KUKQ and the New Times Present That Damn Show
That Damn Show w/Bad Religion, AWOLNATION, Tiger Army, The Faint, Face To Face
Katastro, HB Surround Sound, Passafire, Bend Sinister, Veragroove, Nomada, BAD LUCY, Fenix TX
263 North Center Street
Mesa, AZ, 85201
Doors 12:00 PM (event ends at 11:00 PM)
Preeminent punk band Bad Religion will release their new album True North this January 22nd on Epitaph Records. In a world still brimming with rampant anti intellectualism, inequality and oppression, the band's signature brand of sonically charged humanist dissent seems as relevant as ever. On their newest record, the storied band deliberately revisits and refines the powerful and melodic Southern California sound they helped to define on albums such as Suffer, No Control and Recipe For Hate.
"We went back to our original mission statement of short concise bursts of melody and thought," co-songwriter and guitarist Brett Gurewitz explains. "The intent was to record stripped down punk songs without sacrificing any conceptual density."
The band began in the sprawling suburbs surrounding Los Angeles. As insurgent teenage punks they offered an impassioned musical counterpoint to a dystopian culture of consumerism and anti intellectualism. Founding members Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and Jay Bentley were eventually joined by guitarists Greg Hetson from The Circle Jerks, Brian Baker of hardcore pioneers Minor Threat and a supremely talented drummer named Brooks Wackerman. In the following years the band was a major force in reinvigorating the modern punk movement, produced beloved international hits such as "Infected," "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and "Sorrow" and has maintained an impassioned worldwide following of young and old who continue embrace a music that gives voice to, and celebrates, their dissent.
Produced by the band and Joe Barresi, True North celebrates the power of cogent punk in the face of personal pain and adversity. It is one of the band's most emotionally accessible albums to date. Beneath the bristling guitars and surging drums exists one of the most cathartic works of the band's career. "I think working within certain restrictions took away the mental aspect and let us devote more attention to conveying feeling," co-writer and guitarist Greg Graffin says. "We all go through pain and the best elements of punk give us hope in those dark times."
There are tracks which, as the band has continuously done throughout their career, ardently address world issues. There is the hard charging "Robin Hood In Reverse," "Land of Endless Greed" and "Dharma And The Bomb" which features guitarist Gurewitz singing over some classic Southern Cal punk. As Gurewitz explains, "The song's lyrics speak about the danger of radical religious movements inheriting the fruits of science (like nuclear weapons) without the benefit of its liberal traditions."
The album's first single is a joyously propulsive anthem succinctly called "F*ck You." As Graffin explains, "If any band should have a song with that title it should be us. It just sounds like a perfect Bad Religion song."
Other tracks like mid tempo "Hello Cruel World" veer into a far more expressive terrain. The album's title song "True North" utilizes a wall of guitars and charged beat to explore issues of alienation and loss informed by Graffin's recent life experiences. "The song is written from the perspective of a kid who is running away," Graffin explains. "He says 'I'm out of here, I'm off to find true north.' It's about recognizing that you don't fit in and trying to find a truth and purpose. Those are all classic punk themes. We still remember exactly what it feels like to be a disaffected kid in this world. And I think we were able to convey that particularly well on this album."
His cohort Gurewitz adds, "I think we both really responded to the challenge of writing short and fast songs on this record. The constraints set us free. Like moves in a game of chess, there are really as many variations as there are stars in the galaxy."
Hit singles are great, but for every real artist the dream when they go into the studio is to make music that reaches people, songs that strike a deep chord and resonates with audiences well after the track ends.
For Aaron Bruno, the architect of white-hot new rockers AWOLNATION, hearing that his brilliant Megalithic Symphony has achieved that lofty ambition with anyone is the greatest reward of the success the band is enjoying now.
"There's a good amount of word of mouth stuff going on with this record where I meet fans after the show and they're like, 'Oh man, I hadn't heard of you guys and my friend turned me on and it's my favorite record in the last 10 years,'" Bruno says. "People are saying stuff like that to me, which is obviously the goal and it blows my mind."
