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1916

Hailing from upstate NY, Celtic rockers 1916 are an explosive concoction of the modern Irish Punk movement with an original mix of psychobilly which gives 1916 a sound that stands apart from other bands of the genre.

Starting as an acoustic duo in 2006, singer Billy Herring and original drummer Steve LaDue played the traditional Irish ballads of the Dubliners and Wolfe Tones in the local pubs in and around their home-town of Rochester, NY.  They decided to call themselves 1916 to get people interested in Irish history.  In 2010 they took the music to a new level with the addition of electric guitars, traditional instruments, and a full drum set.  Within a few months of trying their new sound, 1916 were opening for the likes of the Dropkick Murphys, 21 Pilots, and New Politics, among other national acts.

On St. Patrick’s Day of 2012, 1916 released their first studio album, A Drop of the Pure, to rave reviews.  That same year, 1916 became the first band from Rochester, NY to get their own Pandora station with the addition of their music to the Pandora genome project.  With their music now reaching a global audience, the boys would soon gain fans all over the world.

The following year, 1916 released their sophomore album, Stand Up & Fight.  This new album, featuring a collection of covers and originals, had a more polished sound than the raw punk feel of  A Drop of the Pure.  This new full length album also featured more traditional Irish instruments to give the new LP a fun and full sound.

As the band continued to evolve, they kept touring and playing as many shows as possible.  With bigger audiences came a larger fan base for 1916 to interact with.  The band has always enjoyed hanging out with the crowd both pre- and post- shows.

In November of 2014, the guys went back into the studio to begin recording their third album, Last Call for Heroes.  Released in December of 2015, Last Call for Heroes was met with great enthusiasm from critics.  Named one of the “best punk albums of 2016,” both home and abroad, the new album appeared to have given the band the momentum they needed to move forward.

Mandolin player Jon Kane joined the band in early 2016, just before the boys hit the road to join Flogging Molly on their Salty Dog Cruise.  After a whirlwind spring of touring through the Bahamas and Europe, Jon was just what the band needed as he brought his energetic and fun stage persona into the fold.

The sound had certainly become streamlined and unique, but it wasn’t until 2017 that upright bassist Ryan Hurley would join 1916 to give the band the final integral piece that gives the music its psychobilly flavor.  Ryan quickly found a new home in 1916 and the band now finds itself on the edge of yet another amazing year of recording and touring.

In 2019, the band welcomed the thundering drums of Tony Presutti to take over behind the kit. Soon after that, 1916 further expanded their sound by the addition of accordion player Sam Sarratori to the crew!

2 Tone Records

2 Tone Records was an English independent record label that mostly released ska and reggae-influenced music with a punk rock and pop music overtone. It was founded by Jerry Dammers of the Specials and backed by Chrysalis Records.

Catbite

CATBITE IS A NEO-TWO TONE SKA BAND FROM PHILADELPHIA FORMED IN MAY OF 2018. INFLUENCED BY THE JOLTING ENERGY OF THE SPECIALS, THE SELECTOR’S EDGED LYRICS, AND ELVIS COSTELLO‘S LOVE OF MELODY, THE GROUP CRANKS OUT SHORT, CATCHY TUNES THAT USUALLY HAVE A DEEPER MEANING… AND SOMETIMES DON’T. THE BAND’S DEBUT SELF-TITLED LP WAS RELEASED IN 2019 ON BAD TIME RECORDS AND HAS SOLD OUT OF THE FIRST 2 PRESSINGS WITH THE 3RD PRESSING AVAILABLE NOW. THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SOPHOMORE ALBUM, “NICE ONE” , ALSO RELEASED ON BAD TIME RECORDS, WAS RELEASED ON AUGUST 6, 2022 AND WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH A SOLD OUT HOMETOWN SHOW, AND FOLLOWED BY EXTENSIVE TOURING. NICE ONE INCLUDES HITS LIKE “CALL YOUR BLUFF”, “EXCUSE ME MISS”, AND THE SOULFUL ROCKSTEADY TUNE, “BAD INFLUENCE”.

DS Album Review: Anti-Flag – “Lies They Tell Our Children”

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first […]

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first concept album and is a collection of probably their finest and most forward songs since their ’96 debut album. The album is 11 tracks, and seven of them have guest features, from Ashrita Kumar from Pinkshift, Campino from Die Toten Hosen, Tim McIlrath, and Brian Baker from Bad Religion, to name a few. While I usually believed that too many guest features were a red flag, this album shows that if you have an idea, you have a clear message, and people believe in the message you’re trying to bring forth, the number of guest features does not matter.

Let’s rewind to 2020; what the fuck happened? Covid, the world stood still; Anti-Flag released an album like many others. Now let’s fast-forward to 2022: war, impending doom, and most of us have given up hope that the system will ever change. Here’s Anti-Flag with clear, straight-to-the-point messages. There’s no misinterpreting anything with their lyrics on this album. Happy New Year, all; I’ll let Anti-Flags point out what is wrong with the system in 2023. But Lies They Tell Our Children doesn’t hold back on any song, and it’s time to go in for the kill. Anti-Flag has tried to perfect the balance between catchy hooks, headbanging instruments, and meaningful lyrics for the past three decades. I thought 20/20 Vision was a masterpiece, but Lies They Tell Our Children has outdone it. So I’ll get on with my review, and I’ll tell you this: I’m a sucker for any album that takes open digs and trashes the Government in any country.

“Sold Everything is a solid album opener; the song starts slowly with the rhythm guitar taking the lead before Justin Sane jumps in with their much-appreciated political lyrics. “Neo-liberal white saviors, Murdoch and Fox News. Fuck the Pittsburgh police and our president too!” sings Justin Sane, backed by the rest of the band during the song. Next up is “Modern Meta Medicine” ft. Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage taking their dig at Big Pharma, and I would like to say America’s significant consumption of pills and other things. Still, the fact is that it isn’t just a problem in America but everywhere in the world. While “Sold Everything” doesn’t set the tone for the album, this song does. It’s fast-paced with loud drumming and guitars but again highlights the catchy hooks. We’ve all heard this song for some time, so there’s nothing I can say that everyone else hasn’t caught on to. “Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die” ft. Shane Told of Silverstein was the first single to shoot off this album. “The lies we tell our children shaping everything we know/ Turning fact into fiction streamed on every single show” goes well into how the misinformation isn’t anything we can run from. Especially the younger generation has much more access to knowledge than the later generations had while growing up.

I’ll skip a bit because we’ve all heard most of the features, but let’s bring “Shallow Graves” ft. Tré Burt into focus. Now this song is probably one of the biggest standouts, in my opinion, and sad it wasn’t released as a single. This song sounds different, with heavy guitar riffs, rough vocals, and rapid drumming. But it has a more unpolished indie vibe before it goes into the classic Anti-Flag sound throughout the album. “Only In My Head” is another standout track, but this one is without guest features. “They are after me/ But no one’s free,” screams Justin Sane throughout the track, with the rapid machine drumming and simple “oh’s” from the band in between, concluding a great album. Things changed over the years, but Anti-Flag hasn’t that much, and that isn’t bad because this album feels like the beginning of something big to come.

Standouts to listen to: SHALLOW GRAVES, IMPERIALISM, SOLD EVERYTHING and ONLY IN MY HEAD

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DS Album Review: L. A. Edwards – “Out Of The Heart Of Darkness”

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and […]

L. A. Edwards – Out Of The Heart Of Darkness

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and younger brother Jerry both having joined Luke as full-time members. Having been born and raised in southern California, and subsequently transplanted to Nashville, LA’s first two LP’s (2018’s True Blue and 2020’s Blessings From Home) were very Laurel-Canyon-meets-East-Nashville in their sound, easy going and tranquil country/folk-rock which was reminiscent of both Jackson Browne as well as the band Dawes in its style as well as sound.

With Out Of The Heart Of Darkness, LA Edwards’ new release out January 6th on Bitchin’ Music Group, the band has put together a very different kind of album with a distinctly more diverse and harder-edged sound. The album was recorded largely at Luke’s Seatle, WA home studio during the first half of 2022. Work on the album was temporarily put on hold while the band did some extensive touring with both Lucero and then The White Buffalo. Returning to the studio in September, the 3 brothers along with studio engineer, Hunter Rath finished up the recordings for the album. Lookng for a harder, more auster sound to compliment the voluminous material, the band brought in Grammy Award winner, Tom Lord-Alge to work on post production and mixing.

