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DS Exclusive: No Use For A Name’s Rory Koff on “Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers,” Tony Sly’s legacy, and upcoming NUFAN tributes

Last Friday, No Use For A Name teamed up with their longtime label home, Fat Wreck Chords, for the release of Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers. If the release somehow slipped under your radar, the first thing you should take note of is that it’s a collection of a large number of the covers that the band recorded throughout their twenty-plus year career, especially those that didn’t make it onto one of their eight studio full-lengths. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is that it’s the first release of No Use For A Name material since the passing of their iconic frontman Tony Sly just a hair over five years ago.

To mark the occasion, Dying Scene caught up with NUFAN’s founding drummer Rory Koff for a lengthy, good-hearted interview over the phone last Sunday afternoon. And while we covered a lot of ground in a our rapid fire conversation — Koff has more than a little bit of a “shot out of a cannon” nature to him — the focal point that the boomerang that was our conversation continually returned too was, as you might imagine, the legacy of his fallen friend and former bandmate. And that’s for good reason. Koff, who currently lives and owns two businesses in the Lake Tahoe area of California, started No Use in 1986 alongside Chris Judge and longtime bassist Steve Papoustis; Sly joined up three years later and together he and Koff remained the two constant core members of the band for more than two decades.

He was really like a brother, almost literally, because I spent so much time with him,” says Koff. In a lot of ways, we’ve become seemingly desensitized to musicians, especially frontmen, leaving us all too soon. Occasionally one of those deaths stings a little more than the others, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Tony Sly. For a lot of us, Sly’s death was the first time — at least since Brad Nowell’s passing in 1996 — that a major voice from our formative musical years had passed on. The pain was real, and palpable, and still lingers half a decade later. Everyone has friends that have passed away, but when someone leaves an impact on a lot of people, it intensifies a little bit. For me,” says Koff, “Tony’s passing affected me differently. Maybe because I spent twenty years in hotels with him and went everywhere together and sat next to him on planes and knew his family and knew his wife’s family and knew his kid. We were so close. It weighed on me a lot more than other people that I’ve known that have passed away.”

Koff, it should probably be pointed out, took a break from all things No Use For A Name in early 2011, after a quarter-century of touring and recording. There’s a bit of hesitation in Koff’s voice when he reflects on his decision to step away, particularly with the hindsight knowledge that Sly would be gone a year-and-a-half later. The timing…boy, my timing…” Koff hesitates, taking a reflective pause before continuing in rapid-fire mode. “(Call it) my hiatus, call it whatever you want to, but I just needed a break. I had never gotten a break. Twenty-seven years of being in a band I never had more than a full month’s time away from those guys. It was so intense, and so much happened and came to a head, and it wasn’t anything personal and it wasn’t like an argument happened and it wasn’t any one thing. I just needed a break. I think everyone needed a break. But Tony just wanted to keep it going. I just needed a break.” Astute followers of NUFAN will probably recall that the band’s most recent addition, guitar player Chris Rest (also of Lagwagon fame) was still the a new recruit. More importantly, their bass player, Matt Riddle, had been hospitalized around that time for pancreatitis, meaning that the band was in a state of real flux. “I just kept saying “what’s the rush? Matt’s in the hospital, what’s the rush?” And he’s like “well if you’re not gonna do it, we’ll find somebody else.” And I said “well, I’m not going to do it because we don’t need to.” And that was it.”

The two would continue to talk and remain friendly, but wouldn’t play together again. Sly, of course, broadened his presence as a touring singer/songwriter, putting out two stellar solo album (2010’s Twelve Song Program and 2011’s Sad Bear“) in addition to a couple of splits with Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape and a fun collaborative album with Cape, Jon Snodgrass and Brian Wahlstrom under the Scorpios moniker over what would turn out to be the last few years of his life. Five years on, Koff has difficulty listening to some of No Use’s catalog, and has particular trouble with Sly’s solo material. I can’t listen to his solo stuff. I may never listen to it again. It’s way too gnarly. The subject matter is so very heartfelt. It’s tough…” he says, trailing off again. “More than anything is that Tony’s vocals haunt me in an eerie way. It’s like…fuck…Tony is so present in my life sometimes and yet so not present. It’s a really bizarre thing. I’m not the only one, you can talk to the other guys in the band, and they’ll have similar situations. It still doesn’t seem real, because it’s so intense, and it shouldn’t be like that.”

