You can’t have read this blog without knowing our feelings on Mineral. From naming ‘&Serenading’ as the no.1 emo song of all time to the love letter/tribute to Mineral we published last year we have made it quite clear how much this band means. On the eve of their first ever UK tour, it is a complete honour to share with you a Q&A with Mineral drummer, Gabriel Wiley, we conducted by email.
Is This Thing On? – Hi. On the eve of your first European tour as a band, how is everything in the Mineral camp?
Gabriel Wiley – Doing well, real excited about playing Europe.
ITTO? – I heard that Mineral reuniting was Jim from Jimmy Eat World’s idea, had you ever discussed reforming before then? When did you first start realising how much people still loved Mineral?
GW – Yes, Jim wanted to put together a show with many of the bands they toured with in the beginning of the band. We were among those asked which caused us to get together and discuss it. Due to many problems the show never happened but we had started practicing and figured we might do a show or two. A nice fella from the windish agency said he’d like to book us some show out east and so he did. Everything has grown from there. After mineral, we were all in other bands and through shows with those bands we would be asked a number of times if and when mineral was getting back together. So we had some idea of the interest yet, it is very enjoyable to see how excited people have been.
ITTO? – Have you talked as a band about why you split up when you did? Was it an amicable split at the time? And was there any awkwardness when you first got back together?
GW – No, we haven’t and it would be counter-productive. I would not call it amicable but no knives were thrown. I don’t remember much awkwardness, at least for my part.
ITTO? – You’ve already completed a lengthy tour in America, how has the reaction been?
GW– It’s been fantastic and a bit humbling. There are times when I can hear the crowd singing louder than Chris’s vocals. The band that opened the US tour, Into It-Over It is awesome and we had a surprise in NYC when Frank Turner opened. That was incredible.
ITTO? – Have you discovered anything new about these songs that you’ve not played together since the last century, some of which you never played live?
GW – No, I know it’s not a very interesting answer, but they seemed to be just as we left them. I would like to say that I had some kind of spirited re-kindling with the songs, but didn’t happen.
ITTO? – I have friends who have seen you numerous times on this tour already and they’ve all commented about how you just keep getting better every show, have you noticed a progression? Are you a better live band now than you’ve ever been?
GW – That is true. Nothing prepares you for tour like touring. I believe we are better now than when we were actually a band. It definitely hurts more now.
ITTO? – In 2012 this blog counted down the top 100 emo songs of all time and ‘&serenading’ was number 1! What’s your favourite Mineral song and has it changed since you’ve reformed?
GW – Favorite is parking lot, and no. We would be a damn fool to change any of it. But &serenading is my wife’s favorite as well.
ITTO? – Do you have anything special planned for your Euro/UK shows? Do you have any idea what to expect over here?
GW – Nothing special, we’ve added a new song, 80-37 to the list (well new to the list but not a new song, as it were). I have been over here with a couple of bands and have a rough idea as far as some cultural differences and the like. (In Germany they like to make you pay to use the toilets!). But as for how people will receive us, I try not to expect or assume how a crowd will react to us.
ITTO? – There has been a massive resurgence in bands playing this type of music over the last few years and many bands have cited you as a major influence, do you feel part of the current ’emo’ scene? Or do you still identify yourselves as still very much a 90s band?
GW – I feel much more like a 90s rock band, but I can use the word emo in the same sentence as Mineral. As for a current emo scene, I’m not sure I know who that would be. I am 43 and listen mostly to podcasts and music recorded before 1980. I never made music with the intention of influencing anyone, but it is nice that some bands point to us as inspiration.
ITTO? – I see you’re still announcing tours/festival appearances, what else is next for Mineral? Any plans to bring back any post Mineral bands (Gloria Record/Imbroco/Pop Unknown) ?
GW – After this tour, we play a festival in Belgium and Spain in May. After that, maybe nothing, not sure. There is some talk of South America, but difficult to say. I don’t see any of my old bands doing anything, but might talk to the other fellas about their intentions.
ITTO? – And finally. I bought my first Mineral album in 1998 when you had already split, I never dreamed that almost 17 years later I’d get to see you play live. Is there any band you would absolutely love to see reform?
GW – If I could go back to 1977 and see led Zeppelin that would be my wish. But without time travel, ummmm a Seattle band called these arms are snakes, a fantastic Seattle band. Super kick ass. See you at the show.
ITTO? – Thanks so much Gabriel