Countdown To It’s Not Dead 2 – Part 2

Countdown To It’s Not Dead 2 – Part 2

One of the country’s largest punk rock festivals, It’s Not Dead is returning to Southern California’s Glen Helen Amphitheater Festival Grounds, on Saturday, August 26, after a two-year break.

Presented by Vans Warped Tour mastermind Kevin LymanIt’s Not Dead 2 goes back to the roots of punk rock with an all-out vengeance.

Headliners this year include Rancid and The Dropkick Murphys!

The guaranteed hot day in the blazing sun will also features standout performances from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Runaway Kids, The Selecter, Spider, Toxic Energy, True Rivals, Unit F, and A Wilhelm Scream – all of whom are interviewed here in our Countdown To It’s Not Dead 2 – Part 1.

Find out what to expect from the festival, current albums, stories from the road, favorite punk rock records, and a whole lot more!  Read on as we Countdown to this year’s mighty addition of It’s Not Dead 2

It’s Not Dead 2 on FACEBOOK

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Spike–I make an ass out of you and me. Though we hail from several different California locales, our home is in scenic, hysteric San Francisco.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Hot fun in the summertime.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Singing, dancing, cutting-up, other fools’ songs. You know the drill.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Rake It In. And that we will. But we can only rake so much without your help, ladies and gentlemen. So, help us help you help us. Buy our world-class records and shirts, Berdoo. It’s for a great cause.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
If I can convince the rest of the guys, we’ll give Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard a go–I’m still trying to figure what that one’s all about. I’ve got some interesting ideas, though…

Furthermore, if we feel the San Bernardino Valley is ready, we’ll fill it with the dulcet tones of our rendition of Sloop John B, which I’m 76% certain was inspired by a boating trip Dennis Wilson took with the Manson family in ’68.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Everytime a pit forms during a Barry Manilow or John Denver song is a strange and delicious moment.

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
The Saints, Eternally Yours. Regardless of what trends were happening in NY or London at the time, these antipodean outliers continued in the fine tradition of their inbred Aussie and American rock and roll forebears.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Being able to say, “Iggy Pop is next” at Punk Rock Bowling this year was as fulfilling a support scenario as I’d ever dare imagine.

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
In the words of the immortal Heiko Schrepel, Get into the night.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on Facebook

Runaway Kids

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
My name is Sean, I play guitar in Runaway Kids. We’re based out of Los Angeles.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Looking forward to watching all the bands, and figuring out how to watch the McGregor / Mayweather fight at the same time.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Gonna keep it short and fun. Probably gonna play some songs. A couple songs hopefully. Don’t want to get the crowd TOO tired before Rancid, you know?

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Latest EP was called Better Days. It was inspired by days in the past that were not so good.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Can’t give away all the secrets, now can I, Ken??

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Not even kidding, we found a dead body in Japan. That is 100% the most unusual happening that I’ve ever experienced on the road.

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
PennywiseSelf Titled.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
The Offspring is always my answer. Our singer Gage would choose Rancid, RJ our drummer would pick Van Halen with Diamond Dave on vocals for sure, Korey our bass player would choose like Limp Bizkit or something.

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Drink water, watch our set, watch A Wilhelm Scream, enjoy the show.

Runaway Kids on Facebook

The Selecter

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
I am Pauline Black, lead singer of The Selecter, a ska/2-tone band from Coventry, England in UK.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
The opportunity to meet up with some great bands in the glorious Californian weather. Remember we’re from the UK, it rains at all our festivals!

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
A high energy ska set done the 2-tone way – mixing the rhythms in an adventurous, riotous and musical way.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Latest album soon to be released on Oct 6th ‘Daylight’. We wanted to shine some light on contemporary issues either side of the Atlantic.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
On My Radio: it’s still the same old show on my radio!
Frontline: first single off our new album Daylight. Inspiration was people’s fraught relationships with social media- society’s new Frontline.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Having to perform after a wet T-shirt competition at a venue somewhere in the Midwest in 1980, where most of the audience wore cowboy hats.

