EXCLUSIVE: Much The Same Take You Track By Track Through Their New Album

26 July 2019 | 10:12 am | Staff Writer

“I was intent on lighting everything on fire.”

Reunited in 2015 after an eight-year hiatus, Chicago’s Much The Same today release their highly-anticipated new LP, Everything Is Fine, via Pee Records.

To celebrate, guitarist Dan O'Gorman, bassist Franky Tsoukalas and vocalist Chris "Gunner" McGrath run us through the new album track by track.


Dan: This song was definitely written to be the first on a record. I especially love it because it's a total departure from what the listener is going to hear for the rest of the record. So the listener hears it and thinks, ‘Damn, MTS got heavy...’ GOTCHA!Me, Jevin [Kaye, drums] and Frank had developed the opening riff years ago right after we released Survive, but every time we tried to write the rest of the song it sounded like shitty metal.

The verses were written completely separately from the rest of the song. I had the melody for the verse stuck in my head all the time and I'd sing it at work. It was written shortly after me and my ex divorced and I was not exactly the world's most pleasant person to be around.

I made it a learned skill how to ruin as many relationships as I could to forget my marriage ever happened. On my way out of that divorce, I was intent on lighting everything on fire. The song was originally only supposed to be a minute long or so, but I was talked into writing a second verse for it, which actually became some of my favourite lyrics. The second verse is heavily influenced by author George R. R. Martin's writing style and usage of words. "Words are wind" is a line consistently used in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. 

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Snake In The Grass

Dan: This song was an eye-opener for myself. The original idea was to write about a shitty person I was living with and how they made my life miserable, then after looking at the situation retrospectively, I realized I was the bad guy; I was the villain living among them, the snake in the grass.

Also, I'm a history teacher and I really loved the story behind spy organisation Culper Ring during the revolutionary war, where a spy loyal to the patriots is still living with his wife and pledging his loyalty to the British. I found our two stories aligned quite well so I tried to use older English terms and vocabulary to cross both ideas together. Also, you could tell by this song that I wish I was in Lagwagon. The bridge/conclusion is my favourite part. It just kind of states, I'm no longer beholden to your world so I'm going to build my own out of what's left, much like after the revolutionary war.

You Used To Have A Garden

Frank: I grew up with a dad who was a good dad and a mom who did a lot to drag us down. Without getting into it, I watched our modest home turn into something that would be on a reality TV show for being filthy. It completely fell apart and so did our relationships to a degree. I haven’t been home in about two years because I can’t bear to look at the shit hole it’s become. One thing I miss, though, from when I was a kid, was my dad had a garden, a small one behind our garage. He worked all the time, still does at 75 because he’s too broke not to. Anyway, he didn’t have time for hobbies but he had that garden. The only gifts I ever knew to get him related to that. So when shit really went south for them, he didn’t have time or energy to keep it up. Sucks. So... he used to have a garden. It was the one thing that didn’t make him seem broken. Now, he doesn’t have that. 


Frank: Classic Dan and I writing together about girls we dated during the prime of youth and touring. We both contributed words and music. It’s something I think we’ve always been good at. We originally recorded an acoustic version with our friend Chris Walsh singing it. He killed it and we knew we had a good song. When MTS was definitely back we knew it had to make it. I put a lot into the bass on this one ‘cause it means a lot to me and I wanted to put 100% into it, unlike the relationship it’s about. 

Man Of Science, Man Of Faith

Dan: Fine, I'll just admit it here. The idea for this song was heavily influenced by the TV show, Lost. While the song took on a theme of its own, regarding a battle between truth and fiction that seems to never get resolved, the original idea and hook came from binge-watching Lost.


Frank: A collaborative effort musically between Jevin, Dan, and I. We wrote a lot of it via FaceTime which was pretty cool. The words are pretty much about missing being in the band and how cool it was at our reunion show to see how many people really cared about what we did. It’s not a huge amount, but more than I ever thought would. The song is about really giving it a shot again because it’s something we cared about and also has little tidbits about not being able to reconcile some of the things that happened in the past, but we move forward, or something poetic like that.

Strangers In Fiction

Dan: While it seems like the theme behind this song is obvious, a ‘lost love’ sort of thing, it's actually quite the opposite. I always pictured my marriage like we were just writing a story of what we hoped things would turn out like, and my ex-wife was just a way better storyteller than I was. So I used that metaphor to write the song like we were two struggling authors trying to finish this so-called fairy tale ending. But as it turns out I wasn't very good at ‘writing’.The song to me is more of an admission of guilt for allowing my marriage to fail and apology to my ex-wife for having to experience it. This is my favourite song on the record. It works as a great reminder to myself to be better. 

In The Event Of... 

Dan: Oh boy. This was written while I was living in the hospital totally expecting to die. It's as literal of a song as I've ever written. Every line comes from a place of truth and actual circumstances that I was living with. I had a brain aneurysm and lost consciousness while I was home alone with my two young children. There are a full 48 hours that I don't have any recollection of.

That first line: "Listen close even though I can't speak," I called my dad because I knew something bad was happening, but my brain couldn't find the words to say "help, my kids are with me."Which leads us to the second line - "would you help me with these mouths to feed, " I was baking brownies and trying to read the directions but the words made no sense at all.

"Tell my mum and my dad I'm not dead yet, they've got me tied down to this hospital bed" is another case of literally what happened. In my unconsciousness state, I was combative and uncooperative with the nurse's who were trying to help me, the only person that was there was my girlfriend. I was being so unruly that they had to literally tie me down to the hospital bed.

My parents apparently showed up at this moment and my girlfriend wouldn't allow them to come see me since I was in such an agitated state. The line from the chorus (which became the title for the record) was something I constantly repeated over and over again, even though I knew in my mind this was over, I'm probably not going to survive and to not hold your breath because it's probably going to be really slow.

The second verse is really just how I live now, I don't lock my front door so the paramedics don't have to kick them down in the event of.... and I keep a book next to my bed in case I get confused again, I have something to read that I know should make sense.

We decided to keep this song on the ukulele as that's how it was written, in a hospital bed with a cheap ukulele I bought a few days before being admitted. 

Chris: Dan sent me this phone recording of him playing and singing the song, and it was so haunting and emotional to me that I never thought playing it as a punk song could do it justice. Nothing was going to compare to that. So I basically did my best impression of Dan singing quietly into his phone when I recorded the song.


Dan: I suffer from some pretty bad social anxiety in most situations in my life. It's not fun, going out to parties or bars and such can be exhausting. However, I realised there was one place that I felt safe, that I felt accomplished and worthy, and that was at our shows. We've had the opportunity to play with some fucking legends, and that's been amazing. But at 36 years old I really could care less about meeting them. Really, what do we have in common?

What made me feel so safe at our shows were the fans and getting to know the fans on a personal level. Getting to talk with them, and hear about their problems, just like what I had.Learning how many of them struggled with mental health issues, just like I did. How many of them fought or know someone who fought and won a battle with cancer... just like I did.

The conversations and moments I am able to experience with this plethora of individuals has changed the way I view my own world and has in a way saved me and allowed me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. So this song is kind of a dedication to them for being there, listening, talking, and rocking the fuck out with me, and being the life vest for me.