To make that connection you need two things, the first being a hit song that brings fans into the music. AWOLNATION has that with the unlikeliest of radio successes, "Sail," a dark, infectious tale of angst with an unmistakable and unforgettable hook where Bruno wails at some point, "Maybe I should cry for help/Maybe I should kill myself/So blame it on my A.D.D. baby."
As we said not a likely radio hit. In fact, Bruno is as surprised as anyone by the success of "Sail." "It has been charting and still climbing, but it was never intended to be a song that was on the radio," he says. "I think I just struck a nerve in people and caused a visceral reaction with the sort of the nursery rhyme aspect of the melody and how simple it is."
The second ingredient for a lasting impression is originality, something that stands apart from the banality of top 40 radios and dares to speak to people's true feelings, both musically and lyrically. Bruno has definitely done that with Megalithic Symphony, an album whose uniqueness is evident right from the ambitious title and carries on throughout the 14-song collection.
From the opening title piece, a mishmash of computerized sounds and keyboards that culminates with a robotic voice calling out the band's name twice, and the following 22-second sound bite, "Some Sort Of Creature," Bruno invites fans in on a journey into his musical Wonderland. And it is a dizzying soundscape, one that moves from the frenetic paces of the hook-laden "Soul Wars" and the vaguely Nine Inch Nails-esque "Burn It Down" to the engaging upbeat feel-good dance hooks of "People," a song that begins with Bruno thanking fans for listening and saying, "I am grateful for this," and the hard grind of "Kill Your Heroes," a song who vivid imagery starts with Bruno singing, "Well, I met an old man dying on a train/No more destination, no more pain/Well he said one thing before I graduate/Never let your fear decide your fate."
Among the tracks that fans are picking up lyrically the most are the soul/pop gem "Not Your Fault" and the more than 12-minute closer, "Knights Of Shame," which informs listeners from the outset, "Dance, baby, dance, like the world is ending."
For Bruno, that fans are picking up on that song is as gratifying as the success of "Sail." "A lot of people seem to know that whole thing and that was like the most fun time of my life making that song," he says. "And when we play it live it's so enjoyable, so I'm stoked that people are into it."
Like "Not Your Fault" "Knights" is an amalgam of styles, something that bridges techno, soul, a lullaby feel, rock, rap, and pop into one 21st-century anthem. That much diversity in one song can blow the minds of an industry still used to the compartmentalized mentality of the 20th century record stores where every genre had its own bin.
But you won't pigeonhole Bruno into one style of music. "I like so much music. I love old country music, I love a lot of kind of silly pop stuff, I love all hip hop, all different eras, obviously metal, punk rock, indie rock, there's no one genre that I love more than another one. So I think that comes through in the music," he says.
That does lead to some memorable, occasionally confusing, and very flattering descriptions. "I'll talk to one person and they'll go, 'I hear Nine Inch Nails meets Aretha Franklin.' I'm like, 'That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard. How does that even make sense?'" he asks. "I've heard the Nirvana comparisons, Nirvana meets Outkast meets Prince, that's a comparison I love obviously."
All of those artists have achieved the dream that Bruno has been striving for since he started making music. "It's always been a goal of mine to make that special record people remember as sort of like a landmark in time." With Megalithic Symphony Aaron Bruno has proven that he is the unique talent that can make that dream come true.
Nick 13: Guitar/Vocals
Geoff Kresge: Stand-up Bass/Vocals
James Meza: Drums
For the devoted who tattoo the lyrics and "TigerBat" logo on their bodies, Tiger Army is more than a band – it's a way of life. Nick 13's songwriting channels the frustration, loneliness and despair into a triumph of perseverance, buzzing with power and dark romance. The loyalty of the band's following is evident on their Facebook page and website, where hundreds of photos of Tiger Army related tattoos can be found.
