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DS Exclusive: Reason/Define release video for “Inferno” off recently released album “In Memory…”

Charlotte post-hardcore act Reason/Define are out to smash stereotypes in the hardcore scene. The all female post-hardcore act looks to break into the male dominated genre and take it by storm. Since being named Carolina’s 2016 Rock Band of the Year, Reason/Define has released their sophomore album In Memory… 

Comprised of lead vocalist Paolina Massaro, bassist, and vocalist Caitlin Rutkowski, guitarist and vocalist Sav Ruff, drummer Syd McVicker, and guitarist Shelby McVicker. They draw inspiration from a range of different rock groups, including Tonight Alive, Every Time I Die, State Champs, Beartooth, A Day to Remember, and Phinehas.

Reason/Define released their debut album Far From Strangers in March of 2017, and have since been playing shows in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Iowa, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Today Reason/Define release their captivating music video for their remarkable single “Inferno”. They recently released their album In Memory… which included eleven personally crafted and polished songs that don’t lack personality, heart, or quality. Reason/Define is thrilled to début their video for the song “Inferno”. Which you can check out below. Reason/Define pour who they are and what they stand for into their music, and it is authentically represented in visual form with this video.



Behind The Label: Dying Scene chats with Pirates Press’s Eric “Skippy” Mueller

News of the dramatic upswing in the sales of vinyl albums over the course of the last decade – to levels not seen since prior to the digital age – should come as no surprise to faithful Dying Scene readers. While reissues of classic albums from the 1970s and ’80s tend to rule the popular charts, the punk and hardcore and metal and indie scenes are well represented in the area of sheer volume of new releases and options and variants being cranked out week after week.

Leading the charge in the vinyl revolution has been none other than dyed-in-the-wool punk rock label Pirates Press Records. Founded by Eric “Skippy” Mueller back in 2005 as the advertising arm of the vinyl manufacturer that shares its name and was started a year prior, Pirates Press has built a name and reputation as putting out some of the more special and innovative releases available, particularly under the street punk umbrella. Cock Sparrer “Essentials “boxed set? That was Pirates Press. 46-album Rancid 7-inch boxed set? Pirates Press. Noi!se 12-inch single featuring three-dozen assault rifle-style bullets milled out of the vinyl itself as a fundraiser to tackle gun violence and school shootings? Pirates Press. Playable The Ratchets hologram vinyl (yes…effing playable hologram vinyl!)? Pirates Press, of course. New The Old Firm Casuals full-length that allowed me the opportunity to chat for like an hour with the great Lars Frederiksen a few weeks ago (okay, maybe that one’s not necessarily cutting edge, but it’s my story, dammit)? You guessed it: Pirates Press.

We caught up with the one-and-only Mueller over the phone from his Bay Area, California, office a little while back and found in him a kindred spirit right from jump street; despite living in and operating Pirates Press from the Bay Area, Mueller is a native of Massachusetts and, as such, a diehard – and we mean DIEHARD – card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation. Yet his level of passion for the Red Sox is surpassed by leaps and bounds for his level of passion for the punk rock community and for giving back to a scene that’s given him so much. Case in point: his loves of punk rock and his label and his manufacturing business and his two hometowns collided last weekend when Mueller attended the San Francisco record release show for The Old Firm Casuals’ Holger Danske, left early, caught a red eye flight to Boston in time for Lenny Lashley’s gig at the in-the-shadow-of-Fenway-Park House Of Blues supporting Dropkick Murphys, complete with a hockey bag full of Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One-themed merch…then flew right back home to San Francisco.

Mueller is endlessly positive and energetic (perhaps more accurately “shot out of a proverbial cannon”), equal parts ultra-confident salesman for his cutting-edge business and, in many ways, quintessentially proud papa for a label that he literally grew out of his old bedroom. In a nutshell, it kinda works like this: Pirates Press, the manufacturer, presses products – mostly vinyl albums and mostly in the Czech Republic – for labels and products of all shapes and sizes. Revenue from the manufacturing side gets infused into Pirates Press Records, the label, offering the opportunity to put out albums for bands and projects that they personally support. And if they come up with a cool new idea or technology or color variant in the manufacturing side, they can use that first on Pirates Press Records releases, allowing an album from The Ratchets or Noi!se or Bar Stool Preachers or Lenny Lashley to effectively become a real-life business card, showing the world via the label the things that the manufacturer is able to do, thereby drawing more labels and artists and brands into the fold on the manufacturing side, and so on and so on. Mueller remains vigorously committed to putting out new and unique and innovative products on the manufacturing side of the business, using the label to showcase some of the things they’re able to pull off, and reinvesting the money earned from larger manufacturing projects into the label, helping bands he loves and respects to put out new, vital music. It’s a fascinating win-win cycle that should continue to provide constant wind into the sails of the good ship Pirates Press for many years to come

Head below to check out our chat with Skippy to find out just what goes in to pulling off some of the seemingly endless options that Pirates Press’ manufacturing arm is able to pull off, particularly their recent run on flexi vinyl and how they were able to reverse engineer new presses to expand their line, and how the label offers Mueller and his fellow Pirates to invest in a record label that offers a home for projects that they – and we – love and support!