It seemed like Tony Sly’s voice was everywhere in this scene for a while, and then, all of a sudden, it was gone. The death of a particularly beloved and thoughtful songwriter in the midst of a prolific period of his life stings for most parties involved, but doesn’t cloud the legacy he left in his wake. Fans and friends in the NUFAN circle continued to look to his catalog for support. And while Sly had a way of channeling some really heavy, intense feelings, he was also an awful lot of fun. The band recorded more than their fair share of cover songs, some of which ended up on studio albums, some of which appeared only on random compilations, and some of which never really saw the light of day.

Until now, of course. Over the last year or so, work started on a compiling all of No Use’s material in a variety of different forms. The first release to see the light of day is, of course, a collection of a baker’s dozen of the cover songs No Use recorded that didn’t appear on one of their studio albums. That means no “Redemption Song,” no collaboration with Cinder Block on The Pogues’ classic “Fairytale Of New York.” But don’t worry, there’s plenty of fun stuff to go around. “It actually came together really easy,” as Koff tells it. “Fat Mike, I knew, wanted to do it. He knew that we had a bunch of songs and he asked if there were any songs that we were missing. We kept searching and kept looking, because we just knew there was more stuff, but it had to fit the criteria of not making it onto an album. With the exception of that, it was all pretty easy…There wasn’t a whole lot to it other than just keeping it simple and fun and not doing too much.” While it doesn’t mean new, previously-unreleased No Use For A Name material, it does at least give fans a chance to hear Tony Sly’s voice and guitar playing again in a release that’s fun and not overly heavy (though the cover of Sublime’s “Badfish” is more than a little haunting in hindsight).

Given that the title of the covers compilation includes “Vol. 1” in the title, it’s more than a little obvious that there’s more in store. Koff opened up and gave us a hint of what’s to come. “The big thing that Fat Wreck Chords is working on is a boxed set. It’s a major effort on my part. It’s going to be a major effort on Fat Wreck Chords’ part. These songs are all recorded, but how do you tell the whole story and give everyone the full scoop? There’s not going to be any more new music released, so for me personally, everything needs a write-up from the existing members, the people who played on it, and trying to make it a cool thing… there’s still going to be some unreleased things on there (too).”

Following that, if all goes according to plan, is an equally cool project — and equally major effort. Koff and his brother, a documentary filmmaker, have teamed up to compile a film chronicling the history of No Use For A Name. We started working on it before Tony passed,” says Koff. After a bit of an obvious cooling-off period, the brothers Koff “decided to get it rolling again two years ago, and we put a ton of effort into it. We’ve got like 50 or 60 interviews. We’ve been digging up tapes for years, we’ve got almost everything we need.” The two are in the process of whittling hours and hours worth of material down to 70 usable and compelling minutes. What will hopefully follow is a sort of No Use And Friends reunion in a few select locations in order to give the two projects — and the band’s legacy — the sort of fun-filled celebration they deserve. “I have grand visions of doing a two-week tour with the old members and getting one certain guest singer and doing all this stuff, but I’m realizing that there’s other people that have things coming out and there’s no way have everyone do two weeks,” says Koff. And while the grand visions may not come to fruition, that doesn’t mean there’s not a pretty awesome Plan B in the works. “I’m going to try to do two weekends and see if I can get my dream lineup together. That would be to promote the boxed set and the documentary. Everyone said they’d be interested, but getting everyone’s weekends to line up is another story!”

Head below to check out the full text of our interview (albeit a little bit condensed for clarity’s sake). As indicated above, we cover an awful lot of ground, from the history of the band and their recording process to the origin of a lot of the covers involved to…bailing hay with Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman?!? We really like this one, and we think you will too.



