HDHR 2019, crowd drinking

EXPERIENCE MUSIC ABOVE IT ALL

It's not a party without music, so Punk in Drublic is bringing some of your favorite bands to Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails for a day of live performances in the mountains to get you pumped for winter.

Purchase your admission ticket online today.

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NOFX

NOFX

Let's be real: What's really left to say about NOFX? For over thirty years the reigning kings of punk rock have remained relevant by continuing to push the boundaries of their music, lyrics and good taste in a way that's as endearing as it is infectious. For that reason it's remarkably apt that the band's latest LP First-Ditch Effort is also their thirteenth because ominous black clouds hang over this collection of songs that see frontman/bassist Fat Mike exploring self-loathing and mortality in a more raw and honest way than he ever has before. Expand to read full bio.


Mike credits much of this to the writing process behind NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub And Other Stories, the band's New York Times Bestselling memoir that forced him to confront his ghosts and revisit his past in ways that weren't always comfortable.



"This album is more personal than anything I've ever done before because once we put everything out there in the book it opened all of these doors are far as what I want to sing about" Fat Mike explains. However this wouldn't sound like a NOFX album without powerful performances from guitarists Eric Melvin and El Hefe as well as drummer, Smelly. In that spirit this album also marks the first time that Melvin helped write songs and his contributions to "It Ain't So Lonely At The Bottom" and "I Don't Like Me Anymore" as well as his signature vocals on the opener "Six Years On Dope" add a visceral impact to these songs that will surprise even the band's most hardcore fans. "It's like you don't expect it, what the fuck?" Mike says of the aforementioned opener. "That song reminds me of the Angry Samoans meeting the Bronx and I don't think there's anything that sounds like it."



Despite the fact that NOFX helped invent melodic punk music (alongside their longtime peers such as Bad Religion and Rancid), they've never made the same album twice and First-Ditch Effort sees them continuing to push their own musical boundaries. "One of the things I'm proud of on this album is the song 'California Drought' because it's written in a rhythm that I don't think anyone has ever used before and we have a drum solo on that song," he explains as if he can't even believe it himself. Fat Mike also adds that spending the past few years working on his musical Home Street Home helped subconsciously influence this album, whether it's via the fully formed harmonies or prevalence of piano. "I've written so many crazy songs for the musical that even though NOFX didn't have a mold I keep pushing barriers," he responds when asked why this album sounds so inspired.



Fat Mike also credits producer Cameron Webb (Motörhead, Alkaline Trio) for helping make these songs so dynamic. "Cameron had a lot of ideas that I would have never have thought of when it came to arrangements," he explains. In fact the band were so inspired that they wrote eighteen songs for the album and even came up with some ideas when they weren't even trying. "The song 'Ditch Effort' just came out of nowhere from us jamming," Fat Mike recalls. "That's not a normal thing for us but we just started playing and it had so much power and it felt so good to play it together so we had to put it on the album." The band also prove that they haven't lost their innate ability to craft a hook on First-Ditch Effort and the conspiracy theory-rich "Sid And Nancy" and self-reflective rocker "I Don't Like Me Anymore" are two of the band's catchiest tracks to date.



However ultimately seriousness and somberness also lie at the core of First-Ditch Effort, a fact that's most evident in Mike's musical eulogy to No Use For A Name's frontman Tony Sly ("I'm So Sorry Tony") as well the apocalyptic closer "Generation Z" which features guest vocals from Mike's 11-year-old daughter Darla who will also be producing the subsequent music video. "A lot of people are going to look at me differently after hearing this album," Mike explains. "I think I was more comfortable about being myself on this record and a large part of that is due to my relationship with my wife and involvement in the BDSM world. "I used to live so much of my life in private but I've slowly started going to parties and out in public without being embarrassed of my true identity and that confidence just transferred over to my entire life," he continues. "When you're dressed in rubber and heels and corset and you're waiting in line for an Omelette in Jamaica, well, after that there's nowhere else to go."



