By Michael Lello
Photos by Michael T. Lloyd
When we selected Those Clever Foxes as our current On The Rise Artist, the Scranton-based band was so enthused, it recorded two songs for the feature, posted below: an acoustic reworking of their tune”Florida” as well as a new one, “No Words.”
Those Clever Foxes — “Florida”
Those Clever Foxes — “No Words”
It’s a long way from the earlier days of the band, only two and a half years ago, when they started. Their first show, at The Keys in Scranton, was essentially a goof, they admit, with the band swapping instruments and trying to find ways to play songs that would get them onto different bills in the area.
“We knew we were a joke,” said Sean Flynn last Friday, as the band gathered for an interview on the deck outside The Other Side, where the band had a show. They play tonight, Friday May 30, at Four Fellas in White Haven, with Pasadena.
The band, made up of Flynn (vocals, guitar), Matt Duffy (guitar vocals), Doug Griffiths (vocals, guitar), Donnie Kirchner (bass, vocals) and Nick Lawrence (drums, percussion), still is interested in having fun, but it certainly is no joke, having since realized that they might be onto something. “We got to take things seriously,” Flynn said he remembers thinking.
Since then, the Foxes have played a slew of shows in Northeastern Pa. – including opening for Murphy’s Law at the now-closed Rattler in Pittston, and doing so well, being asked to co-headline with ML the next time – and outside of the area, at venues like The Knitting Factory in New York.
The band records at Griffiths’ home studio in Scranton, where they tracked their debut LP “Quincy Avenue,” their most recent release, the “Something You Can’t Take” EP, and the two songs presented here.
The band can be seen as an outgrowth of the mid 2000s post-hardcore scene that sprung from Wilkes-Barre’s defunct all-ages venue Café Metropolis, a scene which has been in the spotlight recently thanks to the international success of bands like The Menzingers, Title Fight and Tigers Jaw, even though Those Clever Foxes came along too late to ever get a chance to play there (its members played Metro in other bands, however).
Asked if the growth of the aforementioned acts has encouraged the Foxes, Lawrence doesn’t hesitate, saying, “It absolutely does.”
“It is very inspiring to see guys who played here, literally across the street,” said Flynn, gesturing to Main Street Wilkes-Barre.
While the band is relatively new, its members are experienced, having played in area groups like Echo Whiskey Charlie and Days In Transit. And Kirchner, Griffiths and Lawrence also play in the hardcore punk band Final Descent. But there seems to be something special with the Foxes lineup.
“It is definitely the most successful band I’ve been in,” said Duffy, who, along with Kirchner joined the band last August. Asked how the band has been able to measure that success, Kirchner gives a simple and humble example: “The fact that we do get asked to be on shows.”
“The mentality is different,” Duffy adds, joking that the Foxes’ approach “is almost like a responsible 16-year-old.”
With that in mind, and realizing that the Foxes embrace the DIY ethic that is a hallmark of any region’s underground/punk scene, the band hopes to release its next album through a record label.
“I do think a label is the first step,” said Griffiths, noting that such a relationship also leads to the engagement of a booking agent, publicist and other industry contacts that could help push the band.
However it works out, the Foxes’ passion for their music – and their future – is undeniable.
“This is what I want to do with the rest of my life,” said Lawrence.