Pennsylvania's Title Fight come to Dada on Tuesday, November 13, with Pianos Become the Teeth, Power Trip and Single Mothers, in support of latest album Floral Green. Guitarist Shane Moran took time out to share the band's musical influences, his first show, and remind us Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! existed.
A friend of mine, who's a huge fan of Floral Green, called you guys "Seaweed Jr." I agree with that comparison but also Lifetime. Are you guys fans of those bands? If so, how did you get into them? Yeah, I think we're huge fans of those bands. Seaweed is really a great band. Spanaway is up there for me. I don't know about favorite records, but it's pretty important and influential. All their records, we've been listening to them for years, going to see them at the reunions whenever we can. When we got into them, a lot of our tastes, early on, were credited to the kind of scene we come from in Wilkes-Barre [PA]. We've always been the younger band in the midst of guys that were doing hardcore bands in their twenties. When we started playing shows, we started to really appreciate it. We were pretty impressionable and young so a lot of the older guys who hand us down shirts and records and tell us to check out this band, that band. I think that really helped us get a more sophisticated grasp on music early on.
Ned and Ben [Russin], who are twins in the band, their older brother Alex was always helping us out. That was really the main way I heard about new music. That's definitely how we heard about bands like Seaweed, stuff that's a little bit before our time. I remember my friend Adam burned me 30 CDs of bands I'd never heard of. Like, Biohazard, all this stuff. I remember [Lifetime's] Jersey's Best Dancers was part of that collection. I listened to it a few times and didn't understand it. I was 14, 15 and I kept listening to it. One day, it just clicked and they became one of my favorite bands.
It's nice to hear Jersey's Best Dancers be mentioned because a lot of people go for Hello Bastards. For me, Jersey's Best Dancers is their best record. I don't know. Jersey's Best Dancers was the first one I got into, but I might prefer Hello Bastards. I think Hello Bastards was more them discovering their sound. I think they're both awesome, but I think Hello Bastards is pretty progressive for the scene and the time that it came out.
Did you like their last record [2007's Lifetime]? I thought it was pretty good. Yeah! I liked it a lot. It's everything I like about Lifetime, you know? The lyrics are still cool, so yeah.
There was such a big hubbub about how they were going to release it on Fueled by Ramen. Now it's such a blip on the whole story of that band. Yeah, that kind of stuff doesn't bother me. The music's cool, whatever.
What was the first show you remember paying to see? There are two. I'm not sure exactly which one came first. One of them was at this place in West Pinson, Pennsylvania. It was like a VFW hall. I can't remember the bands playing, but it was really awful high school bands. I knew a couple of the kids playing, so I just went and checked it out. Then my first real show that I [went] to was a band called Bedford from our area. It was their last show at a venue called Café Metropolis and I remember a band called True Identity played. It was awesome. I had only heard Bedford for a time and when I showed up, I loved every band even though they were all really different. I was really happy and excited. It had a huge impact. After that, that's all I wanted to do. Like, I went to every show at that venue even if I didn't know the bands. From there, I discovered what I liked.
Along those lines, you might have bought a 7-inch or a 12-inch from a local or touring band around this time. Can you remember the first piece of vinyl you bought? Vinyl, um. I'm trying to think. It's been so long. I remember at that show, I was familiar with Bedford but I didn't have any of their vinyl at the time. I don't think I really knew that that was the thing until I realized a few years it was part of the culture. I was a kid; I didn't really understand. But I think one of the first records I owned was from a local band called Frostbite. They were this really cool hardcore band. Ned and Ben's older brother played in that. They are one of my favorite hardcore bands to this day. I remember getting the 7-inch, reading the lyrics and being really absorbed in it. It was a self-titled 7-inch.
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For me, when I really got into pop-punk in '97, '98, I was such a huge Face to Face fan that I was committed to owning everything that they had put out. And not everything had been put on CD, so it's like, "Oh, they do a cover of Blondie's 'One Way or Another' on this 7-inch, so I'm gonna buy that." Even though I had not listened to a record since elementary school. Yeah! It's funny how it seems vinyl has had a resurgence in the past few years in the mainstream world. Urban Outfitters sells record players, but for hardcore punk bands, it's always been there.
Playing along with the band's name, did you ever play Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! on Nintendo? Yeah! That's a good game. Really hard though. I'm 22 years old. I'm the oldest one in the band. I remember playing Nintendo as a really young child. My dad got it for us and I remember playing all those games. Then I sort of rediscovered it as a teenager with emulators on the computer. I'd download all the games I played as a young kid and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! was one of them.
So far, what's the worst thing that's happened onstage to the band? Like, you break a string in the middle of a song or you hit the tuning pedal instead of the distortion pedal. I think that stuff happens all the time. For something to really make an impression, it has to be pretty bad. I'm trying to think. This didn't happen to me, so I can't speak for him, but our guitar player/singer Jamie got really sick before we played this festival this past summer. He was throwing up real crazy right before we played. Luckily, he held together when we got onstage.