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
Identity: Polystyrene & X Ray Spex

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Tammy Wynette – we like a challenge!

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Enjoy!

The Selecter on Facebook

Spider

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Hi, I’m Hector, I write lyrics and do main vocals, spit, scream, bleed, stomp and swagger for Spider. Spider is made up of Karl Izumi on guitar, Steve Westerkamp on bass, and Mikki Crash on drums. We’re all longtime friends and were are based out of Long Beach, California.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
I’m looking forward to finding a secret shady oasis and a cool breeze in the hills of sunny San Bernardino, spending quality time with friends, making new friends watching amazing bands play! Remember folks, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
It’ll be a barn burner, a pure punk rock DNA cathartic/explosion!

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Our latest release is a self-titled EP, it’s a collection of our favorite songs, a sort of a ‘best of’ of our out of print LP ‘Youth Insurance.’ Clocking in at under 18 minutes, the EP is compelling enough to maintain and justify your average attention span. Quality not quantity!

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
We’ll be playing ‘Can’t Control’ this song touches on the Daisein of contemplating a world you were thrust into without choice. Another one of our favorites is ‘Pleasure Fold’ it’s an ode to resilience, mindfulness and the will to live.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
All I can say is “I’ve got no pockets.”

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
Soooooooooooooooo many to choose from, this is torture. Um, I’m gonna go with “G.I.” by the Germs. Darby is a poet a true lexicon devil, Pat is a madman on guitar, Lorna rules the bass and Mr. Don Bolles is a firecracker on the drums. All legends, making pure art. A fucking masterpiece.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I’d love to do a show with Iggy Pop, he’s the king of Rock N Roll in my mind. If there’s a (Plato’s) form for pure rock n roll energy, its essence is Iggy Pop.

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Come by our booth, say hi, we’ll have free stickers to give out. Have fun!!!

Spider on Facebook

Toxic Energy

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Greg Dickson Orange County calif

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
The opportunity to meet and interact with bands we admire and look up to and getting our music out there to some new listeners.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival? A solid performance no goofing around, high energy.
You can Dance to our sound or slam we bring a hardcore sound with lots of dynamics and melodys.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Never look back, we been through a lot and keeping a positive outlook is important and the only way to do that is to never look back.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
heart attack,,, is about falling in love with that one girl that steals yours heart that’s sitting at the bar having a drink in a mini skirt Ha ha. And u just know you’d take her to the moon and back and she could give u a heart attack…
never look back is about just that
No matter what goes down on a negative side… you can’t look back and dwell it’s about staying positive no matters what’s tossed your way or said about u.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
A flight delay and watching the mechanic trying to replace a part on a plane and knowing we were the ones to have to air test it.. that’s was a bit nerve racking.

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
That’s a very difficult question
I know John Darrow really loves Bad Religion…. Chris our drummer loves Green Day
Mike our bass player loves Pennywise as I do
But I really love Guttermouth’s Teri Yamamoto
Ha ha wish that record did better…… it just brings back some great memories when I play it… man we love it all……

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Bad Religion & Pennywise, being they are such accomplished musicians and they are great guys” and we’d play for a lot of people ha ha…

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
A very big thank you to Kevin being that guy takes a nano second out of his day to talk to me is such a breath of fresh air and honestly one of the reasons I stay in this game.

Attendees…. let’s all have a great time and celebrate live music….. no tough guys needed…

Toxic Energy is:
John Darrow guitar
Chris McBride drums
Mike Woodside bass
Greg Dickson vox

