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Better Than Dead

Originating in 2019, Better Than Dead joined the Denver scene playing both large benefits and local shows. Cutting their teeth on Punk, BTD blended in influences of Ska, Metal, and Pop. With high energy shows and lyrics that inspire introspection, they’ve found their own style.

Boss’ Daughter Hits the Road for ‘Some Air’ Tour 2022

After canceling their last tour nine days in due to catching Covid, Reno skate punks Boss’ Daughter are heading back out on the road for “Some Air Tour 2022.” The tour will find them in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. So, if they’re coming to your ‘hood, go support ’em….but please don’t give them Covid […]

After canceling their last tour nine days in due to catching Covid, Reno skate punks Boss’ Daughter are heading back out on the road for “Some Air Tour 2022.” The tour will find them in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. So, if they’re coming to your ‘hood, go support ’em….but please don’t give them Covid this time….

7/13 – Bakersfield, CA – Jerry’s Pizza
7/14 – Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar
7/15 – Tempe, AZ – Time Out Lounge
7/16 – Prescott, AZ – The Attic
7/17 – Flagstaff, AZ – Flagstaff Brewing
7/18 – Durango, CO – The Hive
7/19 – Moab, UT – Paddle Moab
7/20 – Colorado Springs, CO – Triple Nickel Tavern
7/21 – Fort Collins, CO – Surfside 7
7/22 – Denver, CO – Eastfax Tap
7/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Black Lung Society
8/6 – Reno, NV – Virginia Street Brewhouse

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Dryer Fire

Four minimum wage appliance technicians forced to play punk rock music after hours with no pay to promote the business they work for, 1-800-CALL-SLAPPY. All proceeds from this album go towards getting their boss more better cigars and hookers.

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 News: Denver punks Egoista stream new album “Having Fun is the Gateway Drug”

Denver punks Egoista came onto the scene in 2020 and just released their debut full-length Heyday early last year. Now they’re back with their sophomore album Having Fun is the Gateway Drug. Like the band’s inauguratal effort, this record is quite economical, as they manage to cram 13 songs into a neat little 19 minute […]

Denver punks Egoista came onto the scene in 2020 and just released their debut full-length Heyday early last year. Now they’re back with their sophomore album Having Fun is the Gateway Drug.

Like the band’s inauguratal effort, this record is quite economical, as they manage to cram 13 songs into a neat little 19 minute melodic punk package. Standout tracks include “The Game”, “Monday”, and “Hallows”.

Check out Having Fun is the Gateway Drug below.

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DS News: Frenzal Rhomb recording new album at the Blasting Room

Frenzal Rhomb have revealed they are recording a new album at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado. The studio which is owned and operated by legendary drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, ALL, Black Flag, etc.) has become a home away from home for the band. This will be the third consecutive LP they’ve recorded at […]

Frenzal Rhomb have revealed they are recording a new album at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado. The studio which is owned and operated by legendary drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, ALL, Black Flag, etc.) has become a home away from home for the band. This will be the third consecutive LP they’ve recorded at the Blasting Room.

Frenzal Rhomb’s last record Hi-Vis High Tea was released in 2017 on Fat Wreck Chords. The band’s next album will be their 10th full-length, and the first to feature new member Michael “Dal” Dallinger on bass. The former Local Resident Failure frontman took over for longtime bassist Tom Crease in 2019.

The Australian punk veterans have also announced they will finish off 2022 by celebrating their 30th Anniversary with a hometown show and art exhibit at Sydney’s Crowbar on Saturday, December 10th. More info on that can be found here.

Stay tuned for more details on Frenzal Rhomb’s next album, and follow the band on their socials for updates on the recording process.

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