Search Results for "Jason Cruz And The Howl"

DS Exclusive: Jason Cruz on Strung Out’s triumphant “Songs Of Armor And Devotion” and his Upcoming Children’s Book, “There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams”

When last we spoke with Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz, it was a couple of days prior to the release of his iconic band’s acoustic EP, Black Out The Sky. The album marked a bit of a departure, a change of pace album more than two decades into the band’s history of pioneering a blistering punk/metal hybrid. The album had been a bit delayed – its predecessor, Transmission.Alpha.Delta was already three years old and was, itself, the band’s first new album in six years at the time – and came at the end of a tumultuous two-year period that found long-time drummer Jordan Burns exiting the band, replaced by Runaway Kids’ RJ Shankle.

Fast-forward a less than eighteen months, and we caught up with Cruz again, this time on the heels of a new, fully-plugged-in full-length. On August 9th, the band released their ninth studio album, Songs Of Armor And Devotion, on Fat Wreck Chords, and from the first moments of the album’s opening track, “Rebels & Saints,” the new music finds the quintet firmly, aggressively, planting their battle flag as an ongoing force to be reckoned with nearly three decades into their career. That’s a concept that is certainly not lost on Cruz. “I think that we’re all still working class dudes. We’re still hungry. I feel like we still have to fight for every little thing that we’ve got and everything that we do. Nothing is easy for us, so I think that that in and of itself adds to the gravity and the sincerity of what we do,” he explains. “We earned the right to still be here. I think that if you’re going to do this – to do anything – you have to earn the right to keep doing it.”

Cruz notes that even with so many releases under their studded belts, the band experiences collective anxiety in the last period of time before an album officially drops, and the tone of that anxiety has shifted as much as anything else over the course of their career. “Up until the time it gets released, you’re wondering, especially with social media and everything that’s going on these days, everyone’s got an opinion and everyone feels their opinion needs to be heard, and they start throwing around how they think you should write the songs.” This forces the band – somewhat less-than-reluctantly – to pull back moreso than usual from social media outlets and to let their own collective consciousness steer the ship. It’s the quality that’s lead the band to continue producing material that’s as hungry and vital as ever. “I think that if you believe and something, do it or act it or live your life around it or just be it, and if people are inspired by it, good, if they’re not…I don’t worry about it.

Cruz’s songwriting has never been the type to shy away from sociopolitical issues, and that’s certainly no different on Songs Of Armor And Devotion given that the period we find ourselves in is ripe for commentary. However, Cruz’s songwriting is also the type that’s not going to beat you over the head with on-the-nose references. Instead, he opts for more of a storyteller’s role, allowing the listener to make her or his own connection with the music. That, of course, is by design. “I think music is more intimate than that, and the way it affects you when you first listen to something, or you first put on a CD or you have a moment…music is something so personal and intimate,” he explains.I think a problem with our generation, or just this time, is a lack of intimacy with all things, you know? Everything is so fast and mass-produced and gamma rays in your face and radiation in your face and instant gratification, but there’s no intimacy with anything anymore.

2019 finds Cruz not only assuming his storyteller’s role for Strung Out again by way of writing lyrics and creating artwork, as he’s now done for the bulk of the band’s releases; he’s now branching out into the world of author of children’s books! October 25th at the Copro Nason Gallery in Los Angeles, Cruz will be throwing an art show that serves as the launch for his debut book, There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams. The title was developed by one of Cruz’s daughters and inspired the central theme of the book. “It’s a simple children’s poem with some cool pictures. It’s trying to explain to a kid what dreams are.” In fact, There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams is the first of three books that Cruz has lined up. “The first one is basically a nursery rhyme or a kids’ poem with pictures. The second one is a little bit darker. The third one is a motherfucker…but that’ll wait ’til (his daughter is) a little older!

