It’s been just over two decades since Milwaukee four-piece Big Mother Gig called it quits, mostly disconnecting entirely, with each member going his own separate way. This dissolution of the band came just before a possible major label signing which stemmed from huge traction within the indie/post-punk scene at the time. Within the last few years, however, the members of Big Mother Gig have reconnected, and luckily for us their reunion went so well that they decided to write some new music.
Almost Primed is a six-track effort that fits into the current landscape of indie and alternative rock with a sound that could have easily been plucked right out of ’96 as the band came to a close. Picture Big Mother Gig on a bill with Jawbreaker and the Promise Ring and you’ve got the right idea.
Stream Almost Primed in full below and follow it up by reading our interview with frontman Richard Jankovich. You can pick up a copy of the band’s new EP through iTunes or Amazon if you feel so inclined.
It’s been quite some time since you were an active band back in the mid 1990s. What’s been going on in your lives in all that time since you originally called it quits?
RICHARD JANKOVICH: When we broke up in ’96, we all went our separate ways and really thought that was it. I didn’t speak to Riz for five years, Matt for over 15. When we broke up, Matt stormed out of the room and punched a wall. It didn’t end well, but we all grew up a lot. Right after Milwaukee, I went to NYC and put out some records of indie-pop and electronic stuff (Burnside Project, Pocket remixes, etc.) Riz moved back to his homeland of Malaysia and played in rock bands, touring Europe a handful of times. Matt and Brady both plugged away for a few more years but eventually retired from music and focused on work and family.
And what now, after all these years, has sparked this interest to regroup and create some new music?
We reconnected four or five years ago. Nostalgia drove us to think maybe we should document these years. It started out as a book idea. We had lots of calls, remembering the good times. The book might still happen but that’s been put on hold. About two years ago, we started getting reunion show offers and that really sparked the idea. But we didn’t just want to play 20-year-old songs without having something new to say.
The musical landscape has obviously changed drastically, many times, since BMG first started out. Were there any reservations about doing this again and how the band might fit in with today’s music world?
There were and still are lots of reservations. I’ve done the indie-pop thing, the synth-pop thing. Those styles are huge right now but this is nothing like that. This is back to that original American indie rock sound that started in the ’80s with Dinosaur Jr, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü; scrappy, loud, indie rock. So far, I have to say, the reception has been incredibly positive which is surprising and encouraging. I do think there’s a segment of the population for whom new music styles aren’t connecting. Maybe for those folks, we feel like an old sweater—all tattered and stained but comfortable.
Do you guys listen to any younger, current bands that fit into the genres that you feel affiliated with? Any you might even take inspiration from?
Beach Slang (although they’re more ‘current’ than ‘younger’). Deer Tick, Art Brut, the Gaslight Anthem. I like them all but what really excites me and gives me butterflies in my stomach are forgotten ’90s rock albums by Figdish, Pegboy, Ultimate Fakebook—bands that made one or two really great records and then disappeared. When those come up on shuffle, I stop what I’m doing and start air-guitaring.
And now, is there any future for the band beyond this? Any specific plans?
We’re gonna take it one step at a time. This new EP is coming out and we have some reunion dates coming up (SXSW, and a local headlining gig in Milwaukee in March). After that, we will see what happens. If we’re still having fun and haven’t started hating each other, we might keep this thing going.