If you are an Off With Their Heads fan, a listener of the Anxious & Angry podcast, or both, you know just how much the bandâ€™s lead vocalist and guitarist Ryan Young has gone through. He was in a dark place and turned it all around in the past two years.
Not only does he do a weekly podcast where he and a guest give advice to people who call or e-mail him, but he also moved from Los Angeles, California to Dixon, Illinois, he and a friend rode their bikes from Minnesota to Colorado to raise awareness for mental health issues, he introduced PEARS to the world and put out Go To Prison on vinyl, he has his own online record and t-shirt store, and he now has his own shirt printing shop called 4th Shift Printing.
As if that wasnâ€™t enough he has been working on not one, but two Off With Their Heads records as well as touring a fair amount (including playing Punk Rock Bowling later this year). With all of these different ventures and all of these changes going on in his life, news editor Ricky Frankel talked to Ryan to ask him about all of his endeavors and to see how heâ€™s been doing since starting a podcast that really seems to be resonating within the punk scene.
Iâ€™d say that you have had quite the turnaround in the passed two years or so. What was the hardest part about getting to where you are today? Compared to the earlier episodes of the Anxious & Angry podcast you seem to be in a much better place and seem to have a better outlook. Yeah man that is definitely true. Iâ€™m still a maniac, but I think it shows through [the podcast]. As opposed to before you would get to hear me through interviews or on stage. So those are two times where I tend to put that â€œhappy faceâ€ on or pretend everything is fine. So you never really got to see the gnarly side, but through the podcast itâ€™s kind of like a week-by-week thing. And youâ€™re right, there were some times, like I was recovering from a lot of shit actually -- mental shit, drug stuff. What Iâ€™m trying to say is the podcast made me deal with shit every week and also talk to all these people. It basically became my therapy to kind of share all this shit with everyone else. And then it turns out all these people go through this shit and then all these listeners go through this shit, too. Itâ€™s kind of crazy. Itâ€™s awesome. It was like an accidental thing that it turned into something that helped me just as much. But yeah, things are a little better. I just kind of learned how to take hold of shit a little bit more instead of just going and getting blacked out on something.
How did you and Stacey Dee (of Bad Cop/Bad Cop) become roommates when you were living in Los Angeles? That was literally just a Facebook post. She put it up the same day I was like, â€œFuck, I gotta find somethingâ€ because I got kicked out of my place and in order to fix this relationship I had to go live in Los Angeles again. So I was just like scrambling around and someone [showed] me her Facebook post and then she was just like, â€œSure, itâ€™s youâ€ because she just didnâ€™t want to deal with a new roommate. Pretty much from day one she and I became best friends. It was real weird and bizarre. And then it turns out she wound up being into doing the podcast with me. Sheâ€™s a great person. She went through her own shit, too and is now like a sober person and stopped taking all of the medicine that fucked her up and she thanks me for all the help with that and Iâ€™m like, â€œI didnâ€™t do anything, but hey, youâ€™re welcome.â€
Actually, I was just at a Dwarves show and she sang â€œSluts Of The USAâ€ with them and she looked like she was in great spirits, too. Yeah, she just looks different now, too. She just seems better. That is funny she is so heavily involved with The Dwarves. Itâ€™s awesome. Donâ€™t get me wrong.
Itâ€™s very cool that she is. What was interesting at the time though was that you two had just become roommates and then Bad Cop/Bad Cop got signed to Fat Wreck Chords. The timing is just very interesting. Yeah, it was like right around that time. It was just bizarre. It was cool to have two people that were just trying to work on music in the same house. Basically, she lives in a house with another guy named Will and everyone there was a musician. I havenâ€™t lived in a punk-type house or anything like that in years and it was awesome to get back to that in your 30s, you know what I mean? So it was really good for me. I missed it, man. I love that kind of lifestyle. That was more tame than some of things we did in Minneapolis, but also good. It was just a really, really good thing that made us all form life-long friendships, just like you do when you live in punk house.
PEARSâ€¦holy shit man! I did the review of Go To Prison and I absolutely love that band. Damn it man, you hit it out of the park with themâ€¦ Didnâ€™t you and I run into each other outside of The Redwood once at their show there?
