Drug Church's Patrick Kindlon: "Our Whole Background as a Band Is Low Expectations"
In several documentaries that you can find on YouTube such as N.Y.H.C. and In Effect '91, several instrumental figures of New York City's hardcore scene of the early '90s repeatedly emphasize that the genre has an obligation to report on reality. Their reality is usually a romantic one full of struggle and camaraderie in the face of the harshness of urban life.
No Sleep Records Drug Church: Everything sucks.
Decades later and farther up the Hudson, Albany's Drug Church takes notes on a different kind of reality, one full of banality, disappointment, unfulfilled dreams, missed opportunities, and escapism through heavy music and substances.
In what may be one of the best pieces of label copy in recent memory, the No Sleep Records website describes the band as "the sound of 'some college' and a delivery job. It's what happens when you strip any pretense from music and are left with a room full of dudes with weird bodies and tenuous futures."
Recently, Up on the Sun spoke with singer Patrick Kindlon about the band's history and simultaneously bleak and liberatory outlook.
How did Drug Church start and what was the original intent of the project?
It started when some dudes I knew from back home, who were a couple of years younger than me but I knew from along the way, called me up while I was out with my other band, Self Defense Family, and said "Hey, we just wrote a bunch of songs that sound nothing like our band. Would you like to sing on them? We'll put out a demo and maybe play a couple of local shows." And I said "Yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun."
So, they had written new songs that sounded somewhere between something like Seaweed or Snapcase, somewhere between those two bands, and I really liked that material and I was really excited to sing on it. But the idea was that it would go nowhere and that it was just a fun thing for these strange songs that they didn't know where they came from.
But we put out a demo and people liked it. None of us has had been in a band that people liked right away. Like, my other band, it's taken us 10 years for anyone to even give the most remote of a shit. We didn't know how to respond to that, so we said "I guess now we're going to put out a 7-inch, and then people really liked that. This is the easiest being in a band has ever been for me, for the other guys too, actually. It's been this very funny "okay, well, we did that; now what do we do next? Oh, okay, someone offered to put out an LP. Someone offered to put out another 7-inch. We got a tour offer."
The whole band has gotten more serious by virtue of the fact that I guess that's what we're doing and those are the opportunities provided for us, which we never would have anticipated. So it was very, very accidental in that there was really no intention of being a real band until opportunities -- opportunities that were good -- came up and we felt like actual assholes if we didn't take them. That's where it came from. And there was no goal. There's zero planning or goals involved in this.
The main thing I get out of listening to Drug Church is a real scummy vibe. Like, I imagine the subjects of the songs are all small-town 20-year-olds for whom life is always disappointing. Like, inescapably disappointing.
Yeah, the area that we all grew up in is a shithole. It's very dull and offers very little culture. It's snowy for a good portion of the year. There's no sort of industry that's interesting, but it's the state capital, so there's always jobs, but they are of the incredibly dull state worker type. Our whole background as a band is low expectations and sort of a shitty existence. The material is scumbag music. There's no denying it.