Rancid are an institution. Fervently punk rock roots mixed with songs catchy enough for people who’ve never seen the inside of a squat, these Californians ain’t fuckin’ around. But while we take this moment to appreciate the majesty of Rancid and look forward to their upcoming shows Thursday and Friday at Terminal 5, it’s worth giving a shout out to the bands Rancid used to be, or still are on the side. Here are the Rancid off-shoots you need to know about.
Not everything the Transplants do is stellar, but when the band hits, the sound is so damn good shampoo companies take their songs and create prolonged ad campaigns with them. Regardless of whether or not “Diamonds and Guns” has convinced you to invest in some Garnier Fructis, the song is killer–as is much of the Transplants’ back catalog, thanks to Travis Barker’s incendiary drumming, Tim Armstrong’s laid-back, drawled vocals and the unhinged yelling of (Kelly Osbourne’s ex-boyfriend) Skinhead Rob. The band is supporting Rancid on these upcoming dates, so you’re going to hear them whether you like it or not.
Rancid bassist Matt Freeman has been through a shit ton of hassle over the years–including a nasty bout of lung cancer. Devil’s Brigade, the band he formed in 2000, is a booze-fueled psychobilly journey through women, booze, brawls, lunacy and more booze. What’s not to love?
Lars Frederikson & the Bastards
One time, we saw Lars Frederikson in a Safeway in San Francisco, carefully picking out fruit and veg, oblivious to the fact that his forehead tattoo made this a little bit funny. We love him for that because Lars Frederikson lives in a state of permanent never giving a fuck. His band, the Bastards, is indicative of that–rowdy and ballsy and punch-you-in-the-face exciting. Also, in addition to their own songs, the band makes Billy Bragg classics sound better. And we like that.
When people talk about Bay Area punk rock, no one ever fails to mention the very-legendary, way-ahead-of-their-time Operation Ivy–Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman’s rowdier, more ska-infused and more-PC precursor to Rancid. Green Day make a point of always covering Op Ivy classic “Knowledge” live–because Operation Ivy made arena-worthy songs before anyone knew punk rock could fill venues of that size.
There are a lot of people who don’t want to acknowledge Tim Armstrong for the world-class songwriter he is. And even more who still don’t realize that Pink is far more than a straight-ahead pop act. These people, then, have zero idea that Armstrong and Pink are collaborators. Rebel collaborators who, together, wrote huge hits like “Trouble,” “The Last To Know” and–oh, you know–most of Pink’s Try This album. The lesson here? Don’t mess around with Armstrong–he will pop-write you into a corner until you feel awkward and ashamed of your own inadequacies.