The worldwide psychobilly scene owes an enormous debt to the Southern California trio, whose four albums and relentless touring have infused the genre (a blend of punk and rockabilly with dark elements) with the interest of countless new listeners, particularly in North America where it was virtually unknown before the band's first release.
Tiger Army embraces its psychobilly roots but transcends the genre with nuanced introspection and a staunch stance against novelty. They follow the example laid down by The Beatles who always maintained a connection to their first musical love, the rockabilly of artists like Buddy Holly and Carl Perkins, even while expanding and redefining it – in some cases beyond recognition.
Tiger Army's most recent album, Music from Regions Beyond, spawned the band's first radio single, "Forever Fades Away," which went to #1 on L.A.'s influential KROQ FM. The video for the track was seen on MTV2 and Fuse TV, as well as being performed on their first live national TV appearance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
The group's back catalog continues to inspire their legion of fans. 13 says, "accomplishing something like selling out the Wiltern [Theatre in Los Angeles] two nights in a row when Regions came out felt great, but what was even better was that the audience didn't just know the words to the song with radio play, they knew every song." This a testament to the band's slow, steady climb that's owed far more to the grassroots, word-of-mouth support of fans than media hype.
Tiger Army has transformed into an international phenomenon as the band grew from handpicked direct support for acts like Social Distortion, Morrissey and AFI to headliners in their own right. It's a groundswell that has seen the band sellout multiple night stands in cities as far away as Helsinki, Finland. Tiger Army's following stretches across the world: London, Tokyo, Sydney and beyond. They've performed at Reading & Leeds, Groezrock and several other festivals.
Tiger Army's draw in greater Los Angeles exceeds that of many nationals who've received many times the airplay or had major label dollars behind them. In addition to their multiple headlining runs, including the "Razor's Kiss" and "Dark Romance" tours, the band has sold out mutliple night stands at the House Of Blues in Hollywood and Anaheim before launching their own annual Southern California event – Octoberflame.
Now four years strong, Octoberflame spans several nights before Halloween featuring a variety of support acts curated by Nick 13 from across mutliple genres and related scenes, all headlined by Tiger Army with set lists that span their deep catalog and influences.
Tiger Army played their first show in 1996 at the Bay Area's legendary punk collective, 924 Gilman Street, known as the venue where everyone from Green Day to Rancid got their start. Despite lacking a full touring lineup at the time, Tiger Army signed a deal with Epitaph imprint Hellcat Records strictly on the strength of Nick's songs and vision. The first album followed in late 1999 and the fledgling psychobilly scene in North America took flight shortly thereafter. Songs like "Nocturnal" and "True Romance" presaged the dark palette that would paint much of underground music in the coming decade.
Now based in Los Angeles and featuring a full lineup, Tiger Army embarked upon eighteen months of touring in support of II: Power of Moonlite, including trips to Europe and Japan and sharing stages with Dropkick Murphys and UK punk pioneers The Damned. Two sold-out record release shows at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip marked the June, 2004 arrival of III: Ghost Tigers Rise before another year of touring. The years that followed saw accollades from outlets from The New York Times to Entertainment Weekly and continued worldwide touring.
The organizers of the Stagecoach Festival and Hootenanny invited Nick to appear as a solo act at both events before he had even recorded a note of music for his debut. Nick 13 released his self-titled debut solo album with Sugar Hill Records in 2011. The record's earnest mix of California Country and the midcentury Nashville sound with a contemporary twist earned Nick appearances at Austin City Limits and SXSW, as well as performances on several shows for Nashville's WSM radio. While recent years have seen more focus on his solo work, 13 is emphatic that Tiger Army will return at full force when the time is right. Not a single year has passed without the band performing live.
Tiger Army remains Nick 13's vision and mission. At a time when much of contemporary rock music has been reduced to meaningless theater performed by pretenders, Tiger Army is an antidote, bracing in their authenticity.
Tiger Army Never Die!
The Omaha quintet has always been perceived as a series of paradoxes: Nebraskans trafficking in electro-pop anthems; a five-person outfit who insist on songwriting democracy; punk rockers laying down their guitars for a decidedly untypical kind of punk rock.
