Search Results for "Fat Wreck Chords"

Get Dead announce European tour

West Coast punk legends Get Dead are hitting the road. The band has announced tour dates throughout Europe. The tour will begin July and stretch through mid-August.

You can find the complete list of tour dates below.

Get Dead’s most recent release “Honesty Lives Elsewhere” was released in July of last year on Fat Wreck Chords.



DS Interview – Bad Cop/Bad Cop On “Warriors,” The First Great Punk Album Of Trump’s America

In the wake of the disastrous results of last year’s presidential election in the United States, there were more than a handful of people who took solace in the fact that at least having a sexist, xenophobic, probably racist, certainly narcissistic megalomaniac at the helm of our nation would make for some good, old-fashioned angry protest punk rock. Now that we’re at about six months P.E. (post election), we’re starting to see the musical fruits of that fateful national decision and learning that that solace was not hollow by any stretch of the imagination. With the recent release of the their sophomore album, Warriors, Bad Cop / Bad Cop are among the first out of the gate in the punk rock Trump era and have set the bar incredibly high for those that will follow in their footsteps.

The California-based four-piece all-female “freight train of ‘fuck yeah!’” that is otherwise known as Bad Cop / Bad Cop were on a nationwide tour with The Interrupters in the lead up to, and immediate aftermath from, the aforementioned election. Knowing that they were due to head into the studio immediately upon completion of tour, it became obvious pretty quickly exactly what direction the new album would take. Says Jennie Cotterill, one of the band’s two guitarists/lead vocalists and principal songwriters, We kind of made a conscious decision to make this more meaningful than fun — not that there’s anything wrong with fun — but we wanted to really talk about issues that were important to everybody.”

If the question of what to say was pretty apparent from the beginning, the question of how to say it was a little trickier. While the pull for a punk rock band might be to attack an administration in a relentlessly in-your-face manner, the Bad Cop / Bad Cop crew opted to try to pull people in toward at least having conversations, rather than just pushing them away. Says Cotterill: “the reaction to this extreme situation is extreme. But then, when you go extreme, you lose people in the middle.” While the punk scene was still in its infancy forty years ago when Joey Ramone poked some tongue-in-cheek fun at the certain faction within this little world that seems hell-bent on simply being against everything, though that element still remains. “We talked about…how are we going to do this and what are we going to say, because we don’t want to alienate people,” says Cotterill. “Having productive conversation is more important than just saying “I’m against you!” Once there’s a physical line, that’s where people stop listening, and I really don’t care to do that.”

And let’s face it; we’ve all got friends (or parents, or friends’ parents, or at least that one uncle) whose beliefs remain about as diametrically opposed to our own as possible, in spite of what should be overwhelming commonality.  “(As we were writing) I kept thinking about this one friend that I have that is real right thinking,” explains Cotterill’s co-frontwoman and partner-in-crime, Stacey Dee. “We grew up together, and I won’t give up on this guy because at the end of the day, I know we get along. We’re coming from the same fucking place in life. I know that his search is one of health and positivity and happiness, so at the end of the day, you can’t be fucking hateful when you’re positive and happy.” And while a more in-your-face approach might be appropriate for some — Bad Cop / Bad Cop favorites and co-Warped Tourmates War On Women for example — there’s room at the table for different approaches. Says Cotterill: “War On Women is great if you’re woke, but there’ a lot of people that aren’t woke… I think that our platform is hoping to rope the unsuspecting listener into a conversation.”

With that in mind, the band recruited their frequent producer Davey Warsop (Dave Hause, Foo Fighters), took a little creative input from their label boss, the one-and-only Fat Mike Burkett, and put out the first truly defining album of the Trump presidency. While’s it’s got an obvious progressive bent to it, to call it a political album is a bit of a mistake. “No one political belief will sum up who you are as a human being on this planet,” says Dee. Like her fellow sisters-in-arms, Dee takes seriously her role as a conduit for change and for building bridges. “The truth is, entertainment is going to be the way to reach across the aisle, because people on the other side that are going to be racist or whatever are going to see something in somebody, whether it be an actor or a musician or whatever, and they’re going to say “fuck, I can’t deny that. I like that person.”

