Street Punk Veterans THE CASUALTIES Unleash Hell On Their THRASH BASH 2022 TOUR!
Los Angeles, CA – The Casualties have long been known for being one of the most raucous and rowdy punk rock bands around today. Their live performances always teeter on the edge of chaos but the band – which consists of vocalist David Rodriguez, Jake Kolatis on guitar, Marc Eggers on drums and Rick Lopez on bass – is somehow able to keep things under just enough control to deliver their anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian, pro-real punk rock message loud and clear!
Fresh off their All Out Tour II, The Casualties are returning to the road for a series of select dates on the east coast. Be sure to catch the band’s special opener for the Canadian leg, power trio Deadwolff!
“fast, snotty old-school melodic hardcore… even if these are middle-aged guys with decades in the game, they still bring that fired-up teenage rage” – Stereogum
“a melodic hardcore ripper that sounds like the exact middle ground between Lifetime and Minor Threat” – Brooklyn Vegan
Today, Beach Rats drop their debut album Rat Beat via Epitaph Records. An impressive lineup of punk rock lifers, the band is comprised of vocalist Ari Katz (Lifetime,) guitarist Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls,) bassist Bryan Keinlen (Bouncing Souls,) guitarist Brian Baker (Bad Religion, Minor Threat) & Danny Windas on drums. Not wanting to take themselves too seriously, the band formed merely over a love of the genre. These are veterans of hardcore punk having fun and trying replicate the feeling and sound of what it was like to make punk music in the 80’s.
“You’re gonna get authentic punk and hardcore from BEACH RATS because we are all from the 80’s,” Bryan Kienlen comments. “It’s literally taking it back to some of our biggest influences like Negative Approach and Poison Idea, and of course, Minor Threat.”
Beach Rats came to be as each member found themselves settled in the beach community of Asbury Park, New Jersey. The crew started up when Pete, Bryan and Ari performed punk covers together for the first time at the funeral for Vision front man, Dave Franklin. After releasing an EP in 2018 and performing a slew of high-energy shows, the global pandemic gave the band a reason to get back to recording. The majority of the songs on Rat Beat were conceptualized and rehearsed in the basement of Brian Baker’s home and then tracked by Eric Bennett at Lakehouse Studios in only one day.
Baker recalls, “We’d go down in the basement, put on masks, open the windows and we could play – within CDC guidelines! We couldn’t go to dinner at each other’s houses but we could practice.”
From the kick-off of “Bikes Out” and “Dress for Sick Sesh” to the roughshod melodicism of “Clorox Boys” or “Heavy Conversation” Rat Beat is an in-the moment snapshot of the five members’ distinct styles with no self-editing or second guessing. “The song ‘Summer’s End’ sums up a lot of what was going on for us when we were recording,” admits Ari Katz. “It was the end of the season which coincided with a lot of things that were ending in my life. It was fun to weave in that kind of imagery. Closing the beach, the town, switching over from the summer people to the faces you see in the winter and how that mirrors what was going on personally. In that sort of in-the-moment-ness of BEACH RATS, there’s an undeniable honesty.”
Handheld are a friendly looking punk band from Kitchener, Ontario. When I saw their picture I thought to myself, “They seem fine”. After seeing the music video for “Leaving Candyland,” off their forthcoming album, that feeling only intensified. Before we get into the music, the band, and the history of Kitchener formerly being called Berlin before anti-German sentiment during World War I resulted in changing the name to a former British field marshal (we might not actually get to that part), let’s talk about this amazing music video in greater detail.
