Masked Intruder: Crime and Love Songs Go Together Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Of all the gimmicky bands out there, Masked Intruder's premise is pretty rad. This group of masked thugs hails from the oh-so-rough neighborhood of Madison, Wisconsin, and commits unforgivable crimes like suffering from ongoing heartbreak. Like most superheroes, the band members keep their identities secret, hiding behind color-coded ski masks.

I recently chatted with the lead singer/guitarist of the band, who identifies as Intruder Blue, to discuss the band's background, signing to Fat Wreck Chords, and crimes of passion. Check it out after the jump.

How's the Red Scare Across America tour going so far?

It's been pretty great. We've had a lot of fantastic times and we've made lots of friends. We've got some very good friends in the bus -- Masked Intruder, Elway, and Chambers, we all get along real well. We do a lot of gambling, dice mostly, so it's been going pretty good. We had a vehicle breakdown outside of Pittsburgh, but we pulled through and we made it to the show.

Did you pay for that with your dice winnings? Money trades hands between the bands a lot, but that's not going to pay for the engine. The shows have been great, so we were able to keep going on. It's not too bad, because people have been supportive and cool.

Can you walk through how you signed to Red Scare and got picked up by Fat Wreck? Basically, Toby [Jeg] from Red Scare came to Madison and saw us play at a bar, The Frequency, which is the local bar that you go to to see local bands. Toby saw the show -- we were there with the Cobra Skulls and Nothington, so we were pretty stoked to open for those bands because we're fans. He talked to us after the show, so we were pretty excited about the possibility of maybe putting something out on Red Scare. We tried to get answer out of Toby forever, but he never gave us a straight yes or no.

Eventually one day, we go down to Chicago to play a show.The morning after, Toby took us out to brunch and got us pretty much wasted, and we signed with Red Scare at that point in time, when we were inebriated in the morning.

From there -- Toby used to work at Fat, he's friends with Fat Mike, and I think that Fat Mike heard the record because Toby passed it off to him and that's how that happened. We didn't have too much to do with it; we didn't expect it to happen, especially so soon. We were sort of surprised and excited.

How long have you guys been a band? It seems like this is all still pretty new. Yeah, it is. We're actually just about three years old. We started playing in the band Masked Intruder three years ago and then we put out a demo, and then we put out First Offense on Hang Up Records out of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and then we did the self-titled on Red Scare, which has not quite been out for a year. It's coming up in August, the first anniversary of that.

How did you guys come up with the concept for Masked Intruder? Oh yeah, that's a good question. In prison, you get a lot of time to sit around and talk about stuff. Plus, we already had the colored ski masks and everything, so it just worked out. Also, sometimes things just work out and that's where the idea came from. Evidently, things that go together like chocolate and peanut butter are crime and love songs.

How did you guys land in prison?

Unfortunately, the legal system in America runs people through and convicts them of things, even though they didn't do it. Yeah, sure, the cops catch me allegedly red-handed breaking in to steal some Xboxes or something.

First of all, maybe I thought this was my house, and then second of all, that wasn't even me. So, assorted things. Robbing liquor stores, things like that.

Are you behaving yourselves on the road, or is Masked Intruder still committing crimes? We spend so much time with the show that we don't have time to case places, but Green sometimes likes to steal a large pizza for after the show. We like to finish off the show with a nice, large stolen pizza . . . as I believe science has proven, it definitely tastes better than not-stolen pizza.

How do you manage wearing glasses and a mask? It's tricky. It took awhile to figure out, and some Masked Intruder fans may have noticed some changes in the way I do things over the course of time that we've been playing. I've got a technique that's working real good for me right now. The glasses are actually outside of the mask, and they just loop through in the middle.

I'm really blind as a bat. It's important to be able to see at shows, because you want to know if somebody's throwing a bottle at your head and you've got to be able to see your set list, or if you're tuning your guitar, or if there's a pretty girl you want to see.

If you made conversation with that pretty girl, what would happen if she asked you to take off your mask? Would that be a dealbreaker? I don't know . . . I would be real nervous and I would probably freeze up and wouldn't be able to say anything, and she would just walk away because she thought I was a dork. That's my best guess, based on my previous experiences with ladies.

What can we expect from your live show? The one thing that you can definitely expect is that it will be an awesome time. You will have an awesome time because you will party or be arrested. We tour with a cop--he's a court-appointed police escort chaperone, and he will arrest people that don't like to party. Everyone's there to have a good time, and you're going to see some sweet dance moves on stage and off.

We try really hard, and it should be a really good time. Elway is a great, great live band. Sam Russo's songs are the type of stuff that makes you goosebumpy. All types of good stuff at the show.

We also may have some cool stuff for sale at the merch table like some VCRs, or CDs, or posters and stuff, depending on if we unload that stuff before we get there or not.

Are you guys working on any new material? Oh yeah, absolutely. The truth is that we never actually stop working on material. We released a handful of songs, we did the split that we did with Dan Vapid and the Cheats that's coming out later in the year. We've got a song on the split with Elway and we actually did a cover of a Go-Gos song that's on an LP that's coming out on Solidarity recordings.

The second record is something that's definitely coming together strong and will be out as soon as it can. Unfortunately, it's tough to get in the studio when you're touring all the time, but yeah, we've got all kinds of good stuff.

Masked Intruder is scheduled to perform with Elway and Sam Russo at Yucca Tap Room on Monday, August 12.

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