The Casualties – Mark Eggers (Drums)
Before heading out on their 3-month/8-week trek upon the 16th annual installment of the Summer Warped Tour, hardcore New York punks The Casualties’ percussionist Mark Eggers or “Meggers” as he’s known to be called, spoke with me about what his thoughts were on the band’s twenty year run – what the deal was with the band’s eighth LP to date “We Are All We Have” as well as what we can expect from the unexpected hardcore punks from the beaten up New York City streets.
So The Casualties have been around for twenty years now, do you guys plan to do anything special?
We played an anniversary show here in NYC last month. We brought out a lineup of bands we did a tour with in 1998 with the same price as shows back then it was only 7 bucks for “The East Coast Attack part deux” and with a price like that you’d get to see us, the Unseen, and Violent Society. It turned out great and we had such a good time. Other than that, we’ll just keep doing the usual, touring and writing as much as we can.
What is been the hardest part of being an active punk band for so long?
Growing with your music, and trying not to change too much -which really is not all that difficult for us. We are a hardcore punk band, it’s what we know and love. But we do not want to keep writing the same record. And we’ve grown to love so many different types of music. So we try to find a balance of staying true to our sound and roots, while still progressing with our own playing and new and old influences. Besides that we spend months at a time in a van with the same people for so many years, especially when some of them smell like a petting zoo in 100 degree weather.
Tell us about “We Are All We Have”. What do you think makes it such a great album?
We took a lot of time to write it, had a great producer again (Bill Stevenson), and branched out a little with different styles and sounds. We dabbled a bit with some reggae, though in a touch of thrash metal, and still stayed true to the band’s sound.
What’s the most pressing message you’re trying to get across with this record?
Unity. It’s still worth trying for. In these hard times of still being at war, and a plummeting economy, people have to stick together, look out for each other, and help one another.
How have people been reacting to it?
So far so good. It’s great, all over the world we have been playing the new songs and everyone has been singing along, and giving a lot of positive feedback.
Throughout your twenty year career span you’ve played the Vans Warped Tour on/off out of all of the times you’ve played it which would you say was The Casualties best year?
I think 2004 was my favorite year. We had just released “On the Front Line” the label was excited, we were excited and we just had a blast and made some great friends. That has remained friends since then. And The Damned was on a good chunk of the tour that year. There was just a lot of great positive energy revolving around the band that year.
The Casualties has continued to tour regularly with the Warped Tour. What has your experience with that tour been like and what has kept you coming back to the tour?
It’s a fun tour and it’s good for the band. I always loved playing the Warped tour and having a kid who has never seen us, or a band like us and changing his train of thought. There have been so many kids we have met on tour that would tell us, man…you guys are what I’ve been waiting for, and you just blew my mind. And these newer kids may have never seen us if it was not for the Warped tour, so it still continues to help the band grow and continue doing what we love.
You guys just released your eighth album; “We Are All We Have”, have you been working on any new material as of right now?
To be honest, no. We have some ideas and riffs in our minds, but we have been touring so much on this album, it’s tough to find time to sleep, then to keep writing. But we will always keep making new music for as long as we’re alive.
The Casualties seem to be a gateway band for younger kids that are getting into punk rock. Do you see a lot of your old fans sticking around or is it a constant influx of new kids?
Yes this is true. I’ve called us the weed of punk rock. And I am more than ok with this. In every city there are a handful of the old fans that are still into it, and come support us, and have become good friends with over the years. The majority of the crowds are newer and younger fans. Which I like this balance. We have the old dogs that we have grown to love and can drink with and reminisce with. And the new younger super eager, with lots of energy, kids making it a great experience.
How do you feel about explicitly politically active bands versus the more nihilistic “fuck everything” types?
One thing that I have always loved about punk rock. It’s for everyone. Some of my favorite bands are super political like, Crass, Aus-Rotten, and Dirt. And others are more of the fuck the world; sing about personal issues, like the Threats, GBH, Black Flag. So I believe there’s plenty room for all and all should be heard.
What is your favorite thing about touring and playing live shows?
I love traveling; I have slight ADD and like to be moving around as much as I can. And it’s cool just seeing people from all parts of the world that are into your music. I still get so stoked when I see kids singing along, dancing like crazy, and having fun cause of music that we created. Oh and free booze is nice too.
How long do you see yourselves continuing to write music, record albums and tour?
Wow, I have no idea. I cannot believe we have kept up what we’ve been doing for this long. So who knows? I hope at least for another 10 years.
There are a lot of fans who take what you guys have to say about society seriously. Does it worry you that you have the power to influence so many kids? Do you feel a sense of responsibility?
We are all responsible for our own lives. What we write about is in our own lives, which a lot of people can relate to. And we just want people who listen to us, to take that into count. It’s never really worried me before. I’d hope people realize that our songs are about life, and how we feel or have grown up in, and to just be one step ahead of the average person, and question and think about what they say or how they act.
Do you think that fans outside of the U.S. are also able to relate to what The Casualties sing about?
I think in a lot of place yes, absolutely. Every country or person has problems that we can all relate to. Whether it is economic, social, political, or personal, the bottom line is we all have problems. That’s life.
Thanks for doing the interview, anything you’d like to add?
Thank you and thanks for anyone who took the time to read this. And check us out this summer on warped tour. And if you do not like warped tour, just wait and we’ll be doing our own headlining tour shortly after. Cheers.