Both the song and the video pay homage to the peerless John Candy, who is a Canadian treasure of the highest order. If you don’t love John Candy, then you’re a bad person who hates punk, and must only be here for those stupid Google ads about that company who makes tech fiber cargo shorts with knife holsters. This video brings back to life many of John Candy’s best roles, with the band dressing up as Barf from Spaceballs, Uncle Buck, Del from Planes, Train, and Automobiles, and more. Famous scenes from these seminal films are reenacted, but with guitars. It’s well done, and a lot of fun to watch. The song itself is catchy early Fat style punk that should appeal to anyone who snowboarded with blue hair in the 90s. In particular I hear the first two Strung Out albums, but with some Blink 182 in there as well. It’s got the young goofiness of the latter, but also there are multiple kick drums firing off at rapid speed the whole time, bits of metallic noodling, and tons of dudes going, “Aaahhhh, laaahhh”. I think if you like either of those bands, you’ll like this record too. It’s got a lot of good things going for it. John Candy for one, it’s a comeback album (their first in 14 years, which I love), and they’re from non-Toronto Ontario, which has churned out some of the best punk rock the world has ever known.
These guys seem like they’re having a good time and actually like each other, which is something that always translates well into the music. Look at Oasis for example, they’re terrible. I bet catching Handheld live in their hometown, especially after a long hiatus, is not a bad way to spend a night out in Kitchener.
“[Gold Chain Punk] finds freedom in nihilism and something almost like joy in the idea that if people will try to punish you anyway, you may as well do whatever the fuck you want “- Consequence #11 of 50 Best Songs Of The Year So Far
“On their groundbreaking new album, the Philadelphia hardcore group mixes actionable rhetoric, absurdist humor, and breathtaking vulnerability like no band before them” – Pitchfork ‘Best New Music’
“It’s the album I’ve gone to over and over again to fill my soul back up when I’m depleted” – NPR
“One of the most thrillingly thrashy, brilliantly based, and convincingly punk hardcore albums in years” – SPIN
“Hardcore can sometimes be a formulaic thing, and it can also be an oppressively white thing, but Soul Glo push back hard against the idea that it has to be either”- Stereogum
“It’s the most breath-snatchingly thrilling and brain-nourishingly on-point hardcore album not just of 2022, but also in recent memory” – Revolver
Soul Glo has had a whirlwind year so far with no plans of coming up for air. Hot on the heels of their freshly released album ‘Diaspora Problems’, today they share the music video for opening track “Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?).” The scathing circle-pit ready song “finds freedom in nihilism,” via Consequence 50 Best Songs Of The Year roundup. “Something like joy in the idea that if people will try to punish you, you may as well do whatever the fuck you want.”
The experimental group is known for their inventive fusion of genres and while the evolution of their sound is inimitable, small-minded music fans desperately want to put them in a box. The music video satirizes the frustrations of being lumped together with other bands and artists due to the color of their skin when individually, they hold it down on their own. Vocalist Pierce Jordan, one of AV Club’s ‘20 Best Frontpeople In Modern Rock,’ explains,
“If you’re a Black person who is into any kind of hard rock, you’ve probably had a white person try to talk to you about Bad Brains. We are constantly compared to them. Apparently, I even look like HR. Can I fuckin live?”
Conceptualized over the course of 2016 to 2021, Diaspora Problems was recorded in an unfinished warehouse and the band’s practice space during the hottest parts of summer 2021. The self-produced albumexplores an artist and individuals’ self-doubt and self-hate, past traumas that can only be worked out in adulthood, financial instability and how it affects an artist, the effects of institutional and state violence, and the power of community that delivered Soul Glo through each struggle the band has endured from their inception and beyond.
‘Diaspora Problems’ has been noted in almost every major music publication, from a coveted 8.5 from Pitchfork to the mid-year “Best Of” lists in Stereogum, Consequence, Pitchfork, Revolver, and NPR. Celebratedamongst established peers of all genres, Soul Glo has cemented themselves as an anomaly in the hardcore genre. The timeliness and significance that the album holds in the world of music has the makings of AOTY written all over it.
