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Updates & Stuff

Hey there! It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update. Here’s some news:

-We’ve been working on a new album, on and off, mostly off. It’s slow going but we have a bunch of songs now and I think a lot of them are pretty great. We just need to flesh them out some more and hopefully we’ll have a new record for ya’ll before too long

-I started another band called Partial Traces awhile back. It’s a lot mellower, more indie pop/rock than Banner Pilot, so you might not dig it. Or, you might! You can check out our first album Glass Beach over at our Bandcamp page

-Fest and Pre-Fest a few months ago were our first shows in quite a long time and they ruled. Was super fun being back there and seeing a ton of friends

-We are playing Chicago at the Metro with The Lawrence Arms in April, definitely excited about that one. Tickets on sale this Friday. I bet you can figure out how to find them using Google or whatever.

That’s about it, I think? New shows and new tunes soon*, check back! – Nate

(* “soon” being defined, you know, loosely)



Have seen a few of these tattoos now— super cool! If you were thinking about getting a tattoo, but weren’t sure what to get, just get one of these. Easy! Thanks to Geffen Refaeli for the rad album art. Check out her other stuff, too; hell, you could tattoo your entire body! It’ll rule! – Nate


Pre-Fest / Guitar “Jams”

Thanks a ton to everyone who contacted us about playing guitar. The response was great; way more people than we expected. If we’re interested in doing an “audition” (I can’t think of a better way to put that…. “Jam Session”? There, that’s better) with you, expect to hear from us soon (if you haven’t already). For everyone else, thanks a bunch for expressing interest, and best of luck with your own musical projects! (Some of them sounded super cool!)

We actually had our first two auditions/tryouts/jamz earlier this week, and have a few more coming up soon. Cool!

Unrelated (well, kind of related as I suppose we need to find a guitar player in order to do this), we are playing Pre Fest again this year! (As well as “normal” Fest) It was really, really fun last year. I mean, I knew it would fall somewhere under the umbrella of being “fun” but it was a lot cooler than I expected. So don’t sleep on it this year! More info at their site.


Jawbreaker Lyrics & Shows & Things

I know you probably can’t tell from our music, but believe it or not, we’re big fans of Jawbreaker. So much so that you can read an in-depth discussion of our favorite lyrics by them over at Noisey. Go check it out!

Also: our album Souvenir is now officially out! You can pick it up at iTunes or Spotify, or buy a physical copy from Fat Wreck or Interpunk or a bunch of other different places. Hope you dig it.

On the fence? I encourage you to be more decisive and just buy the damn thing. But maybe some reviews will help. Alternative Press. Already Heard. Kill Your Stereo…. Just to name a few.

Finally, don’t forget that we’re hitting up a bunch of places in the Midwest and East Coast in May; click on Tour up there.


Our New Album

COVER PICHello! There is a bunch of new and exciting news in Banner Pilot Land so let’s get right down to it and not bother with any goofy and pointless run-on introductory sentences like the one you’re reading right now: We have a new album called Souvenir! It comes out April 15th on Fat Wreck and we are very stoked about it. If we were bummed about it, I would still lie and tell you we were stoked. But I assure you, we are actually stoked! You can go check out the first single, Modern Shakes, at Noisey. And you can preorder the record over at Fat or iTunes (just click on the iTunes logo on this page).

We’re playing a few shows in the Midwest and East Coast; check out the Tour link on the top of the page.

We are playing the greatest festival in America, The Fest, again!

We have a freshly revamped website, which you are looking at right now. Thanks to Erica Ruch for all the help in making it work and look great.

And there’s going to be a lot of other cool news in the next few days, so check back. Talking about t-shirts, videos, 2nd singles, you name it.


Recording a New Album!

In Exciting News, we’re recording our 4th full length album this Friday! I mean, not the whole thing. That’s just when we’re starting. Here’s what Fat posted about it:


Banner Pilot are gearing up to hit the studio this October with producer Jacques Wait (Prince, Off With Their Heads, Soul Asylum) over at The Terrarium. Check out what Nate from BP had to say below!

“In early October, we will be heading into the studio to record our 4th full length record. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Jacques Wait, at The Terrarium in Minneapolis, just as we did on Collapser and Heart Beats Pacific. (OK, technically, yes, we could be “more excited”—- if the studio had a trampoline or something, we would probably be slightly more excited, but suffice to say we are VERY excited as-is).