DS Exclusive: Strange 90’s – A Benefit for Jerry Bryant of JBTV

Friday, March 8th, on the North side of Chicago, almost but not quite directly across the street from Wrigley Field saw a night all about love. Love for Jerry Bryant, love for his creation, JBTV, which ranks the longest running music television program in the US. And by extension love for all those fighting or have fought cancer. Love this night was expressed by two words, “Fuck Cancer.” A chant repeated multiple times throughout one of the city’s most famous music venues, Metro.

Jerry Bryant founded JBTV in 1984 and since that time has been awarded Billboard Music Awards for “Best Local/Regional Alternative Modern Rock Show,” as well as numerous Emmy Awards. Performances are taped in front of a live audience and then broadcast. Green Day and Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins were among the countless acts who gained some initial exposure on JBTV. In fact, the latter band made its very first television appearance on JBTV.

On August 20, 2018, JBTV announced that its founder, Bryant, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. The diagnosis was followed by six months of chemotherapy. And so there was never any doubt that there soon would be a benefit for Jerry Bryant and this one was a joyous celebration of the man who has done so much for music. The MC for the night was Lauren O’Neil, Q101 personality. It was a night to give him thanks. Another chant heard throughout the night was “Jerry, Jerry.” And when the guest of honor took to the stage, he spent the majority off his time urging everyone to take care of their health, get their tests done and most importantly stay positive in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

Bryant urged everyone in attendance to make sure that last action was taken. He did spent his entire time on stage with a huge smile and as JBTV President Michael Harnett told me by email a few days after the show, “Jerry was thrilled by the turnout and the support of the Chicago Music community.” Harnett added his own take on the night, “It was a great evening and event, very pleased.” JBTV’s partner in making this night such a success was the event, Charity Bomb. Harnett of JBTV credited Charity Bomb with having “…produced the great event.”

A few days after the show I spoke with Charity Bomb founder Matthew Leone by email. In 2010, Leone, bass player for Madina Lake, was brutally assaulted in Chicago near his bandmate/twin brother Nathan’s apartment while attempting to help a woman being beaten by her husband. He suffered brain swelling, a broken jaw, a broken nose and a fractured skull, and was in and out of consciousness for several days. His attacker was later acquitted of the resulting attempted murder charge in a bench trial. Leone described the founding of Charity Bomb. “We launched Charity Bomb because I was severely injured a few years back was the recipient of the same magnitude of love and that we were able to procure for Jerry. In my case, the Smashing Pumpkins stepped up and did a benefit show at the Metro for me.”

The brothers Leone and their Madina Lake bandmates also performed at the benefit, and he also related to me the genesis of this particular event. “Greg from Kill Hannah contacted me and asked for help. This occasion exemplifies our purpose for existing, so it was in immediate yes. It should also be stated that Chicago is a very supportive scene. Everyone in the room was either friends or fondly aware of each other.”

After the benefit for Matthew Leone’s recovery, he was inspired to keep it going. “Subsequently we devoted our lives to giving back for that wonderful experience. We have done several shows in Los Angeles and have five in the calendar for a variety of causes and constituents. Namely our Strange 80s annual benefit for mental health sufferers in the music realm.”

Head below to check out our photos and rundown of the truly memorable night.



DS Exclusive: Greg Attonito on “Crucial Moments,” The Bouncing Souls’ thirty year retrospective book and new EP

The year was 1989. The first George Bush had just been inaugurated President, and yours truly was turning ten years old. Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel and Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 were in near constant rotation on the Panasonic cassette player in my southern New Hampshire bedroom. Elsewhere in the world, bands like The Cranberries and 4 Non Blondes and Wilson Phillips and The Black Crowes and EMF (remember them?!?) and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and Right Said Fred and SHeDAISY were in their formative stages. And down the I-95 corridor in a central Jersey college town, a group of four high school buds, Greg Attonito, Bryan Kienlen, Pete Steinkopf and Shal Khichi, had started a new musical project and were playing the first shows in that new band’s tenure. That band, of course, is The Bouncing Souls.

Fast-forward to 2019. With but a few changes to the role of drummer in their history (Khichi would be replaced by Michael McDermott in 1999; McDermott would in turn be replaced by Hot Water Music’s George Rebelo in 2013) the Souls have at this point carved out a career that includes ten full-length studio albums, countless splits and 7-inches, and long-ago established a reputation as one of the hardest-working groups in the punk rock scene. All the while, the band maintained – and even strengthened – reputations as genuinely good dudes, establishing personal friendships and relationships with fans across the globe.