The Brothers Edwards

The album opens up with a short snippet of a young boy describing, as near as I can tell a near-death drowning experience. It is certainly a soundbite that might have come directly from Joseph Conrad’s epic novel from which I have to imagine Edwards co-opted the album’s moniker. Following this “Prelude” we get the album’s first actual song, a track called “Little Boy Blue,” which kicks off with a singular guitar riff, reminiscent of the opening of “Life In A Northern Town” from early the 80’s English folk-rock band Dream Acadamy. But before you have a chance to nestle into this gentle flow, you’re hit with a Springstonian power strum and there’s no looking back as the band pushes forward with what turns out to be a churning rock song replete with a majestic harmony-laden chorus which is just perfect.

The first single off of the album was released in early December and the first thing you will notice is that “Let It Out” is no soft country rocker. Right from the get-go of Luke’s 2,3,4,1,2,3 countdown, it becomes obvious that the Edwards boys are here to rock with this one. A jaunty, almost punkish number with top-heavy guitar backdrop, this song immediately brought some early Deer Tick to mind as I listened to the rhythmic guitar clapping along with LA’s huskier than in the past voice. The band got quite a marketing bonus when this one was picked up and included in the “The Dream Is Not Me,” episode in this year’s hottest TV show, Yellowstone.

The rocking continues a couple of songs later on the album with “Time To Go” which starts off with a distorted guitar line followed by what I’m sure will be an anthemic sing-along chorus before it builds and builds itself into a screeching guitar wall of sound, all while the words “is it now time to go?” is quietly harmonized in the background.

“Time To Go” is then followed by a somewhat mellower “Hi Rite Now!”, a country ditty that laments the appreciation for greener pastures so to speak. And even though compared to the previous track, “Hi…” seems to be mellower, it certainly is no power ballad by any stretch of the imagination.

“Peace Be With You” is the second to last song on the album and it starts off with a hard electric guitar strum leading into Luke’s beautiful vocals which remind me of my favorite (and unfortunately unknown outside of his native city of Little Rock) singers, Adam Faucett. And if you’re lucky enough to know Adam’s work, you will know that a comparison to him and his otherworldly voice is the utmost praise to which you can bestow on another singer.

All in all, L.A.Edwards, as one might expect from an album named after the book which spawned the movie “Apocalypse Now” takes on quite a journey with Out Of The Heart Of Darkness. The album is filled with human emotions which are all over the map and to perfectly augment these disparate emotions Luke, Jerry and Jay provide us with a musical and instrumental landscape which fits like a glove to the rollercoaster ride of feelings portrayed in this collection. While the songs by no means fit into any one easy, concise pigeon hole, they do work veritably seamlessly with one another. Be it Jay’s spooky keyboard work on “Already Gone” to the stoner protest of “Hi Rite Now!” to the beer-soaked barroom rock and roll of “Let It Out”, the songs on OOTHOD run the gamut yet fit together like distinctly shaped pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

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DS Album Review: Screeching Weasel’s “Anthem For A New Tomorrow” gets a face lift with 30th Anniversary reissue

Screeching Weasel‘s Anthem For A New Tomorrow turns 30 this year, so naturally a reissue was in order. The album has been remixed by Mike Kennerty who, in addition playing guitar for the All American Rejects, has produced the last few Weasel LPs. I’ve seen plenty of people online taking exception to this record being […]

Screeching Weasel‘s Anthem For A New Tomorrow turns 30 this year, so naturally a reissue was in order. The album has been remixed by Mike Kennerty who, in addition playing guitar for the All American Rejects, has produced the last few Weasel LPs. I’ve seen plenty of people online taking exception to this record being “remixed” (and remastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering), which isn’t surprising. It’s a classic 90’s pop-punk record, one of the untouchables of the era. I understand the skepticism, but sometimes change is a good thing.

The sonic difference from the original release is instantly recognizable within the first few seconds of “I’m Gonna Strangle You”. The guitar tone is much cleaner, both the drums and bass are a lot more punchy and Pro Tools-ish, and Ben’s vocals cut through like never before. It almost sounds like they completely re-recorded the album, especially when you hear the keyboards on songs like “Totally”, “Peter Brady”, and “Every Night”. Purists will likely be turned off by the fact that the record has a much more polished feel; the sound is very similar to the band’s last three studio albums. Whether you like the direction they took on this reissue depends on your opinion of modern Screeching Weasel. If you’ve read my review of their latest LP, you know I’m a big fan of the band’s recent output.

Anthem For A New Tomorrow has always been my favorite Weasel album, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t benefit from this face lift. The crunchy guitars and overall muddy sound never bothered me too much, but this high fidelity reissue has given the record new life 30 years after its initial release on Lookout! Records. If you disagree, that’s cool. I get it. The good thing is the original version of the album still exists, so you can continue to listen to that and pretend this one doesn’t exist.

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Anthem For A New Tomorrow is available now on all major streaming platforms. Striped Music is releasing it on vinyl in Europe (the first pressing sold out but a second pressing is coming soon). Recess Records is handling US distribution, but hasn’t launched pre-orders yet. You can also get it on CD here, thanks to Rum Bar Records.

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DS Exclusive: (World) Cup The Punx! Volume 1 w/members of Stiff Little Fingers, Slapshot, Sam Russo and more!

Reporting by Dying Scene Staff Members, MerGold, Jay Stone, Rae, and Nasty Nate Dying Scene staffers are fans of “The Beautiful Game,” and we are not alone. Some of your favorite punk musicians from all over the United States and internationally discuss the game they love and what they are looking forward to as World […]

Reporting by Dying Scene Staff Members, MerGold, Jay Stone, Rae, and Nasty Nate

Dying Scene staffers are fans of “The Beautiful Game,” and we are not alone. Some of your favorite punk musicians from all over the United States and internationally discuss the game they love and what they are looking forward to as World Cup 2022 kicks in to action in Doha, Qatar. The selection of Qatar as the host nation the subject of FIFA itself, has been rife with controversy from the get-go. Some of the musicians don’t mince words about these issues. Indeed, many of us are also torn over the question of whether to watch the World Cup or not in light of the deserved criticisms. That’s for each of us to decide as individuals. However, in response to our questions about the World Cup and the sport in general, here are the answers from the participating musicians. Also, for newbies to the sport or those needing a refresher course here is a guide from The Athletic for World Cup 2022 viewing.


Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers is a living legend. Burns, now living in Chicago, is unafraid to be blunt when expressing his views, whether in song or any other form. Here, he tackles the elephant in the stadium straight on.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

JB: “Nothing. Seriously. I cannot ever remember NOT caring about the World Cup since I was transfixed by the great Brazil team of 1970. I was 12 years old and marvelled at the mercurial Jairzinho, the only player to score in every round. The selection of venues for the last two World Cups stinks to high heaven. (See the great Netflix documentary “FIFA Uncovered”.) However, there was some footballing merit on the tournament being awarded to Russia last time around. This time, there is none. To move the tournament from its usual summer schedule to the winter just to facilitate it being played in the desert is only one reason to ignore this travesty, perhaps the least salient reason in fact.”

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for and which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy and will win that trophy?

JB: “I spent the longest period of my life living in England and, obviously I’m most familiar with those players so, insomuch as I will be rooting for anyone, that’s who I will be pulling for. It’s also great to see Wales there after a huge absence. As a fairly recently minted American citizen, I also hope the U.S. do well. As to who will win it? Brazil. Not a particularly brave call on my part, but I think the temperatures will suit them more than any of the European teams. And, IF they play to their full potential, I honestly think England can make it all the way to the final.”

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s))/player(s) in the English Premiere League, United States Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

JB: “Newcastle United. A team that for decades was mired in unfulfilled potential. As a one club city, Newcastle has long been one of the many “sleeping giants” of English football. A recent takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, for which read “Saudi Arabia” (honestly that “PIF” stuff is fooling no-one), has led to renewed investment both in staff and facilities that might, finally, see the Toon realize their vast potential…albeit at the cost of a considerable part of their soul.”

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from the area?

JB: “I lived in Newcastle for about sixteen years. As I said, it’s a one club city and if you don’t follow the Toon, then you don’t talk to anyone, at all, about anything!”

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

JB: “Every kid in Britain or Ireland at one point fancied themselves a footballer, but as my eyesight was rubbish from an early age, I always sucked at it. So, no.”