Toxic Energy on Facebook

Photo Credit: Jason Morales

True Rivals

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
My name is Derik and I sing and play bass for True Rivals, we are based out of Los Angeles, CA.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Looking forward to seeing a lot of great bands as well as hanging with our friends that are also playing.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Lot’s of energy and unpredictability. We never really know what is going to happen but we have a few fun surprises planned.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
We actually have a brand new EP titled “Look At Me” coming out the day before IND on August 25th. The title is inspired by this sort of culture we live in now where everyone is their own TV show where we feel the need to overshare. A bit like a collective social insecurity that feeds our narcissistic tendencies.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Look At Me – Title track from our new EP inspired by previous question
Respect’s Earned – Also off our new EP and inspired by the ebb and flow of the music industry. Seeing trends in music come and go and instead of hopping on band wagons you stay true to who you are and what you like regardless of what other people are doing and what is popular.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
We love when people know how to play our songs and want to get up and play with us. So if you know how to play something…. let us know. Just don’t get up there and fuck it up!

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
AFIShut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. I think this was a great middle ground between punk and hardcore. Solid record all the way through!

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I’m sure everyone in our band would have different answers but I’d say Nine Inch Nails. I’ve always been a big fan and it would be a bonus if Josh Freese was on drums.

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Bring sunscreen, drink lots of water and check us (True Rivals) out if you can!

True Rivals on Facebook

Unit F

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Mel Schantz: My name is Mel Schantz, the vocalist and one of the song writers of Unit F, an Orange County, California band. I basically jump around and make dramatic faces, and when the guys come up with some sonic madness that makes sense to me, I am inspired to use my worldview to craft words into lyrics, which hopefully become songs worth listening to. I grew up in Orange County, traveled a bit and am back here in this well located suburban hell.

David Costa: My name is David Costa, I play loud electric lead guitar in UNIT-F for 7 years. UNIT F is based out out Orange County, California.

Guillermo Santacruz: My name is Gui, and I play bass. From Santa Ana, Ca.

Ryan Hadley: My name is Ryan Hadley and I am the drummer for Unit F. I am based out of south Orange County.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Mel: Well, it is an amazing event, a true punk rock festival on a scale that probably only Kevin Lyman and his team could make happen, Punk Rock Bowling not withstanding.

The line up of bands ranges from some of the ‘founding fathers of punk rock’, to those who kept punk rock alive from the 80’s into the 90’s and through the 2000nds. Bands that have come from some of punk rocks originators, like OFF!, and the Wraths, bands like GBH, the Buzzcocks and The Adicts and Channel 3. ‘Newer’ bands like the Wilhelm Scream, Me First and others, and of course those bands that have kept it going and are still doing great: Unit F, the Grim, Rancid, Spider, the Voodoo Glow Skulls, Love Canal and The Casualties.

Ska bands, rock bands. So much variety that really shows the diversity of Punk Rock. Four stages featuring bands that made music history, and are still making Punk Rock what it is today: vibrant, non-conforming, and certainly NOT DEAD!

And of course, of enormous importance, the other events like Arts Not Dead, showcasing the artists of Punk Rock…from the photographers to the artists: Jenifer Finch (L7) Bad Otis Links and more. And how about those punk rockers who have turned into author, featured at Punks Well Read with Jack Grisham (TSOL-American Demon, The Principals of Recovery ), Jim Lindberg (PunkGuru.com, The F Word), and Keith Morris (Off!, Circle Jerks, Black Flag and author of Damaged).

So cool. So diverse. Oh, and we are looking forward to playing! All Ages baby!!

David: I am looking forward to play live on the Vans off the Wall Stage at It’s Not Dead Festival & I am happy to see & meet new life long friends.

Guillermo: Playing this festival and seeing bands that I have never seen.

Ryan: Playing with a lot of really great bands.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
Mel: Well, Unit F will be delivering a similar set to that which we have been playing from 2016 through this year. The setlist starts out with Same Ol Story, from our 2013 EP, and then goes into Direct Action Now from Comes the Day (2015). We then deliver with an old crowd favorite Ride followed by a couple of tunes from our new album Ecocide.

Unit F is a punk band, both in attitude and in a sonic sense…but we expand the envelope as far as punk is concerned especially in terms of the song writing. Not as fast as some bands, but still hard hitting…and intense. Some say we sound like an OC band, some say we sound like no other band. I think fans and people who have never seen us can expect an intense, well played set: lots of guitars, some tongue in cheek humor, some direct messages about making a difference and whole lot of passion delivered with great guitar riffs, a churning bass and rocking drums.