Soul Glo is going on tour for the rest of the summer with Show Me The Body, kicking off in NYC and ending in Louisville, KY while playing some one-off shows along the way. On August 26th they’re opening for Turnstile and My Chemical Romance, and then heading off to sets at Furnace Fest and Desert Daze. You can find tickets here: https://bnds.us/jkpc2o
Soul Glo Tour Dates
Sun-Jul 10 Queens, NY Knockdown Center (The Ruins) *
Tue-Jul 12 Columbus, OH Rumba Café *^
Wed-Jul 13 Kansas City, MO recordBar *^
Thu-Jul 14 Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep *^
Sat-Jul 16 Los Angeles, CA CORPUS Presents: LA IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Sun-Jul 17 Tijuana, BC Black Box
Mon-Jul 18 San Fernando, CA The Midnight Hour Records
Tue-Jul 19 Los Angeles, CA Zebulon
Wed-Jul 20 Phoenix, AZ Valley Bar *^
Fri-Jul 22 Dallas, TX CheapSteaks *^
Sat-Jul 23 Austin, TX Sunny’s Backyard *^
Sun-Jul 24 Houston, TX The End *^
Mon-Jul 25 Oklahoma City, OK 89th Street
Tue-Jul 26 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad *^
Wed-Jul 27 Tucson, AZ Club Congress *^
Thu-Jul 28 Bakersfield, CA Temblor Brew *^
Fri-Jul 29 Oakland, CA Starline Social Club *^
Sat-Jul 30 Santa Cruz, CA Santa Cruz Vets Hall
Mon-Aug 1 Reno, NV Holland Project *^
Wed-Aug 3 Seattle, WA Madame Lou’s *^
Thu-Aug 4 Vancouver, BC Fortune Sound Club *^
Fri-Aug 5 Tacoma, WA Real Arts Tacoma *^
Sat-Aug 6 Happy Valley, OR Pickathon 2022
Mon-Aug 8 Salt Lake City, UT Beehive *^
Tue-Aug 9 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge *^
Thu-Aug 11 Louisville, KY Portal *^
Fri-Aug 12 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street *^
Fri-Aug 26 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena %
Sun-Sep 25 Birmingham, AL Furnace Fest
Sep 30 – Oct 2 Perris, CA Desert Daze
w/ Show Me The Body *
w/ MCR + Turnstile %
About Soul Glo
Soul Glo is Pierce Jordan (vocals), GG Guerra (bass, vocals, programming), and TJ Stevenson (drums). Fusing hip-hop, hardcore, and punk, the Philly outfit are fearless in their approach and even more ruthless in their delivery. Injecting their colorful narratives into predominantly white spaces, Soul Glo has the scope and ability to transcend outer appearances in hardcore music. We’re at the precipice of a sonic revolution as a higher variance of people find room for themselves and the expression of their lived experience within the genre.
“as if Taking Back Sunday had attended the Guided By Voices school of songwriting,” NYT on “Gotta Let It Go”
“a hooky, straightforward rock band that can’t seem to miss, with a signature touch you can’t mistake no matter how much they tweak the details.” – Stereogum
“a refreshing burst of off-kilter rock—whether it’s emo, pop-punk, or indie rock. It’s just an undeniable jam.” – UPROXX on “Don’t Try”
“sounds like the Joyce Manor you fell in love with from the very beginning…” – SPIN on “Gotta Let It Go”
Today, Joyce Manor unveil their 6th studio album, 40 oz. To Fresno. Seeing the band return to form after a brief hiatus, it will undoubtedly please fans who have been waiting four years since 2018’s Million Dollars To Kill Me. The much anticipated record has songs that span over the last eight years, yet achieve a cohesion that marks the next chapter of Joyce Manor.
Vocalist Barry Johnson summarizes,“This album makes me think of our early tours, drinking a 40 in the van on a night drive blasting Guided By Voices and smoking cigarettes the whole way to Fresno.”
In celebration of the release, Joyce Manor have teamed up with local Los Angeles vegan fast food establishment, Burgerlords from the weekend of June 10th through June 12th. Fans and foodies alike can stop by and enjoy a unique vegan burrito created by the band, a branded hot sauce, as well as limited edition t-shirts and only 100 prints of an exclusive vinyl variant with an alternate album cover. Both the Highland Park and Chinatown, Los Angeles locations will be participating while supplies last.