Mike Park (past: Deal’s Gone Bad {DGB}; Lord Mike’s Dirty Calypsonians; present: The Crombies.) is a die-hard fan of West Ham F.C.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup? 

MP: “The Qatar thing is sketchy I’m not saying I’m looking forward to drama but there’s gonna be drama. I’m ACTUALLY looking forward to seeing the US back in the mix. The collapse in qualifying last time was brutal.”

DS: Which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy and will win that trophy? 

MP: “I want interesting things to happen, go underdogs! Often the further in your go the more boring and predictable the teams get. An Argentina Spain style final would be lame. Snore…

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s))/player(s) in the English Premiere League, United States Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?  How did you become a fan of the team if not from the area? 

MP: “I’m a Declan Rice, West Ham guy. I definitely got into West Ham via the punk scene. I got to see them at Upton Park years ago when they were down v Rotherham. I think West Ham’s biggest name that year was Marlon Harewood so I can say “I saw Marlon Harewood live!” Lol

The Chicago Fire once had a THRIVING supporters scene that was heavily influenced by the punk rocks. Years of failure and overt front office hostility eventually chased it away. It still exists but isn’t welcome anymore by the organization.

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself? 

MP: I grew up in a blue collar suburb of LA in the 70s and soccer wasn’t really available to us, you had to move to a fancier neighborhood for that, it was all baseball and football near me. I did play bar league for the Delilah’s team for a couple years back in the early 2000s. It was hilarious, a bunch of hungover punk rock types up against folks who had played in college, were fit and hydrated. We had the most tattoos of any other team and eventually even won a couple games.

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs? 

MP: “Obviously my favorite punk soccer song is the Chicago Fire goal song Deal’s Gone Bad recorded back in 2002. They used it for like 15 years and it was always a trip to hear myself on ESPN.

In all seriousness I think my fave punk soccer song isn’t really explicitly about soccer but it captures the spirit of the whole scene and the vibe that makes it so exciting – “If the Kids are United” by Sham 69.”


Vee Sonnets presently performs with Park in the Crombies and formerly with him in DGB. He also leads The Sonnets.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

VS: “All of it.

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for and which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy and will win that trophy?

VS: “I’m rooting for my team Ecuador but it’s looking like Qatar is gonna run away with it.” [DS note: Ecuador beat Qatar in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup]

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s))/player(s) in the English Premiere League, United States Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

VS: “Tough one but I am rooting for [Lionel Messi. He deserves to win one.

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from the area?

VS: “Nationality.

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

VS: “Yes. H.S. and pick up games throughout my life.

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

VS: “Kick in the Eye.”


Jordan Salazar of Vultures United is such an Association Football fan he has favorite clubs from almost all of the most prominent leagues around the globe.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

JS: “Just the whole thing. It’s like a month-long gift”

DS: Which teams do you think are going to be there at the end fighting for the trophy?

JS: “Rooting for Mexico then Portugal then the US. Fighting at the end? Argentina, Brazil and France.”

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s)/player(s) in the English Premier League, Major League Soccer, or any other leagues around the world?

JS: “English Premier League = Manchester United / MLS = LAFC / La Liga = Real Madrid / Ligue 1 = PSG / Liga MX = Chivas / Serie A = Juventus and Roma

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from that area?

JS: “For Manchester United, it was all Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. He came up in Mexico and played for Chivas, who are from the town my Dad and uncles grew up in. So Chivas and Mexican International Soccer was the first sports teams I was exposed to as a kid and just never stopped following them from then on. Oddly enough, out of all teams mentioned, Manchester United is definitely the team I care and pay attention to (and suffer with) the most.”

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

JS: “I play 1 to 2 times a week
with an adult league team or pick-up soccer with friends (our pick-up
group has been doing it for 15 years!)”

“I’m part of an adult club team still called Green Valley Football Club.”

 


Singer-Songwriter Sam Russo is as hardcore soccer supporter so he’ll be keeping his eyes on the matches. Russo will also be on the lookout for commentary by his Red Scare Industries boss Tobias Jeg.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

SR: “The thing I’m looking forward to most about the World Cup is watching England win the World Cup. Also, Jeg on Twitter defending the refs.”

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for and which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy and will win that trophy?

 SR: “I’m rooting for England, and I’m pretty sure Germany will be hanging in there at the end as usual. I follow all the Italy games because my family is Italian, and I always root for Mexico, too.” [DS note: for the second consecutive time Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.]

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s)/player(s) in the English Premiere League, United States Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

SR: “I support Ipswich Town – the Tractor Boys. My favourite player in the Premier League is a guy called Robin Koch. Great punk name.”

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from that area?

SR: “I became a Tractor Boy when I was a kid because Ipswich were the only team we could afford to go watch play. Me, my brothers and my Dad used to go to every home game. We had awesome seats because nobody went. It was great!” 

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

SR: “I play 5-a-side with a group I’ve been playing with for over ten years! It’s the highlight of my week and I love those bellends.

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

SR: “Olé by the Bouncing Souls, and Three Lions by Baddiel, Skinner, and The Lightning Seeds.

Sam Russo says about the photo he included with his answers:

“Yeah! This is me and my team from an 11-a-side match before the pandemic – WE ARE THE SMSC! On yer touch! Shoutout to the excellent humans I play with, they always support my music and we have a bloody good time on a Friday!”


Ryan Packer of Slapshot, is a massive Chelsea F.C. supporter (as are my cousins; I am a long-time supporter of the current EPL-leading Arsenal FC.). So naturally, he, along with Jake Burns, was one of the first people I solicited for this piece. I recalled the photo I shot of him in his Chelsea kit as he worked producing a Boston punk rock weekend several years ago.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

RP: “I would obviously like to see the US make a round or two. That’s all we can hope for with that squad.” 

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for and which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy and will win that trophy?

RP: “The last two cups I was lucky enough to be in Europe. I have some great memories of Belgium advancing. Maybe they can put a couple of wins together.”

[on what is one of the best aspects of the World Cup] “That’s what’s great about the tournament it can go a million different ways.”

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s)/player(s) in the English Premiere League, United States Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

RP: “Premier league I’m a Chelsea FC supporter. I have to support the hometown team so I also back the [New England] Revolution.”


DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from that area?

RP: “I became a Chelsea fan by going to a local bar that a lot of supporters hung out at Saturday mornings so I became a fan.”

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

RP: ‘War On The Terraces” by The Cockney Rejects is definitely a stand out.” 


For Felipe Patino, from SACK, disappointment struck during the Qualifiers. His native Peru’s national team did not qualify for the World Cup. Still, he will be cheering on one team in particular.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup?

FP: “Argentina winning.

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for? Which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy?

FP: “Rooting for Argentina and France.”

DS:  Do you have a favorite team(s)/player(s) in the English Premier League, Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

FP: Haaland, Martinelli, and Luis Diaz for the Premier League. Flores and Gallese for the MLS.  Messi and Ramos for L1.  Advincula for Primera Division

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from that area?

FP: “Just by enjoying the talent and appreciating the sport.” 

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

FP: “Yes, still do occasionally.”

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

FP: Domingos by Dos Minutos.


Pedro Aida, of Fire Sale, does not have a particular bar or spot on his couch from where he’ll be watching the matches. But he still plans to watch as many as he can.

DS: What are you most looking forward to in the World Cup? 

PA: “I’ll be on tour in Europe for most of it with The Iron Roses and I’m looking forward to the experience of watching some of those matches in that environment. All but one of the countries we’re performing in is in the World Cup. Additionally we have some time off so I’ll be in Paris for the semis and London for the final. It would be a dream if France or England were in those matches.”

DS: Which team(s) are you rooting for? Which teams do you think are going to be there are the end fighting for the trophy? 

PA: “Since my home country of Peru missed out in the playoff I’ll be pulling for the Yanks. My final four bracket is Argentina, Germany, France, and Croatia with Argentina winning the cup.

DS: Do you have a favorite team(s))/player(s) in the English Premier League, Major League Soccer or any other leagues around the world?

PA: “Fulham FC from the Prem. Tim Ream is my guy, excellent defender and will be holding down the backline in Qatar for the US. I’ve forgiven him for being a former [NY] Red Bull (barf).”

“The team I’ve been watching and supporting since I was a teenager is D.C United (VAMOS UNITED). Grew up watching Ben Olsen play and then coach for DC. Named my first born Olsen.”

My local home team is The Richmond Kickers in USL League 1. My guy Emiliano Terzaghi, an Argentinian striker, just took his 3rd League MVP in a row. #UpTheRoos!”

DS: How did you become a fan of the team if not from that area?

PA: “I’ve been a casual Fulham supporter for about 20 years since they brought in Brian McBride and are known for bringing in Americans well before it was common to see Yanks in European football.

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

PA: “Played as a kid and through high school (rec). Didn’t really play regularly throughout my 20’s. In my 30’s I dove back into it pretty seriously in adult rec leagues here in Richmond. I’ve been taking it easy this past year with touring and stuff ramping up, I can’t risk getting injured.”

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

PA: “Not so punk but it’s Men Without Hats “Pop Goes The World”. I could say something by Cockney Rejects or The Business but they don’t represent any of my clubs.”


Dying Scene’s Nate Kernell has curated a special playlist for the World Cup. Check it out here and let us know what tunes should be added! Also, stay tuned for more installments of (World) Cup The Punx!

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DS Exclusive: Frank Casillas on The Hardyville Stranglers, leaving Voodoo Glow Skulls behind, Arizona, and Bicycles.

Frank Casillas founded Voodoo Glow Skulls with his brothers, Eddie and Jorge Casillas, along with Jerry O’Neill. He left the band in June 2017, making the announcement during a VGS performance at Long Beach, CA venue, Alex’s Bar. DS: Before we get to your new project, let’s go back to where you left off with […]

Frank Casillas founded Voodoo Glow Skulls with his brothers, Eddie and Jorge Casillas, along with Jerry O’Neill. He left the band in June 2017, making the announcement during a VGS performance at Long Beach, CA venue, Alex’s Bar.


DS: Before we get to your new project, let’s go back to where you left off with the Voodoo Glows Skulls. After so many years leading that band, how did the decision to leave come about at that moment in time?

FC: Well, I didn’t really plan a time and place to leave the band. It just kind of happened at a time when we were doing some weekend gigs here and there along the west coast, close to home, and some incidents that had occurred from within the band (ongoing arguments within the three brothers, differences between other band members, etc.) during this time just prompted me to just quit on the spot.

DS: How long did it take to make the decision to leave? Was there anything in particular prompting it?

FC: I had actually been thinking about leaving the band for at least five years prior to me actually doing it. For me personally, I was just burned out on the whole thing. We weren’t really being productive with writing new material, and it seemed like it was taking forever to record a new album. I didn’t really like the direction of the new material either. It just seemed like we were getting further away from the VGS style and sound that we were known for. Since we started the band, I was pretty much the main guy handling just about everything in the band business wise since day one, even when we had high profile management and everything. There’s always got be at least one person speaking for the band and making decisions on behalf of the band, and that was me for the longest time. Not only that, but I wore many hats besides just being the front man. I drove and maintained the vehicles, I was the tour manager, I organized and ordered the merch on top of also being a performer in the band. I also had a family with children, and I sacrificed a lot just to keep the band going when other guys in the band didn’t really care about anything else but playing and getting paid. We were constantly on the road being ran by a booking agent and it just became very routine. After a while, it just sucked everything out of me. Especially the creativity, and productivity aspect. I just wasn’t into it anymore and I felt like the band wasn’t really being productive and progressive like we used to be. I didn’t exactly leave on the proper terms and that struck a nerve with the remaining members in the band and some fans. But then again, I have never really heard of anyone giving a two weeks’ notice when they leave a band. My gut instinct just said it was time to leave and focus on me personally.


DS: Was there ever a time, either in the immediate aftermath of leaving the band or in the years since where you have had regrets about that decision or doubts that it was the best thing for you?

FC: “I helped start this band with my two younger brothers, and a neighborhood friend who was pretty much considered a brother. It obviously wasn’t an easy decision to leave after 27+ years. We accomplished a lot for just being a high school backyard party band that happened to tap into the youth of that era and play music that suburban kids could relate to. It was something that came natural to us, and we were just a product of our environment. It was hard for sure, and yes, for the longest time there were some mixed feelings of regret and guilt for just leaving like I did. But I also had my mindset of just moving on with my personal life and pursuing just me for the sake of the long-term, personal satisfaction, and personal well-being.


Photos bv Stoned Spider Photography

DS: Is there anything you miss about being on the road with the VGS / with your brothers specifically or just being on the road and in a band?

FC: I miss the fans! I don’t really miss the travel aspect, or anything related to that. When you’re young, that shit is cool! But as you get older, it gets harder to accept some of the accommodations that are handed to you on tour. Of course, I miss my brothers. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel some sort of betrayal by them. I fully understand that I didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms. But I wasn’t okay mentally and physically and instead of being concerned about me possibly not being okay, they pretty much slandered me on the band’s social media and made me look an unstable person to our fans. I think that I deserved better than that regardless of the situation. I had done so much for our career, and I feel like my efforts and sacrifices as not only the front man, but a managing member went totally unappreciated and disrespected after all these years.


DS: How aware were you of the reactions from the fans of the band?

FC: The fans have always been great to me. Of course, I got some mixed reactions after leaving. Especially after I was blasted on the band’s social media for quitting. But I still get fans asking me to return. I get feedback from fans telling me that that it’s just not the same anymore without me, etc. There are also a lot of ex-fans who wrote me off. But that is to be expected, I guess.


DS: You spoke of great legacy when you announced you quit the band, how would you describe that legacy?

FC: We started off as just kids learning how to play instruments along with our vinyl records. We managed to tap into suburban kids and relate to their lifestyle through music that was pretty much inspired by our environment. This came at a time when we didn’t exactly have social media or the internet at our fingertips to help get exposure. It was all done organically and by word of mouth for the most part. Not only that, but we managed to transcend underlying racial boundaries and write bilingual ska/punk songs that Mexican, Chicano, and Anglo-American kids could relate to equally. We managed to do that for at least a couple of decades strong. If anything, I’m proud and happy that the band is still going strong without me. They have managed to reinvent themselves with a new front man and continue with their own version of VGS. It’s a different band for sure now.


Frank Casillas by Photo by Dana Krashin

DS: Please tell us about Tiki Bandits. What was it like to go from VGS to the TB? What were some of the most interesting differences you found, and any similarities?

FC: Tiki Bandits were never really a serious project for me. I started TB with some local friends in Arizona while I was still very active with VGS. It was just a side project for me, playing “punked up” cover versions of 50’s & 60’s tunes and an opportunity for me to stay somewhat creative and keep my musical chops up. I never really compared the band to VGS, as it was strictly just another musical outlet for me to just have fun and play gigs with no strings attached to a record label, a booking agent, or the industry in general. Sadly, we no longer exist as of 2021.

DS: Please tell us a bit about the origin of The Hardyville Stranglers.

FC: The Hardyville Stranglers are my newest and current band that came together in 2022 between myself and some local friends who share musical interests in Punk Rock music. Nick Fielding, our bass player has a strong punk rock musical history and played in the band Narcoleptic Youth for 6 years before moving out to the desert like me. The guitar players Steve Blanks and Bobby Narmaki have musical roots in the So Cal punk scene and have also played in several local bands. Jose Ibarra, our drummer has played in some local area bands and was also my drummer for Tiki Bandits. Somehow, we all ended up meeting and coming together musically out here in our area where we all reside. We all live in the Bullhead City area, and Hardyville is what Bullhead used to be called back in the old Wild west days. That’s how we came up with the name of the band.

DS: How much, if any, of your work in this band has been affected or influenced by the decades with the VGS?

FC: I don’t really think about that to be honest. My experience obviously helps with logistical things like organizing stuff for the band. But we don’t really consider ourselves a real working band or anything. We’re just having fun making music without any boundaries. It’s a breath of fresh air being able to play music just for fun and without any expectations from anyone. It’s reminiscent of when I first started playing with VGS, and that makes it fun and exciting for me again.


DS: Are there any songs on this record you personally connect with.  “Nobody Likes” for instance, is a song I think we all can relate to at different points of our lives.  Even if our self-perception may not be accurate.

FC: “Nobody Likes” is just a song poking fun at how it’s so easy for people to just complain about anything nowadays on platforms like YELP or leave negative reviews, and just be a Karen or whatever. No real strong meaning behind it. Just a stupid observation, I guess. Lol

DS: How did some of the other songs on the EP come to fruition?

FC: Nick our bass player had some songs in his back pocket that he wrote years ago, and we brought them to life. That motivated us to start figuring out our own sound and go from there, to write a few of our own tunes collectively as a band.

