Inspection 12 – Old Friends Make New Music

WHEN: Dec 27
WHO: Inspection 12
WHERE: Freebird Live

Inspection 12 is picking up right where they left off with old friends, new music and a renewed appreciation for their hometown. The Jacksonville punk band will release its first new record in 11 years next month, and they are proud to have come back to the place where it all started.

Guitarist Pete Mosely says it was hard for the band to put itself out there again after such a long absence but that things just seemed to fall into place. “It’s kind of a big deal for us, but it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been expecting in the back of our minds that we would step up and do it. It’s really special to us, and it’s really fun just getting back into it,” he says. “It’s been a long time since our last release, so we’re curiously nervous about it. But even more so we’re excited, proud and in a little bit of disbelief that we actually and finally did it.”

The band’s last release was in 2003 and a lot has happened since then. The original lead singer Rob Reid returned after two decades. Dan McLintock had filled that spot until a year and a half ago when he left to pursue other interests. Reid returned to Jacksonville after living in Chicago for eight years, pursuing comedy on the side with the famed Second City comedy troupe. “We recruited Rob to come back,” Mosely says. “He was just moving back, and we figured there wouldn’t be any better fit than having the original singer holding down the mic.”

Guitarist James Trimble was also returning home after medical school, a residency in Tampa and a year-long fellowship in Tallahassee. Inspection 12 was well-received after playing its first show with the new/old lineup, so the band decided to go all in with a new record.

The new album entitled Redefine is “a very simple summation of the turn of events we’ve experienced individually and collectively,” Mosely says. “The songs carry some themes of perspective, reflection and looking ahead…the things that everybody goes through in the pivotal ages of life. There’s a track called ‘My Ways’ that expresses the feelings of returning to a familiar place that may not be so familiar anymore, so maybe you’re the one that has to change, or “redefine” your ways. It’s just all about doing what you want to do and on your own terms, or the best terms that you can present for yourself.”

Mosely says the album has a bookends theme, a sort of recurring melody idea that he “borrowed” from “Abbey Road,” that ties the record together. The closing track is titled ‘The Last of a Dying’ and is kind of about Inspection 12 and an homage to the idea of being punk rock, or just individual and unique unto yourself.

“Claiming to be ‘punk’ can sometimes come with big responsibility, and we’ve never wanted to do that because labels are for cans,” he says. “Everybody is a little punk rock, I hope. For us, we just want to continue doing this as best we can without the pressures of success or competition. That’s probably why we quit trying to take the show on the road and get lost in the wash of bands trying to make it. Staying home and doing what we love is all we really need to make anything.”

Mosely says there is an obvious maturity in the overall approach to the writing on the new album, however the band stays true to what they do. “Personally, as a songwriter, there is a distinct flavor in my voice that I think is true in all songwriters. You’re always going to grow in your style or your approach to the craft,” he says. “It still has the punk elements, the old Inspection 12 flavor to it. We are not coming out with some huge departure from who we are.”

But it’s not all serious. Inspection 12 touched up a few older tunes, as they’ve been known to do, from one of its previous releases on cassette tape (yes, cassette tape). ‘Come, Hefe, Come’ originally released in 1995, was included on Redefine to lighten up the mood and give a breath of fresh air to the band’s roots.

“We made an attempt at broadening our horizons with some of the arranging. We’ve always kept the door open for auxiliary instrumentation, and this record was no exception. There are some strings, piano of course, even a ukulele cameo. And in the event that it gets tiresome to hear us sing, there’s an instrumental tune,” Mosely says. “It’s been a long time since our last release, so we’re curiously nervous about it. But even more so, we’re excited, proud and in a little bit of disbelief that we actually and finally did it.”

Inspection 12 introduced their new lineup last year at their annual “Christmas show” at Freebird Live, and Mosely says they were not immune to shade thrown by some longtime fans struggling with the change of the supposed “face” of the band.

“A lot of people get really attached to lead singers sometimes, and they think that is the entire band. We kind of sensed that we were getting a little bit of a push back. It wasn’t our choice. This was something Dan decided to step away from, but we didn’t want that to ruin the party for everybody,” Mosely says.
“Rob really stepped up and jumped right back into it. He hadn’t been the lead singer for us since the ‘90s, and at no time between now and then had he been in any other band, so it had to be scary for him to get back on the mic and have that kind of responsibility.”

Inspection 12 is looking forward to playing new music and old favorites December 27 at Freebird Live. The new CD will be available prior to the show in iTunes, but Mosely encourages fans to support the band and its commitment to its art by getting a physical copy.

About Liza Mitchell