Santa Barbara, CA
After a nine year lag, it’s time to get back on the wagon with the powerful and long-awaited album Hang from punk rock mainstays Lagwagon.
It’s not that the band broke up or even went on hiatus after releasing 2005’s Resolve. They’ve continued a robust tour schedule, and frontman Joey Cape has released a steady stream of original material as a solo artist and with his other projects Bad Astronaut, Scorpios, and Bad Loud (not to mention cranking out cover albums with his other other project Me First and the Gimme Gimmes).
“I’m writing all the time,” says Cape, “but a lot of times it doesn’t feel appropriate for Lagwagon. It’s not who the band collectively is at the time, and the mold is constantly changing. Sometimes it takes a decade for all the stars to align!”
That celestial harmonic convergence finally happened a few years ago when the band was on tour. “The lightbulb over the head came on, and I knew what the record would sound like and what we’d be saying. It’s less of the ‘90s punk rock style we’re known for. But this is the record my band wanted and needed to make.”
Indeed, the overall sound of Hang is darker and more hard-charging than some of Lagwagon’s best-known work, as they address themes including loss, betrayal, aging, the environment, and the plight of the common man. It’s not a totally bleak picture, though: all that disconnectedness underscores the need to make emotional investments, ensuring that empathy doesn’t in fact become obsolete.
The album also includes a musical tribute to Cape’s late best friend, collaborator, and frequent tour mate Tony Sly (No Use For A Name), who died in July 2012, just days after the two had wrapped what would be their final acoustic tour. The title of “One More Song” draws from the closing chant of Sly’s solo track “Liver Let Die,” but was directly inspired by a different song, one we’ll never be able to hear.
“The last few days we were on tour together, he was writing a song and he played it for me and it was amazing,” says Cape about the song’s inspiration. “What happened to that song? I can’t remember it. I can’t recall it well enough to say “this is the last song Tony wrote.”
The band plan to release an arc of three singles with accompanying videos, but won’t be appearing in the clips themselves, opting to work with a creative team that will focus on their words rather than their faces. “I think some of the coolest things you see on YouTube are lyric videos: so sophisticated. It’s filmmaking, it’s about how much vision the person has.”
So you won’t see their faces on their YouTube channel, but there’s an easy way to check out the mugs of a band who once played 284 shows in a single year: on a stage near you once the album is released on October 28. “This is the first record we’ve made in the history of the band that we wholeheartedly agree that we want to play every single song on the record live,” says Joey. “It’ll be great to play new songs. Sheesh, please!”
On February 12th, 2016, PUP revealed the name of its new album – The Dream Is Over. They’re the exact words a doctor spoke to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock upon discovering one of his vocal cords had a small cyst and was beginning to hemorrhage. Given that the band – completed by drummer Zack Mykula, bassist Nestor Chumak and guitarist Steve Sladkowski – played over 450 shows in the last two years in support of its selftitled debut, it’s perhaps not surprising that it happened.
But while PUP had to end 2015 by canceling its last couple of shows, by announcing The Dream Is Over the way they did – onstage at a soldout show in Brooklyn – the Toronto fourpiece proved that the exact opposite is true. The Dream Is Over is visible, visceral proof that the dream is still alive. It’s just that, after two exhausting years on the road, it turns out that the dream is just very different to what the four of them thought or imagined it would be like.
The Flatliners’ career is a testament to perseverance and dedication. With a lineup that has never strayed from the original members who met as teenagers, the band has since logged countless miles on the road and amassed a dedicated legion of fans along the way.
Now approaching 15 years of hammering out bombastic tunes everywhere from dive bars to festival stages to European concert halls, The Flatliners hold fast to the DIY punk-rock ethos that has been at the group’s core since the beginning. The band came out swinging with youthful exuberance on their debut record, Destroy To Create, in 2005, and they’ve honed their anthemic style with each subsequent release: The Great Awake in 2007, Cavalcade in 2010, Dead Language in 2013 and Division of Spoils in 2015.
But frenetic touring schedules and prolific recording output takes its toll, and The Flatliners decided to spend the majority of 2015 off the road to recharge and reconnect with friends and family. Striking a balance between home and road life is a difficult task, but frontman and guitarist Chris Cresswell concedes that it’s necessary.
“That’s what we’ve been in search of for probably the last seven years. We noticed it in ourselves, and that’s what we’re really striving for now,” he says. “We have a lot of people in our lives that are super supportive of what we do, and we’re supportive of each other.”
The band may have opted for more downtime, but there was still plenty going on behind the scenes. Early in 2015, the guys found themselves without the familiarity of the jam space they had inhabited for nearly a decade – four walls that had been the incubator for hundreds of songs and uninhibited creativity. Several months were spent renting rooms wherever they were available before the band was able to settle into a new space, but the group did their best not to let the upheaval hinder their burgeoning roster of new material. Borne out of that chaos was Nerves, a two-song EP released in October 2016 that also marked the band’s first recording on Dine Alone Records.
The recording serves as a taste of what eager fans can expect to hear on The Flatliners’ new album, Inviting Light, set to be released on April 7, 2017. The band has been working hard to refine its unmistakable style, ensuring they don’t lose sight of their roots while continuing to move forward.
“Inviting Light is about trying to keep up with life around you but also wading through the potential bullshit of people thinking that a digital landscape is more important than their friends,” Cresswell explains. “It’s inevitable that you’re fighting for people’s attention now, whether you’re a band or an individual, and there’s not as much value placed on face-to-face human interaction as there is in elevating the profile.”
Meaningful interaction may be more difficult to achieve these days, but the group’s steadfast members continue to build on the enduring connection that brought them together all those years ago, celebrating one another’s personal milestones and weathering each new experience as a unit.
“It feels like we’re onto something,” Cresswell adds. “It’s exciting for a band to be 15 years into their existence and have this. It’s a refreshing thing.”
New York, NY
The Slackers are self styled masters of Reggae, Ska and Rock’n’Roll from New York City.
The Slackers began in 1991 in NYC. After years of local gigs and rehearsing in a dingy basement in Manhattan’s lower east side, the band released its debut album, Better Late Than Never, in 1996. The band’s success resulted in the release of a second album, Red Light, on the Epitaph label in 1997. Since then the Slackers have released 11 more studio albums (The Question, Wasted Days, Slackers & Friends, Close My Eyes, Slackers in Dub, Peculiar, Boss Harmony Sessions, Self Medication, Lost and Found, The Great Rocksteady Swindle, and The Slackers [self-titled, 2016] ) 3 live albums (Live at Ernestos, Upsettin Ernestos, Slack in Japan), several EPs (International War Crimminal, My Bed is a Boat), and numerous singles and compilation tracks.
Since 1997 the Slackers have played over 100 shows every year in a total of 46 american states, 7 Canadian provinces, 22 European countries, 5 Latin American countries, and 2 Asian countries.
The band’s musical style is distinct from their contempories; a mix of early Jamaican music with classic 50’s and 60s American styles. There are influences from 50s and 60s Rock’n’Roll, Rythmn and Blues, Jazz and Latin music. Singer Vic Ruggiero has coined the term ‘Jamaican Rock’nRoll.’ to describe it. He says, “The band might play a classic Jamaican style but the vocals are distinctly American east coast, revealing the obvious connection of Jamaican music to the Doo-Wop of Harlem and the Bronx.”
San Francisco, CA
Joey Cape will be the first to tell you that the past few years haven’t exactly been the easiest on him. Of course, there’s the problems that affect many an aging punk—Cape is closing in on 50, and it’s not like there’s a pension plan for punk rock—but then there are the permanent departures that continue to mount as a scene that was built on the “live fast, die young” mantra is now losing some of its finest members. It’s a huge reason why Lagwagon’s most recent album, 2014’s incredible Hang, was, well, pretty fuckin’ dark, from the lyrical content to the noose on the cover art. So when you first fire up Cape’s new solo album, Stitch Puppy, you might think you’ll be in for a downer—and, yeah, you’ll get that, at times. But it’s really so much more.
