The Tossers are one of Chicago’s most well known Celtic Punk bands. They have been making music since 1993. In this interview, we talk about life on the road, and what keeps them going.
Séafra: You’ve been making music for years now, what drives you to keep doing it?
The Tossers: It is just what we do. This band started 15 years ago. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun for us.
Séafra: You get to do what you love, why didn’t you fall into the rest of the rat pack and just breeze through life?
The Tossers: Everybody does what they want to I guess. For us we want to be in this band.
Séafra: You’re doing what we all want to do, what pushed you to do it and what keeps you going?
The Tossers: An opportunity. I think that we’re just lucky. There is nothing wrong with anybody doing anything, work a desk job, sling hot dogs, as long as it is what you want to do.
Séafra: How does it feel going from the guys who were the openers to the guys that are opened for?
The Tossers: We still open sometimes but it’s alright. It’s nice to know that people who know your stuff are coming and you don’t have to win anyone over.
Séafra: I see The Mighty Stef were on your last tour, what was it like seeing them do what they do having been there at one point yourselves?
The Tossers: It was murder. The Mighty Stef are a great band and they deserve to be headlining and I know about the whole cutting your teeth, and we have done it, but still I think that opening bands sometimes get the shaft and it takes too long for them to make money.
Séafra: Any advice for your opening acts and other up and coming bands?
The Tossers: I guess just stick with it. Make friends, be respectful. Have a good time all the time. Oh, and learn a little about the business.
Séafra: Anything that you wish you had done differently when you were in their shoes?
The Tossers: I think that we should have handled the business end better earlier. Instead we just kind of showed up and played shows, no rhyme or reason.
Séafra: To fans that have never gotten to go to a live show can you tell us if you have a set play list?
The Tossers: The answer is yes and no. We write a set list every night but only stick to it about 10% of the time.
Séafra: And on that note do you every improvise songs during live shows; throw new rifts in, change up a beat? Just to give fans something new?
The Tossers: We do that a lot. It keeps us interested to change things up a little.
Séafra: You guys have toured with many, many bands, what was your favorite show and why?
The Tossers: There are probably too many to list. Playing with bands we bacame friends with was always fun. Overall, probably playing with the Pogues in NYC for St. Pat’s in ’07. That was pretty great.
Séafra: Who have been your biggest supporters, especially when you first decided this was going to be what you did for a living?
The Tossers: Everyone. When it comes down to it I would see people at the bar and they knew that I wasn’t making any money and they would buy me a beer. Other bands, Murphy’s Law took us out and they were great to us. Great people. Family, everybody.
Séafra: What’s the hardest part about road life?
The Tossers: There is not a lot of privacy and you’re always on a schedule.
Séafra: What do you miss most while on tour?
The Tossers: Friends, girlfriends, your bed, your dog.
Séafra: What inspired you to pick up your specific instrument?
The Tossers: Nothing really. My brother won a guitar from a record store that he didn’t want so I started playing it cause I didn’t have anything else to do.
Séafra: Is there any brand loyalty, or will you play whatever you have to work with?
The Tossers: As long as it sounds good. I have played a different guitar on the last 4 records.
Séafra: What would you say, as a band has been your greatest challenge?
The Tossers: I think that we are quickly lumped into a genre and that is good in some ways and bad in others. One of those others is winning over people who reject the genre or consider us novelty. But it has happened.
Séafra: All right whiskey. Big question here, Choices and favorites, and what’s your beer backer?
The Tossers: I drink Jameson and I don’t have preference for the beer that follows
Séafra: And I have to ask, is it the Cubbies Year?
The Tossers: No. It would be nice to get it over with but I think not. That way if it happens I can be surprised. I’m more of a Sox fan anyway.
Séafra: I’d like to thank you guys for answering some things about live shows and music life, is there anything you would like to add in closing?
The Tossers: Thanks for the interview. We appreciate it. See you soon.