Face To Face
Southern California's Face to Face was formed in 1991 by singer/guitarist Trever Keith. Debuting early the following year on the Dr. Strange label with Don't Turn Away, the trio was quickly snapped up by Fat Wreck Chords, which reissued the LP soon after. Adding second guitarist ... Chad Yaro, Face to Face toured relentlessly in the months to follow, recording a series of singles and compilation tracks collected in 1994 as Over It. When the song "Disconnected" became a local hit thanks to steady airplay on Los Angeles station KROQ, the group's profile grew considerably, and 1995's Big Choice, the groups sophomore release, increased the band's momentum even further. In the wake of Riddle's exit, bassist Scott Shiflett signed on for Face to Face's major-label debut, a self-titled release issued on A&M in 1996. The adventurous Ignorance Is Bliss followed in mid-1999 featuring new drummer Pete Parada.
The following year saw Face to Face returning to their core sound with Reactionary. Through a promotion with MP3.com, Face to Face allowed fans to shape the set list for Reactionary by downloading snippets of the songs and voting which ones should make it onto the album. Nearly two million votes were received during a six-week period. Reactionary was released on June 20, 2000. The cover album Standards & Practices, which featured the band's own rendition of songs by the Smiths, the Pogues, Fugazi, the Jam, and others, was issued on Vagrant in early 2001. That year also saw the formation of Shiflett's side project Viva Death, which released its eponymous debut in September 2002. Meanwhile, Face to Face had joined the Dropkick Murphys for a split EP, and How to Ruin Everything, the band's sixth studio album, had appeared in March 2002.
In fall 2003, Face to Face disbanded after 13 years and six albums. Two years later, the retrospective Shoot the Moon: The Essential Collection was released on Keith's Antagonist Records. During this period Keith went on to form the remix/electronic duo The Legion of Doom whose internet-only hardcore/emo/mashup phenomenon "Incorporated" was hugely popular and kept the duo in the top ranking positions on the myspace music charts. Keith also recorded a solo album and released a very limited number of CDs on his Antagonist label.
In 2008 Face to Face reformed with Danny Thompson on drums. Their new album, "Laugh Now, Laugh Later" will be released in May 2011.
Emerging from diverse musical backgrounds, the members of Katastro gather to create a unique sound, blending hip hop, blues, jazz, and rock. Formed in 2007 by vocalist Andy Chaves, drummer Andrew Stravers and guitarist Tanner Riccio, later joined by bassist Ryan Weddle, Katastro has been gaining a lot of exposure while impressing their peers at the same time. Opening for national acts such as 311, The Dirty Heads, Method Man, Redman, Ghostface Killah, and Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, they continue to pull in their audience with their intriguing and entertaining live show.
HB Surround Sound
“It’s all in our minds / Planted over time / Grew into a vine / That became intertwined” – from “All In Our Minds”
This lyric is the source of the title to Passafire’s fifth studio album, Vines. Though it wasn’t written with this intention, it was in retrospect that the band members – singer/guitarist Ted Bowne, drummer Nick Kubley, bassist/vocalist Will Kubley and keyboardist Mike DeGuzman – realized that it aptly described the current state of the band. Vines is a record that finds its makers at a creative peak, thanks in large part to the comfort of the current line-up, which has been solidified for a few years. They have grown up together, and over the years, as their individual stylistic preferences have changed, they’ve intertwined until the music becomes stronger like vines growing around each other. These four have become a super tight unit, which has led to a comfort level on stage and in the studio that Passafire has never achieved before.
