Interview with vocalist/guitarist Fraser Murderburger | By Nick Harrah

The past 12 months have seen many highs and lows for Fraser Murderburger and his Edinburgh, Scotland-based punk band, The Murderburgers. The highs include Fraser recording the latest Murderburgers album, The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People, in late 2015 with members of Masked Intruder, Dear Landlord, and The Copyrights.

There were also big festivals and tours to be played, more than even he expected. “Funnily enough, I kind of had it in my head that we were gonna tour less this year leading up to the new record,” the singer and guitarist admits. “I think we’ve kind of done more than we usually do. At least, going to Canada and touring there for the first time, and coming back to the West Coast, and then, doing Japan—it’s definitely more than I expected to do.”

Having made no secret of the lower points—the anxiety and stress, being broke, uncertainty regarding living situations, and the lineup shuffling that frequently befalls punk bands—Fraser admits that 2016 wasn’t always lovely. “That’s a good question,” he responds with a laugh when asked how life is treating him these days. “It’s good at the moment. I had these great plans, all these kind of different plans from what’s actually panned out.”

You gotta take the good with the bad, he says. “It’s good now, but I had some incredibly bad luck over the past couple of months. I intended to move to Glasgow, then all that fell through. Right before that, I was living with, um, someone that completely ripped me off for the rent money,” he says, able to laugh about it now. “It’s a long story, man, but there’s an EP probably coming out about the whole thing at some point.”

“I kind of lost a lot of money right before going to Canada,” he adds. “I’ve just now managed to sort of get my shit straightened out over the past couple of weeks. I’m back in Edinburgh, which is good. I’ve got a new place to stay. I don’t live with maniacs anymore, which is a good thing. I’m working a couple of jobs as well. So, things look good now. Kind of a contrast to what things were like in April. My luck is pretty bad, and I think that’s quite well-known. But, at least I got something to moan about, so that’s good.”

Fraser also has something to gloat about: pulling off The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People, a 12-song, 12-step self-help program of an album. Pop punk pals Intruders Red and Yellow from Masked Intruder provided drums and bass respectively, Zack Gontard of Dear Landlord and Off With Their Heads contributing guitar and vocals, and Adam Fletcher of The Copyrights and Dear Landlord singing on a few songs.

The long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s These Are Only Problems drops Oct. 14 via Asian Man/Round Dog Records, and Fraser says he’s glad to finally get it out. “It obviously has been quite some time that we’ve been working on it,” he admits. “Honestly, I’m sick of playing a lot of the old songs, so I cannot wait to actually play the new ones.”

Recording the new songs was quite the experience, Fraser says, equal parts work and fun over a three-week stint at producer Matt Allison’s Atlas Studios in Chicago. “It was surreal at times,” Fraser admits when asked about everyone getting together to help him out. “Everybody that played on the record, like, I’m good friends with. At the same time, they play in bands that I’m a massive fan of. I’m generally a bit of a fanboy when it comes to any band that I like. So, it was kind of an insane experience.”

Fraser colored the preorder art for the new album with crayons, and the frontman says the genesis of that idea all started with a run of shows with Intruders Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. “We were on tour with Masked Intruder in the U.K. when we were kind of getting ready to kind of start planning the new record,” he recalls. “At that time, we didn’t have a drummer, really. We had, like, stand-in drummers; we did for a couple of years there. Our bass player had just left, so Red and Yellow both said that they would play on the record if I was to do it in the States.”

Then, the work began. “We actually spent a lot more time preparing this one,” Fraser says. “Like, usually I would just record—like demos, like, really, really shit demos, with like, the worst drum machine ever—and then, send it to the other guys and say, ‘All right, that’s the songs. Just learn that, and we can knock it out.’”

“But this one, we probably demoed the stuff acoustically, then, we practiced everything, like, as a band,” he continues. “Then, [we] went into the studio and rehearsed everything as a full band, and then, got to Atlas and went through it with the Masked Intruder guys. It was definitely the most work that I’ve ever put into a record, and yeah, definitely the best recording experience so far. I’m a guy that hates recording as well, so that’s really saying something.”

While the studio help was much needed, The Murderburgers now have a new lineup rounded out by bassist Muzz and drummer Rusty Maxwell from the Scottish punk band, Maxwell’s Dead. 2016 continues to be a year of surprises for Fraser. “I’ve known those guys for, like, several years,” he admits. “I actually didn’t know Rusty could play drums until recently. And drummers—like, finding a drummer is always the most difficult thing for me, and he just didn’t say anything about it up until recently. He was like, ‘Yeah man, I can play drums!’ And we had a practice, and I was like, ‘Why did you not mention this before? This would’ve made things so much easier if you’d just said so!’”

It ain’t always easy being a punk rocker, but now, The Murderburgers have a good thing going. “I’m pretty confident about this one,” Fraser asserts about the new live lineup. “Those two guys are really into touring as much as possible as well. They’re pretty happy to have another band they can tour with. That seems to be the thing that happens. Like, in Scotland anyway, the scene—it’s a good scene, but it’s a small one. So, you just find that, over time, when people can’t do it anymore, the people that are still playing all end up in bands together.”

“It just seems like everyone ends up playing in this band,” he says. “I think I’m running out of people, but hopefully Muzz and Rusty will stick around for a while. Those guys are great players and fun to hang out with. People who have seen the new lineup have said that it sounds really good.”

While he continues to ruin his life doing the thing he loves the most, Fraser says the biggest help came from Murderburgers fans preordering The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People. Did we mention the part about him not necessarily having millions of dollars to record an album and being prone to stress? Fraser says he was and is immensely grateful to those who supported him, and glad he didn’t go the Kickstarter route. “I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t do all that well with stress,” he reaffirms, “and setting targets for people to give money to make something happen would probably make my head explode. So, I thought just doing preorders and seeing how many people got it was probably a better idea than stressing myself out too much.”

“It worked out really well,” he adds. “I think it came across as more of an honest way of doing it. When it comes down to it, I don’t mind working and saving money and making sacrifices to put a bunch of money in myself, as well. If I was in a position to do that anyway, I would’ve just done that. It just happened at a time—like, there was absolutely no way I was gonna be able to fund this thing myself.”

The only problem Fraser has to deal with at this point is coloring nearly 200 toddler-on-acid art inserts for each Murderburgers fan who preordered the new album. “I kind of wish I hadn’t,” he admits of his campaign promise. “I’ve shot myself in the foot there. I’ve got a shit load of crayon drawings to do for people.”

Order The 12 Habits Of Highly Defective People here.


Write A Comment