To celebrate the Herculean achievement that is maintaining a band over the course of three decades essentially without interruption, The Bouncing Souls have a whole slew of special events planned. There are somewhere between 40 and 50 tour dates that’ve already been announced, featuring support from such heavy hitters as Swingin’ Utters, The Bronx and Off With Their Heads. Yesterday brought with it the announcement of Stoked For Summer, the band’s annual outdoor throwdown at the Stone Pony, located along the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey. All tour dates can be found here, but you’ll have to wait a little while longer for the full Stoked lineup.

But perhaps most intriguing amongst the 30th Anniversary festivities is Crucial Moments. Due out this coming Friday, Crucial Moments is a six-song EP of new material and companion 100-page book that culls stories and pictures and anecdotes from all stages in the band’s career. It’s a compelling trip down memory lane, regardless of when and where you first encountered the Souls on your own musical journey. There are requisite stories from longtime friends of the band like Tim Barry and Dave Hause and Benny Horowitz and Mark Stern and Kevin Seconds and Jack Terricloth. If you’re a longtime Souls fan, you’ll recognize some of the stories from the likes of Dubs and Wig and Johnny X and Matt Gere and Pedro Serrano and, of course, the mighty Kate Hiltz. There are myriad stories, most of them short and sweet, from fans, the true believers and hopeless romantics from all corners of the globe. There are even a few surprisingly poignant stories from the likes of Shanti Wintergate (Greg’s wife) and Dr. Neel Khichi (Shal’s younger brother).

We caught up with Souls’ frontman Greg Attonito via phone from his snowy Idaho home this past weekend to talk about both new releases. As always, we found Attonito to be open, honest, reflective, and pretty fired-up to chat about the legacy that he and his high school buddies Pete and Bryan (with assistance from Shal and Mike and George) over the course of the last three decades. Head below to check it out! While you’re at it, you can check out the first two singles from Crucial Moments here and here. The album is due out on Rise Records; you can still pre-order it here.

 



DS Exclusive: The Toasters and Malafacha at Beat Kitchen (Chicago) Gallery

Legendary ska band The Toasters, with support from Chicago’s Malafacha, hit Beat Kitchen on February 28, 2019. The Toasters, founded in 1981, are one of the first wave of American Ska bands.

At the Beat Kitchen, The Toasters line up include frontman Robert “Bucket” Hingley; Tim Karns on bass; Grillbert Covarrubias on trombone; drummer Boris Maninvelt (Upsessions Holland); Deals Olan on saxophone (Out of Control Army MX); Buford O. Sullivan on trombone (ex-Scofflaws). 

Check out the full review and all the pics below.



Dying Scene Radio – Episode 13 – Band Spotlight: Wiretap Records Founder, Rob Castellon

You didn’t forget about us did you!?! Well, we would understand if you did, we’ve been a bit lazy lately. But never fret, dear listeners, we’re never more than a few weeks away at any given time. You’re not getting rid of us that easily! In Episode 13 of of Dying Scene Radio, Bobby meets up with founder of Wiretap Records, Rob Castellon to discuss the intricacies of running a successful indie music label. You scene nerds aren’t gonna want to miss this one! But wait, there’s more! The guys are also bringin’ you all of the noteworthy scene news that you were probably too lazy to read and slingin’ you some rad new tracks from emerging artists that you were probably too lazy to discover! Getcho’ peep on below! (ummmm…anyone know if we’re still using the term ‘peep?)



DS Exclusive: Lars Frederiksen on The Old Firm Casuals’ Blistering New Album, “Holger Danske,” And So Much More

In what is a bit of an atypical move, The Old Firm Casuals made their album, Holger Danske, available for streaming on February 18th, close to a month before said album’s official physical release date of March 15th. The album marks a few firsts for the band, most notably the fact that it’s their first full-length as a four-piece and simultaneously their first full-length on Pirates Press Records. But more importantly, Holger Danske finds The Old Firm Casuals officially unleashing what can fairly and accurately be called a whole new sonic experience to the masses; a dozen songs that merge balls-out 70’s AC/DC-style rock, blistering early-80’s Metallica style thrash and their trademark Oi!/street punk sound and bellow it through a centuries-old Viking Gjallarhorn.

We called the band’s well-known frontman, Lars Frederiksen, at his home last week, to discuss Holger Danske and all that went in to the making of this unique and widely well-received album. To say that we found Frederiksen’s personality and storytelling to be any less unique, compelling, and wide-ranging than the album we set out to discuss would be to wildly inaccurate. And while Holger Dankse may not be comprised of autobiographical material referencing his friends or his family or his upbringing, it may well be the most personal album from start-to-finish in Frederiksen’s three decades in the music business. But fear not, punk fans. Lest you were afraid that approaching the age of fifty, being a husband for more than a decade and a father to eleven-year-old and seven-year-old sons, Wolfgang and Soren, would have softened some of Lars Frederiksen’s trademark rougher edges, you clearly don’t know Lars Frederiksen. “Since I’ve become a father,” he points out, “I’ve gotten a lot more pissed off. There’s a lot more responsibility and there’s a lot more being accountable and taking responsibility for my actions or seeing the world as it is.” Still, fatherhood has allowed Frederiksen some rather important insight into his own history and behavior. “When I was eleven years old,” he explains, “I went to juvie for possession of PCP, breaking and entering and mayhem, because the guy who I broke into the house with, I took his eyeball out of his skull (when I hit him) with a piece of racing track because he was giving me a bad trip. That’s what I got busted for. And to juxtapose that, my eleven year old loves Magic: The Gathering, right? Plays soccer. Can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under ten seconds. Does Rubik’s Cube tournaments, okay? He reads himself to sleep every night.”

