weekly updated blog for Oi! – punk – ska – reggae
The american Oi! The Boat records recently released the debute EP by the Old Firm Casuals, a new project by Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen. In just a short time the band earned theirselves a good reputation. New releases and some live dates in Europe are already scheduled. Questions were answered by Lars (guitar & vocals).
May 2011 – band website
When I listen to the 7″ I hear influences by both the Last Resort and Anti Heroes. Are these your main source of inspiration?
You sort of nailed it on the head with those two bands in a way. It’s no secret that the Last Resort is one of my all time favorite bands as are the Anti-heroes. I had the opportunity to produce a record for the Anti-heroes some years back and it was a blast to be able to hang out and make music with them. There are a few other bands that i think have made a mark on us as an influence as well. Bands Like The Business, Agnostic Front, Iron Cross, Evil Conduct, The Oppressed, Pressure Point, Booze & Glory, Noi!ze, Control, Argy Bargy, Stomper 98 among others.
With Rancid you recorded some Oi!-covers like Someone’s Gonna Die and If The Kids Are United, maybe it’s a question of taste, but honestly they never convinced me very much. Yet the 7″ by the Old Firm Casuals sounds very impressive. What’s the difference in approach in between both bands?
I just realized Rancid recorded ‘Someone’s Gonna Die’ 18 or 19 years ago and if i remember correctly we wanted to approach it in our own style. I think when you approach a cover song in this case with us we just wanted to do something different with it. Rancid is four different guys from the same backgrounds with both similar and different influences. We all like different stuff and i think that’s what makes Rancid Rancid. I’m sure you can read what I’m about to say anywhere but the bands i grew up on where bands like Blitz, Angelic Upstarts, Last Resort, GBH, Cock Sparrer, Discharge, Exploited, Cockney Rejects, 4-skins, The Business, Sham 69 etc. It was only natural for us to cover songs from bands like Sham 69 and Blitz. As regarding the Sham 69 song we did it with the same approach. We try to put our own spin on it.
With OFC the obvious difference is the members although we approach it in the same way. It’s a band effort on the songs as well as the lyrics. We just love this style of music. It’s personally been a part of my life for 30 years and i have always thought that anything that i have brought to the table musically with Rancid, The Bastards or OFC is a reflection of that.
You know Oi!-music has a very bad reputation with the usual stories about violence, hooliganism and also racism. Don’t you think it will have any negative influence on Rancid?
As far as a negative influence on Rancid the answer is No. It’s not like the whole Oi! topic is something new for me personally or Rancid as a band. All you really gotta do is take a look over the 20 or so years of interviews i have personally done. I have been talking about streetpunk & Oi! music for as long as i have been doing interviews for Rancid, Bastards or whomever. I took a lot of hits because of that doing so early on, like in 1993-1994 because sometimes people doing the interview would be like WHAT!!! That stuff is racist or whatever. I defended it and would say for example how are the Angelic Upstarts racist?? Or how are The Oppressed racist?? The interviewers opinions have changed as the times have gone on in some ways.
Unless i completely missed the boat on this I always thought that the whole Oi! movement was the unification of the skinhead and punk scenes. I have come to find out allot of the original bands and people who where there felt the same, but other people in the media might have a different opinion. I used to do a column in a magazine called Loud, Fast, Rules where i had an Oi! column about 6 or 7 years ago. i interviewed Roi Pearce (The Last Resort), Steve Whale (The Business), The Cockney Rejects & Garry Bushell, Cock Sparrer etc and they all had the same opinion about punks & skins and the Oi! movement.
My brother (R.I.P) was a skinhead in 80-81 and brought home the reggae and Oi! music that I love along with the Ramones. He hung around punks and from what i gathered at 11 years old was punk & skin where somewhat connected and the same. I still feel that way. Always have always will. Also if we where concerned we wouldn’t have written Rancid songs like ‘The ballad of Jimmy and Johnny’ back in 1994 which is about 2 skinhead friends of ours and we mention the Last Resort in the lyrics. We probably wouldn’t have yelled Oi! Oi! Oi! in Avenues & Alleyways which is on ‘..and out come the wolves’. We probably wouldn’t have wrote ‘Hooligans’ which had guest appearances by Neville Staple and Roddy Radiation from The Specials which is on ‘Life won’t wait’. The list could go on and on.
I think if anyone has ever picked up a magazine with an interview of ours, A record, or has been to a show over the last 20 years they know where we stand politically and what we have done.
You released your debute 7” through Oi! The Boat records. I was surprised by that as I think with your name you could have easely sign on bigger labels such as for example Hell Cat. So why you choose for a relatively small label?
I’m a record collector still to this day. I wanna hear all the new streetpunk & Oi! bands that are happening. I love vinyl and i believe in paying for the music i get, but sometimes it’s hard to find bands in the local record shop so i go online. One of those places i would frequent to buy online is Oi! The Boat Records. I bought a Perkele 7inch and the Templars/Crashed Out split if i remember correctly from them a while ago. Well along with the records came a really cool note from Max & Joe. They figured out who i was and basically said thanx for all the music that my bands have made over the years and if i ever wanted to do a 7inch they would love to do it.
Roughly at the same time OFC where planning on going in to make a 7inch of the 4 songs we had at that time (which became the 7 inch they released) and i sent Max & Joe an email saying i would like to talk to them on the phone. I told Casey and Paul to check them out online and both of them had heard or knew about Oi! The Boat. Paul and Casey thought they were rad so i went for it. I called them up told them my idea and asked if that would be something they would be interested in. They were and i am very thankful for that.