*excerpted artwork from There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams courtesy of Cruz himself*

As a songwriter, Cruz has not shied away from digging around in some dark places and exploring themes that might be awkward or strange or uncomfortable, and that won’t be different when it comes to his career as an author of kids’ books. “I am who I am in front of my daughter; sometimes I write about dark stuff, but I think at the core of everything I do is love,” Cruz notes. “I think if you read anything I write, it’s about love. I’m not a hateful person, I don’t write about hateful things. Everything I do comes from love, so naturally this book comes from love and dreams.” To that end, Cruz approached the process of creating the art and storyline for a children’s book in much the same manner that he approaches creating music, be it for Strung Out or another project like Jason Cruz and Howl. “To me, a children’s book is just like a song,” he explains. “They’ve both got rhythm, they’ve got imagery. It’s a simplified, poetic approach to telling a sorry or a thought or a theme, you know?

Head below to check out our full Q&A with Jason Cruz…or at least the first 22 minutes of our conversation before my recorder miraculously shat the proverbial bed. If you’re going to be in Southern California the last week of October, you can RSVP to the above-mentioned art show/book launch here; it’s free, and it will also feature guest artist and skateboarding icon Steve Caballero and an acoustic performance by Strung Out!


Jason Cruz and Howl announce West Coast tour dates

Jason Cruz And Howl, the americana side project of Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz, will be spending the next 5 days on a brief west coast tour with Yotam Ben Horin (From Useless ID), Donald Spence (from Versus the World), and Brock Frabbiele (joining the tour from the 6th until the 8th).

Check out the full list of dates and locations below.

Jason Cruz and Howl’s debut full-length Good Mans Ruin was released in April 29th on Echotone Records.

DS Staff Picks – Jay Stone’s Top However-many Albums of 2014

Hey gang!

This is the fourth year I’ve done one of these lists at Dying Scene, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it was the hardest year yet to come up with some sort of a “Top Ten” list. I’ve spent a long time looking at my list, and realizing that it’s not just that I have more than ten albums that I really dig, but that any of the top baker’s dozen albums are almost interchangeable depending on mood. That’s the best thing about music, really.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with for a list. Last year I included non-Dying Scene albums, but this year we’re back to sticking to the script. As such, you won’t see Teeth Dreams by The Hold Steady, Rocco Deluca’s self-titled masterpiece, Joshua Black Wilkins’ best album yet (Settling The Dust), Bob Mould’s stellar Beauty & Ruin, Cymbals Eat Guitars’ Lose or the latest, greatest Tom Petty album.  As usual, I don’t include 7-inches, live albums and EPs, because there’d be just too many to list. But if you’re interested, the Street Dogs‘ split with Noi!se is a pretty great one, as is the long-awaited (by me, anyway) new one from The Reveling.

Check out my list below.

Jason Cruz talks side project The Howl and balancing it with creation of a new Strung Out album

Jason Cruz and Howl – photo (c) Ursula Harris/Leo Snaps Photography

Jason Cruz is a burning the candle at both ends of late. In addition to his “day job” of putting the finishing touches on the music and artwork for Strung Out’s first studio album in five years, he also found the time to put out Good Man’s Ruin (April 29th via the band’s own Echotone Records), the debut full-length from his side project, Jason Cruz and Howl. But Howl is not your typical punk-rock-frontman side project…

Co-founded with Buddy Darling (The Darlings, guitar), Chris Stein (Saccharine Trust, bass) and Kris Comeaux (drums), Howl swaps out power chords and rapid-fire snare drum sounds for slide guitar, increased texture and groovier tones. The result is a dark, trippy, ‘spiritual’ album that tells of bad trips, lost hopes, pipe dreams and Indian curses (here’s our review).

Somewhere amidst the chaos, Cruz carved out a little time to chat with us about the not-your-average recording process for Good Man’s Ruin, the pitfalls of trying to balance two projects without going over-the-edge, and the goal of creating his own scene that harkens back to the Blue Note and SST Records days of yore. Check it out below, and be sure to catch Jason Cruz and Howl on tour with The Darlings and The Pullmen next month on the West Coast. Dates are here.