The fact that Frederiksen reports that both of his boys are musical may not necessarily be much of a surprise to most readers. What may be a surprise, however, is the role that his youngest son had in shaping some of the album’s sound. “My seven year old is a drummer,” he explains with a palpable level of pride oozing from his voice. “(Soren) thinks punk is cool, but (he) wants to listen to Slayer and Lamb Of God and Testament and Kreator and Manowar. KISS is too puss for (him) right now. So, when I have a new riff, most of the time, he’ll go down and jam them with me. He’s a really good drummer, he can keep a beat. That’s how “Thunderbolt” came about. We were sitting down there, and he’s like “Dad, you gotta play some hardcore. I’ve got this beat and I want to play it but it’s got to be to hardcore!” So I went downstairs and we started playing around and that’s when I came up with that riff. So there’s really a few songs on that record that he sort of helped come into fruition!” But the familial input didn’t stop there. Far from it, in fact.

To have been aware of Lars Frederiksen in any number of his projects, from Rancid to Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards to Oxley’s Midnight Runners to Stomper 98 to The Old Firm Casuals to others that I’m probably forgetting to mention now is to have been aware of how outwardly proud he is of his Danish heritage; Lars’ mom moved to the States from Denmark with little in the way of money, contacts, or knowledge of the English language and eventually brought Frederiksen and his older brother back to her homeland for a time after divorcing the boys’ father. While Holger Danske owes a great deal of its inspiration and imagery to the Frederiksen family’s *ahem* “motherland,” that wasn’t initially the case. “The whole thing about this record is that, and I hate to use this word, but it’s a little be auspicious in a sense,” he explains. You see, during the writing process, the band had initially planned on calling the album Zombies, a title derived from the song of the same name that closes Holger Danske but that was really a hold-over from the sessions that went into A Butcher’s Banquet a few years back. The album’s artwork, while not completed, would have essentially consisted of zombie-fied, cartoon-like depictions of the band’s four members. As the writing process continued, however, a change of direction began to take shape, simultaneously inspired by Frederiksen’s connection to his mother’s native Denmark, and his own growing anger at the current sociopolitical climate at home.

My mom was raised in Nazi-occupied Denmark in World War II, and she saw a lot of things that no kid between the ages of four and eight should ever see,” says Frederiksen. “Growing up in that environment as a kid, she comes from a Socialist country that’s very accepting and very tolerant, whether it be sex, race, religion, whatever it is. From her own experiences in dealing with fascism, she’s obviously got a very strong hatred toward that kind of thinking. I think that was installed in me and my brother.” Enter: Holger Danske, the legendary Danish folk hero who fought as one of the Knights Of Charlemagne. According to legend, Holger Danske is still alive centuries later, albeit in a deep sleep in an off-limits corner of a castle basement in Denmark. As Frederiksen describes it, “the story is that every Christmas an angel comes and whispers in his ear, and either he can stay asleep or he has to rise up and defend Denmark against his enemies.

It was during a visit from his Danish cousin to the States last year that Frederiksen began to take notice of the Holger Danske iconography that was depicted on the front of the Danish Men’s National Team’s jerseys during the World Cup. From there, the wheels started in motion, but in a stroke of serendipity, the decision to change the album’s name and direction came from a perhaps unlikely source. “What really sealed the fucking deal on that,” he explains, “is that me and my mom were talking, and she’s like “oh, you’re making a new record!…what are you going to call it?” And I said, “actually, I was thinking about calling it Holger Danske.” And she goes “Oh, that’s a great idea!! Did you know that your uncle Viggo, in World War II was part of the Danish resistance against the Nazis, and his unit was called ‘Holger Danske’?” And I was like “no, I was never told that, mother, because you don’t want to talk about the war and what happened and how you saw body parts and your family getting killed for their farm and shit like that.” So, I was like “this is it!

