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Bottles To The Ground

Bands:  Codefendants, Doom Scroll, Melvinator

Mike and Erin from Fat Wreck Chords launched a new imprint would like to announce a new imprint on Fat Wreck Chords. It’s called Bottles to the Ground (BTTG) and it is a label curated and owned mostly by Mike and all the members of NOFX.

BTTG will be featuring mostly artists that are not Fat sounding bands. It will also feature bands and projects that members of NOFX are involved with such as Codefendents, Melvinator, Home Street Home, and Fat Mike Gets Strung Out… There will be a 12 song comp coming out early next year featuring all the new bands.

Bridge The Gap – “Up”

Up - Bridge The Gap

Release Date: March 16, 2023 Record Label: People of Punk Rock Records Release Type: SingleBandcamp Link: Listen on Bandcamp

Skate punk newcomers Bridge The Gap have premiered one final single from their debut album Secret Kombinations. The new song “Up” has an awesome No Use For A Name / Strung Out kinda feel. Check it out below and stay tuned for our review of Secret Kombinations. The album was recorded with Bill Stevenson at The Blasting Room and releases March 24th on People of Punk Rock Records.

Upcoming Releases

Clowns 10-20-2023
Rick Barton 11-17-2023
“Nowhere Man”
Skinny Lister 10-20-2023
“Shanty Punk”

DS Band Spotlight: Introducing Canadian skate punks Colorsfade

Canadian skate punk band Colorsfade caught my eye (or ear, I guess) with their 2018 debut album In Real Time, delivering riffy, metallic skate punk in the vein of bands like This Is A Standoff, Strung Out and Much The Same. When I found out these Quebecers had a new album on the way in […]

Canadian skate punk band Colorsfade caught my eye (or ear, I guess) with their 2018 debut album In Real Time, delivering riffy, metallic skate punk in the vein of bands like This Is A Standoff, Strung Out and Much The Same. When I found out these Quebecers had a new album on the way in 2023, I quickly penciled it in as one of my most anticipated releases of the year.

Built From The Wreckage is due out January 30th on People of Punk Rock Records, and if the killer singles they’ve released so far are any indication, I don’t think we’re in for a sophomore slump. Check ’em out below and head over here to pre-order the record.

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DS Exclusive: Colombian skate punks One Reason To Rise unleash new song from upcoming “City Lights” EP

Listen up, skate punk fans! Bogota, Colombia’s One Reason To Rise have a new EP called City Lights coming soon and we’re bringing you the exclusive premiere of their brand new single. The eponymous “One Reason To Rise” is an absolute banger that’s sure to please fans of fast, melodic punk – Satanic Surfers, Millencolin, Cigar, […]

Listen up, skate punk fans! Bogota, Colombia’s One Reason To Rise have a new EP called City Lights coming soon and we’re bringing you the exclusive premiere of their brand new single. The eponymous “One Reason To Rise” is an absolute banger that’s sure to please fans of fast, melodic punk – Satanic Surfers, Millencolin, Cigar, etc. Check it out below!

Catch up on One Reason To Rise’s back catalog on Bandcamp and stay tuned for their new EP City Lights, coming October 27th.

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DS Exclusive: Jason Cruz and Howl debut new video, “Good Hands,” from upcoming album, “Wolves”

I’m pretty excited about this one, gang. Jason Cruz and Howl are about to release their very long-awaited sophomore album, Wolves! The Strung Out frontman’s outlaw folk project are slated to release the record this spring on a new label known as Liars Club, a collaboration founded by the inimitable Amigo the Devil and indie […]

I’m pretty excited about this one, gang. Jason Cruz and Howl are about to release their very long-awaited sophomore album, Wolves! The Strung Out frontman’s outlaw folk project are slated to release the record this spring on a new label known as Liars Club, a collaboration founded by the inimitable Amigo the Devil and indie powerhouse Regime Music Group. Wolves will serve as the follow-up to the band’s debut record, Good Man’s Ruin, which somehow came out nine years ago (and has been in constant rotation in yours truly’s collection ever since).

What’s even better is that we get to debut the video for the lead single, “Good Hands”! Here’s what the band’s frontman, the one-and-only Jason Cruz, had to say about the track.

This track is definitely the most ‘polished’ song on the album. I actually threw it in the trash at one point, because I had re-wrote and tweaked it so many times. Eventually it turned out to be one of the best songs on the record.

Astute viewers will notice that Howl features a retooled lineup that now includes Cruz supported by Chad Kulengoky on lead guitar, Jason Nielson on bass and Kris Comeaux on drums. Here’s what Cruz had to say about the new record:

This record was born of loss. Before the pandemic, I had lost my best friend and bass player, Chris Stein, to cancer. It took me years to start writing a new Howl record again. This new record is a reflection of me not being afraid anymore. I’ve always tried to be that way when it comes to art and music, but with Wolves I felt more free than I ever had before and just embraced it. This album is a reminder nothing ever really dies; it just turns to something else. Sometimes pain can help fuel you creatively, and in turn, guide you out of the darkness. Wolves is a record of healing, taking chances, and a new beginning.

Check out the video for “Good Hands” below, and after you’ve given it a few spins with the volume way up, check out pre-order options here.

You can also stream the Liars Club reissue of Good Man’s Ruin down below if the spirit moves you (as well it should)!

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DS Exclusive: Watch the Venomous Pinks’ new “Hold On” music video ft. Jason Cruz from Strung Out

The Venomous Pinks are back with another music video from their debut album Vita Mors, out now on SBÄM Records. Dying Scene is pleased to bring you this exclusive premiere of the band’s new video for “Hold On”, starring Jason Cruz from Strung Out! Check it out below. The song and accompanying video’s storyline follows […]

The Venomous Pinks are back with another music video from their debut album Vita Mors, out now on SBÄM Records. Dying Scene is pleased to bring you this exclusive premiere of the band’s new video for “Hold On”, starring Jason Cruz from Strung Out! Check it out below.

The song and accompanying video’s storyline follows vocalist and guitarist Drea Doll, unlocking a core childhood memory of an argument between parents. Here’s what she had to say about the songwriting process and filming experience on set:

“Hold On” was always a personal reminder that no matter what you go through, things can get better. The message of the video hits close to home for us. I experienced a similar situation growing up so going through the filming process was very therapeutic and healing for me. To everyone who struggles with suicidal thoughts or has a broken home, you are strong and brave and things will get better.”

“This video really cuts deep. Growing up and witnessing my parents go through a similar experience, and seeing my mom crying you can only do so much as a child. I hope this video can relate to others who come from broken homes Just know that you are not broken. Always give a hug because you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors,” bassist Gaby Kaos adds.

The music video’s arrival coincides with SBÄM Records’ involvement in the Band Fussball Cup, a band-celebrity soccer cup where donations are collected for women’s shelters. The event, taking place this Sunday September 17th in Vienna, Austria, also helps raise awareness about preventing violence against women and children. Go here for more info.

“The video, “Hold On”, was filmed on March 19, 2023 before The Venomous Pinks’ tour with the Bouncing Souls and Anti Flag. During filming, I wore an Anti Flag shirt that was printed by my best friend and bandmates’ printing company, Kaos Merch. The decision to wear this particular shirt was to give a shout out to her business, while also promoting a band whose morals I believed at the time aligned with my own. As a woman, I stand and believe the survivors that were impacted by Justin Sane’s horrific acts. While we were on tour with Anti Flag we did not witness any sexual wrongdoing whatsoever, but as a fellow SA survivor, I will not support anyone who has victimized another person. We didn’t know what we know now. We could have requested to edit the video so the shirt is no longer visible. However, we felt it would be dishonest and disloyal to those who were impacted. That does not align to who we are as individuals and collectively as a band. The foundation of the Venomous Pinks has and will always be built on honesty, transparency, and validity. In that spirit, we present the video as it was originally filmed. We apologize if any of our actions have hurt anyone in the process. Our hearts go out to all survivors. As a band we are so proud of those who have come forward to speak their truth.” – Drea Doll 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault please contact the National Sexual Assult Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit

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DS Gallery: Flogging Molly, Anti Flag, Skinny Lister at The Ryman in Nashville, TN 2.8.23

We’ve got a special one for you today as Flogging Molly, Anti Flag and Skinny Lister had the rafters and church pews shaking at the legendary Ryman Auditorium for what was easily my favorite show ever to shoot. I don’t know what’s spurred the sudden change, but as of recently The Ryman, Nashville’s famed music […]

We’ve got a special one for you today as Flogging Molly, Anti Flag and Skinny Lister had the rafters and church pews shaking at the legendary Ryman Auditorium for what was easily my favorite show ever to shoot.

I don’t know what’s spurred the sudden change, but as of recently The Ryman, Nashville’s famed music venue known as “the mother church of country music”, has began booking acts that cater more towards fans of rock’n’roll, and even ones that would tempt us punk fans to pay the landmark a visit. Although there have been non-country acts to grace the stage in the past (most notably Foo Fighters in 2014 and the Wu Tang Clan in 2019), punk and metal performances at the former church are becoming more and more common. Last year saw performances from Anthrax, Dropkick Murphys and Mastodon, among many others (I was also ecstatic to see the recent announcement that The Gaslight Anthem in May would be my next trip to the Ryman). This show made for the perfect opportunity to check off a photography bucket list item of mine, while simultaneously snagging some great shots of two bands I had yet to see live and another that’s grown to become one of my favorites.

My first encounter with Skinny Lister was a great one. They displayed a perfect fusion of Irish folk and punk that did well in warming up the restlessly awaiting crowd. Their energy and charisma were very impressive, and although I had listened to them in the past, having them as an opener did put me in a Skinny Lister listening mood for about a week after.

Additionally, Scott Milsom’s handling of the standup bass could be considered an art form in and of itself.

Anti Flag performed what I consider to be the best (if not the only) medley of classic punk tunes the Ryman has ever hosted. Labeled on the setlist as “Punk Shit Medley”, it was not shitty in the least as brief snippets were strung together of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash, “God Save the Queen” by Sex Pistols and “Fall Back Down” by Rancid, among several others.

These guys have grown to become a live favorite of mine. After being reunited down at Fest for a shortened 30-minute set, I was left with a hunger for more, a craving that was thankfully fulfilled just a few short months later with a killer full-length performance at one of the most unique venues they’ve played.

Flogging Molly was the act that I had been dying to see. It’s always seemed that you either prefer Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly, one or the other. I’ve always had a distinct love for both, but tended towards DKM only because of the ample opportunities I’ve had to catch them live. Well it seems the playing field has been leveled now that both Irish punk heavyweights have performed at the former home of the Grand Ol Opry. I’m glad to have finally had the chance to witness their mastery at work in a venue that, on the surface may have seemed unfitting, but deep down was more fitting then ever.

Their badass brand of punk mixed with a more traditional Irish side was complimented by the historic atmosphere that has housed seemingly all of country’s biggest stars.

It would be the understatement of my photography career to merely say that this was a fun one. I had the time of my life shooting this show, although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was about to shit myself before the show in nervous anticipation. Luckily everything went according to plan, so feel free to keep scrolling for the complete gallery. As always, your support for the site is greatly appreciated. Cheers!

Skinny Lister

Anti Flag

Flogging Molly

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DS Interview: Fire Sale’s Matt Riddle & Chris Swinney on Band Chemistry, Recording During the Pandemic & a Whole Lot More

Fire Sale can serve as the very definition for the term ‘supergroup’. Matt Riddle has cemented himself as a household name among even novice punk fans thanks to being a founding member of Face to Face, as well as playing with No Use for a Name, Implants, Pulley and 22 Jacks. Chris Swinney most notably […]

Fire Sale can serve as the very definition for the term ‘supergroup’. Matt Riddle has cemented himself as a household name among even novice punk fans thanks to being a founding member of Face to Face, as well as playing with No Use for a Name, Implants, Pulley and 22 Jacks. Chris Swinney most notably played guitar in The Ataris for close to 3 years, but also formed a band I happened across years ago called Chronic Chaos. Lead singer Pedro Aida (who as of writing this is on tour in Europe with Nathan Gray and the Iron Roses) currently plays with Ann Beretta and formerly played with Fun Size. And drummer Matt Morris has become well-known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for his time playing with Darlington and Weaver Street. Not to mention cover art was done by Mark DeSalvo (NOFX‘s Heavy Petting Zoo, NUFAN’s Making Friends, Lagwagon’s Let’s Talk About Feelings, etc.) and recording was done at The Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. So basically, that extremely lengthy and unnecessarily long opening paragraph was all to emphasize the lengthy resumes these guys have built and just how much talent this band has.

And although, Swinney and Riddle are all for embracing the ‘supergroup’ title, as we later discuss, I think these guys have something that most groups, no matter members’ past resumes, struggle to find. These guys have a unique chemistry and one-of-a-kind sound that makes me ecstatic as to where these guys are headed.

In talking with Swinney and Riddle, it quickly emerged to me how complementary each member was to the other three during the songwriting process. Swinney and Riddle each brought they’re own brands of songwriting expertise, Swinney with a very technical grasp on songwriting and performing through going to school for music theory, while Riddle described having a more sloppy, punk rock-esque playing and writing style. Then add in the more pop-punk influenced Aida who writes perfectly melodic vocals, and Morris whose able to tie everything in with his hard-hitting yet perfectly executed percussion, and you have a band that should be given far more thought and consideration than the shallow term ‘supergroup’ often entails.

After talking with these guys, I can’t wait to hear what releases and show announcements come next (hint: we talk about that). It was an absolute pleasure talking to two guys who were members of bands that significantly shaped my childhood. Check out their newest EP A Fool’s Errand and keep up with these guys for soon-to-be-announced show dates and more new music.

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

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): I really appreciate you guys sitting down with me. Where are you guys calling from?

Chris Swinney: I am in Muncie, Indiana, and if you ask enough questions you’ll realize that we started this during the pandemic. We all live in different states so we do things a little differently than everybody else.

Matt Riddle: Yeah has band-demic already been used?

Swinney: I think I’ve seen it tag on Instagram.

Riddle: I’m not original anymore. There’s too many people.

Swinney: Yeah Muncie, Indiana and Moore, Oklahoma.

DS: So I wanted to start off with like how you guys originated. I know you said it was during Covid and I was reading an interview, Matt, you did with Punknormal Activity where you talk about you hadn’t met any of the guys. So I wanted to see how Fire Sale kind of came about?

Swinney: I’ll let you take that one Matt, I wanna hear your take on it.

Riddle: Oh, it was actually because I haven’t been really doing much musically after Tony [Sly] passed. I kind of dropped out of the scene a little bit or a lot. I didn’t wanna do it anymore, I was just kind of over it. I got sick too you know, so like touring is really hard for me and all that but I really like recording at home. So Chris got ahold of me and asked if I wanna be a guest on [That One Time On Tour Podcast]. I’m like sure, so we talked for like an hour, it’s really a good time and we didn’t really talk about much what I’m doing now musically, which is, at the time, nothing. I just had some songs I recorded you know through my Mac and I’m super like, budget when it comes to recording stuff, I don’t really care about it. And this guy Mikey, you know Mikey and his Uke, he asked me to do a NOFX song with, uh, oh God it was Roger from Less Than Jake. Yeah it was really good and then Chris [Swinney] wrote me not long after and said ‘dude, I didn’t know you were still playing’ and I’m like ‘well I kind of don’t’. He’s like ‘would you mind playing bass on some stuff’.

Swinney: Well, what I said was, I said ‘I’m gonna send you a couple songs’. I’ve haven’t written any songs in like 10 years. ‘I’m gonna send you a couple of songs and if you like them let me know what you think’ and then you’re like ‘dude, I’m gonna play on these fuckin’ songs!’

Riddle: Oh yeah.

Swinney: …and it blew my mind because, even though we’ve become like friends, you’re [Matt] like my favorite bass player ever; so well it blew me away because they were just like little shit songs that I wrote in my bedroom and I sent them to you and then all of a sudden now I have to start a band because Matt Riddle played on my fuckin’ songs. Yeah that was the catalyst for me because I was bored in the pandemic, I hadn’t worked for like however many months, and Matt and I had become decent friends. We met back in the late 90s on the road but he doesn’t remember that; I remember because I love what you do on the bass, I was just the fifth guitarist for The Ataris. You probably had no idea who I was; so now like in my mind when I was trying to find people from the podcast I was like ‘well I don’t really know Matt but I have friends that know Matt I can get his information’. Yeah once he was on the podcast we just got to be really good friends and we were like texting, and then I sent him the songs, and he played on the songs, and then in my mind I’m like ‘I haven’t done anything for so long because of the pandemic, how cool would it be if we started like a real band … and not like just doing covers and shit, but like really do it.’ So when Fire Sale kicked off, you know, we got our singer Pedro, who I’d worked with in the past. Tim, from Protest The Hero, was initially a big part of it, but when Protest started kicking back up, it had to take a back seat and it kind of made more sense anyway because the rest of us were kind of gelling and writing songs, and Tim was a big part of that at the beginning. But then he just didn’t have the time. We had a hard time finding a drummer, but when we finally found Matt Morris it took off there.

DS: So then, where did your guys’ name come from, Fire Sale?

Swinney: So, *laughs* I don’t think Matt’s ever really liked it, and that’s cool, I mean I don’t think it’s like the best name ever.

Riddle: Wasn’t it originally Southern Gothic or something?

Swinney: Yeah Pedro and I had done a collaboration, the song that we have online right now called “Long Overdue”, that was a song that I wrote and I programmed the drums, and it was just like this goofy thing I was doing on the podcast and Pedro sang on that. That’s how Pedro and I came to be close and we needed a song for a compilation after we released our first two songs and we didn’t have time to like write something and get it going. So I was like, you know, let’s just use that and I’ll have Matt play bass on it, Pedro could redo the vocals because he wasn’t happy with the first take, and then we’ll have Tim play on it too and that song, the project was called Southern Gothic. But I didn’t wanna use that because I’d already kind of used it for a goofy side project, so we’ve actually got a song called Southern Gothic that’s still not done yet; it’s a little bit more poppier kind of, that should come out at some point. But yeah, the name Fire Sale. I got to be fairly close with Sam King from Get Dead, he’s been on the program a few times. The night I was trying to think of names, I had like nine, ten names written on a piece of paper; like the band was kind of gelling, we were figuring out what we were gonna do and they [Get Dead] had just dropped their new video for their song called ‘Fire Sale’. And I was watching, I saw something on some punk site about it and I was checking it out, the songs really cool and I was like ‘Fire Sale, that’s a cool name I wonder if there’s any bands named Fire Sale.’ And there was one band from like 2008 that played one show somewhere in Kansas, they were like teenagers and they hadn’t done anything in forever; so I’m like ‘fuck it, I’m picking that name’ and I told everybody and it’s not the best name but no band name is. You [Matt] were in a band called No Use for a Name.

Riddle: …and Pulley

Swinney: I mean Face to Face is a cool ass name man.

Riddle: That was actually from our guitar player at the time, Mark, he came up with it. He said like ‘vis a vis’ which I think is a rough translation.

Swinney: But that was the thing with the name, I mean on some of the like press when we first came out it talked about that and yeah I’m not gonna say it had much to do with Get Dead, it’s just the fact that I was watching their video and I’m kind of friends with Sam. And I was like ‘well that’s a cool name’, so that night I got all the socials for @firesaleisaband, because fire sale’s like a clothing company so you can’t just have @firesale.

Riddle: Isn’t a fire sale like everything must go kind of thing?

Swinney: Yeah it’s like if you’re going out of business and you need to get rid of everything, they call it a fire sale.

Riddle: I only know fire sale from Davis Cross from Arrested Development, *laughs*.

Swinney: So yeah, I just thought it was kind of cool because my favorite names, they mean a couple different things, like if nobody knows what fire sale actually is, it sounds kind of dark or ominous. But it’s not dark or ominous, and I remember Matt at one point, he had this picture of a burning ship. He wanted it to be like Fire Sail, and for a while we were thinking about that.

Riddle: Yeah for a while we were thinking about even changing the name but I kind of dig it and its grown on me. I don’t know, it’s hard to pick a name man, I mean in this day and age it’s just it’s really fuckin’ hard.

DS: It was funny actually this week I’m in this band, we actually have a group message and one of the guys has been sending you guys’ singles I hadn’t heard you guys. Then I saw he posted something where it’s like ‘super group’ and I’m like ‘oh damn, I gotta start listening these guys’.

Swinney: We’ve been leaning pretty hard into that, like I felt weird about it at first, but the label that we’re with now, which I’m sure we’ll talk about, he was kinda like, we had this meeting and he’s like ‘well listen you, guys have all been in bigger bands, you know you guys should lean into what’s gonna get people to check you out, your past resumes.’ That’s why we decided to go with Mark DeSalvo and the artwork.

DS: So, it sounds like you’re kind of embracing the term ‘super group’ because I’ve kind of seen that label thrown around quite a bit with you guys.

Swinney: We don’t claim to be a supergroup, but I don’t mind people saying it because it gets people in the door you know.

DS: Yeah so moving on kind of to songwriting, is there one main songwriter or with all of you guys coming in from different groups and different backgrounds, is everybody kind of contributing?

Swinney: We’ll kind of both take that one. I’ll give my thoughts and I’ll let Matt speak on it. The first couple songs, it was like I would just send complete songs to Matt and Pedro and it would go that way. Now it’s got to be a lot more collaborative, like I’ll still send full songs that I write, but Matt’s sending full songs that he writes and then I’ll redo the guitars and maybe have an idea here or there. Like that solo on “A Fool’s Errand’,”I kind of mimicked what you did with the horns on there. But it’s become a real collaborative thing, writing with Matt and kind of going through and really producing it you know, just talking over Zoom or FaceTime. There was one part on the second verse of “A Fool’s Errand” we just couldn’t figure out the sound that we wanted because the first verse just has big chords and then the second verse we wanted this like 70s drony kind of sound. There was a single note and then they flew on top and, I swear to God, it was like a month or two before we finally got it.

Riddle: It was one of those things where, so you know the bassline that is pretty gnarly, it’s like a banjo. Well I kept that through like both verses all the time and I wanted the second verse to be brought way back but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. And me and Chris went back and forth for like a month like what the fuck are we doing wrong?

Swinney: I recorded literally like 40 guitar parts over that verse.

Riddle: Yeah it ended up all we needed to do is let the bass just stay on one note the whole time, the guitars stay the same and that’s exactly what we needed. It’s so stupid, it’s so simple.

Swinney: But see the songwriting thing you were asking about, yeah I’ve always had a collaborator, no matter what. Like when I was in the Ataris some of the songs we did Roe and I would mess with stuff. In any band I’ve ever been in, I’ve never been the guy like ‘here’s all the stuff’. It’s always been like back and forth. At the beginning, I felt like it was like ‘hey Matt, here’s something I wrote, play whatever you want on it.’ And it’s still sometimes it’s like that because we all have ideas. But working with Matt and tearing these songs apart and figuring out everything, it’s been a really really good experience and I’ve felt like the songs are stronger because we’ve collaborated so much and then we send it to Pedro and then he tears it apart.

Riddle: That’s one thing that I like is if Chris comes up with something, I’ll get it and then he’s like do that ‘classic Matt Riddle’ that a lot of bands don’t know how to do. So I do that which I basically learned how to do, something like playing Steve Harris songs, Iron Maiden. But I learned that style, so he’s like put that stuff on it. So I do that and then it gets sent to Pedro and Pedro’s like ‘you know what, I think this should be a verse, this should be a chorus’ and he’ll change things up, send it back and it immediately sounds like pretty much done.

Swinney: And it’s great because like I don’t think we think a lot about vocals when we’re writing, we think about parts, like here’s a verse, here’s a chorus, and because we all live on opposite sides of the country, we played to a click track and as long as we do that we can kind of puzzle piece everything together. So when Pedro gets it and he writes the lyrics and the melodies and the harmonies, he’ll be like ‘hey your verse is a better chorus, maybe that chorus doesn’t need to be done two times, it needs to be done one time’ and he’ll cut it up and send it back and then I can manipulate my master session to what he wants. It always comes out better. He’s a vocalist and you know we just think about this is gonna be a cool guitar or bass part right and everybody’s got input. Like even the new guy, Matt Morris, when he was cutting the drums for these new songs, coming up with fill ideas. And like there’s that part on the second verse of “A Fools Errand” where he goes into the floor tom thing. Like we want it to be a band, we don’t want it to be one person.

Riddle: Right yeah, like him asking what to do on drums on the songs, I told him, I go ‘you know what dude, be you, just do you on all these songs’ and he came up with some really rad stuff. And then we would go over it, make sure it all fit right in the song. And so it’s rad, we’re all inputting now as far as the songs go.

Swinney: We’ve all been in situations too where we’ve kind of been a team player with a guy who’s like ‘the guy’. And I don’t want that to be the case because when this first started, a lot of people were like ‘are you writing all the songs’. I’m like well they’re not songs until everybody gets them because the songs that I do won’t be right if Matt doesn’t play the Matt thing on the song. It’s not a Fire Sale song if Pedro doesn’t put it together the way he wants for his vocals. Like I love the fact that everything is equal, even down to the royalties and everything is equal. Like I don’t want this to ever become anything other than fun. Like yeah everybody’s equal and I love the guys I’m making music with and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

DS: Right, so there’s been a lot of ‘super groups’ that I’ve listened to where you can obviously tell who’s writing the songs. It’s just a carryover from whatever other band, they sound the same. With you guys I kind of have trouble pinpointing, like you can’t tell who wrote what, probably because like you said it’s kind of a collaborative effort.

Swinney: Here put this in your article, that me and Matt are the Lennon and McCartney of punk rock, *laughs*.

DS: Damn right, *laughs*.

Swinney: Yeah somebody said that in a review when we released dark hearts I thought it was hilarious

Riddle: Really funny, Lennon McCartney, that’s funny. Chris wrote like most of everything on all the songs and we’ve put our stuff into it but I’ve had songs from back in the day that I brought over and actually “A Fool’s Errand” is one of those songs. I wrote that a long time ago when I was kind of relearning how to play bass after I got sick. I was having a hard time playing and that’s why the riff is so gnarly in that song, because it was more of just for practicing. But I got done, I’m like ‘oh that could be a song’ and I just wrote it and its been 10 years and I send it to Chris, he redid the guitar, reprogrammed some drums before matt joined and so then I redid the bass on it and it was an amazing melody. I’m like ‘dude this is a song, what the hell just happened.’

One thing funny is that Chris you know likes my playing style. So one night my wife is out of town, went out to some party thing, and Chris had wrote me and he’s like ‘hey dude I don’t know if you’re in a songwriting mood or what, but how about one of those those Matt bass intro. So I was like playing like playing Elden Ring or something, I was gaming. So I got my bass, I’m sitting there messing around and I came up with this riff and went to the computer put in the click track, play the riff and next thing I knew, I had a whole song written, remember that.

Swinney: Are you talking about “Albatross”?

Riddle: “Albatross,” yeah really really fast, but the riff is killer. I think I just came up with it and then I ended up writing the entire song around that riff, sent it to Chris and then he changed parts here and there, put the guitars on it.

Swinney: I stayed up till 6:00 in the morning redoing all guitar parts and everything.

Riddle: Yeah because I can’t play guitar so I just kind of ripped through it and said ‘here’s something like this’ and then he put the guitar line. I think that’s great.

Swinney: That’s gonna be one for the next couple that are coming out. We literally on our SoundCloud page and in our Google Drive, we have like 14, 15 more songs and they’re gonna like, I mean I know you haven’t asked yet, but I’ll go ahead and say like the plan now, we wanted to do a full length but it’s hard working the way that we work. Everybody’s got different things going on and our label, the idea from Negative Progression was like hey, let’s put out a series of two-song EP’s and then eventually we’ll release a full vinyl like 12 inch. So in the next few months we’ll probably have two more come out and then in the next couple months a couple more. We’re gonna keep leaking out singles.

DS: I know Matt you talked about “A Fool’s Errand,” the writing behind that. I wanted to talk to Chris, with “We Dance for Sorrow,” that’s your song, right?

Swinney: Yeah, the first verse, the thing I really really liked, it’s got that kind of clean, single note thing on the verse with Matt’s bass too. I always kind of thought that sounded like one of the darker Blink 182 songs, but not like cheesy. I had that forever, I think I might have even sent you [Matt] like a voice memo of it at some point and you’re like ‘yeah that’s cool’. I finally one day was able to kind of figure out how that song fit together and even like the intro part, a couple people said it reminds them of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which it’s similar it’s not the same thing.

Riddle: It used to sound more like it and you changed one thing.

Swinney: I changed it yeah, things like one or two notes from the last little piece and now it doesn’t sound like “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” That one of those songs where once I figured out the direction of what was gonna happen, it just came out. And people talk about inspiration, people talk about you know the hit songs they write or the best songs they write take 5 minutes. Once I figured out what that verse was that I’d written two years ago or whatever, that song did just kind of fly out. And I sent it to Pedro and the only thing he did I think he shortened one of the choruses or something like it was very much the way I sent it was the way it came back. And so I just felt really good about that and I don’t look at it as Matt wrote “A Fools Errand” and I wrote that because we all put our stuff on it. I kind of feel connected to that song. I don’t know, I love both songs, I love every song we’ve ever done, but that song, I feel real connected to it just because of how it came together.

DS: Right and it was those two in particular, I just I really couldn’t pinpoint who wrote them, and it took me reading some interview with you guys that said Matt you kind of wrote this, one Chris you wrote this one. But I was listening to them, I really couldn’t tell so that’s why I asked you earlier about if it’s kind of collaborative.

Riddle: Well you know what it is I think that makes it indistinguishable is Pedro’s vocals. Like he sings what he wants to sing and that’s what makes the songs sound like us immediately. Like he writes these really great melodies, I never would have came up with that melody for “A Fools Errand,” no way. Like I can write the music all day, but that’s how it was when I was in Face To Face and that’s why that song probably sounds kind of reminiscent of early Face To Face, because when I would write like with Trever, those are the kind of songs we wrote, real quick, fast, painless, done. And Pedro comes up with these melodies that makes it sound like a Fire Sale song instead which I think is super killer, you know.

Swinney: I’ll also say, working with Matt, the thing that’s really been beneficial for me is that, like I was in The Ataris, but I’ve also been in a bunch of like metal bands and like hardcore bands, so I’m not a good editor. I try to make things like hard, I try to like ‘oh I’m gonna throw 4 harmonies on this’ and ‘I’m gonna shred’ and ‘I’m gonna do 64th notes’ and ‘I’m gonna tap’ and I don’t need to do that because I feel like my whole life I’ve been trying to show off for other musicians instead of just write good songs. And so working with Matt, sometimes I’ll send him something and he’s like ‘just do something simple, it’s like you don’t have to do Propagandi shit on everything’.

Riddle: I’ll like crack up because you’ll do these things. I’m like ‘dude like just play sloppier on “Albatross”.’ There’s these chord changes he does and I’m like ‘dude that sounds like a robot’. That’s how Dave Nassie was.

Swinney: That’s the thing that I think Dave and I have in common. Because when I was in The Ataris, Chris Roe would always be like ‘dude you play like you’re a computer, you need to chill and just like slop it up a little bit’. Like man when I was growing up and I was learning guitar, I would sit in my bedroom after school for four or five hours and play scales to a metronome. So it’s hard for me to do that. But there are some parts and songs that haven’t come out yet where Matt kind of said that to me and I did loosen up and it was better like if it breathed more and it had more soul.

Riddle: I just like the songs to sound real.

Swinney: Yeah I mean I do too, I just didn’t know how to do that.

Riddle: It’s funny because it is real, like when you play, it is real, but it’s just that you play like I said, so meticulous and so tight and he still, to this day will sit down and just over and over like he’s so good. And that’s how you play, like real clean and right to the point and I like sloppy metal, I like sloppy punk, I like sloppy. I like real musicians doing real stuff

Swinney: The thing I love about Matt’s playing is that like when I’ll get the stuff back and I’ll try to like edit or quantize stuff, if I fix anything wrong with Matt’s playing, it doesn’t sound like Matt Riddle, you know what I mean. Like we talked to Jason at the Blasting Room, I’m like ‘you know, make sure it lines up, edit it the way you wanna edit it, but if you do too much it’s gonna take away the cool factor.’ I’m starting to kind of feel the same way with my playing, like yeah, maybe I didn’t hit it exactly on the grid, maybe I could be a little left or right of center. I think he’s right, I think it does make you sound a little bit more like humans are playing it you know.

DS: How’s the reception been so far for you guys’ releases?

Riddle: I don’t know, I don’t know how that works. Chris?

Swinney: It was really really good. We first came out with the first two singles last year, but I am astonished at the amount of feedback we’re getting on these two new songs. It’s crazy man like the amount of people that are emailing and commenting on the socials. I’ve had texts from people I haven’t talked to in 10 years that someone sent them the song, like it’s been crazy. And I don’t know what good streaming is and what bad streaming is but we’ve done, you know, a couple thousand in less than two days so for a small band like us it’s pretty good. I’m really really excited that people seem to be connecting with it as much as we did when we were writing it.

Riddle: I kind of drop out of conversations sometimes, like there’s a whole group text that went on, but I was driving, it was a 19-hour drive to get out here to Oklahoma. So I couldn’t really write anybody back, but they were sending the stream numbers and all that and I’m like ‘damn that seems pretty rad for something I recorded in my bedroom’.

Swinney: *laughs*, something we recorded in our bedroom, but then Jason [Livermore] and Bill [Stevenson] took it to the Blasting Room and made it sound really good.

Riddle: I was nervous, I didn’t know how that was gonna go over because you’re producing our stuff and I was like that sounds good and then when Jason got hold of it I couldn’t believe what we got back, I was like that’s really fuckin amazing.

Swinney: And I had a couple of conversations with Jason about like making sure that the original spirit of the demo I produced was still there, but it just sounded really really good so he kind of knew what we were going for.

DS: Yeah, next thing, let’s talk about like future. So you guys said you had a completed record, well basically a completed record worth of material, right?

Swinney: Yeah the thing is, it’s expensive, like we could mix and master and we could put it out and people would probably like it, but now that we’ve gotten that taste of working with Jason and Bill, man I don’t wanna go down in quality.

Riddle: Right yeah, they kind of next leveled it.

Swinney: Yeah and with the label we’re working with, Seth, the guy that owns Negative Progression, he’s been amazing ever since we signed and you know if we need funds for something, he makes them available. And I don’t know how financially good of a decision that is on his part, but he’s doing it, we’re gonna put these out, wait awhile, put some more out. And there are gonna be physicals for everything we release, there’s gonna be a 7-inch colored vinyl for these two songs [A Fool’s Errand] and then we’re also gonna have CD singles and cassette singles, which I think are kind of fun. And we’re just gonna keep going that way. As far as the future, uh, we’re in talks with a couple booking agents, and they know that we all have jobs and families and we’re not gonna be on the road all the time, but there’s been a lot of talk of festivals and there’s some overseas stuff that’s been spoken about. Nothing’s concrete yet but there’s definitely gonna be some shows in our future, just probably no crazy tours.

Riddle: For me, it’s a little bit hard to tour after I got sick, like trying to keep up with my medication and stuff on the road is really really hard to do, it’s hard for insulin and all my pills. Like I run out of stuff. I got really sick doing that, and then I got sick again because we had shows with NOFX just through California, right by my home. Still my sugar would drop, and I’m not good at the diabetes thing at all, it’s like type one, it’s really bad.

Swinney: I think the thing that we’re gonna do is we wanna do things that’re gonna be beneficial for the band. So you know Pedro lives on the East Coast, Matt lives on the West Coast, the other Matt lives in Texas, I live in the Midwest. So there’s been talks about you know doing five or six days on the West Coast and maybe five or six days on the East Coast, playing markets that make sense for the band. And then like maybe like Riot Fest or Punk Rock Bowling, like things that are not super taxing, like just the weekend away, play a gig, go home back to normal life, kids, wife, whatever. And then the overseas stuff, I mean it’s been talked about and there’s some good opportunities, but it’s gonna have to work for everyone in the band. I’ve got a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old and I can’t be gone for more than a week or two. I love playing live and I miss being on the road because we used to do it all like 24/7, but I would much rather sit and watch Peppa Pig with my daughter than be in Germany playing some shitty club that’s freezing.

Riddle: Yeah we end up in Germany at some shitty club, those kids are gonna know that you don’t wanna be there, *laughs*.

Swinney: So ok I’ll take that back, I’ll go play a shitty freezing club in Germany as long as a week or two later I can come see my kids.

Riddle: Yeah I love shitty clubs in Germany.

Swinney: Germans love us, look at our Spotify numbers. We’re gonna probably end up there at some point next year.

DS: Okay so how would you describe your music style? Kind of how would you describe it and where your influences lie? Like I know with Matt, if you write a song you’ve got your personal influences, but more as a whole do you guys have influences and just how you would describe your music as a whole?

Swinney: Well I will say, I’m gonna let Matt give his, there are a lot of differences between Matt and I, but there is kind of a Venn diagram of things we agree on. I am a little bit younger than Matt.

Riddle: Hey *laughs*…

Swinney: So like when I was growing up, it was all the 90s punk stuff that Matt was involved in. Like he’s 55, I just turned 44, so my thing is like when I first started hanging out talking to Matt, I thought ‘oh we’re gonna have all this stuff in common, we’re gonna talk about Pennywise and blah blah blah’ and it wasn’t like that. But then I realized that I’m also a metal head, so I didn’t realize how deep into some of the metal stuff Matt went. So I think we’ve bonded a little bit more over Maiden and some of the weird kind of Scandinavian stuff than we have over punk rock. But when I’m writing, the influences that I’m drawing from are 90s skate punk and 80s thrash metal. That’s me and then Matt’s a little bit different I think.

Riddle: It’s actually kind of weird. I’m not really influenced musically by bands as much as I am influenced by what they did. How do I explain this, like it doesn’t make me write a certain way, I write how I write. I can’t help that, that happened with Trever in Face to Face, it’s just what it was. But what I listened to, yeah my picking style is reminiscent of a lot of like Steve Harris and that kind of stuff. I’m very metal that way as well, but I don’t write like that. I write my own stuff. Like when I first got into punk rock, it wasn’t any of that stuff, it wasn’t 90’s stuff. I got into like Rudimentary Peni, Antisect, all this like real dark, weird shit that wasn’t really even hard. It was hard to find, but I just loved how dark and weird it was. I grew up on Maiden, that was my thing, but like when I got into punk rock, I started to drift into the darker side of music altogether. There’s of course like the Cure and Joy Division and stuff like that, but then my metal taste got into like Mayhem. And I like the Viking side of it, I like the black metal stuff. I like a lot of that kind of like weird stuff.

Swinney: He likes the bands that burn down churches, *laughs*… and that has been a thing that Matt and I thought, because I’m a music theory geek, like I went to college for theory and performance guitar. And we’ll start talking about a song and I’ll be like ‘yeah that augmented 4th blah blah blah’, and he’s like ‘it’s an A I don’t know.’

Riddle: Yeah I don’t know what I played.

Swinney: But I love that because sometimes having the theory knowledge hinders me. I won’t try something that might be outside of the box because theoretically it shouldn’t work and it could be this really cool dissonant thing. So I like the push and pull between Matt and I with our influences and with how we both play and how I’m a little bit more robotic or whatever, by the book, and he’s a little not so. When that pushes and like rubs together I think it’s better musically for what we’re putting out.

Riddle: Yeah it took me a little bit of time to subscribe to that like when it comes to actually writing. I kind of had to fall into that place because, again, I’m more loose and whatever and I’m not really used to like major minor and all that kind of stuff because what I listen to is so different than that. But I also do know that when something sounds cool, it sounds cool. Like if it’s sonically correct, that’s killer. And if it’s not, well it sounds good to my ears.

Swinney: That’s why it’s called a theory because it’s not a proof.

Riddle: *laughs* but yeah I think you can be influenced by anything, doesn’t have to be like music. Like I never thought to myself ‘oh I wanna play a song that sounds like that,’ like that was never my thing. It was what just came out.

Swinney: No that makes total sense because like I guess I don’t like base a reference point when I’m writing this song. Like the way that the stuff comes out that I send you [Matt] that I’m writing, it’s just off the top of my head. And then I put it together the way that I think it should go together. But for me growing up and being like obsessed with two bands you [Matt] were in, those bands kind of inspired me. And I’ll start playing a song and I’ll be like ‘Oh, well what if on this part, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do, what if I did this thing that Tony did or what if I did this thing that Trever did.’ That’s a theory kind of thing, maybe they didn’t know it was a theory thing. The Maiden influence, I’ve always been a Maiden guy. But then NOFX and No Use, Good Riddance and Strung Out and Propagandhi and 88 Fingers Louie and like these bands from when I was in junior high and high school that if I didn’t have them, I don’t think I would be doing this right now. And Matt was a big part of that. Yeah, even though we’re buddies and we’re in the same band together, but thank you for helping mold my shit you know.

Riddle: But I mean like I know how to get from point a to point b, but I’m again not a theory guy. I learned how to play bass, learning how to tune my bass by listening to records. I didn’t have tuner. I put a record on and I just hit a note and go ‘that doesn’t sound right’ and turn my tuning peg until my string makes sense. That’s how I learned how to tune. Yeah it’s ridiculous, I practiced everything you know like Maiden, Fleetwood Mac, like I’m all over the place. And nowadays I just practice the bands like Mayhem and stuff like that because I like to be really really fast. But I mean I’m not that loose when it comes to writing, but I guess I’m a lot less structured.

Swinney: And I would like to be less structured than I am because it hinders me sometimes.

Riddle: Yeah many times I’ve sent something to Chris and you’ll change something and go ‘how about this’ and I’ll go ‘Oh my God dude, I never would have thought of that’ and then Pedro comes up with this vocal line where I’m like ‘well fuck that, finish that song.’ It’s weird, it’s kind of a weird thing.

Swinney: I’m just really really happy. I mean I’ll tie this up by just saying that we all have different people, like influences. Pedro’s get a lot more pop punk type stuff. Like I was more skate punky whatever, metal whatever. And Pedro, he does listen to a lot I think more pop type stuff that informs what he does. I mean I’m not saying like he has a reference like I said earlier, but I think it informs his style and you know it’s very melodic. The one thing that a lot of people have said to me since we’ve released this is just how are there these like mid tempo or fast punk songs. They’re so melodic and there’s actually like pretty parts. And I think a lot of that comes from his influences and what informs that is the pop stuff he listens to, the pop punk stuff. I don’t know, I look at this band and everything we’re doing. We’re all in our 40s or 50s and we’re putting out new music that people really seem to connect to and like and I think that is a rare thing to be able to do. I’m just so grateful that people are giving us a chance man.

Riddle: Yeah that’s really cool, kind of dusted off the cobwebs for me.

Swinney: I hadn’t done anything in 10 years man. And I mean like Matt was kind of in that same boat almost. And I wrote a couple songs, sent them to Matt and shit started kicking off. And now it’s a real thing. Yeah, ideally we want people to like it, but also it’s just been such a good, fun experience to write songs with these guys that I really respect and admire like it’s a bonus.

DS: It seems like everybody’s kind of complimenting each other. Where you [Chris] said you’re very mechanical whereas Matt, a little looser. It seems like that kind of complements each other, and then with Pedro tying everything in at the end.

Swinney: Matt Morris, I don’t wanna leave out Matt Morris. The band has been doing stuff and been writing and been an entity since the pandemic started almost, when we locked in Matt Morris, this band turned a corner. Now it’s me, Matt and Matt and Pedro and it’s a band and it feels better than it’s felt ever.

Riddle: It’s cool because I know he was a fan of mine and yours Chris and so for him to do this, he’s totally digging it. It was cool because he sent that text like ‘well what about this, what about this, and that’s when I told him ‘no dude, just be you and do what you want’ and he did. Yeah he’s really solid, a really really good drummer.

Swinney: I feel really really good about the lineup of guys we have. I mean we’re all busy, Pedro’s in a bunch of bands, he’s getting ready to go to Europe with Nathan Gray and Iron Roses. So I mean that’s the thing, like of course when we do tour, when we do play shows, it’s a logistical thing figuring out how to get everybody somewhere. But I mean a lot of festivals are fly-in dates and stuff like that, I mean it’s gonna happen and everybody’s on board 100%. It just feels really really good now that we have this core unit of guys that everybody cares about the band, everybody wants it to happen. The band’s been this kind of slithering weird like project up until Morris got in and now it’s like ‘ok the four of us are Fire Sale and we’re gonna kick everyone’s ass.’ *laughs* that’s how I feel.

DS: That’s awesome man. Yeah I really appreciate you guys talking. When I saw you guys were interested in an interview, I jumped on it immediately because both of you guys were in bands that were very influential to me as a kid with The Ataris and then yeah Face to Face and No Use for a Name. Yeah all three of those were hugely influential for me growing up. It’s really cool getting to talk to you guys now so I really appreciate you taking the time.

Swinney: Yeah we appreciate you too man because, like I said you know, I was the 5th guitarist in The Ataris, like that moniker works and helps get some people in the door, but it’s the fact of like Matt Riddle is one of my favorite bass players in the entire world, but he’s I think maybe felt like I felt in my past bands where I was always a supporting cast member for somebody else. And in this band I don’t want there to be any supporting cast members, we’re all equal in the same and we all do interviews. Fire Sale is the most inclusive band you can find.

Riddle: Don’t let me be your favorite bass player, that title should go to Scott Shiflett because that should be everybody’s favorite bass player.

Swinney: Well my favorite bass player is Cliff Burton then you and Scott Shiflett right in there too.

DS: Yeah I’ll try not to take anymore your guys time, I appreciate talking to you. It was really cool meeting you guys.

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DS Interview: The Punk Cellist on His Debut EP, the Similarities Between Punk and Classical Music, and A Full-Length Release Due Out Later This Year

I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Ian Legge, known by most as simply the Punk Cellist. I was particularly drawn to Legge’s unique spin on punk, emo and hardcore tunes because of the refreshingly reimagined transcriptions not of songs I was hearing for the first time, but ones such as the […]

I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Ian Legge, known by most as simply the Punk Cellist. I was particularly drawn to Legge’s unique spin on punk, emo and hardcore tunes because of the refreshingly reimagined transcriptions not of songs I was hearing for the first time, but ones such as the Gaslight Anthem‘s “The ’59 Sound” or The Menzingers‘ “Burn After Writing,” melodies that have consistently occupied my airwaves. I was given the feeling of hearing a brand new song, yet was able to sing every word along to the instrumental.

For a genre that, as a reader of Dying Scene I hope you love, but others sometimes misunderstand, the Punk Cellist is able to reimagine these punk tracks as arrangements that demonstrate their true musicianship, a duty that pays homage to such masterminds as Tony Sly, Dave Grohl, and the numerous others that Legge has covered. I’ve found Legge’s YouTube channel as an effective means of demonstrating some of what I love so much about punk to those that just don’t get it, and may not even want to. The Punk Cellist said it best by stating, “you can show this to your grandparents and they would be like ‘oh that’s nice’.”

I was ecstatic to hear that Legge was hard at work preparing for the release of his debut full-length later in 2023. After seeing that The Menzingers and Alkaline Trio held the honor of being the first two singles for this release, I have still yet to come up with two more suitable tracks to help warm fans up for what’s to come. Before these demoes were even released, I can remember running through the videos on The Punk Cellist Youtube channel and noting that tracks by the Menzingers and Alkaline Trio were ones that seemed to flow the best.

Be sure to continue scrolling for all kinds of great stuff to help get you acquainted with who I consider to be one of the most unique acts in punk rock. We cover all kinds of cool topics including what the process looks like going from punk track to cello instrumental, some of the similarities between two unlikely genres in classical music and punk, such future aspirations as possibly composing full orchestral pieces, as well as a whole lot more. Linked below is what is currently available on Spotify, as well as where you can grab a flexi of the two released tracks.

The Punk Cellist Fall ’22 Demo Flexi!

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

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate) Hey man, how you doing?

Ian Legge aka The Punk Cellist: Doing well, excited for this release, it’s doing well so far. Went on a good bike ride today, it was cold, but it was good.

So yeah, let’s hop right into it. Congrats on the release, man. I honestly couldn’t think of two better songs for it, they fit so perfectly. How did you decide upon those two songs with the Menzingers and then “Clavicle”?

Honestly, I had started putting together some mixes for a larger album and then I actually thought that I want to just do a demo at first and see kind of how it did. So I just chose what the first two songs that were kind of ready.

So how long has this been in the works, have you been working on this quite a while?

Since probably this summer, I’ve been looking for a label to help me put out these songs and press them on vinyl, help me with digital streaming, getting publications to talk to me when it’s released you know, just all the like background stuff. I’m really good at recording and arranging, but the whole back end of the band, it was never really my forte. So Ryan [Curtiss] came along saying that he wanted to help put out my music, he has a small label called Over Caffienated Records, so I’m working with him on it and we’re already half sold out of this pressing. We’re really excited to really thank you everyone who’s snagged one so far.

Have there been any issues you’ve run into with like licensing with these being covers? That seems like it could be kind of a difficult hurdle.

That was my concern at first, definitely. Luckily there is a step to payout royalties to these bands, so we did that and we can legally release these covers and everyone gets paid accordingly.

Did you record these yourself or did you go somewhere?

Yeah so I recorded them at home and mixed them myself and then I sent them to Joe Riley, who is actually Trevor Riley from A Wilhelm Scream, his dad and he has a little mastering studio called Black and Blue. So he mastered them and they sound great, he’s really affordable and quick and professional. So if you ever need any mastering done he’s a great person to go to.

I was looking around on your YouTube a little bit and actually the Menzingers, I thought those songs fit perfectly with you playing on cello. And then The Gaslight Anthem’s “The ‘59 Sound, I thought that was perfect too. Are there some songs that just don’t work on cello?

Honestly yeah. It’s funny because there are some songs that I really do want to arrange, but I’ve sort of hit some roadblocks in a way with how I think they would sound. For example, especially songs with not exactly like a vocal melody, they might be yelling something, that definitely makes it more difficult. I’m thinking of Propagandhi’s “Back to the Motor League.” I wanna do that one but right in the beginning, he yells ‘I wanna party fuckin’ hard’, like how do I recreate that on cello? But kind of a successful example with taking a sort of yelly, screaming part, I made it into a melody and it ended up working; the example I’m thinking of is Still Waiting by Sum 41. In the first verse he kinda yells ‘drop dead, a bullet to my head, you’re words are like a gun in hand’, and so I made that into like a melody with harmonies and stuff, I think it sounds pretty cool.

So then when you’re choosing a song, is it just as simple as transcribing it, it seems like it’d be more complicated than that?

Thankfully, I have a little bit of experience with arranging, just in school doing it a lot. What I realized is that the cello is tuned in a way that makes it pretty easy for me to recreate a lot of these songs because they’re tuned to fifths, so basically when I put one finger down across two strings, it makes a power chord like on a guitar. So when I realized that, I just went to town just trying to figure out everything that I could play. So then there are definitely bands that their musical style really makes it pretty easy for me, pretty straightforward. Some recordings are more difficult to hear, so trying to figure out the exact notes that they’re playing sometimes can be kind of a challenge.

So I think you mentioned it, but this two-song demo, is this part of a bigger release coming?

Yeah, I definitely hope to release a full-length vinyl with a good amount of covers on it, hopefully like 12 to 14 covers. I will be trying to do some smaller releases of maybe like just one or two bands as well. So yeah we’re gonna really push hard in 2023 and hopefully keep putting out some cool stuff.

Do you have any type of deadline for that or are you just aiming for some time in 2023 at this point?

Just 2023, getting that done at some point. I don’t wanna put any date on it just because we were supposed to release this [demo] in the fall and it ended up coming out in January.

So I wanted to pick your brain a little bit on choosing songs, on how you do that. A lot of these songs, are they just favorites to yours, was that kind of what it was in the beginning and now it’s progressed? How do you go about choosing some of these songs?

It definitely started as just my favorite songs. I’ve always loved hearing them turned into these string pieces, it’s so cool and it like scratches an itch for me that I had always had and I didn’t know that I had. Then people started asking to collaborate, for me to commission work now which is really cool, like it’s helping me pay bills. And also my Patreon supporters, there are about 40 of them supporting me monthly, they’ll request songs and I have a lot of cool songs in the works. One in particular that stuck out to me that I’m really excited to get working on is Strung Out. I’ve never really listened to them before and someone requested it and I was like ‘wow these guys are awesome, I’m surprised no one had suggested them to me before that’. So I hope to put out a Strung Out cover sometime this year as well.

Yeah that’ll be pretty cool because I know you did the A Wilhelm Scream cover a while back. I kind of put those two in the same realm, even though Strung Out has been around longer. They kind of go hand-in-hand to me.

I also have another A Wilhelm Scream cover in the works currently that’s actually more complete, hoping to release that sometime in the next few months.

I think that’ll be really cool once that comes out. I will say it is really cool listening to you, I was showing you some of your music to my girlfriend last night. She can’t stand punk man, she just doesn’t get it, but I showed her like “The ‘59 Sound” and “Burn After Writing,” “Dumb Reminders,” and she actually really liked them. “Dumb Reminders,was that like your first video?

Yep, I was gonna say that’s a real throwback, that was my first YouTube video.

I was showing her because she just doesn’t get punk, she doesn’t want to get punk and it’s cool showing her because it really shows the musicianship behind the writing. For people that maybe don’t understand or can’t really hear it because it’s so fast or whatever, it’s cool because it really demonstrates the musicianship behind the music.

I totally agree. I think that’s one of the coolest parts about it, you hear in a different way, but the music is still there. I like to keep things pretty close to the originals and it really does highlight the songwriting that is in punk because it’s incredible. I think it oftentimes gets overlooked, but I think it’s just because it sounds a bit harsh to people, they’re not used to it. That’s where they kind of draw the line, their brain kind of shuts off. I love to say you can show this to your grandparents and they would be like ‘oh that’s nice’.

So how long have you been playing cello, is this something you grew up doing?