DS: What was the inspiration for this album?

FC: Just a group of four guys getting together on Sunday evenings to play music and see what comes out of it. That’s really all it is!

DS:  What are you looking forward to with this new group record.

FC: We really don’t have any set goals or anything. We can’t really tour extensively or anything because guys have jobs and families to feed. We are doing this just for fun and if we happen to gain some sort of popularity or success with it, I don’t think anyone in the band will be upset.

DS: What has the early reception to the record and the Hardyville Stranglers been?

FC: The reception has been great so far. We all commonly agree that punk rock has gotten soft nowadays. Punk used to be aggressive, anti-establishment a rough around the edges. Now it just seems polished, sensitive, and woke. So that pretty much influences us to just write stuff off the top of our heads and not really care about how it’s going to be received. So far, I think that it’s been working in our favor. We have gotten some good reviews claiming that we are a breath of fresh air for the punk scene.


DS: What is in the immediate or long-time future for The Hardyville Stranglers as far as you know right now?

FC: We are just playing locally right now with no real expectations or plans. Luckily with social media and the internet we can share our music to a much broader audience without having to go on tour or anything else. However, we are not opposed to doing a weekend here and there or traveling if the opportunity is there and most importantly, worthwhile for us.

DS: How has age and family/having children affected your approach to performing and all the related elements of being in a band.

FC: It gets harder as you get older. I don’t see how some of these guys are still out there doing this fulltime well into their 50’s and 60’s. I had small children and a family for a majority of my career in VGS and that made it extra hard to be gone all the time on tour. That was the hardest thing to deal with.

My kids are grown now, and I went through a divorce. I am just recently married again, and I have two step daughters that I am helping raise. I couldn’t see myself being able to leave on tour nowadays. Not only because of my new family, but my business as well.

DS: The final lyrics to “Disappear” are “Don’t Give A Fuck If I Live Or Die, I’ll Drop a Gear and Say Goodbye.” Again a sentiment it seems many people have had at some point in their lives. How do you relate to this sentiment, and does it bring you back to any specific moments or feelings in your life?

FC: I am and have always been a motorcyclist and enthusiast. I currently own three motorcycles and I live in a place where outlaw bikers are for real and part of the history here.  That song is a biker song mainly, but it is also highly relatable to other non-bikers, I guess. I never really thought it that way to be honest.


DS: Why Arizona? Specifically, Bullhead? What went into the decision to leave CA for AZ?

FC: I left my hometown of Riverside, California for Bullhead City, Arizona in 2000 mainly so my kids could grow up in a safer and less influenced environment. I felt like California was just getting overpopulated, dangerous and super expensive. Pretty much how it is today! In my eyes, Bullhead City is paradise and still far enough, yet still within arm’s reach of my roots in California. We have the desert, mountains, the Colorado River running through town, and you just have more access for outdoor, recreational opportunities here in general.

DS: What are the differences you have experienced between the two states and the similarities. Same goes for Riverside v Bullhead?

FC: There is quite a bit of similarities between the two here. Most residents here have roots in California and have just ended up here to live by default. I have felt more sense of freedom living in Arizona and it seems like there are far less restraints living in Mohave County. The cost of living here is generally less and you don’t have as many outside influences living in the desert. Even though, things are rapidly changing because of the sudden high influx of people leaving California and moving here. It still has that small town and tight knit community vibe.

DS: You operate a bicycle shop – Rad Stop. Why bicycles?

FC: I grew up on my bicycle and they have always been a passion of mine.

DS: Please tell us about the business? Is there a story behind the founding of the business?

FC: I  got my 4-year-old son involved in BMX racing as alternative to organized team sports. He took a liking to it immediately, he became very good at it, and when the local BMX track here in town opened, we had already been racing for a few years in nearby Lake Havasu. Parents at the newly opened track saw that my son was already advanced in the sport, and they started approaching me about helping them get their kid set up with the proper bicycle and equipment. After a few years of doing that, I realized that there was a need for a credible and reliable bicycle shop in the area. The rest is history, and I have been the longest and only operating shop here in my immediate area and within a 60-mile range for over a decade.

DS: Have there been fans of yours not aware that you run this business, come to the shop as customers and what has the reaction been if that has happened?

FC: Yes, it happens almost daily, and I have even had fans come through on vacation just to stop by, say hello, take photos and get an autograph.

DS: How often do you get out on a bicycle, and when did you learn? Do you remember your first bicycle and what kind was it? Banana seat, as was mine?

FC : I honestly do not ride a bicycle very much at all anymore for leisure or recreation. However, I test ride customer bicycles daily after repairing them. But I spend so much time working on them, that it’s the last thing I want to do on my limited spare time. My first real bicycle was a Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat and a stick shifter that I got at the age of 10.

DS: What went into opening this shop up and running it?

FC:  I opened my shop on a shoestring budget of one thousand dollars and a plan to set myself up with a backup plan to have something to fall back on after my musical career. I took on a job as a bicycle assembly technician for Kmart during some downtime with VGS and gained most of the knowledge from that, and a friend that was already in the business. I was running my shop via satellite while still actively touring with VGS and relying on others to help. It just never really got off the ground until I decided to leave the band in 2017 and pursue it fulltime by myself.

DS: Is there anything running a business has in common with leading a band.

FC: Yes, you must have leadership, management, and communicative skills to run any business. Being the leader and main negotiator for the band most certainly taught me how to be self-employed and take risks involved with being successful.

DS: You also ride motorcycles?

FC: Oh god yes!

DS: What is your main ride currently?

FC: I currently own 3 motorcycles. I had 5 up until just recently. But my favorite is my 2000 Kawasaki Ninja ZX750R sport bike.

DS: How often are you able to ride and do you take longer trips on it?

FC: I ride at least a few times a week, weather permitting. Which is pretty much year-round here where I live.

DS: Ride solo? How often in a group?

FC: I do ride solo occasionally, and that seems to be the most therapeutical. But I prefer to ride with a buddy for safety reasons, and no more than 2-3 people because group rides can be dangerous in my opinion.


DS: Please tell us anything you want to about family life and what you like to do when away from both music and the shop.

FC: Life is uneventful and slower paced nowadays. My bicycle business is a labor of love and a passion. I get pure enjoyment seeing people react when I can get their bicycles looking nice a working properly once again. As I mentioned before, I am recently remarried, and I am thoroughly enjoying being a family man again. I look forward to Sundays when we get together at my shop to rehearse and create new music with my friends in this new band.

DS: Does your son Cid play music or shown interest in performing?

FC: My son is a very talented independent hip hop artist. He’s a finance manager for FORD and that consumes most of his life and cannot pursue his music full time. But look him up! I have been to a couple of his local shows. El Cid or NTFB, on Spotify

DS: Cid is an advanced BMX rider. Were you a BMX rider at any point in your life?

FC: I grew up riding my BMX bike in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the sport was just getting started. I was fortunate to grow up in the same neighborhood and go to school with a lot of the early pros who went on to become legendary in the sport. My son is a natural and still races at the age of 24. He is a mentor at the local track and in my eyes a local BMX legend.

DS: Thank you.

FC: Thank you.


Hardyville Stranglers performance photos by Stoned Spider Photography LV. Other Frank Casillas performance photo by Dana Krashin as indicated. All other photos courtesy of Frank Casillas.

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DS Festival Review: Slam Dunk Festival (North)

In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so […]


In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so Tuesday night was my big night out, and Tuesday nights were Slam Dunk at The Cockpit. A solid mix of ska punk, pop punk, emo, rock, metal and whatever else alternative kids were listening to in the early 2000’s. 

So here I am, 21 years later. The Cockpit has long since shut down and whilst the Slam Dunk Club Night plays on at its new home, the Key Club, it’s the festival that I am at today. Now held across two cities with more than 50 bands, across five stages, things have really grown from that two room sweaty Tuesday night under a railway arch.

The lineup covers a wide range of punk and alternative music, but because I’m old and stuck in my ways, I’m mostly staying at the Dickies stage, which is the main stage this year, hosting The Suicide Machines, The Bronx, Hot Water Music, The Vandals, Streetlight Manifesto, Pennywise, The Interrupters, The Dropkick Murphy’s and headliners Sum 41. 

I’d originally bought tickets on the basis that Rancid were headlining, but they pulled out for undisclosed reasons. Then support from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones collapsed along with the band. Things were looking bleak, and I actually looked into selling my ticket, only to have two of my close friends and original Slam Dunk allies to buy tickets, so it was to be a big day out for us old guys.

The venue for the festival is Temple Newsam House. For further personal historic links, this was the site of the first music festival I ever went to (V98), and a big part of my musical taste was formed in these park lands. The benefit of this location for me is that it is close to home, the downside is that it still takes an hour and a half to get in, as traffic is not well managed and everything is already getting expensive (£10 to park in a field, £10 for a bus), I’d planned to ride my bike to the event, but for three of us, that didn’t make much sense.

Inside the arena, the stages are far enough apart that there is little noise mix from bands and practicalities like bars, toilets and food concessions are plentiful, the addition of a separate “real ale” bar was a pleasant surprise, and I managed to spend an impressive amount in this tent after and before every band. The tent also provides some welcome shade from the unexpected sun that I was totally unprepared for!

So, on to the music…

Hot Water Music, a band that I’ve discovered backwards through Chuck Ragan’s solo work, come out impassioned and full of energy, although the crowd are a little flat with it being an early set. Despite this we get a solid effort from the band, though possibly things are held back a little by a lack of catchy hooks and sing along choruses in the songs performed. Finishing with “Trusty Chords” gets the crowd interested from hearing a song they know. Whether they know the song from Epitaph‘s Punk-o-Rama compilation, or it’s just a favourite is hard to say, but in a pre-internet world, compilations from Independent punk labels are how a lot of us discovered new bands, especially those that didn’t tour the small northern venues like the Cockpit!

A quick trip to the bar revealed the sound of Punk Rock Factory carrying on the wind from the Rock Sound Stage. I was familiar with the band from their Youtube videos of punked up, harmonized pop covers, and as a father of small children, I found myself singing along to “Let It Go”, whilst appropriately stood at a urinal. If I have to play Disney songs on long journeys, then at least they can have crushing guitars as well, and hopefully, like some kind of gateway drug, this leads my kids down the path of home made tattoos and living in a van (or some other punk cliché).

The Vandals took to the stage with a not too reassuring “We’ll do our best”, and whilst I appreciate their honesty and openness, first song “Café 405”, is out of time and out of tune. 

Three songs in, things are starting to tighten up, “People That Are Going To Hell” gets people moving a little, but on the whole, the crowd remain static. “And Now We Dance” raises the energy, “The New You” keeps it going, but there’s just not enough there to hold the attention of the majority of the crowd. My friends desert me to hit the real ale bar, I hate myself for giving up on the mighty Vandals, but cold beer and the Cancer Bats on the Jagermeister stage lure me away. I’m not massively familiar with the Cancer Bats, but the wall of noise, that I could feel through the ground and see vibrating through my pint has led me to listen to more of their back catalogue.

I had a dream the night before Slam Dunk that I took all my family to see Streetlight Manifesto, but instead of their usual set list, they played a really challenging, four hour Jazz set, stopping only to enjoy a sit down meal, where they served soup from tea pots. I was trying desperately to convince my family that really, they’re a great band, whilst simultaneously enjoying the weird spectacle. 

Fortunately, there’s no Jazz today as Streetlight Manifesto, a later addition to the bill, take to the stage. There’s a clear sense of excitement in the crowd as the eight piece tear through classic hits “We Will Fall Together” and “The Three Of Us” along with lesser known tracks with a level of energy normally reserved for headline shows. The crowd sings along, dances, moshes; it’s a perfect blend of everything you want on a summers day. The only slight letdown is Tomas Kalnoky shouting “this is the big finish!” and then promptly not playing “Keasbey Nights.” I get the reasons, and I support them in letting go of a song that doesn’t really represent the band, but for many in the crowd it’s the song they came to hear and there’s visible confusion as the band leave the stage, though encores aren’t really a thing at 16:30 on a festival stage are they?

I last saw Pennywise in 1999. So its been a while. Late last year I read Jim Lindberg’s book “Punk Rock Dad,” which renewed my interest in the band, so I’m excited to see this set, and if the number of Pennywise T-shirts I’m seeing are anything to go by, so are the crowd.

From the get go, the band are on full attack. There’s no sign of age in the band and the crowd are loving it. Covers of AC/DC’s “TNT” and “Breed” by Nirvana continues the energy. Early songs “Pennywise” and “Society” lead to Lindberg lamenting to having been “doing this for thirty years,” but it’s not slowing them down. 

The crowd holds middle fingers aloft for “Fuck Authority,” and whilst it feels cheesy, a load of middle aged men swearing at the sky, its kind of cathartic, and hey, it’s a great song! Who doesn’t enjoy feeling like an angry teenager (teenagers maybe?).

A cover of “Stand By Me,” which closed 1992 album Wild Card/ A Word From The ‘Wise surprised me, as I was certain it was Lagwagon, so I learned something important today if nothing else. 

Set closer “Bro-Hymn” has exactly the effect you’d expect. Huge “wooahs” from the crowd, that epic bass riff and impassioned singing along. Obviously it’s a great song, but I think it hits harder now, after the last few years and I think everyone can take some strength from this song and apply it to someone they’ve lost.

The Interrupters carry a strange position in my mind. I love their songs, they’re great live, but there’s just something not quite right. Something doesn’t sit right with me, and I hate myself for being so negative, but its all a bit too clean cut for me. Like it’s the soundtrack to Disney film where some hopelessly good looking, talented young people form a ska punk band and take over the world with a weird crusty mentor behind them (Called Tim?).

Opener “Take Back the Power” feels stronger than normal. Maybe its that they’re more established, or maybe my cynicism is fading? Either way I enjoy it for what it is, well polished, perfectly-performed ska pop-punk. 

Ignoring a weird segue about how they all used to bathe together… “She got arrested” gets a great crowd sing along, and is probably my favourite of their songs, not least as it was my introduction to the band back in 2017 and a great example of the quality story telling in the lyrics of some of their songs.

A cover medley of “Keep ‘Em Separated”/ “Linoleum”/ “Ruby Soho” gets the crowd going before surprise high point for me, a cover of Bad Religion‘s “Sorrow,” which goes down well with the crowd (For reference Bad Religion played Slam Dunk in 2019, as did the Interrupters).

The band finishes with “She’s Kerosene,” keeping the party going, the crowd moving and generally capturing the moment nicely. People are drunk, its sunny, the people want to dance and the Interrupters deliver.

The Dropkick Murphys take to a stage with a full length riser, done out to look like a stone wall, but there is a notable absence. Al Barr, it is announced, has stayed home to care for his sick mother. Ken Casey steps up for lead vocal duties and the evening begins with the sound of bagpipes on the cool evening breeze. 

“State of Massachusetts” gets the kind of crowd reaction you’d expect from a classic pop hit or a song about Yorkshire, such passion for such a challenging subject is strange, but hey, it’s a great song and the drunk, bouncy, dancey crowd are loving it.

“Barroom Hero” is introduced as the first song the band ever wrote, which is a bit of trivia I didn’t know, but I remember it from way back in the 90s, so I guess that makes sense. The crowd offer weak “Oi! Oi! Oi!” effort which is a disappointment, maybe the crowd aren’t as au fait with shouting Oi! as I’d like? Though I accept my drive to shout “Oi!” is probably higher than most.

The slip up begins with the instruction to sing along to the 1937 hit “I’ve Still Got Ninety-Nine” by the Monroe Brothers, which although an undeniably good song, probably isn’t too familiar to the crowd today. On the upside, we’re promised an acoustic album in September, which is one to look out for. Whether it’s new material or reimagined classics has not been confirmed, but hopefully there will be an associated tour.

“Rose Tattoo” brings the sing along from the crowd, but lacks the momentum to get the crowd moving. This is exacerbated by the big screen showing bored, static faces in the crowd for the first time. Fortunately, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” brings the party back before the end of the set. I’ve never seen such passion for a missing wooden leg, as the crowd goes nuts, with crowd surfers from all directions riding above the waves of the crowd. All parties appear to have legs intact, so that’s good.

Headliners Sum-41 were a bit of a quandary for me. The first album was an important soundtrack to my late teens/ early 20s and I saw them play in Leeds twice in 2002, but I haven’t listened to their music since Does This Look Infected from the same year.

A bit of pre-show research suggested they have had seven further releases, including 2019s Order In Decline, but in the spirit of openness, I’ve not felt inspired to check these out.

The band come out to a stage with blood-soaked Marshall speaker cabinets, a giant skull, jets of fire and “Motivation” from the first album, All Killer, No Filler. More people than I expected are really into it, though competition with Deaf Havana and the Nova Twins is limited and the other stages have closed.

The stage is set for a night of big rock and I’d like to say I invested more effort into rediscovering Sum 41, but too much sun, too much beer and a designated driver who wanted to beat the traffic meant we made an early exit.

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DS Interview: 75% of the Brokedowns on their Highly Anticipated 6th Full-Length, due out Jan. 20th on Red Scare

Sometimes referred to as Chicago’s best kept secret and other times called the funniest band on Red Scare, for all of us not currently living in Chicago, we know them simply as The Brokedowns. After officially closing the book on 2022 on a high note with a live show during the late hours of December […]

Sometimes referred to as Chicago’s best kept secret and other times called the funniest band on Red Scare, for all of us not currently living in Chicago, we know them simply as The Brokedowns. After officially closing the book on 2022 on a high note with a live show during the late hours of December 31, they claimed the honor of the last band of 2022 at Reggie’s Rock Club and rang in the New Year in style. Their 2023 is started off on an even higher note, however, with the release of the quartet’s 6th studio album titled “Maximum Khaki”, the band’s fourth release on Chicago label Red Scare.

Out of the gates, the group’s first single “Obey the Fumes” damn near knocks your fuckin’ teeth in. Lead guitarist Kris Megyery kicks the song off with a killer, in-your-face opening riff that sets an excellent tone for the next thirteen tracks of this quick, humorous, thought-provoking punk masterpiece.

In my opinion, this record is what a punk record should be. The songs are fast, both in tempo and duration, with only one track breaking the three-minute threshold (and even that comes in at an even three minutes). The release comes equipped with intriguing, chuckle-inducing song titles that, upon questioning with the band, have both deep and sincere subject matters. After listening from beginning to end and finding myself starting over, I fully understand the pride that these guys hold in their finished product.

“There’s nothing I really regret on [the record],” said Megyery. “At this point I’m usually like ‘Fuck it’s coming out in a few days, this sucks.’ But not with this one, that’s a good feeling to have.”

Keep scrolling for all kinds of cool stuff: music videos for “Obey the Fumes” (which coincidentally was done over a Zoom call as well) and “Samurai Sword Decontrol”, info for their record release show January 28th at the Burlington in Chicago, and the full Q&A with Eric, Kris and Mustafa. Cheers!

Header Photo by Meredith Goldberg

(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sake because a good chunk of this interview was just four guys shooting the shit.)

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): So first off, congrats on the new record. I know it’s not technically out yet as of this intervew, but I’ve listened to it several times and I love it guys. How long has this been in the works, I know your last release 2018?

Kris Megyery (KM): Yeah I think we started recording in February but we did the bass tracking March 7th 2020. So pretty much we started recording right before the pandemic and then we finished it up like last summer.

So you started recording back in 2020, but are these songs a lot older than that?

Mustafa Daka (MD): I remember, Kris, we recorded for like a split or something and you were like hey while we are at it, let’s just like demo all these songs you had just shown us, so like there’s a kind of a real rough recording of all those songs like a year earlier so like 2019?

KM: Right yeah it was that Copyrights cover song for the Red Scare comp. And my idea was to try to record a whole album that we’ve never practiced once and I thought it would go awesome *laughs*. And we did, we recorded that Copyrights song and then we just like live recorded the whole album and I remember during the session being like ‘holy shit this is gonna work’, like we just did the whole album in like a couple hours. And then we got home and listened to it and we were like ‘oh this is a turkey’. *laughs* So we went back like a year later to perfect them.

So I always like to ask this with new releases, did you just kind of collect these songs over time after your last release or was it like ‘alright let’s write another record’ and you just sat down wrote songs and recorded?

KM: Yeah the way we operate as a band for at least the last 10 years since I’ve had kids is pretty much just like whoever writes a song, like me or John, we make demos with the song and then everyone kind of learns it from the demo, like we don’t “get in the lab” *laughs* or spend tons of time. Like this shit all goes really fast because it has to. So it wasn’t over time and we never do that over time. Usually like we don’t even think about recording anything until we have a chunk of songs. There’s never like we’re just knocking around one song like normal bands do. Normal bands are like ‘hey let’s work on this one song and it slowly grows’, where us it’s like we binge it all man*laughs*.

MD: I will say, it’s been funny that Kris, since you’ve had kids, you are real quick to just hit us with like a bunch of demos and some of it’s like a Casio drum kit and everything or sometimes it’s just like the drums that he’s got laying around that he micd up. But you’ll hear his kids all over it, so I think it’s awesome. Where you have kids that might kind of get in the way of your being able to write and record demos, Kris kind of just combines those two times together so it’s like ‘well I’m gonna hang out with these kids, they may as well get involved’ *laughs*.

KM: Where a normal person would be parenting, I’m demoing *laughs*.  

So does this record kind of have a theme, I know like with your last release you tackle like some of the thrills of living in the Midwest. Does this have any kind of main theme or does each song kind of have a different theme?

KM: Well a lot of our songs are like political in nature I guess. The last one was actually a lot more personal songs about like growing up and shit, and a lot of like bummer songs. The year we wrote that album like we had a bunch of people close to us die in like one short period of time, so that’s a bummer record for me. But this one is definitely more about just the cultural nightmare we’re all going through, living in our country and you know all that stuff, all that groovy shit.

Where’s the name of the record come from, Maximum Khaki?

KM: So the word khaki, I kept using as this like reference to just like the banality of evil, like bland evil, not referencing like the soldiers, but referencing the accountants who are making the atrocities happen. And when I would write a song I would have the word khaki written in there. It probably started from that Charlottesville rally you know where everyone was wearing khakis, probably stemmed from that. I think John brought it up, he’s like ‘there are like 6 songs where you mentioned khaki’. So khaki was used as a reference to just like bland cruelty. And we were going to call the record “Khaki Majesty” and right before we started making artwork for it the Slow Death from Minneapolis who we’re friends with announced their new album “Casual Majesty”.

MD: I think I told those dudes, I was like ‘you know we’ve got an album coming out called “khaki majesty”, but yeah not anymore’.

KM: I didn’t blame them or anything, but they definitely heard from our attorneys *laughs*.

MD: Yeah I don’t talk to those guys anymore *laughs*.

I know your artwork for the album always comes into question, what drew you to Ryan Duggan for this record cover?

KM: We love him. He did the album “Species Bender” and we love that record cover of ours. And we’ve always loved everything he does and he does with his artwork what I think we’re trying to do as a band, which is like be funny but not be overtly funny; be kind of very subtly funny. And he probably doesn’t want to be connected to us that way *laughs* But it just always makes me smile, always makes me giggle and always makes me think in a nonlinear way, so kind of a no brainer [to go with him]. He’s always been like doing posters and stuff like that around Chicago, and in the last 10-15 years he’s really developed a reputation. He’s got a really unique style.

So starting with “Obey the Fumes” that’s a kickass opener, that’s an awesome opener you guys put out. Walk me through kind of the meaning behind that because I know you said it was about breaking bad habits in one of the press releases, but can you dive in a little bit deeper maybe?

KM: Yeah, initially, like in my head what I see is like an 80s beer commercial where you’re working in a factory, you wipe your brow, you crack open a cool Coors. But in our like dystopian hellscape that we live in, it’s like glue. So you go to your job, and in this case the protagonist of this song goes to a job where he gets skull-fucked by demons every day, and he just wants to crack open a nice thing of glue and fuckin’ cut loose. But that’s the funny version, but it’s like about trying to break bad habits, specifically drinking, like negative drinking habits in a culture where it’s everywhere.

That was actually one of my favorite tracks off the record, do each of you guys have any favorites you’re excited for people to hear once it’s released on Friday?

MD: I love our samurai sword song, that’s probably one of my favorites and I think is the only song that I used to click track on for that whole album.

Eric Grossman (EG): I like that song yeah. “Cinnamon Kings” is probably a highlight for me.

KM: Yeah that song “Cinnamon King” is like our favorite probably. It’s only like 15 seconds long, but so much fun to play. Been playing it live for like three years, we love that one. I like it all, I think it all kind of moves really fast, it’s super short, it’s like our shortest record. It moves along pretty quick, there’s nothing I really regret on it and at this point I’m usually like ‘Fuck it’s coming out in a few days, this sucks’. But not with this one, that’s a good feeling to have.

