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Rancid
July 2003

Bay Area punk-meets-ska rockers Rancid are in the radio.wazee Spotlight this week with "Fall Back Down," the lead single from the forthcoming CD "Indestructible," in stores August 26th. The LP was produced by Epitaph Records founder and original Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who also produced Rancid's 1994 album, "Let's Go," and engineered their 1995 breakthrough, "... And Out Come the Wolves," in addition to having worked on albums by H20, L7, NOFX and No Use For a Name.

More than slightly reminiscent of the Clash, with a flair for catchy hooks and energetic bpms, Rancid is considered by many to be the most authentic high-visibility punk band. During neo-punk's stint in the mainstream in the mid-90's, Rancid quickly became an alt-rock staple and an MTV favorite. The band is Tim Armstrong (guitars/vocals), Matt Freeman (bass), Brett Reed (drums) and Lars Fredericksen (guitars). Armstrong (now married to Australian rock chick Brody Armstrong of the Distillers) and Freeman were one half of the legendary neo-punk band Operation Ivy, though for that project they used the pseudonyms 'Lint' and 'Matt McCall,' respectively.

After Operation Ivy disbanded in 1989, the pair bounced around from band to band in the Bay Area before starting up Rancid in 1991 with drummer Brett Reed, Armstrong's roommate. The responsibility of the new band helped Armstrong beat his alcoholism and Fredericksen joined up in 1994, after his previous band Slip broke up. The Epitaph-released album "Let's Go" went Gold, thanks, in part, to heavy rotation of the video for the single "Salvation" by MTV. As a result, a bidding war erupted between several big labels. Ultimately, Rancid chose to stay with Epitaph and retain the greater creative flexibility afforded them by their association with a smaller label. Their next album, 1995's "ŠAnd Out Came The Wolves," was a major success (the title refers to the animalistic frenzy during the bidding war).

Their follow-up, "Life Won't Wait," was an experiment in harsher, purer punk, and perhaps consequently the album didn't perform as well as its predecessor. We haven't heard a new full-length from Rancid since 2000's self-titled disc, but the band members have kept busy between albums, with Frederiksen releasing an album by side project Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards in 2001, and Armstrong moonlighting in the Transplants with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.

Now, after a decade on independent Epitaph, Rancid is releasing "Indestructible" on Warner Bros. The disc is being released in a unique arrangement between Warner Bros. and Hellcat Records, Rancid's traditional distributor; the WB name won't appear on "Indestructible," and Hellcat will retain the rights to Rancid's catalogue of music. The arrangement likely appeals to fans disillusioned with Rancid for breaking with their traditionally staunch anti-establishment, anti-corporate-raider stance and signing with a major label.

About the arrangement, Fredericksen said, "We have absolutely no complaints with Hellcat. Yes, we are considering additional support that Warner Bros. might be able to provide, but whatever happens, we're sticking with Brett [Gurewitz of Epitaph]. All I care about and all I have is my music, my bandmates and my band. We are going to do whatever we need to do to survive." Along with Armstrong's wife Brody's band the Distillers, Rancid is currently on the Vans Warped tour, which wraps up August 10th in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

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