We have 12 new songs and I think/hope we’ve struck the right balance between the extremes of “Do exactly what you did on your other albums” and “Completely re-invent yourselves”. I think the new songs are a little different. but in a good, natural way. One example is that on previous records, the rhythm guitars were doing power chords probably 95% of the time. This time around, it’s more like 70%. But it’s not like the other 30% is ska, or polka, or whatever—the changes should be noticeable, but not jarring. Hopefully, the average listener will think, “You know, this sounds a little different, but I can still tell it’s Banner Pilot”, as opposed to, “Oh my god, what are these idiots trying to do?” We’ll see, but I think people will dig it.

Once the album comes out, we’re hoping to hit up some of our favorite spots in the US, maybe get back to Europe, maybe get over to somewhere new like Japan. We all can’t wait to get some new music out there, and then go and play it for all of you (or at least those of you who happen to be within a reasonable proximity to the geographic areas we perform said music in).”


Check back here, and/or our Facebook page for sporadic updates from the studio. Looking back, it looks like I did exactly one studio diary for our last album and it was a real gem, so get stoked. Actually I guess I technically did a 2nd studio diary when we were almost done. Either way, I’ll try to keep up that pace this time around!


Europe 2012 Part 1

Here is installment #1 of a multi-part blog/diary of our 2012 European tour. This covers days one and two. – Nate


Day One: Volcano-Free Flying 

In the spring of 2010 a volcano with the catchy name Eyjafjallajokull erupted in Iceland, spewing a gigantic ash cloud across Europe and disrupting the travel plans of countless people, including us, hoping to fly from Minneapolis to Paris to begin a tour. The entire tour was in doubt right up until the day of our flight, when officials in charge shrugged and said, “Well, the cloud is still here, and is possibly dangerous, but since we’re losing money… eh, screw it” (in so many words). Our Minneapolis to London flight was OK’d that afternoon, but I still remember pacing around an airport bar, drinking (distressingly expensive) coronas and frantically calling representatives at Air France to make sure our connecting flight from London to Paris was not cancelled. Our flight to Europe in August 2012, for our second European tour, had no similarities other than the ‘drinking coronas at an airport bar’ part. No volcanos, no iffy flights, no confusion. It was nice. We had a few beers and one $17 gin and tonic and boarded our plane, excited to return to the land where you can get flaky, delicious croissants at random gas stations. (There are other cool things about Europe, too)

The flight itself was uneventful. Earlier in the week I had read an article about jet lag that said wearing sunglasses the night you leave — at the airport and on the plane — and through the day you arrive, helped to diminish the effects. I wasn’t sure if this theory had any merit or if it bore a closer resemblance to sketchy internet pop-up ads (‘Doctors HATE him… learn his weight loss secret’), but jet lag can suck and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. The downside was that wearing shades indoors at night probably made me look like a bit of a prick, but the upside was that it was easier to pass out. I got weird, scattered sleep (twenty minutes here, five there, totaling to a couple hours), but it was better than zero sleep. Along with it came bizarre dreams: I was in the Triple Rock with Joe (our roadie for the tour) and he pointed up at a chalkboard and said, “Dude, Brorrosion of Conformity is playing soon, it’s going to rule. It’s bros playing Corrosion of Conformity covers.” Brilliant idea. Someone should do that, stat.


Day Two: Rest & Relaxation in Monchengladbach After a couple of hazy hours in the Amsterdam airport, mostly spent sleeping on the floor, we boarded another quick flight. The only thing I remember about it is that Danny said, “Water is awesome”, in some context, and one of the flight attendants overheard him, laughed, and said, “Water is awesome? You’re going to love this flight, then!” But the thing was, their water wasn’t anything special.  Well, it was OK, I suppose. Anyway, soon enough were at the Dusseldorf airport, ready to start the tour. First guy I saw was the fellow in the photo there. Awesome.

