Sometimes a band from your past does the ultimate awesome and puts out new material 14 years after their last release. Chicago’s Bollweevils surprised many, including myself, and dropped an incredible album called Essential on the possible world-famous Red Scare Industires records.
The album title is a strong nod to the actual professions of the members of the band. No lie, aside from Dr. Daryl Wilson (yes, a real doctor who saves lives), there are first responders and educators who make up the Bollweevils.
This band has always resonated with me well because they had a few albums on Dr. Strange Records back in the 90s which I listened to frequently. They called quits in 1996 and came back into the scene around 2006 when they played Riot Fest but kept a low profile and clearly took the time they needed to get back at it without missing a beat.
“Predisposition” kicked things out as if the band never stopped. What a powerhouse of an opener. Wilson and crew sound better than ever and I hate to say this, but I was pleasantly surprised about this. Like I should have even carried that thought.
Following up was “Galt’s Gulch”, a well put together track similarities gravitating towards an Ayn Rand novel. The fact they repeat “who’s John Galt”, which in the novel was about the sad current state of affairs much like today. “Atlas Shrugged” is the book I speak of, and if you ever read it, you’ll understand more.
One of my favorites on this album was “The Cutting Solution”. This track was well supplied with some insane drumming that just kept the energy high. Wilson’s singing was just so on point here.
“Theme” was just that. If the Bollweevils had their own show like the Aquabats do, this would certainly be the song that played at the start. Certainly, this a tongue and cheek track, but goddamn this was so fun.
Then there was “Bottomless Pit”, another banger. The entire band came together so well on this one. Fast and to the point, it was exactly what I would expect from these guys.
The track that just won me over was “Resistance.” In true punk fashion, this track had me wanting to memorize the lyrics so I could play it over and over while singing along. Loved the breakdown as well as the group vocals. It was not a complicated song yet got the job done.
“Liniment and Tonic” should be the old punker anthem moving forward. All the old punkers who are reading this with their arms crossed in the back, this one is for you. Enjoy.
The Bollweevils are timeless in my book. They have definitely put in their time years ago and Essentials has no indication of a break ever with their sound. They are still energetic and catchy as ever. Fair warning though, this album clocks in at just over 22 minutes. I assure you there is no lull in this release and there are plenty of playback opportunities.
As I find myself closer to 50 these days (punk is dad), it is beyond refreshing to hear a band from your teenage years still killing it. In a day and age when most punk rock does not even rest on the edge of the genre, it’s the punk rock veterans who continue to remind me why I adore this kind of music.
Available on CD and LP, the album is out there for you to obsess over. Do not sit on this one. Trust me.
Today marks the 14th year that Brokenheadphones has been in existence. It is kind of a cool milestone, so to celebrate I am letting someone else post some content.
Recently I reviewed the bad ass SACK album and Matt from The Witzard reached out saying he recently interviewed Kody and was hoping I could share their conversation on my site. Well of course I said yes.
It was a good read so I hope y’all enjoy it! I can confirm now that I share something with Kody now – getting Covid during the tour. haha.
Take it away Matt:
Straight outta the slums of Northwest Denver, Colorado, SACK is a mysterious band of Party Punks complete with songs about bongs, bikers, and brothels. Like any disreputable gang, they’ve had a series of rotating members over the years, but on Ripper!, it’s Bruzzy (Teenage Bottlerocket, The Lillingtons, The Hybrids,) a couple shredders from Peru (Father Fil & Joe Camel,) a gym teacher, and the neighborhood electrician (which comes in handy, believe it or not!)
They recorded 12 songs at Descendents/Black Flag drummer Bill Stevenson’s The Blasting Room and now these headbangers plan on touring (read: crashing house parties) across the land. SACK’s Ripper! Is now available on Red Scare Industries and is recommended Ffr fans of Turbonegro, FEAR & Lee Ving, The Dwarves, Iggy & The Stooges, and Motörhead.
We got a chance to send some questions over to and conduct a completely wild interview with SACK’s resident dipshit Bruzzy (aka Kody Templeman). Check it out below, if you dare!
Witzard – Who are the various members of SACK and what is each member’s role within the band?