Jason Cruz and Howl announce west coast tour w/ The Darlings & The Pullmen

Jason Cruz And Howl, the americana side project of Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz, will be spending a few weeks on the road touring the west coast this July, and they’ll be joined by The Darlings and The Pullmen.

A full list of dates and locations the three bands will be playing can be found below.

Jason Cruz and Howl’s debut full-length Good Mans Ruin was released in April 29th on Echotone Records. Mr. Cruz will be appearing on The Darlings’ new album Made of Phantoms, set to be released on July 30th.

Album Review: Jason Cruz and Howl – “Good Man’s Ruin”

There are two major routes that a punk singer will typically take when they go solo: they can opt to go completely solo like Chuck Ragan or Tim Barry, or they can go solo while still employing a full band, a la Chris Wollard or Dave Hause. Strung Out’s Jason Cruz has taken the latter road, and his solo project, Jason Cruz and Howl, sees him being backed by Buddy Darling (of the Darlings) on guitar, Chris Stein (of Saccharine Trust) on bass, and drummer Kris Comeaux.

It should be obvious that anyone expecting the typical blasts of melodic skatepunk that Cruz is known for will be in for a disappointment with the band’s debut LP, Good Man’s Ruin. Jason Cruz and Howl establishes itself as a very different act right off the bat: The opening “War Song” begins with a bluesy guitar lick before it picks up into a rockin’ near-country tune. Between the walking bassline and the slide guitar, it’s immediately clear that this isn’t music made for skating. This is the type of music that goes well with a couple of whiskey shots and a billiards table.

Despite their backgrounds as punk and hardcore veterans, the members of Jason Cruz and Howl easily shift from genre to genre throughout Good Man’s Ruin. From the blues to country to  folk to good ol’ rock and roll, the band covers a lot of ground in these thirteen tracks and there’s not an element that sounds out of place. Even Cruz’s vocals, which are admittedly quieter than what most fans might be used to, are spot on in their new territory, and his delivery carries an intensity that adds just the right amount of punk to the band’s take on Americana.

In an era when it’s common for the lead singer of a punk band to go solo, it’s easy for fans to tire of the seemingly endless sea of side projects and to wind up just tuning them all out. You really shouldn’t ignore Jason Cruz and Howl though. Good Man’s Ruin is a solid debut, and deserves to be listened to. Despite what the band name suggests, this isn’t just some acoustic project formed solely to play the Revival Tour*. Jason Cruz and Howl is a full blown band doing their own thing, and it just so happens that the members also play in punk bands.

*That said… Chuck, if you’re reading this you should still at least ask Jason if he’d like to go on the next edition of the tour. It couldn’t hurt.

4 / 5 – Stream it here!

RIYL: Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves, Social Distortion, X

Jason Cruz and Howl release music video for “High And Lonesome”

Ever plan a road trip across a desert highway through dusty old “one horse” towns just because you have an album that would make the perfect soundtrack for it?  Well, me neither, but the new full-length from Jason Cruz and Howl make me wanna do it.  “Good Mans Ruin” was put out on April 29th and today the band has released a music video for the track “High And Lonesome”.  It does a great job of capturing a visual representation to the album’s overall aesthetic.

Here’s what Jason Cruz had to say about the video when I asked him what exactly was going on it:

“We didn’t wanna do a dooshy band playing guitar in the desert looking cool kinda thing so we opted for the weird David Lynchian approach. Its basically a murder ballad and we have all been sent to a weird perdition in the desert by a cadillac driving siren. Go figure.”

Check it out below.

Jason Cruz And Howl is of course fronted by Strung Out front-man Jason Cruz.  “Good Mans Ruin” is their debut full-length release and a follow-up to the their “Loungecore” EP.

Full Album Stream: Jason Cruz and Howl – “Good Man’s Ruin”

As you should know, Jason Cruz and Howl released their debut full-length “Good Mans Ruin” yesterday (April 29th). If you were under a rock or dodging tornadoes and didn’t have a chance to get to a record store, you can stream the album here.

