LOS ANGELES, May 29, 2014 — Masked Intruder is a four-piece punk band from Madison, Wisconsin. They are unique in that they are always wearing their masks to hide their identity. Each member has his own color and is identified as that color. The band released its self-titled debut album through Red Scare in 2012. After signing with Fat Wreck Chords, the label re-released the album in 2013. On May 27, Masked Intruder released their second full-length album, M.I., on Fat Wreck Chords. Masked Intruder’s singer and guitar player, Intruder Blue, took some time to speak with Wells On Music regarding discovering punk rock, the band’s formation in prison, prison life, their masks, and food.
Scroll below the video to read the interview.
Kevin Wells: What bands initially got you into punk rock?
Intruder Blue: For me, I would have to say one of the first ones was the Misfits and the Dead Kennedys, and then NoFX and Face To Face and Pennywise and Green Day. You know, I actually didn’t even think about that. Green Day might have been probably the first one maybe because I heard them on the radio, like Green Day and The Offspring, but I didn’t even realize that was punk rock or what punk rock was, you know. And later, I sorta worked backwards and started lookin’ at the older bands, ultimately coming to the Ramones, which are a big, big influence on us as well.
KW: Were you already playing guitar at that time?
IB: I actually started playing guitar so I could play punk rock, for sure. Before that, you know, I didn’t know. I thought maybe I’d play something else, I don’t know, maybe be good at piano or something because that’s a good way to get the ladies. If you picture Billy Joel or something sitting at a piano in like a piano bar and there’d be like classy ladies around. I thought maybe that would be a good way to go, but then [with] punk rock, you gotta play guitar. So that’s why it happened.
KW: How did Masked Intruder form?
IB: Basically, we were just incarcerated together and became friends because of the fact that we all had the different colored ski masks. It seemed we would just fit together like a team. Yeah, that was basically it. We all discovered we like pop music. We like punk rock. We like pop punk and we all like girls and stuff and we all like crime. So, pretty much the band just fell out of that, you know?
KW: How much does the masks suck when you have to play during the day at festivals in the summer heat?
IB: You know, it does get warm, but I don’t think it is even as bad for us just being out in the audience because there you’re just like completely sandwiched between other hot, sweaty people. Plus, the sun is beating directly down on you. We get some shade a lot of the time. So, it’s not too bad, really. The truth is that wearing a mask is probably a bit warmer on stage than for another band, but you know,it’s the price you pay for fashion.
KW: How many masks do you bring with you on tour? I imagine they start smelling bad pretty quickly.
IB: Yeah, it’s just like changing any other part of your clothes. You gotta change your mask. You gotta wash your mask, you know? It just depends on the length of the tour, but we wouldn’t be wearing the same mask two shows in a row. If we went a day without playing a show, we would wear one mask all day and then you would keep that mask going the next day, but if you play a show, you gotta change your mask. Otherwise, it’s gross.
KW: Do you have a mask for when you play and then a fresh mask for after the show?
IB: Umm, you know, I don’t personally, but it can be nice to get off stage and change into a nice, fresh mask because the one you got on might be sweaty or it might have beer on it or something like that.
KW: Will you guys ever unmask yourselves?
IB: I certainly hope not. I don’t think so. That would be like a nightmare for us, like doing a speech in school, but you’re naked or whatever. It’s the same way for us. We would not be comfortable. Plus, we wouldn’t even recognize each other. It would just be a confusing ordeal.
KW: How did Officer Bradford come to join the band?
IB: He started going out with us basically to keep an eye on us. It’s sort of like a court appointed type thing, like a court appointed officer of the law, like a chaperone type thing, maybe, kinda, but maybe not too because it may or may not be the case allegedly that one or more of us is not supposed to be out of prison? So, it’s not for sure whether or not Officer Bradford is completely on the level.