The Lillingtons stream new track ‘Insect Nightmares’, announce new album ‘Stella Sapiente’

We’ve gone way too long without The Lillingtons. Reason enough for the band to spoil us a little bit. The guys just announced a brand new album called ‘Stella Sapiente’, out October 13th via Fat Wreck Chords. (Holy hell right?) Pre-order for that one can be found here.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’re also getting a brand new shredder called ‘Insect Nightmares‘. Have a listen below NOW.



Night Birds announce Midwest and East coast tour dates

New Jersey punks Night Birds have announced some East coast and Midwest shows that are scheduled for late September and October. These will be the band’s last shows of 2017 and then they will be taking their recently-announced break from touring. You can check out the tour dates below.

Night Birds last released Mutiny at Muscle Beach in 2015 via Fat Wreck Chords. You can see the list of shows below.



No Use For A Name stream album of rare cover tunes


No Use For A Name fans, here comes the perfect soundtrack for your summer – a stream of the band’s album Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers. Check it out below! If you don’t rock out to “Turning Japanese”, I don’t understand you.

Few bands have the impact that No Use For A Name had. They developed a bouncy, melodic style of songwriting that resonated with millions of people across the world. NUFAN’s sound ranged from the early hardcore/thrash influenced punk rock of Incognito and Don’t Miss The Train to the melodic power-pop driven punk of Hard Rock Bottom.

NUFAN was truly a band that everyone could find something to love in their catalog, and a band I hold dear to my heart. I still love Tony’s unique voice, and the incredible energy of the band that made those songs feel alive.

The band’s storied career was ultimately cut short by the tragic passing of frontman and guitarist Tony Sly in 2012. NUFAN’s final record, The Feel Good Record of the Year was released in 2008 on Fat Wreck.



Show Review: From Ireland to New York City Leftover Crack Kills

All Photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
Leftover Crack made it from the stage in Dublin to the Stage in Brooklyn in less than 24-hours and looked damn good doing it .

Watching Leftover Crack frontman Scott Sturgeon perform in 2017 is somewhat akin to watching the film Logan. He’s getting old and a little beat up, but he’s still every bit as feisty as he was at 21. We even get to see him do battle with X-24 in the form of all the Crack Rock Steady imitators out there copping Stza’s swag — and just like in Logan, the original wins out.

At the ripe old age of 41, Stza finds a way to put on electric shows night after night and from nation to nation. I’m 29, and I don’t think I’d be able to play a show in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday night, then fly straight back to New York City for a 5 p.m. Sunday timeslot in Tompkins Square Park before taking the stage at 10 p.m. in Greenpoint.

But Stza does and he does it well; he brings the explosive performance of a much younger man and mixes it with skills acquired as a frontman over the past twenty years, making for one of the most engaging lead singers in punk. This was my first time seeing Leftover Crack, so I’d never seen Stza play without a guitar before, and the freedom of not having an instrument slung on his back all night really showed in his movement and stage presence.

I, unfortunately, missed the Tompkins set because I had to be at my day job, but when I informed one of the contractors at work, he snuck off across the East River to catch the show. He reappeared with photos and fresh bruises from the mosh pit.

Bass player Alec Baille

In October 2016, Choking Victim played the Warsaw on the 30th and World/Inferno Friendship Society played their annual Hallowmas the following night. In August 2017, World/Inferno led the charge, playing Brooklyn Bazaar on the 5th while Stza rolled out his other mob, Leftover Crack, to close out the weekend on the 6th. Once again, Robert and Andrew over at Scenic Presents managed to attain a festival vibe without crazy high ticket prices (or even a festival).

Stza also let fly that Leftover Crack is working on new material. He said it might take them the better part of a decade to release it, but that it is on the way.



Iron your Hawaiian shirts – Uke Hunt is hitting the road in October

Your mother won’t understand, and it wont be worth explaining the name…but don’t miss Uke-Hunt on tour this fall.