What Max and Joe are doing is right up our alley and they have the same passion about the music and the scene in general. They do it themselves like i have been doing in the time i have been playing music and it seemed like a perfect fit which it is. This record could never have come out on any other label in the world other than Oi! the boat records. Max & Joe are some of the most honest solid motherfuckers i have ever had the pleasure to deal with ever. They are the perfect home for us. They sacrifice and work harder than i think people will ever know. We love them.
Both the name of the band as well as the logo refers to football culture. What’s your connection with football as it has a different status in USA than in Europe?
Actually the band name honestly has little to do with that. The Old Firm was the original name. I thought of the name in homage to my D.M.S family that i have been proud to be a part of for 15 plus years. D.M.S has been around since 1986 and stood for Doc Marten Skins when it was started. The name the Old Firm name reminded me of the We Are The Firm Cockney Rejects song as well and since D.M.S had been around, so long it made perfect sense to me. Also I wanted a cool name and it seemed to fit.
When i did a little more research i found like three other Old Firm Bands and i didn’t want to be confused with them. So i called up Casey and said we need another name after the Old Firm and we came up with casuals. Casey and Paul looked like some Casuals i know in the U.K. that i have met through my travels at games over there, but Casual also means something different to us on the West coast. It’s another term for “hanging around” if you know what i mean. So the name was born like that.
As far as the logo i’m not sure what your talking about. A lot of the stuff out there thats flothat’s in cyberspace and on youtube was made by someone else that we dont know. The logo at the top of the record was done by my friend nick who owns SKUNX tattoo in london. The artwork on the insert was made by a tattooer named Danny Boy Smith who way back was in a skinhead crew called the Centurions from Santa Cruz. I have known him 25 years since we where skinheads in the 80’s together. and finally IT’S JUST A FUCKING BAND NAME!! nothing more nothing less.
Some guy asked me one time if i called the Bastards ‘The Bastards’ because the rest of the band was born outta wedlock hahahahaha.
As far as my connection to soccer/football, Well my grandfather was a goalie for his towns team in Denmark’s league before world war 2 and continued to play after the war ended. When my mom,brother and I lived in Denmark in the 70’s for 6 months while my parents divorce was settled, my grandfather taught us the game. My brother supported West Ham until the day he died and we would watch all of the english, german, italian and mexican soccer/football highlights on tv (although we would have to be up at 4:30 in the morning on sunday to do so). We also had the San Jose Earthquakes in the 70’s and i got a chance to meet George Best which i was stoked about. We recently got them back in the U.S league called the MLS. I hold a season ticket for the San Jose games.
On the internet there’s some discussion on the Old Firm Casuals, people think it’s strange that a band from San Francisco presents their selves as Millwall fanatics. What’s your comment on that and how does a punk guy in California becomes a Millwall supporter?
First of all: Our band is not made up of just Millwall fans. Our bass player Casey Is a full on West Ham supporter, he watches every game etc. Paul i dont even think even has a team he likes but i know he likes the game. I am in fact the sole Millwall fan and proud to be. People we don’t know have put things up on the internet with the Millwall Lion and our name probably because they know i support the team. They also know about my brotherhood with Roi Pearce from The Last Resort. He was the one who took me down there in the first place and introduced me to all the others and shared his passion for the team with me. Thats how a guy from CAMPBELL CALIFORNIA became a millwall supporter. I will always be indebted to him for that. The teams slogan is “NO ONE LIKES US WE DON’T CARE” and thats punk as fuck.
You are planning a split 7″ with the Last Resort. That must be very exciting as they are one of the founders of Oi!-Music…
YES IT IS!! I have known Roi and the boys a long time now and since we share so much in common it was an easy decision. The Last Resort have inspired me so much over the years and now to be doing a record with them I’m truly honored as are Paul and Casey. We basically just finalized the artwork today and it should be out in the summer right before we do about 5 shows with them in the UK. One of the highlights in my life was when Rancid played with them a few years back in London. They are a great live band and their songs are amazing! Their newest record is so fucking good and will be a staple in my record collection for life!
In just a very short time you there’s a 7″ by the band and two new releases upcoming, you do some gigs in the USA and you’re also planning some gigs in Europe in july. So what’s the status of the OFC, is it a hobby project or do you have any bigger ambitions with it?
Yes, we have the split coming out on Oi! the boat and then another 7 inch coming out on a label called Randale records. As far as the touring all thats planned is some shows around here and then off to a UK tour. After we finnish the UK tour we are doing some shows on the east coast and work our way back west with the last show ending in Chicago. Nothing i ever do musically is a hobby. Music is my life and this music in particular has been my life for a long time. As far as what the band will do we are just having fun and enjoying creating music together. Who knows about the future with it to be honest.
For many, many years England – and Germany also more and more – has always been the most important country when it comes to Oi!-music. But the last few years there’re more and more good quality Oi!-bands from the USA. Of course most people are familair with bands like The Templars or Thoughskins, but last years there were some very impressive releases by bands such as Noi!se, Harrington Saints, et cetera. Is Oi!-music growing in the USA?
It’s always been here and grown here year by year. I don’t think streetpunk & Oi! music will never not be here in the USA. The Templars and the Toughskins are the kings no question. Both those bands are amazing! We are actually doing some gigs with the Toughskins real soon. Noi!se are good friends and a great band and your right, they write great songs and they are very impressive! Harrington Saints have been around a while and continually put out better and better stuff. I honestly think they are the best band from the San Francisco Bay area and they are really cool people as well. there are a few other local bands from here that are really really good as well. bands like Hounds & Harlots and the Sydney Ducks.
You’re playing in London soon. You know most people these days are into West Ham United? 😉
Hahahahaha. Yes, i know a lot of them.
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