Yeah both my parents are hugely into music and I started playing violin in 3rd grade. Then in 4th grade, that was actually when I saw the cello for the first time and I switched right away, so 21, almost 22 years and counting.

I know from some of your videos you play guitar and sing a little bit, did you pick those up later on?

Yeah drums, actually, I think is like my second best instrument, I practiced that a lot and I played in a punk band for 10 years on drums. So that’s kind of where my love of punk really came from was playing drums for this band called Half Hearted Hero. My bass player and my guitar player and my singer, we were all super close when we were in the band, which we’re kind of on hiatus right now, but they all showed me like NOFX, Propagandhi, all those great bands; No Use for a Name, the Swellers, Less Than Jake, Set Your Goals. I used to listen to like Green Day, Simple Plan, Sum 41, Story of the Year, you know like all those bands. That’s like how I started getting into the style of music and then they kind of really opened my world. And like Ramones and Descendents and all the OG punk, I actually kind of found that within the past few years which is cool because I’ve gone backwards in time. I started with all the newest stuff and then went backwards in time and just like kept looking for older stuff. And I feel bands like Ramones and even the Saints were really such a cool way to kick off the whole punk movement.

I’m kind of the same way, those were some of the bands I grew up on, Green Day, big on them Sum 41, all those guys. And it wasn’t until pretty late in high school that I really started getting into some of these punk bands that I love now.

That’s actually one thing I love about this project. I’m learning about so many new bands I don’t think I would have ever listened to really. There’s like a little community that I’ve built online, like we’re always chatting about different bands, different music, I’ve definitely discovered some really cool bands because of it.

I wanted to talk to you little bit about about like classical music, that’s kind of what everybody thinks of when they see the cello. I grew up playing violin as well and I wasn’t playing punk rock. Were you trained classically, and if so, I wanna kind of hear how you made the jump from classical to punk?

Yeah so that was how I started, just through school like the whole elementary, middle and high school orchestra track. I played in a youth philharmonic orchestra as well, so that was a little bit higher end as far as performance level; three hour rehearsals once a week, playing like real stuff. And I liked it but I was already kind of getting burned out on it by high school. So then I discovered Apocalyptica and all the others that were doing contemporary stuff at the time, like rock-based contemporary stuff and it made me stick with cello. Like I almost quit, I almost just stopped, went with drums. I never really had lessons on drums but I’ve always loved drums so much. It’s something that I wasn’t really technically proficient at though like I was on cello. So I’m appreciative that I kind of stuck with it because I would have been starting from square one with drums if I wanted to learn it like that.

I mean I can’t really think of two more polar opposites than classical and punk rock. So this is kind of like a two-part question, was there somewhat of a learning curve when you started doing punk on cello and were there any surprising similarities between playing classical and playing punk?

That’s a good question. Yeah I actually think one of the things that I learned most, or needed to learn that I didn’t really know was to play in certain positions that benefit vocal melodies. What I mean by that is that a lot of vocal melodies are actually pentatonic scales, and so I learned basically how to play pentatonic scales on cello in learning all these vocal melodies for these cover songs. Like the chords are one thing, that’s where the similarities lie I think is in the chord structures. Not only like the fact that I could place one finger across two strings and it sounds like a power chord, but like in western music you can’t really go too far outside of the 12 chords that you are given and so you definitely will see a lot of chord progressions where you’re like ‘oh I’ve heard that before’. Another example, spiccato on the cello is actually like palm mutes on guitar; like those types of things, where one articulation from classical is a different articulation in punk rock or rock music. Especially that spiccato, which means that your bow is bouncing on the strings, it sounds exactly like a palm mute sound, and so one of the fun parts about arranging these songs is taking the techniques that I’ve learned from the classical world and mimicking sounds in rock or punk. For example, doing a pick slide, there’s no real specific technique name for that but it’s something that’s been transcribed into some classical music that I’ve played before where you just have to slide up or down the neck.

I mean that’s so surprising to me that there are those kind of similarities between two things that, just on the surface, seem so different.

But sonically, you’re like ‘Oh yeah it sounds very similar’.

Is a lot of the theory very similar too?

It depends on what era of classical music you’re talking about. The further you go back, the more rules there are that punk rock tends to break, like parallel fifths, that type of thing. It was really interesting for me to learn where punk rock came from because that informed my knowledge of theory behind punk. It’s really based out of just straight-up rock’n’roll, like Elvis Costello and just guitar players that were pushing the envelope back in the day in the Blues and the rock scene. I mean you can draw a straight line from punk rock, through rock and roll, through Blues, all the way back to classical music. I mean there are similarities that you can find, for sure, it just depends on kind of how you look at it because they’re pretty far apart.

That does make a lot of sense about it being harder to find similarities with theory because punk kind of inherently breaks rules. For 2022, I saw you did stuff with Garrett Dale, can you talk about some of the other shows you were on, some of your favorites?

We played with Tim from Elway and also James Renton, he kind of sat in when we were playing shows in Canada and that was a lot of fun. I met some really cool people it was a quick one, two in Canada and two in Colorado and we plan on trying to do that again at some point for sure. That was sort of a test run for us.

What about 2023, anything planned?

I’m trying to play more locally, just like trying to have cello pay the bills. I’m playing a lot of breweries, a lot of coffee shops. You probably know Narragansett brewery, I’m playing at their tap room in Providence in April. Just definitely trying to do more of those things and then we’ll definitely be doing some fun things around Fest time, we’ll try to plan a tour down there, it depends on if I can find a band to go with, that definitely helps. There will be some cool collaborations happening at Fest, but just little stuff up until then.

I know you’ve done covers up until this point, do you have any plans on originals?

Not really at this point. I mean I’m also really into hardcore and so I’ve been thinking about starting a heavy band, but nothing planned right now for cello. At this point I’m actually thinking about trying to expand these covers into doing full string orchestra at like a theatre. I think that would be taking my idea to the next level.

Oh that’d be awesome. I know with the Decline doing their thing at Red Rocks, that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

That was pretty mind-blowing to me. That gave me kind of the idea of doing something like that, and also me playing with the 8-bit big band with my friend Charlie from school, he makes video game arrangements in big band, like jazz band. So I was like ‘I would love to do this with punk tunes’, there a lot of punk fans that I think would appreciate going out, having a nice night out, drinking fancy cocktails and hearing their favorite punk songs done on strings.

Any big collaborations planned, I mean you don’t have to spoil anything?

I hope to have something out with a couple bands, I’m working on kind of a double cover where one of the songs will be a Descendents song that I’m doing by myself and then one a member of No Trigger will be doing vocals on the other one. And then I just spoke with Scott from Born Without Bones, we want to do a Rancid cover together.

Well it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on, I’ll definitely follow along man. I appreciate you sitting down with me, and good luck with the upcoming releases.

Yeah thanks man.

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DS News: Fat Mike debuts new track, “Fuck Day Six,” from upcoming “Fat Mike Gets Strung Out” album

It seems like we’ve been hearing about Fat Mike’s upcoming Fat Mike Gets Strung Out project for quite a while now, but we’re finally getting another chance to hear some of what the Fat One has been up to! The latest single from FMGSO is “Fuck Day Six.” As you know, it appears in its […]

It seems like we’ve been hearing about Fat Mike’s upcoming Fat Mike Gets Strung Out project for quite a while now, but we’re finally getting another chance to hear some of what the Fat One has been up to!

The latest single from FMGSO is “Fuck Day Six.” As you know, it appears in its original form on last year’s NOFX record, Double Album. On this version, Fatty and his long-time collaborator Baz The Frenchman have turned it into a sparse – though not quite haunting – string instrumental. Check it out below or wherever you get your digital music.


Pre-order info has finally been launched for Fat Mike Gets Strung Out. You can get one of the limited edition bundles if you are quick enough with your Buy button finger. If you prefer more traditional order options, those are also available. The album is due out September 15th on Fat Wreck Chords, naturally. If you missed the video for the first single, “I’m A Rat,” keep on scrolling!

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