Portland’s Mean Jeans have rapidly become darlings of the punk rock scene with their energetic live shows, touring and a large discography released throughout the band's roughly eight year career. They might be self-described “goofballs,” but since relocating to Portland from the DC-area, singer and guitarist, Billie Jeans, and drummer, Jeans Wilder, have taken the well-known Ramones’ influenced '90s pop punk formula and amped it up with humor, chops, and a devil-may-care attitude that, while not new or groundbreaking, is thoroughly enjoyable and devoid of cynicism.
Now a three-piece with the addition of Junior Jeans on bass, the Mean Jeans are halfway through an east coast tour and have announced that they’ve signed to Fat Wreck Chords for their next full-length effort. Ahead of their Halloween-inspired show at Churchill’s, we had a chance to catch up quickly with Billie and Jeans before their mid-week show in Tampa.
New Times: You guys were on the road last year with Kepi, how did that tour go and how did this east coast tour come to be?
Jeans Wilder: For some reason we decided to tour the northern United States in the middle of winter. But it was great. Minus the 14-hour drive through the night from Great Falls, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota for a 5 p.m. matinee show. That sucked.
Sonically, if I didn't know you, I'd put you in the upper echelons of '90s pop punk. The Ramones' influence is there but what other bands were you guys into before forming Mean Jeans?
Billie Jeans: Me and Jeans Wilder started the band as a two-piece when we were living in our parents’ basements. We were listening to the Queers’ Love Songs for the Retarded, the Riverdales’ Storm the Streets, Plastic Bertrand, and Introducing Sparks, as far as I can remember.
How's living in Portland now that it is synonymous with bearded dudes who can't change a tire on a car? Do you guys make your own kombucha tea?
Billie Jeans: I think I could probably change a tire if I had to. Portland is tight if you stay on the couch or in the woods.
Jeans Wilder: I just had to send my car to the junkyard so I don't wanna talk about changing tires.
Cool punk/dumb punk self-assigned genre aside, you guys are very active with releases — something a lot of bands don't do. What's the recording process like and how have you managed to get so much out in such little time? The recent Singles comp is awesome by the way.
Jeans Wilder: If we are so active with releases then how come it'll be almost four years between On Mars and our next LP? [Laughs] But yeah, luckily we put out that Singles collection.
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When is the next full-length coming out?
Billie Jeans: We just announced today that we signed with Fat Wreck Chords and our new LP will be out in early 2016.
What are the long-term goals for the band?
Billie Jeans: To have more fun than anybody else has ever had. And not become an adult.
Idle Hands Presents Means Jeans with Kepi Ghoulie, Toys That Kill, Party Flag, Pre-tenses, Necrophiles, Pool Party and DJ Peligro. 8 p.m. Friday, October 30, at Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE 2 Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is $6.66.