Cotterill and Dee alike have seen the tide shift at its most basic level, taking note of positive changes even though they might be slow to come to pass. Cotterill remembers a sense of bewilderment when marriage equality first came on the ballot in California in 2008.  “(At first) I was like ‘of course it’s going to pass because people aren’t that awful.’ And then it didn’t pass and I was crushed. But then Iowa passed it (the following year)…And we think we’re the ones that are so progressive.” By the time the California Supreme Court finally overturned Proposition 8 five years later, the tide had long-since turned and a clear majority of California voters were in favor of same-sex marriage protections. “Really conservative people felt that it was a victory (the first time around),” says Cotterill, quickly pointing out that “everybody else was like “I never thought about it until right now.”

While the bulk of Warriors consists of material aimed not only at the current political system but the overarching nature of American society circa 2017 as well, there are still a handful of moments that are not merely a little more personal, but that are personal in a way that is stomach-punchingly honest and raw and without any shred of pretense. Album closer “Brain Is for Lovers,” for example, deals head on with Cotterill’s feelings surrounding the suicide of a longtime friend and former band mate. The chorus of “Brain…” relays a sentiment that’s not overly common in songs that are ultimately about grief and loss and remembrance. “(That song) was about someone who was a really good friend of mine and committed suicide about a year ago and I was so worked up about that song that I couldn’t even talk about it,” explains Cotterill. Dee, herself the author of another of the album’s more powerful and personal tracks, “Retrograde,” (more on that in a minute) sounds particularly proud of her Cotterill’s work on “Brain Is For Lovers”: “It was gnarly! But where we got to in the end, and the way that Jennie pushed through, her voice is fucking killer! She was pissed that she had to do it, but it came out fucking great. Sometimes you have to see the forest through the trees!”

Oh, so about the above-mentioned track, “Retrograde.” Frequent readers of these pages may recall last year’s in-depth sit-down we had with Dee in which she opened up about her battles with drug addiction and her subsequent journey out of that particularly dark era of her life. This made for a notoriously difficult experience when it came time to write music after finding sobriety: “As I got older and as I got sober over the last couple years, my writing hasn’t been like it used to be. I was predominantly negative, and negative stuff comes out when you’re negative.” Album-opener “Retrograde” reclaims Dee’s place as a songwriting powerhouse, telling the story of a woman grappling her own demons in kick-ass, unapologetic fashion. It’s also a song that Fat Wreck co-founder Erin Burkett is particularly fond of: “To me, it’s about finding your inner strength, and re-inventing yourself.  Stacey wrote this about her battle with drugs and alcohol; however, addiction takes on all forms. Sometimes being addicted to behaviors or people can be just as damaging, and the only way to overcome any of it is to realize, that all the power is yours.  No one else is going to fix you.”

Fat Wreck Chords, the label founded by Burkett and her now-ex-husband Fat Mike more than a quarter century ago remains a pillar of the independent music community in large part because of the family environment that they’ve created and fostered over that period of time. As all too many people know, it can be devastatingly painful to watch a family member struggle their way through an active addiction. Burkett elaborates on this particular situation: “I have to say that I am so proud of Stacey. She was in a very dark place on our FAT 25 year anniversary tour, and the band ended up having to leave the tour, possibly breaking up for good. Over the years, we have put a lot of band members through rehab, but it’s up the individual to do the work. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Looking yourself in the mirror and not liking what you see is a very hard thing to overcome. Stacey has come back better and stronger and pissed off and ready to change the world. These four woman have really gelled as a band, and found their voice together. It’s awesome.”

The tide may be turning in a more positive and encouraging direction both for the band and for society as a whole again, but as the Bad Cop/Bad Cop ladies note, it won’t do so without education and hard work. That we’re at a point where a group of four women who are not, as Cotterill states it, “twenty-anythings,” is a bit of a light in the darkness in and of itself. “For people to like us as women in our thirties and forties is fucking killer,” explains Dee. “We definitely have something to say and stand by, and I think we have to lead this revolution!”

Warriors was obviously released last Friday (June 16th) on Fat Wreck. Bad Cop / Bad Cop are playing the duration of this year’s Warped Tour, which also kicked off last Friday in Seattle; head here for info on your local stop!

Head below to check out our email exchange with the one-and-only Erin Burkett and the text of our far-reaching and in-depth chat with Dee and Cotterill below!

 



CJ Ramone announces UK tour

Former Ramones bassist CJ Ramone has announced he and his band will be touring the UK this summer. Check out the tour dates below to see if they’re stopping in a town near you.