After battling skinhead punks in the eighties, major-label executives in the nineties and George W. Bush in the early 2000s, NOFX are finally ready to enjoy the success they've been too preoccupied to embrace in the past... and it's turning out to be pretty exciting. "I went out with El Hefe the other night to a party and I think it was the first time we had ever hung out socially and it was a ton of fun," Fat Mike recalls. "I think the process of doing the book and the book tour and making this record has brought the four of us together and formed a bond that we never would have discovered otherwise," he summarizes. That newfound revelation is inherent in even some of this First-Ditch Effort's darkest moments making it the perfect soundtrack to both a fresh start as well as the end of the world. As the band have undeniably learned over the past 33 years, sometimes it's just all about your perspective.

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THE VANDALS

THE VANDALS

“Orange County punk veterans the Vandals trace their roots back to the earliest days of their local scene, but didn't really make much of an impact as recording artists until the '90s. By that time, their snide, terminally juvenile humor and catchy punk-pop had done a great deal to set the tone of Orange County's thriving punk and ska scene...(expand to read more)


...Clear spiritual forefathers of bands like the Offspring, blink-182, and Less Than Jake, the Vandals took their cues from early punk comedians like the Dickies and the Descendents, ratcheting up the wiseass factor and delighting in dumb, lowbrow jokes. Sometimes satirical and mostly silly, the Vandals also remained staunchly independent for their entire career, releasing records on a variety of punk indies that afforded them financial and creative control. What was more, their steady lineup from 1989 on afforded them a degree of stability uncommon in punk circles. Solid career management allowed the Vandals to thrive up into the new millennium, over two decades after their formation”. – Steve Huey, All Music

We couldn’t have said it any better than that guy. With 11 full length studio albums in the rear view mirror, and all the EPs, singles, comps, DVDs, “best ofs”, etc. that go with that kind of a catalog, the Vandals have been taking it easy lately, selecting only the “most fun” occasions to play, often limited by drummer Josh Freese’s touring schedule as a member of Sublime w/ Rome, Weezer, Devo, and Sting. It has actually become more of a men’s club than anything else. With the same 4 guys playing together for over 25 years, it’s just good fun to get in a tour bus, or on a plane, and go play some of the goofiest punk rock ever recorded for loyal fans across the globe. Recent performances include Offspring's Summer Nationals, Soundwave, Heavy Montreal, & Soundwave Australia, plus the annual Christmas shows.

I wasn’t until the mid 1990s when the Vandals turned pro and started recording and touring the world full time with bands like No Doubt, Offspring, NOFX, Pearl Jam and dozens of headlining tours in the U.S., Europe, the UK, and Japan. During this period, the Vandals prospered from being accepted by the Warped Tour culture and the explosion of punk rock fans that arrived in 1994. The Vandals are actually featured in the film “1994” about this era of punk music.

Of course, the Vandals had a rich history before this flurry of activity, appearing in Roger Corman’s “Suburbia,” Penelope Spheeris’ “Dudes,” and featured in the documentary “Urban Struggle” about the legendary Orange Country night club The Cuckoo’s Nest.

In 2004 a bit of controversy began to surround the Vandals when they were first sued by the Hollywood trade publication “Daily Variety” for “trademark counterfeiting,” “misuse of a font,” and other such trumped up absurd charges in connection with their release “Hollywood Potato Chip.” Christmas of that year found the Vandals performing for the troops at forward operating bases in war torn Iraq. In response, the European concert circuit organized boycott’s of the Vandals February 2005 European tour and the band was almost ripped to shreds by an angry Greek mob in Athens, shutting down the Vandals attempted performance, and their once lucrative European career. “It was over: over-night actually,” said bassist Escalante, “but we doubled down and went to Afghanistan to entertain the troops again the first chance we got, and we would do all of it all over again the same way, despite the costs.”

2010 found the Vandals being sued again by the Daily Variety but this time the Vandals one, and the Daily Variety was sold and taken off the news stands. Yay!

Personally, the singer still owns an alcohol distribution company, the guitarist still scores films and works on the children’s shows Aquabats Super Show and Yo Gaba Gaba. The bass player is still a radio host and record label owner, and the drummer is still a famous drummer. Look for the Vandals on the current season of I.F.C.’s Comedy Bang Bang portraying the “Ska-Abiding Citizens” while hilarity ensues.