Bruzzy – Dipshit, Joe Camel – Weed, Father Fil – Ears, Chuck Steak – Punctuality, Coach – Motivational Speaker, It – Compassion, Davey Crocket – Smokes, [and] Crash – Hype Man
Aside from SACK, what other note-worthy bands are each of you part of currently or previously played with?
Bricheros, Sleights, Teenage Bottlerockets.
Who or what would you readily cite as of some of your major sources of inspiration and influence while creating your aptly-titled sophomore album, Ripper!?
Alcohol, weed, Dayglo Abortions.
How did you come up with the band name, SACK, and album name, Ripper!, and what do each signify and/or mean?
We used our imagination. Neither stand for shit
What did your writing, recording, production, creation, etc. processes behind Ripper! typically entail?
Bruzzy wrote a good chunk. Fil wrote the music on a few. Bruzzy wrote the lyrics. And the rest of SACK helped tweak the songs. In the studio Coach gave pep talks and pushed the performances further.
How did you guys end up linking up with Tobias “Toby” Jeg, Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms) and Red Scare Industries to ultimately release Ripper!?
They were the only suckers dumb enough to put it out.
Why do you “Hate” The Beach Boys, one of America’s most beloved bands, so much?
We love The Beach Boys! Honest!
How did the headlining SACK tour you guys just recently wrapped up end up going?
We broke down, Bruzzy fucked up his ankle, two of us got Covid. Support band (Flamingo Nosebleed) broke down, singer lost his voice, one dude got Covid, shredded a brand new pair of front tires… I’d call it a win!
When not Ripping! it up as part of SACK, what do each of you guys do for day jobs?
None of your fucking business! Oh, Fil has a recording studio called Green Door in Denver. It’s the best. Your band should record there.
How would you say SACK’s overall sound, style, musical mindset, and approach has changed and evolved since your 2005 debut, Get Wrecked?
Who gives a shit?
Matt Horowitz is a D.I.Y. writer and life-long music lover. He runs his own site, The Witzard and has written for NO ECHO, IDIOTEQ, The Find Mag, post-trash, GrownUpRap, and The Punk Site.
Matt enjoys attending Punk/Hardcore & Hip-Hop shows with his friends and beautiful wife, Caroline. His favorite pastimes include writing, discovering new bands, re-discovering his favorite Punk, Hardcore, Emo, and, yes, Pop-punk bands from high, school, drinking iced coffee, craft beer, and fine wines, and hanging out with his energy-filled 2-year-old son, Peter.
Give Matt a Follow on Twitter (@SharpCheddar856) and Instagram (sharpcheddar856) and check out his website, TheWitzard.com.
Party thrash punkers SACK rip so hard that I got Covid when I saw them live.
No seriously, they played Cleveland at the end of June at a local BBQ joint/bar/venue and I went with a few pals. Two days later, I tested positive for that stupid bastard virus and was knocked off my ass for a week. Totally worth it though, it was one of the better shows I went to this year.
Disclaimer: Not everyone who sees this band is guaranteed to contract a virus.
SACK hails from the Denver area and honestly have had changes in their lineup since they started making music in the early 2000s, but have always entertained the hell out of me.
Currently, Kody of The Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket fronts the band along with a couple of dudes from Peru, some gym teacher, and apparently a local electrician.
Ripper is a 12 song banger of sorts that was recorded at The Blasting Room and released earlier this year on Red Scare Records. This album is for the drunks, the punks, some more drunks, and anyone looking to just rock the hell out. From start to finish, Ripperabsolutely slays, slaps, shreds…shit like that.
“I Hate The Beach Boys” has zero love for that surfer boy band your mom and grandma probably batted lashes at in their younger years. The distaste for the band is evident with Kody just screaming out reasons why he hates them.
“The Return of Mr. Bong” is definitely to be adored by all the stoner heavy metal lovers. Clearly a tale of a party encounter with a superior water pipe taking on everyone.
True story real quick: I was driving somewhere with my windows down blasting “I Tried Suicide” recently and stopped at a light and looked over just in time to see that the song offended another driver enough to make a face of disapproval while rolling up their window. This song is about ending it all with no buffer.
“I Used to Give a Shit” has been my theme song lately. All about not caring and just living life sometimes is the best logic to carry in this day and age. Take it from SACK, caring is stupid.
