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Dentist

Band pic by: Nick Kiefer

Dentist comes from the oceanfront urban landscape of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Their sound combines the freedom of the beach atmosphere and the urgency of the city into a fuzzed out, surf punk-tinged brand of indie pop with hooks and infectious melodies to spare. The ethereal vocals of Emily Bornemann are countered by the sometimes aggressive, but always addictive sounds of Justin Bornemann on guitar and Matt Hockenjos on drums. 

         Dentist formed in 2013, built around the songwriting partnership of Emily and Justin. The pair had been writing songs and performing together in various ways since their first meeting at the legendary punk hangout, TGI Friday’s. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2014, which Pandora described as “a deliriously infectious collection of fuzzy, California-styled, indie pop jangle and sun dappled garage rock crunch.” 

         Dentist released their sophomore album, Ceilings in the summer of 2016 via Little Dickman Records to critical acclaim.  The band began touring regularly and Dentist’s notoriety continued to grow along the way. During this time period Dentist received praise from the likes of Stereogum, Noisey, Flood Magazine, and Collide and were also named one of the top bands at SXSW 2018 by The Mercury News and NPR’s Sound Opinions.  

         Dentist released their third album Night Swimming in July of 2018 on Cleopatra Record. Their strongest release to date, the album was described by The A.V. Club as having, “tight chemistry, killer hooks, and a distinctive sound that’s both lo-fi and retro-pop smooth.”  Following the release, Dentist embarked on a month long tour across the country. Dentist has been on bills with many national acts.  The list includes Television, A Giant Dog, White Reaper, Modest Mouse, Laura Stevenson, Mrs. Magician, Death by Unga Bunga, GYMSHORTS, River Boat Gamblers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Spider Bags to name a few.  In the fall of 2019, Dentist joined fellow Asbury Park duo Brick + Mortar on a 5 week US tour. They released the single “Someone Like You,” which was featured on Taco Bell’s ‘Feed the Beat’ website. 

         The beginning of 2020 was full of promise, but it took a hard turn that no one expected. Instead of making music that reflected on the depression that set in during lockdown, Dentist decided to work on an album that would inspire them and their listeners to hang in there and look forward to better times ahead. Dentist’s 4th album was released in September 2022 via Cleopatra Records. Goldmine Magazine boasted, “intense power-pop excitement.” New Noise Magazine vowed, “their strongest album yet.” The Punk Site declared, “easily this trio’s most accomplished, catchy and engaging album to date.” Glide Magazine added, “all sorts of ’90s power-pop vibes.” In addition, their most recent single “New Dress” was added to Spotify-curated playlist Fresh Finds: Rock. In October, the song “Spilled Coffee” was licensed by Hulu for their new show Power Trip. In September 2022, Dentist performed at Sea Hear Now Festival on the beach in New Jersey along with Green Day, Stevie Nicks, Boy George & Culture Club, My Morning Jacket, Gary Clark Jr. and others. In 2023, they plan to tour, including a West Coast run in the Spring. 

DS Albums Punk Forgot: Revisiting Night Surf’s 2017 debut EP “Blasted!”

This article is going to start the same way Night Surf‘s 2017 debut EP Blasted! does; straight to the point. The opening song “So Long” just fires into this EP while painting amazing apocalyptic imagery, which I am a huge sucker for. Call me old fashioned but heartfelt descriptions of the end of the world […]

This article is going to start the same way Night Surf‘s 2017 debut EP Blasted! does; straight to the point. The opening song “So Long” just fires into this EP while painting amazing apocalyptic imagery, which I am a huge sucker for. Call me old fashioned but heartfelt descriptions of the end of the world shouted over catchy pop-punk guitars just gets me fucking jacked. The execution in “So Long” is so perfect that you can’t help but scream along:

And I want you to know
That I don’t need to go
And we can stare at the dying sun
and wait for nuclear winter!
As long as you’re by my side
I’ll be ready when it’s our time to die
Say so long to the falling stars
So much for being so lucky!

Yeah. That hits the spot. Thankfully, there’s more where that came from. “This Is What It Takes” follows up with the same raw energy that’s felt throughout the EP. The harmonized shouted/sung vocals fit so well together and give a very sincere feeling to the albums’ lyrics.

“Straight To” continues with the directness and just blasts open. There isn’t any time to relax during the opening 3 songs on this EP. I mean, if your trying to relax and looking for rest periods between songs, an album named Blasted! is probably a bad place to start. That should be a given, really. But I digress. They all hit one after another and, along with their shorter run time, it adds to the chaos presented by the lyrical content. It’s so good to sing along to!

And I’m alone in an echo chamber
Living completely under the radar
And if I escape I hope I never
See your face again.

My hope is wasted on you!

Alright. I have to keep it down. My wife is trying to sleep and all of my shouting is getting the dogs all riled up. Whatevs. This EP rips. The closing track “Lungs and Throat” finally gives you a moment to catch your breath before it goes on another tear. It feels like the final act compared to the blistering and slammed opening track “So Long” and gives the album a feeling of closure and completeness. Bleak closure and completeness. Not triumphant but defeated yet accepting.

So far from home
Hoping for the best all alone
I’ve lost my direction
I gave up the ghost
I’m waiting for this moment to go.
With no one around to hold my hand
I’m heading to the dark all alone.

I head into the dark all alone.

And now you die alone!

Fuck it. It’s too good not to scream along to and I don’t care if it’s late. I’m screaming Night Surf in my office and I will apologize to no one!

This was a self released EP by Night Surf in 2017. I can’t remember exactly how I found it but I was hooked on it the first time I heard it. Since Blasted! was released in 2017, they have released 1 EP and 1 full length album. Blasted! is the perfect introduction to this Brooklyn based pop-punk band and is an album punk forgot.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself? 

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs? 

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

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


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

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

VS: “All of it.

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

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

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

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

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

VS: “Nationality.

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

VS: “Kick in the Eye.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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


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

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

FP: “Argentina winning.

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

FP: “Rooting for Argentina and France.”

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

FP: “Yes, still do occasionally.”

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

FP: Domingos by Dos Minutos.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: Did you ever play football/soccer yourself?

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

DS: Favorite Football related punk songs?

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


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

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DS Exclusive: Asbury Park’s Tide Bends unveil “Birthday,” brit-poppy new single from upcoming EP “Say Yeah”

Happy Friday, comrades! Today’s DS Exclusive premiere comes to us all the way from one of my favorite places…Asbury Park, New Jersey! We’ve brought you music from AP bands like Yawn Mower and Bristler in the recent past, and today we’ve got Tide Bends for your listening pleasure. The band features Yawn Mower/Bristler’s Rudy Meier […]

Happy Friday, comrades!

Today’s DS Exclusive premiere comes to us all the way from one of my favorite places…Asbury Park, New Jersey! We’ve brought you music from AP bands like Yawn Mower and Bristler in the recent past, and today we’ve got Tide Bends for your listening pleasure. The band features Yawn Mower/Bristler’s Rudy Meier (guitars) teaming up with David Hough (vocals/guitar), Dan Nolan (drums) and MJ Hancock (bass) for a sound that is a fresh, modern, swamps of Jersey-inspired take on classic Madchester Britpop goodness.

Tide Bends’ Say Yeah EP is due out June 21st on Mint 400 Records, and you can check their new single, “Birthday,” today! Enjoy, and pre-save the EP while you’re at it!

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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 Festival Recap: Riot Fest Day Three (The Academy Is…Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleater-Kinney, Lunachicks and more)

Day 3 of the Riot Fest took place in Chicago’s Douglass Park on September 18, 2022, with some of the most influential all-women or women led bands dominating the stages. Jawbox, the Washington D.C, iconic band founded in 1989, whose original run lasted until 1997, was welcomed back during its midday set. The bright sun […]

Day 3 of the Riot Fest took place in Chicago’s Douglass Park on September 18, 2022, with some of the most influential all-women or women led bands dominating the stages.


Jawbox, the Washington D.C, iconic band founded in 1989, whose original run lasted until 1997, was welcomed back during its midday set. The bright sun beating down on most of the band members’ faces did not cause a step lost as Jawbox gave the crowd a forceful performance. The set included “Mirrorful,” “Motorist,” ”Cooling Card,” “Static,” “Cutoff,” and “Savory.” The band members J. Robbins, Bill Barbot, Kim Coletta, and Zach Barocas also solidly covered “Lowdown” by Wire, and “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos. A hot set made the hot sun more bearable for the Sunday attendees.


Concrete Castles hit the Rebel Stage with the Ferris Wheel and other carnival rides in the sightline of many in the crowd. Vocalist Audra Miller, guitarist Matthew Yost, and drummer Sam Gilman held their fans’ attention with an effervescent set which included “Wish I Missed U,” “Half Awake,” “Sting,” “Just a Friend,” “Lucky,”  and “You Won’t See Me Again.” The Erie, PA band started out as the very popular cover band First to Eleven in 2009 before forming Concrete Castles in 2021. Young though the members may be – all three are in their early 20s they all perform with the maturity of confident musical veterans. That’s what they are, combined with a bright and hopefully long future creating terrific music.


Zola Jesus‘ bewitching performance immediately brought to mind Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, not just because of her flowing garments. The Merrill WI performer, known offstage as Nika Roza Danilova, has an ethereal stage presence, and her set including “Lost,” “Soak,” “Exhumed,” “The Fall,” “Sewn,” and “Undertow” made for as intriguing a performance as her stage name.


Lunachicks kicked off their set with some seriously iconic music, Bill Conti’s inspiring Oscar-nominated theme from Rocky “Gonna Fly Now.” This was the perfect walk-on song as the band appeared, as they always do, ready to fight (for issues in which they believe. Not physically. Though I’m guessing they can hold their own in that manner as well). Band members Theo Kogan, Gina Volpe, Sidney “Squid” Silver, and Chip English didn’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, they wore them on their jumpsuits, dresses and shirts. “Not Government Property,” “Roe Rage Riot,” and “Our Bodies, Our Choice,” were among the messages displayed prominently during a year in which The Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe V. Wade. Of course, feminist activism is engrained in the DNA of the band. The NYC band’s 2021 memoir “Fallopian Rhapsody” was met with critical acclaim. Lunachicks exhibited their signature power as they ripped through an extensive set including “Bad Ass Bitch,” “Say What You Mean,” “Jerk of All Trades,” “The Day Squid’s Gerbil Died,” “Luxury Problem,” and “Less Teeth More Tits.” A prodigious set indeed by voices perhaps more relevant than ever. Heroes we deserve? Probably not. Heroes we need? Most definitely.


One of Sleater-Kinney‘s first rehearsal spaces was located on Sleater-Kinney Road in Lacey Washington, nearby to Olympia, where the band was founded. The road from that road has been as long one for the now legendary Sleater-Kinney. Its set at Riot Fest 2022 once again proved why Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein continue to be so compelling, both as a band and as individuals. Among other tunes, the band performed “High in the Grass,” “Jumpers,” “All Hands on the Bad One,” “Bury Our Friends,” “Modern Girl,” and “The Center Won’t Hold.” Sleater-Kinney delivered a dynamic performance, one that makes us hope we won’t have to wait long before catching them again. Maybe at Riot Fest 2023?


Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O.’s signature black bowl hairstyle was partially obscured at the start of the band’s set by the topper of an elaborate bright, multi-colored outfit. The first sight of the outfit elicited wows from the crowd and other observers. Her bandmates, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase, clad in clothing nearly matching the night sky, and positioned further away from the spotlight focused on O. were partially obscured themselves. In any case, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s stood out as a shining example of what a great band can accomplish during a crowded festival weekend. The band performed “Spitting Off The Edge of the World,” and “Burning,” from its new album “Cool it Down.” The well-received album, its first new one since 2013’s “Mosquito,” was released just under two weeks post-Riot Fest, on September 30, 2022. The set also included “Zero,” “Wolf,” “Soft Shock,” “Cheated Hearts,” and “Under the Earth.” It was a fun set to watch and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are enjoyable to shoot photos of as well.


As Riot Fest was born in Chicago, it was fitting that the band with the latest scheduled set start time, by a mere 15 minutes, was from Chicago as well. Nine Inch Nails might have been presented as the Sunday night headliner but The Academy Is… did a pretty good job of drawing many members of the hometown crowd, as well as visitors too, away from Trent Reznor and his bandmates. The band returned to active status seven years after its farewell tour in 2015 and for those fans, seeing them again or for the first time, could not contain their enthusiasm. Band members William Beckett, Adam T. Siska, Mike Carden Andy “The Butcher” Mrotek rewarded their wait with an energetic set, performing “The Phrase That Pays,” “LAX to O’Hare,” “Bulls In Brooklyn,” “Black Mamba,” “We’ve Got a Big Mess on Our Hands,” “Checkmarks,” and “After the Last Midtown Show.” The Academy Is…also paid tribute to Material Issue, the immensely popular Chicago band active from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s, by covering the latter band’s song, “Very First Lie.” There was a special surprise for fans. Original band members Michael Del Principe and AJ LaTrace joined the others on stage to perform “Attention”  off their debut album, “Almost Here. “


Riot Fest 2022 was an exhausting and hot weekend full of great tunes and good times. As coverage of this year’s event winds down, we’re finding it difficult to take a full break from the event. After all, there’s Riot Fest 2023 in the works.

More photos from the final day of Riot Fest 2022 below!

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DS Festival Review: Copenhell Day 1 – The Offspring, Empire State Bastard, DVNE and more!

Once again, it’s time for a festival, and once again, it’s time for us to see some music and think about it. This time, we are heading to Copenhell – Denmark’s biggest Rock and Metal festival, but after this year – I would call it Denmark’s biggest alternative festival. Copenhell takes place a weekend in […]

Once again, it’s time for a festival, and once again, it’s time for us to see some music and think about it. This time, we are heading to Copenhell – Denmark’s biggest Rock and Metal festival, but after this year – I would call it Denmark’s biggest alternative festival.

Copenhell takes place a weekend in June every year, and people from all over the world come and celebrate music. This year, Dying Scene found their feet on the ground, and it’s nice being home for stuff like this. Because as we know, I live in Denmark, but up north, and I have a special relationship with the festival, but I don’t wear any rose-tinted glasses when I’m here.

This year is special, tho, because it’s my first year as our EU/UK coordinator, and that means I have a team of three other amazing people. Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen, Philip Onyx, and Sabina Hvass will give you some impressions of the festival and explain why we hope one of you, dear readers, will come along on the ride next year.


In Regards to Underoath

Underoath at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

The first band of my day. Maybe not everyone else’s, but Underoath made their return for the first time since 2017. And I honestly can’t say I was disappointed one bit. While Underoath is a highly energetic band, sometimes the energy can take over and become a slight hiccup for vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, who was making sure that everyone in the audience was moving. But didn’t have the microphone with him for a few songs, which wasn’t his fault. I’m looking at you, sound techs. But after that minor hiccup, Chamberlain came back strong, while Aaron Gillespie continues to prove that he knows how to drum and supply the clean vocals flawlessly. I mean, come on, he wasn’t breaking a sweat. And it did help that they varied set list, considering that it was a festival. I have zero complaints about it. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing a full concert with them.


 Did you say prog?

DVNE at Gehenna 19.06.2024
Photo by Philip Onyx

Before they were announced to play at Copenhell, I have to be upfront and say I had never heard of Dvne before. But seeing they were from a prog-rock band from Scotland, I needed to check them out. So, walking towards Gehenna, which, in my opinion, will always be one of the best stages Copenhell has. The sound on that stage USUALLY doesn’t fail, but for Dvne’s instance, today was the day that it decided to play some games. Dvne will hopefully find their way back… Maybe sooner rather than later.


Who the fuck is Empire State Bastard?

Empire State Bastard at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

Empire State Bastard is a band that consists of Simon Neil from the rock/post-hardcore band Biffy Clyro, Mike Vennart from Oceansize, and Dave Lombardo, the former Slayer drummer. It was an odd experience. First, I’ll say that the stage, Hades, was too big for them. They would have been better suited on Gehenna or Pandæmonium. But it was as it was. Now, I enjoyed their debut album, but it somehow got lost in translation because, for at least the first four songs they performed, they sounded a bit horrible. But after that, it did clean up a bit. I’m not going to dismiss this band after this performance because it was a first-time experience.


The Offspring, still got it?

The Offspring at Helviti
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

I may be the wrong person to ask this. Wednesday was only my second time seeing them, but I can happily say that it was the best performance I’ve seen from the band itself. The energy that they all displayed. They were in sync. From the moment that they all came out on stage, I felt the audience was very much ready to sing along to their all-time favorites. I was prepared to get proven different from that horrible set at Slam Dunk last year, which left me utterly shattered.

