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DS Interview: John Maiello (Dead Bars) Talks ‘Regulars,’ playing with the Souls, and life after ‘Dream Gig’

“Keep on dreamin’.”

For myself and many others, the chorus has become a warcry. The punky, rock ‘n roll stalwarts have a way of getting you on their side—whether it’s through their blunt, too-real lyricism, or their bar-uniting singalongs, there’s the palpable feeling that no matter who you are, you belong at their show. This is Dead Bars—eternally scrappy, open-throated, and always rockin’—and with Regulars, they’ve kept the dream alive. 

In honor of the new album (May 3rd on A-F Records, don’t sleep on it!), I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with frontman John Maiello. We talk about the band’s journey thus far, finally getting that dream gig, and their incredible new record. 

Check out the interview below!



Milo Aukerman hopes Descendents will record new music later this year

In a recent interview with Kerrang!, Descendents frontman Milo Aukerman confirmed that they are indeed writing new material for the band’s follow-up to 2016’s Hypercaffium Spazzinate. He’s quoted as saying:

“We’re currently writing. We tend to write a variety of stuff, which for me personally tends to range from love songs to hyper-fast songs about coffee, which we still do. So we continue to mine our background in early LA punk rock pretty heavily. I still like to write that kind of music because for me it’s the best way of getting my point across powerfully. But right now Stephen [Egerton, guitarist] and I have written about 21 songs, and we’re waiting for songs from Bill and Karl [Alvarez, bassist]. We’re kind of weird because everyone in the band writes, so we’re just waiting til everyone has finished up with their compliment of songs and then we’ll be putting another record out. I hope that we’ll start recording it later in the year.”

Exactly when the next Descendents record will be released is unknown at this point. Fans had to wait nine years for 1996’s Everything Sucks, eight years for 2004’s Cool to Be You and then twelve years for Hypercaffium Spazzinate, but over a month ago, Milo promised that it won’t be too long before the arrival of the next album.



Exclusive Interview: On top of the world with Buck-O-Nine’s Jon Pebsworth, talks “Fundaymental” and keeping it DIY in a septet

Third-wave California ska-punk pioneers Buck-O-Nine have just released Fundaymental on Cleopatra Records. It’s their first album in 12 years and marks the band’s sixth studio album since their conception in ’91. Fundaymental has been years in the making with each of the seven members making ulterior individual contributions to bring these fourteen-tracks to life, where “do it yourself” finds new meaning when your rhythm section is spread across the country and the guy singing the songs lives 100 miles away.

Dying Scene caught up with that guy via telephone call from Dallas to L.A. His name is Jon Pebsworth, and like pretty much all the rest of the band members, he’s been there since the beginning. Jon says the main thing to take away from Fundaymental is “Come out to the show. Put your worries aside, and have fun for a night.” and Buck-O-Nine after all these years? “Let it go!” The secret is trust, and this singer says he has loads of that, as well as respect for each member of his septet. He keeps the process fun and easy, and collaborations are chilled and inclusive.

“People leave. Even our drummer Steve, he’s the original drummer. He left the band in I think like ’99 or something like that and then he came back about six or seven years ago. So, it’s basically the same group of guys minus the bass player that did all of the first three records, which is pretty cool. Our bass player who is in the band now, Andy, has been in the band for about nineteen years.” Fun fact: Andy Platfoot is also the creative talent behind Buck-O-Nine’s music videos of late… the more you know.

As for the art on Fundaymental, “Steve did the cover and then the back cover, and then Jonas, our guitar player did all the graphic design and put it all together.” Fundaymental was recorded, monitored and produced by trumpet player Tony Curry who utilized F.B.I. spy tactic technological wizardry to hack his band member’s computers and record demos remotely. “Like I said, everybody’s got their little job that they do.”

“Our drummer recorded all the drums in a proper studio and stuff like that. It was a really weird process, but it was a lot of fun. There was a lot of learning as we were going. We were kind of like, ‘This is so trippy. We’ve never even been in the same room together playing these songs – which on all the other records that we’ve done over the years, we were just in a rehearsal room somewhere in San Diego playing the songs together and working them out that way. This was different but it was the only option we had. We just really, really wanted to do it, so we made it happen.”

