Interview: Ray & Kody of Teenage Bottlerocket

Do I really need to sit here and type an intro for Teenage Bottlerocket?  I am sure many of you who are reading this know who this band is and what they are all about.  In the last few years they have been turning heads with their pop punk fun and special humor.  Currently the band has become one of the more talked about bands on the Fat Wreck Chords roster with their recently dropped album Freak Out!.  It’s easily one of my favorite releases of 2012.

I’ve been privileged to have caught this act years ago and knew back then that they would be going places one day.  A few years back I was fortunate to have the chance to interview Ray just as the band signed with Fat Wreck Chords.  They were still getting noticed at the time and it just a fun experience.  When I heard that they was going to hit the road this summer headlining their own tour, I was stoked and felt the need to chat with them again.

This time around I was able to talk with Ray and Kody about their new release as well as whatever else came to mind.  Enjoy!

How’s it going guys?

Ray: Going Great, Thanks for asking.

This is killing me so I need to get it out of the way, but last time we chatted we were talking about the worst city you ever played in and Ray said Las Cruces, NM. Well, recently I moved to Las Cruces, NM, and have caught a minor case of depression knowing you may never come down this way again. I understand. Perhaps that can change one day as I would love to see you guys live again. Can I bribe you all with chicken tacos or something?

Ray: Chicken enchiladas might be a bribe we would take.

Kody: I love Mexican food so you’re on the right path with the chicken tacos, but you’re going to have to throw something else in there too. 6 pack of HAMMS?

Photo by Shane Salazar

HAMMs….check.  Seriously though, I am sure a lot has changed in the last two years since we first chatted. First off, congrats on an all new album! How stoked are you for all your fans to hear?

Ray: Very stoked to see the fans reaction to the songs, especially live.  I cant wait to get out there and play these songs.

Kody: I’m stoked.  I think it’s our best record yet.

The album rules. Once again you guys have impressed the hell out of me with your fun punk rock jams. Thank you.

Ray: You’re very welcome.

Kody: All in a day’s work!

You all crammed back into the Blasting Room again to record Freak Out. How did it feel to be in the recording studio working with Andrew Berlin?

Ray: Very comfortable. It was great to work with Andrew again, he is the secret 5th member of the band.

Kody: Working with Andrew is awesome. He’s one of us.

Any reason for calling the new album Freak Out!?

Kody: Yes.

Ray: We usually try to name our records after songs.  Originally we were going to call the record Summertime. After we recorded, Summertime just didn’t really fit the feel of the album. We all agreed Freak Out! was a better title.

“Necrocomicon” is amazing. Who came up with that brilliant song?

Kody: Me. It’s about the comic book of the dead……get it?

Ray: I love it.

Photo by Emi Dimaggio

Are there any songs on the album you happen to favor?

Kody: It’s hard to pick a favorite. Songs you write for a record are like children. It’d be tacky and wrong to claim one as your favorite.

Ray: I really like “Go With The Flow” and “In The Pit.” I have a special place in my heart for all the songs.

Did you do anything differently this time around or did you keep with the same sound?

Ray: We have developed our sound a little more, nothing too out there, but I think we have all gotten better at our instruments.

Kody: We used a keyboard on one of the songs. Aside from that….no.

So tell me about the video you shot for the first single off the new album, “Headbanger”.

Kody: We threw a party at Brandon’s house and a bunch of our buddies showed up sporting all kinds of heavy metal gear. So we got wrecked and recorded it.

Ray: Its a Heavy Metal party. Our friend “Magic Cyclops” is in the video, he’s the headbanger.

That song was actually written by a previous band you guys were in, SACK, right?. How long ago was that band in full force?

Kody: SACK was around for about a year and a half maybe. It was never really full force. We played three shows and they were all a fucking disaster. I blame the booze. It was a fun band though.

Ray: They were back when the “Get Wrecked” album was recorded. I think it was sometime in 2003. SACK shreds!

Any other videos in the works?

Ray: None at the moment.

You are about to embark on a huge tour in support of Freak Out!, how does it feel to get back on the road?

Kody: Awesome. This last break we took [from touring] has been the longest since we started. It’s always fun playing shows and hanging out with earth other and all our buddies in other cities.

Who are you most excited to be sharing the tour with? I must say I am bummed the hell out to not be in Cleveland to see Nothington play with you guys… (and The Beat Kids…haha)

Ray: I’m excited to hang with everyone. I really like all the bands we are touring with.

