I caught up with The Casualties on their latest touring-run. Their eighth stop… Los Angeles. The band’s new album “We Are All We Have,” has just been released on Side One Dummy Records, and it’s easily their most aggressive album to date. Prior to their sold out show, their bassist Rick Lopez spoke to me over the phone about the new CD, and their upcoming tours.
NP: How, when, and why did you form?
Rick: For the love of punk rock music, because there wasn’t any at the time. It was all for the music; we formed in the 90s and have been playing strong ever since.
NP: How does it feel to play back in the U.S. and how is the current tour going?
Rick: The current tour is going great! We just released the new record, and this tour is to support that record. We’re out on the West Coast right now, and we’re about to play L.A. tonight – one of our favorite cities to play.
We’ve been having huge turn outs, having kids who are into the punk scene and punk music come out, having lots of energy. After this tour, we’re going be heading out to Japan next month and then South American in December, pretty much hitting the road non-stop.
NP: “We Are All We Have,” came out this past Tuesday have you gotten all the partying out of the way?
Rick: Well, the partying is part of the tour, and it’s something we do – it’s why it’s there. We don’t want to get up on stage and look like retarded drunks. We want to make sure we play good, go out and have fun and have a couple laughs when people come to a show. We want to make sure that all of our attention is focused not only on us, but the audience as well. We don’t want to suck on stage, so when we drink and party, we save it for afterward, because when we do play we want to make sure we don’t totally suck!
NP: What are a majority of your songs about? Is there an underlying theme?
Rick: We don’t have an agenda on what we write about we just write about what’s currently going on around us and the world. What we’ve seen or heard about. Sometimes we have political themes to our music, like our previous albums, but this one not as much. Basically, whatever is the most importance to us is what we like to discuss musically.
NP: What are your immediate music career goals?
Rick: Just make the best records we can make, and do a lot of touring, and make sure people like our music and have a good time. Doing what we like to do as long as we can. Making sure the music we make is what we want to do. Not writing songs on topics that aren’t our thing, what’s important to us and what we like doing.
NP: What can you say about your secret show on September 27 out at the Cobalt Cafe?
Rick: Oh yes, we’re doing a secret show in L.A. before we head out to Japan the following day.
NP: What is one of the toughest interview questions you’ve been asked?
Rick: “What does punk mean to you?” I just hate answering that. It’s not something that you can really describe and what it means to you. I know the answer, I just can’t put it into words. I sit down and think about it, but just don’t know what it really means. It’s one of those questions you just can’t answer.
NP: Out of all the shows you have played, on this tour – is there one that stands out as a favorite?
Rick: L.A. is one of our favorite places to play – the Key Club is a smaller venue to play and normally always packed, which is good, so I’m really looking forward to playing it.
NP: Who are some of your favorite bands you’ve shared the stage with? Can you name some of the bigger bands that you’ve played with if any?
Rick: Yeah, one of the bigger bands we’ve played with was Bad Religion; really cool guys, and we pretty much followed them growing up, so having the chance to talk to them about music was awesome. Circle Jerks, a favorite of mine, was another really cool experience for me. To be able to hang out and talk with those guys about music was great. As of right now, we’re touring with a band called the Krum Bums they’re an up-and-coming band from Austin, Texas, and those guys are great.
NP: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you able to overcome it?
Rick: I really think the biggest challenge is all the people within the world talking down on us and talking crap. Saying things such as “You guys can’t play music” this and that situations, you then worry about what other people will say either online or in person. So you wonder how many of those people will be talking crap. It’s a real challenge from all angles.
NP: What advice do you have for fans who want to start their own bands?
Rick: It’s a lot of hard work and you should definitely do it, no matter how hard you try, don’t listen to what other people say – do what you want to do. Screw what everybody else has to say just go out and play and do what you love to do.
NP: What should people know about you? What sets you apart?
Rick: I think what sets us apart is that we’re hardcore and more louder, and that’s what I like! We have our own uniqueness, and I’m like that as a person, and all of us in this band are too. We do what we really feel we should do. When you see us playing, we’re not doing this for a paycheck, we’re doing this because it’s what we love to do, and that’s what sets us totally apart from everyone else.
NP: Thanks for doing the interview, anything you’d like to add?
Rick: Our new record is out now and we’re touring on it, so come check out a show pick up a record and come check out The Casualties.