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 Dying Scene Album Review: Forever Unclean – “Best”

Let’s give some love to the Danish punk scene. For years, the scene has become more and more noticeable and we have a lot of bands to thank for that. In September ‘19, when I was going through an insomnia-filled three days, I decided to go on a deep dive and that’s when I discovered […]

Let’s give some love to the Danish punk scene. For years, the scene has become more and more noticeable and we have a lot of bands to thank for that. In September ‘19, when I was going through an insomnia-filled three days, I decided to go on a deep dive and that’s when I discovered this band, and that might have been the second best thing to happen to me in that year. But let’s get on with this review. Back in January of 2022, a Danish skate-indie-punk trio called Forever Unclean released their first full-length LP via Nasty Cut Records (EU), Disconnect Disconnect Records (UK), and Hidden Home Records (US), consisting of 11 tracks. If you’re already familiar with Forever Unclean, they are pretty known for their short and one-worded title tracks, which we were introduced to on their EP’s Float, Woof, and Shreds. And that, much to my joy, is still the case with Best.

With Best, I took a different approach than starting from the top with “Dream.” When I first heard the record I decided to put it on “Shuffle” like some daredevil. The first song I heard, was “Kold” sung in the band’s native language Danish, and it became a favorite from the first guitar riff before the vocals come in. While it could fool one and sound uplifting and energetic, the lyrics do put another spin on the song. “Jeg er ligeglad nu”, translated to English “I don’t care right now”.  I’ll admit, speaking Danish myself, I do think it’s nice to see the band dabble in Danish, knowing that it might only be appreciated by their Danish fans. But they took a chance and it definitely paid off.

Next up is Mandy, a cute love note to someone special. “I really need a break from reality with you, with you”, this song is unbelievably catchy from the first verse, and then picks up its pace around the 30-second mark, once again showing off how the three-piece work so well together, from the supporting vocals laying a good background to Lasse’s raw, impressive vocals. This could become a fan favorite in no time. I’ll even go as far as saying, this song should be pushed a lot more; send it to someone you love next Valentine’s Day or Anniversary.

“Smile” is the penultimate song on Best, and opens with Leo’s carefree and rapid drumming. I find this song might be where he shines through, yet the way Lasse and Troels complement the drumming, with their talents on the guitar and bass, gives me at best, ‘90s grunge vibes towards the end, probably why it deserves a mention. While I love punk, getting that hint of grunge from anyone has me hooked when I pick it up.

While I could give a track-by-track review of the record, I believe you need to check it out yourself and not get too influenced by a review. I’ll say this: the record packs punch after punch and you’ll only be glad you heard it. Even from listening to their previous material for three years, it’s very clear how these guys have grown into the band and with each other, the raw emotions transferred in the lyrics, while the instruments play some more uplifting music go with them. Throughout the record, you will are met with short songs, but they pack a lot and there’s no dropping the ball on this record. The trio does know how to properly mash genres, borrowing from the early ‘90s rock, and fast-paced pop-punk, and showing how not all indie music has to be quiet and can take a punch to it. The emotional display that we are met with on the album really benefits the band lyrical-wise, as a few bands before them haven’t been shy of showing a different emotional range on their records. Forever Unclean does it differently, with shorter and more packed songs with lyrics that make you reflect since I could ask them if they were doing a lot of self-reflecting while writing.

From the first listening, I knew this record was going to be on my top ten AoTY List, and I’m glad to say it still is even with all the releases that came this year.

If you want to catch them, they are supporting ALLDEEPENDS and Sewer Cats on selected dates, starting already Friday, November 18th in Copenhagen!

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Citizen

Citizen is a rock band from Michigan that formed in 2009.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself? 

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs? 

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

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


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

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

VS: “All of it.

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

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

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

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

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

VS: “Nationality.

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

VS: “Kick in the Eye.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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


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

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

FP: “Argentina winning.

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

FP: “Rooting for Argentina and France.”

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

FP: “Yes, still do occasionally.”

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

FP: Domingos by Dos Minutos.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Photos bv Stoned Spider Photography

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

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


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

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


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

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


Frank Casillas by Photo by Dana Krashin

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

DS: What was the inspiration for this album?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: You also ride motorcycles?

FC: Oh god yes!

DS: What is your main ride currently?

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

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

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

DS: Ride solo? How often in a group?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Thank you.

FC: Thank you.


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

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DS Exclusive: Modern Shakes premiere music video for brand new single “Watch it Flicker”, from upcoming album “A Bolt From The Blue”

London punks Modern Shakes are releasing their debut album A Bolt from the Blue on May 24th, and today we’re stoked to be premiering the brand new single “Watch it Flicker”. Check out the music video below! “This song is about diving into a 17 year old flame that was rekindled on the brink of human […]

London punks Modern Shakes are releasing their debut album A Bolt from the Blue on May 24th, and today we’re stoked to be premiering the brand new single “Watch it Flicker”. Check out the music video below!

“This song is about diving into a 17 year old flame that was rekindled on the brink of human existence. Assume we only get one chance at this life. Fear not of the heartache, and pain that we must carry to make it to the end. Keep on shining, don’t be afraid to flicker.” -Philosophical musings from Modern Shakes on their new single “Watch it Flicker”

A Bolt from the Blue is being co-released by these fine labels: Punk Rock Radar and Double Helix are bringing it to the US, Disconnect Disconnect and Cat’s Claw Records are holding it down in the UK, and Fond of Life and Keep it a Secret Records have you covered in Europe. So no matter where you are in the world, you can – and should – buy this record!

This premiere is brought to you in part by Punk Rock Radar. If you’d like your band’s music video to be premiered by Dying Scene and Punk Rock Radar, go here and follow these instructions. You’ll be on your way to previously unimagined levels of fame and fortune in no time!

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DS Exclusive: Never Erased Compilation from Say-10 Records

Even though we weren’t up and running for most of the month of June, we still wanted to make sure we acknowledged PRIDE Month and what better way to do that than with the first ‘Post-Resurrection’ DS Exclusive Stream! This kick ass comp consists of LGBTQIA artists from across the musical spectrum and will be […]

Even though we weren’t up and running for most of the month of June, we still wanted to make sure we acknowledged PRIDE Month and what better way to do that than with the first ‘Post-Resurrection’ DS Exclusive Stream!

This kick ass comp consists of LGBTQIA artists from across the musical spectrum and will be the first in an ongoing series. Say-10 Records will be donating 50% of the profits from sales of the album to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

A digital version of the comp will be included with every transaction, with the mp3s available immediately after purchase instead of having to wait until 7/29 when it officially releases on all digital platforms. Preorder here!

Also worthy of note, all LP orders will come with a zine that has contributions from all of the artists. Some bands included lyrics, while others opted for something more political, and some just included a little about themselves. See one of the entries below. Cool!

There’s no field guide, road map, manual, blueprint for being a queer musician. You aren’t given any starter kit the first time you decide to play that first chord, connect in a barely air conditioned basement with some friends and try to start a “band.” No one tells you how to answer questions like, “Why don’t you sing like a girl?” or “Do you feel like it’s more economical these days to be a queer-fronted band?” (There’s also no lessons on how to apply your makeup in a dimly lit venue bathroom mirror half covered in band stickers from 1996, but that’s besides the point.) In spite of all that, there’s something pretty amazing about the process. Music has always been subtle, communal magick, creating a sound that helps someone else understand the shape and scope of how you’re feeling inside. It’s why the punk rock ethos and the queer experience have always been so interconnected – we need to know that we’re all out there asking these big questions, figuring ourselves out, picking ourselves up and telling each other that we’re not alone. Speaking from my own experiences with gender and sexuality, there’s always been this nebulous, twisted ball of space dust and frustration swirling in my chest, trying to figure out who it’s supposed to be. My guess is that some of you listening to this record understand that feeling. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s actually part of what makes you beautiful. So here we are, and here you are. This is a compilation of several queer musicians who have come together because music binds us, draws us together and lets us know we all feel these big frustrating, nebulous, wonderful questions. So, whether you’re starting a band, making art, speaking out, or just finding the courage to be who you are amidst the stupidity of a world that doesn’t feel shaped for you – consider this a little field guide. Or at least a message of encouragement: do things your way, always.

-Sarah Rose (Sarah and the Safe Word)

Release Info
1st Pressing:
/250 on Eco Friendly Lps (shipping around the end of the year)
/100 Tapes (shipping in July)
/1000 Zines (shipping around the end of the year)

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DS Exclusive: Riot Fest 2022 – Day 2 (Yellowcard, Bad Religion, 7Seconds, Yungblud, Gogol Bordello and more)

Day 2 of Riot Fest 2022 took place on September 17th. The temperatures rose and because it was a Saturday, so did the crowd size. It was a day of both music and expressions of solidarity with one nation under attack. Red Scare Industries’ No Trigger was assigned to the smallest music stage in the […]

Day 2 of Riot Fest 2022 took place on September 17th. The temperatures rose and because it was a Saturday, so did the crowd size. It was a day of both music and expressions of solidarity with one nation under attack.


Red Scare IndustriesNo Trigger was assigned to the smallest music stage in the park, the Rebels stage. However, that did not stop the boys from Boston from giving a powerful performance, including the tunes “Antifantasy,” “Holy Punks,” “No Tattoos,” and “Neon National Park.” There is little doubt in my mind, or at least lots of reason to hope, that No Trigger will be promoted to a larger stage at its next Riot Fest appearance. I’m not much of a gambler but I’ll take the bet that they will indeed be back at the festival, and sooner than later.


Fans of Bully were fortunate to not only see one of their favorites treat them to a fantastic set, but they did so from the Radicals Stage. That stage provided the most shade and the coolest setting on an otherwise boiler of a day. Rolling through “Trash,” ”Where to Start, ”Stuck in Your Head, ”Kills to Be Resistant, ”Milkman,” “Hate and Control,” “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues” Bully gave the crowd what it was looking forward to and needed.


A formidable amount of joy was felt as The Joy Formidable took over the Roots stage. That line might be of questionable quality, however, the performance by the pride and the Formidable Joy of Mold, Flintshare, Wales (ok, I’ll stop now) was quite palpable.  The band, presently based in London, and composed of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd Davies, and Matthew James Thomas performed solidly a set that included “The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade,” “Y Bluen Eira,” “Sevier,” “CSTS (Come See the Show),” and “Whirring.”


The Get Up Kids were one of the 2022 Riot Fest bands doing an “album play” set. The album in this case was its classic Four Minute Mile on its 25th Anniversary. Though not dedicated to running legend Roger Bannister, as the title might suggest to near-lifelong runners (such as myself), it does feature track runners on the cover. More importantly, the band’s debut studio album transformed the members of the group into stars of the emo punk sub-genre. For attendees who became fans at the album’s first release and those just discovering its music, it was great to hear the full track listing, including, “Stay Gold Ponyboy,” “Lowercase West Thomas,” “Washington Square Park,” “Michelle With One “L”,” and “I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel.”


7Seconds announced their retirement in 2018, citing health issues as the primary reason. For that reason, the band appearing at Riot Fest this year was especially compelling. The band returned to touring earlier this year as support for Circle Jerks, alongside Negative Approach. Sammy Siegler sat in the drum chair in place of Troy Mowat, whose health issues continue to keep him sidelined. Kevin Second’s voice was strong and the setlist featured many entries from the band’s classic 1984 album The Crew. The album was remastered and reissued in deluxe style by Trust Records in 2021. Among them: “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,“ Not Just Boys Fun,” “This Is the Angry,” “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,” “Not Just Boys Fun. 7Seconds also played “We’re Gonna Fight,” plus covered “99 Red Balloons” by Nena.


For those who might not know, Alexisonfire is from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and named after an American porn actress. There was some controversy surrounding that latter fact but let’s move now to its Riot Fest appearance. It was a crowd pleaser, featuring in the setlist “Accidents,” Boiled Frogs,” “Sweet Dreams of Otherness,” “Pulmonary Archery,” and “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners.” For a hot late summer day, near that stage was a pretty cool place to hang.


Yungblud is an excitable boy (a nod to Warren Zevon there) and an exciting performer. Dressed in black dress pant style shorts held up by a single suspender over a long sleeve black and white striped shirt added up to him looking a bit like a post-modern day Pinocchio sans the pointy cap. Yungblud’s infectious charm was obvious, as he bounced across the stage almost nonstop through “The Funeral,” “superdeadfriends,” “parents,” “Tissues,” “I Love You, Will You Marry Me,” among others. His set ended with a show of support for the Ukrainian activists at the festival as the English rising star brought a group of them onstage. The Ukrainian flag being held high by said activists demonstrated again the solidarity for the war-torn nation on display at Riot Fest 2022.


Bad Religion is yet another of what I call FORFs — Friend of Riot Fest. As in, the band is a regular part of the festival’s lineups over the years. This should continue ad infinitum. They are a brilliant group every bit deserving of the word legend which has long been attached to them and the innumerable tattoo tributes across the globe. One crowd member expressed their love with the BR symbol shaved into and painted onto his skull. Meeting Greg Graffin for the first time, in the media tent, he exuded humility and kindness. Graffin: “Hi I’m Greg.” Me, in an attempt to be professional and not fan girl the PhD Punk icon from one my top 5 bands: “Thanks, I gotta go shoot 7Seconds now.” Yes, I’m a dork. But I’d hazard a guess Graffin was ok with that awkward bailing out. Back to their performance though. When the music kicked in Graffin, Jay Bentley, Brian Baker, Mike Dimkich, and Jamie Miller got straight to the point with “Recipe for Hate.” That was followed by “New Dark Ages” and “Fuck You.” With so many classics over the decades of its existence, the band couldn’t possibly hit all of them. However, it did a pretty good damn job of getting in a lot of them. Among those they drove through were “Dept. of False Hope, “We’re Only Gonna Die,” “Suffer,” and “21st Century (Digital Boy),” They concluded the set with “Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell,” “Sorrow,” and my personal favorite, “American Jesus.” Whew and Wow. That about sums up Bad Religion in general and its Riot Fest performance in particular.


Gogol Bordello returned to Riot Fest as a replacement for Bauhaus which had to cancel its American tour due to lead singer Peter Murphy entering rehab. The Gypsy Punks released their latest album, Solidaritine, just one day before its set at Douglass Park. It appeared clear a priority for the band was to continue increasing and solidifying support for Ukraine and its efforts to fight back against Russian Vladimir Putin, his government, and the Russian military (Putin, of course, directed the military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022). Earlier in the day, Eugene Hutz, the Boyarka native singer of Gogol Bordello, participated in a moving tribute to his homeland in a performance alongside a Ukrainian dance troupe. The full band known for its rousing performances did not disappoint as they ran through “Immigrant Punk,” “Wanderlust King,” ”My Companjera,” “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” “Think Locally, Fuck Globally,” and “Mishto!”


Yellowcard was one of the three Saturday Night headliners. The band performed in full, its fourth album, also its major label debut, 2003’s Ocean Avenue. Way Away,” released as the album’s first single, and credited as Yellowcard’s injection into the realm of mainstream popularity, started off the set. Title tune “Ocean Avenue,” was followed by ”Empty Apartment,” and “Life of a Salesman.” The rest of the album including “Miles Apart,”  “Twentythree,” “View From Heaven,” “One Year, Six Months,” “Back Home” took diehard Yellowcard fans on a nostalgia trip. But what a trip!


See more Riot Fest 2022 day 2 photos below!


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DS Exclusive: Riverboat Gamblers on the Re-Release of “Something To Crow About,” the Band’s Roots and its Legacy.

The Riverboat Gamblers are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its 2003 Something to Crow About. The band decided it was a good time to reflect on the significance of the record. I asked the below questions of two of The Riverboat Gamblers’ band members, singer Mike Wiebe (MW) and guitar player Ian MacDougall (IM). I also […]

The Riverboat Gamblers are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its 2003 Something to Crow About.

The band decided it was a good time to reflect on the significance of the record. I asked the below questions of two of The Riverboat Gamblers’ band members, singer Mike Wiebe (MW) and guitar player Ian MacDougall (IM). I also spoke to the pair about how the Riverboat Gamblers came to be and where it is now. Along with Wiebe and MacDougall, the band also includes Fadi El-Assad on lead guitar, Rob Marchant on bass, and Sam Keir on drums.

On Something to Crow About:

(NOTE: The Q&A below has been edited and condensed for content/clarity’s sake.)

MG: How did the decision to re-release the record come about?

IM: “We’ve been wanting to have all of our releases available and we wanted to start with the one that’s been unavailable the longest.

MG: Was it simply a matter of 20 years being a milestone amount of time? 

IM: “This record is really special to all of us and to have it back is awesome. 20 years just happened to be how long it had been when we got it back. It sort of lined up perfectly.”

MG: How long have been planning/working on the re-issue?

 IM: “I had met this great dude John Kastner over the years touring in other bands and he helped facilitate this so we that we could re-release this ourselves and have it distributed properly. Everything has been pretty in house here now which is at the time great.

MG: What went into the decision-making as far as the artwork and presentation of the re-release?

IM:As far as artwork etc. We brought in original bass player Pat Lillard that recorded on this album, to help update some things. We added a quote from producer Tim Kerr and changed some fonts around that had always bugged some of us.

McDougall summed it up with:

We got a great remaster from Jack over at Enormous Door here in Austin. He really woke this thing up and gave it a shower, shave and a hot pot of coffee.


Mike Wiebe (vocals) “Long story short- after Gearhead went under it was tied up for a bit…

MG: Reflecting on the album now, were you aware or did you have a sense of how special it was at the time and how important in might become in the future (and now history) of The Riverboat Gamblers?

MW:I knew we worked really hard on it we were happy with it but no, I didn’t really know how special it was and that it would be such an important factor in our lives 20 years later. I knew people liked it at the time but it’s kind of hard to see or feel that stuff when you have nothing to compare it to. ”

MG: Was it simply a matter of 20 years being a milestone amount of time? 

MW: “In editing the video for “Rattle Me Bones” a few weeks ago and looking at all the old footage of us playing I really started to feel the weight of all of it. I think for the most part I/we are always kind of moving forward and thinking about the next record or the next project and I don’t really take a lot of time to reflect on that stuff. So it was nice to look back and really appreciate how lucky it is to have the experience of a little magical pocket where everything kind of clicked at the same time.”  


On the Past, Present, and Future of The Riverboat Gamblers


MG: How have things changed since you started the band? Have your goals been met and are there new goals?

MW: “I mean it’s you know it’s completely different. I mean we were little babies when we started. I know the band’s over like 25 years old I think. The band can rent a car. You know, the (band) living on its own, can vote and drink and everything.

Honestly my goal is just like I just want to see the band name on a screen-printed poster. I want to have a 7-inch out like that was that was the big goal or whatever.”