As you might imagine, Frederiksen took a look at the current sociopolitical climate in the world – not just in the States – and thought that now might be as good a time as any for Holger Danske to awaken and get shit back on track. “Holger Danske was kind of a metaphor in a way where I’m talking about fighting fascism…That’s what this record is kind of about; it’s about fighting fascism from both the left and the right.” One need not look very far for examples of the types of fascism Frederiksen is referring to. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Lack of clearly defined boundaries between church and state. Political correctness. All of the above and on both sides of the political spectrum draw the ire of Frederiksen and crew on Holger Danske. “I don’t care who the current administration is — well, I DO — but you’re going to get fucking shots fired at you either way. You’re going to take more shots than Karl Malone, to borrow a phrase from my buddies over in The Transplants. To me, politics is bullshit…Once you start telling people how they can act, what they can say, what they can not say, how they can dress, how they can not dress, what they can call themselves or what they can’t call themselves, that’s fascism…And that’s one of the things with Holger Danske. Now’s the time for this motherfucker to rise up and defend us again. Obviously I’m from a long line of fighting fascism, so I have to continue the family tradition!”

Assuming you haven’t done so, give Holger Danske a listen right here. You’ve still got time to pre-order before the March 15th street date here through Pirates Press as well. But most importantly today, you can check out our exclusive chat with the inimitable Frederiksen. We covered an awful lot of ground; being working class poor, the origin of “casual rock and roll,” Metallica’s Kirk Hammett’s opinion of The Old Firm Casuals’ new lead guitar player (Gabe Gavriloff), parenthood, the Kardashians, gerrymandering, the separation of church and state, and watermelon farmers in Alabama are but a few of the many topics touched on. Check out the full exchange below!



Wolfrik (ffo: A Wilhelm Scream, Converge) break down lyrics to “Skeleton City” EP to celebrate vinyl reissue

Alberta thrasher punks, Wolfrik, have an eclectic sound, to say the least when describing their music. For starters, lead singer Dylan Toews’ archetypal bellows – at times, redolent of Scott Sturgeon (Leftover Crack, Chocking Victim) – swim anxiously through some seriously ripping melodic metal solos, and dreamy face-melters to almost give the impression that this could be what crack rock sounds like if it didn’t pawn all their guitars. Dual harmonies provided by Kevin Perry and Mark Seifiddine, and a fast-as-fuck rhythm section in Luca Properzi (carpel tunnel) and Nathan Troock (involuntary muscle spasms) bring together the weird, disquieted melodic thrash-punk anomaly that is Wolfrik, and their album, Skeleton City which somehow emerges the disparate haze, as a seamless and functioning… fucking really good debut EP.

Skeleton City was originally self-released by Wolfrik last Spring on CD and digital formats. It has since been picked up for a vinyl reissue by Thousand Island Records (North America) and Lockjaw Records (Europe), with the vinyl release set for March 1, 2019. You can order those at each respective link provided above.

Wolfrik has a 16-date European tour lined-up in support of the Skeleton City. Check out those dates as well as the neurotically perturbed lyrics, with a breakdown of their meaning from vocalist, Dylan Toews, below. Enjoy!



DS Photo Gallery: Sammy Kay in Chicago with Seth Anderson and 6’10 (Flatfoot 56)

New Jersey’s Sammy Kay, with support from Canada’s Seth Anderson; Chicago’s own 6’10, (as well as J.D. Wright),  recently headlined an all acoustic night at G-Man Tavern in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. Saturday, February 23rd was a packed night for good shows across the Windy City but Kay kept the smaller but very enthusiastic crowd certain they made a great choice. He gave his fans and friends gathered there a loose and compelling performance, punctuating his set with a few references to a rough few years and how far he’s come back.

Kay kicked off the set with a cover of the classic Tommy James & The Shondells tune (and covered by pop singer Tiffany as well) “I Think We’re Alone Now.”  The rest of his set included “Wanderlust.” “Reservoir,” “Who Shot the Shot,” “Mary Swore To Me,” “Forever and a Day,” “Love Letters,” “Highs and Lows,” “Sweet Cecilia,” “Silver Dollar,” “Forgotten Ones,” “Saints and Sinners;” and “You Oughta Know.”

After the show, Kay described the tour to me: “the tour was nothing short of amazing. Every show was just killer. We got to play with so many talented folks, throughout the punk/folk/Americana scenes. It was nothing short of smiles every day, and laughs all night.”

Back to the event crowded Chicago evening: Kay himself acknowledged that cornucopia of punk rock choices as he half-joked during his set about checking his Twitter account for a response from Bob Mould. Mould was performing at Metro Chicago next door. Kay had, through social media, invited Mould to join him on a tune after Mould was done headlining at the larger venue. Alas, Sammy Kay broke the news that he “Never got to meet Bob Mould, but we’ll settle for Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour hangs in Dallas!”

Check out the full review and photos below.



DS Exclusive: Booze & Glory debut new video, “Too Soon”

Dying Scene is stoked to team up with the lads in Booze & Glory to debut the video for the brand new track, “Too Soon.” Clocking in at just a hair under six minutes long, the video and the song are a bit of a departure for the London-based street punk quartet. Here’s a few words from the band’s frontman, Mark, to set the scene:

“Too Soon” is a tribute to our family members and friends which are no longer with us. This is one of the most personal songs I ever wrote. We all lost and miss someone we loved and I hope people will appreciate the lyrics of this tune. This is not typical Booze & Glory track you would expect to hear but Im really pleased with it.