Formed in 2003 in Savannah, GA, by Bowne and Nick Kubley, Passafire has built its strong reputation within the U.S. reggae scene through constant touring, along with a series of self-assured, largely self-produced records. In 2006, Will Kubley joined, replacing the band’s second bassist. Trained as a guitarist, Will switched to bass, bringing a fresh approach to the band’s reggae/rock hybrid, with equal parts one drop, frenetic slap bass and plenty of electronic treatments to come up with unique sounds. Of course, it helps the rhythm section rank among the tightest in the scene to have two brothers who grew up sharing a room now sharing the duties of drum & bass. DeGuzman came on board right before the recording of the band’s last release, 2011’s Start From Scratch, after catching the eye of the group while playing with The Expendables during their Winter Blackout Tour in 2010. He sat in for one tour then quickly became a key member of the quartet. While he played on Start From Scratch, much of the music was already written before he came on board to record it, so he feels like this record is the first to have his full involvement in the writing, arranging and developing of the songs.
Bowne and Nick Kubley attribute the band’s incessant touring schedule as a product of coming from Savannah. “While there is a music scene in Savannah with a number of good bands, it just doesn’t get the same support as other cities because of age restrictions at the shows,” Nick says. Bowne says, “Once we could hit the road, we started doing that, because it was just easier to build a following and learn the live performance ropes in other towns.”
While the roots of the band lie in Savannah, the group has split to live in different corners of the country; DeGuzman lives in Chicago, where he is from, while Will Kubley has moved to California. They overcome the distance by spending more than half of every year on the road together. (Touring life, along with the band’s drive to succeed, is captured neatly on the song “Go”: “Workin' hard every night for the right to be the kind of thing that everybody likes to see.”) It may seem strange to speak about a tight unit that lives this far apart, but that is just one of the many contradictions that seem to fire up this band rather than drag them down.
For example, a band that tours this much would normally be expected to road test songs and then hit the studio once they have an album’s worth of material. Passafire instead carves out time at home in songwriting sessions to work up completely new material for albums, which they later begin to work into the live setting. “We like to capture what we do live and show it in the songs,” DeGuzman explains. “The songs were written to show what we are capable of in the studio, while leaving room for further exploration in the live setting.”
Passafire has secured their place in the exploding U.S. reggae scene, yet musically they are often far apart from many of the bands in the community, with a growing emphasis on alternative rock and prog rock elements. Their lyrical content is often outside the norm as well, avoiding standard party themes, preferring to craft songs about love, the fight for good over evil, the relationship with man’s best friend, and, yes, even aliens in the propulsive “Souvenir.” And while at least half the band grew up enamored with long instrumental jams from bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Phish, it’s interesting to note the short, tightly structured songs on Vines, which eschew noodling and soloing for powerful yet understated efficiency.
The recording process for Vines was a bit different. Guitar and vocals were recorded at Bowne’s home studio over a three week period, after drums, keys and bass had been laid down at the legendary Sonic Ranch studio in El Paso, TX, where the band’s last two albums were recorded. “I was able to geek out at home,” says Bowne, “and try things that I might normally feel self-conscious about around other people. It was a very different experience from being on the clock in a room full of people listening to everything you play or sing.” Will Kubley benefitted especially from this process, as he sang lead on two songs (“Phony Imposter” and “Stowaway”). Bowne says, “I think his vocals sound more confident on these songs, which is a direct result of him being able to run his own session behind closed doors without any of the self-consciousness that exists when there are producers, engineers and other band members all secretly critiquing every single syllable of every lyric. Sure, we are performers and are used to performing in front of people, but making music is a private thing that, like art, is not finished until the artist himself approves of his own work.”
Once the recording was done, the band brought in Paul Leary (of the Butthole Surfers), who had produced their last record, as well as releases by scene mates Sublime, Pepper, and Slightly Stoopid, to do the final mixes. Former John Brown’s Body soundman Jocko Randall mastered the record, which was rather appropriate since all in the band credit JBB as one of the main groups that got them to form a band and work as hard as they have. It’s apropos after all these years, that Passafire is now on Easy Star Records, sharing the same label with their musical inspiration. In keeping with the DIY mode that dictates much of their work, Nick Kubley, who studied art in Savannah, drew the art for the album cover.
