Max Collins is an alternative rocker who is known for being the frontman of Eve 6 and now continues his music odyssey with his upcoming solo album, Honey From The Icebox. I spoke with Max to discuss various Eve 6 songs, find out more about his solo career, and discover what music he listens to.
Alex Obert: First of all, can you take me through the influence and process of writing Rescue?
Max Collins: There’s sort of a funny little footnote that goes with that tune. I wrote the verses when we were on tour in Canada with The Flys. I wrote the verses in the back lounge of the bus and I remember thinking, “There’s something to this.” And I didn’t record it or put it down in any way. We went and played the show and then afterwards, I went back to try to remember the melody. It’s really simple, it’s barely a melody. But I couldn’t remember it. And to this day, I don’t know if the verse is exactly the way I first wrote it, I think it probably is.
Alex Obert: Would you say that referencing Jessica Rabbit is one of your favorite lines in an Eve 6 song?
Max Collins: Probably not, actually. I don’t know what my favorite line would be, necessarily. But it’s a fun song. It’s fun to play live.
Alex Obert: Where did the opening guitar riff come from?
Max Collins: I don’t remember actually, who came up with that. I think it was probably a studio creation, as most of that record was. It probably came from just trying parts in the studio, but yeah, I don’t totally remember to be honest with you.
Alex Obert: Who came up with the album title, Horrorscope?
Max Collins: I did.
Alex Obert: Was it a moment of saying, “I got it! THIS is the album title!”?
Max Collins: Well it’s never that simple when you’re in a band. You always have to argue for an idea, talk the other guys into it. I felt it was appropriate, because to me, lot of the record is about neurotic projection into the future. So it worked.
Alex Obert: Do you recall who you hooked up with to design the album cover?
Max Collins: I don’t remember the artist’s name. As it goes for the album cover, we wanted to do some kind of animation, an anime kind of vibe.
Alex Obert: Do you have a name for the girl on the cover?
Max Collins: Tony always called her Sasha.
Alex Obert: A couple of years later, how did it come about that the band was going to cover You Really Got Me for the film, The New Guy?
Max Collins: That came to us from the music supervisor of the movie. They wanted us to do that song and we agreed to it.
Alex Obert: What do you think of the band’s version of it?
Max Collins: I think it’s alright.
Alex Obert: Have you ever played it live?
Max Collins: No, never played it live.
Alex Obert: Would you ever consider it?
Max Collins: Probably not.
Alex Obert: Speaking of a live show and the setlist, how did it come about that Inside Out was referred to as Texas Tenda Blenda?
Max Collins: Wow! How did you know that?
Alex Obert: My friend has a signed Eve 6 setlist in his basement.
Max Collins: I have no idea. It might’ve been whoever wrote the setlist. There’s a good chance it was our drum tech, Gerald Fitzgerald. That’s his actual name. There’s a good chance it was him having a little bit of fun. The original name for Inside Out was actually Goiter. Our A&R guy said, “Yeah, probably definitely couldn’t call this song Goiter. Why don’t you just call it Inside Out? That’s from the chorus.” We agreed to do it.
Alex Obert: Speaking of a setlist, what do you wish you played live more often?
Max Collins: Actually, I’m pretty happy with the songs we play live. I feel like all our records had at least a couple good songs on them. We go with our favorites and just throw in a song like Anytime for whatever reason, it’s a fan favorite.
Alex Obert: For current live shows, how did Situation Infatuation develop as the band’s opener?
Max Collins: It’s hard to find that first song in the set. We only have a few that have really worked for us and that one does for whatever reason. Rescue does too actually, that song’s always a good opener. How Much Longer is a good opener. I think you need some tempo and you need the right melodic vibe and attitude. So that song just works.
Alex Obert: Tony (Eve 6’s drummer) stated that the song was influenced by living out his eighties dream. But what eighties music do you listen to?
Max Collins: I was never so much a New Wave Devo type. I didn’t grow up on eighties pop/rock, really. When I wrote the song, I wasn’t thinking, “I’m gonna write a song where there’s gonna be an eighties influence.” That was more just production treatment. So when I was writing the song, I was just writing a song. Writing lyrics and melodies, but it’s all good to me.
Alex Obert: What was the influence behind writing BFGF?
Max Collins: Lyrically, inspired by people that I know. We just kind of added to the lyric melody and made it rock.
Alex Obert: Do you ever have song topic ideas floating around in your head that you have yet to use?
