Recently, it may feel like the world that you know is changing all around you, but luckily there is music out there to listen and let out those feelings to. The Gutter Daisies—a trio out of L.A.—released “American Pie” on Friday, March 20th, a song with lyrics driven by angst and musical accompaniment that your body can’t help but to react to. So, if you’ve been feeling angry recently with the world and have been bottling it up, this is a song you should turn up and tune out to while sitting alone in your room for Day: ????.
The lyrics within this song touch upon some major issues within American society; ones that remind us of the collective anger towards some of the circumstances of today. You can listen to this song and find at least one subject to feel anger towards. It tackles commenting on multiple issues while still trying to accomplish cohesion, but the flow of the lyrics with the composition of the music all help to piece it together. Each new issue brought up should be familiar to listeners. They mention gun violence, drug abuse, financial insecurity, and mental illness, issues that have plagued the recent generations more and more. This song isn’t meant to be taken lightly. In my interview with Mike Diggs, the drummer of the trio, he says that, “We didn’t want to just write another political song, but rather something that might shock people when they listen to it. Something that might even make people mad, because it reminds them of the reality of what's been going on in America.”
I applaud this song for many reasons. It had me dancing with my angry-face on, pretty much as soon as it began coming from my speakers. It also reminded me of some of the really awful things that people across the United States deal with that are often out of their control. The topics of the song are ones that I have strong beliefs in, and I understand the anger from start to finish. If they were going for a song that angers, I think that they nail it.
The Gutter Daisies were kind enough to answer a few questions about themselves and the new release, so keep scrolling to read more about them!
You can follow the band on their instagram! “American Pie” is now streaming on all of your favorite platforms.
Sarah: Could you start by introducing yourselves and your roles in the band?
Mike Diggs: Of course! We’re a three-piece punk band, plain and simple. My name is Mike, I’m the drummer. Doug plays guitar and Miles is our bass player. You’ll see Doug up on the mic probably the most out of the three of us, but don’t get it twisted, we all sing in this band!
S: When did you first play music together? How long have you been playing as a band?
MD: So Doug and I are originally from New Jersey and we moved out here exactly a year apart; October 2014 for Doug and 2015 for me. When I moved out here, my first job was at Guitar Center as a sales associate. That’s where I met Miles and things sort of snowballed from there. Doug and I always knew we were going to be working on something together when we moved, and Miles was the missing piece of the puzzle for us to have a full band. At this point, we’ve been playing together for 4 years now!
S: Who are some of your musical inspirations? Do you feel that your music is influenced by these musicians?
MD: We get compared to bands like Green Day, Blink-182, and Weezer a lot—especially Green Day (Doug has been a huge fan all his life). But our musical interests are all over the place otherwise! For example, I’m a big funk guy—or even hip-hop, electronic music, anything with a nice groove to it that you can dance to. Vulfpeck is my jam right now, I love those music-nerds to death. Doug grew up in the punk rock scene and is currently flourishing as a songwriter/producer in the pop world. Miles is your emo/pop-punk guy. You’ll find him at the next Emo Nite singing all the words to every song. Quite honestly, a lot of what we listen to sounds nothing like what we write and play. But in a weird way, all of these influences somehow make their way into the mix.
S: It’s been a crazy year, in many ways. But this isn’t your first single of the year! How does it feel to be releasing your second song this year?
MD: Well, “crazy” is definitely one way to put it haha. Yes, it’s been a wild ride. But we’re really excited to be releasing music again. It took us a while to get back to it after we dropped our first EP “Social Insecurity” in 2017. We’ve had quite a few songs in the vault since then but we wanted to wait for the right time to start releasing them. Once we met our manager (Ryan Boehler) things started rolling again. Ryan pushed us to start making moves and stressed that the world NEEDED to hear these tunes. We decided to release singles as opposed to an album or an EP. Each one of these new songs is so special and we want them to get the attention we think they deserve! It’s also nice to only be 3 months into 2020 and already have two singles and a music video up. So the momentum is there for sure!
S: What was the process of writing your new single like? How did the concept first come up?
MD: Well let’s face it, America is a very…interesting place nowadays. Lots of opportunities here, don’t get me wrong. But all you have to do is watch the news for a day or two and you’ll understand. We like to keep it real when we write. We like to talk about things that people are talking about today, anything from gun laws, social issues, mental health, money and drugs, all the things that make ‘Merica go 'round. You’re probably thinking “oh a punk rock band writes a political song, how original!” with deep sarcasm. But if you listen to the words, the song is dark. There are some heavy references in there that we definitely didn’t hold back on during the writing process. We didn’t want to just write another political song, but rather something that might shock people when they listen to it. Something that might even make people mad, because it reminds them of the reality of what's been going on in America.
S: How about the process of actually creating it? Did you have any help from anyone?
MD: This song would not be the same without the help of two very talented friends of ours; those dudes go by the names Will Kennedy and Matt Wallace. Will has been a good friend and supporter for a few years now. Our first project together was our cover of “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, which came out AMAZING in my humble opinion. When we showed him the demo for “American Pie,” I guess you could say he wanted a bite. He connected us with Matt Wallace, an accomplished producer in the music industry most known for his work on Maroon 5’s ’Songs About Jane’ album. The two of them together were a powerhouse. They put in time with us in the rehearsal space, outside the studio between sessions, whatever we needed. Will and Matt will always be part of our team. As a matter of fact, in the coming months, you might even hear their influence in another one of our upcoming songs!
S: Was there anything in particular that inspired this song? It feels like the lyrics are very specific and meant to say something. Would you care to elaborate?
MD: You know there is no better time for this song to be out than right now. You’ll probably agree with me when I say there’s been some extreme unrest in this country for the past few years. “American Pie’ is basically an anthem for the people that are sick and tired of the vicious cycle we find ourselves in: we witness a tragedy, we fight about it for a little bit (whose fault is it, why did it happen, etc.) and then we forget about it until it happens again. Mass shootings, for example, we’ve seen politicians spend a lot of time talking about the changes we need to make to start preventing such events. Don’t forget about all those thoughts and prayers that we’ve been pumping out too. But where’s the action? Where’s the change? That’s what “American Pie” is about. The song touches on some other topics too like mental health, social media, and drug use. It’s the punk rock national anthem!
S: What else can we expect from you guys this year? Do you have any upcoming shows?
MD: Well as you may have guessed, we HAD some amazing shows lined up for March. A couple of gigs opening up for our friends The Bomb Pops and an awesome show at The Regent Theater with “In The End” a Linkin Park tribute experience. The show at The Regent was supposed to be a charity show for a mental health non-profit called “To Write Love on Her Arms”. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic though, these were all canceled.
Yeah we’re bummed, not going to lie. But at the same time, we aren’t the only victims in this mess. As a matter of fact, we are quite lucky. We all have roofs over our heads and so far we’re all healthy. As far as I’m concerned, we’re still having a good year despite the circumstances. But the show must go on! We still have a lot of music to share with the world so 2020 hasn’t seen the last of The Gutter Daisies. In the meantime, we’re going to be placing a lot of focus on our content to help promote our music, connect more personally with our existing fans, and hopefully expand our fanbase in general.
2020 is definitely going to go down in the history books. But we’ll get through this! We wish safety, good health, and love to everyone in the world, including our fellow bands and artists!
Written by Sarah Vincent
Cover photo by Ashly Nicole