I was about to say that! Yeah, and you had said something about PEARS and I was like, â€œAh, sweet!â€
Well, yeah man theyâ€™re one of my favorites now. But I was wondering at the time, did you expect PEARS to take off this quickly? Did you play any part in helping them actually getting signed to Fat Wreck Chords? Yes. Yes, I did. Basically what I said was, â€œOk, I have essentially done all that I can do for you guys. What is your dream label? And letâ€™s try and make that happen.â€ And both Brian [Pretus] and Zach [Quinn] both just said, â€œYou know it would be so cool to be on Fat.â€ And I was like, â€œStop talking about it like its unattainable. Everythingâ€™s attainable.â€ And then I had sent the record to Fat right when I got it -- right when I put it up and they all liked it. I just kept hounding them a little bit so PEARS didnâ€™t have to because they didnâ€™t know anyone there. They were just nervous kids when it comes to shit like that. Theyâ€™re just getting used meeting their childhood idles and stuff like that, which they really, really have been going nuts with. You know, Fat Mike fuckinâ€™ hates everything and I canâ€™t remember exactly what he said but it was something like, â€œYeah, I listened to two songs. I love it.â€ It was great, dude. But then I got Mike to call Brian and they talked and Brian was just fucking giddy and happy. It seemed like a good fit for that band in particular because they remind of a more hardcore version of a lot of that shit in the â€˜90s. Theyâ€™re so happy. They love everyone there and Fat loves working with them because they are very excited about what theyâ€™re doing. And its so fucking rad to see them love what they are doing and also to see them sort of get burned out because thatâ€™s totally happening, too. I still do stuff with them weekly. They call me and ask for advice. I try to get them to avoid the mistakes that I made to save them a lot of headaches. I think theyâ€™re going to do it. Iâ€™m excited for their new record. Itâ€™ll be pretty cool.
Yeah, Iâ€™m really stoked for it, too. When you saw them perform for the first time, what made you think, â€œThatâ€™s the band I need to invest in or take a gamble on,â€ and how did you know that it would pay off? Well that wasnâ€™t at all what I had thought when I saw them because I believe I had just started the podcast maybe, or maybe I was going to. I canâ€™t remember. But I was in the back room of this place when they were playing and they played about two songs and I was like. â€œWait, what the fuck is going on out there?â€ And I went out and saw this shirtless, little muscular, scrawny dude just flailing around on stage and I was like, â€œOh! These guys can actually play.â€ And then they just busted into this heavy shit and they were just diverse and weird. Then they played a fuckinâ€™ Ramones cover and I was like, â€œWhat the fuck?â€ and then I walked up to Brian after the show and I was just like, â€œWhat the fuck was that?â€ and he goes, â€œShit!…â€ He thought I was mad at him. I was like, â€œNo man, that was great! You guys need to continue doing this. How many times have you guys played?â€ And he said, â€œNah, this was our first show we just got together to open for you guys. Thatâ€™s why we played that Ramones cover.â€ Because they only had like nine original songs, which apparently they wrote in like two weeks. So apparently Go To Prison was written in two weeks just for that show and like â€œAh! Crazy!â€
Yeah, I donâ€™t know if you read Fat Wreck Chordsâ€™ description of Green Star, but I got so envious because in it Zach says something like they had just thrown Go To Prison together in a little bit like it wasnâ€™t that big of a deal. I was like, â€œAre you kidding?! Thatâ€™s insane!â€ Itâ€™s ridiculous. Yeah, itâ€™s weird how they did that. Have you heard their new record?
No, I havenâ€™t. Ok, I have. They gave it to me a while ago. It shows they have definitely spent more time on it. Itâ€™s less punk sounding and more hardcore-tech sounding with their little pop sensibilities and its good. Itâ€™s something they thought about and in parts I can definitely tell they thought about too much, but who is to say thatâ€™s a bad thing? But anyway, so then Brian wrote that he was a fan of the podcast and just kind of kept in touch and then he sent me [Go To Prison] and I listened to it and they put out the CDs first and I listened to it and then I played it for my girlfriend Ranae and I was like, â€œI think this is a dumb idea, but I want to release a record for this band.â€ I didnâ€™t really want Anxious & Angry to be a label or anything, but I think that this band has a lot of potential to just kind be something everyone would appreciate and with just a CD release these days -- thereâ€™s something about a vinyl release really makes a band valid to me. Theyâ€™re like, serious about their music, you know what I mean? Iâ€™m old so when someone just puts something on Bandcamp itâ€™s not to say its not good, itâ€™s just very disposable. So its sort of an experiment for me to be like, â€œOk, fuck it. Iâ€™m going to dump my money that I donâ€™t really have into this" and then went through it pressings later and here they are now.
