INTERVIEWS

Cosmic Rock

For tonight’s interview we caught up with very popular singer Mark Duda and bassist Jason Mischel from the New York based rock group The Handful. The guys have been working on a new album after much success in recent years.  Joined by some guest musicians and friends the new album is in the finishing stages. We got the inside story from Mark and Jason.

1.Hey Bro good to hear from you. How have you been and what’s been going on in your world?

 

MD:      Always a pleasure to connect with you, Brother. Since releasing my solo EP last year, my attention has focused back to The Handful and finishing our new album. I’ve got co-founder of The Handful Jason Mischel with me to talk about the record.

 

2.Cool man you too. Yeah okay hey guys fill me in. I know you have been working on a new album. What’s the line up these days and didn’t you have some guest musicians come down?

 

MD:      The core lineup is the same as it was on 2015’s Sons of Downtown album.

Mark Duda: Vocals, Guitars

Jason Mischel: Bass, Hammond B3 organ, Moog, keyboards, piano, percussion

Bobby Rondinelli: Drums (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath)

Jimi K. Bones: Guitars (Joan Jett, Blondie)

 

 

Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys joined us again as a guest guitarist on a few songs.

 

 

 

JM:       We are also really psyched to have Jake Cinninger from Umphrey's McGee shredding on a couple of tracks.  He is a monster guitarist.  Mark and I were fortunate to hang with him backstage after a UM gig this summer.  Really nice guy.

 

3.Sounds great bro’s. What are your influences these days and how would you describe the album’s direction?

 

MD:      My influences are wide ranging, but typically within the rock spectrum. I vibe on everything from Sabbath to Skynyrd to Cro-Mags and lots in between. Whatever packs the proper emotion to tell the story. The trip I’m on right now is heavy and bright and we’ve definitely pushed our envelope a bit as a band this time around. You will hear everything from southern rock to metal, to punk to prog on this record, but it all sounds like The Handful - and in such a manner that it remains a cohesive work.

 

JM:      Personally, my influences are rooted in prog and classic rock.  More than any of our previous records, I think we really pushed the boundaries on some of the material on the new album in a prog direction while maintaining the sound our fans dig. 

 

4.Yeah for sure. What’s been inspiring your songwriting lyrically?

 

MD:      I am a storyteller, but the stories I tell are always informed by personal experience. I’ve definitely been through a lot in terms of my personal battles and that’s part of being human. I think our fans can relate to that.

 

JM:       When I contribute lyrically, Mark will tell you that I tend to go dark.  For example, on a new track called "Dying On The Vine", I was inspired by a real life experience where I was aggressively going after people who owed me money (I ended up winning, by the way).

 

5.How many tracks do you have cooking on the board?

 

MD:      We have recorded over 20 tracks for the new album. In a “business” environment that discourages long-players in favor of singles and Eps, we decided to go contrary and old school. So, we have enough quality tracks for a double album.

 

 

 

6.Cool man, you may end up putting out a double LP for sure. Where have you guys been recording and when can we expect a release

 

MD:      Almost the entire album was recorded at Mozart Studios in Little Falls, NJ, which is about 15 miles west of NYC. Cheetah recorded his tracks near Austin, and Jake recorded his in Chicago.

            We are mixing the album now, and then we’ll need to shop it. I would say the release is a good 6 months off.

 

 

7.Any shows coming up?

 

MD:      I’ll be playing The Bitter End in NYC with my solo band on 10/16. We plan to book shows for The Handful once we wrap the record.

 

JM:       Right now, we are really laser focused on finishing this record, which I think is our "Magnum Opus" if you will, as we have never attempted what would be considered a "double album".  It is the biggest, most expansive and complex thing we have ever done as a band, with a LOT of moving parts.  Once it's finished and we start rolling out our promotional campaign, we'll start addressing the live show.

 

8.Yeah I can dig it. Whats the scene like there these days?

 

JM:       I've been living in Manhattan for a very long time now, and one of the reasons why I never want to leave is because the scene is always vibrant.  Any given night, you can catch a great show, whether a veteran or a new artist, within walking distance or a short ride on the subway. 

 

9.That’s awesome bro. You catch any concerts lately that you really enjoyed and in what ways?

 

MD:      I made sure I caught the Misfits reunion which was absolutely killer. The bill featured Harley (Cro-Mags) Flanagan, Murphy’s Law, Suicidal Tendencies, and the Misfits. It was great to see that whole scene come together again. It felt like family. I was also fortunate enough to catch Alice Cooper twice this year and he never disappoints. His band is always amazing as well. Agnostic front was also pretty mind-blowing, and of course the Dead Boys are still bringing it.

 

 

 

JM:      This summer alone at Madison Square Garden, I saw Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and Jeff Lynne's ELO.  MSG seems to always bring out the best performances for any particular band, and these were no exception.  As I referenced earlier, Mark and I caught a fantastic Umphrey's McGee show at The Stone Pony at the Jersey Shore (this was Mark's first UM gig).  I'm also a Phish guy, so I went to see them on my birthday in Camden.  Like SP and ELO, Phish puts on a great light show to go with the tunes, which is something I really dig when I am rocking out at a show.  I also enjoy no frills straight up energetic bands, like the shows I caught from this great band from Austin called Reckless Kelly and this killer country-rock artist Margo Price who will go back and jam on drums with her band.  As you can probably tell, I go to all kinds of rock shows. 

 

10.Great guys. Look forward to hearing the new record. Any last words today for your fans?

 

JM: Stay tuned.  We are about to blow your minds.

MD: What he said 😊.