To start from the top.. Tell me about who you guys are and how the Marked Men got started?

We are punk rock scientists who met at the University in Denton, Texas - the school of such other famous people as Peter Weller (from RoboCop), Bobby Fuller, and Roy Orbison. Three out of four of us - Jeff, Mark and Mike - used to have a band called the Reds. The Reds formed out of spite for living in a shitty little Texas town. The fourth Red (Chris) flew away to Japan, so we went back to the drawing board, honed our skills, sharpened our blades, and created the Marked Men.

What are your influences?

When the band started, I would say stuff like The Undertones, The Ramones, The Beat, The Kinks, Devo. The power pop thing was on our mind then, but now I don’t know anymore. Now we just work on writing songs. Lately, I’ve been loving pre-Beatles Rock ‘n’ Roll like the stuff recorded by Joe Meek and Bobby Fuller, Buddy Holly… stuff like that.

You’re moving in a more ‘poppy’ direction. Not only away from the Reds but also different than the earlier Marked Men - where are you going?

“Pop” is such a loaded word that it has begun to bother me. I really hate Pop Punk, for instance. I don’t think that we’ll ever get away from trying to write catchy songs. I’m simple. I like energy and fun. I really like melody, I like stuff that can make a mood, can pull you our of your own head for a while, let you in on a secret. I don’t know where we are going with it exactly. I guess you’ll have to be the judge of that after you hear the new record.

Tell me about the new album.

The new album came out in May on Swami records (John Reis’ label). I don’t know what else to say about it except that you are going to love it if you know what’s good for you.

You’re going on a Euro-tour in August - looking forward to it?

Fuck yeah we are! How could we not? We love it there. My only negative experience being in Europe before was that because we are from Texas, everyone loves to talk to us about George Bush. We fucking hate that peice of shit loser. As our friend Patrick from the Riverboat Gamblers pointed out, the bastard’s not even really from Texas. So yeah, don’t worry, we know.

Have you been touring a lot since Jeff came back from Japan?

Yes. Many short tours up to the Midwest, South West, California, Florida. This summer we will be out a lot, West Coast, East Coast, and Europe in August.

You’re playing the world’s coolest festival, the HoZac Chicago Blackout - which band do you look forward to see yourself?

BBQ. It’s perfect because we are playing right before him. That guy has the coolest voice. He was born in the wrong time. If he were alive in the ’50s, he would have been super famous. I wish that we were staying for the entire Blackout, but we have to head out to other shows.

What current bands do you like?

None. I hate them all. Well, that’s not really true, The Apeshits from Austin (who we recorded not too long ago). Our bass player Joe has a great band called the Gash. We recently played some shows with The Sultans. I love them. The Spits, Birthday Suits, Riverboat Gamblers, The Busy Signals, Shark Pants, Swing Ding Amigos, The Knockout Pills, Clorox Girls. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of others.

Also, the Swedish girls wants to know if you have any girlfriends? And the swedish gay community wonders if you’re gay?

Umm.. Swedish girls. Let me take a moment to think about them…. Alright, let them know that we are fine moral respectful upstanding young men with only good intentions. Unfortunately, two of us are married (not to each other) and Jeff is taken. Joe, however, is primed and ready to go. Joe wants your love, he needs your love. Joe is love and your dream come true. Concerning the gay community, as far as I know, none of us are gay. But you know, hell, if we’re in Europe anything may happen. We are very flattered that you are interested.

What kind of date would you bring a swedish girl/guy to?

Hmm, like the dating game. First, she would have to buy me dinner because I’m so damned poor right now, but she can be sure that it would be well worth the money. We would talk. Have a few drinks. I would make sure that she knew that I understood her feelings. I would say things like, “yes, you’re right, it’s hard to find the right person these days” or “time will heal all wounds”, things like that. I would then embrace her and we would make-out. At that point she would be, as we say here in the States, weak in the knees. She would melt like butter. Then, well, you know, we’re all adults here, I don’t have to explain what happens next. When we wake up in the morning, she would tear-up because I would have to leave. She would not try to stop me, though, because she would know that I’m a loner, a rebel, and I can’t be caged in by some silly relationship.

What can we expect from the Marked Men when you hit Europe this Summer?

Confetti and parades through the streets. Lots of sweat. I don’t know, what do you want from us? We do what we do. We play our songs. Do you need anything else? We don’t make sandwiches or serve drinks, if that’s what you mean.