CJ’s latest album American Beauty was released in March through Fat Wreck Chords.



English punkers Consumed return to record a new EP

Consumed are back! The English punk rockers have confirmed a new EP on their Facebook page. No word on a release date, or a label…but stay tuned for further updates! Check below for more.



Pre-fest and Day One: Punk Rock Bowling 2017

The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound.

“A Horse With No Name,” America

Last year, I was a novice. I didn’t understand what Punk Rock Bowling would ask of me. This isn’t just another three day festival– it’s a party. It’s an excuse to get together with your punk friends, old and new. There’s beers, there’s all your favorite bands, and then there’s a couple thousand punks to see you through it. Punk Rock Bowling is a party that rages across Memorial Day Weekend, and having been broken-in last year, I finally understood.

You have to know the basics. Vegas is a city built in a desert– you’re gonna be hot. Vegas is dry, because it’s built in a desert– drink water. Vegas is at its hottest when the festival starts– wear shorts. There’s also the issue of scheduling. Last year, I went all in and went to more club shows than I cared to see. There were too many nights of me nodding along to bands I only kinda-sorta liked and then yawning my way out the door. This year, I knew what it was gonna take. When Punk Rock Bowling is laid out before you, there is enough to do without adding to it. I picked two club shows, ones of bands I loved, and then I stuck to that. This is my vacation after all, and I took it on my own terms– with that new level of focus and experience, I was ready to tackle the behemoth that is the 19th Annual Punk Rock Bowling, and I’m happy to say I had a blast.

The basics of the festival are simple. Three days of bands at the main festival, culminating in a big headlining act each night. After the festival, but often times with a fair amount of overlap (this is one of the more unfortunate things about the festival– if you want to see the openers at your club shows, you generally have to leave a song or two into the festival headliner) there are club shows featuring stacked and varied lineups. Street punk, skate punk, acoustic, hardcore, classic, sad melodic stuff– it’s all there in walking distance from Fremont Street. Which is, I would say, the festival’s greatest coup, eliminating the need of DDs or even really any sense of vehicular self preservation. It’s all right there.

Besides the festival and club shows, there were also pool parties with stellar lineups in their own right, flash tattoos from Bouncing Soul Bryan Kienlen, a comedy show sponsored by The Hard Times, punk documentary screenings, and of course, everything else Las Vegas has to offer on its own. You get the idea. Punk Rock Bowling isn’t just catching a show or two– it’s a 24-hour, three-day job, where the workforce is tattooed and hellbent on fun.

I arrived to Vegas two days early, so I had plenty of time to settle in. My first PRB extracurricular was the aforementioned comedy show. It took place at the Gold Nugget with a lineup of punk comics, headlined by Sideonedummy founder Joe Sib. We all filtered in, not sure what we were in for, and as one would imagine, the front seats were the last to be taken. Goodrich Gevaart, Hard Times writer and comedian, encouraged folks to take the front seats, promising that “it wasn’t that sort of show,” and that no one would fuck with them “in a way that wasn’t fun.” I’d never seen any live stand-up before, but I’d watched a fair amount from the comfort of my home. I was happy to say that all the comedians present were hilarious, poking good natured fun at the punks and themselves, sharing stories about their punk past. My favorite bit was when John Michael Bond brought an audience member on stage to play the game Sad Man or Bad Man, where we had to guess whether the lyrics on the screen were those of a pop punk band or a mass murderer. Good times were had by all. I hope this is a tradition continued by next year’s Punk Rock Bowling.

The stand up ended just in time to start another bar tab and then head off to the first show of the weekend, a set of acoustic performances by Off With Their Heads, Brendan Kelly, Steve Soto (of the Adolescents), and locals No Red Alice. The Beauty Bar is one of my favorite venues in Vegas, and usually has the best deals in town ($6 PBR and a shot is the equivalent of holding up a liquor store in other cities– straight up robbery). It’s a smaller space with an outdoor stage, but intimate, and therefore perfect for the sort of show this was going to be.

