Summer fun, family holidays, and punk rock: Yes, it’s Warped Tour time again. To celebrate this punk institution, this week brings a set of tracks by bands who’ll be hitting your town when Warped comes around.
L.A. punk trailblazers Bad Religion are Warped veterans; they headlined the tour back in 1998 and are returning this year. Lead singer Greg Graffin is well known as one of the smartest guys in punk rock, having taught evolutionary history and gotten a Ph.D. over his time with the band. Earlier this year he spent time at one of our neighboring watering holes, Harvard University, where he received the Rushdie Award for Cultural Humanism. First released in 1990, “21st Century (Digital Boy)” proved the band wasn’t just brainy and subversive: When the spirit hit they were also catchy as hell.
Hailing from Florida, A Day to Remember shows what would happen if a band crossed big hooks in a blink-182 vein with more extreme hardcore tempos and guitars. The group got a buzz last year from covering a Kelly Clarkson song, but we’ve opted for one of their originals, “The Downfall of Us All.” The band’s stated career goal is to “play to as many kids as possible,” so you can help them live their dream just by showing up.
More exotic tastes will warm to Chiodos, whose sound is a unique mix of emo, cabaret, punk and good old arena rock; their goal is to give fans something they can’t hear elsewhere. The band also loves its literary references: The name of the album which spawned our featured track, Bone Palace Ballet, was borrowed from Charles Bukowski. More than half the song titles on the album (including our choice, “I Didn’t Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was a Wizard”) are complete sentences!
Whatever your preconceptions about Christian rock, you can pretty much forget them when it comes to Underoath: “Reinventing Your Exit” is screaming, hard-hitting punk that happens to have a positive message. We don’t know if it was their faith or their rockability that rewarded them with a Number Two chart album in 2006— it’s probably safe to say that neither one hurt. Underoath are also Warped veterans; they even lost original singer Dallas Taylor (to a metalcore band) in the middle of the tour during 2003.
That’s nothing compared to the hard times endured by Escape the Fate, whose original lead singer went to jail between their two albums, and proceeded to have an online feud with his former bandmates. The band persevered with new singer Craig Mabbitt, and “The Flood” was released last September in a creative publicity move: Their website stated that the song would be available as a download as soon as 50,000 people at once visited their page—It took 40 hours, but it happened. Now you can play the track even if nobody else shows up.