When you find something you love, you’ve got to let it shine… I mean, something to that effect… I know that’s not right. You’ve got to be a peacock, right? “I went through some work things a few years ago working at this company, and I was trying my best to be like, ‘I’m into it. It’s cool.’ You know? ‘Let’s do this!’ And finally, after a couple of years I was just like, ‘You know what? Fuck this! And fuck this place! And fuck this job! I’m fucking out of here, dude.’ You know? Like, ‘I’m gonna’ go back to what I do. This isn’t me.’ So, that’s really kind of what its about. It’s really kind of a message to yourself, you know? A lot of my songs are like that where it’s like a pep talk almost for yourself. It’s a healing and process where you are talking yourself back into being positive and cool, and not dealing with bullshit. You know? For the most part that’s what it’s kind of about, and the references like ‘going back to the bar’ and ‘hanging out hooligan style’ is just a part of getting away from that negative shit to me, because that shit’s cool and fun.”

Jon and I had a great chat. It was super fun talking about ska in the 90’s, and the components of a talented band who tries to keep it in the family. Jon gave me the ins-and-outs of the new album Fundaymental. (available here) I got to meet his dog Barney, and we even talked about Mike Park a little bit behind his back. Find these conversations and more below, you young dead scenesters. Have a great day!



One Week ‘Til Manchester Punk Festival: An Interview With The Tree

It’s just one week until a few thousand punks descend on the northern UK city of Manchester for what has fast become an absolute festival-calendar highlight. Returning for its fifth and biggest edition yet, Manchester Punk Festival will play host to more than 130 bands spanning just about every sub-genre of punk.

The festival is the product of three of Manchester’s most-active purveyors of underground sounds – Moving North, Anarchistic Undertones, and TNS Records. Helping them is a vast team of volunteers drafted directly from the UK punk scene. Essentially, it’s about 10 massive DIY gigs running simultaneously, with hundreds of bands, that span three days. It’s fucking great.

With just a few tickets remaining, we put some questions to long promoter Ian “Tree” Robinson (of Manchester’s Anarchistic Undertones and Oasis tribute band-fame) to find out what goes in to putting on an underground slobber-knocker as grand in scale as that occurring next weekend. Below is the result of just that.

 



Exclusive Interview: Success is never realized with Houston and The Dirty Rats, Confessions of a DIY band with world record aspirations

Houston and The Dirty Rats is out to set a record. They’ve recently applied to Guinness for the category of “Longest Documented DIY Tour” – or something like that :) – in reference to their current tour, of which they should be right around the halfway mark, dubbed “The Dirty 100” or “100 shows in 100 days” tour.  I stopped by and spoke with the band as they came through Dallas, at the only place left for a cheap drink in Deep Ellum, Reno’s Chop Shop. We all met up and decided to chat it up for a bit in the bed of my truck parked right out back. It was a beautiful night with a near-howling wind that spoke just enough to rustle up the sensors in my phones microphone a bit, The city was wide awake on a Thursday and there were plenty of folks that took interest in our little motley anomaly in the bed of a truck in back of Renos.

A bit more than halfway through we breaked for their set, and I was thrilled with the band’s performance, and stage presence. I mentioned to Houston that he was lucky to have such a great rhythm section, and that the Dirty Rats throughout the night had expressed a level of brotherhood and comraderie that made me extremely excited to write about them. We talked about the usual stuff: DIY ethics, running your own label, dreams of being signed, ungodly amounts of malt-liquor consumption, and of course the 100 shows in 100 days. It’s a bit of a read but I’ll be damned if we didn’t just make the most adorable little punker quartet you ever did see. Also, if you or any of your friends are in a band, there’s about a 50% chance that it gets a shout in this piece as a bunch of our favorites get a mention.

This conversation was a blast and I’m stoked I got to relive it again in transcription. From my table to yours young scenesters. Here’s a band that’s going places. Read the interview below.



The Offspring members look back on 25th anniversary of “Smash”

The Offspring members Dexter Holland and Noodles recently spoke to Kerrang! magazine about the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough record Smash.

Noodles recalls, “Prior to Smash, we were pretty much a part-time band. Even when we blew up, I didn’t even quit my job [as a janitor at the Earl Warren School in Anaheim] outright – I took a three-year leave of absence. I was still working there when we were blowing up ’cause I’d promised my boss I wouldn’t quit until the end of the school year. There was this one high school girl that I knew [there] and she used to see me in the morning and say to me, ‘Man, what are you doing? I just saw you on MTV!’

