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
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 "And 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
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.