“… And Out Come The Wolves” is my favorite Rancid album, and “The 11th Hour” is a collaboration I’ll always be proud of. Tim Armstrong and I wrote it in about three hours spread out over as many days, as the band was deep into the finishing stages of recording. I was surprised that Tim wanted to push one more song through the works, but it not only made the cut but ended up being track #2 on the record. There’s a 20th Anniversary remastered edition that just came out, more on that at Epitaph Records. This album was the soundtrack to my life in late 1995.
This record from STIFF RICHARDS features 5 original songs with lead vocals from The Rev. Paul Jackson, and some phenomenal drumming from Tuan Titlestad. On the opening track, “Not From Here” (later covered by The UPTONES), you hear the collision of Bennie Wood’s commanding ska bass style and Tuan’s all-out rock drum approach. That sets the tone for the whole EP and it does not let up. “Halibut” is a personal favorite of mine, especially as it finds Paul channeling Sasquatch, explaining, “Don’t call me Bigfoot.” The set closes with “Bonnie and Clyde” (also later covered by The UPTONES) which was composed in the studio. These songs called for me to go hog-wild on guitar, and I love how it all come out.
The Fashion Slaves started as a side project when Emily Jayne was singing and playing guitar with The UPTONES in 2011. We got home from a little tour and she’s rarin’ to go so we decided to make a four-piece rock band. I called Eric Knight whose bass playing I loved in ENGINE 88, and young Pete D’Amato completed the combo on drums. This live album contains one of our earliest performances. Our producer Matthew King Kaufman encouraged us to play the Millard Fillmore High School dance, and sent Michael Rosen out with his mobile recording setup to capture it. The opening cut is our cover of “Psychotic Reaction” which was so damn fun to play as it has two (!!) extended guitar solos, so I went completely nuts right at the beginning of the set. Here’s a video Emily made for the song.
This is a compilation featuring each of the six people (so far!) who have performed lead vocal duties in The UPTONES: Erik Rader, Charles Stella, The Rev. Paul Jackson, Moose Lethridge, Emily Jayne, and myself. The most recent recording (“T.V. Guns”) is from 2010, and the earliest (“Out To Sea”) is from 1983! We did a show in 2011 in which we got all these characters onstage to perform their signature Uptones songs. It was an epic bit of cat-herding but definitely worth it, the show was a blast. That probably won’t happen again, but you can still get the record from iTunes, or order a CD from uptones.com – I think we have like 2 left!
Playing the Gilman Street Project as it was then known, is unlike playing any other venue. It’s all-ages and volunteer-run and there’s no booze inside. All of the energy of the audience pours onto the stage and is amplified by the band and launched back in a way you don’t often find in mainstream clubs. There’s a sign that says “NO STAGE DIVING” and that’s pretty funny. We played two sold-out shows in August of 1989 when the club was starting and The UPTONES’ 1st chapter was ending. Beserkley Records got ahold of a recording of the 2nd night, mastered it up and released it! You can hear a few tunes from it at uptones.com or pickitup at iTunes.
The UPTONES recorded “Skankin’ Foolz Unite!” live-in-the-studio with Matthew King Kaufman and Michael Rosen producing, at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley in 2008. We went in with the intention of capturing our live performance energy and not messing around with a lot of overdubs or studio trickery. It turned out to be one of the most exciting and fun recording sessions I’ve ever been involved with. We played some songs from our early years like “Radiation Boy” and “Get Out Of My Way” and some new ones like the title track “Skanking Fool,” and “Bad Men Of Bodie.” Covering The HEPTONES’ “Book Of Rules” was an out-of-body moment, and it just felt great to make a record in the old-school method which I always thought would be best for the band, but somehow we never previously completely achieved. You can hear some songs from it or order a CD direct from us at uptones.com, or pickitup pickitup at iTunes for instant ska satisfaction.
One of the great punk records of the 90’s, RANCID’s 2nd LP is the one that really announced them to the world. It was an exciting time with GREEN DAY and RANCID blowing up out of the east bay scene, and suddenly punk rock was a mainstream genre. When I co-wrote “Name” with Tim Armstrong, all the big labels wanted to sign them. Coming from the Lookout Records school of DIY glory, they weren’t terribly interested in becoming sanitized pop stars. So instead of watering things down, they stayed on Epitaph Records and kept getting MORE punk!
Recorded with my fellow UPTONES Ben Eastwood and Paul Jackson in 1992 with Tom Pope on drums and Matthew King Kaufman producing, this is an eclectic set of songs we created while touring as HOBO. “Sky High” has a funky syncopated bass/guitar line in the verse and a hard-rock/power-pop chorus. “Fish In A Tree” and “Gearing Up For A Breakdown” also don’t fit squarely in any one genre. “She’s A Mystery,” one of my favorite Paul Jackson songs, is probably the most “pop” thing on the album. Some wild stuff on this one. Available from iTunes Store.
I knew Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman from their BASIC RADIO and OPERATION IVY days. One day in the early 90’s, Tim knocks on my door and asks if they can cover “Get Out Of My Way” (which I wrote with UPTONES singer Erik Rader), in their new punk rock band. “Sure, go for it!” I answer, “of course!” We then write another song called “Outta My Mind” and a few months later he brings me their debut CD with both songs on it, and they’re off and running.
This was recorded in about 3 days at Sharkbite in Oakland. One of the standout tracks for me is “Fell In And Out Of Art” by Paul Jackson. Album Typical of Paul’s compositions, the individual parts don’t make complete sense when played solo, but when they’re all played together, they create a moving tapestry of chords and melody and mayhem. Check it out:
It was so fun playing guitar on this song and the whole album. I sang lead on a few tracks as well, including our cover of “My Girlfriend Is A Rock.”