photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
of course RANCID is one of the most CELEBRATED PUNK ROCK bands of MODERN times and for good reason, TIM ARMSTRONG and LARS FREDERIKSEN write some incredible songs and the band has an UNDENIABLE MUSICAL CHEMISTRY as well as PALPABLE PASSION and DISTINCT VISION for the COMMUNITY they have fostered over the past few decades. in my eyes they are not a BAND, but an AMERICAN INSTITUTION. like BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, WOODY GUTHRIE or BOB DYLAN. ive witnessed it firsthand at their shows. its an ongoing love affair between the BAND and their FANS, and at its heart are the PERSONAL REAL-LIFE NARRATIVES and INCLUSIVE messages of DEFIANCE, LOVE and COMMUNITY in their songs.
all that being said, it is incredibly INTERESTING to see how the individuals fair when pursuing outside projects. ARMSTRONG of course incorporated HIP HOP production and beats a la his commercially SUCCESSFUL TRAVIS BARKER-collaboration THE TRANSPLANTS as well as delved into his ska roots in his solo work.
FREDERIKSEN on the other hand seems more interested in the SOCIAL COMMENTARY tradition of FOLK music. it makes perfect sense that one of his first singles with THE BASTARDS was a cover of BRITISH singer-songwriter BILLY BRAGG's "TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT" about the defiant mentality of the overworked and under-appreciated working class. i will similarly point out the obvious and state that such a SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS thread was also apparent in the work of JOE STRUMMER of THE CLASH throughout his career. i think once someone is subject to the suffering of POVERTY and FOOD INSECURITY, it is something that doesnt leave you. ever. you look back at the work of WOODY GUTHRIE and he was singing about the DUST BOWL and the suffering it imposed on normal people. there is a through line i can discern. it would seem not to be the most commercially viable option to pursue FOLK lyrical and sonic influences in your solo work, but FREDERIKSEN has proved it to be an IDEAL and HONEST vehicle for his material outside his much LEGENDARY and much BELOVED main gig.
my hope is that he sticks with it and pursues this course over the long term. it would be nice to see how it develops over time. at the very least the solo work of LARS FREDERIKSEN is most definitely worth checking out.
photo & text by nacrowe
there is something LOOSE and FUN about listening to the second RANCID record LET'S GO (EPITAPH, 1994). for all intents and purposes the band came on my radar in 2000 when i moved to KUWAIT and fell in with a group of friends that were big on EPITAPH and FAT WRECK bands like PROPAGANDHI, ANTI-FLAG, PENNYWISE, LAGWAGON, RISE AGAINST, MILLENCOLIN, NO USE FOR A NAME, BAD RELIGION and NOFX among others. up until that point my foray into PUNK ROCK beyond the 1970s originators were HARDCORE groups like DEAD KENNEDYS, BLACK FLAG and DESCENDENTS as well as POP PUNK bands like GREEN DAY, BLINK-182 and NEW FOUND GLORY.
so it was a bit of an education. i always think of music as a social phenomenon that is very much centered on relationships and exposure. for me geographically, there was a period of seven years growing up where i attended something like five schools, many times on different continents. so ive always learned about stuff out of cultural context, which is interesting.
for me, the act of discovery for the LET'S GO album is invariably linked to my experience first seeing them play live in VENTURA in 2001 on the VANS WARPED TOUR. there is just something undeniable about the SPARTAN quick-in-quick-out song construction but loose on-the-floor feel of tracks like "SALVATION," "RADIO," "LET'S GO" "THE BALLAD OF JIMMY & JOHNNY," and "NIHILISM" among others. thematically these songs center around stories celebrating their EAST BAY community that serve almost as allegories about living life under the duress of society's thumb. THE CLASH influence is absolutely undeniable in terms of sonics and SOCIO-POLITICAL OUTLOOK but TIM ARMSTRONG in my opinion is a much more TALENTED songwriter than JOE STRUMMER ever was. going back to his days in OPERATION IVY ARMSTRONG has had way with MELODIC and lyrical hooks that are both UPBEAT and EMPOWERING while being intensely EMOTIONALLY CHARGED. even at this early stage he was a force to be reckoned with.
seeing RANCID live and hearing them play these songs shortly after hearing them for the first time was a thrilling experience and a defining cultural moment of my late teens. that summer was amazing and its still crazy to think that only a month later 9/11 happened and the world shifted, as did my time in KUWAIT. listening to this record again just reminds of that period before everything became so tragic and heavy over the next few years.
LET'S GO is a record definitely worth checking out.
parodies by nacrowe
today's special new episode of DEER GOD RADIO at NOON 12PM EST on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC is dedicated to modern PUNK ROCK icons RANCID. TIM ARMSTRONG in my opinion is one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation and this show will attempt to highlight his contribuitions not only to RANCID but other past projects like the legendary OPERATION IVY and numerous side projects.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
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