Originally planning to take a break from music, Joyce Manor brought their latest project 40 oz to Fresno to life thanks to singer/guitarist Barry Johnson’s desire to keep writing during quarantine. Produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Tokyo Police Club, Joyce Manor’s ‘Cody’,) mixed by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Phoenix) with Tony Thaxton of Motion City Soundtrack on drums, a sense of liberation lies at the core of this project. It’s strangely fitting that the title was taken from an auto-corrected text message about Sublime. Those types of happy accidents are all over 40 oz. To Fresnoand are worth the subsequent sonic hangover.
Since forming in 2008, the pop-punk group has proved time and time again that they can capture listeners’ attention through catchy yet thought provoking lyrics, and high energy shows. Although they have an established sound that reflects the energetic and gritty nature of the band which fans have come to expect, they push the limits by experimenting throughout the recording process.
Joyce Manor is a band from Torrance, CA consisting of Barry Johnson (vocals/guitar), Chase Knobbe (guitar), and Matt Ebert (bass). Johnson and Knobbe started the band in 2008 in the Disneyland parking lot while sharing a bottle of cheap booze. Named after an apartment complex that Johnson would walk past every day, Joyce Manor made their debut as an acoustic two-piece. Quickly they learned that playing loud was much more fun and invited friends to join the lineup. The band has since released five studio albums; Joyce Manor (2011), Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired (2012), Never Hungover Again (2014), Cody (2016), Million Dollars to Kill Me (2018), and Songs From Northern Torrance (2020). Joyce Manor has toured extensively and has made festival appearances at FYF Fest, Coachella, Riot Fest, and others. Press accolades for Joyce Manor include support from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NPR, The New York Times, Brooklyn Vegan, SPIN, Rolling Stone, The FADER, and more.
I wanted to take a moment to give a quick shoutout for the new Rockin Bob Punk Band EP: Almost Gone 7 Songs. It, as one would anticipate, contains seven tracks. Four on the floor punk rock, at its core, with some tricks up its sleeve.
Tracks are straight ahead rockers with the occasional frill here and an accent there. For an East Coast band, I hear a lot of West Coast influence between a Social Distortion reminiscent sound on “Almost Gone”, and a rather classic Swingin’ Utters feel to “I Bleed.” Don’t let me pigeon hole it for you. Head over to their bandcamp page and stream it for yourself. I promise you it’s worth the listen.
Cheers! Jerry Actually
7 song CD featuring Rockin Bob Cenci, guitarist song-writer for Boston’s Jerry’s Kids, Bob Furapples on drums from Boston’s The F.U.’s & Earthdog on bass from Silver Screams.
Tracks: Almost Gone Never Trust A Terrorist Private Jet Kamikazi Love Song I Bleed Off Your Comfort Zone Got A Minute
Man, Scott Radinsky is an interesting guy. The level of success he’s achieved in both professional athletics and punk rock is unparalleled. It’s especially impressive when you factor in that his punk career not only includes being in a hardcore band that put out a record on Mystic in the 80s, but also in Pulley who were at the top tier of the 90s Fat/Epitaph melodic punk boom.
I can think of a few other people who have had some sort of career in both sport and punk rock, but those who come to mind have only a peripheral or brief affiliation with the former. Ross Knight from Cosmic Psychos won a world championship in weightlifting, Mick Jones reportedly had a tryout with Crystal Palace, Bob Mould wrote scripts for the WCW, and Russ Rankin from Good Riddance is a talent scout for the WHL.
Scott, on the other hand, was a legit Major League Baseball pitcher, most notably for the White Sox and Dodgers. According to his Wikipedia page, his teammates in Chicago called him “Rad” (which is how he will be referred to from this point forward in the review) and he rode his bike to Cominsky Park for games. He later became a fan favorite local hero while in LA.
I like to envision a scenario where Rad is just super focused in the bullpen during a game listening to his Walkman, and Bobby Thigpen walks up and is like, “Hey, Rad. What are you listening to that’s got you so jacked up?”. To which he replies, “RKL” and then stands up and throws a flaming 120 mph fastball into the bullpen catcher’s mitt. The catcher then has to remove his mitt because of the heat. Rad lowers sunglasses onto his face and looks into the camera just as the bassline to “Hangover” starts. Then the White Sox lose the game to the world champion 1991 Minnesota Twins.