The band, featuring Me First & The Gimme Gimmes front-man extraordinaire Spike Slawson, will be ripping down the east coast for a handful of shows this October.

The band last released a self titled LP in 2014. Pound a mai-tai, chill out and rock out with them!

10/26/2017, Quebec City, QC, La Source de la Martinière
10/27/2017, Sainte-Thérèse, QC, Le Montecristo – Music 4 Cancer
10/28/2017, Montreal, QC, Piranha Bar
10/29/2017, Toronto, ON, The Dance Cave at Lee’s Palace
10/30/2017, Buffalo, NY, Mohawk Place
10/31/2017, Albany, NY, Paulys Hotel – Halloween
11/2/2017, Newport, RI, The Cafe at Parlor Newport



KNRD Fest: A hidden gem in the Franconian Forest

I had the pleasure of travelling with the fine folks of The Overjoyed to a little festival in the east of Germany. You can read what I thought of it below.



The Bombpops announce European tour

San Diego pop-punks The Bombpops have announced they will be heading overseas for a European tour this October. Check out the tour dates below to see if there’s a show near you.

The band’s debut album Fear of Missing Out was released in February through Fat Wreck Chords. They just kicked off a west coast tour with The Fuck Off and Dies.



Album Review: Teenage Bottlerocket – “Stealing the Covers”

Back in March, the punk world was all atwitter with the news that everyone’s favorite Ramones-influenced unpretentious popular indie punk band from Wyoming was back in the studio. Then, when Teenage Bottlerocket announced a couple of weeks later that the new album would not contain any new original music but would instead be a cover album, Facebook was littered with disappointment.

Apparently the idea behind Stealing the Covers had been kicked around by the band for at least 10 years and it may even have been late drummer Brandon Carlisle’s idea (reports vary). If that’s the case, then the fact that the first full-length Teenage Bottlerocket album recorded in Brandon’s wake is filled with covers of obscure songs by unknown bands, makes this album an entirely appropriate tribute to co-frontman Ray’s fallen twin.

A drummer change in the lineup can potentially change a band’s sound more than any other position excepting the singer (see blink-182’s transition from Scott to Travis and the Bouncing Souls’ Shal to Michael). But then album opener “The Way I Know” functions similarly to previous album openers “Freak Out” and “In My Head” – no instrumental introductions found here. And that’s the remarkable things about Stealing the Covers: for an album of cover songs with a brand new drummer it really does sound just like another Teenage Bottlerocket album, even early Teenage Bottlerocket – both the opener and the second track, “Back and Forth”, would not have been out of place on Total (2005).

And then the haters be hating: They’re just another Ramones ripoff and Screeching Weasel wannabes; They’re getting slower and slower, mellowing out at least 10% for Tales From Wyoming (2015); They’re old now and should change their name to Middle-Aged Bottlerocket; They write the same song over and over; They record the same album over and over.

But it’s a good song they keep re-writing, and it’s a good album they keep re-recording.

And the familiar TBR sound continues with “College Town” and “Don’t Go.” Really, it isn’t until the new-age synthesizer at the opening of “Robocop is a Halfbreed Sellout” (by short-lived Laramie, WY-based Sprocket Nova) that the listener might scratch his head, raise an eyebrow, and wonder “what the hell?” but even then the song rocks out in typical TBR fashion, and by the time the synthesizer reappears before the final refrain it no longer seems out of place considering the eighties-themed lyrics.

Most of the songs on Stealing the Covers seem to have been selected because someone in the band thought it was funny. We’ve got the 35-second instant classic “Shit Fuck God Damn”, originally by a band called Artimus Maximus which, we learn from the extensive liner notes, first appeared on a four-minute EP with “a good 6 or 7 songs”. Then the band is “riding my rocket ship to the gay parade”, written by another no-namer, The Gullibles, whose members were in junior high at the time and broke up before graduation. “Hat Nerd”, from The Four Eyes, is one of the dumbest songs ever written, according to Kody.

