Why did you change your name from Antidote to Hot Rod Circuit?
Well we were originally living in Alabama when we had the band Antidote. We moved to Connecticut then our booking agent, Andrew Ellis, whom we still have, got us hooked up with Triple Crown Records, which was our first label. As soon as we found a label that pretty much told us that there was a band from New York named Antidote and that we needed to change our name immediately.
What’s it like without Jay and Poorman? Do you still keep in touch?
Yeah. Poorman is pretty busy. Everyone is always playing phone tag. Jay is in a new band and yeah we all stay in touch. Maybe, this isn't a definite but he might actually do some harmonies on the new record when we go to New York to mix it. We all have a great relationship with each other; we support each other’s bands and what everyone’s doing. It was just Mike had to leave at the time because of personal reasons that he needed to leave the band. It had nothing to do with us, or anything like that. Jay just wanted to do something different.
What was it like for you to play guitar on tour with Say Anything?
They're really good friends of mine. I really love the band and I just wanted to help them out with
guitar playing. Now they have Jeff and Jake the twins playing with them. They're actually friends I got from the gig. If Hot Rod weren’t already a well-established band I'd probably be playing with Say Anything.
What bands influenced you?
I grew up listening to stuff like The Archers Of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr. stuff like that.
Why the switch from Triple Crown Records To Vagrant?
At the time we were doing a lot tours with The Get Up Kids and Alkaline Trio. Bands that were all on the label and we just developed a relationship with them and they asked us to join. Our contract was up with Triple Crown and we figured it was probably the next good move for us to step up a little and we did.
Why the switch from Vagrant to Immortal?
Our contract was up with Vagrant. Vagrant's format changed a lot since we've been there, especially since Sorry About Tomorrow came out. They just added a whole lot of different bands and we pretty much became lost in the shuffle. The commodity bands were getting the attention we felt we deserved. With Immortal they contacted us, asked if we wanted to sign, and we told them: "look, we want to sign with a label that'll let us make our own record." They were hip with it and down with our demos and stuff like that. It was kind of a no-brainer on our part to have a label that's going to support and be into what we're doing.
Who writes the lyrics?
Who’s producing the new album?
I am. We're recording and producing ourselves. I have my own studio in Birmingham, Alabama. We brought Tim O' Heir down to do our last record. We bought him down to get some drum sounds then he went back and we've been doing the albums ourselves.
How far are you into the recording process?
We're pretty much done. We have 14 songs that are completed and done, two more I wasn't completely happy with the vocals, so I'm re-writing them now. It should be done by the middle of next week. We're going to New York in December to mix with Tim O'Heir.
Are you going in a new direction on this CD? Music wise?
There are parts of the CD that are going to make people say “wow.” We recorded 16 songs and we haven't decided on which 11 are going to make the CD at this point, it's kind of up in the air. There are definitely your typical Hot Rod Circuit rockers and then there are like this kind of like Country songs we're really toying with. All the songs will come out. I don't know if they'll be on the CD, but they'll be out in some fashion.
How long do you usually spend on the writing process?
It really depends. This record we pretty much didn't tour for a year. I was recording and producing bands this past year. I had a long time to write songs and collectively write through the year. Normally we get together and write the record in a matter of weeks, or even a couple of days. Which is kind of what we did too. I had most of the songs written, I write all of the music as well. And the guys came down and we just jammed for a week and started to track. So I would say some of the songs were written almost a year ago and some of them were written in the last couple of weeks.
What record are you most proud of?
What record am I most proud of? Out of everything we've done so far I'd say our last record is the best one that we've made. Our fans might not agree, but I think sonically and where we were going at the time it’s just new and definitely a step up from that. I think the new record is more of a collection of older Hot Rod maturing into a newer Hot Rod kind of thing.
What was your favorite tour to have been a part of?
We have been very fortunate to be on a lot of great tours. We've done probably like 10-15 tours with The Get Up Kids, and they're some of our best friends and we just seem to have the best time with them when we're on the road. So I'd have to say them.
Future tour plans?
Well the record is supposed to release in March. We're discussing doing a headlining tour right after
the record comes out and possibly doing the whole Warped tour.
I figured it was that way...I'm gonna start a band called The Archers Aloaf though. We're really influenced by Hot Rod Circuit.
Good interview by the way. I've always loved this band, but feel like they've always been so underrated.