A couple of questions with Rob Carpenter of The Muckrakers
ALSO: The Muckrakers were featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: For those just learning about Front of the Parade now, can you give a nutshell summary of your career prior to its release?
Rob Carpenter: I'd love to tell you that our band has great stories of heroin abuse, throngs of groupies, and lighting cigars with $100 bills...but, that would be stretching the truth just a wee bit. I've always seen us as the little band that could. We started out as a two man band in Bowling Green, KY - while we were students at Western Kentucky University and kind of became the big fish in a small pond. When we finished college we relocated to Louisville, KY - and really had to start all over again, all the while gradually changing from a duo to a quintet. The big thing for us was MP3.com, which we were lucky enough to get into at the very beginning and had quite a bit of success with. Slowly we were able to build up a fanbase and attract the interest of labels. We didn't bite at first though. Maybe we had watched one too many "Behind the Music" episodes – but we really wanted to hold out for something that seemed genuine.
BE: Do you recall any anecdotes from the recording of the album?
RC: Prior to FOTP, we had self-produced our records – so for the first time we were going to be working with a producer. That's the biggest thing about the record for me. I really feel like it was during the two years of making the record that we finally started realizing what our band could be – and I think a lot of that is due to our producer. It was just such a great working environment.
BE: Did you expect the record to have a better commercial reception than it did?
RC: Yes, I did. I have to be honest about that. I was a little shocked...a little hurt...and a little mad that it wasn't. The record has done alright, but just nowhere near what we had hoped for. You put all your hopes and dreams onto a 60 minute disc and hope that it will have all the answers – but of course it can't. So I take solace in all the great things that have happened because of FOTP. All the people we got to meet and all the places we got to travel to.
BE: Are you pleased to find that it still maintains enough of a following to make its way into this piece?
RC: Definitely. Regardless of all the ups and downs of the past year, we all still think we're incredibly lucky to be able to be a part of this band. And also, we are all really proud of FOTP. So often, bands are embarrassed about past records...but not us. We still love it – so anytime you hear that someone else loves it feels really good.
BE: What are you doing now?
RC: What I'm doing now...in no particular order: changing baby diapers, counting down the days to the baseball season, finishing up the writing for the next record & starting pre-production, enjoying being at home for an extended time for the first time in a long time, missing being on the road, eating too much ice cream, catching up on all the music and movies and books I overlooked last year, debating about starting yoga, and starting up the Mike Farley Fan Club.
Check out The Muchrakers' official site for more info.