So since that worked out so well do you plan on taking another unknown band under your wing and releasing their material through Anxious & Angry or was that a one-time thing? I definitely want to. Itâ€™s kind of a matter of just being able to be in the place where I can afford it. Itâ€™s expensive, you know what I mean? And my tastes are so weird where like there was my punk band, there was my hardcore band, who else is going to tour around? I hate when people say -- sometimes people say to me when it comes to PEARS like, â€œYou helped them out so much.â€ Not really. Sure I might have given them a little boost, but they busted their asses. They went around and toured like a god damn punk band should. So to find another band that wants to do that is fairly rare. I donâ€™t know. Maybe not. I do continue to release things. I do those flexis. The next release I have is actually coming out on March 14th or something -- Morning Glory is releasing a record called Post War Psalms.
Wait a minute! I know about that! Holy shit! Youâ€™re doing that?! Yup! Chris, their bass player started a label and he was like, â€œHey man, can you help me? I donâ€™t know how to do this.â€ I was like, â€œIâ€™ll go further, how about we co-release this together?â€ So Buyback Records and Anxious & Angry are going to release Post War Psalms, which is six songs that did not make the cut for the War Psalms record that was released on Fat. Now when I listened to that record immediately I was like, â€œHoly shit! These are the ones that didnâ€™t get on the record?! Because I love it. Fuckinâ€™ great man!â€ So that the next band. I mean they already have so much opportunity, but I feel like [War Psalms] went over people's heads and thatâ€™s a bummer because I think that is one of the best bands going right now. I love them. Itâ€™s just great to be able to like put out another record that I can totally get behind and say, â€œI love this.â€ I want to see them in more peopleâ€™s record players and in more peopleâ€™s headphones because theyâ€™re important. Ezra [Kire] is a fuckinâ€™ genius songwriter and I really, really am excited about that -- so is Ranae. Weâ€™re both very into this.
You are preaching to the choir. That band is way underrated and I have no idea why people had an issue with War Psalms. I thought it was brilliant, too. And I want to get to the Ezra episode of the podcast later on, but that is such good news! So now that so many Off With Their Heads fans know and associate the podcast with the band, do you find that fans start opening up to you about their issues before or after shows? Well the thing that is kind of cool about that is the reason I started the podcast was so people would do that at shows and I was just like, â€œWell shit, Iâ€™m fuckinâ€™ five shots in right now man, I donâ€™t want to give you the worst advice ever. At least let me have five shots and be able to think about it with someone else. So that was the reason why I did it, and I always tell people, â€œIf you have something, this is not really the time to do it at a show. The time to do it is to write me and then weâ€™ll have a drink or something.â€ I canâ€™t give attention that some of these problems need at a bar, you know what I mean? So I just feel like Iâ€™m selling people short with what I can actually help them with if they come up to me and ask. And also Iâ€™m in a state at shows where Iâ€™m basically a fuckinâ€™ caveman. I donâ€™t want to give you life advice when Iâ€™m doing the things I do at shows. But yeah people still do it and Iâ€™m never a dick about it or anything I just say, â€œCan you write me? Hereâ€™s my e-mail.â€
A lot as happened in the year and a half or so you have been doing Anxious & Angry. PEARS exploded in popularity, youâ€™ve talked with some incredible artists, you rode a bicycle from Minnesota to Colorado, and you have opened your own online music/clothing store and 4th Shift Printing -- and now you are working on the next Off With Their Heads record. Compared to where you were not even two years ago, do you think any of this positive life changing experiences will find their space on the new Off With Their Heads album? Thatâ€™s tough to say. I hope so. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s taken me so long to basically get this new record going is because it was always so easy before to just fuckinâ€™ beat that dead horse of what was going on in my head and now itâ€™s just like, â€œWell fuck. I could. It's just time to shift in a different direction with that, but every time I try to write something positive it still sounds negative. Iâ€™ve got something real weird cooking in my head that I canâ€™t quite wrap my head around yet. So Iâ€™m trying to figure out how to voice how thereâ€™s a lot of bad going on in everyoneâ€™s life at times, but thereâ€™s also got to be some way to take a break from that and thatâ€™s been kind of the theme of what Iâ€™m trying to do with this next thing. But yeah, I donâ€™t know. Weâ€™ll see. It could be. I would love to write a happy song and have everyone make fun of me.
