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I'm With the Band: The Orwells feat. Criminal Hygiene


For the latest installment of this column, I interviewed The Orwells and Criminal Hygiene when they made a stop in Los Angeles at the Troubadour this past weekend. The Orwells are a relatively young band based out of Chicago, Illinois, while Criminal Hygiene are based out of L.A. Both bands have deep roots in punk and garage, and have a clear goal to make rock and roll stand on its own again. See what the boys had to say below.
Interview and photos by Maddie Sensibile


The Orwells featuring their pal Jack from Twin Peaks.

Introduce yourselves!

Henry: I’m Henry Brinner.
Mario: I’m Mario Cuomo.
Grant: I’m Grant Brinner.
Matt: I’m Matt O'Keefe.
Mario: We are the Orwells!

You released Remember When in 2012, then Other Voices and Who Needs You. What can we expect from the new record?

Mario: It’s more soulful. There’s some soul on it, there’s some swingin’ beats. You’ll like it.

What record or records have influenced you guys most as a band? I know you mention Is This It a lot on your Twitter.
Mario: Yeah, we talk about it. I love soul. I love like, Sam Cooke and really soulful stuff.
Grant: It’s all different for everybody. Everybody has different taste in music.
Mario: Lyrically, I love like, “Ooooh!” when you feel it in your heart. Pretty much just Kendrick.

If your music was made up of three ingredients, what would they be?
Entire band: Sugar, spice and everything nice.

Favorite festival you've ever played?

Mario: FYF!

If you could put on your own music festival, who would your dream headliners be?
Mario: Day one would be Waka Flocka for me.
Henry: Everybody’s dead, it sucks.
UO: They can be dead.
Mario: Oh, what the hell. Well, let me reiterate: Waka Flocka.
Henry: I think T. Rex, though.
Mario: Okay, T. Rex, Waka Flocka, and Har Mar Super Star.

If you could bring three things on tour and nothing else, what would they be?
Henry: Headphones.
Mario: Condoms, money and beef jerky.
Henry: My drums.

Now choose:
Taco Bell or Del Taco?
Henry & Mario: Taco Bell.

Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper?
Henry & Mario: Mountain Dew

Boxers or Briefs?
Henry & Mario: Boxers
Mario: We’re so similar.

High or low?
Henry & Mario: High.

Saturday or Sunday?

Henry & Mario: Saturday.


Criminal Hygiene.

Hi guys! Introduce yourselves.
Michael F: I’m Michael Fiore.
Michael H: Michael Hiller.
Sean E: Hello, I’m Sean Erickson! We met Fiore at an Italian restaurant; turns out he was pretty good at guitar.

You just released the "Withdrawn" 7". Can you tell me a little more about who has influenced your sound?
Michael F: Actually, I wrote that song the day... well, I stayed up all night because one of my best friends went to jail for a DUI. It’s about that general mindset and feeling. So, that was influential. I was trying to be Rod Stewart when I was singing; it’s true, that’s what I was going for.

What's your favorite record to listen to while on the road?
Sean: Unfortunately, we have one of those stupid radio hookups. We’ve just been around the L.A. area so far, so we can’t really listen to it. It’s all static.
Michael F: When I’m driving places I like to listen to The Faces, and I’ve been playing the Mac DeMarco album a lot.

If you could put on your own music festival, who would your dream headliners be?
Michael H: I can answer for Sean and say it’s probably gonna be Jimmy Buffett.
Sean: ZZ Top would be one of them. KISS.
Michael F: The Shins, Replacements, Fugazi, and The Cigarette Bums.

Now choose:
Pepsi or coke?
Sean: Pepsi
Michel H: Coke
Michael F: Coke. Cherry Coke.

Scrambled or fried?
Michael F: Fried over medium.
Sean: Scramble it, cheese it, sauce it.

Stones or the Beatles?
Michael F: Beatles, for the most part.
Michael H: Can you pick both?
Michael F: What era? That’s where it gets fishy.
Michael H: There’s more shitty Stones albums than Beatles albums.
Sean: They’ve been around longer. They’ve had their chance.
Michael F: I like Exile more than I like Let It Be. But I like Sgt. Pepper’s more than I like Satanic - whatever that shit is.

Since it's festival season, real shower or fake a shower?
Sean: Oh yeah, bum shower. Baby wipes and McDonald’s sink.
Michael H: Real shower.
Sean: Real showers are beautiful, but they’re not always available. You gotta make do with the hand driers.
Michael H: Both.
Sean: I’d prefer to be on tour where you have to take showers in weird places.