The album closes with a contribution from The Punchlines, a song (named after a punchline) called “Why the Big Pause”. Or maybe “Paws”.  A really long pause separates the first and second halves of the song, but the lyrics are about a bear with big paws. Y’all’ve heard the joke before. And maybe the real punchline is that Teenage Bottlerocket has managed to make an album of cover songs sound just like one of their regular records. The fact that hardly anyone has heard of any of these bands before, let alone any of the songs, is at least a pretty original idea. Don’t be turned off because someone else wrote the songs. Stealing the Covers sure sounds like Teenage Bottlerocket to me.

4.5/5 Stars



The Bombpops pay tribute to Teenage Bottlerocket’s Brandon Carlisle in new song “Be Sweet”

San Diego pop-punks The Bombpops have released a music video for their new song “Be Sweet”. The song pays tribute to the late Teenage Bottlerocket drummer Brandon Carlisle who tragically died in late 2015. Watch it below.

Vocalist Jen Razavi had this to say:

“’Be Sweet’ is an homage to our dear friend, the late Brandon Carlisle of the band Teenage Bottlerocket. Back in 2010, we were partying in a hotel room with Brandon and Ray Carlisle. There was a guitar in the room and Brandon was showing us an idea he had for a song. He had written it for his wife, but he told us we should play it and change the lyrics to ‘getting rad with my boyfriend.’ He wrote down all the lyrics on four sheets of hotel notepad paper. Since then, the melody and the chord progression were forgotten, but I still had the lyrics. So we wrote our own version of the song in the studio and used every single lyric that Brandon had written down.”

The band will begin their west coast tour tomorrow alongside The Fuck Off and Dies. You can check the tour dates out here.

 



Direct Hit! Hit! the studio to record

There you have it, pop-punk fans: Direct Hit! are hard at work, forging a whole new slew of face melting and head banging tunes for you.

From the band’s Facebook:
TIMECOP D. WALKOWIAK IN THE STUDIO TODAY DEMOING 5 OF 16 NEW SONGS FOR OUR NEXT LP. ASK IF WE SLEEP. WE DONT, SUCK IT.”

The band last released Wasted Mind last June through Fat Wreck Chords.

More information as it becomes available, as it is a breaking story. Suck it.



Less Than Jake round out 2017 tour itinerary

Gainesville ska-punk veterans Less Than Jake have rounded out their tour itinerary for the rest of 2017. Following some European dates, the band will return to the states for their Wake & Bake Weekend and a US tour. Then, they’ll head to Australia for some shows with Bodyjar.

Details on all of LTJ’s remaining 2017 tour dates can be found below.

Less Than Jake last released the Sound the Alarm EP in February through Pure Noise Records.



Stream No Use For A Name’s cover of “Hybrid Moments” (Misfits) off upcoming “Rarities Vol 1: The Covers” album

On August 11th Fat Wreck will be releasing “Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers”, a 13 track compilation of theNo Use For a Name‘s covers recorded between 1996 and 2005. Bands covered include Social Distortion, The Misfits, The Vapors, The Pogues, KISS, and naturally, the theme from “The Munsters.”

Get yourself a taste by streaming NUFAN’s cover of “Hybrid Moments” by Misfits below.

This will be No Use’s third posthumous release since frontman Tony Sly passed away in 2012, following a reissued version of their best-of album All the Best Songs and an unreleased demos 7-inch.



Fat Mike Presents Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival Featuring NOFX, Flogging Molly, Bad Religion

Created from the mind and liver of NOFX‘s frontman Fat Mike, the Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival will debut in the Western U.S. this fall with five special events featuring the best in punk rock music and regional craft beer.

Named for NOFX’s classic Punk In Drublic album, which has sold over one million copies, Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival launches September 16 in Tacoma, WA, with stops in Boise, ID, Concord, CA, Sacramento, CA, and Huntington Beach, CA. NOFX will co-headline each date of Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival alongside Flogging Molly in some markets and Bad Religion in others​, and every show will also feature four other​ bands. Look for full details to be announced in August at www.PunkInDrublicFest.com.