As for how their fans and peers will react to Vines as Passafire travels further into orbit away from the basic tropes and confines of the reggae scene? DeGuzman says, “This is our family, our friends, and our fan base, but I like to think they are growing with us.” Just a few more vines to intertwine and strengthen this complicated, beautiful foundation for Passafire.
photo credit: Cedric Smith
Bend Sinister is a rock band from Vancouver, BC and consists of Dan Moxon (Vocals/Keys/Guitar), Joseph Blood (Guitars), Jason Dana (Drums/Percussion) and Joel Myers (Bass).
Labeled as anything from math to prog to pop but feeling most comfortable in the plain guise of rock, Bend Sinister have evolved through numerous styles and absorbed a plethora of influences to become a band so refreshingly original that the struggle to categorize them is a losing battle.
Nomada is a three piece band who promises an entertaining show. You're guaranteed to have a good time every time you see them live, as they mix rock, alternative,reggae, cumbia and a touch of metal. They are always thriving to become better at their craft, as musicians, performers, promoters of their events and work to bring you the best musical experience possible.
Formerly known as Riverfenix, the band came together on the north side of Houston, TX in the balmy southern autumn of 1995. In search of a life bigger and better than a job at the local Gunspoint Mall, and being -- quite frankly -- bored out of their minds, the original three members decided to avoid the path that so many of their ghetto neighbors had followed. Leaving a life on the stoop behind, they picked up instruments and started a band. The droves of girls that followed were just a perk.
After a long drawn out search for the world's tallest bass player and the world's angriest drummer, the line-up was solidified with Will Salazar and Damon De La Paz on guitars and vocals, Adam Lewis on bass, and Donnie Reyes on drums. When not avoiding drive-bys or other troubles of growing up in the hood, the four devoted their time to writing songs and playing shows, building a strong following in their hometown. Early DIY tours helped the band build a nationwide audience and helped gain respect amongst their peers in the Houston music scene.
That audience grew when Fenix TX moved their operation to sunny San Diego, CA where the humidity is often below Houston's 175%. The widened audience drew the attention of manager Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) and the Tahoe Agency, who began booking Fenix TX on larger tours across North America and Europe.
With the single "Speechless," off the bands first full-length record in full rotation on L.A.'s most influential rock station KROQ, Fenix TX merged their association with indie label Drive Thru Records together with MCA, subsequently remixing and rereleasing their first album along with two new previously unreleased tracks. Most of the record was produced, engineered and mixed by producer Jim Barnes, with most tracks on the Drive-Thru/MCA Records re-release remixed by Jerry Finn (Blink-182, Green Day, AFI). Ryan Greene (NOFX, Lagwagon, Megadeth) produced the two previously unreleased tracks, "Flight 601 (All I've Got Is Time)" and "Surf Song." With a "new" album came a new name. Looking to leave behind the clean and drug-free image of their former namesake, and also to avoid a lawsuit from the estate of the real River Phoenix, the band dropped the River and added the TX to become Fenix TX, paying homage to the state that spawned them.
Fenix TX continued to tour extensively on their re-released album and 4 years later with a new line up, that included guitarist James Love, the band went back into the studio with producer Jerry Finn to work on their sophomore album titled ‘Lechuza.’ A name given to a mystical creature that was considered by the band to be a South Texas legend they all grew up hearing about, but never discussed until searching for a name for their sophomore release.
After a string of North American tours including a main stage position on the Warped Tour the line up changed yet again seeing Love replaced by San Diego native Chris Lewis. But soon after a few more years of touring the world and playing countless shows the band decided to call it quits while in the studio writing for their next record. Citing creative differences as the reason for the break up, the band went their separate ways. Fenix TX reunited in summer of 2005 to record a live album titled “Purple Reign In Blood,” FENIX TX’s only live album to date. The band continued to tour with a new and a better outlook towards to the future. Since then the band have been busy in the studio and other side projects, but with the 10-year anniversary of their sophomore release ‘Lechuza’ this year, FENIX TX is commemorating by touring once again starting in Europe fall 2010.