But kicking off with “Come Out and Play”, I knew from that moment that I was not getting a moment’s rest. But then again, I am such a fan girl that I was with friends in the pit. From that song, until they played their cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop”, people were not standing still. They even gave us an encore; no way in hell would they be allowed to leave the country if they hadn’t played “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” and “Self-esteem”. Dexter has been sounding amazing lately, and the rest of the band is just absolutely on fire. Noodles was even impressed that he hadn’t fucked anything up yet.

But jokes aside, this is a serious review. The Offspring are more than they have ever been, sound-wise, and they managed to put together the dream setlist. Is there a new one in there? Yeah, but that’s so fine. That gave us time to catch our breaths after partying in the pit. And I could see that the pit wasn’t the only one having a giant party; the hill was as well. They had the audience’s full attention, and we were hanging onto every word. The banter that Noodles comes with is funny; he continues to be one of the funniest people in music.” We broke the world record for attendance here”, likely they did. Likely he was taking the piss; who knows. But if you weren’t at The Offspring, that’s fine, but you missed out on the most insane concert ever.

Gosh, if I could see The Offspring once a year, I’d be happy.


From womb to Pandæmonium, Dying Fetus is here

Dying Fetus at Pandæmonium
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

It’s been 11 years since Dying Fetus played Copenhell, and somehow I found my way to Pandæmonium to check them out since my friends told me about how good their live shows are. Normally I’m not into death metal, and we don’t review it on Dying Scene. But I felt I had to say some words about their show.

Taking their steps onto Pandæmonium to the sweet song “The Boys Are Back in town”. Dying Fetus had no time to mess around, decending into fast riffs, and mean growls, it’s easy to fall into the mood of moshing. Even though I stood way back. There’s no beating around the bush with Dying Fetus. They are a class act, with some fast drumming, dirty growls and zero fucks to give.

If you’re into Death Metal, I suggest you check out a show when the band is near you.


Standout Set: Let’s welcome St. Digue to the stage.

St. Digue at Gehenna
Photo by Karina Rae Selvig

Suppose you’re into electronic, mixed with a vocalist that reminds you of nothing less than a perfect vocal mix of Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, and Ian Curtis. In that case, you need St. Digue in your life. I didn’t even know how much I needed it until I saw it last night. I admit that I can be lazy on the Danish music front, but let’s say I’ll work on it for the rest of 2024.The audience was there, alive, having the time of their lives, but it was the first day of Copenhell, and we had all been drinking, even though it was late. But all honestly, I haven’t had such a good time for a bit—just the moment to switch off and enjoy the music. Gosh, I finally understood why people around had been encouraging me to go to a show. Now I can’t wait to go more, and more.


That concludes the first day and only the beginning of our coverage of Copenhell.

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DS Festival Review: Copenhell Day 2 – Deathbyromy, Mr. Bungle, Limp Bizkit, and many more!

Day 2, let’s go. That is what I told myself when I woke up at 6 am, after four hours of sleep. But screw it, you want to know why? Because it’s LIMP BIZKIT DAY!! For months on our Discord channel, I have been waiting and waiting for this day. I have zero shame if […]

Day 2, let’s go. That is what I told myself when I woke up at 6 am, after four hours of sleep. But screw it, you want to know why? Because it’s LIMP BIZKIT DAY!! For months on our Discord channel, I have been waiting and waiting for this day. I have zero shame if we need to dissect my music taste. I cherish Limp Bizkit and how silly they can be. But it wasn’t just Limp Bizkit that was showing up on the sunny and warm Thursday. Haha, no, no – Mr. Bungle found their way to Copenhagen, Thy Art Is Murder served up on hell of a pit, and The Hives proved they could play the main stage at Copenhell.

But let’s get into it!


DeathByRomy shows No Mercy.

DeathByRomy at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

Usually, I’m good at time management; I know how long it takes me from my home in Lyngby to Refshaløen, where Copenhell takes place. However, I am not in control of public transport, so while my busses were delayed, our group chat was going off about how DeathByRomy was about to start. I think it’s an understatement when I say I was annoyed. Having missed a few songs, I arrived at the end of “Hellhound”. Romy Flores has brought a band with her, and wow, this was the perfect way to kick off Thursday. “This song is about crashing my car,” Flores tells us before kicking off the song “Crash.” on record, it’s already an intense song, but hearing it live had the hairs on my neck rise.

“No Mercy” got the energy flowing on stage and in the crowd. DeathByRomy usually is a one-piece, but seeing a band accompany her on stage, bringing a well-rehearsed ping pong between each member, just showed how this was one of the best bookings Copenhell gave us this year. And when it all ended with “Day I Die”, you are left wanting more; that high you are on from the set is a wholly different drug. Next up, I hit Helviti right next to the stage for Thy Art is Murder. [Karina Rae Selvig]


The audience at Thy Art Is Murder has the cure to deal with hangovers.

Thy Art Is Murder at Helviti
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

Sometimes, I get tired of my friends going to shows in genres I have zero interest in because our group chats are constantly filled with praise or funny stories about what the bands did or said. Now Thy Art Is Murder is one of these bands that I have found to be highlighted constantly, followed by the phrase, “Karina, you need to see them.” And being as curious as I tend to find myself at festivals, I did indeed head over to Helviti with my trusty pal Sebastian to see what the hype with this band was about.
Finding ourselves in the pit, I was not mentally prepared for the hell that was about to be unleashed upon me. Advice: if you are going to see Thy Art Is Murder, do not go into an area where a pit might erupt. Because that’s what we did, and I need to admit, I felt very claustrophobic being pressed up against people, but at the same time… Oh, I wanted to be in the pit, but due to an unlucky episode a few weeks prior, my pit days are over until the dentist says so.


But let’s talk about Thy Art Is Murder; before hitting the stage, “We Like To Party” by Vengaboys was playing from the stage, and as soon as the band took the stage, we needed to prepare to step the hell back. Because as the first riff came out of the speakers, the pit was getting going. The band indeed ate up the energy that was coming from the crowd, but clearly not enough to get the band moving on stage. Maybe I’m too used to punk bands that go flying off the wall at shows; it was a bit of a disappointment. Did I maybe expect a lead singer to jump from speaker to speaker? Yeah, actually. They had the main stage, which proved to be too big for them in the end. Indeed, the audience was the highlight of this show. From a circle pit that was never-ending to people on the ground rowing, you would be amazed by how the audience lifted the band, while the interaction between the band and the audience felt limited. But honestly, I would see them again; it was cool, scary, and overwhelming. [Karina Rae Selvig]


The Baboon Show

Starting my day off with iced coffee and Swedish punk was a brilliant idea. The energy from four piece, The Baboon Show, was radiant. The songs were short, groovy, and filled with conviction. And the band celebrated oddballs that cursed out sexism, racism, and capitalism to joyful crowd surfing and compelled the crowd to join in a “middle fingers in the air-morning gymnastics”. Adding kazoo to the song “You Got a Problem Without Knowing It” really got the party going. As did the Pyro during “Playing with Fire”. The Baboon Show pretty much left everything on stage, confetti on the ground and hundreds of smiling faces ready to continue their day at Copenhell. [Sabina Hvass]


Mr. Bungle was here.

Mr. Bungle at Hades
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

I actually don’t know how to review Mr. Bungle. My first time seeing Mr. Bungle, and I actually didn’t hate it. Mr. Bungle is an odd band; they are funny and have some titles that make you go “ok…” but overall, you cannot deny that the stage presence that they have is intoxicating. Because what the fuck did I witness.

Starting their set with “Grizzly Adams”, Mike Patton came dressed for the event, from the cool braids to the word “Neck” written on his neck. Nothing could divert my attention from what I had signed up for. I’d say that they sounded good; they played some of their popular songs, which we probably won’t write the titles to, but if you are a Mr. Bungle fan, you know which ones I’m talking about. And they did some covers, actually a lot of covers, to the point where I questioned why. They have such an impressive back catalog; it just got too much. But whatever, they sounded amazing, and judging by the crowd, I wasn’t the only one thinking that! Would I see them again? Fuck yes. [Karina Rae Selvig]


The Hives

The Hives at Helviti
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

The Hives presented high kicks, high energy, and a friendly, neighborly feud between the Danes and the Swedes on the Helviti stage late this Thursday afternoon. With confidence reaching far back on the concrete floor, The Hives busted the myth that garage rock does not fit a vast Copenhell stage. With a surplus of humor and charm, the band delivered a tight set, with swinging fan favorites like “Walk, Idiot Walk”, “Hate to Say I Told You So,” and finale, “Tick Tick Boom”! [Sabina Hvass]


Tom Morello

Tom Morello at Helviti
Photo by Philip Onyx

Legendary guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello, kicked off on the Helviti stage performing his songs like “Soldier in the Army of Love” and medleys of RATM tracks to scenes of people joyfully crying, jumping, and pleading for revolution. A touching version of Audioslaves “Like A Stone,” was beautifully placed mid-set. With the addition of Måneskin, MC5, and eventually a Bruce Springsteen cover, “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, tension was clearly building. Morello and his band played an improvised track, “Copenhell Rocks,” leading up to the powerful release of energy during “Killing in the Name of”. To close the set, Morello guided an attempt to get the audience registered on the Richter scale as we jumped to John Lennon’s “Power to the People”. I’ll finish as I started: Legendary! [Sabina Hvass]


Now Zulu Are Through With Me


Back in 2019, I fell in love with an EP called “Our Day Will Come”, and that became a part of my hardcore journey. When they released “A New Tomorrow” last year, it came in as my number 21 best album of the year, which, in hindsight, I regret to this day today. However, once I saw that the hardcore/power violence band was making their appearance at Copenhell, it felt like a dream come true.

Once again, we head towards Gehenna, and I find myself a bit on edge since Wednesday’s continual failure to secure proper sound for the artists throughout the day. Zulu took the stage and five right into “For Sista Humphrey”, but not long after, they were forced to stop their performance since they were experiencing some technical difficulties, which wasn’t their fault. As the show went on, they managed to get the crowd going, playing some of their biggest bangers from the album “A New Tomorrow”, and managed to get me dancing and screaming along. While I may have had the time of my life, it was an unfulfilled experience, but you know what? That’s how it is sometimes. But I’m still fangirling over seeing Zulu kicking ass at Copenhell. [Karina Rae Selvig]


Lack

Lack at Gehenna
Photo by Philip Onyx

Wrapping up the day with Danish post-hardcore band Lack – the band that delivered the soundtrack to angsty train rides in my college years. Recently resurfaced from a long hiatus, their new songs were performed with precision, intensity, and emotive strength that I could only have dreamed of. The punchy drums placed some really powerful and dynamic details onto hard riffs that were handed back and forth. Bass, guitar, and vocals ripped through the chilly summer air with lyrics leaning into the accompanying genre-bending music – call it emo, screamo, noise rock, or hardcore – this band is still gallantly spreading out in punk territory with guts and heart spilled and spewed over the crowd. Lack dove into their back catalog with the biting “Hund”, bisexual anthem ” Deserters,” and swinging “5 p.m.” standing out as highlights as I moved further and further toward the stage. As lead singer and guitarist Thomas Burø bravely proclaimed that ‘The future is female” and called out the half-hearted crowd surfing in the front rows, some of my fellow female audience members were also motivated to take a surfer view over the show as it concluded. A beaming performance by this band on the big stage, they always deserved. [Sabina Hvass]


Get The Fuck Up, Limp Bizkit

Limp Bizkit at Helviti
Photo by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I have waited for a chance to see Limp Bizkit. As a matter of fact, I know they’ve been to Denmark a few times, but I never really had anyone to go with. But at a festival, everyone is there. This was one of those that I call a mandatory meet-up gig. The one where you expect everyone you know to make an appearance and have the best time with you, even if they don’t like the band that much, or as much as me.

As the song “Sweet Home Alabama” was playing from the speakers, my friends and I were making our way through the sea of people there to see Limp Bizkit in action when we found our other friends and the band came on stage; they dove right into “Full Nelson”. From then on, it was every person for themselves. I had told my friends earlier that I wanted to go to the pit for Limp Bizkit, and those who weren’t feeling it could stay back and chill. So, into the pit I went with two friends, and that’s where I discovered what I liked about the band. See, they actually sound good live. There is no doubt that Fred Durst & Co. still has a lot to offer. In between their songs, they did give us some covers, and that gave us some minutes of downtime before they started playing their hits like “My Way”, “Break Stuff”, and so on. The moment I heard the first notes to “Boiler”, I think my mouth dropped. What a pleasant surprise that came from Helviti, I swear – The delivery, the atmosphere, and every moment felt terrific, actually, throughout their whole show, which flew by in a blink of an eye. They can come back anytime, and it’s fair if you don’t like Limp Bizkit, but don’t be shit and hate on others that do. [Karina Rae Selvig]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Header Photo by Meredith Goldberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KM: *laughs* Yeah real subtle.

Tell me about “Osama Van Halen.”

MD: It sounds funny to hear.

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

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

KM: Definitely yeah! Yeah he’s great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m down in Nashville.

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

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

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

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

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

MD: Toys That Kill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EG: I don’t think so, no.

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

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

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

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

MD: Like personally those guys are funny as hell.

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

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

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

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

Any bands that come to mind for doing splits?

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

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

 

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DS Interview: Adrienne Rae Ash of Plasma Canvas on ‘Dusk’, The Band’s New Full-Length Out Today on SideOneDummy

Dark subject matter is no new theme to Fort Collins punk rock band Plasma Canvas, and it’s one of several components that drew me their way following KILLERMAJESTIC‘s 2020 release, their debut on SideOneDummy. The duo-turned-quartet captured this essence even more so with their upcoming full-length Dusk, which hits the streets today also via SideOneDummy. […]

Dark subject matter is no new theme to Fort Collins punk rock band Plasma Canvas, and it’s one of several components that drew me their way following KILLERMAJESTIC‘s 2020 release, their debut on SideOneDummy. The duo-turned-quartet captured this essence even more so with their upcoming full-length Dusk, which hits the streets today also via SideOneDummy. The opening track titled “Hymn” serves as a soft, yet triumphant prelude to a kick-ass, emotionally gripping record that already holds a firm spot towards the top of my end-of-the-year Top 10 Records of the Year list.

What immediately stood out to me about this release was how well-crafted it was. It has a fluidity that I have trouble finding comparisons to and each track compels you to check out the next. As we discuss more in-depth during our chat, vocalist/guitarist and band founder Adrienne Rae Ash describes a cyclical record as almost being the end goal, something that, in my opinion, was very much achieved with this release. Although some tracks do slow down in tempo, this record has no soft spots and I’m confident this will rank well on other Best Records of the Year as well.

What also caught my attention was the tendency away from what I became familiar with as the ‘Plasma Canvas sound’. Although this release still encompasses everything an early PC fan could want, songs such as the opener “Hymn” and eighth track “Dusk” (clocking in at close to 9 minutes) are unlike anything previously released by the group, but in all the best ways. In what can be at least partially attributed to the band’s shift from a two-piece to a four-piece, they hit the nail on the head with every fuckin’ track on this thing.

I had the great pleasure of sitting down (over zoom) with Adrienne Rae Ash, the mastermind behind Plasma Canvas. We covered all kinds of great stuff including the impact COVID had on the writing of Dusk, how things have been taking the DIY route to booking shows, and what it’s like playing with Miles Stevenson, son of Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson, plus a whole lot more. Keep scrolling for their upcoming dates and where to pick up the new release. As always, thanks for checking out the site. Cheers!

Shows:

2/17/23 – 7th Circle – Denver, CO – w/ Cheap Perfume, SPELLS, Wiff
2/18/23 – Vultures – CO Springs, CO – w/ Cheap Perfume, SPELLS, Bad Year
3/4/23 – Aggie Theatre – Fort Collins, CO – w/ Attack On Venus, Caustic Soda, Spliff Tank

Tickets!!!

Order the new record here!!!

Top left header photo by AnarchoPunk.

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

Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): Hey Adrienne, how are you doing?

Adrienne Rae Ash: I’m great man! This is really cool, I wanted to say thanks for wanting to do this. I’m trying to let everybody know about the record and it’s cool that you were interested to talk about it.

Yeah absolutely. Congrats, by the way, this is such a good record. I’m just gonna go ahead and say, I know it’s early in the year, but when we do like our top ten records of the year for Dying Scene, this is going to be on mine. This thing flows so well from beginning to end, you start out with kind of a soft hymn, I mean that’s the name of the song, but you start off soft and then end that song and you get right into it. And you don’t slow down until track nine I think, then you get back into it again. I mean this is just such an unbelievable record, I’m very excited for it to be released. So did you plan that out at all with how it flowed, starting out soft and then kind of hitting hard and then ending soft; was that something you sought out to do?

