The Mad Caddies and Ulysses S. Jasz Join Forces
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us again, and as we prepare to drink and pay tribute to Irish culture, an important question must be asked: How important is St. Patrick’s Day to the Mad Caddies? “We have a pretty good Scotch-Irish contingent in this band,” muses trumpeter Keith Douglas. “It’s my dad’s birthday,” exclaims guitarist Sascha Lazor. “It’s really just another excuse for us to get wasted,” vocalist Chuck Robertson declares, “and you can quote on me that.” But tomorrow night promises to be more than just an “excuse” to have a good time, as the Mad Caddies will be joining forces with James Joyce house band, Ulysses S. Jasz, to put on a special concert at SOhO.
At first glance, a show such as this may seem a little odd; what do a bunch of young punk rockers have to do with a group of polished, elderly jazz aficionados? Anyone familiar with the Caddies’ blend of punk, reggae, ska, and jazz understands that the pairing isn’t so unlikely. “Even though many of us haven’t gotten to play with a real jazz band … most of us are influenced by early jazz,” says Lazor, who likes to turn Louis Armstrong horn licks into punk rock guitar riffs. “So even though the guys in Ulysses are older, there’s a common thread there. Plus, these guys use shot glasses as mutes for their horns. I hope I can be doing that when I’m 65!”
In addition to opening the show, members of Ulysses will be joining the Caddies onstage to re-work a couple of old jazz standards and even some tunes from the Caddies’ repertoire. According to Lazor, the experimentation will all be in the name of fun: “SOhO is a venue that’s not really conducive to a punk rock kind of show, so it’s a chance to do something different and have a good time.”
The Caddies are currently in the middle of intense songwriting sessions and will enter the recording studios next month with the aim of putting out a new album later this year. Thus, hungry fans can expect to get a preview of new material tomorrow night. “Right now we have about 13 songs written,” Lazor says, “and we’re definitely looking forward to playing three or four new ones.” Fellow band member Douglas hints at nervousness about the upcoming show, but is playing a local show really that worrisome for a band that’s toured around the world several times? “The local shows are the worst for me because we’ve got all friends and family there. I actually get nervous,” Robertson says. “We’ve played in front of 30,000 people and not been nervous at all, but 300 in our hometown and I’m stressed.” But despite pre-show jitters, the following year looks to be an exciting one as the Mad Caddies approach their 10th anniversary together. After having sold more than 300,000 albums worldwide, the Caddies have proven they’re a reliable cult-favorite and rumors abound that major labels are attempting to woo the band away from Fat Wreck Chords, the independent label that has released their six previous CDs. While keeping tight-lipped on any potential label change, the band doesn’t rule out any possibilities while praising the continued support it receives from Fat. However, the Caddies are explicit in their resolve to not deviate from their eclectic take on punk rock, with bassist Mark Iversen saying, “People like the spontaneity of not knowing what’s around the corner and I think it’s healthy and broadens the appeal of the band.” Robertson chimes in, adding defiantly, “We have a lot of fans who don’t follow trends and really appreciate our music. The ones who were with us at the beginning are still with us today.”