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Punk On The Rocks: The Top 5 Reasons I’ll Miss Scott Klopfenstein

This week’s post is bittersweet. Not only will I be writing about how my favorite member left one of my favorite bands, but this post will be the last installment of Punk On The Rocks. In a way, this is very fitting. My first real foray into blogging was a MySpace post about why I should have Scott Klopfenstein’s children (Yes, really). Scott was always my favorite member of Reel Big Fish. I can’t say for certain whether it was his sense of humor, his voice, his glasses and shaggy hair or his way with a horn, but for some reason he was the band member I felt connected with. Now that he has had an actual child (Not with me, sadly) and with Reel Big Fish is celebrating twenty years as a band, he has decided that it is time to leave behind the life of a touring musician. As a way to say thank you to him for his many years of service in the two-tone army, I have written the following tribute: The Top 5 Reasons I’ll Miss Scott Klopfenstein.

So long Scott, and thanks for all the Reel Big Fish

5. The Dashing Good Looks – Give me a man with glasses, boyish good looks and a trumpet and watch me melt like a stick of butter in a microwave.

4. The Sense Of Humor -  Scott and RBF frontman Aaron Barrett are the ska equivalent of Blink 182′s Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge. Their stage banter isn’t just filler, it is part of why you came to see the show in the first place. Scott even manages to steal the show with his hilarious commentary track on Reel Big Fish’s 2003 live DVD Reel Big Fish Live At The House Of Blues – The Show Must Go Off!

3. The Harmonies -  As someone who has played in a few bands, I know how hard it is to find a person whose voice meshes perfectly with yours when you sing in harmony. Scott’s voice is a perfect foil to Aaron’s, and for me at least, their tight vocal harmonies largely define what I consider to be the Reel Big Fish sound. Sure, they’ll find someone else to sing Scott’s parts— but it just won’t be the same.

2.  “Scott’s A Dork” -Classic Reel Big Fish track “Scott’s A Dork” just won’t be the same with out Scott singing along about how he’s a dork. Will they even PLAY “Scott’s A Dork” without Scott? Will I never get to hear ” Dork Dork Dork Dork Dork Dork Dork Dork Dork” again? Oh, the humanity!

1. The Lead Vocals – While Scott sang mostly backup vocals, the few instances where he would sing lead were always highlights for me. Knowing that I’ll never hear him belt “Drunk Again” live is the number one reason that I will miss Scott Klopfenstein.

What do you think about Scott Klopfenstein leaving Reel Big Fish? Let us know in the comments section!

I hope that you all enjoyed reading Punk On the Rocks as much as I enjoyed writing it. Keep your music fast and loud—Gabba Gabba Hey!

Punk On The Rocks: Spring 2011 Tours You Can’t Miss!

With winter winding down and springtime waiting in the wings, it’s almost time for bears and touring bands to come out of hibernation and begin roaming around the countryside.  Check out the bands below to find out which awesome bands will be coming through your town. No matter where you live, something cool will be going down in your neck of the woods this spring. Let’s just hope it involves more bands than bears.

Dropkick Murphys will be making every day St. Patty’s Day on the east coast and in the Midwest this spring. Their tour starts February 23rd in Niagara Falls and winds up with their annual St. Patrick’s Week shows in Massachusetts. Against Me! will be joining them on most of the dates on this jaunt. However, The Dropkicks aren’t the only Irishmen to be hitting these areas in March. Legendary Celtic punks The Pogues will be running a similar route in the first half of March with Titus Andronicus in tow.

Skankin' To The Beat: Ska Is Dead

Bands casting a slightly wider net this spring include OurStage-ers A Day To Remember. The band will be co-headlining a country-wide tour (with a few stops in Canada) with Bring Me The Horizon along with supporting acts We Came As Romans and Pierce The Veil. The tour kicks off March 10th in Philadelphia. Rise Against will also be spending their spring on America’s highways and byways, starting off a five week tour with Bad Religion and Four Year Strong on April 5th in Las Vegas.

