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Martin Royle, Washington Social Club’s frenetic frontman, has a lot to say about D.C.’s dating scene, comic books, and new additions to the band. Unfortunately, it didn’t all fit into this week’s One Track Mind column. So, here are some gems I swept up from the cutting-room floor.
In your e-mail, you said that when you wrote “Close the Roads,” you were inspired by lonely nights at the Black Cat.
That is correct.
When were these lonely nights, approximately?
It was pretty much like after the Catching Looks, came out in 2004. …The album came out and we had this “next big thing” thing, and that didn’t so much happen. It kind of happened in the District but it didn’t really happen nationally, so it was kind depressing.
So I just went to the Cat to try to be positive and try to be part of a scene.
One of those nights in there you thought you found the girl of your dreams, but she was engaged.
That actually like five times. It was fucking driving me insane.
DC is all political people and I’m not like that, I have hair to my shoulders. Trying to find people who are chill is kinda difficult.
One time at the Cat I met this chick and she was awesome but she was, of course, engaged. And then at this party I met this other girl and I was like, “Oh my god, awesome.” But then: married, negative.
Married women love to flirt, don’t they? Have you ever noticed that? Married women love to flirt because they can.
But your song was so optimistic, where did that optimism come from?
There’s this comic book called “The Sandman.” And they have this whole elaborate thing that the one thing you truly cannot destroy is hope. And I think it’s funny that when you are really alone, when you’re really hopeless, is when you can be the most hopeful. But when everything is great…it’s actually harder to be optimistic.
How’d you get hopeful again about music too?
Well, it just kinda came back around…People discovered that album on their own and it ended up finding fans. The band keeps getting more people into it, so that is pretty encouraging.
Are you still a trio?
We are a five-piece now. We actually added two brothers to our band…They both play guitar.
Was it a buy-one-get-one-free deal? How’d you end up with both?
It kind of was. I arranged with their parents—it was like a white slavery thing.
You used to play guitar, right? What’s it like not having a guitar on stage?
I love it. I love it because I can jump around and go crazy…If I’m just playing guitar I am a pretty good guitar player. And if I’m just singing I’m a pretty good singer. But when I sing and play the guitar, it slows down a little bit. I can’t quite do both at the same time.