Yeah, kind of. I sought to make it kind of cyclical, but also you know in general, it’s always been something I do, that sequence is always there whenever I’m writing the songs. Whenever I have new ideas, even when they’re still in like their infancy, I can kind of tell where they would fit next to each other or if they would at all. I’m always conscious of that and you know some of my favorite records are those records that kind of just guide you, they feel like you’re in a specific place that you go to when you listen to this record. Just the way that it ties together and the way the songs work together is just something that I’ve always found to be another opportunity to create something really cool. Specifically with this record and with our EP KILLERMAJESTIC I did the same thing, I was conscious of you know I wanted to start really heavy and then get tender toward the end. I wanted to just leave a mark and make something that I could be proud of whenever I’m older, I wanted to make something timeless and that’s sort of what I set out to do by just like choosing what I felt was the most important thing to leave. I’m not one of those artists that writes like 20 or 30 songs and then just chops out the ones I don’t like, I don’t really like to continue writing a song if I’m not 100% in love with it. The sequencing is definitely a big part of that.

Yeah that’s something that really stuck out to me, it fits so well together and flows so smoothly. So what are some of your favorite tracks off of this that you’re excited for people to hear?

Well first, as you were mentioning the flow of it, I think a lot of credit has to go to the Blasting Room, just the way that they drew all the sound together. Andrew Berlin and Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore, they just drew the best out of it and they made it all work together in sequence and it was awesome. So to add to that, the songs that I can’t wait for people to hear, it’s hard to choose because there’s a lot of entry points and it’s the entry point that you have to a record that almost kind of colors how you see. With our previous EP, if you got introduced with the very first track it’s like ‘Okay, this is like the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard, why does everything else sound like a little wimpy in comparison’. But if you maybe heard “Saturn” first you’d be like dang the band that made this song that kind of sounds like “Basket Case” also did this like super sludgy weird thing that’s kind of different. So right now there are three singles that I’m really stoked on. The first one we put out was “Blistered World” and then we put out “Need” and then “Election Year Relapse.” Of those three, it’s hard to choose a favorite because they’re all about different things, but they’re all kind of very strong emotions. I guess my favorite one that we’ve had come out and I’m glad that it’s starting to do really well, you know 105.5 the Colorado Sound has been playing it on the radio, “Need.” I really like “Need” a lot and it’s like a 6-minute song, I think there’s a lot of really cool, accessible stuff that’s going on there. But also like I wrote it in May of 2020 and so it’s good to see this song do well that I wrote about how much I’ve missed the feeling of being at a show, the community you end up creating, playing those shows and the friends that you have. Like having the absence of all of that and really just feeling how much that hurt you, that’s what went into that song and to see that song being released and people hearing it and it resonating with people and playing it live is awesome. I’m just really excited to play that one to as many people as possible because it was about like that exact feeling, like I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to be here and do this.

Yeah that leads pretty well into what I wanted to talk about next. So KILLERMAJESTIC was released during COVID, what are some of the main differences you see from releasing this in a time when everything with COVID has kind of settled down versus releasing right in the heat of the shutdown?

Releasing KILLERMAJESTIC, it was one of the worst times of our lives and I hate to say that. Evelyn and I, we were the only people in the band at the time and if you look at the back cover of that record, she and I had gone and done these photo booth pictures, just being goofy and you know we decided to use it for the back of the record. It really just made me sad that we took those photos in what I think like January and when the record came out in June the circumstances had just changed so dramatically. At that point we were working with a booking agent who helped get us on with Lagwagon and Less Than Jake. It was supposed to be like the thing that did it for us. This record is a different experience in a positive way because I couldn’t have made it before COVID. I think that kind of thing in general is hard to quantify but I  couldn’t have made this record when I was younger, there’s a weight to it that I’ve put into it that I don’t think I was ready to do. There’s a certain amount of contextualized spiritual weight that lives in a record where you’ve had a little bit more time to experience. Specifically with releasing KILLERMAJESTIC in the middle of the pandemic with this skate punk song called “Firecracker” that like belongs on a Tony Hawk soundtrack, trying to get people stoked on this in the middle of everyone’s loved ones passing away, not what we wanted or what we needed. So that was a really rough time and then just having everything at first get pushed back, so you retained hope and then everything was clear that it was not being pushed back, but it was just gone and wasn’t coming back for a very long time, years. Being so close to doing everything that you thought you were going to be doing and having all your plans go out the window, that was rough. This time around, this record was written in like in one room, I just did it on my laptop, that was the way I wrote most of it just to get me through living a life without shows and without music. There was hardly any interpersonal interaction so it’s a very lonely record, it’s a very introspective record and it kind of sucked to make but I’m excited to go do something with it because it’s what we have. I’m happy with what we’ve made because it’s honest and it might not be the most happy thing to listen to, but it’s definitely an honest time capsule for where I was at 30 and 31.

I think introspective, that’s a really good word to use. I’ve done a few of these interviews where these bands had their last release right during COVID like yours. I think that’s a great word to summarize it up with these releases that they maybe wrote during COVID that are getting released now, they’re very honest and very introspective.

Another topic I wanted to hit on was going from a two-piece to a four-piece. I’ve always known Plasma Canvas as a two-piece, but talking to Henry beforehand, he said it was kind of a long story for going from a two-piece to a four-piece, but also that the four-piece that’s recorded is different from who’s touring, could you walk me through kind of how that happened a little bit?

