KC: Other songs are about influences with my grandfather, and stuff he's done around the city, and other things we've known, family, maybe growing up in a dysfunctional family, and we brought in Michael Patrick MacDonald to help us put a more literally spin on it. One of the reasons he liked the project, is ultimately it's about embracing everyone and everything you come from, whether it's your culture, your family background, your economic status, and embracing it all, the good and the bad, because it is you, you know what I mean? You can either stay bitter and jaded about, "Oh, this part of my life, this happened to me as a kid, and I don't like this." I know with me, the difficulties in my life go just as much into making me who I am today as the good things that happened to me in my life. We can have it make us a better person, or we can just be bitter, jaded pricks. It's about embracing the whole thing. When you look back at his life, the struggles of Cornelius' generation and his kids&ldots;A lot of this will be spelled out further when the story's finished. The songs have to leave it a little open ended. I think when people read the rest of the story, when Michael finishes it, it will make a lot more sense.
I listened to "Sunday Hardcore Matinee" and I thought, "man, they totally wrote that before they came up with the theme and tacked on some stuff about grandkids so it would make sense&ldots;
KC: Oh, but we didn't, because that was supposed to be the connection back. If it's our grandparents, we are their kids. It wouldn't have made sense if it was about a random dude, and some of those stories are about our grandparents. We needed to bring other avenues into it. You can't write 13 songs about a grandfather going to war, so we wanted to broaden it all the way from generations before. The song "Broken Hymns" is about our generation and even our kids. It's spanning so many generations.
AB: Obviously, with "Hardcore Matinee," when we say the record has a lot of our personal experiences, there y'go.
I presume you knew Michael Patrick MacDonald from before his days as a famous memoirist&ldots;
KC: Yeah, we have a lot of mutual friends. We've known each other for a while. When the concept came up to tie it in with a writer, it was like, "Oh, he's got to be the guy." Right off the bat, he grasped the concept like maybe no one else would. Not that we're breaking new ground, but it doesn't happen a lot in modern days. You look at Irish music, how Finnegans Wake was music and literature inspiring each other, or a traditional song like "the Auld Triangle" inspired by a Brendan Behan play. Back in the old days of Irish music, literature and song went a lot more hand in hand. Maybe we're kind of bringing that back. Michael seemed like he'd get it more than anybody else would, both from a historical perspective, and from the perspective of the overall big picture about embracing who you are. I mean, if you look at his books, that's basically what the stories of All Souls and Easter Rising are about - his struggle to embrace who he is, and his disdain for Irish culture, because he thought Irish culture was just here, to going back to Ireland and embracing it. I mean, there are all these parallels to his own life, and that's why he loved to get involved with the project.