No Red Alice started the show with a pretty breezy set with lots of asides and jokes. At a couple points the vocalist even started strumming and singing Off With Their Heads’ “Clear the Air.” They played some acoustic punk that reminded me of Chuck Ragan’s more punk-driven solo stuff. I was nervous for Steve Soto, as the last time I saw an old school punk-rocker-gone-solo was in a similar setting last year didn’t go nearly as well (looking at you, belligerent Grant Hart). Soto was humble and a pro, playing countrified acoustic songs with writing chops to spare. He gave the audience fair warning that he wasn’t going to do any Adolescents’ songs, because, “they’d sound like shit” on acoustic. Brendan Kelly came up next and played a pretty straightforward set of mostly Lawrence Arms songs. I was joined by Dying Scene head honcho Dave Buck around this time (who, in infinite kindness and wisdom, made sure I kept a drink in my hand for the rest of my night). Dave’s a big fan of Brendan Kelly’s solo stuff, and was disappointed by the lack of I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever tunes, as for me, I’m always good with some Larry Arms. Off With Their Heads ended the night with a set of tunes that translated a lot better to the acoustic setting than I would’ve thought. Folks were screaming along and holding beers to the night sky. All in all, a pretty great way to end the night.

The next day, we woke up, probably way too early and wandered around Fremont for a while, drinking beers, meeting people, and getting stoked for the fest. It stands to say, that a couple things did change this year at PRB. The location was moved, and with that comes some good and some bad. Maybe this was the new venues fault, or just general disorganization, but the press and VIP folks had a helluva time getting in the first day. So long was the wait, in fact, that we missed the entirety of New Trends and part of Mobina Galore. When I did get in though, I went straight to the stage to see the latter in action. Of all the early openers I saw in Vegas that weekend, Mobina Galore stands as the best. They sounded loud and full for a two-piece, with gravel-throated vocals and hearty melodies. It’s like a stripped down version of the Reinventing Axl Rose version of Against Me!, and for me, they were easily one of the highlights of the fest.

Drug Church were one of the few post-hardcore acts of the fest, and as expected, provided a different feel from the rest of the lineup. This is the sort of stuff that goes with cold winters and black T-shirts, and accordingly, it felt a little dissonant for a sunny afternoon in Vegas. Still, I was impressed with their composition as well as their intensity. The other band who could perhaps lay claim to a similar genre was Plague Vendor, who played next. The crowd grew substantially for the Epitaph post/garage/psych band, and they threw down a set of performances that were a little bit Iggy and a little bit At the Drive-In. At this point in the day, the stage was christened with a thrown bra, and I got to roll my eyes as singer Brandon Blaine located the admirer and asked her to prove it was hers. It was a kind of dumb, rockstar misstep in banter that marred an otherwise good set.

I’d never seen the Interrupters before, but man, they were one of the other biggest surprises of Day One. I’m not a huge ska guy, but I was humming along and smiling throughout their set. They brought a lot of fun to the festival and I could tell a large part of the attendees were smitten by their upbeat ska-punk tunes. Their cover of “Sound System” by Operation Ivy was a huge hit, and probably the best version of it I’ve heard aside from the original. The Spits played next, and were fine, but not really my taste. Just some pretty solid, three-chord punk rock in the vein of the Ramones.

OFF! was the next band on the Day One lineup that I wanted to see. I’d seen them before, and I’d see them again. There’s something about OFF!’s unhinged throwback hardcore. It’s music from another time, performed by one of its originators, given new life with the help of a new generation. Keith Morris is as vital as ever on stage, going off about politics (as one could guess, a post-Trump PRB is going to have a fair amount of politics, a theme that would run through every day of the festival), moving across the stage like a caged animal, spitting words like poison seeds. This is also a good point to mention that one of the upgrades in the new festival grounds were two large screens where folks who weren’t up close could see the action in crystal-clear high definition– although the venue seemed lackadaisical about making sure it was showing what was going on on stage for the entire set, rather than show sponsor commercials, or even more dull, the Punk Rock Bowling logo on a black screen.

I won’t bury the lead here. There were a lot of punks who were there to see Iggy, and probably a lot more who wanted to see Discharge, Pennywise, Cock Sparrer, The Dickies, The Adicts, Fidlar, and a lot of others throughout the weekend, but for me, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes were my most anticipated act. Yeah, it’s true: I have a soft spot for oldies and Fat Wreck– if you grew up with NOFX and parents with a radio, you probably do too. They didn’t disappoint in the least. Singer Spike Slawson oozed greasy charisma as he crooned out pop standards, introducing many with an obligatory, “This next one’s a cover.” As I was watching them play, I could only think that if any band represented Vegas, it was them. They were as happily gauche as neon, slots, and floral prints and a lot more entertaining.

