Favorite Songs: 11th Hour, Life Won’t Wait, Bloodclot, Axiom, Daly City Train, Rejected, 1998, Let Me Go, Nihilism
Favorite Lyrics: “Do you know where the power lies, and who pulls the strings? It starts and ends with you”
Seen Them Live: No. I could have in 2003, but I chose not to.
Ramblings: In many ways, Rancid’s career surpassed even that of Operation Ivy, and that’s saying a whole fucking lot. Out of the ashes of Op Ivy and Tim Armstrong’s depression came this new, loud driving punk band from the bay. If Op Ivy was the spark of ska-punk, Rancid was the machine that brought loud and meaningful punk rock to the whole world. ….And Out Come The Wolves sold platinum on an independent label without any kind of press, just because it’s that good. It was one of the first albums I bought, and it totally shifted my perspective on everything. I thought the reggae-inspired follow up Life Won’t Wait was even better, and Rancid 5 showed that they were as hardcore, brutal and inspired as they’d ever been in their entire career. Then….
It was a fateful day in 2003, and I was a young high school student whose life was already changed forever by Rancid. I saw that they’d released a new video for their new album, Indestructible. I could hardly contain my excitement. I watched the video for Fall Back Down….and….I wanted TO DIE. It wasn’t just mediocre, it was a steaming pile of shit. This was glorified pop country music. Tim and Lars were doing the most forced, lame motions I’d ever seen. Matt Freeman, one of the greatest bass players of all time, looked like he was trying so hard to play a bass line that I could play myself. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were members of Good Charlotte in the video, as well as Kelly Osbourne. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I listened to the whole album and almost every song was just as terrible! I thought I wasn’t being fair so I gave it a few more listens, but I had to stop because my ears were in pain. This wasn’t punk rock. It was pop, and I didn’t buy that any of it was genuine. It was official. Rancid had sold out.
I hate to throw around the word “sold out”, because it’s used in such a wrong context to demean art 90% of the time. But this time it was true. They switched distribution from Epitaph records to the mighty Warner Brothers. To put the nail in their corporate coffin, Tim sold a song from his other band, the Transplants, to be used in a shampoo commercial. Now every time I use Garnier Fructis for my luscious hair, I think of how much of a sellout Tim Armstrong is.
I could’ve seen them in 2003 with Tiger Army, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let myself pay money for this. I hated them. Every time I listened to Fall Back Down, I wanted to punch something. If Rancid had called it quits after Rancid 5, they really would’ve been one of the greatest of all time. Instead, Tim Armstrong sold their punk rock legacy for Kelly Osbourne and luscious sweet-smelling hair. Fuck you, Tim. You ruined my punk rock upbringing forever. Hope it was worth it, asshole.