Knowing that we would be at least somewhat jet lagged, we had wisely set up the tour so we did NOT have a show on the first day. On the 2010 tour, this worked great. We got to Paris, had dinner, Nick and Corey crashed, Danny and I walked around to a few bars, and all of us were asleep by 11pm, refreshed and ready to start playing shows the next day. It didn’t quite work out that way in Germany. Our host, Marius (we would learn later his friends call him Warius after a certain level of drinking gets met; I never really saw this, but it’s a great nickname. Go look up the Wario wiki page if you don’t get it) got us at the airport and brought us directly to a liquor store. If you are a fan of beer, and are a giddy person, this was the kind of building that would cause you to run around, occasionally leaping into the air and clicking your heels. Like so:

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I could appreciate the options stacked up around us. So many! So unique, compared to America at least! All of us picked an assortment of beers more or less randomly, based on how cool the bottle looked and how badass the name sounded. “This is called KrakenBasher and looks like like the kind of beer an old-timey king would drink!”; that sort of thing. Outside, Marius appraised our choices. Some were good, others caused him to grin and shake his head: “That’s shitty.” I realized this whole scene was probably similar to bringing a European to Minneapolis and watching them emerge from a liquor store asking, “Is this good? This is good, right?” as they hold up a 12 pack of Natural Ice. The difference between America and Germany, though, was that here in Germany we were able to hang out and drink in the liquor store parking lot and no one shooed us away or tried to handcuff us or what not. We were politely enjoying a couple beers, and it wasn’t a big deal; society wasn’t shattering around us. Why can’t we do this in America? (I don’t mean, like, “God, it is SO hard not to crack open a beer immediately upon purchasing it, this is so unfair, blah blah”, I just mean that it doesn’t seem like allowing it harms anything). I suppose, though, that the reason is because no sane politician is going to assume this issue as a rallying cry. Can you picture some guy in a suit climbing on top of a soapbox and yelling to a crowd, “The path ahead is not short, it is not smooth, and it is not easy, but it will be lit by the fires of our desire to come together and accomplish what we have dreamed of for so long: the ability to drink beer in parking lots!”? Not so much.


At any rate, it was super fun. It was early enough in the tour where the, “Man, we’re in Europe right now!” realization would hit you, plus given that we were all a bit sleep deprived and stoked to be off the plane, the beers had a stronger effect. My rough calculation (which I came up with years ago when I arrived in New Orleans at 7am after sitting in a van all night, and then going straight to a bar) is: 1 beer = Missed hours of sleep x .5. mathtchrSo I normally get 6 hours of sleep, but I missed 4 hours of sleep, that multiplied by .5 equals 2. Each 1 beer is like 2 beers. This is a rough calculation and is missing many elements. Mainly, this is not necessarily a good thing. It’s not, “Well, I missed all 8 hours of sleep, so drinking one beer is like four… I’m saving money and there are absolutely no side effects!” But it was still noticeable. Actually, now that I look at it, there are deeper problems with the equation. If you only missed 1 hour of sleep, it’s as if the beer is less effective, which isn’t true. Heck, if you missed zero hours of sleep, it indicates that beer simply doesn’t effect you, which is ludicrous. So, uh, consider it a work in progress.


After one beer, which truly did feel like two, we headed to Marius’s house in Monchangladbach (where the show would be the next day). We had some truly awesome homemade lasagna and then, resisting the temptation to take it easy and go to bed early as we did in 2010, went across the street to his friends’ apartment. There were a bunch of people hanging out, including some kids from America who were in the army and stationed in Germany. We had a few drinks and talked while the Lawrence Arms DVD played in the background and then we made our way to a local bar. German beer can be — what’s the word? — strong, and even stronger when you haven’t been sleeping (see the flawed equation above), a situation which lead to Joe having what looked remarkably like a beer stain tie within an hour of arriving at the bar, and losing his wallet on the first night of tour. (He got it back the next day, luckily, but it still had to be weird for his mom, who got a call from the person who found it…. your kid goes to Europe and about twenty hours later you’re getting calls from German strangers who have his wallet!)

All Hail!
Overall, we weren’t getting that bombed or anything, just enjoying the feeling of being in Europe and hanging out with new friends without the “We have to play a show in a couple hours” restriction hanging over our heads. I learned a little about Monchengladbach, and we all learned a few German phrases, chief among them, “Prost!”, which is basically “cheers!”. I kept getting it wrong and saying, “Probst!”, as if I was in some weird cult that required me to raise my glass in honor of Survivor host Jeff Probst at random intervals. I was a bit stunned we stayed up past 4am, given that last time we came to Europe we had all been crashed out before midnight. But this was a good thing! We had a great, fun night and were pumped to get to play what was clearly an excellent city the next day. -Nate

Back from Europe / BBC Stream

Hey! We’re back from Europe. It was amazing as expected. I’ll start posting a multi-part tour blog shortly. In the meantime, for the next six days, you can stream the set of us playing at BBC studios when we were in London. Right here. It’s nice to be back, but man…. I already miss Europe! We hope to be back soon.

