The River talks to Yellowcard

The River‘s exclusive interview with Yellowcard reveals just what they think of Kingston fans.

By Laura Rietz

This isn’t just another punk-rock band from the US music factory. Take a violin, a bass and a gritty voice and you have Yellowcard.

Sean Mackin, half Irish and half Japanese, has been playing the violin since the age of six. He is one of the two remaining original members from the band’s 1997 line-up.

“It was a humble beginning,” he says. “We wanted to be punks who stand out without unnecessary effects. Just like the Californian punk band NOFX and other artists we grew up with. When Ryan [Key] joined us in 1999, his voice gave me the chance to bring my violin skills into the project. Instead of just condensed, angry songs we had some great melodies.”

“Kingston one of the greatest shows”

An excited Sean is buzzing at The Peel in Kingston where the boys have played two gigs. 

“Kingston has been one of the greatest shows so far. And I promise, I do mean that.”

He says London is “a bit like New York in terms of fans. They know so many types of music that it’s easy to connect with them.”

Sean admits that the British crowd is hard to top when it comes to spreading the rock and party vibe.

“Brits are more of the brawler kind. More beer is thrown around and they totally freak out. I always hear shouts like: ‘Oi, play that song!’ We love that fun-loving spirit at our gigs,” he says.

People can get pushy and abusive

The band is touring with their new album, Southern Air, which they wrote to remember how much they truly love every part of life in a band.

Unfortunately though, a life of fame and publicity is not all completely positive and without lows. 34-year-old Sean says that people can get pushy and almost abusive sometimes.

“Once, someone ripped off one of LP’s dreads [the bands drummer Longineu W. Parsons III]. It’s not just them saying that they love your music. They grab your jacket and shout: ‘Don’t be an idiot and give me a damn picture’,” he recalls.

Fans become close friends

In 2011, Sean was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and all of a sudden he was forced to come to terms with the fact that cancer can affect anyone, however busy or successful they are. Having cancer also made him realise that fans can become close friends during the harder times.

Fans set up a project called ‘Strong for Sean’ making bracelets to sell to other fans and in his honour, the group then made a donation of over $1,700 (£1130) to the American Cancer Society.

“It was really moving when they gave me my personal bracelet and a book with the good wishes they had collected. I will never forget that.”

The five-piece ensemble hope to play at Leeds and Reading Festival this summer, though nothing is confirmed yet. Now, they are continuing to promote their new album Southern Air, (iTunes, £7.99).

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