“Stitch Puppy was inspired by a doll my daughter made me a few years back,” Cape explains. “It’s like a Victorian mourning doll. Stitch is my most prized possession. Put it this way, if my house were to burn down, after my family and the animals, I would save Stitch. My idea to wear his costume stems from years of thinking of him as a representation of purity, strength and maybe a numbness that comes from loss and grieving.”
Cape challenged himself with Stitch Puppy in a way he had never done before, writing almost the entire album in a few months then recording it in a week, which stuck with the mantra of his new record label, One Week Records. “One Week Records is a session label where I record 10 songs with an artist in one week’s time,” he says. “The limitations can be real positives. Second guessing can lead to benefits, but songs will often drastically differ from where you began. Sometimes years later, I will find an original demo and think, ‘What happened?’ That will not be the case with Stitch Puppy because the piano and guitar were recorded live and mostly without a click or metronome.”
The album is as raw as Cape has ever gotten in terms of the recording process, but that doesn’t mean the instrumentation is lacking. If anything, Stitch Puppy expands Cape’s sonic palette significantly with liberal use of piano (played by Brian Wahlstrom) and cello (performed by Serina Chang) punctuating his morose stories, as in “St. Mary’s” and the album-closing “Tracks.” It’s an element the singer was thrilled to include on the songs. “I have always loved the sound of piano—I see it as a cornerstone,” he says. “I wish I had learned the instrument when I was a young sponge. My older sister played; my father played; my brother was a jazz guitarist,” he continues, before remarking with a self-deprecating laugh, “I played soccer.”
Cape gets by with a little help from his friends on Stitch Puppy, too; the Flatliners’ Chris Cresswell sings on a trio of songs (most notably the wonderful “Spill My Guts”) and Yotam Ben Horin of Useless ID contributes harmonies to three additional tracks, especially the powerful “Moral Compass.” But Cape didn’t intentionally seek these folks out; as he says, it just happened.
“Those opportunities just kind of present themselves, which is cool,” Cape admits. “I think collaboration is where it’s at. Every time you collaborate with someone new the result is new. In the future, I would love to collaborate with John K. Samson, Jack Dalrymple, Dan Andriano and Paul Westerberg just to name a few.”
While this is Cape’s third solo album, in many respects it is his first true solo album—the singer doesn’t expect any of these songs to eventually cross over into Lagwagon’s catalog, unlike tracks from his previous two solo LPs. But given the resurgence of Cape’s “day job” in the past year, where does he see his solo career fitting?
“In the cracks between,” he says, chuckling. “I am committed to Lagwagon first and foremost while it exists. But I don’t like downtime. So as long as we have breaks, I will make records like these and tour as well. It’s complementary to do both.”
Cape has experienced more than his fair share of personal tragedy in recent years, one of the most notable being the death of his longtime friend and No Use For A Name frontman Tony Sly. It’s something that affected his songwriting for Hang and seeps into Stitch Puppy as well. “He was a great songwriter, a great lyricist, and one my favorite people,” Cape confesses. “I’m not religious but, when I’m writing, recording or even performing sometimes, I think to myself, ‘What would Tony think?’ I would want him to approve.”
It’s that unwavering honesty in the face of adversity that ties back into the Stitch Puppy character which drives the entire album. As Cape explains, “Stitch Puppy seems to be alone, which is the way it feels to mourn the loss of someone you love or to be abandoned, stood up. We are all blindsided in life at times, but somehow the wiser for it. We transform from a victim to a guide. Life is full of disappointment, disloyalties and abandonment. We have to choose whether we adopt issues or strength. We witness these things and the beauty in between. That’s it. That’s how I see Stitch Puppy. Not defeated. Simply the wise witness holding it together.”
The Real McKenzies
The Real McKenzies
It I can be said, without any exaggeration, that The Real McKenzies are a national treasure.
