Check out our photo gallery if you missed the show at the North Bar.
Street: There’s a lot of hair in this group.
All: (laughing) Yeah...
Street: How did you all meet?
Tom McHugh: Jake and I are childhood friends and go to Temple now. We met Brennan and Anthony via the internet and have been playing together for three years.
Street: Who are your influences?
Jake Joseph: We listened to a lot of The Strokes and The Replace- ments for this album.
Street: Hello My Name Is... The Retinas has a lot of different sounds—some tracks are much rawer, others much tighter. Is this a deliberate choice?
TM: Yeah, it has a lot going on. The album is almost schizo- phrenic, but we like it that way...We didn’t write it like that on purpose, it just happened.
John Brennan: We all write the songs, but usually Tom will come in with the basic idea and then everyone’s influences come together. It’s like a free for all.
Anthony Fulginitti: Or a dogfight.
TM: We’ll write a song without really knowing what it’s about and then, a month later, something will happen to make us say, “That’s why we wrote this song.”
Street: What does a typical day look like for The Retinas?
JJ: A fridge full of Genesee usually becomes an empty fridge when we're practicing.
TM: At the end of every practice we each have to shotgun a beer. One person gets to shake it while the other three people look away.
Street: Like Russian roulette.
TM: Exactly. Keeps things exciting... Usually Anthony gets it though.
AF: Yeah, I’m not a lucky guy.
Street: Any songs particularly close to your hearts?
TM: My baby is “No Culture,” off of our first EP, Life at Work... We had a moment where we all were like, “Whoah...We’re doing something really cool here.”
AF: I like to play “That’s How it Works”. It’s a cool vibe, slows everything down.
JJ: For me, there are some songs that we write and write and then throw away cause we’ve killed them. Every now and then there’s one that comes to- gether in an instant somehow... And we’re like “Wow... How did we do that?”
TM: Yeah like “Saturday” off the album... We only had to record it once.
Street: What’s the ideal venue?
All: Last night.
JJ: It was pretty chill. We were at the Lundt Basement. When we started playing it really filled up, and it was cool 'cause it was all young people who wanted to listen and enjoy the music instead of kids that just stumbled in from a party. So I guess Lundt Basement is the ideal venue 'cause that doesn’t happen all the time.
Street: Tell me about this lyric from “Teenager Dance of Death,” off your Ha Ha Nostalgia EP. What is a "racecar queen?"
TM: That whole song is describing a relationship I had with a person who had a lot of issues...She was really crazy. A racecar queen, though... I would say is somebody who [is] like...I don’t know, man.
Street: Come on. What does it take to be a "racecar queen?" I want to be a racecar queen.
TM: It’s the kind of girl that makes you drive so fast that you know you’ll crash...But you can’t stop driving. All the doors are locked.
Street: Do you all have the same definition?
JJ: I take it as a pers1on who manipulates you with the threat of doom to save something that isn’t really there.
Street: What does the future hold?
JB: We’re gonna stay consittent with touring, putting out music and doing shows.
TM: Above all, we don’t want to be Taylor Swift or on the cover of People Magazine—
JB: Sellouts, man. Sellouts.
JB: We wanna do a Ramones or Vaccines thing where we do a bunch of shows and tour the world.