For those of you who like your music a little more on the ska side, the organizers of the Ska Is Dead tour have put together a “Young Guns” tour, highlighting some of the up-and-coming bands in the genre like We Are The Union, The Forthrights, Brunt of It and more. The tour runs from April 13th to May 1st.

Last but not least, our friends across the ocean—Australia—will be visited by Unwritten Law in March, Streetlight Manifesto in April and Against Me!, who will be making good on the Australian shows they had to cancel back in October, in May. Europe will be graced with the presence of The Queers, still hard at work promoting 2010′s Back To The Basement,  for the first half of March. Dropkick Murphys will be hitting the European festival circuit starting in April.

What tours are YOU looking forward to this spring? Let us know in the comments!

Punk On The Rocks: The Top 10 Ramones Songs

Tomorrow, the surviving members of The Ramones will receive a special Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY award from The Recording Academy at a special event before the 53rd annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday night.While they are not this years only recipients of this honor (Dolly Parton and Julie Andrews are also being honored, among others), they are the only recipients this year who have never won a GRAMMY award. To honor this belated but deserved recognition of one of America’s greatest bands, I have decided to compile a list of the Top 10 Ramones Songs. But what does “Top 10″ mean? Are these MY favorite songs? Are they the best selling songs? For the purposes of this post, I decided that “Top 10″ would indicate the ten songs that best represent the incomparable punk rock pop culture weirdness that is The Ramones. If your best friend asked you the question “Who are The Ramones?,” these are the ten songs you would put on a mixtape for them. Now that we are all on the same page….on with the countdown!

One of us: The Ramones

10. Spiderman - Cover songs are a big part of the Ramones’ repertoire. From “Let’s Dance,” to “Surfin’ Bird” to their psychedelic ’60s and ’70s cover album Acid Eaters. My personal favorite is their cover of the “Spiderman” cartoon theme song from the 1995 compilation CD Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits.

9. Chain Saw – Horror movies and cult films played a big part in inspiring The Ramones. This song makes reference to the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “Chain Saw” also contains one of the most mind-boggling rhyme schemes ever put to music by rhyming “massacre” with “me.” Although I have no proof to support this theory, I like to think that this was the inspiration for R Kelly to rhyme “Beretta” with “dresser.

8. Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World - Fascism and war were popular lyrical themes with early punk bands, and The Ramones were no exception. While there has been a lot of speculation as to whether Johnny and Dee Dee’s facination with Nazi Germany was shock value or something a little more sinister, having goofy, New York Jew Joey Ramone singing comically about how he’s “A Nazi, schatze” is definitely a kiss off to the anti-Semites of the world.

7. Here Today, Gone TomorrowSad and almost somber, this tearjerker of a song is the opposite of lighthearted and cutesy fare like “She’s The One.” Despite what some may think, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” is proof that The Ramones are no one trick pony.

6. Questioningly - Written largely by Dee Dee, “Questioningly” is a touching and heartfelt song about running into an ex-lover. This sort of quiet introspection is unexpected in the middle of a Ramones album, but the element of surprise just adds to the song’s impact. In both music and lyrics, there is no other Ramones song quite like it.

5. The KKK Took My Baby AwayAllegedly written by Joey after Johnny stole his girlfriend, this track is full of the offbeat imagery and killer hooks that the Ramones are known for.

4. Pinhead - The song that gave the world “Gabba Gabba Hey!,” The Ramones’ second most famous lyric!

3. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – The Ramones are more than just cretins and pinheads. I have already explained my feelings on this song in last year’s “Punk Rock Love” post, but I think it bears repeating that “Shall I compare thee to a summers day?” has nothing on the simple romance of “Hey little girl / I wanna be your boyfriend.” Cretins, after all, need love, too.

2. I Wanna Be Sedated – Minimal chords, simple lyrics and a whole lot of power. This song is instantly recognizable as a Ramones composition.