Founded in 1992 by the larger than life, punkrock poet laureate, Mr Paul McKenzie, this merry band of miscreants has spent a quarter century circumnavigating the globe to bring the McKenzies gospel to an ever-adoring throng of rebels, scallywags and ne’er do wells. There’s not many bands that can boast of a twenty five year career as staggeringly adventurous, wildly tempestuous and utterly death-defying as The Real McKenzies. It would be a serious mistake to write them off as just another Celtic punk band. They are an unstoppable juggernaut of touring mayhem. A ferocious troupe of insanely talented minstrels, storytellers and entertainers melding traditional acoustic and electric to create a sound like no other. Their list of accolades is long. From sharing the stage with the likes of NOFX, Rancid, Flogging Molly, Metallica and Shane McGowan to appearing in film, books and video games to signing with the legendary Fat Wreck Chords, their story continues to astound.
And now, to celebrate their landmark twenty-fifth anniversary, The Real McKenzies return with their 10th and very best long-player to date. And that’s not hyperbole. This is an absolutely monumental giant of an album. “Two Devils Will Talk” is fourteen tracks of pure, unbridled audio bliss. The songs are rebellious, poignant and achingly heartfelt with an extra helpings of Scottish charm and wit to boot. The recurring and very timely themes of Two Devils Will Talk are hope, perseverance and living your life to it’s fullest. Opening track “Due West” is an anthemic epic about moving forward and never looking back, while “Seafarers” is a rollicking tale that deals with accepting the fact that you can’t change how the waves roll, only how you roll through them. There’s even a glorious cover of Stan Rogers’ “Northwest Passage” and a spectacular reworking of “Scots Wha Ha’e” (one of the first ever Real McKenzies recordings). “Two Devils Will Talk” sees a resilient, triumphant and defiantly hopeful band at the very top of their game.
You may be asking yourself; how do I get in on what will surely be the party of the century? Well, fear not true believers, The McKenzies’ ship will be embarking on massive tours across USA , Europe and Canada to bring the celebration to a stage near you in 2017. So raise a glass, raise a fist, or better yet, raise a little hell for twenty-five years of The Real McKenzies, and another one still for many more happy years to come!
The first time one of his friend’s fathers saw singer/songwriter Tim Barry perform, he summed up his thoughts with a Yogi Berra-worthy declaration: “You’re old-timey in a modern way.”
That’s a near perfect description for the artist who sums up his latest solo release, Lost & Rootless in a single word: WOODEN. “That’s the feel that I was going for when I picked the songs,” says Barry. “There’s violin, voice, a wooden resonator guitar…there’s a very subtle electric bass on one track, but otherwise I wanted to do a wooden record.”
Red City Radio
Oklahoma City, OK
Red City Radio
If, as the saying goes, life is less what happens to you and more how you deal with it, RED CITY RADIO have succeeded in spades, insatiable in their heart and singular focus.
Since forming in 2009 in Oklahoma City, Red City Radio have proven their punk-rock proficiency, turning in beloved albums (2011’s The Dangers of Standing Still and 2013’s Titles) and winning over fans around with the world with a sweat-soaked, raved-about live show honed by years of touring along acts like Strung Out, New Found Glory, and Anti-Flag.
But the band— Garrett Dale, guitarist Ryan Donovan, drummer Dallas Tidwell and bassist Jonathan “Jojo” Knight—are evolving, both professionally and personally: Red City Radio marks the group’s first album for Staple Records (after years spent with Paper + Plastick)
The new contrast between Dale’s gruff tenor (now the sole lead voice) and an increasingly rock-based musicality gives Red City Radio an innately fascinating dynamic. As such, songs like the power pop-leaning “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Rad” and slow-burning, country-tinged “… I’ll Catch A Ride” showcase the band’s newfound versatility and expand the definition of just what a Red City Radio song can—and should—sound like.
It’s this nuance and nimbleness that makes Red City Radio such a stirring listen. Named one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 by Fuse and VICE – hailed by outlets like PunkNews, also receiving 4 out of 5 stars from Rolling Stone, the album isn’t wholesale change, but rather the sound of a band expanding its influence and stepping outside itself to keep pushing forward. A sound once reminiscent of punk stalwarts like Hot Water Music has now swelled to include hooky rock á la Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World, and even Dale’s love of country.