There are a lot of different iterations of this. Make up your own! It basically just needs to include Rad, any random Nardcore band, sunglasses, another MLB player of that era (preferably American League for accuracy), a flaming baseball, and the bassline to “Hangover”.
Moving along, Rad put up solid numbers throughout the 90s, despite missing the entirety of the 1994 season winning a battle against Hodgkin’s Disease. His playing career squeezed him out of being in Ten Foot Pole (who his 80s band Scared Straight had morphed into), due to his inability to tour during the MLB season. Rad just went ahead and started a better, more successful melodic punk band, who began a string of well received records on Epitaph in 1996. As his playing career came to a close, Pulley kept active and Rad began a career as a pitching coach for a variety of MLB and minor league squads.
This album is Pulley’s first in six years, and only their second in the last 17. I had to go back and refresh my memory of what the “classic” Pulley records sounded like, but stylistically this one does not seem to stray too far from the winning formula. It’s a strong batch of songs that their fanbase will be stoked on. Rad has the perfect vocals for melodic SoCal punk, similar to contemporaries like Tony Sly. Although I don’t listen to this type of punk very often as a man deep into his forties, I sure as hell did as a teenager deep into his 40s (of Olde English), and that nostalgia will always be there for this sound. If you’ve ever moshed in a pair of Arnettes and would like to revisit that period of your life, then check this one out.
Tracks: 01 Repeat Offender 02 Lonely 03 Wake Up 04 Two Winds 05 Align The Planets 06 Northbound 07 Sad Song 08 Golden Life 09 Frances 10 Dust Off The Dreams 11 Transmigration 12 California
You’re probably like me. You just want a little bit of Ska Punk to listen to. Maybe you want it to be flavored with a delicate hint of Bluebonnets? Why wouldn’t you? Well then dig into this. “With A Vengeance” is the 4th full album from Austin TX band Hans Gruber and the Die Hards, and it’s pretty damn kickass!
Pre-order’s for the 2nd pressing can be found here.
The album opens with a cumbia inspired track, “Nothing Like a Good Old Fashioned Witch Hunt”. The band has this to say about it:
“Nothing Like a Good Old Fashioned Witch Hunt” started as a musical exploration into Kurt’s obsession with the horn heavy Cumbia sounds he was introduced to while living in Texas. Not being one to shy away from cramming several genres together, we also managed to flow through some hardcore and punk rhythms in the piece.
Lyrically, this song represents some stream of consciousness frustrations Kurt had with some of his friends, family and self, that, in retrospect, also reflect some of the more bizarre aspects of modern American culture.
We’d love to tell you the old fashioned 3D effects applied to this music video is about world views and our split nation. But it’s just because we thought it looked cool. Feel free to read into it and give the video some depth and meaning for us.
“With a Vengeance” is the most “Hans Gruber and the Die Hards-y” album we’ve done. Cliche as it is to say, it’s been a weird time getting this out and we can’t be more proud.
~Kurt, Rosey and Chris
The music and lyrical content is diverse. From the highly controversial “No No Bronto”, a ska punk treatise on the non-existence of the Brontosaurus to the sweep arpeggios accompanying the doom metal sounds of “My Friend Chuck”, into the haunting proto-occult wailings of “Vril Society”, each track rings out a distinct piece of the cohesive whole.
The clearly tongue-in-cheek lyrics of “Let’s Drive Everywhere” provided a glimpse into the band’s environmental standpoint. “Squatcore” featuring Omnigone is a shout along punk rock banger extolling the virtues of physical fitness, obviously.
16 tracks in 29 minutes sets for a breakneck pace, punctuated by an interesting theatrical intermission with their cover of Brazil. It’s a fantastic album. I highly encourage you to check it out, if you haven’t already. As a final note, if you have dandruff, you may want to double check that it isn’t actually ghosts and/or demons. Can’t be too safe.