Max Collins: Oh yeah. I don’t know if anything specific comes to mind, but I’ve written tons of songs and song ideas, choruses that have never seen and will never see the light of day. It’s just how it goes if you write songs. Sometimes you go back and get a whole-hearted idea from an old idea, turn it into a new idea, that kind of thing.
Alex Obert: I’m from Connecticut, do you have any memories of playing at the Mohegan Sun Casino Wolf Den or the Webster Theater?
Max Collins: Yeah, of course! We like to call the Wolf Den the Wolve Den, just to be really confusing and ridiculous. Casino shows are always kind of cool cause you just take an elevator down to the gig and the hotel rooms are usually really nice. The creature comforts are welcome when you’re used to Days Inns and the like. And that place sounds really good too. I’m sure we’ll play there again. We look forward to doing stuff.
Alex Obert: Do you gamble when you play there?
Max Collins: I don’t gamble. I’ve never really been interested in it. Nothing against it.
Alex Obert: So what are you into outside of music then?
Max Collins: Yoga, I’m actually a pretty obsessive yoga practitioner. Five, six times a week, I do this style called Ashtanga. It’s a two hour practice and I love it. That’s what I do outside of music, I don’t do much else, now that I think about it.
Alex Obert: When you work out in the gym, what’s your ideal music to listen to?
Max Collins: I actually don’t anymore since I discovered yoga. But back when I did, I found myself listening to Kasabian a lot. I’m a huge Fountains of Wayne fan, so I would probably listen to them too while on the treadmill. It doesn’t sound like proper music, but I love that band.
Alex Obert: On stage, you must get a work out, so what does it take to be a frontman?
Max Collins: When we’re doing an hour fifteen, an hour twenty minute set, I feel like it takes some physical endurance. I quit smoking and drinking two years back, so I’ve got pretty good health. Yoga helps you hold those high notes. (laughs)
Alex Obert: Off the top of your head, which musicians do you consider friends outside of Eve 6?
Max Collins: Well, I’m writing with Kenny Carkeet from AWOLNATION right now, he’s a good friend. And Brian Young from Fountains of Wayne plays drums for me with my solo stuff. Stacy Jones, he is the singer for American Hi-Fi and played drums in Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo, and now, Matchbox Twenty. He’s a good friend. Ryan Star is a good friend of mine.
Alex Obert: When playing shows in the nineties, which bands did you connect and get along with while on tour?
Max Collins: All the bands we toured with, really. Third Eye Blind, The Flys, American Hi-Fi, Marvelous 3. We were fortunate to go out with a lot of good dudes.
Alex Obert: Present day, what’s on your agenda for 2014?
Max Collins: Well, my solo record’s coming out. Hopefully middle/end of February. I made a video for it that will probably get flagged inappropriate on YouTube, which I’m really excited about people seeing. I’m going to do a push to Triple A radio with a song called Sports Bar. I’ll do more Eve 6 shows here and there and just a lot of songwriting stuff, staying busy.
Alex Obert: Favorite frontman?
Max Collins: I’ll say Mick Jagger.
Alex Obert: Band that puts on the best live show?
Max Collins: Oasis.
Alex Obert: Musician you wish you went to high school with.
Max Collins: Tom Petty.
Alex Obert: Favorite one hit wonder.
Max Collins: That 867-5309 song.
Alex Obert: Favorite album cover?
Max Collins: Beggars Banquet by The Rolling Stones.
Alex Obert: If you could listen to one band for the first time again, which would it be?
Max Collins: I’d say Runnin’ Down a Dream by Tom Petty. Full Moon Fever is the record that I had a spiritual experience with when I was really little. I was maybe ten or something and that song came on the radio. It was just the most beautiful thing I ever heard! It just completely transported me and that was sort of the moment when rock and roll got hooked in me.
Alex Obert: Band that should be or should have been bigger?
Max Collins: The Meices.
Alex Obert: Favorite bass song?
Max Collins: Joe #1 by Fugazi off of the record Repeater.
Alex Obert: First album you bought with your own money?
Max Collins: Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever.
Alex Obert: In closing, do you have anything you’d like to plug at the moment?
Max Collins: My solo record, it’s called Honey From The Icebox. You can get it now early at PledgeMusic.com. Go to Pledge Music and search my name, Max Collins. You can get the record, but there will be a proper release on iTunes and everything, hopefully mid/late February.
Alex Obert: Where can readers find you online?
Max Collins: I’m on Facebook, Max Collins on Facebook. @MaxCollinsMusic on Twitter and Instagram.
Alex Obert: Alright, well thank you very much for your time! I really appreciate it!
Max Collins: Thanks so much, man. Appreciate it!