David: UNIT F will be playing some of our newest songs off our new album called ECOCIDE.  The album title name is because the world is in such turmoil.

Guillermo: Playing good songs with lots of energy!

Ryan: Solid music with a lot of energy

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Mel: The name of the new 9 song album is Ecocide: Songs of Dysfunction. The title is derived from a lyric in our song Blacksnake (“we’ve committed, Ecocide/Damn, we done lost our minds”), a song about oil pipelines (Standing Rock, the XL, etc) and our addiction to extraction industries. It is about how we mindlessly continue to destroy the earth in favor of greed, material benefit, and the destruction of the living system of this amazing, living earth. Its about what we are doing to ourselves; where we are, and how we got here.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Mel: One of the songs is Bad Monkeys. Again, its about how we, as humans have become parasitic, if not suicidal, how we have quickly usurped balance for dominion (“Bad Monkeys/Good Planet, We’re a plague!”)

Another song is Raven, which Mark Bolton wrote. It has a goth/gothpunk feel to it. And I use the Raven as a totem of magic, seeing and change, as the symbol that “eats the mouse” of the corrupted priesthood which has been the scourge of the Catholic Church. The viewpoint is that of the native American tribes…and how they suffered under the genocide of the Church and Christanity in general, which, ironically, was not limited to the Native Americans. In the name of salvation, the destruction of culture and its wisdom ensued. It is about the exorcism of that dark influence which is the corruption of a religion. (“For you…are not forgiven/A pox back to your house. Sancti Nex/Sancti Interitum/The Raven is in the house”).

David: One of the songs UNIT F will be performing is called Horrifying written about all the horror in the world, and how we just keep ignoring it. Another song UNIT F will be performing is called DECAY written about dysfunction surrounding us all.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Mel: Hard to pinpoint one event. We have been playing for over 15 years, including stints on the Warped Tour. Some of those stories….cannot be told, if only because they may or may not involve ‘retribution’ for rookie band violations of the unwritten Punk Rock code.

On the other hand, during our last show of 2016….we were performing our last song of the night, Decay…which is another song that ties the esoteric past to the present. Before we started, and right after we played Raven, this guy wedges through the crowd and sticks his hand toward me, holding this black object while I am doing the spoken word outro.

He continues to hold this object, thrusting it at me as the final chords ring out…and the first chords of Decay rev up. I finally take it…and it is a huge, worked piece of obsidian… blackrock, which is used for many spiritual purposes. I was amazed….and so I take it…holding this big piece, and finish the song…and afterward, I am looking at it, kind of stunned. It was, to say the least, significant…and I still use it in my rituals. But I could never find the guy afterwards…he disappeared! So random, but so cool. A co-incidence or an incident?

David: One of the unusual happenings out on the road was in Las Vegas our home away from home. Something that sticks in my mind is when we were having technical difficulties with our bass rig during our set. Knowing we had a gig next night, I was thinking what are we going to do? Before I had my guitar put away, our Las Vegas friend Cody Leavitt who plays for New Cold War and People’s Whiskey asks us what we needed? I told him what we needed & the gear was delivered to the club next night, UNIT F had another great show. thanks to Cody & the punk rock brotherhood that Las Vegas has & the love for all bands. I will never forget that.

Guillermo: Dave breaking a string then having it fixed by the time his solo came around. Another time my old drummer and I left for a gig in Santa Barbara over an hour before the band just so we could hit as many record stores we could in between, and still got there over an hour before the rest of the band.