Kody: I’m stoked to have all the bands out with us. We’re lucky that we can have a say in who we take out with us. So it’s always a blast going out as a headliner cause we get to take our buddies with. I’m stoked to see Masked Intruder. That ep they put out cracks me up.

So who in the band decided that Teenage Bottlerocket needed to cover some Joy Division songs?

Ray: Kody came to me with the idea and I was all about it. I wasn’t familiar with “Ice Age”, but I knew “We Walked In Line.”  The 7″ turned out great. It was cool to have Clearview involved with one of our releases again.

Kody: Todd Greene at Clearview brought it up cause he knew that we were into Joy Division. He picked “Ice Age” and we picked “Walked in Line.”

Any chance you guys will do something like this again?

Ray: We are doing a special vinyl release with Clearview, but I don’t want to give too much away. It’s going to be really cool.

Kody: I would say yes. We’ve always had fun covering other bands tunes and recording that shit.

Did you guys ever think your bad would get where it is today?

Kody: And where is that?

Ray: I never thought it would, but I always wanted it to.

10 years together as a band; that is pretty damn impressive. Are things getting easier for you all?

Ray: Yes, We just know how to do it a little better now, not too much better, but a little.

How was insubordination Fest?

Kody: It was rad.

Ray: It was alot of fun. Great bands, and Natural Bohemian beer.

“Bigger Than Kiss” made it on Rock Band. Dudes, you totally have a video game song. Is it weird playing it yourselves?

Ray: Haha, I haven’t ever played it. I was stoked “Crashing” got into Skate 2. I like skateboard video games more than the Guitar Hero stuff. I really suck at playing those guitars.

Kody: I’m more of a Guitar Hero kind of guy. Next question.

So, just a random out of nowhere question, does it freak you out that so many of the bands on the covers of music magazines like AP and whatnot are more or less dressed in drag?

Not at all, its nothing new, take a look at the front cover of the 1st New York Dolls records, or Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison. I think its cool. I don’t know any of those bands, but they look different, and that’s cool with me. I get bummed out on the way every one in my hometown of Laramie, Wyoming, wears North Face jackets, and they try to look all “Colorado”. I wish they dressed like the New York Dolls, so I guess its sort of a breath of fresh air, in kind of an odd way.

Kody: It would freak me out more if they weren’t dressed.

Both valid points.  I still question what happened to some of these kids…

Kody: Bath salts!

Enough of me sounding like grandpa punk… Let me turn this interview over to you. Any thing you guys would like to say?

Ray: Please come check us out if we are playing in your area. It would mean a lot to us.

Teenage Bottlerocket’s Freak Out! is currently available at Fat Wreck Chords.

I reviewed the album a couple weeks back and loved it.

Teenage Bottlerocket is currently on tour in support of Freak Out!.  Check out their dates below and for the love of all things punk…go see them live.  They really put on a good show.

Metal Sucks posted their own thoughts about “Headbanger”.  It’s hilarious although I think they are serious.

Teenage Bottlerocket Tour Dates:

08/17/12 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/18/12 – London, ON Canada – Call The Office w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/19/12 – Toronto, ON Canada – Horseshoe w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/20/12 – Montreal, QC, Canada – Les Foufounes Electriques w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/21/12 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/22/12 – New York, NY – Santo’s Party House w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/23/12 – Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/24/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/25/12 – Baltimore, MD – Otto Bar w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
08/26/12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Garfield Artworks w/ Nothington, Masked Intruder
09/13/12 – Omaha, NE – The Sandbox
09/14/12 – Minneapolis, MN – Cabooze w/ NOFX, Dilliner Four, Arms Aloft
09/15/12 – Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
09/17/12 – Lansing, MI – Mac’s Bar
09/18/12 – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe w/ NOFX
09/19/12 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts w/ NOFX
09/20/12 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt
09/21/12 – Little Rock, AR Downtown Music Hall
09/22/12 – Dallas, TX – Riot Fest
10/09/12 – Des Moines, IA – Gas Lamp w/ Masked Intruders
10/11/12 – Madison, WI – The Frequency w/ Toys That Kill, Masked Intruder
10/13/12 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick- Lounge w/ Toys That Kill, Masked Intruder
10/14/12 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Brass Rail w/ Toys That Kill, Masked Intruder, Flaming Nosebleed
10/15/12 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/16/12 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/17/12 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/19/12 – Houston, TX – Walter’s w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/20/12 – Austin, TX – Red Seven w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/21/12 – Corpus Christi, TX – House of Rock w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/22/12 – San Antonio, TX – Korova w/ Smoke Or Fire, Masked Intruder
10/27/12 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft w/ Propagandhi, The Menzingers

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