Fire Sale's Chris Swinney: "I thought that part of my life was over. I am so thankful it isn't."
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Tuesday, January 30, 2024 - 13:09
Fire Sale's Chris Swinney: "I thought that part of my life was over. I am so thankful it isn't."

Punk rock supergroup Fire Sale - comprised of Chris Swinney (The Ataris), Matt Riddle (Face to Face, No Use For A Name), Pedro Aida (Ann Beretta), Matt Morris and Brad Edwards - carry on with their proclivity for releasing 2-song 7" with 'The Albatross,' out Feb 9th on Negative Progression Records.

Mixed at The Blasting Room and featuring hand-painted art by Mark DeSalvo (NOFX, Lagwagon), the new song comes with two new tracks: the title track and B-side 'I Remember Damage'. Ahead of the release, we caught up with Chris to talk about the new EP.


PRT: ‘The Albatross’ marks your third 2-song single. Is there a rationale behind the 2 songs at a time formula or are you just excited to get new music out as fast as possible when it’s done?

Chris: We have enough songs written and demoed to put out three albums, but the band is still fairly new. Doing two songs at a time was a strategy our label and I decided on. We want to grow the band slow but steadily. We also have a great working relationship with SiriusXM radio and so far all of our singles have received a lot of play over there. People have short attention spans in the streaming age…I like doing singles.


PRT: With all the different ways of how people listen to music these days and just the sheer amount of new music that is coming out, aren’t you worried that a single might be easy to overlook?

Chris: On the contrary…I feel like albums are easy to overlook. We live in a single-driven world. I love albums butI am old school and the world we live in is different now. Also, we are always writing songs and I know that not all of them are winners. By doing singles, we control the quality. We are releasing the best songs we have. There are very few perfect albums out there, but there is lots of filler. We are attempting to only release songs that we feel are quality bangers. Haha.


PRT: Even though you haven’t released all that many songs at this point, the Fire Sale sound is already clear to everyone: melodic punk rock that looks back at the 90’s but also injects something more modern. With you guys having played in bands like No Use, Face To Face, The Ataris and Ann Beretta, was there ever any chance of it sounding like something else? 

Chris: Matt Riddle and I handle the lion share of the music writing, and so far that’s just kind of the sound that has come out. We love the music that our previous bands played, so that does have an influence on us. But there is a lot of other things in there as well. Matt and I both love metal. I think there is definitely a little metal in my playing. I tend to write darker minor key stuff. And some of the unreleased stuff isn’t 90s punk at all. I have written two ballads, one of which has Queen vibes. There are a couple that have sort of a grunge-y Alice In Chains feel. We don’t set out to write 90s inspired punk songs, but that seems to come out more often than not. Maybe it’s in our DNA :)


PRT: You all live in different states so most of the writing (and recording?) happens apart from one another. Is that way of working something that you get used to and feels comfortable? Or would you like to see it changed in the future?

Chris: It was weird at first, but it was out of necessity. We started the band during the pandemic lock down and lived in different states. So that was the only way to do it. It was new to me, but now I love it. Everyone gets to put their own uniques stamp on the songs no matter who initially writes the skeleton of the song. It is also very cost-effective as we are not spending money traveling to a studio and tracking there. We have discussed doing that in the future. We have had most of our stuff mixed and mastered at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO. We do think it would be really cool to actually go there for a couple weeks and record together in one place…but even then, writing remotely is the way to go, at least for us.


PRT: Like I mentioned above, you have all played in big bands before and now, you are back at it. Is that a case of ‘you can’t keep a good thing down’?

Chris: I can’t speak for everyone, but for me music is just a passion. When I quit touring I never stopped playing. I have to play music. I feel like life would be horrible if I didn’t play guitar everyday. I had a bunch of free time during the pandemic and I wrote some songs that I felt were pretty good. I then showed them to Riddle and he dug them too. That was the beginning of the band. We are all 40+ years old with kids and mortgages and just feel stoked that anyone cares. Haha. Being in your forties and getting to release music and express yourself artistically and seeing people dig it and coming out to shows, is really amazing. Before we started Fire Sale, I thought that part of my life was over. I am so thankful it isn’t.


PRT: Was there one specific occasion that made you want to play in a band again?

Chris: I think it was just that I wrote a few songs that people seemed to like. I sent the demos around to people that I respect and didn’t get anything but positive feedback. A few of those people were at labels I loved. So that made me think that maybe we can do this. Like I said, it’s so awesome to get to do this. Thank you to everyone out there that cares about our little band.


PRT: Did you have any reservations as well? Parts of being in a band that you were less excited about?

Chris: I think we were all a bit scared of touring. When you become a father and a husband, responsibilities take over. It’s no big deal to write and record with your friends. But going on the road and being away from your family is a different thing. I didn’t have kids when I was touring full time and now that I am a Dad, I don’t think I could do it. Plus I own a business and it is hard to get away for extended periods of time. We have decided that touring in short bursts work for us. Just 4-6 days here and there. Our label has been amazing about helping us out and so far it has been great.


PRT: What is the biggest thing that you still get out of playing music?

Chris: I love being on stage and getting the energy from the crowd. And honestly, this band has been such an amazing outlet for me as far as writing goes. I teach guitar full time and in between students I have downtime to just riff around and jam. So many Fire Sale songs have been created during my work breaks just riffing. I love the entire process of writing. From the beginning to the end. Just being able to create…that’s my favorite part.


PRT: What’s up next for Fire Sale once ‘The Albatross’ is out?

Chris: We have a new video coming out a week before the release of “The Albatross”. It is for our song “We Dance For Sorrow”. When we were in Texas doing some shows back in November, we filmed it live. And we have a couple festival dates this summer that I can’t really announce just yet. There has been talk of dates on the West and East Coast, and I am sure those will happen sooner than later. Possible Europe dates as well…but that is still a way down the line. Also, new music! We just finished another song that will be on a vinyl comp later this year. Lots of cool stuff coming up! We are really excited about the future of Fire Sale! Thanks for the interview!

Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.