Ex-Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ guitarist, Nate Albert, stands on a quiet street in Miami’s Design District, unloading gear from a tour van with his new band the Kickovers. Scheduled to perform a late night set at Saturday’s popular club night POPLIFE, the eclectic venue, Piccadilly Gardens, is still in the process of entertaining dinner crowds, as Albert and the boys habitually begin to haul in their equipment.
Tiptoeing through the restaurant’s chic layout, it becomes apparent to everyone that this will not be a typical, punk rock show setting. The intimate and artful lighting and outdoor fountains are not familiar territory for someone like Nate Albert, who was playing sold out theatres and headlining summer tours in front of thousands just two years ago.
“Well, for me it is not about the ladder of success, it is about doing what you want to do and assuming that position. Yeah, I was in successful band, and I wanted to do another band, and here we are. There will always be someone ahead of you on the ladder, so you can’t get too worried about that,” said Albert.
The Kickovers began as an outlet for Nate Albert to write songs after he left the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in 2000 and began studying political theory at Brown University. Former guitarist for the Boston-based band the Bruisers and future Kickovers’ member Johnny Rouix, would visit Albert during his extensive study sessions at the local Starbucks near campus. Eventually the two started playing together in September of 2001, and by February of 2002 the band had officially solidified.
The Kickovers released their first album, Osaka, in April of this year, for which they began playing shows and touring selectively. While some musicians might feel a pressure to live up to the heights of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Albert seems to carry the opposite attitude and views the entire band as more of a liberating experience.
“The primary focus and goal of this band is to create something that, musically and sonically, we can stand behind,” he said.
“We would have been psyched for 100 people to buy our record,” added guitarist Johnny Rouix. “We all have other stuff going on so we are just having fun getting together and playing with our friends. Whatever else happens is great.”
When the Kickovers took the stage at 1 a.m., Piccadilly Gardens was packed with a mixture of curious punk rockers and confused shoe gazers. However, whether they were there for the music or for the drink specials and conversation, everyone seemed to enjoy the night, as the outfit ripped through a 45 minute set comprised of power pop from Osaka.
While this setting is a world away from his former days of headlining the Vans Warped Tour and Lollapalooza, Nate Albert makes it clear that he is thankful to have had those experiences but does not wish to recreate them.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of getting big time promotion on a major label and having someone say, ‘hey you should really dig this guy,'” says Albert.
“All of that is outside yourself anyway. Let’s say our band just sold 2 million records. Our day would be just the same except we would be on a tour bus and showing up at a bigger place. If you get too wrapped up in that, you are toast.”
For more info visit www.thekickovers.com
Turner Sparks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org