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THE BRONX

THE BRONX

Fifteen years ago, The Bronx appeared in a storm of attack-mode guitars, apocalyptic rhythms, screaming aggression and sneering disdain for the status quo.

In 2017, as The Bronx resurface with their fifth eponymous album (and first in four years), the Los Angeles-based quintet has lost none its pugnacity. “The Bronx V,” as it is destined to be known, is as hard- hitting, confrontational and relevant as ever. And while it may or may not sound more grown-up than their vein-bulging early releases, they will not apologize either way.


“It has the angst and social commentary that has characterized us from the beginning,” guitarist Joby J. Ford says, “only now the angst is aimed at more than just superficial things and the social commentary is directed at more than just people who like different music than us.”

Says singer Matt Caughthran: “We still have a lot to prove to ourselves.”

Coming from a band that has persevered for a decade and a half, that sounds outlandish. Moreover, they've led dual lives for the past eight years, maintaining an alter ego as Mariachi El Bronx that as is as true to that form of music as their hardcore is to the punk ethos. Prove themselves? Yes, that’s the way the Los Angeles-based quintet thinks and works.

“The Bronx V” is out Sept. 22. The band — Ford, Caughthran, guitarist Ken Horne, bassist Brad Magers and drummer David Hidalgo Jr. (replacing Jorma Vik, who departed the band in 2016) — recorded the album over five weeks with renowned producer Rob Schnapf, whose wide array of gear allowed them to add considerable nuance to their blistering guitar volleys.

“Instead of having one thick wall of guitar, there are a lot of different colors, different sounds, the result of using a variety of guitars and amps,” Horne says. “Overall, it’s still heavy but catchy.” Adds Magers: “He was perfect for us. Somehow, we sound clean yet dirty.”

Years back, Schnapf was slated to work on the third Bronx album and the Mariachi El Bronx debut, but that was scotched when the band was dropped by their label. The producer was happy it finally happened. “They know the drill,” the producer says. “It’s not like anybody had to coax anybody. And it ended up being two oddball amps that gave the album its sound.” More than sonics, though, “The Bronx V” finds Caughthran at his most full- throated and direct, addressing themes ranging from the national consciousness to his own personal struggles and mid-thirties malaise.

“One of the main hurdles was kicking myself out of the depression I’ve been battling for two years,” he explains. “I don’t want to over-dramatize it, but I felt pretty bleak for a while. I didn’t want to just write about relationships — I wanted to write about how difficult it often is to keep your head on straight. Sometimes it’s a daily battle. I’m a lucky guy, but I’ve been down some dark holes the past couple of years, not knowing whether I was capable of being the person I thought I could be.”

That feeling is referenced in “Channel Islands”: “Last chances dancing in the moonlight / goodbye is written in the stars / I saw myself above the ocean / running outta time / running outta time,” Caughthran wails, looking his own self-doubts squarely in the eye. But while confronting his own demons and the notion that “maybe I’m not cut out for making it to the second part of my life,” Caughthran says he also looked externally for inspiration. “The world is on its ass,” he says bluntly. The pulse-quickening “Broken Arrow” tackles phobia over religion; the anthemic “Cordless Kids” suggests “our future’s buried in the past;” and “Kingsize” broaches the idea of knocking everything down and starting all over, because “The summer of love / is divorced.”

“The world is both sad and hilarious right now,” Caughthran says. “It’s a funny time to be an actual living human being with a heart and a conscience. I am not a fan of people shutting their doors and closing everything off. But as an artist, it’s actually a great time to create.”

Adds Ford: “We never wanted to be a political band, but how can you not make some kind of statement with the things that are going on around us?” he says. “I think we arrived at something that is conceptually correct.” Lacking none of the band’s typically pugilistic fervor, “The Bronx V” lands punches exactly where they’re aimed.


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Parental advisory: Some artist performances/lyrics may contain explicit content.