MG: What was scene like back when you started?

MW: “So, (back) then you know, we were in Denton, TX. It was really just like playing these house shows mostly, and the scene was really big and booming then. Right when Green Day was like blowing up and Rancid and all these bands. 

My friend calls it the “Gilman Gold Rush.” It was something to sign all these punk bands. It was just this really exciting fun time to be a band in Denton Texas because Denton, this little suburb outside of Dallas where there was like one or two clubs. 

So, there’s all these old houses that everybody lived in kind of, you know, just college kids and we were just throwing these house shows, and it became this really kind of like underground famous place to play a show at the time for touring bands. Touring bands, a lot of times, they would skip Dallas. They would skip a club show in Dallas to play Denton because – especially punk bands would do that – because that was such a popular place. It was just kind of like this known fact that like if you come, you do a show in Denton. A lot of times like this you’re like, you know, a smaller touring punk band. It’s going to be the best show of your whole tour and the word kind of got out.”


MW: “So, between all the houses we were living at, there was there was just plenty of opportunities to play and like kind of cut chops as it were. And so, we were just kind of like playing shows all the time and setting up shows and kind of making connections for when we were going to go out, ultimately later.

I would say, I mean, I would think this started up when I was like 20-ish, you know? Probably 20, like 19, 20… This is, this is before Something to Crow About. But yeah, this is maybe even before the Gamblers, like when the scene was just kind of getting started. But we were all in different bands and you know? Fadi and I were in a band together and then some of the other guys, we all, everybody kind of just started playing in multiple bands. And sometime, you know, over the course of a couple years, we all started Gamblers together.” 


MG: I have always had an interest in the origin of band names. How did you come up with the name The Riverboat Gamblers?

MW: “I don’t remember exactly all except for kind of It was at the time, band names were really, and felt like, you know, our purview that, like a lot of bands were…there’s a lot of very…emo at the same time. The emo movement was like, really kind of up-and-coming. It was kind of like the pre, before emo kind of became what it is like now. Or what it would become. 

But the emo movement was very like pretentious long-winded names, you know? I mean you know you name your band after some obscure French poets. Then there’s like a band called something like – and they might have been great, I don’t mean to disparage them – but their name was Fall into the Seer and the Yellow Leaf, and there was always very like very and on the flipside of that, the pop punk bands would kind of be like The Veronicas! or you know, the Choppy Boys or whatever. And so we were, The Riverboat Gamblers seemed like it stuck out in a weird way. At the time I think we liked it kind of sounded like a little bit more like oh this could be like a country band or like a classic rock band.

Yeah, it kind of fits there. Texas swagger to it which ultimately, it’s fine, but there was a period where it kind of bit us in the ass, because it was like everybody just assumed because we were from Texas and called The Riverboat Gamblers that we were like a stand-up bass rockabilly band. And everywhere we go it would be like ‘what rockabilly band in town are you going to play with?’ Rockabilly can be great and all, but at some point it was it was like…it was a little bit of effort in like no, that’s not, you know, that’s not what we want to do. We’re not in that world you know, and that was what it felt like and can’t accept it, that people the world kept trying to put us into that universe and was a little bit of effort to not stay in there. 

But there was a lot of that in the Dallas area. There was at that time, especially.

IM: Yeah, Dallas had the Rockabilly thing. I feel like Dallas has like a huge skinhead thing too here as well but…Because there’s also less of a line between. But it was. It was. I remember being a kid and being freaked out going out to shows for sure for a while there. It was kind of a mix. I feel like there was. I feel like with any of that stuff, there’s always going to be some sort of, you know, people coming out of the woodwork. 


MG: Ian how did you get involved with the Gamblers?

IM: “I met the guys when I was probably like, the guys in Gamblers. I met them when I was probably about 15 and I caught the tail end of what Mike was talking about. Like the house shows, and the Gamblers were already a band. They were kind of playing around and yeah, I would go and see them. And then eventually, like, go up to them and I met all the guys. There was a record store across the street from my school [in Carrolton, TX, where MacDougall lived at the time] called CD Addict. And I’d go there after school and I bought a Buzzcocks record from, you know, it’s just like, oh, I’ve always wanted to check this out and I bought a Buzzcocks record and the guy behind the counter was like, oh man, well if you like this, you might really love my brother’s band. And that band was The Marked Men. And it was Jeff Burke’s brother. [Jeff Burke plays bass player for The Marked Men. His brother, Mark Burke, opened CD Addict in Carrollton, and now owns Mad World Record Shop in Denton] And so, I came back, and I was like, I love this. He was like, well, they’re actually playing this weekend. He gave me a flyer and I got my buddy to give me a ride and we both went up to the show and saw The Marked Men. And I don’t remember who else was on the show. It might have been The Marked Men and The Dirty Sweets.