1. Blitzkrieg Bop - “Hey, Ho – Let’s Go!” Even people who have never heard of the Ramones know this song. “Blitzkrieg Bop” isn’t just the song that has come to define The Ramones, it is the song that, for many music lovers, has come to define punk rock.

What are YOUR favorite Ramones songs? Let us know in the comments!

Punk On The Rocks: The Gods Of Macho

Their OurStage Punk chart-topping song may be called “Loosers,” but The Gods Of Macho are anything but. They’ve rocked the legendary Viper Room in West Hollywood, have a debut self-titled album available for sale in record stores all up and down the west coast and have licensed their songs to shows like TBS’s Glory Daze and ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It.

Taking a page from the book of The Ramones, the band’s member have all adopted the surname “Macho”: Gary Macho, Roscoe Macho, Camero Macho and Egg McMacho.

Fashions by Andrew W.K. : The Gods Of Macho

While they make take their naming cues from The Ramones, their sound is more Bouncing Souls than “Biltzkrieg Bop”. The band describes their sound on their MySpace page as “…1 part nasty rock and roll, 2 parts punk, and one part Burt Reynolds.” While I can’t be sure exactly how much Burt Reynolds was involved in its creation,”Loosers” contains enough hooks, “woah-ohs” and shout-a-long slogans and profanity to guarantee enthusiastic audience participation. With a refrain of “We may be losers / But we’re marching on,” it is impossible not to sing-a-long. Check out “Loosers” in the player below and see for yourself!

Punk On The Rocks: Me First And The Gimme Gimmes “Go Down Under” Review

Me First and The Gimme Gimmes may be a one trick pony, but wow, what a trick. The Go Down Under EP continues the fine Me First tradition of making fans love songs they used to hate and see songs that they love in a whole new light.

In keeping with the recent music trend of Australasia-themed music and puns (See Amanda Palmer‘s “Map of Tasmania“), Me First recorded this EP for release during their Australian tour. In honor of their Aussie friends, Go Down Under is an EP full of covers of songs made famous by Australian artists like INXS, Rick Springfield and more.

Tie Me Kangaroo Down : Me First and The Gimme Gimmes

Me First’s considerable cover song skill is on full display on Go Down Under. Any band that can make Air Supply’s sappy snooze-fest “All Out Of Love” sound like it was written by the Ramones is aces in my book. All of the EP’s six covers are good, but the real stand out track, in my opinion, is the band’s take on Olivia Newton John‘s “Have You Never Been Mellow.” This is probably the most aggro Australia’s girl next store has ever sounded, and that’s a good thing.

While some fans questioned the band’s choice of songs (“Seriously, so many great Australian artists and they pick Air Supply,” quipped one Punknews.org user in the comments section of a post about the EP), Go Down Under is yet another solid addition to the Me First canon.

Currently available only at their Australian dates, Go Down Under will be available to the rest of the world on February 1, 2011 on Fat Wreck Chords.

Punk On The Rocks: The Johnstones

To say that Ajax, Ontario’s The Johnstones are a punk band would be misleading. There is a definite punk flavor to their sound. Their attitude is definitely punk— If getting banned from Disney World for life isn’t punk enough for you, then I don’t know what is. But The Johnstones are more than just punk. They combine a punk sound with garage rock, hip hop and ska to create songs that are just begging to soundtrack your next party.

Smile For The Camera : The Johnstones

“Gimme Your Love (Or Gimme Some Money)” from the band’s 2009 Stomp/Union Label Group release Can’t Be Trusted is a great example of The Johnstones’ sound. The song starts out with an urban-pop Outkast-style beat during the call and response type verses, then blasts into a The Strokes-meets-The Sex Pistols whirlwind of garage guitar and high-energy vocals.

Check out “Gimme Your Love (Or Gimme Some Money)” in the player below. What do you think of The Johnstones? Let us know in the comments!

Punk On The Rocks: HorrorPops Sue Barbie?

