Interview with vocalist Chip Kinman | By Janelle Jones
Ford Madox Ford feature frontman Chip Kinman—of ‘70s punk progenitors The Dils—playing alongside guitarist Dewey Peek, bassist Matt Littell, and drummer S. Scott Aguero. Their debut, This American Blues—out Feb. 16 on Porterhouse Records—is a great 11-song album showcasing their exciting blues-punk sound. The record also features Kinman’s brother and Dils cofounder Tony Kinman in co-writing, backing vocalist, and production roles. Now, the legendary vocalist offers his take on the band, their debut album, the present political climate, and more…
Apologies for this first generic question, but why name the band Ford Madox Ford? After the writer?
I just love the way the name sounds rhythmically, and I like the way it looks. Gotta get around to reading his novels.
And how did this project come about?
What project? This is a band! It was time for me to get out and start playing again, and I felt I had something to say—musically and otherwise. So, Dewey Peek and I went to Texas for some inspiration, and we came back and wrote some songs.
How long were you working on this album, writing and recording?
Too long. Since we’re all grown-ass men, we had schedules to work around, but it was all worth it.
Are you planning on touring this year?
Yes! U.S., Canada, Europe. I’d like to go to Japan and China.
You have so many different-sounding songs, but it sounds great and flows really well. Was it difficult to finalize the track order?
It actually all fell into place easily. Sometimes, tracking can be difficult. The hardest part was deciding which songs to [include] on the album. We have a good half-dozen that we didn’t put on the record. They’ll probably show up somewhere down the line.
The video for “Dark American Night” is minimal, blunt—and that song is so powerful. Was that one of the first songs you wrote?
Actually, it was one of the last songs we wrote! It came together in the studio, and minimalism’s always been my bag.
You end the record with a great closer, “Let’s Work Together.” On that note, in this present climate, what are your hopes for the future—short-term or long-term? What would you like to see change?
I think we should all work together. It feels like the country is very polarized. We should remember: politix is just politix.
Is this current time unlike anything you’ve seen before? In the ‘80s, during the Reagan years, so much great punk and hardcore came out railing against that era, but it just seems like such a momentous change now. Meanwhile, people on the right and Trump supporters feel that people on the left are all overreacting—are we?!
It’s very much like it was when Reagan was president, and I think people are overreacting a bit. In the next presidential election, we can all make a change, and that’s just the way things work here. However, we do seem to be at some sort of crossroads, and that’s what the song “Dark American Night” addresses.
You definitely had sociopolitical leanings early on in your music too. When would you say your ideas on politics really started taking root?
Well, starting with The Dils! My brother Tony, it was always his bag, and it’s just rubbed off. You can’t hang around a barber shop without getting a haircut.