Star Scene: Cory Putman

NORMA JEAN

imageArticle by Mary Boukouvalas

Cory Putman of Norma Jean’s scene involves his family, his friends, his home.

Putman, along with his band members from the almighty, hardcore legends Norma Jean, is returning to Australian shores in April.

Since their formation, Norma Jean has continually pushed the boundaries of hardcore music. Though not the original singer, Putman has really made the band his own, stating: “I joined Norma Jean early. Only one record had been out and I toured that record. The first singer had left before it was even released. I’m actually on my eleventh year now. It’s been fun and I love Norma Jean, and I’ve definitely put enough into it to make it mine. It’s so cool to be part of this”.

The diversity of sounds within Norma Jean’s music and Putman’s influence may just have something to do with his own influences, which he states have changed a lot. “Kind of naming off some influences is really hard for me to do cause I feel I’m not even going to touch the surface, of everything I listened to, that made me. I was an early 90s punk kid, I liked punk rock, but that’s kind of a given with the music we’re into but I think that’s where a lot of people stop. I never had any loyalties to a genre. I wasn’t just a punk kid.

I liked some punk music, but to me it was just music, it was never a style or a way of life. It was just a cool sound. At the end of the day with music it’s the sound.

 And all I knew at a very young age was, I went to my first show, it was a punk show, and all I knew was ‘I wanna make that sound’. I didn’t what it was but it was called punk, and I liked it. I didn’t know about the whole lifestyle. I didn’t have any loyalties. It’s not a ‘F. U’ to punk rock. It’s just I don’t care about stuff like that, I also love the Smashing Pumpkins, they were one of my favourite bands in the world, they still are. I like post-punk bands. I didn’t like everything but I liked more rock, heavier influences”.

Combining these influences and consolidating ideas with other band members has made writing great songs easy. “There’s no definite formula with writing. We like to write separately and then come together and show each other what we have. I never knew that there was any other way. Get into a room, show each other the songs, and go record them. And now in the digital world you can be in a band with someone in a different country and if you do something real, you can record it. It’s a different world nowadays but I like it”.

There is no pretense with Putman in his approach to writing and he feels being natural and working hard is the best way to succeed in the music industry. “The best advice I can give is, just be natural. Just like they say when you go to an interview, be yourself be natural because if you’re not, people are gonna sense it. And if you’re writing songs, you should write with an honesty in the lyrics and the music, you should put everything into it, you know. If you put in a lot of work, really elbow grease work, it’s gonna be. We’re never going to get away from people thinking they can run around in the front yard and be struck by lightning. You can try that if you want but the best way to do it is to put yourself out there and really mean it”.

Putman himself modelled determination and resolve with Norma Jean’s latest release, Wrongdoers. He states: “We did the whole record and then we scrapped the whole record. All that was very frustrating and we already written and were ready to record and it didn’t feel right and we lost some guys in the process and got some new guys that fit the mould of what we were going for and made it work. And by the time we got into the studio, we had put so much into these songs that we were kind of sick of them, which happens when you’re writing a record. But we had enough time, we had about a day and we said let’s write another one, and I had a part we hadn’t used yet, and Jeff had a part we hadn’t used yet and John had a part, and we all had a part and we threw them together and we wrote the song in a couple of hours and it ends up being Track One of the record, we loved it so much. So Hive Minds was written literally in a day. And it’s still one of my favourite songs to play live and I don’t think that’ll change for a while”.

Wrongdoers was released in August 2013 but it hasn’t been toured in Australia yet. Putman’s view on recording and touring is modestly: “What we do goes in cycle, we record and we wanna tour it for a while, and then we get over that and wanna record and then we get over that and wanna tour and then we wanna record. And we’re definitely getting to that point with this tour, these last few tours coming up in the U.S and Australia, that’s the end of this record tour cycle, and then we’ll get in to writing and spend time on that. Last time, Wrongdoers hadn’t come out yet, we were out we had done one of the songs but no one knew it yet so we need to come back to showcase Wrongdoers and its whole vitality”. 

So it really has come full circle, we started it in Australia and we’ll end the tour cycle there.

As for what Australian audiences can expect from Putman and Norma Jean on stage, “You’re gonna take your hard earned money to come see us play and we’re not gonna take that for granted. We gonna put everything in to it. If you come to see us, we’re gonna make sure you have fun. And we’re going to play Wrongdoers and others from our other records, or whatever you want us to play”.

Putman recalls visits to Australia with humour and admiration. He states: “We always have a blast there (Australia), I think the country is really beautiful. I think the funnest time I had there, and this is a good story, was when we there with Every Time I Die. We played two shows, back to back with, so we were there for two days, in Melbourne, and we went to visit a bar one night. It was a trivia night and they were kind of playing this terrible music and we had a couple of beers and we were like let’s get out of here. And then the next night we went back there again cause it was so close and we walked in and it was bad music again, but this sounds different, and in the back of the bar, there was an Open Mic night so we’re sitting down and thought okay let’s sign up, and they all voted me and Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die and two of the guys from my band and one other. So next thing you know, I’m up. I had to down three beers to get my liquid confidence and I went up and sang three songs, and I kind of had to look up the lyrics, and that was pretty fun. I’ve never done anything like that before. And honest, I’ve played in front of 25,000 people before but that was more nerve racking. That was a fun time”.

Norma Jean Australian Tour Dates:

THURSDAY APRIL 2ND – CROWBAR, BRISBANE

FRIDAY APRIL 3rd –EASTERFEST, TOOWOOMBA

SUNDAY APRIL 5TH – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB, SYDNEY

FRIDAY APRIL 10TH – THE EVELYN HOTEL, MELBOURNE

SATURDAY APRIL 11TH – FOWLERS LIVE, ADELAIDE

SUNDAY APRIL 12TH – AMPLIFIER BAR, PERTH

Presented by Taperjean Touring, Select Touring, Hysteria Magazine.

For more information and tickets, visit here.

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About Mary Boukouvalas 655 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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