Déjà plus de 20 ans que Tagada Jones parcourt les scènes nationales et internationales avec son Punk-Hardcore. Le groupe à traversé 25 pays, produit 9 albums studio et brûlé les planches à plus de 1800 reprises ! Sans doute l’un des seuls combos Punk français à autant s’exporter en chantant dans sa langue natale.
Tagada c’est aussi une conscience sociale, un engagement politique et surtout une référence en terme d’indépendance. Dignes héritiers de la scène alternative française, ils sont reconnus par leurs prédécesseurs (Bérurier Noir, Parabellum, Shériff…) comme étant l’incarnation du « Do it yourself » français.
Si le combo a démarré sa carrière il y a un peu plus de vingt ans sous la forme d’un quatuor 100 % punk-rock, sa musique a connu quelques changements et notamment une orientation plus electro-punk durant quelques années avec l’arrivée d’un cinquième membre aux samples. Aujourd’hui le groupe est revenu à ses premiers amours et continue de composer une musique punk fidèle à ses racines, même si l’aspect électro-indus n’a pas totalement disparu. Le groupe couvre plus que jamais un spectre musical allant du punk anglais, des origines à sa version californienne des années 90, en passant par l’alternatif hexagonal des années 80 ou encore le métal et le hardcore. Des influences qui ont été parfaitement digérées pour aboutir finalement à une musique qui ne ressemble à rien d’autre qu’à du Tagada Jones !
Si la musique a évolué, elle reste immédiatement reconnaissable, notamment grâce à la voix de Niko, à son chant enragé et à ses textes militants. Des textes qui ont d’ailleurs connu eux aussi une certaine évolution mais qui restent très largement axés sur les problèmes sociétaux tel que le capitalisme, la mondialisation, l’oppression, les guerres, le racisme, l’écologie, la politique, les religions, les violences conjugales ou la liberté au sens large du terme… Les thèmes restent graves, la vision terriblement lucide, et l’ensemble brosse un portait plutôt sombre mais réaliste de la société actuelle.
Trouvant le parfait équilibre entre conscience sociopolitique affûtée et virulence sonore, porté par des refrains fédérateurs, des guitares mordantes et des cœurs surpuissants, Tagada Jones s’impose en fer de lance de la scène punk-hardcore française.
Toujours plus violent, plus revendicateur, plus pertinent et plus incisif : tel est le visage de Tagada Jones en 2017. Gonflé à bloc et armé d’un nouvel opus « La peste et le cholera » le groupe s’apprête à reprendre les routes pour dispenser à travers le monde sa saine et franche énergie rock’n’roll, propre à faire transpirer n’importe quel amateur de décibel lors de concerts mémorables, où le quatuor révèle toute la mesure de sa ferveur et de sa générosité.
Rendez-vous dans la fosse !
Grand Rapids, MI
Mustard Plug started out in the punk clubs, basements and dive bars of the Midwest, playing punk-influenced ska music before most people in the U.S. had ever heard of ska. They clung to a DIY work ethic that had been ingrained in them growing up in the 1980′s hardcore punk scene and applied it to everything they would ever do together as a band. Mustard Plug released their first cassette tape themselves (1992′s Skapocalypse Now!), and played constantly to earn enough money to record their first album – 1994′s Big Daddy Mulititude. Their debut full length was released on legendary NYC label Moon Records (home of Toasters, Hepcat, Dance Hall Crashers, and pretty much every other 90′s ska band of note). With their new found national distribution and exposure, the band climbed into their van and performed their music to new fans across North America. Twenty-one years, 1500 shows and 200,000 album sales later, it cannot be denied that the band has surpassed all expectations and permanently staked their claim in contemporary music.