“Night Shift” for whatever reason reminded me of something that should have been playing in Repo Man when Otto and Bud were driving around L.A.
I loved “The Thesis”, even if it was just a complete train wreck that clocked in at 0:43. I guess I just appreciated the raw, insanity of the track. I could see it as paying homage to a few 80s punk acts.
“Turf War” was upbeat, but clearly tied gangs maintaining their hood. I kind of wish SACK did a music video for this one. It could be like Warriors meet Grand Theft Auto or some bullshit like that.
Ripper was just that when describing the sound held within the album. I literally listened to this for weeks on end over and over. It is fun, raw, and just aimed at having a good time. Sure, if you like Teenage Bottlerocket you will likely be into these dudes especially since “Headbanger” was originally a SACK track. Kody really gives it his all with this band vocally and there is no doubt about that.
Also if you like Guttermouth, FEAR, or even Zeke, chances are you will eat up SACK. Yes, I wrote that on purpose.
No LP yet for Ripper (hint hint), but the album is out all all $treaming $iteS or you can snag a CD from Red Scare if you still rock that compact disc life.
If SACK happens to play a show by you, go. Seeing Kody try and pound a 12-pack during their set was impressive as hell. Just make sure you let the man hit the bathroom after because chances are, he is going to need to relieve himself after that feat.
Oh look, the year is about up already. Guess that means it is time to drop my fav releases of yet another messed up year.
The good news about 2021 is that I went to exactly one show, but it was a great show with amazing humans all around.
Anyways, I am busy as shit with the paying gig and that dad life, so I am going to try and keep things short and sweet this year. With any luck, I will add to this some content on why these hit me the most. To be continued I suppose.
Check out the albums in no particular order that caught my attention throughout the year:
BHP BEST OF 2021 LIST
Turnstyle – Glow On
Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz
Lars Fredericksen – To Victory
One Step Closer – This Place You know
Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsuckers – Sleeveless
Kali Masi – [Laughs]
Haunt – Beautiful Distraction
Neighborhood Brats – Confines of Life
Shitty Neighbors – People I Know
Heart & Lung – Twistin’ The Knife Away
Joystick – I Can’t Take It Anymore
Descendents – 9th & Walnut
Jeff Rosenstock – SKA DREAM
Lucero – When You Found Me
Jonathan Richman – Want To Visit My Inner House?
Sincere Engineer – Bless My Psyche
Juice Newson – Suburban Soul
Needles//Pins – Self-Titled
Brain Cave – Log World
Section H8 – Welcome to the Nightmare
Fiddlehead – Between The Richness
Bands: Thanks for doing what you do.
Labels & Promoters: Thanks for helping out the bands to their thing and release their music be it physical or digital and for supporting them while trying to tour in these most uncertain times. Also, thanks for the consideration when pimping them out. I am a lucky guy for this opportunity.
Finally: Thanks to YOU (yes, you). If you are even looking at this. I struggle every year if I want to keep blogging, and honestly I figure if someone out there can take some time to log in and look, then I can at least try and do my thing.
Growing up in Canton, Ohio in the pre-internet 1990’s wasn’t exactly a bustling hub of counter-culture for a young kid. Sure, I had cool parents and an older brother who passed down the foundations of my musical interests- The Ramones, The Replacements, Dead Milkmen, and so on- but I had yet to find “my thing”.
Then, I found Beavis and Butthead. Suddenly the world opened up in front of me. Archers of Loaf, Seaweed, and Sonic Youth all hit me like a ton of bricks. All of these bands were rooted in the world that I knew, but they were decidedly original and a bit more unpredictable. I was hooked. Superchunk’s song and video for Package Thief was what rattled me, though. It was my lightbulb moment for what I wanted out of music- frantic energy, bright fuzzy chords, catchy melodies, and weird lyrics. I knew instantly that they were my band.
They became a frequent presence on my annual Christmas lists, but I don’t think their records were the easiest to find where I lived. I wouldn’t really find “my band” until 2004 or so, when I walked into what was then known as The Record Exchange in Canton and bought almost their entire discography in one go- minus Here’s Where the Strings Come In and Indoor Living.
