According to Caroline Upshaw of the Richmond Local Music Examiner, if you “take a surf-rock sock hop and add a dash of DINOSAUR JR., you get one of the most catchy, dance-inspiring, psych-rock bands in Richmond, THE MILKSTAINS.” Born in the capital of our fine commonwealth, the band came together in 2004 under the reigns of vocalist and guitarist John Sizemore, drummer Raphael Katchinoff, and bassist Gabe Lopez. Currently the band is gearing up for the release of their first full-length record since they formed 10 years ago, which they plan to release at this year’s Fall Line Fest. We caught up with Katchinoff to discuss the band’s history and their unique sound, their upcoming album Broken Bones, and their appearance at this year’s Fall Line Fest.

I understand you guys recently celebrated your 10 year anniversary as a band. Can you tell me how you got started and what has kept the band going for so long?

We started when we were in high school. That was John Sizemore, the guitar player, and myself. We just started as a guitar and drums duo kinda like THE WHITE STRIPES, BLACK KEYS, and growing up in high school, we saw them [and realized] just getting those two instruments together — drums and guitar — you can make a bunch of noise. He [John Sizemore] was really into a band that Jack White was into called FLAT DUO JETS, another guitar-drums duo. I picked up a drum set when I was 13, and he had just gotten a guitar, so we kind of just went from there. We came up with the name THE MILKSTAINS. Being 16-year-olds, we thought it was funny, and we have been playing heavily the past couple years with some hiatuses here and there. Ya know, life gets in the way. John went on a cross-country trip across America, and I’m in another band. I played in PEOPLE’S BLUES OF RICHMOND (PBR) to help start them, and I play in another band called THE SOUTHERN BELLES. We just kinda stuck at it. We were really good buddies. We started putting stuff together and tried a couple bass players, and we moved from that duo and added a bass player, just because it’s fun to have that low-end sound . When John started working at Sprout back in 2008 or 2009, he met this who met this guy Gabe, who joined us when our other bassist, AJ, left. So we asked Gabe to join the band, and he has been with us since 2009.

How do you manage your time between THE MILKSTAINS and THE SOUTHERN BELLES?

It’s tough to get everyone together to rehearse and play. Everyone has got jobs, kids now. It’s tough. It’s been hard to do both. For a minute it was PBR, BELLES, and MILKSTAINS, and that is one of the reasons I had to leave PBR because I couldn’t give up on THE MILKSTAINS. It’s like some weird, mutated child that has been a part of my life for so long. Adrian from THE SOUTHERN BELLES, I’ve known him longer than I’ve known anyone in my life. So he left for Montana, came back and wanted to start the band, so I told him I would give it a shot. But I think they are both doing pretty well. It’s a little harder to sustain because John and Gabe have some work around town they can’t get out of as much. But we’ve recorded a bunch, and we put out three releases in the last year, two of them have been little EPs and now the album. We’re all staying pretty busy.

Within the past two years, your band has been putting together its first full-length album, Broken Bones, which was produced by Joon Kim and mostly recorded at Magic Twig Studios in Roanoke. What has the process for that been like, and why has it taken two years to record?

We had our buddy Joon help front the money for the recording process back in February 2013, but it took a while because we were going through a friend of his who masters records straight to vinyl. We were hoping on doing a big vinyl record release, and we realized it was never gonna get out if we waited to get the money to put into it. So we got it mastered by the guy and decided to just release it on the label we are on right now called Bad Grrrl Records and to do cassette tapes and CDs. They got a bunch of awesome local bands on that bill as well.

What inspired the album art for Broken Bones?

For the album art, we used this guy Ben Rinehardt, who is one of John’s oldest friends. They both grew up really liking film. John went to film school and graduated from VCU, and his buddy Ben went out to LA and worked out there for a while. He’s got these really bizarre, very creepy family portraits that he created where he uses really bizarre lighting, fog machines, but also doing it all very DIY. He has created this whole family of Texas Chainsaw Massacre style kinda stuff with crazy masks and stuff. So we used some of those as our EP and LP covers, and it’s pretty cool. They are funny and also kind of creepy.


I heard that you guys do a cover of BLACK FLAG’s “Nervous Breakdown.” How well does that translate to surf rock?

It translates really well. We have also done stuff like NIRVANA and DINOSAUR JR. We’ve also done the one cover by a band called LOVE, and it all harkens back to this really loud sound. I think we pull it off alright, especially when we have our friend Jamie would come sing it. We really only play it when he comes out to shows. We kinda have that Southern California garage punk vibe, and that was definitely BLACK FLAG. It’s always a lot of fun to play.

In a couple weeks, your band will be playing the Fall Line Fest at Gallery 5 in Richmond. What can your audience expect to experience from your set?

We are probably going to play the entire album. We only have 30 minutes, and they have, I think, five bands on the bill. So it’s pretty stacked. I’m actually pretty excited about it. SPORTS BAR — they are another local band — they are kicking things off right before us, and there’s a couple pretty cool bands after us. I think POTTY MOUTH is right after us. We’ve been listening to them, and they sound pretty sweet. Maybe if we have time, we will also pull of the cover of that band LOVE that I was just talking about.

Are there any other bands on the Fall Line Fest you are looking forward to playing with?

Like I just mentioned, SPORTS BAR. Those guys are really awesome, and they’re from right here in Richmond. On Friday, one of the last three bands playing at The National is THE DIAMOND CENTER, and they are one of my most favorite bands. They play right before DEATH, who I am also really excited to see, and THE HOLD STEADY, who I have never seen before but I’ll stick around and catch that. WEEDEATER is playing on Friday at Strange Matter, and I might try to catch them as well.

For more updates on THE MILKSTAINS, be sure to “like” their Facebook page and listen to their music on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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