Iggy Pop was up next, but I had places to go. Yep, that’s right, club show. I stayed through the first couple of songs, and as soon as the Godfather came on stage, hordes rushed up toward the stage, going crazy for “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Passenger.” I got to see a little glimpse of that famous stage presence before I left, but alas, I had to bounce. Iggy Pop is cool and all, but I didn’t grow up with him and I’ve never been much for my hobbies becoming obligations. There were tons of punks going wild for him though, so I didn’t feel too bad leaving him to his fans. That’s part of PRB, you gotta do it on your own terms.

What I left for were two of my favorite bands playing on the same ticket. It was Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Toys That Kill, The Lawrence Arms, and the Menzingers. Stacked lineup. I left Iggy in time to see about half of Bad Cop/ Bad Cop’s set. Their harmonies were tight and they played some songs off their upcoming album, including “Amputations.” New songs are usually a bit of a hard sell in the live setting, but from what I heard at the show, Warriors is gonna be a killer album.

The Bunkhouse is set up uniquely, it’s an outdoor venue (mostly)– similar to the Beauty Bar– but much larger. It’s a big dirt lot with an outdoor bar and a dead pickup in the middle for our most brazen to sit. Connected to it is a small indoor venue. They did a pretty cool thing at this show, by alternating the opening bands playing inside and outside, to make set-up easier and keep things moving along. So, Toys That Kill played next in the indoor venue, and I listened and nodded along from outside with a PBR. I’m honestly not that familiar with the band, despite seeing them before, so I used that time to chat with my other Dying Scene peeps about the events of the day.

The last time I saw the Ramblin’ Boys was a brief encore in Portland, where the Falcon went into the crowd as a conga line and came back as the Lawrence Arms. So, technically, I only saw them for two songs. Seeing them for a full set was one of my white whales. We all have bands we want to mark off our bucket list– The Lawrence Arms are one of mine. They came on with all the bravado and swagger inherent in their reputation, promising to “rock the dicks off” everyone who came before them. They played a lot of tracks off Oh Calcutta!, including my absolute favorite, “Recovering the Opposable Thumb,” and ending with “Are you there Margaret? It’s Me, God.”  It was an awesome set with a whole lot of energy, but as great as it was, The Lawrence Arms were only my second favorite band playing that show. The next was going to be something.

I’m a pretty reserved guy most of the time. Sometimes I’m in the pit, but most of the time I’m sipping a beer and singing along in the back. I don’t mind. The days of feeling guilty if I don’t knock elbows during my favorite song are long behind me. I’m there to listen and hang. All of that nonchalance leaves when I see the Menzingers. My favorite bands come and go, but the Menzingers are one of those that I couldn’t shake if I tried. Chamberlain Waits, On the Impossible Past, and their most recent, After the Party will be spinning for a long time coming for me. Some bands write the score to your life, the Menzingers are my Hans Zimmer. So, I went nuts. I was screaming along, I was hugging new friends, we were closing our eyes and beating our chests, howling out slice-of-life vignettes that have been internalized to a heartbeat. The Menzingers played a fantastic mix of old and new, opening with “Tellin’ Lies” and ending with “In Remission.” One of the biggest surprises of the set was a Rancid cover. They rocked “Roots Radical” and we rocked with them, the booze and the fervor even encouraging my usually reserved self to start a circle of drunken skankers.

Day One ended with a big bang, and our lives were started anew in a baptism of nebulas and catharsis, reborn and re-energized– blah, blah, blah. We were tired. We slept and we rested up for the insanity that would be Day Two.

Check out the gallery below and stay tuned for our follow-up articles detailing the continued debauchery that is Punk Rock Bowling!



Useless ID announce Euoprean tour

Israeli punk veterans Useless ID have announced they will be touring Europe this summer. Check out the tour dates below to see if there’s a show near you.

The band’s latest album State is Burning was released in 2016 through Fat Wreck Chords.



Teenage Bottlerocket announce new 7″

Wyoming pop-punks Teenage Bottlerocket have announced a new 7″ to coincide with their covers album. It’s called Goin’ Back to Wyo, and it features two brand new, original TBR songs.

Like Stealing the Covers, the 7″ will release on July 14th through Fat Wreck Chords. Pre-orders for both releases went up today and are available here and here, respectively.