Check out the exclusive video for “Too Soon” below! The track is slated to appear on the band’s as-yet untitled new full length, which is due out sometime around October. The album was produced by none other than Millencolin guitarist Mathis Farm, and will also serve to mark the band’s tenth anniversary. Stay tuned for more on that special occasion soon!

Booze & Glory are about to head out on the road in support of Dropkick Murphys’ month-long US tour that kicks off this coming Sunday, February 17th, in Poughkeepsie, and winds down in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. Full tour rundown is down below the video! Booze & Glory’s last release, Chapter IV, dropped back in 2018 on Pirates Press in the States (pick it up here) and via Burning Heart Records elsewhere in 2017.



DS Photo Galley: A Messy, Fun Evening with Ben Nichols and Chris Batten at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ

Just about exactly a year ago, inimitable Lucero frontman Ben Nichols played a one-off date at Crossroads in Garwood, New Jersey, the Andy Diamond-booked club that’s located kinda near everything but not really NEAR anything in the north central part of the Garden State. It wasn’t part of a bigger tour, like Nichols and his pal Oliver Peck‘s occasional Bikeriders combined music and tattoo tour. It seemed a bit random, really, but as can be expected, the 250-ish capacity venue sold out pretty quickly and made for, as chronicled here by yours truly, a pretty special evening.

It was so special, in fact, that Nichols made a return trip this past Saturday, this time as the second night of a two-day solo “tour” that featured a show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the previous night. Support on this night came from local singer/songwriter Chris Batten and his trusty sidekick Nick Guido, who more regularly appear together in the Chris Batten & The Woods project. The result was another sold-out, whiskey-fueled barn-burner of a show that should all but solidify Nichols’makes an annual stop going forward at what’s become one of my favorite venues to visit.

Accompanied solely by his trusty workhorse Martin acoustic, a not-quite-full fifth of Bulleit Bourbon whiskey, and a literal Home Depot five-gallon bucket filled with ice appropriately adorned with “Let’s Do This” in big, bold letters on the side, Nichols took the stage at shortly after ten p.m. and proceeded to take the crowd on a winding, humorous, occasionally powerful, occasionally sloppy, always enjoyable set over the course of just about the next two-and-a-half hours. “Can’t You Hear Them Howl,” from Lucero’s 2015 album All A Man Should Do kicked things off, complete with audience-provided howling wolf sounds in the choruses. Audience participation proved to be a running theme throughout the show, as a good-natured Nichols was bombarded with a constant stream of requests for the duration of the evening, doing his best piece together some semblance of a “setlist” that balanced A) songs people wanted to hear and B) songs he could remember; the latter of which proved to be a bit challenging as the whiskey continued to flow.

In total, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-seven songs that were at least started, spanning all points of Nichols’s career, including “Crystal Blue,” which dates back to his pre-Lucero days in the band Old Lucky Sun. Nichols repeatedly commented on the crowd’s seemingly endless knowledge of the deeper tracks in the Lucero catalog, and he responded by pulling out such tracks as “Hold Me Close,” “Mine Tonight,” “Hello Sadness,” and the solo tracks “Davy Brown” and “Chambers.” There’s been a lot of references to family throughout Nichols’s songwriting career, though that theme has never been more prevalent than it was on Lucero’s most recent album, last year’s stellar Among The Ghosts. To that end, well-worn favorites like “Mom” and “The War” and “Raising Hell” made appearances in this set, as did more recent tracks like “To My Dearest Wife” and “Loving” and “Hello My Name Is Izzy.” The former two tracks were inspired by his wife while the latter is an ode to their two-and-a-half year-old daughter, and the tracks were made particularly poignant by the fact that Ben’s wife was in attendance at the show, while Izzy was asleep at a hotel down the road after hitting the bottle a little too hard in Lancaster the night before. Perhaps if he was playing with full band, some of the false-starts and wide-ranging stories told over the course of the evening wouldn’t have played quite so well, but in this intimate, stripped down setting, artist and crowd seemed to be in symbiotic union, and created a performance that really could have gone on a lot longer had potential curfews and, well, straight Kentucky bourbon not interjected.

Head below for more photos from the evening!

 



DS Esclusive: Lenny Lashley On Finding Happiness, Sobriety, and his Killer New Album, “All Are Welcome”

Sometime in the late spring of 2013, Lenny Lashley and I connected via social media to arrange an in-person meet up as a way to help promote Illuminator, his then-upcoming debut solo album under the Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One moniker. It was a bit of a crossroads moment in Lashley’s career. He’d long been respected, especially locally, as a singer and songwriter of the beer-soaked punk rock and whiskey-soaked cowpunk varieties through his years in Darkbuster and Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys. By the time the 21st century’s first decade had closed, however, Lashley had struggled rather publicly off and on with some mental health and substance use-related issues, and both of those aforementioned bands had flamed out under less-than-ideal circumstances.

