Joe Casey of Protomartyr on the Search for the Perfect Bathroom


Protomartyr have been slaying the game with looming vocals and genre-bending tunes since their 2012 debut, No Passion All Technique. Their post-punk vibes caught the attention of Hardly Art, who released last year’s outstanding Under Color of Official Right. Now, these Detroit-based bad boys have set out on a monthlong tour along the East Coast and up through Canada with Pittsburgh’s The Gotobeds. Before they hit the road, we had the pleasure of chatting with vocalist Joe Casey about their album in the works and touring life.

Boston Hassle: You guys are about to set out on a month of touring along the East Coast and Midwest. Are there any shows or cities that you’re particularly excited for?

Joe Casey: Excitement would be the wrong word. I am looking forward to them all, but I’ve lived long enough to know that putting any overly special significance on a future event will only end bad. If I show up at a venue and they have a backstage bathroom that has a toilet with a seat on it, ample paper, and a lock on the door, I would be over the fucking moon.

BH: How did the idea to tour with the Gotobeds come about? Have you played with them in the past?

JC: Last time they came through Detroit they stayed at our bass player ’s house and I think it came up during the revelry. Fellows from similarly hardscrabble towns have to stick together, right? As long as the Pittsburgh Penguins don’t come up in conversation, things should be fine. They were on the label 12XU that we have a lot of time for, so that helped as well.

I guess now they’re signed to Sub Pop, so they’re probably going to make us carry their gear, acting like the second coming of Big Chief or something.

BH: What can people expect out of your live performance if they have never seen you guys before?

JC: Competent drumming.

BH: You guys haven’t been touring much this year. Are you excited to get back on the road?

JC: Define “much touring”? It is only April, right? Maybe the idea of careening down the highway in a beat-up Safari when the whole country is ice-covered in order to play a Tuesday night after pub trivia at some off-brand sports bar is “much touring”? We can’t all be road warriors like Pomplamoose.

But yeah, the chance of finding that backstage bathroom keeps me alive.

BH: You just hit the one-year anniversary of Under Color of Official Right’s release. Have you starting thinking about a release for next year yet?

JC: Ah-ha! See, during that time when you thought we should have been touring like mad dogs, we were recording the third album! It’s in the can, if the can was marked “not yet mixed or mastered.” If all goes according to plan, it’ll be out in the early fall of 2015 on Hardly Art. Not too bad, eh?

All I know is, after that album comes out, we’ll be touring for the rest of our lives . . . like Pomplamoose.

BH: The Detroit scene has some great bands going on right now. Are there any specific ones that are catching your eyes lately?

JC: Some of the same old sterling greats: Timmy’s Organism just recorded at the historic United Sound Studios. I’m going to see Tyvek tomorrow. The Intended have a full-length coming out.

Some of the newer bands: Brothels, Rebel Kind, Casual Sweetheart, and PRC.

BH: What is your favorite spot to play in Detroit?

JC: Jumbo’s is my favorite bar, but maybe not my favorite place to play. That’s only because when I’m there, I’d rather be alone with my Touchscreen games. Although, guitar players sometimes get electrically shocked because of the wiring there, so that’s a bonus.

There’s a bunch of new places that I’d like to play. The UFO Factory seems to be getting all the good shows lately. That Tyvek show I mentioned is there, with our pals Spray Paint and Xetas. It’s your basic Detroit dive, but painted silver!

I heard the old Eagle is going be a music venue with a different name that I don’t know. That could be promising if they kept the sex dungeon.

BH: Are there any other venues that you’ve played in the past that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

JC: Any that had that bathroom. We liked playing the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds a lot. The Bottletree in Birmingham, Alabama was one of a kind, but I heard that it recently closed its doors. Oddly enough, the Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas was great, even though they didn’t have that bathroom.

Make sure to catch Protomartyr at Illegally Blind this Sunday, where hopefully they’ll find the bathroom they’ve been dreaming of. Bad Boys, The Gotobeds and Phantom Rides will be joining them as support. 8pm // 21 + // $10

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License(unless otherwise indicated) © 2019