Captain, We're Sinking's new album, “The Future Is Cancelled,” may sound bleak, but the mostly Philadelphia-based punk rockers, who originally started in Scranton, are actually on their way up.
After finishing a successful tour with his brother Greg's band, The Menzingers, guitarist/vocalist Bob Barnett is ready, though a bit nervous, to showcase his banjo picking skills at a free acoustic record release performance at the Gallery of Sound (186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre) on Thursday, June 20. Barnett explained his hesitation to The Weekender along with the origins of the band and how the New York Mets influenced his writing.
THE WEEKENDER: How was your tour with The Menzingers?
BOB BARNETT: The tour went great! It was really fun playing for people that have never heard of us before.
W: So what got you started in music originally?
BB: My dad and brother convinced me to pick up a guitar. I assumed it was too hard, but they convinced me I could do it; I still think it's too hard. I've always wanted to sing, but it took a while to learn how to actually do it. My seventh grade art teacher got me into punk music, so without her, who knows what I'd be doing?
(Guitarist/vocalist) Leo (Vergnetti) and I decided that we wanted to play guitar and sing in a band, and that really was the formation of the band.
W: How did you decide on the band's intriguing name and sound?
BB: The band's name came from a phase of having really long song titles. We wanted a long band name, so we first had Captain, Our Ship is Sinking. Good thing we changed it.
We're all into different types of music, so we try to mix everything in and see what comes out. That's why some songs on the album are a bit more wacky than others – just trying new things.
W: Has Scranton or the music scene of the area had an effect on your sound at all?
BB: Totally. Scranton bands are the best. Being from Scranton, we will always be compared to The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw, but that's OK because they're my two favorite bands.
W: So many great punk bands have come out of Scranton in just the last few years. Why do you think that is?
BB: I'd like to think that coal is somehow a factor in this area producing really good bands. Maybe it's just everyone trying to set the bar at a new level. I'm going with coal.
W: What inspires you to write a song?
BB: Writing a song usually comes from just sitting around and seeing how different chords go together. I love baseball, so I'll watch a game with no sound and play guitar and sometimes something will stick. Let's say the Mets being a hard team to watch has inspired our angry/sad songs.
The songs on the (new) record took a while because we all lived in different places. Me or Leo would come up with a basic structure to a song, and then we'd bang it out in practice. It was a strange time for the band and in our lives, so the songs have a pretty bleak feeling to them.
W: Is that where the title “The Future Is Cancelled” came from?
BB: “The Future Is Cancelled” is something our friend Sean said one night. It fit really well to the songs.
W: Why did you decide to perform this show acoustically?
BB: The Gallery of Sound asked if we'd be interested in doing it, and it seemed like a lot of fun! I actually don't even have an acoustic guitar, so I'm just going bring my banjo. I can't wait… I'm excited to play the banjo at a show. I've never done that before.
W: Do you approach an acoustic show differently than a regular show?
BB: You have to be a little more aware during an acoustic show because you can't hide behind loud guitars and noise if you mess up. Everyone will know if you mess up. It's nerve-racking.
W: What has been your favorite show or tour so far?
BB: D.C was really cool because we have never played there and it was a great show! A lot of people knew the songs, so it was a lot of fun.