It wasn’t an entirely joyous outing, though- even though I loved every album I picked up. On The Mouth was everything I hoped for after being hooked by Package Thief. Foolish was a classic that laid a blueprint that younger bands had followed for the last decade. Come Pick Me Up was off-the-wall and intoxicating. And then there was Here’s to Shutting Up– slower, somber, and ominously titled. Based on its name, I assumed the worst about the band’s fate- and their lack of internet presence in that era all but confirmed it for me. Scattershot shows would pop up in major markets once or twice a year, and front man Mac McCaughan would pop in on the now-defunct Superchunk/Merge message boards from time to time but it seemed like the title of their 2001 full-length said it all. I missed the window of my favorite band’s full-time existence.
Fast-forward just a few years after that and the band would thankfully reemerge, comfortably settled into their classic sound, more frequently releasing music and heading back out for brief clusters of shows. But the interim time would also reveal that even though the title of the record was unintentional, or subconscious at worst, the writing was on the wall for Superchunk as they were in 2001. It was a tough time for the band in 2001- the indie rock scene favored up-and-coming bands rather than those who had been at it for a decade-plus. Superchunk was caught in the middle of a fanbase that didn’t particularly want them to change their formula and critics who would drag them for staying the same. On top of that- thanks to inner turmoil and exhaustive tours with a steep decline in attendance post-9/11, the band did ultimately shut up for nine years or so. (To hear it from the band in their own words, check out the book Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, and the Peyton Reed-directed documentary DVD Crowding Up Your Visual Field)
Twenty years later, Here’s to Shutting Up has been rereleased along with a CD of acoustic demos from the writing sessions. It’s a record that went largely unheard at the time of it’s release due to unavoidable bad timing- the album came out on September 18th, 2001- along with a refrain in the pedal-steel guitar-led acoustic ballad Phone Sex that includes the lyrics “Plane crash footage on TV- I know that could be me.” Unfortunate timing and coincidences aside, it’s a beautiful, haunting record that finds Superchunk engaging in some of their most ambitous songwriting- from the eerie, meandering What Do You Look Forward To, to the more-upbeat entries such as Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama) and Rainy Streets– the album is more than worth a look back or an introduction if you missed it the first time around.
Last week, I caught up with drummer Jon Wurster via email to see how he feels looking back at the album:
JU: Here’s to Shutting Up caps off a trio of Superchunk’s most experimental records. Do you recall any discussions the band was having leading up to the writing of this record? Any interesting stories worth sharing from the writing/demo sessions at your house?
JW: This whole conversation is tough because this is the Superchunk album I have the most difficult relationship with. I honestly can’t recall the names of most of the songs on the album and we only play one of them live at this point (“Art Class”). We worked very diligently for months on “HTSU” in Jim’s garage. I still have the snare drum head I used for the rehearsals/writing and it’s got about 30 funny working titles for the songs, like, “There’s Something About Marvin” and “New Asics” (I’d just bought a pair) scrawled on it. Just speaking for myself, I didn’t really love the direction we were going for this record.
We were really good at the punky, catchy, slightly weird music we’d been doing for over ten years and it was only natural that we branch out and try new things. I just didn’t feel like we were particularly suited for the Yo La Tengo-inspired music we were coming up with for HTSU. I WILL say that it’s one of our best-sounding records. I’d finally gotten a snare drum I liked (a Ludwig Black Beauty) and used it on that and just about everything I’ve played on since. So, sonically, I think it’s really good.
JU: Was there ever any talk or possibility of working with Jim O’Rourke again after Come Pick Me Up? I’ve always been a big fan of the string and horn arrangements he brought to that record. I could be wrong, but I feel like the production on that record isn’t given its due.
JW: CPMU is difficult too. I thought the songs were really good but we lost it in the mix. The drums are too buried for my tastes on “Indoor Living” and CPMU in particular. Jim was so much fun to work with, but I don’t think he was really a drum guy. We had to overdub cymbals on a few songs because they weren’t really mic’d for some of the basic tracks. He wrote the horn arrangements and did a fantastic job all around. The problem was he was running on fumes and going home each night to finish work on another record he was producing. He was really burning the candle at both ends, not with substances, just work and lack of sleep. But Jim was really great to work with.
JU: It’s pretty well documented that 2000-2002 was a stressful time for the band- and many touring bands in the wake of 9/11. Did any of those circumstances alter your opinion of the album at the time?