For their new album, “Can’t Contain It”, Mustard Plug have returned to the DIY blueprint that the band was built upon, while at the same time embracing all the school of hard knocks craftsmanship and wisdom that the band has earned along the way. The band spent the last several years writing new material that was informed by 22 years of songwriting experience while retaining the youthful energy that has endeared them to their fans. They tracked the record at bassist Rick Johnson’s Cold War Studios, giving them the flexibility to experiment and add new layers and dimensions that were not possible given the time constraints on their previous recordings. Many of their musician friends(Dan Potthast, Sean Bonnett, Mark Petz, Corey Ruffin) were tapped to contribute, creating a denser, more intricate sound.
Once the recording process for Can’t Contain It was complete, the band turned to their fans to help finance the mixing and production of their record. Their Kickstarter campaign surpassed all their expectations, doubling their initial goal and re-confirming the support and love of their audience. The tracks were then sent to be mixed at Bill Stevenson’s Blasting Room Studios where Mustard Plug had recorded 3 of their previous albums (including 1997’s breakthrough “Evildoers Beware” and 2007’s “In Black and White”). The result is possibly their most diverse and best record to date.
After tapping their friends and fans to help out with the recording, the band turned to more of their posse to collaborate on the artwork. Underground icon Jeff Rosenstock designed the album packaging, while noted artists Craig Horkey and Larry Kole created alternative limited edition album covers and posters. The final piece came together when at the last minute, No Idea record founder, Var Thelin heard the record and offered to partner with the band on its release. Mustard Plug is excited to be given the opportunity to collaborate with a label known for its’ strong punk rock ethics and underground credibility.
Ultimately, this release is about the community Mustard Plug has built during its’ 22 year existence. Coming full circle back to the DIY scene and the community that the were born out of has helped them to put out their best record to date.
Life and loss and dance parties. Sex and love and fractal math. Sims wrote More Than Ever last winter in the wake of some personally trying times: death and sickness in his immediate circle of friends and family. And he decided that the only acceptable answer to big loss is big joy—urgent, defiant, unapologetic joy. The thirteen tracks on More Than Ever capture Sims coming to, and living out, that conclusion.
Sims grew up in Minnesota, an active part of the busy and fiercely independent Minneapolis hip-‐hop scene. In high school, he made friends with the classmates that would eventually become his cohorts in Doomtree—the seven-‐member rap collective now responsible for some of this era’s most interesting, genre-‐defying releases. Over the past decade Sims has released a host of projects, both as a solo artist (Lights Out Paris, Bad Time Zoo, Wild Life EP, Field Notes) and as a member of Doomtree (No Kings, All Hands, and many others.) He’s toured the world from Pittsburgh to Prague, playing festivals like Glastonbury, Riot Fest, and SXSW. He’s earned and re-‐earned his reputation as a thoughtful artist with an unstoppable live show. (When he calls “both hands up-‐-‐now both feet up” rooms around the world have felt their floorboards flex as the entire crowd goes airborne.)
To create More Than Ever, Sims enlisted the unrelenting and adventurous production of Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and ICETEP. Sometimes take-‐no-‐prisoners, sometimes take-‐the-‐slow-‐road, the drums are crushing and the soundscapes are expansive. After many long days and nights sequestered in his South Minneapolis basement, Sims emerged with the most honest first-‐person account he’s ever recorded-‐-‐he wrestles with some demons, faces down his doubts, and allows us in on the dirty work of change and growth and revelation. But, true to form, he does it with swagger, wit, and bar-‐crushing style. Huge ideas, concisely delivered over epic bangers without ever feeling overwrought. On songs like “Brutal Dance” and “OneHundred” Sims crafts an earnest mission statement while the razor sharp wordplay, insight, and quick quips prevent him from ever taking himself too seriously. The result is a 45-‐minute rollercoaster through the highest highs, the lowest lows, and all of the love and hope between them.
Off With Their Heads (Acoustic)
Off With Their Heads (Acoustic)
The phrase “punk” gets thrown around a lot these days but for over a decade Off With Their Heads has eschewed trends and embodied that ethic with every ounce of their being. Having put out numerous releases and toured the country dozens of times the band are about to release Home, their best-sounding album to date which takes the group’s sound to the next level without sacrificing the palpable passion that’s made them underground favorites.
