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Friday, December 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
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Red Collar quit their jobs to play music
Economy of scale

Jason Kutchma is a singer and guitarist in the Durham, N.C., rock band Red Collar. Until two months ago, Kutchma, 36, also held down a nine-to-five office job as a state worker.

Then Kutchma and his wife, Beth, decided to embrace the rock 'n' roll road life. Together with guitarist Mike Jackson and drummer Jon Truesdale, the Kutchmas have toured for weeks and won't return to Durham until July.

Red Collar's music combines the bluesy-punk of Fugazi with the blue-collar rock of Springsteen. It's music that puts no polish on the gritty side of life but never loses faith.

The band opens for Parlor Mob at the Frequency on Tuesday, May 26. I talked with Jason Kutchma by phone last week.

Is this your first national tour?

It's our second, though neither one has been completely national. This time we won't be out on the West Coast. We've done the weekend warrior thing for three years. We'd drive from Durham to places like Clemson, S.C., to do a show that would end at 1:30 in the morning. Then we'd drive back. Jon would have to work at the library the next day. Mike would wait tables. I got off lucky and would go home and sleep in the afternoon. It was extremely exhausting.

Has putting aside your jobs had any effect on how you're playing as a band?

I've noticed a better level of communication among the members of the band. Maybe it's that we're just playing together a lot more. Maybe we're in a better mindset. But we've been playing a lot tighter.

So what happens when the tour ends?

Beth was lucky enough to keep her job [as a program assistant] at the University of North Carolina. Mike will probably pick up some double shifts waiting tables. Jon is a photographer. I'll go back and work on my house. That's my job - to get it ready to put on the market.

None of this was ever a plan. We just wanted to play a good show. We still get along, so I guess we'll keep doing it.

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