Overflowing with horn interludes, driving upbeat drums, and pop-punk guitar, the Mad Caddies' music, if nothing else, can always be described as fun. In keeping with the band's reputation, 2014's Dirty Rice is packed with some of the cheeriest, upbeat, rock, reggae, pop jams of the band's career. The 19-year-old fusion group worked with Fat Mike of NOFX to help narrow down 30 songs to 12 for the album, the band's first in seven years.
"He's a dear friend of the band," explained Chuck Robertson, founding member, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. "He signed us to our label when we were just kids. He went though the songs like a schoolteacher and graded them. Only As and Bs should go on the record."
That friendship and help, Robertson said, is invaluable. Although the incentives might be slightly self-motivated.
"He doesn't want his buddies to put out shitty stuff," said Robertson. "We have a lot of dear friends in music and it's terrible when they put out a crap record. You can't tell them 'This is the worst album you've ever put out.' "
He added that Fat Mike also helped to write the song, "Shot in the Dark," while half of the band took a break from recording at a Dr. Dog show in Santa Barbra—one of the group's favorite bands.
"There were more than 10 songs that weren't going on the record so I had nothing left to say. He [Fat Mike] wrote the lyrics and did the melody," explained Robertson. "That really came together in a matter of hours."
"Shot in the Dark" has a distinctly sunny Sublime-esque vibe, packed with horn solos, and hoots and hollers, it's the icing on the Dirty Rice cake.
Returning from a long overdue break from the album release, followed by an extensive tour cycle, the album is as amusing and triumphant as Mad Caddies' releases from a decade ago. Robertson said the planned break ran a little longer than expected, but afforded the members opportunities to live the non-Caddies side of their lives, ultimately deciding that shorter bursts of touring rather than long stints were what would make the band continue to work.
"A lot of stuff happened. I was able to live rent-free for three years in a trailer and save enough money to build my own home. I started a real relationship and got married and have a child on the way," said Robertson of his own time off. "All the other guys got to do what they wanted. One went to Jamaica and made reggae albums, our drummer worked commercially, our trombone player went back to art school. It was nice to have that time. Otherwise, you don't know anything else but the road and that can really burn you out, especially if you're a band that's not making a shit ton of money. Which is most of us."
The Mad Caddies' die-hard fans waited it out and Robertson said the response to the live performances and the album has been overwhelmingly positive.
"People are singing along with the new songs," he said. "Out of the 50 reviews I've only read one bad one and that was from a punk kid who wanted to hear more stuff like our first record," said Robertson. "There's always those who don't like change."
8 pm. Tue., Oct. 14
Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave.