Fun Fun Fun Fest Artist Interview: Rory Phillips of The Impossibles

Photo courtesy of The Impossibles.

Break out the baseball jerseys and brush up your skanking technique — The Impossibles are back, again.

Championing their third return from musical oblivion, the jersey-clad Austinites will take the Black Stage for their first non-reunion show together in more than a decade on Nov. 8 at Fun Fun Fun Fest. As if that’s not enough to make the average ska or pop-punk fan scramble for a ticket, attendees will also get to hear the recently released singles — the first new music the band has released in more than 12 years — live for the first time at the festival.

The two tracks are radically different in style, with the ska feel of “Come Back” opposing the pop-punkier track “The Position,” and seem to encompass The Impossibles’ musical transition as a whole.

Frontman and vocalist Rory Phillips said that “Come Back” was meant to be a classic Impossibles song, sounding more like their earliest music.

“After doing the reunion, I realized that The Impossibles really had a sound for a while there — this ska verse [and] Weezer-Pixies-whatever-alternative-rock chorus,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t a sound that anybody else ever really picked up, so it really was signature to our band. I kind of went into [writing “Come Back"] thinking, ‘Oh, it would be really cool to do that,’ and then it just happened — I just happened to put together some chords that happened to work really well as a ska verse, and the chorus came together, as well.”

But “The Position” reflecting their later musical direction was a consequence of when it was composed — before The Impossibles reunited for the second time — and it wasn’t meant to be a return-style song.

Regardless, Phillips is excited about the new music and the reaction he’s been received from the fans.

“I’m really happy with it, which has not always been how it’s been in the band,” he said. “I just couldn’t be happier with the way that it came out. It really has that polished feel that I think we were kind of always going for and never really got to. Maybe the very last EP that we put out sounded like what we wanted it to, but our two full-length records, not quite as much.”

Though he may not have liked the way the albums sounded, Phillips and the rest of the band recognized the fans’ anticipation of The Impossibles’ FFF Fest set, so they posted a poll on their Facebook page asking which song fans wanted to hear most.

“Within the band, we’re kind of like, ‘Oh, let’s play this old song,’ and maybe it gets shot down, like, ‘Oh, no one wants to hear that.’ So we wanted to find out,” Phillips said. “The song people voted the most for is on the set list. You know, we try and play the hits, as it were; the ones that people really like. I think we’ll play most people’s favorite songs.”

As for the lineup, don’t expect to see original drummer Pat Elliot, who parted ways with the band for good during the second breakup, nor Santiago Vela, who played drums for The Impossibles’ reunion shows. Instead, you’ll spot another friend of the band’s in the back, who will also debut his jersey number at the festival.

The baseball jerseys with “IMPOSSIBLES” emblazoned across the front has been part of the band’s claim to fame since the start, though they briefly strayed away from the uniforms at the end of their last run.

“The plan is to don the jerseys again,” Phillips said. “That’s part of the thing, I think, with us playing these shows every once in a while; that makes it easier for us to do that. I think the only reason we stopped wearing them is just because we had been doing it for so many tours and so many shows in a row, it just didn’t feel fresh anymore.”

Right now, FFF Fest is the only show the band has cemented in place, since the guys only plan on performing when it’s convenient and stress-free for every band member. Keep an eye on The Impossibles’ Twitter and Facebook pages, though, for announcements about upcoming shows.

So, it seems that we lucky Austinites should take advantage of the band’s FFF Fest set and its Nites show at midnight on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Hotel Vegas. If history is bound to repeat itself, The Impossibles could be gone again before we get the chance to say goodbye.