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Underground railroad to Candyland.

I'VE KNOWN Todd Congelliere since his days of fronting the sophomoric group of derelicts in the Torrance, CA punk band FYP. I'm talking before he picked up the guitar, back when he used to spazz out and scream into his tennis shoe (mic stuffed into his shoe). I loved that era. I also loved the fact that Todd forced his racket on the people (1990) by self-releasing his music on his own Recess Records label. He would later release other bands' material, too, and has since released over 100 records. Eventually Todd relocated his label and band to San Pedro, CA, in 1995, where he's been ever since. FYP eventually crushed the hearts of their adoring fans by disbanding and starting the more poppy punk follow-up Toys that Kill. TTK have since recorded three full-length records on Recess, and have done multiple tours, even landing themselves in Europe and Japan for a stint. Todd recently started a new project called Underground Railroad to Candyland, leaving a few unanswered questions in the minds of Toys that Kill fans everywhere. Is this a project? Is this serious? Is Toys that Kill finished?

What's the deal with Toys that Kill?

I guess it's a hiatus. Cole is going to Cole-inary school, which is going to take about three and a half years from what I heard. I'm glad he's doing what he's been wanting to do for a long time.

Do you consider URTC a side project? How far do you plan on taking it?

Every band I've ever been in started somewhat like a side project, except for TTK. With TTK there was this plan and there was some sort of commitment and aim and expectations. I think that can be a good and a bad thing. Expectations can really ruin things, though. We made a big commitment of buying a van with five years of payments, and then people started getting full-time jobs and making other commitments where we couldn't really use the van. That's the bad side of it. But I wouldn't want to change anything at all, 'cause we went to so many places and played some great shows. Those guys are like brothers. I never want to plan on how far to take a band. I pretty much want to stop when it stops being fun or spiritually worthwhile.

The band name is awkward. How did the band's name come about? Can I talk you into changing it?

Well, for those of you that are awkwardly challenged you can call us "Candyland," or even "Underground Candyland," or just URTC. I mean, did you ever call NOTA "None of the Above"? Plus, we were in The Onion's Worst Long Band Names of 2006--and I love The Onion! So, no. You can't talk me into changing it. We were in Gainesville, FL, for the 2005 Fest, and we were all laying low afterwards watching some Underground Railroad documentary. I said, "Did that lady just say, 'We took the underground railroad to candyland?'" Paddy from D4 started laughing and making fun of it. She really said, "To Canada." Canada, Candyland--what's the difference!

You guys just got back from Japan. Are you guys officially big in Japan?

We are officially stokers in Japan. The shows over there were frikken crazy good. Jin and Fumi of No People are the best hosts ever. They come and play over here a lot, too, so make sure you check them out next time.

How do you tour Japan without a record?

You have to have someone named Jack Doyle in the band who's always pushing some sort of buttons. I would tell him to slow down, and he would answer with, "Okay. Let's go to Japan!" and I'm glad. I know it's not smart in a money sense to go out there without a record, but we're not smart. Once we were out there, we were making fun of the fact we didn't have a record. We even burned CD-R copies over there and made covers with a picture we took at a video arcade, and then sold them. It seemed like people learned the songs while we were there, which was crazy. Maybe it's because the lyrics are just weird bird noises to them--and to us, too. We went for the fun factor, and it ended up being one of the funnest tours ever. The last show in Tokyo was the best show ever!

Do you guys have a record coming out?

We have a split LP with the Pricks (Sweden) coming out on Roekstar Records from Germany, and a four-way split with No People, Off with Their Heads, and Drinkers' Purgatory coming out on Small Pool in the United States and Underground Government in Japan. We're going to record a full-length very soon. When this band first started, I wanted it to be a band that didn't do any official releases. Maybe just downloads and stuff. But people started asking us to do stuff, and, well, sheeps are pussies.

For someone who hasn't heard URTC, describe what you sound like.

It's going to kind of sound like TTK 'cause I write most of the songs and Jimmy throws his rad-ass beats in. But I don't think it's that similar. The idiosyncrasies are much different, and every song is different at every show. Also, a band should show off the personalities of each member, and with that in mind try to compare the two Jacks to Chachi and Cole. You really can't.

Is Jack Blast the Flavor Flav of the group?

Yes. Except he's white.

Check out more URTC at: theundergroundrailroadtocandyland
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Author:Ibarra, Craig
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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