In the past week or so, the punk media has seen the wide circulation of a very interesting story : Patricia Day, lead singer and bassist of Danish psychobilly outfit HorrorPops has filed a lawsuit against Mattel, Hard Rock Cafe International, Wonderama Toys and Rainbow’s End collectibles. What sparked Day’s ire? Hard Rock Cafe Barbie. Day is alleging that the companys listed created the doll, released last Spring by Mattel, in her image without her permission or any compensation. The folks over at DyingScene.com were nice enough to put Barbie and Day side by side to let the public make their own decision.

Seeing double?

Does she have a case? Honestly, at first glance I thought ‘Hard Rock Barbie’ was an Amy Winehouse doll. Day’s style elements are definitely present— retro pin-up hair, slim pencil skirts, tattoo sleeves— but plenty of ladies rock similar rockabilly looks. The Barbie bass, however, is a different story. While enough people share Day’s fashion sense to make a case against Mattel based solely on Hard Rock Barbie’s similar look a long shot, I can’t think of any other musician, male or female, who plays a double bass covered in tattoo flash. Not only does Hard Rock Barbie’s bass use the same icons as Day’s, but the placement is even the same—a blue bird in the top left, a heart in the bottom right, and a pink star in the bottom left adorn both Barbie’s and Day’s instruments. Put the look and the bass together, and I think Patricia has every right to be pissed off.

What to you think? HorrorPops rip-off or totally original? Let us know in the comments!

Punk On The Rocks: Most Anticipated Releases of 2011

Forget losing weight or doing more work around the house! This year, make a New Year’s resolution you will actually WANT to keep—A resolution to listen to more music! Think of it as a way to further your music education while simultaneously supporting a community that really needs your help—indie musicians! To get started, check out some of the sweet new releases that 2011 has in store for punk rock fans below!

Art for HWM / Bouncing Souls Split 7"

Hot Water Music / The Bouncing Souls Split 7″. Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, Hot Water Music and split 7 inches—These are a few of my favorite things, and 2011 promises to deliver at least two of them with this limited edition disc. Created to celebrate the two bands’ December 2010 Australian tour, the split features Hot Water Music covering The Bouncing Souls “True Believer,” while The Souls cover Hot Water Music’s “Wayfarer.” With only 2,000 copies made and the online pre-order stock of 500 already sold out, you better run to your local indie record store on January 11 if you want to guarantee yourself a copy. Bonus: Colored vinyl!

Release Date: 1/11/11   Label: Chunksaah Records

G'day, Mate!

Me First and The Gimme GimmesGo Down Under. Speaking of commemorative Australian tour releases (How often does anyone get to use that line as an opener?), Me First and The Gimme Gimmes will be jumping on the bandwagon in February of 2011.  Go Down Under, the Gimme’s first release since 2008′s Have Another Ball, is an EP of covers of songs by famous Australian artists like Olivia Newton John and Air Supply. The EP’s release is meant to coincide with their 2011 Australian tour. While I was hoping for a rendition of Newton John’s “Physical” instead of “Have You Never Been Mellow,” I’m still excited to see how this one turns out.

Release Date: 2/11/11   Label: Fat Wreck Chords

That Old-Timey Punk Rock

Social DistortionHard Times and Nursery Rhymes. For a band with over 30 years of activity, Social Distortion’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes contains a lot of firsts. Not only will Hard Times be Social D’s Epitaph debut, it will be their first album of original material since 2004′s Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll. This fact alone is cause for celebration and excitement. Another first? This will be Social Distortion’s first record with new drummer Dave Hidalgo Jr. (Suicidal Tendencies, Spinerette, The Drips). Pre-order a digital copy here and a hard copy here!

Release Date: 1/18/11   Label: Epitaph

Classics of Love Get Rowdy

Classics of Love - Untitled full-length. Former Operation Ivy vocalist Jesse Michaels fronts this Berkeley, California based punk outfit. While Classics doesn’t sound anything like OpIvy, their 2009 Asian Man EP Walking in Shadows does sound a whole lot like awesome. Their music has an 80s hardcore feel to it, while still remaining fresh and exciting. The band is currently working on putting out their first full length album on Asian Man Records.  To recap: The singer of the quintessential 90s ska-punk band Operation Ivy is now making music inspired by 80s hardcore punk. Got it? Good.

