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DS Exclusive: Joey Cape talks Lagwagon’s plans for Punk Rock Bowling, FEST 17 and beyond

 

This should come as not exactly breaking news, but this coming weekend in Las Vegas marks the twentieth installment of Punk Rock Bowling. Created by Stern Brothers of Youth Brigade fame two decades ago, the annual bacchanalian celebration of all things punk rock has grown into a much larger festival than it originally started out as, yet has, somehow, remained true to the the spirit of the scene that spawned it. It’s remains a must-see destination for punk rockers from not just around the country but around the world. Like, for example, Joey Cape.

The solo artist-slash-Scorpio-slash-Gimme-Gimme-slash-Lagwagon-frontman is not only pulling double duty at the event this year (he’s headlining a solo gig on Friday alongside Tim Barry – limited tickets still available here – and Lagwagon headlines the sold-out Fat Wreck Chords showcase on Saturday), but he’s been in attendance for all but a small handful of Punk Rock Bowling weekends over the last two decades. And while it’s long been a compelling event for Cape even if he’s not playing, he remembers having misgivings in the earliest years about if the concept would take off. “I’ll be honest, I remember the first year or the second year, thinking that “this isn’t going to last!” I didn’t know that it would work. I was definitely skeptical,” he explains. While Vegas has long attracted people from across all walks of life and garnered a well-earned reputation for glitz, glamour, and debauchery, there was something about the derelicts taking over and throwing a bowling party might be too much for even Sin City to handle. “I just imagined with all those people, that I was going to enjoy (the first installment of PRB) because it was definitely going to be the first and last one of those, you know!” Cape credits not only the Stern brothers for running a great ship, but the location itself for creating a unique environment that keeps the festival working. “It’s all in one area, and it’s in Vegas, which is just the built-in best possible platform. You throw a stone in any direction and there’s a bar or something else to do that’s wild and fun. That place has always been an escape for adults; like a Disneyland for adults. So you couple that with this kind of music, and there’s the simple absurdity of it that works for people.

There are a handful of milestone events coming rapidly down the ‘pike for Lagwagon this year, although when your band has been in existence for such a long time, there are seemingly no shortage of such milestones to celebrate. The band’s highly-regarded fourth album, Double Plaidinum, somehow turned twenty last year, while its stellar – albeit shorter – follow-up Let’s Talk About Feelings reaches the same milestone this year. Once Cape and his Lagwagon cohorts return from a fairly lengthy European tour in August, there are plans in the works to hopefully celebrate both albums in a meaningful way, and to tie them into an even larger and more meaningful milestone: 2019, you see, marks Lagwagon’s thirtieth year as a band. Kinda.

Within the band, we kinda go “is it ‘88 or ‘89?” explains Cape. “There was a band in ‘88 that I wasn’t in that was the band I joined. When I joined the band (Section Eight), I started writing songs for the band, and it was enough of a revamp. I like to think (it was) ‘88, but it’s funny, the one other member that was in the band before me, Chris Flippin, The Big Bitch, prefers ‘89.” Because of the somewhat nebulous origin of the band’s initial formation, the band have blown by several milestone anniversaries in the past – their 25th anniversary roughly coincided with the Fat Wreck Chords 25th anniversary tour a few years back, though even that tour came around the label’s actual 26th anniversary – but whatever timeline you go by Cape and his bandmates seem to realize that this milestone is an important one. “You have anniversaries that you’re married every year, and the tenth anniversary of a marriage is a big deal, so the thirtieth anniversary of a band should be celebrated! That’s five assholes trying to get along! And they’re not even having sex!”

Some plans to celebrate the band’s coinciding milestones are still taking shape, but we do know that Lagwagon will perform Let’s Talk About Feelings in its entirety at Fest 17 in Gainesville this coming October. Album-specific shows and tours have become more of the norm for bands of all genres over the last handful of years, and while that might give one initial pause to jump into that fray, there is a special lure to events like that if they’re done the right way. “I love doing it because I think there is a historic time-stamp that coincides with the release of an album,” Cape explains. “We obviously come from a generation where sequence and the entire album matter and have their own feel. That still matters to us, being old men in a day and age where singular songs and Spotify are the norm. I think there’s something really cool about doing it with a band. It takes playing a whole record to really revisit that vibe and that feeling and that climate that the band was in.”

Stay tuned for more on Let’s Talk About Feelings and Double Plaidinum plans in the ramp-up to Lagwagon’s 30ish anniversary in 2019. And who knows..maybe we’ll even get new music before 2019 is up: it has, somehow, been four years since the release of their latest full-length, Hang, after all. “We’ll probably get back in the studio by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, so we are going to actually follow through,” says Cape. “After we made Hang, everybody agreed and said “let’s stop doing this bullshit, let’s get right back on the horse after tour.” Between touring for Hang and touring for Fat Wreck’s 25th, anniversary, that “tour” lasted for a couple years, however. Cape jokes: “we toured for like two years, and at the end of two years it’s like “alright, I’ll see you guys NEVER! I love you guys, but fuck you!!

Head below to read our full chat with the Joey Cape. We caught up over the phone on the eve of “Lagwagon Day,” and a long, winding, fun conversation entailed, ranging from details on the band’s history to tidbits about new solo material. And let us know if you’re in Vegas for PRB or Gainesville for Fest!

 



Jeff Rosenstock announces 2018 tour dates, including some featuring AJJ’s Sean Bonnette

Jeff Rosenstock has announced some 2018 tour dates, including a run with Remo Drive, and another with AJJ’s Sean Bonnette.

You can check out the full list of dates and locations below.

Jeff Rosenstock last released Post- in January 2018.



New Music: Frankie Stubbs (Leatherface) – “Don’t You Ever Say Goodbye (acoustic)”

Frankie Stubbs, longtime vocalist and guitarist for the legendary – and now defunct – UK punk band Leatherface, has played a handful of acoustic gigs in the years since his main band called it quits in 2012. During a recent such show in Germany, Stubbs dedicated the Leatherface classic “Never Say Goodbye” (from their final full-length, 2010’s The Stormy Petrel) to his former band’s bass player, Dickie Hammond, who passed away in November 2015. As you might expect, the crowd joined Stubbs on vocals, for what seems to have been a pretty emotional moment (great quality video is available here).

If you weren’t aware, Stubbs is slated to make another one of his rare solo, acoustic appearances at Pouzza Fest 8 in Montreal this weekend. He’s been rehearsing in the Little Rocket Records studio in the UK, where he was recorded by fellow Leatherface bandmate (and Pouzza co-curator) Graeme Philliskirk. Little Rocket and Stubbs have teamed up to release an acoustic studio version of the above-named classic, and you can check it out here for the very first time. Stream it below!

Leatherface’s last release was their 2011 live album, Viva La Arthouse.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story referred to the late Dickie Hammond as Leatherface’s bass player. He, of course, played guitar; Philliskirk played bass.



The Drew Thomson Foundation (members of Single Mothers) release music video for “Stay”

Single Mothers frontman Drew Thomson has started a new solo project called The Drew Thomson Foundation, and has released a music video for his new song “Stay.”

Check it out below.

“Stay” comes from the upcoming EP of the same name, which is set to be released on May 11th.



DS Photo Gallery: Brian Fallon and the Howling Weather with Caitlin Rose at Royale in Boston (5/1/18)

When last we spoke with Brian Fallon (read that interview here), it was the morning after the first US tour date in support of his sophomore solo album, Sleepwalkers. With two full-length solo albums plus the Horrible Crowes catalog to draw from and backed by a retooled live band now known as The Howling Weather (longtime friend/collaborator Ian Perkins on guitar, Nick Salisbury on bass, Matt Olsson on drums), tour was off to a positive start. A month down the road, we caught the penultimate show of the Sleepwalkers US tour as it wound through Boston’s Royale nightclub last Tuesday night to finally take in the experience first-hand.

As she had for the last several weeks of the full-US tour, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose kicked off the festivities on this particular evening. It’s probably not a stretch to assume that the bulk of the daily readers here at Dying Scene might not have Rose on their standard rotation, but we’re all also all about expanding musical horizons, so look her up. Backed by a three-piece band of her own, the silky-voiced Rose primarily plays a smooth blend of hypnotic alternative country and blues, like if Patsy Cline were fronting Mazzy Star. There’s a real soul to her voice when she opens up, giving tremendous depth to her forlorn stories.

Speaking of forlorn storytelling, Fallon kicked off his set with “Forget Me Not,” the lead single from Sleepwalkers. While the song – and the album in general – find Fallon in a more positive space than recent solo or even Gaslight work, there are still plenty of morbid undertones, the struggle against eternal pessimism. Ever the storyteller, Fallon spent a large chunk of time between the set’s second and third songs (“Red Lights” and “Come Wander With Me” polling the audience about a situation that was slated to come up the next night at the tour closer in New York City. Long story short; don’t bother sending Fallon direct messages through social media, and especially don’t propose to your significant other in a circle pit at a Fallon show.

Once the audience participation portion of the evening was over, Fallon and Co. got back to the rocking. The lion’s share of the set on the evening, as you’d imagine, was culled from Sleepwalkers and, to a lesser extent, its 2016 predecessor Painkillers, with a trifecta of songs (“Ladykiller,” “I Witnessed A Crime” and “Sugar”) from Fallon and Perkins’ 2011 The Horrible Crowes project thrown in for good measure. The set’s midway point featured a cover of the Derek And The Dominos classic “Bell Bottom Blues;” the song and its principal writer, Eric Clapton, have long been favorites of Fallon’s, so to hear him pull the song off live was a bit of a fanboy moment inside a fanboy moment. Going back to the Gaslight Anthem days, Fallon has typically opted to eschew encores, stating on numerous occasions that it seems like a waste of time and since you were going to play those songs anyway, just play those songs. As such, the remainder of the band left the stage after new, triumphant crowd favorite “Etta James,” leaving Fallon to man the piano for a solo version of “The ’59 Sound” that turned into an 1100-person singalong. Rose came back out and joined Fallon on a cover of the Dylan classic “Don’t Think Twice,” easily one of the saddest and yet razor-sharp post-relationship songs ever written, before Perkins, Salisbury and Olsson returned and brought the show to a rousing close with “If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven.” This leg of tour has now officially wrapped up and Fallon’s got a little bit of a break before he and the Howling Weather head back across the pond for European festival season. Oh, and there’s the issue of the Gaslight Anthem’s ’59 Sound tenth anniversary shows this summer as well. But hopefully we’ll get Sleepwalkers – Round Two this fall, because a night out at a Brian Fallon show is about as fun and cathartic as a rock and roll show gets.

Head below to check out our full photo gallery from the evening.

 



Jesse LeBourdais release video for “Make It Boring”

Folk punk act Jesse LeBourdais have now released a video for “Make It Boring” which is off of their new album “Grief Intensity Friendship.”

You can also catch the act on tour in Canada for the month of May with an appearance at Pouzza Fest.

Watch the video below.



Brian Fallon covers “Silence”

The Gastlight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon has recently released a cover of the pop song “Silence” by Marshmellow, featuring Khalid. This is not the first time, however, that Fallon has taken his unique, folk-rock sound to current pop music. He regularly performs Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” while touring. You can check out Fallon’s cover here.

“I recorded this song because I believe in the message.” Fallon said via Twitter. “I think it speaks to our times in this country. There can be peace even in a dark place. May we all find it soon.”

This is his first release following “Sleepwalkers” that came out earlier this year via Island Records.



New Music: Louise Distras debuts “Land Of Dope And Glory”

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from UK-based folk punk badass Louise Distras; too long, if you ask me. But the wait is finally just about over!

Distras holed up at a studio in Oakland, California, with producer Ross Petersen (Bruce Springsteen, The Vamps) and with The Business’s Steve Whale for work on a full-length follow-up to her 2015 debut, Dreams From The Factory Floor. The first of the fruits of those labors are now upon us, as today marks the unveiling of the new track, “Land Of Dope And Glory.” Check it out below!

Dreams From The Factory Floor was released in the States on Pirates Press Records. The new album is due out this fall!



DS Exclusive: Brian Fallon on “Sleepwalkers,” Growing As A Solo Artist, and, of course, Gaslight Anthem

I’m not entirely sure if “journalistic integrity” is one of the hallmarks that Dying Scene is known for when we conduct artist interviews, but it’s worth mentioning that I’m going to jettison whatever notions of it there may have been and insert myself right into the middle of this story. The Gaslight Anthem are one of the very few bands that I can not only vividly remember my first exposure to them, but can equally vividly remember being stopped in my tracks about what I was hearing and seeing. It was 2008 and I was a 28-year-old new dad, and the video for “The ’59 Sound” and it was on MTV (remember that?!?) as I was getting ready for work in the morning. I knew nothing about the band, and yet I instantly felt like I knew exactly who they were. Led by their Telecaster-and-patchwork-scally-clad frontman, Brian Fallon, the band presented a look and a sound that combined the best parts of my parents’ favorite artist (Springsteen) and my favorite band growing up (Pearl Jam), and ran it all through a ‘child of the 90s’ punk rock filter.

In the decade since, Fallon’s voice and words have been a constant steadying factor in my life. His lyrics have shifted away from telling other people’s stories and have instead become intensely personal, though each album somehow contains a song that either presently or in hindsight make you wonder if he’d somehow been following you around, telling your own story better than you could. There were rumblings probably five years ago that Fallon would work on a solo album after the release of the band’s 2012 album Handwritten, but those plans were shelved in favor of what became 2014’s Get Hurt. The dark, visceral album (a personal favorite) rather notoriously chronicles Fallon’s then-recent divorce, but it’s in many ways also a chronicle of the drifting away of the band’s members themselves; an indefinite hiatus would begin the following year.