Ryan: I played a warehouse show in East LA with my old band, and suddenly it just started pouring rain. Everything started shorting out, the PA and the amps, and I just kept playing. A moment where I was like almost playing by myself. Its a drummer thing…

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
Mel: Too many: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys)? Fear of Life (Channel 3)? The New Dark Ages (Bad Religion)? Wasted Years (OFF!)? or the latest from Jello Biafra and Guantanamo School of Medicine? Strawberries, the Damned? Hmmm, might want to include the obscure TSOL Who is Fucking Who in there as well. Bad question man. How about a couple of compilations: Modern Youth Report? Hell Comes to Your House? Adjust the question to ‘favorite punk rock record(s)….

David: I enjoy all Ramones albums. They are the godfathers of punk rock.

Guillermo: Group Sex, the Circle Jerks. It was my first punk rock album…I had no clue you could legally write fast songs of that material subject. Yeah

Ryan: The Subhumans, Ep-Lp. I listened to that record so many times in my teenage years, that I know all the lyrics.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Mel: Oh, again a tough one. Unit F has been honored to play with so many such as Bad Religion, the Circle Jerks and TSOL, played on bills with Pennywise and Shattered Faith, Channel 3, Electric Frankenstien, DRI, Legal Weapon, Rikk Agnew and D.I. those were nothing short of great…and I would love to play with them again. Now we get to play with Rancid, OFF!, the Adicts, GBH and a bunch more.

So, going forward, hmm, perhaps Jello and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, The Damned, Saccharine Trust, Iggy Pop, The Adolescents. The Subhumans. Going back, the Doors.

David: I am going to enjoy opening/playing on same bill as RANCID, when I saw them play back in the early 90s (93) “Lets Go” tour at the Hollywood Paladium. that show changed my life.

Guillermo: Circle Jerks. Cream. Oh, and Woodstock (all of the bands!)

Ryan: The Subhumans, again. I toured with them in my old band in 2016. My favorite band growing up, and still today.

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Mel: Sure: Let’s rock this. Let have fun, and make sure to see all the bands. Don’t forget to take the time to check out Arts Not Dead and Punks Well Read; some true punk rock heroes will be displaying the photographs and art, and signing books that show who we are. Remember, these experiences we have today, will be music history some day. Let’s make some memories, discover new bands and rock out with the ones we all know!

David: I would advise all the punk rockers to hydrate/drink lots of water. it’s going to be a long hot day. have fun & be safe, help your fellow punk rockers that need help. Lets do this “It’s Not Dead festival” again next year.

Guillermo: No speeches! (that’s for my singer)

Ryan: Best get to the show early…take advantage of the opportunity to see all these great bands.

Unit F on Facebook

A Wilhelm Scream

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
My name is Nicholas Pasquale Angelini. I play the drums. Whale Cock Massachusetts.

What are you looking forward to the most about the It’s Not Dead Festival?
The chicken nugget eating contest. I think Justin Bieber has a really good chance this year.

What could one expect from your live show at the It’s Not Dead Festival?
One could expect a paintball match between a kangaroo a hippopotamus but that probably will not happen.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Stain glass baby fight. It was inspired by a dream my cat had in 2007.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Salt Water Milkshake and Luis the god guy owes me 5 bucks. I don’t remember the inspiration. Wait a minute, these songs don’t exist. Yet.

Any strange or unusual happening in the past while out on the road or at a show?
There was that thing with the hairless cat and Britney Spears. Never mind, that is too personal.

What is favorite punk rock record of all time and why?
My record player is broken, but that Faith No More VHS was pretty Bitchin’

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Could we maybe play after the monster truck jam, and before the season opener for the Boston Celtics next year?

Do you have any messages for It’s Not Dead Festival attendees this year?
Remember to bring a life jacket. You never know when you might get a free boat ride. Thanks!

A Wilhelm Scream on Facebook

Part 1 of our Countdown To It’s Not Festival 2 coverage may be viewed here with six other bands including  The Adicts, Buck-O-Nine, The Casualties, Channel 3, Good Riddance, and Love Canal!

Be sure to check out It’s Not Dead 2 at the Glen Helen Festival Grounds in San Bernardino on August 26th!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

It’s Not Dead 2 Official HOME PAGE

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