“Good Mans Ruin” was released on Echotone Records, and marks the follow-up to the Strung Out frontman’s side project’s “Loungecore” EP.

Jason Cruz (Strung Out) announces debut Jason Cruz and Howl full-length “Good Man’s Ruin”, streams new song

Jason Cruz And Howl, the americana side project of Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz, will be releasing their debut full-length “Good Mans Ruin” on April 29th via Echotone Records (pre-orders available).  As if that wasn’t exciting enough they’ve also premiered a brand new track from the album titled “High And Lonesome”, which you can stream below.

Those familiar with the project already will remember that the band released their first material, a four-song EP entitled “Loungecore”, last year.

Jason Cruz And Howl to release full-length this summer

Jason Cruz And Howl have revealed via Facebook that they intend to release their debut full length album this summer. There’s currently no information other than the words “Full length 2013,” but check back with us for details as they emerge.

Jason Cruz, of Strung Out fame, has been working with fellow musicians Buddy Darling (guitar/vocals (The Darlings)), Chris Stein (bass (Saccharine)), and Nick DiBiasi (drums (Neo Geo)), as Jason Cruz and Howl.

The band has released their first material, a four-song EP entitled “Loungecore.” You can stream the EP in its entirety here. The album is currently available in digital format, and is set for a vinyl release on August 21 through King’s Road.

Full Album Stream: Jason Cruz and Howl – “Loungecore”

Jason Cruz, of Strung Out fame, has been working on a little side project, with fellow musicians Buddy Darling (guitar/vocals (The Darlings)), Chris Stein (bass (Saccharine)), and Nick DiBiasi (drums (Neo Geo)), entitled Jason Cruz and Howl.

The band has just released their first material, a four-song EP entitled “Loungecore”.

You can stream the EP in its entirety here.

The album is currently available in digital format, and is set for a vinyl release on August 21 through King’s Road.

Jason Cruz And The Howl (members of Strung Out, The Darlings) post new song “Blue Jesus”

Jason Cruz and Howl, the brainchild of Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz and The Darlings‘ frontman Buddy Darling, has recently announced plans for a brand new EP entitled “Loungecore.” The first track, “Blue Jesus,” is now streaming here.

The four-song release (tracklisting here) is due out on August 21st, but initial pre-order options (including red, white and blue vinyl) are up-and-running right here.

“Loungecore” marks Jason Cruz and Howl’s first release, and is being self-released by Mr. Cruz. Check out the cover art to the left.

Jason Cruz and Howl announce new EP, “Loungecore”

Jason Cruz and Howl, the brainchild of Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz and The Darlings‘ frontman Buddy Darling, has announced plans for a brand new EP entitled “Loungecore.”

The four-song release (tracklisting here) is due out on August 21st, but initial pre-order options (including red, white and blue vinyl) are up-and-running right here.

Loungecore marks Jason Cruz and Howl’s first release, and is being self-released by Mr. Cruz. Check out the cover art to the left.

Jason Cruz and Howl stream new song, post cover art

Jason Cruz and Howl are now streaming a new track, “Blue Jesus,” off their upcoming EP that will be released this July. They also posted the cover art (to the left). You can listen to the song on their ReverbNation profile.

The group is a side project of Jason Cruz of Strung Out and Buddy Darling of The Darlings.

Jason Cruz and Buddy Darling (Strung Out and the Darlings) start new side project: Howl

Songwriters Jason Cruz of Strung Out and Buddy Darling of The Darlings have teamed up to form a a new side project band dubbed Jason Cruz And The Howl, or simply, Howl.  By ways of sound, they describe themselves as Lounge Core,

“With an American scope of love and war, tales of devils and saints, lonely roads and drunk saviors Howl frames the modern world in a traditional soundscape and delivers its story to the smell of rottin beer in name bars in the dark shifty part of town.”

The band is apparently releasing an EP soon and you can check out a video of them performing a song called “The Lonesome Grave of Celia Browne” right here.