Fallon himself would not be out of the game for long, as 2016 would see the release of his debut solo album, Painkillers. Recorded in Nashville with Butch Walker at the helm, the album was a stylistic departure, largely rooted in folk and Americana music. Still, there were more than enough threads to connect the listener – and the artist – to his past; Gaslight Anthem guitarist Alex Rosamilia joined Fallon’s touring band, The Crowes, on guitar and keyboards, alongside Fallon’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator Ian Perkins, and Jared Hart of fellow Jersey punk band The Scandals.

Which brings us to 2018 and Fallon’s sophomore solo album, Sleepwalkers. We caught up with Fallon by phone earlier this week, hours after the US leg of the album’s tour kicked off in Nashville, to chat about all things Sleepwalkers and, of course, Gaslight Anthem. Released February 9th (Island Records), the new album finds Fallon in a happier, more uplifting mood, having slogged for a few years through some pretty dark places. It can be viewed as a bit of a bookend to an unintentional trilogy that marks the most personal music of Fallon’s career, with 2014’s Get Hurt lamenting the demise of relationships and 2016’s Painkillers playing as a guy trying to figure out what comes next, in myriad levels. That trilogy was not, as you might imagine, by design. “I think that if I planned it out like that to be a trilogy, I’d be pretty smart,” jokes Fallon, pointing out that it was more realistically a natural progression. “It makes the point that records are true to life. I was following exactly where I was at the time on all three records, and it’s funny how it worked out like that, where it seems like it follows a trajectory. It did, although the trajectory wasn’t a planned record, it was my life.” 

Stylistically, Sleepwalkers is more straight-forward, R&B-infused, punk-tinged rock-and-roll than Painkillers or than his 2011 side project The Horrible Crowes. Fallon has long been a student of rock music and has not shied away from referencing his influences directly, especially in the earlier part of the Gaslight catalog. Soaked in references to The Beatles and The Clash and Etta James, Sleepwalkers is the most early-Gaslight thing that Fallon has done since, well, since the early Gaslight period. That’s at least partially by design. Gaslight Anthem, you see, was obviously one-fourth Fallon. “You can’t take away who you are and what your style inherently is and remove it just because you’re doing a new project, you know? I decided that instead of running from that, I’m just going to be myself, and if some people say “well, that sounds like Gaslight,” of course it does, because I’m the one doing it. The parts that don’t sound like the band are the parts that came from the other three people in the band, and now there are new people, so those parts will sound different and I’m the part that sounds the same. I finally was just like “yup, I’m okay with that! That’s fine!” Songwriting choices came quicker and freer after that realization was made. “I got to put my own shoes on again,” he explains, adding only half-jokingly that “I like Bruce Springsteen, I like old movies, I like New Jersey, I don’t care what you say about it!” 

In large part, the remarried, father-of-two Fallon drew motivation to move forward through some of the earlier darkness from his young children. “I didn’t have the luxury of just being a lunatic!” he laughs, adding “I was like ‘you have children, and you have clearly messed yourself up to the point where you don’t know what’s going on, and you’ve got to put your head back together. Your kids deserve better than that’.” While it took a lot of work — therapy, reading, doctors, etc — to come out the other side, Fallon is refreshingly not afraid to talk about that work, and has been inspired by the recent trend, particularly in the punk community, toward shedding light and awareness on mental health issues. It’s a trend that didn’t exist in earlier parts of his career, but that he certainly would have taken advantage of. “I know there’s this site I’ve been following (on social media) called Punk Talks, and they’ve got a number where you can call them and talk to them. I was amazed when I first saw it.” The organization would have come in handy, Fallon says, when dealing with the rapid ascent that Gaslight Anthem found themselves on a decade ago, where they went from playing their first shows in their home state of New Jersey to having The Boss himself join them on festival stages within the span of barely two years. “The speed at which that went and the inability to be prepared for it, whether it was my age or inexperience or expectations or just something that was inside of me,” Fallon explains, “created a lot of anxiety in me, to the point of not being even really able to enjoy a lot of it, because I was so nervous about everything all the time. It really was a hard, hard thing. I wasn’t prepared for the level of anxiety it would cause.”

