Toys That Kill's Todd Congelliere on Fambly 42 and Skateboarding
"Shanty" Cheryl Groff Toys That Kill
San Pedro punkers Toys That Kill have been going strong since 1999, and they released their fourth album, Fambly 42 , earlier this month. The band maintained an impressive clip, releasing an album every few years, but there was a six-year wait this time around. That sort of thing happens when you're swamped with work, school, or other bands.
"If we did a record three years ago, it would have been really bad," says vocalist/guitarist Todd Congelliere. "I know that for a fact. Instead of just rushing everything, we just took our time, and we're really happy with it."
Fambly 42 has a surprisingly clean sound for an album that was recorded in a garage. The recording process works well for the band; Congelliere says people keep asking him who produced the album.
Up on the Sun: You guys released Fambly 42 a few days ago. What was the recording process like?
Todd Congelliere: We did it in my garage studio. We have other bands that we recorded in there, but with Toys That Kill, we always record out in Austin with this recording studio called Sweatbox. It's really awesome, but it's really hard to get everybody to get work off and get out there. It's also a little bit more money than actually going into our garage and doing it. So, it was really different. I was kind of nervous at first because we always got good sound at Sweatbox, but we love the way it came out.
Do you think you'd take the garage approach again?
Definitely, especially after this, since there's been people that have actually been e-mailing me asking for the producer's name for this album, so they can go record with them. I don't really record too many other bands unless they're on my label, so I've just kind of been like, well, I can't. We definitely are going to do that from here on out.
The guy that recorded us at Sweatbox is a guy named Mike Vasquez. He's offered to come out and work on it with us because he was always kind of like the fifth member of the band. I hope we can work with him again -- he's a good guy. But, yeah, it's so easy just to go back in the garage and work on something if we need to.
This is your first record in six years. Is there any reason you waited that long?
It's kind of hard to explain from the beginning. We took a break because one of the guys, Sean [Cole], he wanted to go to culinary school, and another guy in the band, he's a longshoreman, and he got recruited to . . . It's kind of like being a made man. The longshoreman and Goodfellas. Casey [Ferrara] got full-time work, so we couldn't really tour. I pretty much told him we just got a van and we're making payments on it, so I'm going to probably start another band so I can go on tour. That's what I've been doing since 1991. They all said, yeah, that's cool, so I started just this band, and it actually took off pretty fast, and we just did that for awhile.
We didn't really stop doing Toys That Kill. We just kinda put it on the backburner a little bit. I just didn't want to rush anything, I didn't want to be like, 'Oh, we haven't done a record, so we have to do one now.' If we did a record three years ago, it would have been really bad. I know that for a fact. Instead of just rushing everything, we just took our time and we're really happy with it.