Off With Their Heads is the project of Minneapolis native Ryan Young and on Home he’s joined by drummer Justin Francis and bassist Robbie Swartwood, the latter of whom has been playing with the group for nearly five years. “It’s hard to bring people into a full-time touring punk band because you have to be a musician not someone who is doing this for a hobby,” Young admits. “An actual musician is the type of person who does this because it’s what they do. Money is always nice but you have to expect nothing and still play like you care.”
For their second release on Epitaph the band teamed up with one of Young’s heroes, Descendents’ drummer Bill Stevenson who produced the album at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado—and the result is an album that captures the raw passion of Off With Their Heads’ live shows without obscuring any of the instrumentation with a slick, studio sheen. “It was really important that this record didn’t sound too polished so once we agreed on a general sound of the record it was great,” Young explains. “It’s definitely the best-sounding record that we’ve done.”
Home is also the strongest collection of Off With Their Heads’ songs to date and certainly the most diverse. From the instantly catchy sing-alongs of “Shirts” to straight-ahead, Ramones-influenced ragers like “Seek Advise Elsewhere” and stripped-down ballads like “Don’t’ Make Me Go,” Home shows how much the band have grown sonically since their last release, a development that is no doubt due to the fact that the band have spent so much time on the road touring with everyone from Municipal Waste to Kind Of Like Spitting in everything from massive theaters to basements.
If there’s a lyrical theme on Home, it’s personal experiences whether that ranges from struggles with identity (“I don’t feel like me, whatever that’s supposed to be” from “Shirts”) to tales from the road. However as you might expect it all comes back to the fact that for a full-time touring punk rocker the word “home” has a very unique connotation. “I think I used to take for granted the simple notion of having an apartment in Minneapolis,” Young explains. “The album is about the bad feelings associated with being at home, why people leave home, and how important it is to have a good one.”
Over the course of these twelve songs Young expresses that sentiment in different ways and the content on the disc explores everything from being oppressed because of one’s sexuality (“Focus on Your Own Family”) in addition to more personal writing that exposes Young’s own misgivings about the Catholic church and the impact it’s had on his family life (“Altar Boy”). Then there’s a song like “Don’t Make Me Go” which guest vocalist Tony Kovacs from Shot Baker summarized telling the band, “OWTH has a story and this explains a lot.” Listening to the impassioned track, it’s evident why this is true.
Having toured with everyone from Bad Religion to the Dropkick Murphys, Young has learned that in order for him to maintain his ethics he tells his bandmates that “playing a show in front of 6,000 people is no different than playing a house show” and you can tell by the group’s countless live performances that this isn’t just lip service. “I’m proud that I have pretty much maintained my core beliefs over the years,” he explains. “Opening for my heroes is cool but that’s their crowd and I have always been about carving my own part through all of this.”
Despite the fact that Off With Their Heads have performed everywhere from Jacksonville to Japan over the past decade, it’s clear that even if OWTH never left Minneapolis they would be doing the exact same thing just as passionately. “Everything involved with this band has become larger and more successful than I could have hoped for,” Young admits, citing signing to Epitaph as one of these milestones. “The only goals I have for myself and OWTH is to continue to make music that I care about, try to push myself physically and musically and continue to be able to do what I love for a living.”
San Francisco, CA
Insert hype-up descriptors here. Plain and simple, Great Apes are a punk band from San Francisco. Minimalism reigns. Play it fast, play it loud, and make it stick. While we all have been or are in an array of more complex projects, this band is founded on pop-sensible simplicity and the notion that music, much like a bio, is often at its finest when it’s spit out intensely, with concision and honesty.
Get your passes today!
3-day passes and single-day tickets are available and allow you to get inside every venue and gives you access to the secret shows. If you cannot get in a venue because it reaches full capacity, there are many other venues with many other great bands. The outdoor shows are free and no pass is needed.