In other news, it’s getting cold out so we’re getting ready to hunker down and work extra hard on our next album. We’ve got 5 or 6 half-written songs so far, and I think it’s coming along pretty nicely. Stay tuned for more about that.



Europe! New Songs! So on and so forth!

europe 2012Alright, we fly out to Europe in 11 days! Very excited. Find the exact dates/venues, and buy tickets, over at Klownhouse Tours. Last time we went to Europe, it was right about now — a week and a half out or so — that a volcano erupted in Iceland, spewing ash across Europe and throwing the entire tour into doubt until about 4 hours before our plane took off. So, uh, let’s hope that doesn’t happen again!

In other news, we’re plugging away at a new record. 6 new songs so far. Can’t say they’ll all make it on the eventual record, but it’s sounding really good. So far they sound, like, well, Banner Pilot songs I guess. We’ll probably try some new stuff, but as always, we’re not going to take a shaky stab at some goofy reinvention of our sound just to do something different. Why make a risky leap that might land you on your face when you can just, you know, hang out and party?

All that said, it won’t be a clone of the older records. If Heart Beats Pacific was Collapser on steroids (bigger/stronger, no side effects, etc) then maybe this new record will be Heart Beats Pacific on a completely safe and legal hallucinogen of some sort. In other words, hopefully you, the listener, will say “Whoa, I didn’t expect THAT thing that just happened, but it was pleasant, and really, it wasn’t that weird or crazy at all. Doot doo doo”

I’m definitely going to do a tour diary of Europe, although I don’t know if it’ll be while we’re there or when we get back. Either way, keep checking back.

Hope to see you in Europe!



UK / Western Europe / Russia – Fall Tour!

The image to the right is one of the top Google Image results for ‘totally stoked free clip art’. Why would I be searching for such an image? Because we’re Totally Stoked to be heading back to Europe later this year!

That’s right, with the help of Klownhouse Tours, we’re going to be playing shows in the UK, Western Europe, and Russia this August and September! We had a blast last time, so it’s going to be great to see some of our favorite spots from last time again AND check out some new cities/countries.

If you have any song requests, or suggestions for things we should do/check out in a certain city, pass ’em along. For example, when we play Boston Arms in London, should we play nothing but mashups of Boston and Lawrence Arms songs? Let us know.

I’ll update the ‘shows’ page once all the venues etc are finalized, but for now check out the Klownhouse website for details. You can even buy tickets for a few of the dates, so get on that pronto. If you’re one of those people who are too lazy to click on links, I will post the dates below:

31.08.2012 GER-Mönchengladbach, Roots Club
01.09.2012 GER-Holzerath, Roeds-Rock Festival
02.09.2012 FRA-Hazebrouck, Le Shaka-Laka
03.09.2012 GBR-Cardiff, The Moon w/ Bangers
04.09.2012 GBR-Manchester, Star and Garter
05.09.2012 GBR-London, Boston Arms Music Room
06.09.2012 NED-Haarlem, Patronaat w/ Accelerators
07.09.2012 GER-Berlin, Cassiopeia
08.09.2012 GER-Nuremberg, Zentralcafe
10.09.2012 GER-Hannover, Chez Heinz
11.09.2012 UKR-Kiev, Club Kiev
12.09.2012 RUS-Belgorod, Club Party Hard
13.09.2012 RUS-Moscow, tba
14.09.2012 GER-Münster, Cafe Lorenz Süd
15.09.2012 BEL-Vorselaar, Veuseleir Calling
16.09.2012 Wiesbaden, Schlachthof

Hope to see you there!


Back From the West Coast

Hey, thanks for everyone who came out to our west coast tour earlier this month. We had a bunch of great shows, and it was fun to see a lot of old friends, and play with excellent bands like Broadway Calls (sorry guys, I think I accidentally stole your patch cord), The Bombpops, Dan Padilla, Bastards of Young, Dun Bin Had, Madison Bloodbath, and tons more. Plus, you may not know this, but we live in a geographical area that gets cold during the winter. So, it was nice getting out to sunny California for a couple of weeks. Note: the image to the right is the first Google Image result for ‘california surfer dude.’