To tell you the honest truth, I think sometimes we catch him sneaking beers and stuff. So, I don’t know. He’s definitely got a party streak in him. We’ve really never done any touring without him, except the very first little mini tour we did. We actually did some dates with Direct Hit, just a few of ‘em and we didn’t have Officer Bradford with us for that one, but ever since then, he has been part of the crew.
KW: Masked Intruder has a new record out this week. What kind of touring will you be doing to support it?
IB: We pretty much got a full tour schedule for the rest of the year for the most part. We’re doing a bunch of time in the United States. Right now, we’re actually on our way to Omaha, Nebraska and then we’ll be in Springfield, Illinois tomorrow. We’re gonna back and do more of the Midwest and then the east coast with Direct Hit. That will be starting in mid-June. We’ll be back in the Midwest for D4th of July, which is on July 4th, you know, in Minneapolis with Dillinger 4.
From there, we’re going out west and we’re gonna be doin’ a tour with The Dwarves and The Queers coming down the west coast. After that, we’re playing Redding and Reeds Festival in the U.K. this year. That’s in August. Following that, we’ve got a bunch of tour dates in the U.K. and in mainland Europe; Italy, Germany, France, Spain, you know, all kinds of places over there. It’s gonna be a good time. After that, we’re gonna be doing the Gainesville Fest in Gainesville. From there, who knows?
KW: What’s the best advice you have for someone doing their first stint in prison?
IB: People say that the first day you gotta kill somebody or become somebody’s bitch. I mean, I don’t know that’s entirely true because you can pretty much coast in prison just keeping a low profile and stuff, you know, but every once in a while it sucks because you get picked on by some big d**k or whatever.
I mean, it’s basically just like high school. The best advice I can give somebody is to just remember the lessons you learned in high school. Don’t put a cherry bomb in the toilet, you know, ‘cause you’re gonna get in trouble, alright? And also, if high school is for you like it was for me, you’re not gonna get to make out with any girls in prison. And if there are any girls that want to make out with you in prison, chances are it’s not all what you think it is, alright? That’s the best advice I can give, I would say.
KW: What is the best thing you had to eat in prison?
IB: Oh, definitely the best thing I’ve ever eaten in prison is Green’s jailhouse burrito, which is actually pretty good. He uses these Jalapeño Cheetos, not the Flamin’ Hot ones, but the other ones. He uses those in his jailhouse burrito, which is a good little change of pace. And I don’t know what else he puts in there, some kind of secret ingredient, but it’s real tasty because usually the food they feed you is not so good. The best thing you can do is save up your bucks or whatever and go to the cantina and get you some chips, some Raman noodles and make yourself a little burrito or something.
KW: Did you ever get in good with the mafia guys in prison and enjoy their home cooked pasta meals like in the movie Goodfellas?
IB: No. I saw that movie, Goodfellas, but I don’t know that that is actually happening anymore. I mean, honestly, we all did a lot of time in prison and we never saw Ray Liota there once, at all. So, I don’t know that that actually ever happened, you know?
KW: What is the best food you have had while on tour?
IB: We’re pretty partial to Mexican food and I think that, in my opinion, San Diego and El Paso are probably the two best places to get it because, you know, they’re right next to Mexico and stuff, but there’s a lot of good food out there. We love going to New York. It’s a great food city, all kinds of just great everything. And then Chicago is a beautiful food city. Also, one of my personal favorite things I really like is in Cincinnati. They got that chili down there. They put it on spaghetti with cheese and everything. That’s delicious.
KW: Where can you find the best mac and cheese in Madison?
IB: That’s hard to say for sure. I honestly do not know. I don’t order a lot of macaroni and cheese out because I can make that at home or in someone else’s home and save some money. There is a place on the square called The Old Fashion and I believe they probably have a pretty good mac and cheese there. It’s a good place to go besides because they got a lot of Wisconsin stuff in there that’s pretty cool, a lot of cool Wisconsin beers and s**t.
Masked Intruder’s M.I. is available on Fat Wreck Chords. Check them out live in a city near you as they will be doing extensive touring in the U.S. and Europe in support of the new record.
Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball