BOSTON/NE BANDS, Fresh Stream, Interview, Music

An Interview with Rusty Mullet

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© Saffron Shoots

 

On the first Friday of June, I had the pleasure of attending a show at Lynch Family Skate Park.

Among the stacked lineup was thrasher band Rusty Mullet, whose album Dorks in Orbit was released today (July 15). After the performance, I snagged an interview with Rusty Mullet’s Dirt (she/her) and Sunny (she/her).

The band has an infectious energy, even when lacking a traditional concert venue. They have a certain confidence that makes anyone listening in want to dance or move — an especially great quality when a skatepark is your backdrop. All three members of Rusty Mullet are energetic performers, and I highly recommend seeing them live to get a true feel for their work.

The band’s bassist, John, is a consistent groover and frequent headbanger, always looking immersed in the music. He has some trippy sound effects up his sleeves that give the band’s garage rock sound a refreshing psychedelic flavor.

Drummer Sunny has that exciting quality of being both a fan and a core bandmember — during several songs, I spot her mouthing along to lyrics, looking hyped up about her bandmates’ parts. In front of her kit is a clown painting, fully made up and looking somewhat poignant.

Rounding out the trio is lead singer and guitarist, Dirt. For the skate park show, Dirt wore a sick Rugrats t-shirt paired with mismatched earrings: one a lizard, one a bright pink cowboy hat. Dirt is a wicked guitar player, fully comfortable with her voice being drowned out in order to deliver a great riff. Though, don’t get it confused — Dirt has a strong voice that is perfect for the psychedelic thrasher tunes Rusty Mullet puts out.

The event at Lynch Family Skate Park was put on by Lonely Bones Skate Co, a BIPOC and queer-led skate collective that always has really cool projects in the works! You can check them out on Instagram at @lonelyboneskateco.

 

© Saffron Shoots

 

HASSLE: So I’m curious about what inspired your band’s name. Has anyone ever had a mullet in the band?

 
DIRT: Well, there used to be a restaurant in LA. John and I started the band in 2016 and we were freshman in college. Right before I moved into college, I went to an LA restaurant called ‘The Rusty Mullet’ and I was like, “oh, it’d be a funny band name.” Then I met John, we started the band and we were trying to pick a name and I threw that out there. That kind of stuck.

SUNNY: Did you ever go to The Rusty Mullet?

DIRT: No, never ate there. And it’s closed now. I was worried about getting sued for a while. If we ever did anything that got sort of big, then they might sue us for taking their name. But they closed.

SUNNY: We’re carrying on the legacy.

DIRT: Yeah, we are the one Rusty Mullet standing. I’ve never had a mullet.

SUNNY: I think I had a mullet at one point. I used to have long hair. I have a bald head right now and I’ve gone through many different phases of it.

 

HASSLE: How did you guys all connect, what’s the backstory?

 

DIRT: John and I met at college. The band used to have a second guitarist and a different drummer, and then we had another drummer, other guitarists left.

SUNNY: I met these fools through Tinder. I used it to make friends and Dirt just happened to be on there saying she was looking for a drummer. We literally connected there. We started playing together and the rest is history.
 

HASSLE: Do you all skate as well? How did you end up at this venue?

 
SUNNY: Dirt skates. I skate a little bit.

DIRT: I skate pretty often, Sunny skates every now and again, John doesn’t really skate much.

SUNNY: He’s a skater at heart.

DIRT: He’s a skater at heart. Got spirit. Lonely Bones, the people that put this on. I believe one of the people that runs Lonely Bones just heard about us somehow or saw us play somewhere at some point and asked us to play the show. I think they just know that some of us skate and we play music.

 

HASSLE: What artists inspire you all? And how do the bands in the Boston community influence your sound?

 
DIRT: Oh, that’s a good question.

SUNNY: Thinking about who inspires me, I feel like I have a rotating cast. I never listen to the same artist for more than a few months — but the band Daughters and Meshuggah, they’re a heavy metal band. I don’t really play heavy metal, I just love them. I’ll throw one more in there: how about Man Man? I don’t know how many people know that band, but they’re crazy and kooky and I love them very much.

DIRT: I’ll answer for John first. John loves nineties alternative stuff. Most of all loves Dinosaur Jr., Alice in Chains, Nirvana. That’s how him and I first started talking about music, because we were both really into Nirvana. I feel like the most unoriginal “how a band started” thing ever, like, “oh, you like Nirvana? Oh my God. We’re 18 and we both play instruments.” He also loves Elliot Smith. And he likes a good amount of kind of niche things.

SUNNY: He’s a nu metal boy.

DIRT: Also loves nu metal. Really hard Limp Bizkit stan. I’ve never met a harder Limp Bizkit fan than John. Personally I like lots of stuff. My favorite band ever is King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. I love bands that play lots of different music and obviously they do that. And I also love writing a ton of music and releasing a ton of albums and they also do that. I also like lots of foreign music. I speak German and listen to a lot of German bands, there’s one in particular called International Music that’s really cool, artsy stuff. And a third thing I listen to: lots of sad, lesbian music. So yeah, lots of Angel Olson and Lucy Dacus.
 

HASSLE: What is your songwriting process like as a band?

 
SUNNY: We’re pretty off the cuff, if that’s the word for it. Either one of us has an idea, a riff or anything, just a little something to work off of, and then we jam off of it. Or, actually a lot of the music that we’ve been making recently is just made up completely by chance, like during our rehearsals, {…} in between songs, someone just plays something randomly and then we all join in. That’s how we’ve made, like half of the songs off our upcoming album, I’d say. That’s my perspective.

DIRT: That’s definitely accurate. Back earlier in the band, our first couple albums was definitely like, one person would kind of write an entire song and just teach everybody the song. But as the years went on and especially since Sunny’s joined, it has been a lot more collaborative. Like she said, we’ll just be at rehearsal and somebody will play something and we’ll be like: “oh, that’s kind of cool. What if we also did this or that?” A lot of the songs {on our new album}, like “Murder on the Space Train” in particular was just us screwing around. That ended up being the single for the new album. There’s a few songs from the album that are from before quarantine, “Shoestrang” and “Octothorp” and “Sun//Alien Weaponry” were all written before COVID happened, and then COVID happened, so we couldn’t work on our new album anymore.

SUNNY: You do tend to have a backlog of songs that you go to whenever you wanna do something new.

DIRT: We write pretty often and it has definitely been a thing since the band has started that John and I are always coming up with stuff and just saving it then later on being like, “oh, we wanna do
another album, we got three or four songs, let’s make a couple more!”
 

HASSLE: Is there anything coming up that you guys are particularly excited about?

 

SUNNY: There’s a lot of stuff coming up! Our new album, Dorks in Orbit, coming out July 15. I’d say this is one of the more concept-y albums that we’ve done. It has a theme and we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into each song. We’re not just putting together random songs like: “oh, here’s a song. We’ll put it in the album.” No, each of them kind of mix together. There’s a music video for our single, “Murder on the Space Train”, that we filmed with all of our wonderful, amazing friends on the Boston public transit system, on the red line.

DIRT: It’s the most produced album we’ve had. We recorded it in an actual studio and got it mixed by a real producer. Normally in the past we’ve done a lot of it DIY — our last EP, we recorded in a studio but the person who mixed it lived in New York. So, we didn’t have much involvement in the process. In the past we’ve just had two guitars, bass, drums, one or two vocal layers. This album has a lot of layers and a lot of other instruments, like saxophones and flutes, and organs and all sorts of shit. And it sounds so cool and like real music. It doesn’t sound like something that we recorded in our basement—

SUNNY: In a cafeteria.

DIRT: —Exactly. I listen to it, {and} I’m like, “That sounds like a real band.” The transitions are planned out, so that songs fade into one another and there’s commentary, a narrator throughout it. I’m really pumped about it and proud of it.
 

HASSLE: The cafeteria, is that a reference to something?

 
DIRT: Yeah! So, John and I, back when we recorded our first album — which is called Poop Destroyer Death Squadron — we recorded that in the dining hall at our school. Our school was in the middle of nowhere, no studios around. We didn’t really have money to go to a studio. So we asked around in our college and they were like, well, at 10 o’clock at night, when there’s nobody in the dining hall, you guys can go in there and record if you want. And so that’s what we did. We went in there super late and that’s how we recorded our first album.
 

HASSLE: You mentioned there was a theme to this album. Would you mind touching on that a bit?

SUNNY: It’s a space theme. Dorks in Orbit is a bunch of goofballs in space. There’s some galactic entities, big, scary, cosmic monsters, that sort of thing. But it’s fun and goofy and campy and all that jazz at the same time.
 

HASSLE: Where can we hear more of your music?

 
DIRT: We are on all streaming services. We’re called Rusty Mullet. @rustordeath on Instagram and all other social media places. Our album will be out on July 15, and if you wanna listen to our past EP and two album, those are also out there.

SUNNY: You can see how far we’ve come.

DIRT: Yeah, you can literally hear the progress if you listen to them in chronological order, the
production gets better step by step.

SUNNY: Exactly.

DIRT: And we have live videos on YouTube.
 

HASSLE: Is there anything else you want to share?

 
DIRT: Take time — DIY shows and music and hanging out with your friends is great — but the country we live in is really messed up. Instead of planning a show one weekend, maybe plan a teach-in or a sit-in or a die-in or go in large numbers to a legislative session. When there’s something being discussed about something in our communities, whether it be houseless folks or abortion or incarceration or funding for the military or funding for police, start organizing in your communities. It’s the only thing that we can do to make things better.

SUNNY: That’s right.

 

HASSLE: Thank you both so much.

 

 

KEEP UP WITH ALL THINGS RUSTY MULLET!
SPOTIFY
BANDCAMP
INSTAGRAM
APPLE MUSIC

 

 

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