Yeah I know guys that regret releases they put out because they do it in such a short amount of time, so I mean that’s a good feeling to have.

KM: I wanna warn the listeners, I may be wrong. You might hate this *laughs*, don’t take my word for it, I’m too closely attached to it to have a unbiased opinion.

So I gotta ask you then, some of these other titles are very intriguing. “Honk if You’re Horny” *laughs*?

KM: *laughs* Yeah real subtle.

Tell me about “Osama Van Halen.”

MD: It sounds funny to hear.

KM: It’s a real bummer, but it’s funny. But I was thinking about just like how you know Eddie Van Halen was an innovator, in a very creative way, but like Osama Bin Laden was also an innovator you know what I mean *laughs*, just in a different way. So like the chorus is about like a 4 minute mile because it took forever for people to run it, but once people ran a 4 minute mile like everybody was doing it. So once Eddie Van Halen fuckin’ busted out a power drill every jack off with a power drill could do that. But once someone does whatever fuckin’ atrocities in the newspaper every week, once you see that it makes it that much easier for the next dildo to do that.

That’s actually really cool, I wasn’t sure which direction you were gonna go with that *laughs*. So this is your 4th release over at Red Scare, I take it you’ve had a pretty good experience over there with Toby?

KM: Definitely yeah! Yeah he’s great.

MD: He sends me hoodies and shirts sometimes, and pens, it’s awesome.

EG: Lots of swag. Moose has to pay for them but he gets them *laughs*. When Moose orders it, he gets it.

MD: Sometimes I get $0.69 off and sometimes I get $4.20 off *laughs*.

So from what I’ve seen, the Chicago and Chicago suburbs, the whole scene is flourishing, makes me jealous down here because it just seems like you guys have stuff going on every night. What are some local bands that you guys want to name drop as influences or just bands you’re into?

MD: Wig, I love Wig. I love Permanent Residue, they’re fantastic. Salvation, of course Meat Wave is one of my favorite all time bands. Lollygagger‘s a great band, shit I could keep going. Oh, Avantist.

KM: I’m listening to that Stress Positions EP over and over again for the last couple weeks that’s fuckin’ kicking my head in. Obviously Meat Wave, all the bands Moose said, Wig. Yeah there’s a lot of good shit, there’s always good shit it’s the third largest city in America. Where are you at?

I’m down in Nashville.

KM: Oh yeah that’s not a place known for music *laughs*.

Speaking of locals, Deanna Belos, in “Corndog Sonnet” she named you guys. So when are you guys gonna the line “listen to Sincere Engineer” in one of your songs *laughs*.
MD: I don’t write lyrics

KM: It’s hard to work that in, I’ll figure it out. It’s a little lengthy. It’ll probably be in a super offensive song title, she’ll be like ‘hey thanks but no thanks’ *laughs*.

What about outside of Chicago, what kind of influences do you guys have?

KM: Well the obvious answer, everyone compares us to, collectively we all love Dillinger 4. That was like a huge influence for us. Fugazi’s like my favorite band of all time, that’s creeps in there a lot you know.

MD: Toys That Kill

That’s actually the one that you guys reminded me of on this last record, it’s actually in my notes for the interview *laughs*.

MD: I will absolutely rip off Toys That Kill. Jimmy will send me a text message for like whatever we put out and be like ‘oh I heard it’s great’ and I’ll be like ‘listen to this song, that’s the song I totally ripped you off’ *laughs*. I always am like thinking of Toys That Kill whenever I’m playing somehow, I just love love love those guys and I love their drums.

So your album release is on the 28th, where are you guys playing that?

EG: That’s at the Burlington, which is also pretty close to Moose.

MD: I like it because it’s pretty close to the practice spot so it’s like you just gotta pick up the gear, drive just a few blocks and go right back.

KM: Moose’s love for venues are all based on geography *laughs*.

You’re playing with Chinese Telephones, Dangerous Chairs and Permanent Residue, have you guys played with all those guys before?

KM: Chinese Telephones we haven’t played with in at least 10-12 years. And the other two bands we’ve never played with, but we’re friends with all of them. We wanted to play with bands we haven’t played with in at least a decade or never, but they’re all great super great and I’m super excited for all of them. I love them all.

What about your guy’s strict touring schedule? In one of your interviews you said out of town shows 3 a year, do you have those three out of town dates booked up yet or what’s the plan?

KM: There’s a bidding war going on, it’s like when a city hosts the Olympics because when we come to a town it brings a lot to the local economy *laughs*, the dispensaries.

MD: No we haven’t booked anything yet out of town, but we’re gonna definitely play a lot more this year hopefully. We might do as many as four shows out of town *laughs*.

EG: Yeah maybe. We’re talking about maybe.

So when did you guys form, I’ve seen a few different dates, but I’ve come up with 2002?

EG: What you define as the band as it is today was 2002 yeah. John and I have been playing together for a really long time, way before that probably ‘96 or ’97, somewhere around there. I mean we weren’t really serious about it and the band that you see today was 2002. I think that was when we first played with you Moose, right?

MD: Right, I used to watch you guys from like ‘96 and then in 2002 is when I joined the band, holy shit *laughs*.

KM: Yeah we should have changed our name when Moose joined because I feel like it all became kind of different.

MD: But I saw the first Brokedowns show, I wasn’t in the band but I think John was fourteen I was 18

EG: Yeah I think I had just joined the band at that point. I don’t know if I even played that one maybe I wasn’t in yet.

KM: But John was like a fuckin’ 7th grader *laughs*.

MD: I have a DVD that my friend’s uncle sent me and it has the Brokedowns playing like before you and I were in the band Kris. I think it was Taylors last show in the band. Kris and I weren’t even in the band at the time, Eric was but …

KM: Today those are referred to as the who gives a shit years *laughs*.

I’ve talked to a lot of guys who have either quit music or stopped for an extended period of time after doing it for so long, and I mean you guys have been at this for a while and I mean, based on the new record, it doesn’t seem like you guys are slowing down. What’s kept you guys going?

KM: We’re all very close friends and we don’t do much and even when like we were young, the band was never like the top priority. And because it’s never been the top priority, we’ve never had to like really sacrifice. It’s created a very low pressure situation you know.

MD: I always said it was like fishing buddies, but we play music together instead. It’s like when we lived together, sometimes our Fridays are Saturdays would be just going into like Kris’s garage or whatever and just playing for hours, get drunk in the process and sweat it out right.

KM: It’s just as simple as like if someone doesn’t want to do something, we don’t do it. And then the three people that did wanna do it just quietly resent them behind their back *laughs* and we vent to each other about how terrible that person.

MD: It’s always Kris, we always hate Kris.

KM: That’s funny because I always hate you *laughs*.

MD: Oh shit that’s so funny because I hate you even *laughs*.

KM: Honestly though, 21 years, like the band is old enough to legally drink now and I can’t think of an actual fight, like a single one.

EG: I don’t think so, no.

MD: Maybe something I did, probably. If we fought, it had to have been about something I wanted to do or didn’t wanna do.

KM: I love that false modesty there *laughs*.

So you guys have been referred to as the funniest guys on red scare, who’s second, who’s coming for your title right now? I saw Sam Russo a few months ago and that dude was pretty funny.

KM: Wow. We would never say we’re the funniest. Brendan Kelly is obviously insanely funny. The Copyrights are really funny, they’re super funny.

MD: Like personally those guys are funny as hell.

KM: They refer to movies as Kilmers and books as Grishams; every book’s a Grisham and every movie’s a Kilmer, that’s a good bit *laughs*. I love that bit.

Okay, last question here. I know the record’s not even out yet, but do you guys have any other upcoming plans far future maybe? I know you’re kind of known for doing splits, do you have any of those planned for the coming future?

EG: Not really, we don’t have anything planned. Got a bunch of stuff demoed.

MD: I was gonna say Kris already sent us demos for whatever we’re gonna do next, it’s probably gonna be a split.

Any bands that come to mind for doing splits?

KM: We were supposed to do one with Canadian Rifle actually, so probably them. But they recorded their songs and we never recorded ours *laughs*. So we blew that one. But there was a pandemic, in case you didn’t notice *laughs*.

Well that about wraps everything up, I really appreciate you guys taking some time and sitting down with me. Once again, congrats on the new record and good luck with the album release on the 28th.

 

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