Q&A: The Inner Party

Q&A: The Inner Party
Staff Photo Nick Brothers The Inner Party (from left to right), Dave Morris, Jimmy Holloway, Simon Martin and Keith Miller, practice their set for Tuesday’s Lightbulb Club show.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
The Inner Party (from left to right), Dave Morris, Jimmy Holloway, Simon Martin and Keith Miller, practice their set for Tuesday’s Lightbulb Club show.

One of the longest running Fayetteville alternative/post-punk bands, The Inner Party, is alive and well and are playing a show this Tuesday, Oct. 6 at JR’s Lightbulb Club.

The show is with Fayetteville prog-rockers Friday, Maybe Saturday and the New Jersey-based Desir Decir, and the cover is $5. If you’re looking for a unique show that goes against the grain, Tuesday night at JR’s is the place to be.

The Inner Party consists of the two core songwriters Dave Morris (bass) and Keith Miller (vocals, guitar) along with Jimmy Holloway (guitar) and Simon Martin (drums). Morris and Miller have been working together off and on since 1999, and formally started The Inner Party in 2007. The band has had eight different drummers throughout the course of its history, and at first, the band improvised and used a desktop computer as a drum machine.

With songs about the federal minimum wage, (the chorus of that song is “Minimum wage, HA HA”), the band lyrically is anti-establishment in the way you might expect from a punk band. The band name, The Inner Party, comes straight out of George Orwell’s classic 1984 as a literary joke, as The Inner Party was the highest group of powerful people that ruled over the rest of the population.

Check out our Q&A with Dave Morris about the band’s lifespan and their take on their music:

TFW: I gotta say, you guys have beaten the odds in terms of longevity. Most bands seem to only last about two years.

MORRIS: Right. We actually did have a break up in there too. I guess it was 2009, in the early days. Keith and I had a difference of opinion in what we were going to do. We couldn’t give it up and now we have a pretty specific set of goals we want to accomplish. We have an agreement with each other that we won’t break up until we check off our little checklist. If it’s not viable or not fun at that point, then we can put it to rest and feel like we gave it its due.

One of the things we’re focusing on now is we want to reach that 100 show threshold. I’m a compulsive list maker, and I keep track of everything. Our website shows our past shows and we’re at 71. Like you said, not a lot of bands make it past two years, and we’re already defying the odds that get in 100 shows. We could at least have that legitimacy of saying “We’ve got 100 shows.” The main thing is getting our songs properly recorded and released. At this point we have another record we want to do. Once we get over 100 shows and get all that stuff recorded, that will be the bulk of the checklist at this point. I also want a couple shows video recorded.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers The Inner Party

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
The Inner Party

TFW: When you guys formed the band, what was the vision? What did you want to do?

MORRIS: We never wanted to limit ourselves. In a way I sort of envy those people who say they only play metal or country or whatever. It gives them parameters to work within and can give them a built in audience. The kind of songs we write together are kind of stylistically all over the board. Generally, we kind of fall under the post punk genre, which is one of the most ambiguous terms in music. There’s definitely punk influence and the way we do it and the spirit. Lyrically, we’re definitely punk. Nowadays, if you say punk, people think NOFX or something. No offense to NOFX, but what we’re wanting to do is broader than that. The way we used to describe it to people is we wanted to have a band that would have been on Sire Records in the 80s. The Smiths, The Ramones, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

TFW: What’s an example of a song that goes beyond the post-punk sound?

MORRIS: The Inner Party Makes A Mess album is a pretty good example. It’s almost broken up into sections. If we put the last four songs on there out as an EP, the few people that actually follow our band and care about this would think, “Oh wow, these guys have really done something different!” There’s a lot of acoustic guitars and it’s slower stuff. Ninety percent of our stuff is loud guitars, fast rhythms, anger. Stylistically, even though we don’t sound like Bob Dylan, a lot of the stuff we do I consider in the tradition of old folk and protest songs because there’s a lot of issues that we’re kind of bitching about. The song Minimum Wage is probably the most salient example.

The term minimum wage implies, well as long as you have this you’re going to be okay. But it’s clearly established by not only scientific studies, but also common sense that in 2015 you can’t live off minimum wage. At the time it was written was at the depths of the new recession in 2010 when I as a graduate degree holding man was having trouble finding a job. I didn’t go into grad school level debt to work at McDonald’s. It was sort of a mocking response to people who mock those who are out of a job or judge those that don’t make much. We wanted to write songs that people in poverty could relate to or find strength in and songs that people in the 1 percent would be offended by.

TFW: What does the music you make mean to you?

MORRIS: It’s the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do. I didn’t feel fulfilled in school and debate, so for me, this is sort of fulfilling my purpose. As far as traditional measures of success in where you are in life and stuff it’s actually been pretty detrimental in my life. For example, I’m underemployed for the kind of job I have with a masters degree, but I stick with it because it’s a way better fit for what I’m trying to accomplish. It’s something I don’t feel like I have a choice in doing. I’ve got to get it out of my system. That being said, I think there’s a lot to be said for knowing when to quit and realizing when your career is running its course. Even if we were a major label successful band. I want to show up, say what we have to say, and after that if the muse is no longer speaking we call it a day.

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