EVE 6: Q & A
You may remember them from their popular graduation anthem “Here’s to the Night”, or even recall seeing their video for “Inside Out” on MTV back in the day (remember, they used to play videos). It’s been eight years since the 2004 breakup of EVE 6 but the band has finally returned to us with a fresh, matured sound that both old and new fans can appreciate and love. Lead vocalist Max Collins chats with us about the initial split, the reconciliation and what dedicated fans will do for their favorite band.
Inked Magazine: Let’s talk about your recently released “Speak In Code” album. After 8 years apart, how does it feel to be back with your original band members?
Max Collins: It feels incredible, on a couple levels. Just the chemistry with the band is like a real thing for us. We had another guitar player for a bit who was awesome and it worked but without Jon it’s not really Eve 6. Having the friendship aspect, brotherly aspect, the relationship part of it running well—it feels really good.
Inked: I said it’s like being with family I imagine.
Collins: It really is. We grew up together.
Inked: Oh right. You started the band with somebody you went to high school with?
Collins: Jon and I started the band together. We call him Sweet Pea. We met our sophomore year of high school in P.E class because we were the two kids who had elected to not participate. So we were sitting up against the wall and just started talking about music. He played guitar and I had just started to play bass. We were lads. We just started talking about what we think of music together and it wasn’t long after that that we were calling ourselves a band.
Inked: Can I ask why you call him Sweet Pea?
Collins: We were playing a backyard party somewhere. We were still in high school. I was riding with our old drummer Dick in a car that was following the car that Sweet Pea was in. And the car that Sweet Pea was in was a pickup truck, so you could see two figures sitting in the cab of the truck. And he has these glowing blond cherubic locks going on, so Dick says ‘Doesn’t Jon just look like s Sweet Pea?’ There are people who don’t even know his name is Jon. It’s one of those indelible nicknames that for better for worse, he’ll probably always own.
Inked: I bet he wishes he was called Spike or something more masculine than Sweet Pea.
Collins: (haha) I think he’s accepted it, gone into a place of resignation, and maybe even enjoys it. I think he’s down with it.
Inked: So was there was a reason for the initial split?
Collins: I think our band got signed when we were really young. We did our first record a month or two after we graduated high school. That record did really well and we stayed out on the road for a year and a half to come home and do the same thing again—record another record, go out and do two more tour cycles. We like to say our brains weren’t fully developed yet. I think we just needed some time to just identify with the band and kind of figure some shit out personally and get to a place where we could think about doing the band again and then do it properly.
Inked: Did you all stay friends in the meantime, or did you kind of go your own ways?
Collins: We kind of went our own ways. It wasn’t like we weren’t adversarial at all but I think we just needed some time to individualize. We talked, we’d see each other occasionally but it wasn’t like we were going out for burgers every night.
Inked: So you guys are on tour right now?
Collins: We are.
Inked: How’s it going?
Collins: It’s been really great. The reception has been awesome. The crowds have been really good. It’s exceeded expectations in every way. We just feel lucky and grateful to be able to still have the base that we have and have kind of a second chance that few bands get, probably few people in general get. We’re a cheerful lot and we rocked the road for two summers
Inked: Do you feel like this album is returning to your roots musically?
Collins: Production wise and stuff is different in places but the spirit is the same. We had our own positive pressure that we were putting on ourselves to do something that moved us. We got to kind of go back to the well a little bit. It was like a creative gratifying process, the writing and recording. In that way, I would say yes.
Inked: And how did you guys come up with the title?
Collins: It comes from a lyric from the first song on the record, Kurt. A lot of the songs deal with personal relationships and different sides of the same story. Dealing with personal relationships and sort of how language is—the way people speak to each other is kind of like speaking in code.
Inked: I heard that you released the album in vinyl. That’s pretty cool. Why’d you guys decide to do that?
Collins: It’s something we always wanted to do. I used to collect when we were kids. And yeah, we were given the opportunity so we jumped on it. It’s pretty cool.
Inked: Do you write most of your own songs?
Collins: Yeah, we write everything. We’ve never taken any outside writers.
Inked: And you have Don Gilmore behind the production of the album?
Collins: That’s right.
Inked: How’s that going for you and how’d that work out for you?
Collins: He’s incredible. He’s like a fourth member of the band in a lot of ways. He’s capable of delivering the message back to be better in a way that is inspiring as opposed to scary. A way that makes you kind of want to show up and go there and get to this open, creative place, as opposed to just shutting down, and that’s a real talent when you’re dealing with overly sensitive people I think.
Inked: So let’s talk about your tattoos. Are any musically or band related?
Collins: No, they’re not, actually. I kind of go for tattooing that’s like pretty idiotic. I’m pretty lucky that my friend who did the work happens to be really talented because I sort of like, I just gave him my arm and picked a theme. Traditional American stuff and he just went to work.
Inked: What are some of them?
Collins: I’ve got the hinge working on the inside of my elbow, a cherry bomb, a dagger, a pretty girl with fire, spider wings, an anchor, flowers…there’s no real theme going on, you know.
Inked: And you’re not the only one who’s tattooed in the band?
Collins: No, no I’m not. The other guys have some stuff too. Jon has a big Japanese piece on one of his lower legs.
Inked: You can call him Sweet Pea if you feel more comfortable.
Collins: (Ha) Right. Thank you, I appreciate that. Sweet Pea has a big koi fish. Tony has a lightning bolt thing. I think he wanted to get a tattoo and he didn’t know what to get and the first thing that came to my mind was a lightning bolt thing.
Inked: You have some fans who get you guys tattooed on them—your album or your symbol from your original album. How do you feel about that?
Collins: Conflicted. Honored, I guess. Flattered at first. But then you always just worry that they’ll regret it tomorrow. But there’s a lot of that actually. A lot of people get lyrics.
Inked: It’s pretty cool though. A mini-tribute I guess.
Collins: It’s definitely cool.
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