Each Punk In Drublic festival date will feature up to four hours of craft beer tastings with over 100 craft beers, including some of the West Coast’s best and local favorites. Craft beer tastings are included with admission. Festival hours will be Noon – 9:00 PM.

Fat Mike has joined forces with premier music event producer/promoter Synergy Global Entertainment and respected craft beer event production powerhouse Brew Ha Ha Productions for the festival. In addition, to celebrate Punk In Drublic, Fat Mike teamed up with craft beer pioneers Stone Brewing to brew their very own Stone & NOFX Punk in Drublic Hoppy Lager, which will be available in cans only in the festival markets. This collaboration is a huge show of support by Stone, as it marks the first time ever that Stone has worked with a musician for a can release. They’ve even included the festival tour dates on the back of each can. This is a first-of-its-kind level of commitment from a brewery partner for a festival tour.

When asked how Stone & NOFX Punk in Drublic Hoppy Lager tastes, Fat Mike says, “It’s something to wash the noise away.” However, other slogans offered by Mike that were quickly turned down by Stone included, “It’s the beer of champagnes” and finally, “They say you can’t get beer from a stone…oh shit, we just did!”

“We know we’re crazy for letting Fat Mike in our brewery, but we’re doing it anyway,” says Greg Koch, Stone Brewing co-founder. “We have a lot in common in not only refusing to follow the status quo, but actively rejecting it. I have incredible respect for what he and Fat Wreck Chords have done for the independent music scene. Craft beer is currently in a similar open-your-eyes-to-the-man’s-corporate-obfuscation battle. Is independent craft beer punk rock? Very. And even more so now with this collab. See you in the pit!”

Cameron Collins, Co-Founder & Director of Events at Brew Ha Ha Productions explains, “Craft beer and punk rock are cut from the same cloth. Small, independent, and up against some big challenges: taking on BIG BEER, and local bands determined to do it their way, despite what might make them a quick buck. Punk In Drublic throws off the mantle of the ordinary to create an event unlike any other…a perfect pairing of craft beer and punk rock!”

Catch the Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival “stumbling through a town near you”:

Saturday, September 16 – Tacoma, WA – America’s Car Museum (on sale Friday, July 28)
Sunday, September 17 – Boise, ID – Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater (on sale Friday, July 28)
Saturday, October 14 – Concord, CA – Concord Pavilion (on sale Friday, August 11)
Sunday, October 15 – Sacramento, CA – Bonney Field (on sale Friday, August 11)
Saturday, October 28 – Huntington Beach, CA – Bolsa Chica State Park (on sale Friday, September 1)

The Saturday, September 16 (Tacoma) and Sunday, September 17 (Boise) Punk In Drublic shows will feature performances from NOFX, Bad Religion, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, Bad Cop / Bad Cop and more. Tickets for these two shows go on sale Friday, July 28 at 10:00 AM local time at www.PunkInDrublicFest.com.

General Admission and VIP tickets for the Tacoma and Boise shows are priced as follows. Ticket details for other dates will be announced in August. All tickets include craft beer tasting and access to view the music stage for attendees 21 years or older.

General Admission: starting at $39
Early Entry + VIP Lounge: $99
Early Entry + VIP Lounge + Meet & Greet: $199

VIP Tickets include access to a VIP Entry Lane and VIP Lounge, with:
– Exclusive craft beer tastings
– VIP viewing area of the stage
– Private restrooms
– VIP cash bar
– One hour early entry for craft beer tastings (for those 21+), starting at 12:00 PM



Useless ID release music video for “How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb”

Israeli punk veterans Useless ID have released a music video for “How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb”, which appears on their latest album State is Burning. Check it out below.

Guitarist Ishay Berger had this to say about the song and video:

“The situation at home is sometimes so frustrating that it seems like a hotbed of conflict and anger for everyone involved. These things affect and change people’s lives, and we address these feelings in our song. We feel that the lyrics and the images of the video connect strongly.”

State is Burning was released in 2016 through Fat Wreck Chords. The band’s currently touring Europe and will be playing some Japanese shows immediately after that.