They're girl-crazy! They're criminals! They're Masked Intruder, the best thing to happen to pop-punk since the lead singer of the Ataris had an onstage meltdown and tore apart a drum set!
While the Madison, Wisconsin, quartet might've started off as a bit of a gimmick—four dudes wearing different-colored ski masks, never revealing their true identity while bragging about running from the cops and playing catchy pop songs about chasing the women they love—Masked Intruder have become one of my legitimately favorite bands. On their self-titled full-length (released last summer and then rereleased on Fat Wreck Chords earlier this year), the band gives a fresh perspective on the testosterone-soaked genre, showing that it's not always cool when dudes obsess over women. They mock pop-punk while also successfully participating in it.
In the song "Heart Shaped Guitar," they combine their two favorite hobbies—women and crime—by breaking into a house to serenade the love of their life. Instead of the woman swooning, as many men seem to assume a woman would do in such a situation, Maura Weaver of the band Mixtapes provides the not-so-stoked (and much more realistic) female perspective, singing lines like, "Why are you standing there at 3 a.m. out in my front yard?/Singing stupid love songs on a heart-shaped guitar/And I don't want to hear it 'cause I don't even care/The police are on their way, so just stay right there."
I recently spoke with singer/guitarist Intruder Blue about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Katy Perry, and why he can't get a date—to get the full effect, read everything he says in the voice of Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley.
Congratulations on the recent success! You signed to Fat Wreck Chords, went on a European tour, released a great new music video...
Yeah, thanks, it's been pretty fuckin' cool. Europe was great—it's pretty weird over there. Some of the people don't speak English and everything, but people are really enthusiastic at shows, and there's quite a scene for punk rock. There are very few cops over there, compared to America, so that was pretty cool.
Has having a higher profile made it harder to get away with your crime-riddled lifestyle?
Not yet. Luckily, I don't think a lot of cops listen to punk rock or follow punknews.org or nothin'. If we ever tour with Katy Perry, that would make me worry. But it'd be worth it.
How's touring going in the summer, with the masks and the heat?
It can be very uncomfortable. The trick is to just stay hydrated. The first thing you think is that you gotta drink a bunch of water, and you start getting bummed out, but then you remember that there's water in beer! But yeah, it gets pretty hot, especially when there's not a lot of ventilation. Every once in a while, you play an art space or something, and it can get pretty grueling, but show business, you know? You've gotta do it. Plus, we look pretty snazzy. We look kind of like reverse Ninja Turtles or somethin'.
Do you guys ever do any Ninja Turtle cosplay on tour?
We have never pretended to be the Ninja Turtles. We would do that, but we are two things: (1) not very good at karate or whatever, and (2) also not giant turtles.
Since a lot of your songs are about unrequited love, what's going to happen to Masked Intruder when you get the girl? Can the band exist with a happy ending? I'm just thinking of songwriters in the past who were really great when they were really sad, and then once their life started to turn around, they weren't so good.
That's a total pie in the sky. It seems unrealistic to me.
Have you ever thought of going on a show like The Bachelorette, being a contestant on there? Maybe you'd get a date.
Yeah, that would be pretty amazing, but those dudes are all pretty ripped, you know? Maybe I gotta work out a little bit more. Which, if one of us goes away for a while again, you know, in the pen, and comes out in good prison shape, we could put in an application. You think they'd let us on a show like that?
You know, they're always looking for variety. I don't see why you wouldn't have a shot. You could get spray-on abs.
We should probably do an audition tape. That's a good idea.
The worst that could happen is they won't be into it.
Yeah, that's what everyone says. "The worst that could happen is rejection." Well, yeah, that's terrifying.
Is rejection the scariest thing to you?
Well, yeah, isn't it scary to everybody?
It's scary, but I don't know if it's the scariest thing.
No, that's true, spiders are pretty scary. I'm not, like, scared of spiders if I just see one in a movie... actually, that can be scary too. If there was a spider in my shoes I'd get the heebie-jeebies like crazy!
What if there was a spider in your mask?
I don't even want to think about that.