The Bombpops and The Fuck Off and Dies announce west coast tour

The Bombpops and The Fuck Off and Dies will be touring the west coast in August.

The Bombpops latest album, “Fear of Missing Out” was released back in February, and The Fuck off And Dies’ “Dear Liver” came out in 2015.

Check out the dates below and if you’re on the west coast, I hate you.



Bad Cop / Bad Cop stream “Retrograde” from upcoming album “Warriors”

Bad Cop / Bad Cop have unleashed yet another song from their next album, “Warriors,” due out on June 16th from Fat Wreck.

Bad Cop / Bad Cop will be along for Warped Tour this summer.

You can hear the song your own lovely self over at Brooklyn Vegan. While you’re there, see Stacey Dee’s words regarding “Retrograde,” and check out the Warped Tour dates if you want to see them live.



Fat Wreck to release No Use For a Name covers compilation

Everyone (that’s awesome) knows that there is no such thing as too much No Use For a Name. Fat Wreck has assembled a 13 track compilation of the band’s covers that were recorded between 1996 and 2005. Bands covered include Social Distortion, The Misfits, The Vapors, The Pogues, KISS, and naturally, the theme from “The Munsters.”

The album will be released on August 11th on CD, vinyl, and digital.

Depeche Mode, Sublime, Cheap Trick, and showtunes: covers on this album, or my playlist while crying myself to sleep with my cats after a six pack alone on a Saturday night? Check out the track list here to find out!



The Bombpops perform “F.O.M.O.” on Live From The Rock Room

San Diego pop-punks The Bombpops recently performed their song “F.O.M.O.” on Live From The Rock Room.

You can check out the video below.

“F.O.M.O.” comes from the bands latest album, Fear of Missing Out, which was released on February 10th through Fat Wreck Chords.



Banner Pilot “slowly” working on new music

We’ve heard very little from Banner Pilot since they announced plans to record a new album two years ago. But according to a recent post on the band’s Facebook page, they have begun “slowly” working on new music once again and will be playing some shows soon.

We’ll keep you posted as more details come to light on Banner Pilot’s plans for 2017 and beyond. The band’s last album Souvenir was released in 2014 through Fat Wreck Chords.



Frenzal Rhomb stream new album “Hi-Vis High Tea” in its entirety

Australian skate punk veterans Frenzal Rhomb have made their long-awaited new album Hi-Vis High Tea available to stream. You can give the record a listen below.

Hi-Vis High Tea was released today, May 26th, through Fat Wreck Chords. It is the band’s first new album in six years, following 2011’s Smoko At The Pet Food Factory.



DS Interview: Trever Keith opens up on “Protection,” rejoining Fat Wreck, and Face To Face’s Econo-Live ’17 tour

As I write this, the East Coast leg of Face To Face‘s Econo-Live ’17 tour had just came to a close, and the band will have a little over a week off before round two kicks off in Salt Lake City (dates here). The tour marks their first lengthy string of dates in the US in the more than fourteen months since the release of their latest album, Protection, which itself marked the band’s triumphant release to their former label home, Fat Wreck Chords. We’ve caught up with Face To Face’s founding frontman Trever Keith on numerous occasions throughout the years, but last week in Boston (well, Somerville, but close enough) marked the first time we sat down for an in-depth, face-to-face (pun obviously intended) chat about the current state of things in the legendary SoCal punk rocker’s camp. Suffice it to say, we had a lot to talk about.

If you’re not familiar with the Econo-Live ’17 tour, allow us to catch you up to speed. If we rewind the tape Face To Face Band History tape a couple of decades, we’ll come to their initial Econo-Live tour in 1996, a quick run of shows in which the band packed into a van and played a handful of smaller clubs around the country. The project was recorded at various stops along the way and turned into the now highly-sought-after Econo-Live EP. Given that we just rounded the corner on twenty years since the original, it seemed to Keith to be a good time to dust off those particular cobwebs and try it again in a way that seems equal parts fresh and familiar. “When you’re a kid,” says Keith with more than a little youthful exuberance still in his voice, “you’re just like “I just want to play shows! I don’t care! I’ll play every night!” After you’ve been doing it for a while –  we want to play shows that matter.” Between the increased amount of entertainment options and the increasing responsibilities that come along with being a forty-something punk rock fan (never mind bandmate), it’s an understatement to note that the live music scene circa 2017 is a bit of a different animal than it was in 1992. “We want to be more strategic about when and where we play and make sure that it’s something that is going to be an event that will get 40-somethings off the couch! (*both laugh*) I’m guilty of the same thing for bands I love. You’ve got to do something that’s a little bit above and beyond, so if you don’t have the package, you do something like we did here.