I hadn’t done many interviews at that point in time but wanted to take a more active roll in ramping up that area of Dying Scene. I’d known of Lashley professionally since Darkbuster won the coveted Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble in Boston in 2000, but we’d only met in passing a time or two (including once at the infamous local real-deal dive bar known as the Cambridgeport Saloon, though that incident was more memorable to an underage me than it was to him for sure). So I took the opportunity to put fresh AAs in my old-school cassette recorded and met up with Lashley for coffee on a bright, sunny Jamaica Plain afternoon in June of that year. He struck me as open and honest right from the first moments of our conversation. Not only was it a week before the release of Illuminator, but it had also just been announced that Lashley signed on to join Street Dogs as they regrouped after a very brief hiatus. There was a lot of uncertainty, but things certainly seemed like they were trending in a positive direction.

Fast-forward to 2019 and that upward trend has shown no signs of going off track, both personally and professionally. In the years since our last chat, Lashley’s reconnected with his “one true love,” Shelley. He’s gotten sober, recently surpassing the five year mark from alcohol and cigarettes and the three-year mark from drugs of all kinds, perhaps no easy feat for a guy who’s previous band’s catalog includes the likes of “Booze N Pills,” “Lenny’s A Drunk,” “Miller,” “Cheap Wine” and “Whiskey Will.” He put out a new Darkbuster record, albeit under the name The New Darkbuster because, well, time hasn’t exactly healed all wounds yet. He toured throughout Europe and the States as a solo artist and with The New Darkbuster. He and his Street Dogs brothers put out a few 7-inches toured Europe and the States some more, and finally put out an excellent new full-length, Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing, last year via Century Media.

February 15th marks the release date of Lashley’s sophomore Gang Of One album, All Are Welcome (Pirates Press Records). For this project, Lashley enlisted not only the production services of Bouncing Souls’ Pete Steinkopf once again, but teamed up with fellow Street Dog Johnny Rioux and Mighty Mighty Bosstones drummer Joe “The Kid” Sirois for the core of the recording process. The group worked quickly throughout a much tighter timeline than the one that resulted in Illuminator a half-dozen years ago, resulting in a sound that is familiar sounding yet no less stellar than its predecessor. Echos of Strummer and Springsteen and Hank Williams and, well, Darkbuster, all somehow abound without one emerging as a clear leader. That’s part of what has made Lashley such a compelling songwriter over the years; an ability to float between styles and influences in a way that pays homage rather than simply aping, thanks in large part to a trademark New England accent that’s thicker than clam chowder (sorry, that’s a cheap analogy).

Where Illuminator found Lashley turning the lens inward and processing some of the struggles he’d been going through in the years leading up to its release, the better place he’s been in these days allowed him to shift his focus in an outwardly direction. One needs to look no further than the album’s cover art and the theme of its title track, “All Are Welcome,” complete with its bridge section that contains a portion of Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, for evidence of where Lashley found more than a little inspiration. Punk rock has long talked of revolution, and one of the fortunate side-effects of the present sociopolitical climate is that its proven fertile ground for talented artists to inspire the proverbial troops. But it’s not all Clash-style combat rock on All Are Welcome; there are songs of heartache and loneliness and unrequited love and Revolution, but the kind that’s found on the Major League Soccer pitch and not the kind that’s fought in the streets.

Lashley and I met up for a mid-week lunch recently to talk about All Are Welcome and the mental and physical work it took to pull the album together. As always, we covered a lot of ground, from writing without the aid of foreign substances, to the difference between the two Gang Of One albums, to how, despite being on the other side of 50 years old, life as a musician can still be full of surreal experiences. We also talked a lot about the upcoming Dropkick Murphys tour, that’ll feature support from Lashley’s Gang Of One project backed by a full band, which will be a first for a tour of this magnitude. Head below to check out our chat, and head here to pre-order All Are Welcome while you’ve still got time!



Altercation Punk Rock BBQ calls it quits after ten year run

 

With ten years of amazing shows under their belt The Altercation Punk Rock BBQ has become a must attend event for any true punk fan during the annual South By South West music conference in Austin Texas. With so many of our favorite bands like: Two Fisted Law, Teenage Bottle Rocket, The Jukebox Romantics, Off With Their Heads, American Pinup, Lower Class Brats, Dead To Me, The Split Seconds, Dwarves, The Fantastic Plastics, and so many many more awesome acts over the years it would fill a full book just to name them all.

So why is Altercation calling it quits? Find out below.



Dying Scene Radio Special Edition: Albums of the Year 2018

It’s that time of year again! To kick off 2019, we’re taking a look back at our favorite albums from 2018! We’ll tell you why they were our favorites and play some of the best tracks from those albums. Sound good? Alrighty then! Check out our special 2018 Albums of the Year Episode, below!



