LOS ANGELES, March 5, 2013 — Mark Civitarese is the lead singer of a few different punk bands, most notably, The Unseen from Massachusetts. Mark took some time out of his day to discuss The Unseen and his new band, Tenebrae. Here is part two of the interview.
KW: Any plans for a U.S. Tour with Tenebrae?
MC: I’m not sure. I’m kind of at a point in my life where I’ve been everywhere, almost. I’m really lucky to have been able to go to the places I’ve been to; Australia, Japan, all across Europe numerous times. I’ve been everywhere in the U.S. more times than I can count. I’m at a point now where I own my own house. I run my own landscaping company. I have responsibilities to be home. With Tenebrae or The Unseen, either one, I’m still open to tour, but I can’t go away for a month at a time like I used to. I’m more into doing something that’s a week or two weeks long.
Going to California and maybe doing a west coast thing is something I want to do with Tenebrae and possibly The Unseen this year or maybe one this year and one early next year. I don’t think I’ll sit in a van and drive across country and play Iowa or Nebraska and all these smaller places anytime soon because I’ve done it for so long and I’ve kind of moved on to another stage in my life.
KW: What is your favorite city to play?
MC: There’s a few, it’s hard to pick. I’ve always liked Chicago. I’ve always had really good shows there. Berlin has always been really fun to play. L.A. has always been great, or the areas around L.A. like Pomona. The Unseen has had a lot of great shows at The Glass House in Pomona. Those would be my top picks and Tokyo. We went to Japan with The Unseen and we actually played Tokyo three times because we were there for a month and all of those shows were amazing. The crowd was great.
KW: What is the craziest thing that happened you were on tour?
MC: It’s funny because we toured so much that we got so used to bad situations, you know what I mean? Sometimes something would happen and then it wouldn’t even seem like it was that big of a deal. Let me think. We stayed at this one hotel, we were on Warped Tour, and sometimes we would try to leave a little bit early because usually you were stuck there until about ten or eleven at night and then you had to be at the next venue at 7am and the drive was usually the drive is like six hours. So that would leave no time to sleep. So sometimes we’d try to sneak out early, if possible, so that we could go to a hotel and not be sleeping in a moving vehicle for once.
We stopped at this one place, I remember, in Waco [TX]. I can’t even describe out how unsanitary and crazy the hotel was. I got my own room because it was super cheap. I had some money on me and I just wanted to be away from people for five hours or the amount of time we were going to stop. So I got my own room and I go up there and there was a full size fridge in the hotel room, which was kind of weird because usually hotels have smaller refrigerators. Then I realize it’s not plugged in and I open the door and it’s just like flies everywhere and mold. It’s something out of a bad movie. The air conditioning didn’t work and this was Texas in August. It was just like completely filthy and I’m not picky about where I stay. I’ve stayed in, you know, squats, warehouses, you know, I’ve slept pretty much in every condition and this hotel that I was paying for was way worse than dirty punk house I ever slept in.
KW: You had a record label, ADD Records. What happened with that?
MC: When we were touring all the time, I was getting to meet so many good bands that weren’t getting recognized by labels. I knew I could sell stuff especially if the band was going to be touring, back in the mid to late 90s. It’s something I did to help bands that I actually really liked and that I thought would potentially go on to be on bigger labels. Then I would think, I’ll have their first record and it will be cool to have the first thing they did. It will be something that people will always want and be more limited because I didn’t have major distribution. I would press quantities of 1000 at a time.
As it got into the mid-2000s, I just started noticing that I was selling less CDs and some of the bands were doing really well. The shows were really good and they were touring. Clit 45 was touring all the time and Global Threat was touring all the time and it’s just like I wasn’t selling. It was getting harder and harder to get checks from distributors when you send them stuff. I used to put my money into it and I would see a return. It might have taken a while, but I would see a return. After a while, it would be like I’m not seeing anything back now. I’m starting to go into debt because of this. It’s not worth it for me to lose thousands of dollars to help a friend’s band out. I just stopped doing it.
A lot of distributors that I was working with at the time were starting to go out of business. I got screwed over by a few distributors by never getting back what I sent them. I never got money or the product back. It was like, I sent you 500 CDs and you won’t return my emails or my phone calls and you never sent me a check. I just lost all that money. It just got to be too much. Also, The Unseen was so busy at the time that I didn’t have time to really be home and deal with following up with distributors and promote all the bands.
KW: If you could go back to 1993, what advice would you give yourself before starting The Unseen?
MC: We’ve definitely made some mistakes, but for the most part I don’t really regret anything we did. We always seemed to have decent shows. We never made tons and tons of money, but we made enough to go home, pay our bills, keep the van running, and go back on tour. I’ve played with almost every band I wanted to play with. We toured with a lot of great bands and been all over the world to places I’d never go if I wasn’t in The Unseen. I don’t really know if I would change much of anything. Except maybe be a little bit more organized as far as the early tours, as far as preparing when you leave, as far as directions to where you’re going. I don’t really have any regrets or anything I could change.
KW: Is there anything else you want the fans to know?
MC: Definitely look for The Unseen to be doing some stuff in the next year or year and a half. I don’t think there is going to be any extensive touring, but I think we’re gonna be looking to do things like short, small tours. If there’s some sort of small or mid-level or big festivals going on, we’ll try to get on doing something like that and maybe play a couple small club shows based around it just to make it worthwhile to travel.
Playing big festivals, to me, sometimes they’re great, but I personally like and most of the guys in the band like being in a smaller room where the energy is just people going off, everyone is close in your face, but the reality is The Unseen is the type of band that can get on some bigger shows and that makes it able for us to actually go out and do the smaller shows. I would say just look for us to be playing.
Look for a Tenebrae full length definitely sometime this year. We’re writing and playing shows. Also look for Tenebrae to be going out and doing dates as well. You can follow all the news on the Facebook pages, my Facebook page, The Unseen Facebook page and the Tenebrae page will have any info will once we get anything, it will be posted up there.
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