There were a lot of things at that time that we didn’t do. We didn’t do any late-night TV shows until Days Go By [in 2012]! On Smash, we turned down Saturday Night Live, simply because we didn’t think we were good enough. Again, I think that has something to do with the fact that we were a part-time band.

We did do the Billboard Awards, which was on TV, but it wasn’t widely viewed. The organisers were pissed off that we played Bad Habit rather than one of the hits, but we thought, ‘We’re punks. We’re not a pop band. Let’s go out and fuck things up a little bit.'”

Dexter added, “We actually considered playing Too Drunk To Fuck [by Dead Kennedys] at the Billboard show. In the end we played Bad Habit. But we played raw, and at the end I dived into the crowd. I remember the looks on the faces of the people at the front as I did this, and thinking, ‘Wow, these aren’t the same people that come to see us when we play [punk venue] Gilman Street!'”

Smash was originally released on April 8th, 1994 via Epitaph, and was the first album released on that label to receive gold and platinum certification thanks to the hits “Come Out and Play”, “Self Esteem”, and “Gotta Get Away”. Along with Green Day‘s Dookie, Smash was responsible for helping bring punk rock into the mainstream, as well as paving the way for the emerging pop punk scene of the 90’s.



Descendents are working on new music, says Milo Aukerman

Descendents frontman Milo Aukerman confirmed in an interview with OC Register that a new album from the band is on the way. Fans had to wait nine years for 1996’s Everything Sucks, eight years for 2004’s Cool to Be You and then twelve years for 2016’s Hypercaffium Spazzinate, but Milo promises that it won’t be too long before the next record arrives.

He’s quoted as saying, “When we put out the last record we thought, ‘OK, I bet we could put out another record after this one and not wait a decade to do it.’ It was such a rewarding experience and you know what? Our fans deserve better. They deserve more than a record every decade or so. We started writing almost immediately after that record was done. I have been writing and Stephen (Egerton) has really picked up the mantle, too. Between us I think we have like 20 songs written and Bill (Stevenson) and Karl (Alvarez) have been writing songs as well. We’ve done some basic tracking, but it’s still a work in progress but I hope we’ll have something out by the end of the year.”

We’ll keep you posted as more details on the next Descendents record come to light.



Adam Pfahler confirms Jawbreaker are writing new material

Jawbreaker drummer Adam Pfahler confirmed in a recent interview with Music Radar that new music for what will be the band’s first album in over two decades is in progress. He was quoted as saying:

“Yeah, absolutely. We’re writing right now and we’ve rescued a couple of old songs that we never had a chance to record right at the end of the band. We’re going to get together in San Francisco and get right back to it. We don’t have a label yet, and we haven’t booked any studio time. We’re just dipping our toes and taking it one step at a time.”

Jawbreaker broke up in 1996, shortly after the release of their iconic record Dear You, but reunited in 2017 and have been performing live occasionally since then.



DS Exclusive: Dave Hause on fatherhood, family, and his suicidally optimistic new album “Kick”

The journey of a career songwriter is one filled with a seemingly endless series of what can rightly be called “pivotal” moments that can alter the arc of one’s professional career; the death of a loved one, the dissolution of a band, divorce, the misuse of alcohol and other drugs, marriage, worsening societal ills. Even if you’ve got your head screwed on in a manner we’d call straight, each and every one of those areas can seem daunting. When you couple any of them with the growing senses of fear and doubt and insecurity that can come, frankly, with being alive and even remotely paying attention to the world around you, it can prove enough to bring an otherwise strong individual to their respective knees.

In one form or another, Dave Hause has tackled all of those issues — sometimes individually, sometimes collectively — generally in a manner that can be poignant and heart-achingly personal. On his upcoming album, Kick, due April 12th on Rise Records, Hause has yet another filter to approach his life, and his craft, through: fatherhood. When we caught up with the now California-based Hause over the phone last week, he was out for a walk with his twin two-month-old sons napping quietly away in their stroller, affording his wife a much-deserved breather. Lest those who might be afraid that turning 40 and establishing roots on the sun-soaked west coast and becoming a dad would have dulled the daggers that Hause spent the better part of two decades sharpening, fear not; Kick is very much a return to form from the more positive, upbeat themes of its predecessor, Bury Me In Philly. “I think that Kick and Devour are a lot closer to one another than Bury Me In Philly,” Hause explains. Bury Me In Philly was me moving to California and figuring out what that was going to look like and figuring out happiness. I didn’t want to write a bummed record if I wasn’t bummed. Little did I know that we were going to have one of the biggest heartbreaks as a society that I could have ever predicted.”