Cheers! Jerry Actually
Tracks: 1. Nothing Like a Good Old Fashioned Witch Hunt 01:59 2. No No Bronto 01:46 3. My Friend Chuck 01:20 4. Vril Society 02:18 5. No Outside Tanks 01:52 6. Time, I Don’t Want It Anymore 01:25 7. Blood on the Walls 00:42 8. Brazil 02:21 9. Let’s Drive Everywhere 01:58 10. An Old Man Like Me 02:17 11. Monster of Walgren Lake 02:26 12. Credit Cards are a Product of Satan 01:33 13. Dandruff 01:21 14. You’re Being Watched 01:49 15. Squatcore feat. Adam Davis 01:14 16. Praise to the Algorithm 02:30
Hans Gruber and the Die Hards is: Chris Thompson – Drums, Vocals, Theremin, Ukulele Rosey Armstrong – Tenor Saxophone, Vocals Kurt Armstrong – Vocals, Bass, Trombone, Kazoo
Additional musicians: Hans Emanuelson – Guitars, Keys, Trumpet, Ukulele, Backing Vocals Nick Tozzo – Timbales, Congas, Triangle, Guira, Shaker, Tambourine on Tracks 1, 8 and 9 Eric Molina – Baritone Saxophone on Track 1 Jose Noriega – Sousaphone on Tracks 2, 8 and 13 Dave Cavallo – Backup Vocals on Tracks 3 and 8 Drew Leclaire – Backup Vocals on Track 8, Theremin on Track 4 Adam Davis – Vocals on Track 15 Co-Produced, Mixed and Recorded by Drew Leclair
Recorded at Studio 8522, Hokus Tracks and Vine Recording. Mixed at Vine Recording.
Mastered by Luis Crivelli
Bio: Menacingly fun, Hans Gruber and the Die Hards brand of punk/ska mashes genres together like a toddler eating chocolate cake – with messy intensity for maximum enjoyment. From Boston hardcore to Colombian cumbia, southern gospel to crossover thrash, their live shows are filled with pits, sock puppets, conga lines and confusion – if you are nihilistic enough to jump in feet first.
Formed in Austin, TX as a four piece in 2014, the band shamelessly embraces change. Over the years they added a full time Saxophone player, as well as parted ways with two of their founding members. Their newest album, “With A Vengeance,” represents the best of times with the former lineup, the struggles of a new era after their departure, and finding a new voice through these very same songs.
Much like their ability to combine musical genres, their lyrics tread a fine line between metaphor, truth, sarcasm and lies, assuming their audiences have the know-how to join them on this magical journey.
Possessed by unbridled joy for music, Hans Gruber and the Die Hards continue to push forward looking for the next venue to haunt as they chant: IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!
We are stoked to announce the latest addition to our Live in a Dive series with RKL! This is our tenth installment of the series, and takes us back over 30 years to Eindhoven, Holland. The 17-song tracklist is mainly culled from their 1987 album Rock’ n Roll Nightmare, and was recorded at the famed Eindhoven squat-turned-venue De Efenaar. The album cover features the incredible art by longtime RKL cover artist Dan Sites, who recently sat down with Fat Mike on Fat Mike’s Fat Mic to discuss his iconic career, and all things RKL, with founding member, Chris Rest. The album drops on June 3rd and is available for pre-order. Check out the absolute banger of a single, “Scab on My Brain,” streaming everywhere and anywhere that you can stream music!