JW: That was such a difficult time. I’m really painting an uplifting picture of the band in the late-’90s and early 2000s, aren’t I? The record was released on September 18th and we immediately hit the road, going to Japan, Europe and then doing a full US tour. Attendances were down, I didn’t feel like the new songs were connecting with people, I didn’t really enjoy playing them, and it felt like other bands were passing us by. Like, we’d hit the glass ceiling. I just wasn’t excited about Superchunk anymore. The final show of the HTSU tour was at the Black Cat in D.C. and I remember thinking that was the end of the line for me.
JU: How do you feel looking back on it now?
JW: I honestly never think about HTSU. That said, I was in a coffee shop in NYC about four years after it came out and one of the songs from it came on the in-house playlist. I knew it was us but I didn’t recognize the song. I thought, “wow, this sounds really good, surprisingly tight for us.” Then I realized it was the last song we recorded for the album and the only one where we played to a click track: “Out On The Wing.”
JU: Brian Paulson co-produced Here’s to Shutting Up with the band. This is the first (maybe only, as far as I can tell?) time you used the same producer for a full-length record since 1994’s Foolish. What went into that decision?
JW: I honestly don’t recall. We were still very friendly with Brian and we’d see him all the time because he also lived in Chapel Hill. I think it just felt right.
JU: Art Class has remained a steady presence in live sets ever since the album’s release. Revisiting it now, and barring any logistical/additional personnel challenges, are there any songs from HTSU you think would be fun to bring back into live rotation?
JW: One song we recorded for HTSU that I really liked, but didn’t make it on the album is “Becoming a Speck.” I think that song would have given the album a little more of what we were really good at, but someone must’ve decided it didn’t fit. It’s on the “Cup of Sand” comp. That would be a fun one to play, as would “Rainy Streets.” I’m now looking at the track listing and remembering that we ended the shows with “What Do You Look Forward To” and “Drool Collection.” Let’s just say I didn’t look forward to playing those songs every night.
JU: Here’s to Shutting Up holds the distinction of having some of Superchunk’s longest songs- namely with What Do You Look Forward To? coming in at 7:42. Was it strange to play outside of (generally speaking) standard pop-rock parameters Superchunk had typically held to or did it feel like a natural progression for everyone?
JW: To me it felt a little false. Maybe not false, because we WANTED to play this new music well, but to my ears it sounds like us trying to be another band, specifically Yo La Tengo. I don’t want to hear a seven-minute song by anyone, so, as I said above, that particular tune was not a favorite to play.
JU: Since the band got back into semi-regular output in the 2010’s, the sound has returned to what some would say is Superchunk’s more traditional hyper-energetic output (What a Time to Be Alive is arguably the band’s hardest-hitting record at times), give or take a few slower numbers. Are there ever any band discussions about revisiting any of the more experimental, long-form ideas from this era, or do you think those concepts are mostly content to live on in the bands’ various other projects?
JW: I think we got the “writing as a band” thing out of our system. Sometimes that yields some great results, but often you end up with music that’s a little unfocused. The first four or five albums were pretty much written by Mac. We’d all throw our two cents in but he pretty much wrote the songs. He was incredibly generous to make the publishing a four-way split. “Indoor Living,” “Come Pick Me Up” and “HTSU” were all written, musically, by committee and Mac would go off and write the lyrics. There’s a lot of good stuff on those records, for sure, but since we regrouped, it’s gone back to Mac writing and doing rough demos of the songs and then presenting them to us. I really like it this way because the songs just sound more focused and concise. He’s written so many great songs for these last few albums.
JU I recently saw an interview with Mac where he discussed the band working on an album during quarantine, written and recorded remotely. Are you able to give any details on the process behind that or any upcoming plans?
JW: Not yet 😉
JU: Finally- followers of your Instagram account are treated to regular doses of Rock ‘n Roll Weirdness. Outside of the band supposedly surviving largely off of Long John Silver’s, do you have any tales of Rock ‘n Roll Weirdness to share as relates to the writing/recording/release of Here’s to Shutting Up?
JW: The only thing that comes to mind is that there was nowhere to sit in the studio! I don’t know why that was. There WAS a row of very uncomfortable wooden seats from a classroom or something, but nobody wanted to sit on them. Maybe we should’ve called it “Here’s to Standing Up.”