Interview with vocalist Ezra Kire | By John B. Moore
If it seems like the New York based punk outfit Morning Glory are constantly putting out new music, well, it’s because they are. Singer Ezra Kire has always been a prolific writer, so why stop now?
With three records and a split alongside Off With Their Heads already out, the band had half a dozen orphaned songs that didn’t find their way onto 2014 Fat Wreck release, War Psalms. The songs were pretty damn great, so Off With Their Heads frontman Ryan Young – a huge Morning Glory fan – decided to give them a proper home. Young comments:
“Morning Glory is pretty much my favorite current punk band. They are able to capture everything I love about this kind of music along with lyrical content that actually speaks to me. The band churns out songs of personal struggle with not only the world, but the 2nd world that lives inside your own head. Songs about revolution not only on a worldly scale, but also on a personal level. That’s important for people to hear. You can’t change anything if you can’t change yourself.
When I first heard the demos from ‘War Psalms,’ I couldn’t wait to hear how it was going to pan out. I was surprised that some of my favorite songs from what I had heard didn’t make the cut for the record. Thinking more about it though, I realized it had much less to do with ‘making the cut’ than it did with the fact that Ezra is incredibly prolific with his output. These 6 songs make for a great cohesive release on its own. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was asked to help release a record for a band that I love and respect so much.”
He contacted Kire and worked out a joint release between his label (Anxious And Angry) and Buyback Records, the label started by Morning Glory bassist Heavy Metal Chris. The 10″, dubbed Post War Psalms, is just as ferocious and powerful as its predecessor and should be out April 1.
Kire was traveling through Spain recently, but took some time to discuss the new EP, his relationship with Young—which is more than just a fanboy/stalkee situation—and the need to constantly keep writing music.
Anxious And Angry is putting out this new record along with Heavy Metal Chris’ label, Buyback Records. Did you know Ryan Young before you toured with his band and did the split 7”?
I met Ryan right after he got back from their Australian tour with one of the versions of Black Flag. He seemed… nonplussed. He opened our first conversation with some insane story about the last show Down Under where the singer of Flag or Black Flag or whatever was fired publicly. I seem to remember something about a brawl breaking out. Anyway, Ryan was exhausted and we did six days together. I was considerably diminished at that time, too—walking through some kind of valley and actively deciding to take up smoking ciggies again.
I knew his band before that, but otherwise, we had never met. He contacted me through our booking agent. At first, I thought he was some crazy stalker-type fanboy. Then, I realized he probably is, but at least he owns and runs a distro/label. We’ve become pretty good friends at this point. Heavy Metal Chris I’ve known for years. He can’t play the bass for shit, but he’s got a solid upcoming label called Buyback. I think he’s Greek.
Why did you decide to cut these six songs from War Psalms?
I know what you’re thinking… They weren’t good enough to make the first record. But that’s not true. We recorded two records at the same time with the intent of releasing the second full-length six months later. But Fat [Wreck Chords] didn’t want to do it; they had a full roster of releases already scheduled through the fall. That’s what they told me, anyway. But I still wanted to release it and so did Anxious And Angry. So, it’s coming out. By any means necessary.
You’re a pretty prolific writer. Have you started thinking about writing and recording new material yet?
I write all the time, but punk songs only come to me every now and again. It takes a while for them to accrue into a full-length record. I write a lot of acoustic guitar material, piano tunes, kids’ songs, weird orchestral shit, nursery rhymes, and some violent kind of electronic music. I don’t have time to develop them all, so I have to pick and choose what I work on. But I’ll never give up punk; it’ll always be my main thing—it’s the ethos behind all my projects, no matter what the genre.
Are you working on any projects outside of Morning Glory?
Well, the project I just finished was the piano stuff. My problem is I’m always writing new songs, so a record is never really done to me. So, at some point, I have to cut myself off of the project. See, that’s what happens when you have no supervision in this world. But Ryan and I have discussed putting it out later this year. Ryan is kind of like supervision in a way. It’s very helpful to have an endgame and someone who is a doer to encourage you to stop and just release it already.
You’ve never been one to shy away from politics. Have you been paying attention to the presidential election? Any thoughts on Trump, Hillary, or Bernie that you want to share?
I’ll say this about politics: I’m never voting again. I’ll vote again when I feel like someone really represents me. And I’m the only one that can truly do that, and I don’t intend on running, so… The whole entire system is one giant scam. It’s all set up to fail. When we have a ballot system where you can check a box that says “non-confidence,” then I’ll vote. In Australia, at least they count the number of people who don’t vote, so they can judge the political climate. But I’m against the system in a much broader sense. Our society needs to seriously rethink our approach to humanity and the planet from the ground up. Obama is proof of the utter sham of it all. He was worse than W. Bush in many respects. I won’t get fooled again.
Any plans to tour once this 10” is out?
We have some shows booked in New York. We’ll probably do other shows, but we have yet to plan and book it. I’m pretty sure our booking agent, Ron, doesn’t like me anymore, and we only recently got John John Jesse back in the band as our guitarist, so we’re just starting rehearsals. We’re having fun playing new songs and just being a band. There’s still some kind of simple cathartic joy in being with your friends, getting stupid, and playing some songs in a room together.
Anything else you want to add?
I think “Jerk Store” would be a good name for a band. You can have that if you want. But I want the credit if you get big.