Well it’s been a ride. Originally, it wasn’t anything, it was a collection of songs and to tell the story about going from a two-piece to a four-piece is to also tell the story about going from whatever it was to a two-piece. So when I moved here from St. Louis I had a bunch of songs that I had written and I wanted to just document them. I was inspired by like Laura Jane Grace, she was a big one. There were really no other trans rock stars that I resonated with at the time of this, other than like G.L.O.S.S. I had these songs that I wanted to document somehow and so I made a record with this guy that I found on Craigslist named Dave Sites and we tracked everything. We were not ready to record, it’s very loose, it’s not a very good record *laughs*. But it wasn’t supposed to be a two-piece band, it was just like I wrote these songs and I’m fine with just playing whatever and know I just need someone to play the drums. We ended up like enjoying playing as a two-piece and I was really into this sound of plugging like a Chinese counterfeit Gibson Les Paul into like some fuzz pedals and a bass amp. It just turned into being a two-piece thing and it was never really intended to be one, but you know I like ‘68 and The White Stripes and Royal Blood and all those bands. I was like ‘sure, this could be fun, let’s see where this goes.’ After a while, it became a practicality because it was easier just to hang out with one person and only have one other schedule to work with one other opinion to run things through, so we kept operations small to keep it true and honest; like not have a bunch of people poisoning the well. But also in doing that over time, I kind of realized that that was stifling the process, like a self-imposed creative limitation. Whenever Evelyn started playing with me in 2017 it solidified as a two-piece thing and it was very much a part of our identity. Every time somebody would tell us to get a bass player, we’d tell them to fuck off *laughs*. But I think the idea was there the whole time, I wrote baselines that are on the first record and on our first EP No Faces. I played bass parts and sang. KILLERMAJESTIC was the only one that I had just the guitar and bass amp and a bunch of guitar amps, there was no bass. But you know it kind of just needed to happen eventually because I felt the same like two-piece cliches coming of just putting various spins on what other people are already doing and you know. I felt that it was just what needed to be done to be true to the songs.

Right, that makes a ton of sense coming from the idea of limiting yourself by only having two members.

From the beginning of the project, Plasma Canvas, that name comes from just wanting to be vulnerable and share like blood on a canvas. Now I’m working with people who understand the idea is to keep it emotionally honest and to retain a tight rhythm section because that’s what we built our sound on. But it doesn’t have to be a certain thing, it’s all about serving the songs and what the songs need it to be, not that we can only have like a guitar and a drum set. It was just a matter of getting away from like some self-imposed box that we had put ourselves.

I think that idea lines up exactly with this new record because you have some songs on this that are unlike anything you’ve done prior. Could you talk me through maybe some of your influences that you think show through on this new record?

You know there are a lot of like subtle ones and some that are just not very subtle at all. I have a few favorite bands and I don’t like to be like ‘this is where this comes from’, but you know my favorite couple of bands are Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance, a couple of bands that are really into albums that do great storytelling. That’s kind of the vein that I like to fall into but also keeping a conscious eye on esthetics, like how it feels to live in this record. I think all of that is a result of going through a traumatic event like the pandemic. The whole record in general has a sense, to me personally, as you’re brought it to the world of ‘I survived the pandemic motherfucker’. I think with KILLERMAJESTIC, we were trying to bring out like the five most diverse things that we could offer up to people, please like us or whatever. What this is is just kind of an honest look at where I am and not really giving a fuck, having fun with it and not worrying about the rules that people like punks and metalheads have. We’re a punk band more in ethos than sound because we really just want to do what we want.

I can really hear some good rock’n’roll come through on this new one. I mean a lot of bands are like fuck that, they’ve got something against playing solid rock’n’roll, but you guys aren’t afraid to do that. I was listening to Matt Caughthran from the Bronx on his podcast and he was describing their second Bronx record in the same way, as just putting out rock’n’roll, punk, whatever they wanted. And I think that kind of resonates with your new record, it’s really cool that you guys aren’t afraid to do rock’n’roll, punk, piano, whatever.

So what’s to come, do you guys have an album release show set up, do you have tours set up, what’s that look like?

Right now, just trying to get the word out and let people know that the album’s coming out. We’re playing these two album release shows, the day the album comes out we’re doing a super intimate hardcore show at 7th Circle Music Collective in Denver with our friends Cheap Perfume and Spells, and then we’re doing another show with them the next day in Colorado Springs at Vultures, same two bands with different openers. Then we’re doing a show at the Aggie in Fort Collins on March 4th, that would be a really, really good time for everyone to come out too because that’s like the album release party. And we’re gonna do the whole damn record that night so I’m excited to do that for the first time. We’re also gonna have like a bigger expanded lineup that night with some the played on the record too. And then we’re looking at a tour right now looping through California and then we’ll come back on March 16th in Denver at the High Dive. We have some other stuff in the works after that but it’s not really ready to like be published *laughs*.

How’s the experience been with Miles [Stevenson] playing because that’s kind of a cool little fact that Henry clued me in on when I was talking to him?

He’s great, he’s a really serious, professional musician, but he doesn’t really like to be defined by anything anybody else has done. He’s just a really good musician, like father, like son. He really cares about it, every time I come to work with him or he comes to rehearsal, he’s got his shit together, he just really cares. It’s really exciting, he played bass with us once before last year and it was like ‘damn, that was the most fun that we’ve had in a while’. So it’s nice to have him come back and really be a part of it.

Well I greatly appreciate you sitting down with me. Once again, congrats on the new release, really excited to see where this one takes you. Good luck with everything coming up, I hope to catch you soon!

Thanks again!

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