The tenth installment of Fat Wreck’s Live in a Dive series takes us back over 30 years to Eindhoven, Holland. The date is May 12, 1989, not too long before Montecito, CA punks RKL – aka Rich Kids On LSD – will call it quits (for the first time, anyway). In fact, at this point, the wheels are wobbly and are starting to fall off the band. Their time in Europe is surrounded by hash smoke, booze, drugs, and debauchery that is only exacerbated by their youthful, carefree abandon. Strain is also taking its toll from hard van touring, sleepless nights, heavy drinking, drug use, and tension that is beginning to form like barnacles on the RKL ship. Especially between vocalist Jason Sears & drummer Richard ‘Bomer’ Manzullo who are struggling with the direction of the band seven years into its career. Not that you can tell that from these songs. The 17-song set – a good chunk of which is culled from 1987’s album Rock ’nRoll Nightmare – was recorded at famed Eindhoven squat-turned-venue De Effenaar, and is beautifully ragged and raw. In fact, it sounds like the band members are having the time of their lives. Probably because, despite everything going on behind the scenes, when they were onstage they were having the time of their lives!
“This definitely brings back the excitement of those days,” says Joe Raposo, who joined the band as a bassist in 1987. “Even the rough times, which were harsh, were still exciting, I have to admit. Having to deal with the musical direction change that Bomer was adamant about was definitely a bummer, as we all loved the sound of Rock N Roll Nightmare and wanted to pursue that sound for new songs. Which I think is kinda ironic, because Bomer was the one that wrote most of all the music on that album! But that’s just how he was, always progressing. Dealing with the escalation of heavy drug use was not fun and taking a toll on the members not participating. But listening to this album also brings back all of the wonderful memories of the fun we had on the road, touring in a van with [Destiny Records founder] Dave Pollack. We were all really young and just living life and going for it. We were in our teens and early twenties, and we were literally having the best time of our lives together, you know? It was like live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse!”
Although the band would get back together – twice! – after its initial break-up, things were never quite the same after the members went their separate ways the first time. As such, this record is a document of one of the last points before everything took a dive, of a band holding it together – incredibly well, it has to be said – before everything unraveled. And even though you can’t really hear that tension (“It was mostly in the background when we were on the road,” says Raposo, “but it became very evident when we were trying to write new songs”), when compared to the Double Live in Berlin live album, recorded the year before this one, there does seem to be an extra sense of urgency in these songs. They’re more primal and more ferocious, more intense and more nihilistic. Above all, though, they still sound fun as hell.
“I think we were all still just happy playing together,” says Raposo. “For the most part – I would say 95% of the time or even more than that – we were just having a blast playing every night together. And that was the most important thing. We were all on top of our game, Bomer was a fucking beast on the drums, and Jason was one of the best frontmen ever. He could get a crowd going, he could incite a riot, he could make everybody laugh, he could puke onstage at will!”
Even if there’s no puking at this gig, all of that is nevertheless clear, even 30-something years later and on record. But RKL’s Live in a Dive album – which features incredible art by longtime RKL cover artist Dan Sites – isn’t just a pure representation of the band in all its twisted, untamed glory. It’s not just the sound of a band about to fall off the cliff edge. It also serves as a bittersweet tribute to both Manzullo and Sears, who died in 2005 and 2006 respectively. These songs capture both members in their element – onstage, doing what they love, surrounded by people who love what they do. Just listen to the frantic run-through of “Break the Camel’s Back”, the guttural desperation of “Hangover”, the nervous energy of “Blocked Out”, the blistering frenzy of “Rock N Roll Nightmare”. It’s one of the last times – and certainly the last time caught on tape – that the band would sound this imperfectly perfect, this happily carefree.
“When the band got back together,” remembers Raposo, “drugs had taken a strong hold on some people, and at that point the addictions were just so bad that it couldn’t be resolved, not even with going to rehab or anything else like that. So that’s really sad. And then, of course, shortly after, death started occurring and that became the end of it. So what I really love about this record is that I can always play it and hear my friends playing, and me playing with my friends, hearing us all play together, and sharing that love on stage with one another. That’s the best thing ever. It’s a great memorial.
Track Listing 1. Lies 2. Beautiful Feeling 3. Break the Camel’s Back 4. Hangover 5. Coming Home 6. Lay Your Weapons Down 7. Scab on My Brain 8. Drink Positive 9. Tribute to the Jester 10. Blocked Out 11. Rumors 12. Life in a Bottle 13. Meltdown 14. Rock N Roll Nightmare 15. Pothead 16. Why? 17. Ded Teds