When drummer Nick Lawrence joined the ranks of Scranton-based indie rockers Those Clever Foxes, he knew right away some things needed to change. Fortunately, that sat just fine with bassist Nick Blockus and guitarists Sean Flynn and Doug Griffiths.
“He pushed us to be much more serious, much more legitimate about the things that we're doing,” Griffiths said. “Primarily, I think we all realized that rather than doing this just for fun, we want to do this for more than that. We want to create something we can be proud of.”
Roughly this time last year, the band was a rather different animal. When the Foxes released their debut EP, “Four Bedrooms,” in 2012, the group's most noteworthy quality was the fact that its members constantly switched instruments throughout their sets.
Jump ahead to this year and the Foxes are set to unveil their first full-length, “Quincy Avenue,” with two release shows in Scranton this weekend. First, on Friday, a special 21+ “Star Wars”-themed bash at The Keys in Scranton with A Fire With Friends and Blinded Passenger (“First person to show up in full Boba Fett getup gets a few rounds and a free copy of 'Quincy Avenue,'” the event's Facebook page proudly proclaims). Then, on Saturday, it's an all-ages show at New Visions Studio & Gallery with Honesdale-based pop punk act A Fighting Chance, who will likewise be releasing an album of their own.
As for the Foxes' instrument-switching gimmick, well, Flynn puts it best.
“That s—t had to stop real quick. It just became annoying and wasted so much of our set time,” he said. “Also, not only was it a problem that none of us were actual drummers at the time, but the drums themselves were falling apart. Literally, we played a couple shows with holes in the snares, where we had to bum snares off other bands.”
Thus, in came Lawrence. Soon after, though, original member Derek McDaniels had to depart due, Griffiths said, to personal issues outside the band.
“We love Derek. We miss Derek. But while we were moving forward, he was busy, so it just wasn't lining up at the time,” he said.
The next step in the Foxes' forward progression? “Quincy Avenue,” which boasts a heavier, more punk-influenced sound that the band says puts “Four Bedrooms” to shame. Fitting, as it seems “Four Bedrooms” caused the band members a good deal of shame themselves.
“Hearing that played back at the end of the tracking and mixing process, we were just so embarrassed. Humiliated. Ashamed. Just take all the adjectives that are bad,” Griffiths admitted. “That was the main catalyst for everything we've done since then. We figured, if we're going to do this, if we're going to spend money to do this and we're going to do this in front of people, we need to be doing it for real.”
Or, as Lawrence put it, more succinctly: “We all hate our day jobs, you know?”