Alter The Press!


Feature: The Motorcycle Industry (2006-2010)

In December 2008, I received a copy of The Motorcycle Industry’s debut album, ‘Electric Education,’ in the mail, alongside a stack of the usual ‘run of the mill’ demos/new releases. When I first gave the album a listen, I was completely taken aback; it’s very rare you actually find a gem such as this. My first impression was that, this blend of ‘nerdy,’ indie-folk-pop-punk hasn’t really been done before or, if it has, I’m completely oblivious. My second thought was that, this band has the potential to be a huge success.

In early 2010, the band released a new 7” EP, ‘The Only Friends Worth Having,’ via Connecticut based label, Audubon Records. It completely upped the band’s game, despite being four tracks long, and paved the way forward for bigger and better things.

However, on June 21st, 2010, the band announced that they were to break up, with no reason, explanation or indication why. They stated their last show would be on July 24th, in the band’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York. With only hours before taking the stage for their final performance, Alter The Press sat down with The Motorcycle Industry, in Central Park, to find out exactly what was the cause to all of this, and to also have a retrospective look back at the band's career.

Alter The Press: The final show is tonight. What is going through your mind right now?
Mike Weiss (guitar): My girlfriend is coming into Penn Station in 15 minutes, so I got to go pick her up.

Ryan Barnes (drums): John (Langan) looks like a bitch in heat.

John Langan (vocals/guitar): I got to change my guitar strings.

Brooks Plummer (bass): We just went to the Natural History Museum, so something about dinosaurs. I'd like to point out that we're playing with Brandon Reilly tonight (Nightmare Of You) and John is wearing a Nightmare Of You shirt.

John: Mike is going to wear a Movielife shirt on stage tonight.

ATP: Why did you guys decide to break up?
Brooks: There was a big comet.

John: We just saw Inception.

Brooks: I think someone "incepted" an idea into John's brain.

John: I'm moving back to California, that's why we're breaking up. I just really miss Ameoba Records.

ATP: What is next for all of you?
Mike: Me and Ryan are starting a new band.

Brooks: I'm going to be a dream thief.

ATP: You just recorded a new EP. Are you happy with the outcome of it?
John: Yes, very much so. We recorded it at Studio ID, in Fall River, MA, and it was a great experience.

Mike: Hit them up on MySpace.

ATP: How would you compare it to 'The Only Friends Worth Having'?
John: It's shorter by two minutes.

Brooks: It's more electric.

John: We wrote a very pop-punk song, a classic folky song, and the other two are just...

Brooks: Songs about nothing.

ATP: Are you happy, knowing that this will be the final release people will hear from The Motorcycle Industry?
John: I'm not happy it's the final release, but I’m happy with songs.

Brooks: They were the only songs I was involved in, so they are awesome.

John: We all wrote them. This is the one where we all wrote, so that's good. Really, I just want people to listen to 'Electric Education.’ I'm kidding. I think these songs are better than 'Electric Education', like 'Ten Eyck Street' (new song from the EP). Every album has one good song; so at this point, we have three.

Mike: That means we have nine albums left before a full album of hits.

ATP: What’s your proudest achievement as a band?
John: Becoming friends with Ryan and Brooks. To be honest, it was being able to become part of the scene here. We met a lot of really nice people, and bands, that we are friends with.

Mike: We played on shows, but I'm not claiming we are friends with all of those people. I like a lot of them, but I don't know that them well.

John: Basically, we played on shows that we would’ve gone to otherwise.

ATP: How do you feel, having played shows with bands like, Man Overboard, Balance and Composure, Tigers Jaw etc., who you've seen grow and get signed, but The Motorcycle Industry has stayed in the same position?
Mike: They played a lot more then us.

John: Most of those kids dropped out of college.

Brooks: If we dropped out of school, quit our jobs and toured full-time, it could have happened, but we didn't do that.

John: I don't think they care about it anymore than we do. I think they just decided to go for it and tour. We'll see what happens to those bands; we’re really happy for Balance and Composure, they’re awesome.

ATP: Do you regret not being able to tour more?
John: Yes, definitely.

Mike: We all had different goals for the band. I, personally, regret it.