For me, when I was a kid going there like Mike, I had a little bit different of an experience with it because I didn’t live there and so I would come up. [Carrolton is just under 25 miles southeast of Denton] I mean, I spent like all of my time up here though and it was really cool to come up. And we had a really cool little group. I would come up whenever I got out of school, and everybody else is still working jobs or not working, and we would just all hang out at somebody’s house and then there would be a show there or something like that at night. And because it was a college town, every house would be having some party or something and so we would just like walk around and go in just like party hop and then eventually go to some show and then you end up back in somebody’s house staying the night or hanging out staying up listening to records and stuff.”


MG: Mike, what was Ian like, with him being much younger? Do you recall what you thought of the kid at time?

MB: “I was 10 years, yeah, about 10 years older. You could say who you know who you are. Again, kind of game meet game as far as like somebody that’s into the same type of music. It’s still, you know, even though that was defined as a cool Bohemian (place), Denton it wasn’t like this is the sort of specific style of punk music style of. Punk music and stuff that we were into was a little bit more obscure. So, you know, Ian kind of came in and like kind of had the same background of genres of rock and roll and punk music and stuff like that. So, it was really easy. Old soul too. And I’m very immature. So it was easy to kind of meet there and then when we recorded Something To Crow About and he didn’t play on that but right after, right after we recorded it, we started touring a whole bunch. He hopped in the van with us and our guitar player couldn’t do it because it was looking like an extensive amount of touring, and it was more than he could do for work and stuff. That’s when the band kind of went from being a weekend warrior band to kind of like a full-time deal. Ian was just graduating high school.


MG: Ian, what was it like to tour so young, and being too young for some of the venues?

IM: “That was around was in the mid -90s. Around the first tour that I did with Gamblers, you know I was pretty young. I wasn’t 21. We toured with this band Burning Brides for the first tour that we did together and Burning Brides they had that advance money where they got money. We were still in the van and trailer but they had a bus on this tour. And so, there were a lot of shows where I couldn’t go in. I could go in and do sound checks, play the show, but I couldn’t hang out. And so they would let me come and hang out on the bus. I just watched TV in the back with Dimitri [Coats] the singer in Burning Brides. It was, you know, just hanging out.


MG: So now you both are in the band. How long before you starting hitting the goals, like you had the 7 inch and next…

MW: “It felt pretty natural, but there was definitely some huge buzz surrounding Something To Crow About. We toured and toured on that record for a long time and shortly thereafter it was time for the next record. And so around then it’s when things really started changing because, you know, we wanted to do something bigger scope and to get out there. I don’t know, there were demos that were floating around that we had done and then there were, you know, we started working on songs and so we actually were talking about working with all these different producers and labels and you know, the people that really came out and really went above and beyond to show us that they cared were Volcom. Volcom Entertainment. They had a really great team of people, and you know we were kind of like gonna be their first dance. They were kind of basically treating us like it was going to be their first real big like “we’re going to go all in on this” (thing).

And that’s really where it started to feel like things were changing because all of a sudden we’re living in an apartment at the Oakwoods (Apartments in Los Angeles), which like actors and other bands and were there for like a month and we have an allowance and where So, all of a sudden we’re in LA for like, you know, for a month or more. I feel like it feels like so long that we were out there, but we all lived in an apartment together and we were out there, you know. It wasn’t uncommon. This was, like, a super common thing for bands to go out there and live at this giant apartment complex, that was for like entertainment industry folks. So, there was a lot of actors there. Here was I remember like being in a swimming pool with Pat, our old bass player and like all the kids from Malcolm (In The Middle) on the grounds.

IM: “Like that, like sort of that thing where, yeah, like we go to the gym and there would be like Garrett Morris from Saturday Night Live. It’s crazy, but around then you know, and then afterwards, we were working on a record with this guy Andrew Murdock. Same things, as he went above and beyond to really prove that he wanted to do this record and because of that, we knew that we wanted to spend more time on Confusion. You know this is my first experience. I had recorded stuff in the past, (but this was) my first experience like, you know, working with the guys and Gamblers in the studio and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun working on that record.

MW: “During that was that was that during a time it was a cool experience. Not that I thought like oh it’s going to be like this every time. I think I knew it was kind of special but now in retrospect like wow what a unique experience.” 

IM: “Cool, weird, lucky thing that we got to do that. A lot of bands maybe don’t get to do that. And you know, we didn’t really get to do it yet. But it was, yeah, it was what years were those? That’s when there was still money in the music industry. Remember that one, 2005 maybe? [Mike adds: “yeah something like that “].”

MG: When did you notice the crowds getting bigger. When the floors where you were earlier on the bill were filling up? Was out slow or all of a sudden?

IM: “It was at around the time that we started this touring constantly and there was headlining stuff, and also a lot of like support act stuff. But for big bands, where we were actually playing, we went from playing little clubs to getting to open up for bigger bands in really big rooms. And noticing the people were staying for the early acts and I think that was just like from touring.”

