Mike Molnar sent us an interview he did with Russ Rankin of Good Riddance and Only Crime. Russ talks a bit about the state of Good Riddance and the future for Only Crime, which includes Aaron Dalbec (Bane/Converge), Zach and Doni Blair (Hagfish/Gwar), and Bill Stevenson (Black Flag/Descendents.)
Only Crime is a five-piece band that formed following a Good Riddance/Bane tour in 2002. The band has a sound that seems kind of reminiscent of vintage Good Riddance, with some darker elements. The guitar work is excellent and the vocals are very strong. The band consists of members of Good Riddance, Bane, Converge, the Descendents, Black Flag and others. Only Crime was signed to Fat Wreck Chords earlier this year, and since then have released their debut album, To the Nines.
Recently I contacted Russ Rankin, singer of Only Crime and Good Riddanceand he was more than willing to talk and responded to my questions.
My first couple questions are about Good Riddance. You’re still in the band, right?
Yes, last time I checked.
It seems that Good Riddance has been pretty quiet in the past couple years in terms of touring. What were the reasons for this?
For April and May we went to Europe and then, in June we toured Australia and New Zealand, so we haven't exactly been quiet. But we have slowed down considerably from our pace over the last decade or so. Chuck is a father, Luke is back in school full-time and David is playing in two other bands. All the others are married and real, real busy.
When did you decide that you wanted to start another band apart from Good Riddance?
I’d been thinking about it for a while but the catalyst was when I started hanging out with Aaron during a Good Riddance/Bane tour in the summer of 2002.
What were your reasons for doing so?
I wanted to keep touring - it was clear that, with everything going on in the Good Riddance camp, we weren't going to be touring much. Plus I wanted to see what it would be like to play with some different people.
How did the members of Only Crime get together and decide to start the band?
Me and Aaron hatched it that summer - I called Zach and he was on board then, after searching for a drummer for months, Bill found out what I was up to and signed on.
For someone who isn’t familiar with you, could you describe Only Crime’s sound?
Heavy, and dark with strong melodies but no pop songs; heavy but no metal. Kind of like Black Flag, or maybe [Black] Sabbath. Destruction.
How do you feel your experiences with Good Riddance have helped with Only Crime?
Well I just hope I am able to apply what I’ve learned over the years in Good Riddance to this band. I’ve made a lot of mistakes which I’d rather not repeat.
When you played your first show with Only Crime did it seem kinda weird/different to not be with Chuck, Luke and the guys from Good Riddance?
Yeah it was definitely a trip. We clicked real fast though - it wasn’t as odd as I thought it would be.
How long did you spend writing the songs and then recording To The Nines?
Overall about 8 months of meeting up periodically - we all live in different states- and writing, rehearsing and recording demos.
How do you feel about the album?
I think it's a pretty good start. We are already resigned to blowing it away with our next one.
How would you compare it to your work with Good Riddance?
It’s a bit heavier… I took a different lyrical approach and then there's the players - I mean, it's not fair to compare the two.
You guys just finished a tour with Bane. How did that go for you?
Good - we are getting more and more comfortable with each other on stage. The shows have been a lot of fun.
You are also playing a bunch of dates with the Warped Tour in August. Are you excited to get back there?
Totally… we hope it will give us the chance to play in front of all kinds of different people.
What is the best/worst things about playing with the Warped Tour?
How corporate and lame and safe it is… I don't really like that part of it. The cool thing is catching up with old friends in bands you don’t get to see very much and to meet/see new bands that are cool.
How do you feel about touring after doing it for so many years?
It’s my life. I feel at home out here - it's kinda scary actually!
How do you feel about the current state of the punk scene?
Oh god - you really don't want to get me started… I like The Break; they’re a good band.
How do you feel about the current state of America and George Bush and the election and everything?
I am not a fan of the current administration. I will be voting for someone else in November. We need to get out of Iraq, we need to make health care a right instead of a privilege and we need to get rid of NAFTA.
Are you still a vegan? What is the hardest part about being a vegan?
Still vegan. It’s actually not that hard - especially now… times are changing and it's becoming more and more common to live this way.
What are your plans for the future? With Only Crime? With Good Riddance?
Only Crime is looking to line up a North American tour in the fall supporting a bigger band. Good Riddance has no plans as of right now.
Any final thoughts or comments?
Check out the Green Party of the United States…