There are some weighty questions posited over the course of the ten songs that make up Kick. Many of them, like “Weathervane” and “Civil Lies” and lead single “The Ditch” tangle the wires between the personal and the political and reveal the obviously delicate balances that come with managing one’s own anxieties within the context of tides that are literally rising and a social climate that seems hellbent on allowing it to happen. The ride culminates in the album’s closing track, “Bearing Down,” a track which…well, let’s put it this way: if the Devour track “Autism Vaccine Blues” and its narrator outwardly considering whether or not they’d be better off dead tugged on your heartstrings, “Bearing Down” will use two hands and rip those heartstrings straight from your chest. The song finds Hause not only name-checking Hunter Thompson and Robin Williams (and insanely talented Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, who provided backing vocal duties on the Devour track “The Shine,” in the liner notes), all of whom died from suicide after lengthy and sometimes public struggles with their own demons, but contemplating his own oblivion and weighing swan diving off the Golden Gate Bridge.

But then comes the pivot, that moment that the narrative shifts from being bleak to being heavy yet hopeful by way of our narrator finding that he’s got a newfound responsibility to be around for a while, and to help those that he’s close to through these difficult times. “What I was betting on with that final verse,” he explains, “was really like the old Buddhist philosophy that life is pain. “Hallelujah, we’re alive, and it’s bearing down. It is brutal. And if I can lighten that load for someone else, then I’m serving some grander purpose more than just my own selfish whims.” If you’re lucking, the act of older and going through some of your own trials and tribulations allows you the experience and perspective needed to learn from past mistakes. “I’ve got to stick around and not put my people through hell,” Hause notes, adding “in looking at the patterns of addiction and stuff, you start to realize that ‘wow…I’ve made some messes that I wouldn’t mind not repeating, so I’m going to stay in better touch!’ I look at it as more of a human responsibility.”

If there’s a central theme to Kick, it’s that yeah, the current might be strengthening around us or the ditch we’re in may be getting deeper, but that focusing on that isn’t going to fix it. “It’s a very dangerous proposition to look at the glass as either half-empty or filled with piss! Maybe that could be true, but I can’t really afford to ruminate on that. I have to come up with a reason to look toward the shore despite feeling I or we, collectively, are drowning. I have to. At this point, it’s a job as I have as a dad,” Hause notes, quickly adding that, upon reflection, his new duties aren’t necessarily “new” at all, though they’re certainly more intense. “To some degree, I’ve always had that job. I’ve been a brother and a husband and a friend and a songwriter. I’m supposed to try to be of some good use to people.”

There’s a genuine art to being able to write a song that uses your own uniquely human experiences and resonates with other people in such a way that not only can the listener relate to your stories, but use them in a way that can move the needle in their own lives. You know the Leonard Cohen quote “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in?” Hause asks, knowing full well what the answer is. “A lot of times what’s compelling to me is trying to look at the piece of pottery and trying to recognize that it is indeed cracked — and we cracked it! We fucked it up!  — But then trying to find that light, because what else are you going to do? A joking alternate title for the record was “Suicidally Optimistic,” and I know that can kinda make the skin crawl, but a lot of times, I think that that’s my outlook.”

As was the case with Bury Me In Philly a few years ago, Hause was joined by his brother Tim for the creation of Kick. The latter might be sixteen years younger than his big brother, but make no mistake; he is not, by any stretch (and to paraphrase a line from the track “Civil Lies”) a kid anymore, displaying songwriting chops that match his previously-established guitar abilities. Having Tim as my partner now is clutch. His whole theory is that you make a ten song record, and then, long-term, if you end up with three of them in your “greatest hits” set that we’ll play for the remainder of our careers as musicians, we did something right.” Tim not only collaborated on music and lyrics this time out, he takes on lead vocal duties on “Civil Lies,” providing an effect that’s familiar while still adding a layer we haven’t heard on a Hause “solo” album before. I use solo in quotes there, because it may not be that way for long. “I didn’t really want to be a solo guy (at first),” Hause the elder explains. “The financial collapse happened and I grabbed a guitar and just went. I didn’t realize (it would happen this way), I thought I’d be back with The Loved Ones after a record or two, but the cookie crumbled differently. I brought my brother in and assumed he’d be with me for a year or two and then go back to college.” Instead, Tim has turned himself into a vital cog in the process. “I think we’re just continuing to set the table for us combining streams and using both of our songwriting output and both of our talents toward the same end. Ultimately, we may just go completely under the last name so that it encompasses all of our writing,” a trend that’s started already, as evidenced by Kick‘s cover art. 

