Updated: Nov 19, 2020
We stoked to feature Philly based punk band Stolen Wheelchairs as our newest Band of the Week! We covered their single "On My Own" a few weeks back, and they just released their new album "The America" on November 13th. Check out our interview with their singer/frontman, Oscar, below!
HU: First off, it's great to talk to you guys. Thanks for taking the time. For those who don’t know, who is Stolen Wheelchairs?
SW: Hey! Thank you for having us. We’re a group of family and friends from Philly who kind of play Hardcore Punk, but I honestly have no idea what you would classify us as. The band is myself (Oscar) on vocals, my pops Oscar on guitar, and my buddies Lou and Milo on bass and drums.
HU: Where’d the name come from?
SW: I remember seeing Bouncing Souls in Philly and there was a man in a wheelchair and everyone was making room for him to get into the pit and eventually crowd surf, wheelchair and all. I remember thinking how cool our scene and community was at that moment. We’re also the Robin Hoods of healthcare, but the lore or whatever you want to call it doesn’t go any deeper than that haha. it’s a hard name to forget. I hope.
HU: Could you choose a favorite show you've played?
SW: Either Cranking and Skanking fest with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones or our friends in The Ghouls reunion show. Both were such unique experiences. The Bosstones one was funny because we played the inside stage and it rained right before our set so everyone was forced to listen to us. The Ghouls reunion was cool because there’s an incredible feeling playing a small sold out bar to a room of mostly your friends, as well as the ton of new ones we made that night.
Stolen Wheelchairs - Already A Ghost
HU: We love your new album, The America, can you tell us more about that release?
SW: Thank You! I wanted to roll with a very dualistic theme, sort of wanted to destroy the idea of oneself, but not quite to die. The name is inspired by a Henry Rollins interview. At a certain point he describes if he had not joined black flag he may have still worked at Haagen Daz, maybe gotten someone pregnant, but inevitably The America would have happened to him. I took it as something that may eventually happen to everyone, a burning out, or an extinction of all hope due to the crushing and destructive nature of our society. Hence the chorus. “The America. Soon it will happen to me.” One of the more negative outlooks on the record, but pairing with the duality theme we also have songs like Pick Yourself Up, so it balances out.
We recorded the entire thing DIY at my dad’s place. Banged out drums in 6 hours. There’s a lot of cool stories regarding the recording. But we didn’t have a large budget so I figured I could record well enough, especially with the help of Lou, the second audio engineer in the band. We spent most of our money on mixing with Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios in Boston. He knew exactly what sound we wanted to hear and nailed it. Then we got it mastered by John Naclerio at Nada Recording. He’s worked on everyone from My Chem to our buddies in Jukebox Romantics.
HU: What's your favorite and least favorite thing about being a part of the Philly music scene?
SW: My favorite thing is how close knit it can be. It’s not a big city like New York, but it’s big enough that there is an amazing talent pool of musicians creating amazing stuff. Leash favorite….half of the venues are 21+ and don’t let me in haha. Some let me play but honestly that issue is most bars and it can happen anywhere in the US. Oh actually. Worst part is the PPA (Philadelphia Parking Authority). They have gotten me a few times, but the worst was the night the Misfits played Philly. We were hanging out with our buddies from Bar Stool Preachers outside the TLA after their matinee with Bouncing Souls and parted ways to go to the Misfits show which was starting in about 30 minutes. I got to my car a block away and it just wasn’t there. I had parked in a residential spot with the smallest “Tow Zone” sign you would have ever seen, and the worst part was MY TICKETS TO THE SHOW WERE IN THE CAR. Thank god my pops picked me up and got me to the PPA lot, I was able to catch the tail end of the murphy's set since they were direct support for the night. But the PPA has gotten me a few times. Worst part of Philadelphia, hands down.
HU: Who is a band that you've met through playing shows that we should all be listening to right now?
SW: Bar Stool Preachers are a phenomenal band that we have had the pleasure of playing with. Our friends Jukebox Romantics, OC45, Michael Kane and The Morning Afters. Also our philly homie Bern from Bern and The Bastards if you are into folk punk. Oh and keep your eyes on Secret Spirit, those guys are AWESOME.
HU: How have you guys been handling the COVID-19 shutdown?
SW: I think we’ve been ok as far as keeping busy. It has been really hard for us at separate times for a whole slew of reasons but we’re still going. We love and need to do this. We love creating and being a part of this amazing community and don’t have any intentions of stopping soon.
HU: If you could have Stolen Wheelchairs be direct support on tour for any band, who would it be?
SW: Bad Religion. That band quite literally made me who I am today, or at least helped. Been listening to them since I was eleven. Most influential band in my life. Greg Graffin, apart from Milo from Descendents, inspired me to keep going to school. So I've been mad busy writing papers and trying to keep our ducks in a row for this release. All in all it has been fun though.
HU: Do you guys have a favorite song to perform