MW: “It took a really long time to get to get used to that. I think maybe it was everybody else acquiesced easier. But for me, it took a long time to get used to, like figuring out the animal of those big stages far away from the crowd. There’s like less people to try and figure out how to translate that. To do what we had been doing, what I had been doing in those little clubs, and to try and translate that to giant things. Well, it was slow. Like you notice here and there in some towns, I mean there’d be little pockets of like ohh wow we just kind of leveled up in this one area.

For us was really slow. We never really had an overnight kind of thing you know and never any like real…umm… navigating all of it was pretty confusing and weird and still is just the business side of music. The business part is something we’re still kind of, you know…I mean I think we’re more aware of it now but now of course it’s changed so much but back then it was, like, confusing. Really confusing.

MG: How soon did you get out of Texas and start doing national tours, criss-crossing the country?

IM: “That was like immediately. I mean like the first tour that I did with Gamblers like we, it was a full U.S. tour and all of these things that we did when they were all like we would go out like everywhere. And that’s one thing. It’s like getting out of Texas. I remember that always being like, oh, we got to start this tour in New York. So, we would drive 24 hours from Austin or Denton and go straight to go and meet some tour out in like. New York or like Morongo, California…that’s where we started the X and Rollins tour. And these things would go all over the place  We would go all over the place and then we’d hop over to Europe and play everywhere you possibly could over there too.

MG: What was the first huge tour and was there any nervousness or sense of starstruckness?

IM: “I think you know like we the the one of the like one of the bigger ones that we went on early on like we toured with Flogging Molly and that was like that was a pretty big one…but there was no like starstruckness with that. I think when we had when we toured with X and the Rollins Band. That was when it was like, like, holy shit, there’s that dude from Black Flag. And then that’s X Oh my God. 

And then it was cool to the eventually like befriend these people. Like, I remember an experience in DC and being at the 9:30 Club and sitting there and talking with Ian McKaye and Henry Rollins, like about about Eater. You know, this old 70s punk band. I was wearing an Eater T-shirt and they were like, “Can you believe that there’s kids wearing an Eater T-shirt?” We were talking about that. And I was like, Oh my God, this is so crazy. I got pictures from that still from that night and I look like I’m a child. And then we toured with Joan Jett and that was another very like, wow.

MG: And were they all pretty cool with you?

IM: “Yeah, everybody, we got along with pretty much everybody we’ve toured with. Yeah, yeah, for the most part. That’s the cool thing with this band and its experiences. Not only are you meeting all of these band people, but you’re meeting the crew as well that worked for these folks. And like the world is so, so small, you know. Because I mean, like eventually, I started working in in crew stuff, doing tour management stuff. And you know, lifer types, you’re going to run into these people like 10 years from now. And it’s been pretty neat because it’s all been from, you know, our time with Gamblers. And I’ve worked with some of these crew members that we met in the early days when I was a teenager and, you know, worked with them like, you know, 10 or 15 years later.

MG: Looking back have your views on the scene changed? Are you still as eager?

MW: “Yeah, well, I mean like I think for me it’s, you know, getting older and still doing it and still feeling like there is no room and stuff to say. And the goals are a lot different, like all that hype and stuff is not…you know we’re not young anymore. So, the only reason to keep doing it, not that we were doing it for any other reason before, but the only reason to do it really when you’re older is because you still really love it, and it’s you like creating music and performing it and stuff like that.

I mean, you know, it’s less about like, well let’s get out there and conquer the world, touring and stuff. It’s more like let’s keep it real pure, like let’s just make some cool shit because there’s not any pressure of like being super, super full-time with it in that way. There’s not any you know…we’re kind of on our own right now. There’s just not that like vice-like pressure of like, well, we gotta tour six months out of the year and we have to, you know, fulfill this record, by this date, by this time for these people. It’s more just like, no, we wanna do it. So, no time limit. It’s just, it’s just for the for the love of the game.

IM: As we got older, people go off and do other things and start families, but we’ve always been writing music together. We had all this time, like our last record came out in 2012. And I mean, we have songs from back then that didn’t get released, that only for the sheer fact that they didn’t really fit kind of the vibe of the record. It wasn’t like they were kind of throwaway things.

So, we’re kind of revisiting a lot of stuff and we’re also. I mean Mike and I and Fadi and Rob, you know, like we constantly have these ideas that we’re in little song demos and stuff that we’re shooting each other. It’s a cool thing.

Everyone’s like, you know, the guys with kids, the kids are old enough now that that, you know, they can kind of get away for a little bit to hop in the studio and knock out some stuff or we can go and do these weekends. And so right now it’s sort of like, you know, picking up the pieces a lot. For things, you know, because all of our labels that we had releases on, they’ve all dissolved.

