from being a teenager and discovering new bands and going to shows that never really leaves a genre like pop-punk. It’s sort of universally relatable to people who turn to music for release, regardless of when they were born.

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