Interview: Ray From Teenage Bottlerocket

There is nothing like a good ol’ fun punk rock song that keeps me going. Sometimes I like a simple, to the point, quick song that’s perfect for singing along to.  I don’t need anything fancy or over produced all the time to keep me entertained and in fact it’s those short humorous tracks I find myself returning to over and over.

Teenage Bottlerocket (TBR) is one of those bands out there that keeps the fun and the punk flowing at a great level. Hailing from all the way up in Wyoming the foursome has started to make their name in the punk community with their Ramones infused power punk jams.  Recently signing to Fat Wreck Chords the band dropped their fourth release on the independent punk label.  I had a chance to talk with Ray one of the guitarist / vocalists of the band just before they headed out on tour in support of the release.

Shall we begin???


BHP – Thanks for taking a moment to chat. How are you doing today?

Ray – Doing ok, I drank to much last night and had to work for 12 hours today. Life rules though.

Ha ha, before I even continue can you just take a moment and introduce yourself to everyone?

I’m Ray and I sing and play guitar in TBR.

Does the band name Teenage Bottlerocket have anything to do with a certain Wes Anderson movie?

No it doesn’t, but after we came up with the name we watched the movie and really enjoyed it.  Fantastic Mr. Fox was cool too.

You boys are from the mean streets of Wisconsin right?

We are not from Wisconsin but don’t feel bad, we get that all the time. We are from Wyoming.

Oops, I knew that. So anyways how was it growing up in Wyoming?

It’s really cold there, the weather and the people.

How was the punk scene in Laramie, the city you grew up in? Is it any different from cities you have toured in?

It’s a lot different. We have a bit of a home town following but the venue situation is a little weird. We use our practice PA for the shows and it just doesn’t really pack the punch that a regular PA would at a venue in a big city. The kids go off though, and we always have fun playing in Laramie.

What else did you do for fun growing up other than music?

Brandon, TBR drummer and my twin brother, and I have older brothers that got us into skateboarding at a young age. We grew up skating and always looked up to Matt Hensley and other skaters on the H Street Team.

I kind of figured you skated back in the day after hearing a couple of your songs.  So who is the skateboarder in the “Skate or Die” video and where was that shot at?

The skater’s name is Otto Phlanz. He is from Denver, Colorado and skates for Conspiracy. The video was shot at the Laramie skate park.

Rumor has it that not only does the band consist of you and your twin brother but also 2 engineers. Is this true?

This is true. The 2 engineers are Brandon and I. We are in Bakersfield, California right now doing work on an oil well. Technically we are chemical engineers, because of the work we perform, but I graduated with my business degree and Brandon graduated with his Geology degree. We both went to the University of Wyoming. Miguel, our bass player, just graduated from UW with his business degree.

Dumb question, but what do you prefer more, working the oil wells or rocking out the clubs?

Playing music is my real passion. If we were all able to do nothing but play in the band, that would rule. Punk rock saved my life, but my job pays my bills.

I could not agree more. So how hard is it to split up the two career paths?

It’s difficult, but we’ve managed to do alright so far.

Teenage Bottlerocket material clearly shows love for classic punkers like The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, and even the Queers. Who are some of your other influences?

We listen to a lot of crust stuff. We really like Conflict as of lately. I wouldn’t say they are one of our influences but we’ve been listening to them a lot. We really like Cobra Skulls and Randy.

When I think of fun and punk rock in the same sentence I think of Teenage Bottlerocket. You guys are an energetic punk rock act with quick and to the point songs. Was this how Teenage Bottlerocket always was from the get go?

Well shucks dude, that’s cool. We just write tunes that we like and it seems to work.

Do people even use “get go” in sentences anymore?

Yes, they do.

How does it feel to be a part of the Fat Wreck Chords family?

It feels great. It’s exciting. We were always happy on Red Scare and it stokes us that Toby has been so cool with our decision to move to another label.

Who is your favorite band so far that you toured with?

Cobra Skulls.

Is there a certain band you wish you could tour with?

NOFX.

Wait, aren’t you going to tour with NOFX soon? How stoked are you?

We are really excited. We’ve been working on the set list and rehearsing as much as possible. We cant wait to play the Aggie in Ft. Collins. The whole tour is going to be a lot of fun.

“Bigger Than Kiss” was one of my favorite tracks off the new album as well as has a hilarious video for it. Any song that praises Slayer over Kiss is ok with me. Where did the song come from? Would you really “beat the piss out of Peter Criss”?

Kody has a friend named Charlie in Newcastle that said to him, “you know, Gene Simmons is pretty cool, but Paul Stanley is a total d-bag”. I’m not sure if that is exactly what went down, but it was something along those lines. Kody cracked up and got inspired to write the tune. It is my favorite lyrics Kody has ever written. I don’t think I would beat the piss out of Peter Criss, I heard he was in a wheelchair.

What seems to be the favorite foods throughout the band?

I like sushi, Brandon likes this pizza place in Ft. Collins called La Collina, Kody likes everything but seafood, and Miguel likes anything that is hotter than hell.

Best city you have played so far?

That’s a tough one. There’s a bunch: Chicago, Toronto, St. Louis, Orlando, San Diego, and Sheridan Wyoming.

How about the worst?

I’d have to say Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Why?

Probably because it was a Tuesday night and no one in the city of Las Cruces, with the exception of 20 people, knows who we are.

One of my best friend’s kid’s who is 6 adores you guys and listens to you every night before he goes to sleep. Care to say anything to him or give him some advice?

Tell him to play soccer.


I hope Brennan takes Ray’s advice…

Here are some TBR videos for you to all enjoy!

Teenage Bottlerocket will be touring soon. Don’t be a fool – check them out when they hit your town…
03/20/10 Austin, TX – SXSW Music Festival
04/21/10 Eugene, OR – McDonald Theatre
04/22/10 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory
04/23/10 Billings, MT – Shrine Auditorium
04/25/10 Saskatoon, SK Canada – Odeon Events Center
04/26/10 Winnipeg, MB Canada – Burton Cummings Theater
04/27/10 Fargo, ND – The Venue
04/28/10 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
04/29/10 Milwaukee, WI – The Riverside Theater
04/30/10 Covington, KY – Madison Theater
05/01/10 Sauget, IL – Pop’s
05/02/10 Kansas City, MO – The Beaumont
05/04/10 Fort Collins, CO – The Aggie
05/05/10 Albuquerque, NM – The Sunshine Theater
05/06/10 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
05/07/10 Las Vegas, NV – Sunset Station Amphitheatre

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