So going back and getting these records back available for everybody that want them and making sure that you know…like Something To Crow About was out of print for, you know, over 15, close to 20 years. And you know, it’s kind of like a shame that nobody could buy it at the merch table, because it’s still like 80% of our set are those songs.

And so we got that back together and we’re going to rerelease Confusion as well, or repress it. And we’re also just like we did a 7-inch last year. Over this last year for the songs, one of them is super old, but you know, nobody heard it, so it’s brand new. There’s that new generation and hopefully you know hopefully also reading Dying Scene will help our little tiny bit but just getting out there and yeah word of mouth.

MW: You know, like what is? I’m just excited to make new stuff. You know it’s always…this band has been around for so long and there’s like a core of what we are, what we keep. We’ve always kind of evolved and tried to do a little bit different stuff and you know now being so old and like it’s kind of like I said like I feel this real…there’s no… I don’t really feel a lot of pressure that I might have even like 10 years ago of what a record should or shouldn’t be. Like I have in my head some stuff that I want, some parameters that I think that we should kind of be, that the Riverboat Gamblers are in my opinion. But it’s still it’s still really open and it’s really like the thought not that we were ever like, you know, overthinking like well what what are people going to like? But now the thought doesn’t really necessarily cross my mind so much. It’s more just like, man, let’s just get in there and make some cool stuff and that feels pretty good.”

MG: Mike, I was incredibly impressed with your energy level at the show at Reggies [late 2022). Are you finding more aches after a show and are you more careful now about that type of thing?

MW: “I find aches and I’m 48 and I find aches without playing a show. Like, I’m definitely stretching. I’m stretching as we’re talking right now because I’m about to go into the studio and just knowing that I’m going to be on my feet for a long time, I’m making sure I get my stretches in.  

I’m just a little bit more careful. I think, when the mood strikes me, I’ll do whatever I feel like. here’s a little bit more like, let me look and see where I’m going to fall. Well, there’s a little voice in my head that says, like, how we can’t recover like we used to. Yeah, you know, the Wolverine’s healing factor. And now? Not so much.


The Riverboat Gamblers recently announced its Inaugural “AC Hell Festival” set for October 14, 2023. The band will be playing Something to Crow About in its entirety. The bill also features, amongst others, The Starving Wolves, The Get Lows and User Uauthorized. Further information on the event and tickets can be found here.

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DS Exclusive: Watch Tess & The Details’ music video for their new single “Runaway”; debut album coming soon on Double Helix Records

San Francisco punk rock four piece Tess & The Details are gearing up to release their debut album Runaway next month on Double Helix Records. We’re stoked to bring you the music video for the brand new single, the album’s title track. Check it out below! Tess & The Details is fronted by Tess Stevens, […]

San Francisco punk rock four piece Tess & The Details are gearing up to release their debut album Runaway next month on Double Helix Records. We’re stoked to bring you the music video for the brand new single, the album’s title track. Check it out below!

Tess & The Details is fronted by Tess Stevens, with Gideon Berger (ex-Useless ID) on drums, Pity Party’s Dustin Galecki on lead guitar, and Lawrence Hood on bass. The band’s 12-song debut LP Runaway is due out November 14th. My fellow collector nerds can get the record on three different awesome vinyl color variants here here.

Upcoming shows:

Saturday, October 14th – Crepe Place, Santa Cruz
Sunday, October 15th – Kilowatt, San Francisco
Friday, October 20th – Tamarack, Oakland

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DS Exclusive: Watch The Carolyn’s new video for their awesome cover of the Cranberries’ classic “Salvation”

Happy Wednesday, comrades! Another super rad Dying Scene exclusive for your eyeballs today. It comes to us from Atlanta-based punks The Carolyn. It’s for a track from the band’s new EP, Harmful History, which is due out this coming Friday (6/9 – nice) on 59x Records and it’s a track that should sound familiar especially […]

Happy Wednesday, comrades! Another super rad Dying Scene exclusive for your eyeballs today. It comes to us from Atlanta-based punks The Carolyn. It’s for a track from the band’s new EP, Harmful History, which is due out this coming Friday (6/9 – nice) on 59x Records and it’s a track that should sound familiar especially if you’re, like some of us, “of a certain age.” Yes, it’s a cover of none other than The Cranberries classic “Salvation,” which, for my money, is the best Cranberries song that you’re allowed to cover; “Zombie” is off-limits because it’s perfect and because, if you’re a dude, you’re going to get it wrong. ANYWAY, here’s what the band had to say about covering the track:

“We always enjoy capturing a bunch of b roll and tour happenings when possible, and we came back from our last European tour with a ton. Recording this cover was some of the most fun we’ve ever had in the studio, and it made sense for us to capture that.” 

Check out the video for “Salvation” below, and order your very own copy of Harmful History right here!

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