The package he’s referring to is a VIP experience that more and more bands have been incorporating in recent years. Specifically in this case, the tour combines some of the ideas that were represented by a few limited-run Face To Face tours over the last couple of years that a majority of their fan base clamored for a chance to experience: their acoustic Ignorance Is Bliss set, and their “Triple Crown” shows that highlighted the band’s immensely popular first three studio albums. In addition to a meet-and-greet and autograph session, each of these shows finds the four-piece playing an eight- or nine-song acoustic pre-set before doors open to the general public. The results have been positive, particularly among the band’s dedicated fanbase, which maintains an ever-growing online presence through a closed Facebook group maintained by a small handful of hardcore, longtime fans and collectors. That’s an amazing thing,” Keith comments, with genuine appreciation in his tone. “It’s totally taken on a life of its own, no credit to us. We’re thrilled that there’s such a supportive, tight-knit community of Face To Face fans and collectors. Jack (Cohenour) has been great, and some of the other people like Jessica (Sakolinsky, who also co-runs the Mable Syndrome podcast) are people that run that thing day-to-day and organize events. It’s really, really cool.”

“Really, really cool” also seems to sum up the general consensus concerning not only the band’s latest album, Protection, but their return to Fat Wreck Chords after an extended period of time bouncing between labels of various shapes and sizes. Being on a label — almost any label — in 2017 doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing that it used two a quarter-century ago when Face To Face first appeared on Fat. So what does their return mean now? “It means one thing and one thing only: it means community,” says an emphatic Keith. “That’s something that we missed by hopping around from label to label.” Going the “major label” route could have spelled the kiss of death for the band in the long-term, though their seemingly never-ending label purgatory seems admirable in hindsight, as it kept the band playing by their own, internal set of rules. “All the old punk rockers said “don’t go to a major label! You’re going to sell out! They’re going to fuck you!” explains Keith, quickly adding “I had to learn that for myself. I wasn’t going to listen to anybody and take their word for it!

As you might imagine, the band changed their own way of doing things yet again on Protection. Due to Keith residing in Nashville at the time that writing was taking place, he and Shiflett wrote and demoed largely on their own, the latter from his Los Angeles home, before coming together briefly to put ideas together. If you’ve spent any time with Keith and Shiflett, together or independently, you’re probably familiar with how their personalities differ. Those differences, of course, balance out the songwriting process: “(Shiflett) will write a seven-minute song, and I’ll write like a one-and-a-half minute song. We’re kind of opposites that way. I need him to come in on my ideas a lot and write a middle eight or a bridge or even flesh out a pre-chorus or a chorus more. I’m like, super economical to a fault, where the songs can be a little too boring, and Scott comes in and adds a little bit of that sauce and some of that flavor and a little bit more depth. And with him sometimes, he’ll just demo with no filter. I think he wrote maybe twenty-eight or thirty songs for Protection!

For years, Keith and bassist Scott Shiflett were not only the primary writing team, but manned the lion’s share of production duties as well. On Protection, they took a different route, choosing to work with Descendents’ drummer and long-time punk rock producer extraordinaire Bill Stevenson at his Blasting Room studio in Fort Collins, Colorado, for the first time. “Bill is super talented,” says Keith with noted reverence for the backbone of one of his own long-time favorite bands. “He just hears these pop melodies and pop arrangements, and it’s good to have someone outside the band who can trim the fat.”

Keith and I (and, at times, Shiflett) covered a lot of ground during our chat, including some fascinating “Inside Baseball” type information surrounding the record labels they bounced between in the first half of their career as a band. Head below to check out our full discussion!

 



Frenzal Rhomb stream “Classic Pervert” ahead of album release

Legends of Aussie punk rock, Frenzal Rhomb, are streaming a tune off their latest record, ahead of its full release in less than a week. “Classic Pervert” will feature on Hi-Vis High Tea which will be the ninth studio album from the group.

If you can’t wait for the record’s proper release, you can listen to “Classic Pervert” below.