INTERVIEW: The Interrupters

Published in The Music (NSW, QLD, VIC, WA) and, Sept 2014


They’ve won Grammys and written TV jingles through their respective solo projects, but now The Interrupters vocalist Aimee Allen and guitarist Kevin Bivona are back to their punk ska roots. Daniel Cribbdiscovers that it runs in the family.

LA-based 2-Tone ska/street punk outfit The Interrupters have only been kicking around for about three years, but the collective experience of the band’s members outdoes most seasoned acts by far. Vocalist Aimee Allen has collaborated with The Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Cliff and more, co-wrote Unwritten Law’s Here’s To The Mourning, and her trackCooties features on the Hairspray soundtrack, while guitarist Kevin Bivona plays bass with Transplants (Travis Barker, Tim Armstrong), has won a Grammy for his engineering and performance of Jimmy Cliff’s Rebirth and more.

It’s the various projects the pair has worked on with Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong that caused the formation of The Interrupters. “About a year after I met Aimee, she was making a solo album and we were co-writing songs together,” Bivona begins. “I was working on a Transplants record with Tim Armstrong at the time, and Tim heard some of the stuff we were working on and he was like, ‘I want to write with Aimee too,’ so he came in and wrote some songs on her solo record and I bought in my twin brothers to play bass and drums on it and work on it and by the end of recording, there was just such camaraderie between the twins and Aimee and I.”

“And all those songs on that first record didn’t make it,” Allen chimes in. “The only song that made it was Easy On Youand I’m happy with that because it led me to The Interrupters, and that’s way more fun.” An outfit born out of spontaneous and succinct creativity also led to an organic writing and recording period for the group, and their debut album was in the bag the end of 2012. “It’s weird to put out a record when you’ve never played a show so we went out and started gigging as much as we could,” Bivona explains. “We toured with Rancid, we were lucky enough to do some one-offs with Social Distortion, The Toasters, Mustard Plug and Left Alone. We just had to go out and see how we did live before releasing the record.”

A self-titled debut puts more focus on the band’s name, which can be interpreted in numerous ways. With three members of the Bivona family in the band, it’s only natural that it’s to do with them. “I’ll take this one,” Allen laughs. “We were trying to come up with a band name. We had a hundred names written [down] but kept crossing them off. The twins and Kevin’s mum came over to visit… I hung out with her for a couple of days and couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I looked at Kevin and said, ‘God, your mum is such an interrupter.’ Kevin was like, ‘That’s the band name’. We told their mum and she thought it was funny. She’s since let me say a little more in conversation.”