DS Exclusive: My Year in Photos 2018

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs, gestures to crowd surfer at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

2018 was another great year for documenting the punk rock scene, not just in my adopted city of Chicago. I also spent time shooting shows in my native state of New York, specifically, in my little brother’s borough of Brooklyn. And for the fourth consecutive year, I spent a long mid-December weekend in Boston, MA. For the compilation of my favorite images of 2018, I am again including faves from bands from a wide spectrum of years together and differing levels of public recognition. Quite a few of these images were featured in DS this year. However, as with my faves gallery in 2017, many others were heretofore not featured in any online or hard copy publications. The shows, Weekend Stands; and festivals (such as Wreck the Halls, Motoblot, Punk the Burbs; and Riot Fest) represented were a blast, every last one. Every group included is one more than worth checking out should they hit your town, city or other location where you might find yourself at the same time as them.

Personal Note:  A good many of the photos in this selection are of Street Dogs. I have been following them and documenting them coming up on 10 years in March. Those who know me know the only band I place above them as a personal favorite is The Clash. There are numerous reasons for my love of Street Dogs and among those reasons is their showmanship. 2018 presented me with the opportunity to document the band in NYC, Chicago; and in the Boston area. The Chicago images were part of my Riot Fest gallery for DS. They will be playing Punk Rock Bowling this May (which I likely may not make). After that, there are no scheduled shows announced for the foreseeable future. They are among the most fun and exciting bands to shoot. Their shows are always at maximum energy levels and the crowds pretty much never disappoint in matching that energy.  So I would like to extend my best wishes to the Michael, Johnny, Lenny, Pete, and Matt; as well as their crews. They and their latest album, “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing,” were surely among the best of 2018.

Johnny Rioux (left) and Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS may be one of Those Who Can’t on television but when it comes to getting a crowd going, he is definitely one of those who can.

Street Dogs’ Mike McColgan pulled me up on stage at Brooklyn Bazaar to get a shot of the crowd. I have documented band from various places on the sides and in the back of stages. However, getting the right up at the front P.O.V. of most of the band members certainly is eye-opening

Triumph Ace and helmet sporting the Ace Cafe London logo at Motoblot

The Queers perform at Punk the Burbs 2

Peter Mittler of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop Chicago

Chicago

Ken Fitzner of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop in Chicago

Dr. Daryl Wilson of The Bollweevils gets high…on punk. Pete Mumford and Ken Fitzner also pictured.

A photographer shoot images of Street Dogs at Brooklyn Bazaar in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY

Pete Sosa of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls #SadPeteSosa? Nah, just a quiet moment in the beautiful chaos.

Stickfight! perform at Liar’s Club Halloween show

The Run Around at Punk the Burbs 2

Stage invader during Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS at Wicker Park Fest in Chicago

Pussy Riot at Riot Fest

Off With Their Heads at Wicker Park Fest

Nuns of Brixton at Motoblot in Chicago

Nate Leinfelder of Noi!se at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Bill Stephens of Naked Raygun

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Nikki Beller of Mystery Actions at Punk the Burbs 2

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs amid the crowd at Riot Fest

Street Dogs’ Johnny Rioux with his wife Melissa Rioux, on stage at Wreck the Halls

Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Legendary Shack Shakers’ JD Wilkes bends over backward for the Motoblot crowd

Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly on the squeezebox at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL

The Queers headlined Punk the Burbs 2

Scott Brooks of Avenues at Punk The Burbs 2

Trever Keith of Face to Face at Riot Fest in Chicago

Caitlin Rose of Bumsy and the Moochers performs at Punk the Burbs 2. Rose is one of the co-organizers of the fest taking place in the suburbs outside of Chicago

Rubber soles meet Bouncing Souls. Pete Steinkopf of Bouncing Souls has great taste in shoes.

Poli Van Dam of The Bombpops has fun at Riot Fest in Chicago

Todd Pott of Apocalypse Hoboken becomes one with the band’s fans at Chop Shop in Chicago

Alkaline Trejo during Alkaline Trio at Riot Fest

Tony Reflex leads Adolescents at Riot Fest. The band hung a large banner with the name Soto in place of the group name as a tribute to their late bandmate Steve Soto.

Larry Damore of Pegboy is surrounded by fans at Cobra Lounge in Chicago. The band performed at this fundraiser for another small Chicago venue.

Steev MF Custer and Devin Morris of Death and Memphis perform during their set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Juan Avalos of Size 5’s jumps, for joy perhaps, as the band performs at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Benny NoGood of Benny and the No-Goods pours emotion into his performance during the band’s set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Off With Their Heads perform at Brauerhouse Lombard

1916 gave a rollicking performance at this year’s Wreck the Halls

Denis Buckley of 88 Fingers Louie sits this one in, continuing to sing at the band’s show at Chop Shop Chicago

And finally, one of my faves I did not take. From left: Johnny Rioux, Matt Pruitt, Lenny Lashley, Pete Sosa, yours truly, and Mike McColgan. Thanks for all the great times! It’s been a blast documenting you all and I so wish I could make PRB this May in Las Vegas! Best Wishes!! Photo by Mark Korich