So my Gallien Krueger bass amp AND my Gallien Krueger bass cab busted at the same time, at the same show, in Portland. Bummer. Typically this would mean I’d have no choice but to borrow stuff for the rest of the tour and wait until I got home to look at fixing it; a mixed bag where I have to bug other bands but also don’t need to carry an amp in every night. But, because the internet rules, it actually worked out—I posted a message saying my amp was broken, and because I’m an idiot I wasn’t sure why it broke or if there was anything I could do, and eight minutes later someone wrote to say that they knew someone who worked at Gallien Krueger who could take a look. And guess what? We were twenty miles from Gallien Krueger headquarters at that exact moment! What are the odds of that? Well, there are approximately 57.5 million square miles of land on earth, twenty divided by 57.5 million is 2,875,000…. so one in 2.8 million odds! Well, actually, wait. I think I did that wrong. Let’s call it one in a hundred.

Anyway, it was great—they were super friendly and helpful, they gave us a tour of their rad warehouse, and they fixed up my stuff in no time. As it turns out, the Guitar Center employee who sold me the setup was full of crap and I never should have been using that combo in the first place. Damn you, Guitar Center employee. I bet he was also lying when he said my bass case was wicked. But now the cab is outfitted with a new, superior speaker and I’m good to go. Sounds better, too. So: blessing in disguise!

Up next: three Midwest shows in March. Chicago, Madison, and Fargo. And then this fall, we’re heading back to Europe! We’ll also be touring Russia for the first time ever. Very excited about all of that; look for official dates and info soon. Between of all of that, we’ll be writing the first few songs for our fourth album. I already have 10 or 15 rough ideas on my laptop. Most of them are pretty bad. But not all of them!

OK, I think that’s it for now! Oh yeah, and the Bike and Breaking Banner shirts won that t-shirt contest, if you were wondering. We still have a few left after tour—click on ‘store’ up there if you want to grab one!


Choose or Lose 2012: Banner Pilot Shirts

We’re leaving for tour in a couple weeks and are planning on having two new shirt designs with us, meaning you’ll be able to purchase snazzy things that you can use to clothe yourself, or clean up oil spills, or whatever you like. We have seven designs, though, and can’t decide on which ones we should use. At first, the solution seemed obvious: skip the whole thing; too much to figure out. But then we thought, let’s put it to a vote!

So, please look at the seven designs below and pick which two you like best. If you don’t like any  of them, go find some other website to be a jerk on, you big jerk.

Please select carefully as I can’t think of a more important vote you will cast all year.

Thank you!



The Nominees!










































“Watch Man”

















“Snow Crest”


















“Retro Rockers”


















“Breaking Banner”

Set List 2012: You Choose, We Decide

So, one thing I noticed on our last tour was that some songs got a better reaction than others. Interesting! It would seem as if everyone does not like every song exactly the same.

I thought it’d be fun to let you, the listener, help us pick our set for the next tour—this way, there’s a better chance that we’ll play the songs people are most excited to hear. Right now, we have no idea (well, we have some idea with the older songs, but not with the new album). Go ahead and vote for your ideal set list below. You can pick up to 14 songs, because, come on, we’re not going to play more than that. Could you theoretically game the results by entering the poll answers over and over and over again? Sure, but that would make you kind of a loser.

Anyway, let’s just stick to the honor system here. Pick your ideal set, one time. This is a great way for YOU to decide what YOU want to hear! It’s democracy at its best*

*note: if you pick stupid songs, we reserve the right to ignore the results of this poll and play whatever we damn well feel like

OK, let’s do this!


Studio Blog #2: The Reverse Crunch Wrap

Well it’s day three and we have five songs tracked; probably will get one more done before the end of the day. A little slower than expected, but it’s sounding pretty great. We listened to Collapser for a second to double check a snare sound and these new songs already sound better as-is than that record. So, we might just call it a day and have a rad 5 song instrumental record. Or maybe not.

One thing demo-ing and recoding songs has reminded me about is the awesome names we have for various drum parts. You definitely know what a roll is, and you might know what a Taco is (snare/bass drum, snare/drum drum… this intro is an example). But do you know what a Burrito is? A Reverse Crunch Wrap? A Fruit Rollup? Those are all legitimate drum parts we have. Maybe for the next studio blog we’ll do a video where we play each part, and you try to guess what each part is. First person to get it right, and explain why, gets a free t-shirt (or maybe nothing if we’re low on shirts.) Look for it later this week!

Ok, back to recording/Super Mario Brothers now!