Bad Copy


Chris Swinney of Fire Sale Talks Band Formation, Songwriting Processes, & More

Blasting out of Los Angeles, California, punk rock supergroup Fire Sale emerged several years ago. Fire Sale is comprised of members from Face to Face, No Use For a Name, The Ataris, and Ann Beretta. Since 2021, they have released a few singles, the most recent being “A Fool’s Errand” released in November 2022.

I recently took some talk to talk to guitarist Chris Swinney (formerly of The Ataris) to talk about the band, musical influences, songwriting, and more.

Steve Long

Let’s start with introductions. What are your names and what do you do in the band?

Chris Swinney (formerly of The Ataris) on guitar, Matt Riddle (formerly of Face To Face, Pulley, and No Use For A Name) on bass, Pedro Aida (formerly of Ann Beretta and currently with Shotclock and The Iron Roses) on vocals, and Matt Morris (formerly of Darlington) on drums.

Steve Long

What’s the story behind the formation of Fire Sale?

During the pandemic I was going stir crazy and started writing songs. I sent my demos to Matt Riddle, and he sent me back bass tracks. I had worked with Pedro before, so we decided to try and start a band.

My buddy Timmy from Protest The Hero was also in the original lineup but PTH got busy so duty called. Tucker Rule from Thursday and LS Dunes played drums on the initial demos but he is a busy dude, so our first two singles a friend named Will handled the drum duties. Last year we recruited Matt Morris to be a full time member and solidified the Fire Sale lineup.

Steve Long

How did the name come about?

Picking a band name is the hardest part of starting a band. We had a million ideas that just didn’t seem to fit. I also host a podcast called “That One Time On Tour” and through the podcast I have become friends with Sam from Get Dead and The Codefendants.

One night I was trying to come up with a band name and was listening to Get Dead’s most recent album. The song “Fire Sale” came on and it clicked. I Google searched the name, and only one other band called that came up and they were high school kids that hadn’t done anything since like 2005. I secured all the social media pages and that’s how we became Fire Sale. 

Steve Long

What specific bands or artists did you hear that made you want to get in a band?

My uncle gave me Metallica “Master Of Puppets” on my seventh birthday and it changed my life. I thought it was my little secret. That Christmas I asked for a guitar and lessons and I have not stopped playing since. When I was in like eigth grade I heard the first Punk-O-Rama comp and it really spoke to me. The punk bands from the 90s made me feel like the metals bands, but I related to it better. Bands like NOFX, Propagandhi, No Use, Face To Face, Strung Out, etc. I still love metal though, haha.

Steve Long

What is the songwriting process like for you guys? Do lyrics come first or music first? Or do your songs just materialize out of jam sessions?

Since we all live in different states, we rely on technology. I will write the skeleton of a song or Riddle will send me a bass intro or full song with programmed drums and we piece everything together remotely. Once the song is fleshed out musically, we send to Pedro and he edits it, writes and records his vocals. Lastly when it is all done, we send to Matt Morris and he lays down the drums. It’s backwards and takes a long time, but we enjoy it and it is very collaborative.

Steve Long

How is the songwriting process for Fire Sale different from the process for your other bands?

l think the fact that we all record separately makes it different. Sometimes I miss the spontaneity of writing together in a jam space. We just got together last month and played a show for the release of our new 7” and the rehearsals were so much fun.

Steve Long

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?

l want people to know how much we care about this music and how much TLC we put into it. I feel appreciative that at 44 years old I still get to write and release music that a small but growing number of people care about. We just want to connect with people.

Steve Long

How did you get involved with Negative Progression?

Our first 7” was put out by SBAM Records in 2021. Those two songs got us on the radar of Seth over at Negative Progression Records. We signed a new deal last year with them, and it has been amazing! We cannot say enough about how great working with Seth and NPR has been.

Steve Long

Are there any current bands or artists that inspire you?

This will vary with all the members, but for me there are a lot of current bands that inspire me. The most recent Thrice and Alexisonfire albums are amazing and totally inspiring! A Wilhelm Scream never disappoints! And I know it’s a polarizing album, but the new Metallica record is great! Not a lot of 60 year old dudes writing songs like that. I love it!

Steve Long

What sort of things take up your time outside of playing music?

My life is crazy. I own a music education business, I have a 7 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. When I can get away from day to day life, my wife and I love traveling. We also recently found out we enjoy fishing, haha. Always fetch and release though. I just set up an above ground pool today for my kids. When I am not playing music, it’s pretty much the Dad Life for me.

Steve Long

What is your favorite book, film, or TV show?

l have so many favorites… let me go with a TV show I just got hooked on. It’s called “From.” It is awesome. It’s from the creators or “Lost” which is another fav of mine. These people get stuck in this town… it’s like another dimension or something and monsters come out of the woods at night and try to eat them. I am not doing the show justice with my summation. Just check it out and thank me later!

Steve Long

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars! I enjoy Star Trek, but I grew up in Star Wars!

Steve Long

What is next for Fire Sale?

We have two new singles out right now, “A Fool’s Errand” and “We Dance For Sorrow.” 

We just filmed a video for “A Fool’s Errand” and it should be out in June.

We are currently finishing up tracking and editing on two brand new songs that will be out later this year on Negative Progression Records. We are once again working with Jason and Bill at The Blasting Room for mixing and mastering and Mark DeSalvo will be doing the art. We are very excited to share these two new songs with everyone.

We are planning more shows/short tours and I will be guest DJing the beginning of June over at Faction Punk on SiriusXM satellite radio. SiriusXM has been a real champion for Fire Sale and we appreciate their support immensely.

And we are always writing… you can never have too many songs!

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