Release Date: Some time in 2011   Label: Asian Man Records
What new releases are you looking forward to in 2011? Let us know in the comments!

Punk on the Rocks: The Best Punk of 2010

With the end of 2010 fast approaching, we are entering into one of the most hectic times of the year. No, I don’t mean holiday shopping season—I’m talking about the annual barrage of year-end “Best of” lists. While I’ll be the first to admit that the media can go more than a little list crazy this time of year, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to throw in my own two cents about the year in music.

Below is the Punk on the Rocks Top 8 of 2010: The four best punk albums by national acts and the four best songs released in 2010 by OurStage punk artists. Let the listing begin!

National Artists

We Are The Union - Great Leaps Forward: Boy oh boy, do I love this record. Great Leaps Forward has We Are The Union single-handedly making ska punk into an exciting and unpredictable genre of music again. Not only that, but this album also rekindled my love of modern ska music. If you’ve ever been a fan of ska-punk music, you owe it to yourself to check this record out.

Matt SkibaDemos: Demos had all of the lyrical prowess and raw intensity that I want from Alkaline Trio’s This Addiction but didn’t get. Hopefully, Skiba follows through with his plan to release an actual solo album and flesh out some of these great tracks.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - Brutalist Bricks: I pegged this as a record to watch for 2010 and I’m glad I did. Easily my favorite Ted Leo and the Pharmacists album since 2004′s Shake The Sheets. Not only is Bricks a great album without a clunker in the bunch, but the songs translate extremely well to a live setting. Another reason to love Brutalist Bricks—It produced the hilarious video for “Bottled In Cork.”

The ThermalsPersonal Life: I have yet to hear a Thermals album that I didn’t like, and Personal Life is no exception. That their songs continue to be universal without being trite or formulaic is no small feat. Personal Life is another record that delivers quality not only on the stereo, but on the stage as well.

OurStage Artists

The Resignators – “See You In Hell”: This Australian Ska-Punk-Reggae band makes their second appearance on my year-end list with this boot-stomper of a song. The energy in “See You In Hell”‘s rhythmic chanting intro is completely contagious and would merit this song’s placement on this list even if the rest of the song was boring. I can say with assurance, however, that this is not the case.

It’s All Happening – “Weddings and Funerals”: Melodic punk in the vein of Jawbreaker or The Promise Ring, “Weddings and Funerals” is one of those great bittersweet growing-up songs that the genre does so well. The song is featured on the band’s 2010 album Home Sweet Home.

What Hands Are For – “We Love The Knife Light”: 2010 will be remembered as the year that I really started to enjoy hardcore and post-punk. What Hands Are For is one of the bands I have to thank for this new-found appreciation. “We Love The Knife Light” is explosive and passionate without sacrificing melody.

Fiction Reform – “Cancerous Gold”: My favorite song from Fiction Reform’s debut album Revelation In The Hands Of The Weak and one of my favorite songs to compete in the Punk Channel this year, “Cancerous Gold” shows off the best of singer Brenna Bishop’s gritty vocals.

Listen to my favorite OurStage punk tracks in the player below! What were your favorite punk songs and albums from 2010? Let us know in the comments!

Events News: Listen To Music On Events!

The advances in OurStage Events just keep rolling in! A few weeks ago we told you how to search for events in your area. Now, you can listen to music from OurStage artists right from their event! Just click on the “play” button next to the artist’s names to launch an OurStage playlist of their music. When you click “Hot Shows Near Me” in your favorite channel, you can preview music from OurStage artists that catch your interest right from your search results!

Click the play button and start streaming!

The ability to play music from events is just one more great way to discover new music through OurStage. Subscribe to the OurStage Newsletter and read the OurStage Magazine to stay up-to-date on all of the latest developments.

 


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