While Hause will have Tim alongside him as he gears up to hit the road with a full band, The Mermaid, for the first Kick support shows later this week and through the remainder of the year, he obviously won’t have his family’s two newest members alongside. In order to gear up for life on the road as a dad, Hause has called on some old friends like Dan Andriano, Pete Steinkopf, Brian Fallon and Cory Branan not just for songwriting input, but for advice on how to best navigate these previously (for him) uncharted waters. While being away from his wife and two little fellas is obviously going to suck, Hause is hoping to use that as inspiration to dig a little deeper – as though that were possible – in his live performances. I’m going to miss my family. I’m going to feel to some degree like a heel for not being there for first steps or things. I’m going to miss stuff if I continue to tour to support my life. But I’m trying to look at it like a two-pronged approach: 1 – what I do is cool and the kids will be psyched on that and 2- more importantly, if I can lean into that experience and be like ‘well, I’m in Berlin, and I don’t get to do this just willy-nilly; I can’t just pick up and go, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort and heartache to be away from my family, I’m going to really dig in on this Berlin show…or these two Boston shows.’ I think maybe it’ll make things shine up a little brighter.”

The new tour kicks off tomorrow (March 27th) in Hause’s hometown of Santa Barbara and takes a baby-steps approach through places like Boston, Philly, New York and Toronto before making its way overseas for three weeks later next month. Tour dates are available here. Kick is due out April 12th, and you can still pre-order it here.

More importantly, you can check out our full chat below; Hause and I have done these a few times, so as usual, we range pretty far and wide.



TX street punks, The Scandals celebrate 15 years, tell all

Check out this interview from TX street punks The Scandals. They spilt the beans on everything from 15-years of punk rock, to putting out records with Slope and inciting riots in the third most dangerous city on the planet. UP THE PUNX!!! ***((Bonus videos in article))***



DS Interview: Jenna Enemy of The Von Tramps discusses DIY, must-do vacation tips for San Diego, and The Beach Boys on cocaine

The Von Tramps are a rising punk & ska-core act from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Front woman Jenna Enemy took some to answer a few questions while the band gets ready to make a sensible escape from Minnesota in January. Check out the interview below for hot tips on what to do when touring the west coast, the band’s next release, and life with DIY!



DS Interview: Spanish Love Songs in the UK

Dylan Slocum is tired.  Spanish Love Songs are on the penultimate date of a two-and-a-half week jaunt around the UK and Europe with Ducking Punches.  Today they have driven to my home town of Milton Keynes, UK from Antwerp, Belgium.  Delays on the Eurostar train on top of the usual rigours of road life seem to be catching up with the band’s singer so it was extremely gracious that he took the time to have the following conversation.

Check out the interview below.



Interview: Dennis Jagard (Ten Foot Pole) talks to us about all things TFP

I recently had the chance to catch up with Dennis Jagard of Ten Foot Pole. Fresh off a tour and recording a new album, I had the opportunity to find out what Ten Foot Pole has in store for us, and what we can expect from the punk veterans going forward. 

Check out the interview below.



Interview: The Split Seconds’ Drew Champion fills us in on 2018 their most bestest, funest, excitingest year ever!

Photo by Roxplosion.

I was recently able to share a few words with front man Drew Champion of the up and coming DC Punk band The Split Seconds, (Altercation Records) and below is what he had to say about the year gone by.



DS Interview: Catching up with Junior Battles on their recent London tour date

Canadian pop punk legends Junior Battles finally made it across the water to play a two and half week run through Europe. Sam, who shares vocal and guitar duties with Erin, was kind enough to hang out for a chat amongst the beer kegs at the rather splendid New River Studios in London before their one and only UK show.  Thanks to fishouttawater for use of the picture from the show.  Check out the interview below.