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Interview With Mike of The Riverboat Gamblers

Onstage Injuries and Texas Heat


Interview With Mike of The Riverboat Gamblers

Riverboat Gamblers

Photo Courtesy of Earshot Media

How's it going?

Good. Well, hanging in there. I broke my hand a week ago. So I'm dealing with that.

I read that on your site.

Yeah. It sucks.

What's the long term on that?

Well, I don't know. That's the stressful thing out of it. I keep dealing with all these different insurance companies and they keep sending me to other places, and sending me to talk to this person and talk to that person, so I haven't really got to see the specialist yet, and I'm kind of waiting. I'm going to one tomorrow, and it looks like I'm paying for the consult out of my pocket. These f****ing insurance companies, and HMOs - it's so ridiculous. I'll tell you what, there's our whole next album's worth of material right there.

It's not going to affect the tour at all, is it?

No, it's not going to cancel any dates or anything like that, but I definitely won't be able to be as physical with that hand. I'll have to be careful, but other than that, it'll be good. I'll be back in no time. I'll have to find new ways to hurt myself.

That's what I wanted to ask you about. Apparently onstage injuries are not a rare thing for you guys, are they?

Yeah, they're not too rare. I guess maybe it does happen a little bit more than it does with other bands, but I mean we play a lot of shows, and there's a lot of shows that are injury free. But yeah, this is something that I'm looking at going, "G******it, it seems to common. I'm starting to notice a pattern here."

And it seems like when the injuries do happen, they're big ones.

Yeah, you get silly, and accidents happen I guess. Most of the time it's pretty minor kind of stuff, but I guess that's the price you pay.

What was this mouth injury a while back?

That was our bass player. It was my fault. I was swinging the mic and it just nailed him in the teeth, and broke some of his teeth. And it cost a whole bunch of money to get fixed. He had to get oral surgery, but that was probably the worst thing so far. The rest have just been cuts and stuff. This is the first broken bone.

Is that a result of you guys being crazy on stage or just bad luck?

I think a little bit of both. We have an unlucky streak in this band. And just me being clumsy is part of it; I'm just not very coordinated.

If I wasn't doing this, I'd probably be skateboarding a lot more, and I'm sure I'd have just as many injuries, if not more. I was a skateboarder for years and years before I was playing in a band, so bumps and bruises and stuff are kind of commonplace. And then about once a year skating I would always do something to f**k myself up really good. Along those lines, it's really not that bad, you know.

Are you still skating?

Yeah, not nearly as much. But a couple of us still take our boards on tour and mess around in parking lots and stuff like that.

So you've got to be looking forward to doing the Warped Tour then.

You know, most of the time it's so f***ing hot, that I'm too beaten by the heat. I remember we took our decks out last year, and the first couple dates were OK, and there were some Southern California dates where it was bearable enough to go roll around on the ramps and stuff, but for the most part, unless you got up at seven or eight in the morning, it was too unbearable for most of the day.

There's guys that are on tour and they do it all day. I don't know how they do it. It was just too much for me to stand there and watch them it was so f***ing hot.

But you guys are from Texas.

Yeah, but that still doesn't make me like the heat any more. I'm kind of a vampire. If I get the chance, I'll stay inside in the air conditioning until the sun goes down. I like warm nights and stuff. I guess I'm supposed to be used to it, but I'm not.

Being from Texas is something that you guys take pride in, isn't it?

Yeah. Definitely. I don't know why that is exactly. I never really knew until we started touring, but I kind of started realizing how much I like home and I like the attitude. I don't know, just the je ne sais quois of Denton and Austin, Texas.

So what's the scene like there? Is there a "Texas punk" sound?

Yeah, I think the Texas punk sound is pretty diverse. It's kind of like a mish-mash from a lot of other places, and it doesn't really adhere to one. I think the only thing I can grab from it is that it's a little loose, not as tight as a lot of other sounds. I think a lot of bands aren't as nailed down to a genre, that they'll kind of overstep other genres in Texas as opposed to like the East Coast Hardcore that has very strict musical rules as to how it's supposed to sound, and even So-Cal skate-rock punk, there seems like there's a very a common sound.

In Texas, I think the only thing I notice in common is that it's a little looser, maybe a little bit bluesier.

You're originally from Texas, right?

Yeah, I'm from Denton, which is like an hour outside of Dallas and three hours from Austin.

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