With Ultimate Fakebook (the punk revivalist pop act that”s been likened to Weezer on steroids) the question is never “Are you ready to rock?” Fresh off of a successful year on tour with the likes of Sloan, MxPx, and Reggie and the Full Effect, the rock trio is bringing their unique brand of upbeat power pop to Ann Arbor this Friday. Guitarist and frontman Bill McShane recently spoke to The Michigan Daily about the rock that is Ultimate Fakebook.

Paul Wong
McShane (with the hat) and the boys party hardy.<br><br>Courtesy of Initial

The Michigan Daily: What brings you guys to Ann Arbor, instead of one of the larger clubs in Detroit?

Bill McShane: We”re just doing a week out for a college tour. We”ll be doing a bigger tour in spring and we”ll probably go through Detroit between March and May.

TMD: How is your performance in a smaller setting like the Halfway Inn different from a one at a larger club? Which do you prefer?

BM: It”s different because you”re closer to the crowd. It”s more fun like that. We love to play for a lot of people, but it”s most fun when kids are right in your face and everybody”s feeding off each other, getting down, singing along, and rocking” out.

TMD: What”s the news in terms of your upcoming album?

BM: It”s coming out on March 19th on Initial Records. It”s been a while since we”ve had a full-length out. We released our last album twice, once independently and once with Sony records, so we spent like two years promoting the same album. We”re really excited to have something new.

TMD: How is this album going to be different from your past efforts?

BM: Well, it”s not much of a departure. We”re still doing what we love to do: Catchy arena rock-type anthems. But I think it”s a more cohesive album from start to finish, and the rock quotient is definitely up. We went through and picked out the rocks songs for this album, the ones that totally rock our asses.

TMD: Ultimate Fakebook switched labels for the new record. What are your thoughts on the signing and what does it mean for the future of the band.

BM: I think it”s going to be a good fit. Initial knows what they”re doing with the indie scene. They”re totally excited, and we”re going to be releasing the album in Japan, Europe and Australia. I also think this album will do better because Sony promoted our last record for about two weeks Initial is a lot more enthusiastic.

TMD: Many of your songs have upbeat themes. Do you make an intentional effort to write positive songs?

BM: There”s definitely an intentional effort, just because we don”t want to go out there and bitch. Everybody knows there”s fucked-up shit out there, but we want to go out and have a rock and roll party. So we like to make positive music.

TMD: What is Sweet Band O” Mine?

BM: Sweet Band O” Mine is this dumb Guns “n Roses tribute band that our friend Slick put together. Slick is just crazy, and he”s always wanted to form a G n R tribute band. Well, he finally got it organized and I”m playing bass. We”re just playing one show while UFB is at home (Kansas) between tours. We”ve only practiced like once, but we”re just having a good time. We tried to think of the dumbest name possible and thought that Sweet Band O” Mine was a good fit.

TMD: Have you been influenced by Guns n” Roses in terms of your writing style?

BM: I wouldn”t say in terms of writing style, but we all listened to that kind of stuff back in high school. Bands like Guns n” Roses were the reason I bought my first guitar, but we”ve kind of moved on since then.

TMD: If not hair metal, what kind of music has impacted your band the most?

BM: Bands like the Replacements and Cheap Trick and Guided By Voices bands that were doing the whole pop thing, but still really rocking. I wouldn”t say that we have similar styles to those bands, but we try to have the same kind of poppy, catchy feel.

TMD: You guys have movie reviews on your website and a song about Star Wars on your previous album. What is it about movies that you like so much?

BM: I don”t know for whatever reason we all really like movies and we see a lot of them when we”re on the road. We”d always have these big arguments about movies afterwards which led to the reviews on our website. I guess we just really enjoy being entertained.

TMD: What are you looking forward to in the next year in terms of the band, movies, or anything else?

BM: Well, I think it”s going to be an awesome year. We”re finally getting a new record out and we have a great new label. We”ve planned all kinds of touring: we”re doing some Warped Tour dates, and we may even get to go to Europe at the end of the Summer. Plus, I mean shit, “Star Wars: Episode Two” is coming out. It”s going to be cool.

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