That’s not to say, however, that Fallon is complaining. Far from it in fact. “It was awesome! We totally went for it. I feel like I was (just) ill prepared for it. I didn’t do the homework on myself to catch up. I was 27 then, now I’m 38, and I have much more — it’s funny to say “wisdom” — but I have much more of a perspective on how to handle something like that now.” Fallon is also not afraid to pass his teachable moments on to younger bands that might find themselves on the type of rapid ascent that Gaslight found themselves on a decade ago. “You have to break this thing down. If your band is getting successful and you’re starting to come up and get more recognition and to get it quicker than you thought and that’s getting to you mentally or emotionally, break it down into small, in-the-day things.” If taking the stage in front of any number of people can be enough to rattle some people’s nerves, taking the stage in front of five- or ten- or twenty-thousand can be downright overwhelming. “You have to remember that those people are not there to crucify you and they’re not there to criticize you,” says Fallon. “There might be one or two, but they’re always going to be there, whether you’re playing to twenty people or twenty thousand people. Most of the people there just love what you’re doing, and they’re trying to have a good time, and they’re just like you. They’re no different than you.”

Head below to read our full chat with Fallon. I had roughly nine years worth of questions to ask, but this was a good start. And yes, there’s plenty of insight on what happened – and is happening – with Gaslight, including the ’59 Sound anniversary shows, but you’ll have to read it to find out. Also, head here to find out where you can catch Brian Fallon and his new band, The Howling Weather, on tour over the next month!



Dan Cribb features Emmy Hour and Mane on latest Simpsons cover

Dan Cribb recently passed the 20 track mark of covers honoring the Simpsons with recent releases featuring Emmy Hour of the Cutaways and Mane. With character theme songs being this month’s focus, Hour lent vocals for “Blessed Be the Guy That Bonds”, and Mane provided harmonies for “The Ballad of Jebediah Springfield”. You can check out the recently released tracks, along with the other 19 covers featured on “The Worst Tribute Ever”, below.

“I think Mane’s haunting and commanding voice might make “The Ballad Of Jebediah Springfield” one of ‘Worst Tribute Ever’s biggest songs yet,” Cribb said.

More tracks are still to come, including “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart” and “See My Vest”.



Kill Surf City announce debut full length “Ever Notice How Everything’s Stupid?”

Hailing out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, the side project of Grey Gordon known as Kill Surf City has recently announced the upcoming release of their debut album titled “Ever Notice How Everything’s Stupid?”. The release is due out June 1 via Blacktop Records. You can check out two pre-released tracks off the album below.

Kill Surf City last released a single titled “Slip” in late 2017.



DS Exclusive: Jon Creeden and the Flying Hellfish premiere new video for “Nailbiter”

Ottawa’s own Jon Creeden & the Flying Hellfish have premiered the video for “Nailbiter,” off their new LP “Stall,” released via My Fingers! My Brain! Records, Maps and Continents Records, and Dead Broke Rekerds.

The digital version of the album is already available at bandcamp, and is an absolute steal at pay-what-you-can. I hadn’t even finished the third song when I decided to buy it. If you’d prefer to get a physical copy, you can check out Jon’s IndieGoGo page to get it on CD or vinyl.

The official album release show will be Friday, April 6th at House of TARG in Ottawa.

You can check out the video for “Nailbiter” below!



Regan Ashton of Problem Daughter is releasing an alt-country-folk-punk solo album and its awesome

So pumped to announce this news. Fans who dig the distinctly unique vocal talents of Problem Daughter co-vocalist Regan Ahston are in for a special treat. The lovable front-man of the Salt Lake City pop-punk act will be releasing his debut solo album “…And The People You Always Have With You” on May 11th via La Escalera. I’ve had the honor of hearing the tunes pre-release and can personally endorse it for any fan of the alt-country/americana/folky hybrid genre that’s been spinning out of the punk scene recently, not to mention fans of Problem Daughter of course.

Check out a promo video with a snippet of a tune below and pre-order the album and some great Regan merch here.



Michale Graves (Ex-Misfits) Heading to Europe on the “Beginning of the End Tour 2018”

Legendary former Misfits vocalist Michale Graves has announced European dates for his “Beginning of the End Tour 2018”. Starting in April, Graves will hit 17 cities across the continent performing classic Misfits tunes, as well as his own material.

Check out the full list of dates below.

Michale Graves’ latest release was the 2017 record Backroads.



Jon Creeden and TFH release their debut album for pay what you want download

Ottawa, Canada’s biggest treasure Jon Creeden and The Flying Hellfish has released its debut full length “Stall”. It’s up for pay what you want now but if you like what you hear you can also pre-order some physical formats including Vinyl, CD, and photo prints of the album art right here.

The album is a co-release effort with Map and Continents Records (CAN), Dead Broke Records (USA), and My Fingers! My Brain! Records (CAN). Head down below to give it a spin.