ATP: If there’s one thing that you could go back in time, and change with the band, what would it be?
Mike: I'd be a better guitarist.

John: Probably wouldn't have put out 'Electric Education' when we did. We should’ve probably done another EP. The first EP was online for free and we weren't playing shows. If we'd done the classic, ‘put out a demo, then an EP, then a full-length,’ it would have helped us. I think more people might have heard the album that way.

ATP: Reunion shows are all the rage these days, even The Beach Boys are doing it. Would you ever rule it out?
John: I don't know.

Mike: We're playing a reunion show tonight.

ATP: With the exception of a large paycheck, what would keep the band together?
Mike: I don't think that would keep the band together. If we get on a European tour, with Brand New, we'll keep the band together.

John: That's your goal, as Jon from Alter The Press!

Mike: John will stay here; we will tour and write songs, if we get on a European tour with Brand New.

Brooks: I think, if anybody wants to pay us to tour, and pay all of our expenses, I'd do it.

Ryan: If someone can pay my student loan bill.

Mike: It's not like we didn't like doing the band, or writing the music, some of us have debts, full-time jobs; that kind of stuff.

John: I don’t think you have to tour a lot to be a really good band, especially on the east coast. Think of all the great bands that stay local.

Mike: That leads to a bigger question, what is the difference between a good band and a big band? To be a big band, you have to tour a lot, but to be a good band, you don't.

John: It's true. That's why you have to have respect bands that go out and tour nowadays. It's really hard, and you don't make any money.

Mike: And girls aren't putting out as much as they used to.

John: A band like The Wonder Years, while I don’t like their music…

Mike: For the record, I do like their music.

John: That band deserves all the credit they get.

Mike: The singer is on top of his shit. He knows what's up.

John: I guess we should’ve moved to Pennsylvania.

Brooks: That's why we didn't break; we weren't from Pennsylvania.


John: We weren't from Doylestown.

ATP: When you first started the band John, what was the initial goal?
John: My initial goal was to be able to play shows in New York City, and have 10 people there, knowing who my band was. It was a rousing success for me, because there are now 15 people. No but seriously, my goal was to have some kids around here like the music and I think that we have succeeded in that.

ATP: Are you still going to play music in California?
John: No. Unless it's with The Motorcycle Industry.

ATP: Thank you guys. What are the final words you’d like to say?
Mike: We'll figure it out.

John: Sorry, we were late to every show.

Ryan: All the kids from the Tri-State area are like, 'I'm so bummed you’re breaking up'. Where the fuck were you?!

John: I was going to say this tonight, but I hope that kids still support local music. We got lucky because, when I was a freshman at NYU, there was no punk scene for me in Brooklyn. We've been fortunate to see it grow around us, and be a part of it. I hope kids keep going to shows.

ATP: I think a lot of people are going to find out about you after the break-up. What do you say to them?
John: Enjoy the songs and send us an e-mail.

Brooks: Listen to Osker. 'Idle Will Kill'. That record will change your life. If you're in a band, cover Osker.

ATP: And for anyone who covers a Motorcycle Industry song?
John and Mike: Fuck you.

(At this point, the band turns the interview around, and asks myself questions.)

Mike: Since you met us through a singer of a large band, totally by fluke, did you think our band was bigger than what is was, when you first met us?
ATP: I really don't know.

John: Are you disappointed in us for not trying to be a bigger band?
ATP: I'm disappointed, but I just wanted the best for you guys. You deserve everything; and, after hearing some of the new material, I thought it was such a shame. Honestly, with every release, you are getting better and better. It's wasted talent.

Mike: I agree, and not to toot my own horn.

John: Is our band better than Have Heart?
ATP: Yes. Ever since I got sent 'Electric Education', I thought you were amazing and that you have ‘it.’

John: Haha, dude no one is better than Have Heart. The real question is, how big is Title Fight going to get?
ATP: Depends on the full-length.

John: What are your final thoughts on the band breaking up?
ATP: Wasted talent. It's a really big shame.

John: But you have to admit, we are all really good-looking guys.
ATP: Best looking bunch I've seen.

The Motorcycle Industry's forthcoming EP will be released in August.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!