Sonically, do you see this next album as where Home left off? Or do you see it breaking away from that record? I think it will still be slightly different, but still aggressive and just more of a mix of everything that I like now because at this point I have never recorded a record with that band that I sat back and been 100 percent cool with and Home was close because it varied a little bit. It had a little bit of -- you know, a couple of those songs are weirder, but I feel like, â€œGod damn it! I wasnâ€™t ready to record this yet.â€ I wasnâ€™t ready and now basically Iâ€™m working on 200 different ideas and Iâ€™m not kidding when I say that. Over the last few years my phone and my notebook and everything are just filled with shit. So its almost a little overwhelming to sit and write songs, but when I was in Minneapolis working on stuff last week, I just sat, started going through it and it started pouring out and I was like, â€œWell ok, that was the best song I have ever written.â€ So Iâ€™m real excited about it to be honest with you.
In the liner notes of From The Bottom thereâ€™s a note below the lyrics for â€œTerrorist Attack?â€ that says, â€œThis song is about the day the 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. I was waiting at Francisâ€™ landlordâ€™s place to make sure shit was all cool with the few people I cared about. We were flipping through all the different news coverage of it and of course Fox News was interviewing people and trying to stir up hysteria about the possibility that it was a terrorists. Fuck them. Thatâ€™s what I wrote a song to explain big news works one note. I canâ€™t explain anything more simply.â€ Do you think that since you are writing the new record during an election season or the fact that the war on terror has changed quite a bit since that album came out that youâ€™ll address those themes again in a different way? That was a very specific thing that happened in my city that I was living in at the time. I donâ€™t know. You what I have been doing though? And I feel like everybody who is reading this should do this as well is like -- you need to read up on whatâ€™s going on in the world. Iâ€™ve been taking a particular interest in ISIS right now. And to understand -- how informed is everyone about what they do? Not very. I mean you basically just get what the news is throwing you. And donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™m not sitting here being like, â€œISIS rules! Theyâ€™re just misunderstood.â€ No, not at all. Theyâ€™re just not understood at all. So I feel like the first thing you need to do when you donâ€™t understand something and you donâ€™t get why someone would do this, is you need to understand why these people do what they do. And that has been insane. I have spent hours and hours reading and watching things and theyâ€™re fucked man. And what they do is created by the United States basically -- like the different people and the different powers. The people that fight ISIS -- the tribal fighters and all the shit in Iraq, theyâ€™re not that great either. So like, if they win its whole new set of problems. Itâ€™s like this fucked up thing and that might be something I would like to touch on is an explanation of -- maybe not specifically that, but about how it would be super beneficial to everyone to be a little bit more informed about something before going on a Facebook tirade about something you have no idea about.
On one of the more recent episodes of the podcast you were talking about doing some acoustic shows, can you give a little more detail as to what those will be? So basically what is, is I am working two records: one is the new Off With Their Heads full-length and the other is an actual acoustic thing of some of the songs that we have done over the years in just an acoustic form. Itâ€™s not like Iâ€™m doing it for any other reason than like, â€œOh well, hereâ€™s another record for people that like the band.â€ Itâ€™s not like a huge undertaking. Weâ€™ll record it in like two days. And we are recording that this month actually. I did all the pre-production stuff for it in Minneapolis as well. But the idea behind that was to just get out of our comfort zone and do something that takes a little bit more skill where we have no skill and thereâ€™s really nothing to fall back on. And John, our guitarist and I want to go around and do just an acoustic tour in very small places -- even like house shows if we can, but also record them and do live Anxious & Angry episodes. To me it would be interesting. I donâ€™t know how it would work, but I think that as with everything I have ever done, like letâ€™s just try it and weâ€™ll figure it out as we go. So thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going to do and weâ€™re going to put out an LP of I believe ten songs that you can only get at these shows. Iâ€™m not going to sell it online. So itâ€™s just something cool to take home as a souvenir for people that want to come out and talk about their shit maybe in front of other people. I donâ€™t know if it will work or not. Weâ€™ll see. But itâ€™ll be interesting. Itâ€™ll be fun. It will give John and I a chance go out and hang out with other folks in a way smaller setting, you know?
I have heard you say on your podcast that you â€œarenâ€™t good at capitalism,â€ what exactly did you mean by that? And now that you arguably have two side businesses, do you really think that is true? Do you think capitalism and punk rock find a middle ground and co-exist in your view? I think that it takes a lot of self-control. Basically everything that I sell on my site, I try to do fairly. Iâ€™m trying to build it up to where its all bands that I either am personally friends with or I love. So those shirts â€“ the reason they are the price that they are, which I believe is like $18, $19 or something is because a huge amount of that money goes to those bands. So Iâ€™m just trying to support them. Basically to do what I do I would prefer to not gouge anybody price-wise and just do more volume. Same thing with my 4th Shift Printing. I do shirts probably cheaper than anyone else does for bands specifically because I think its cool that bands can come to me and be like, â€œHey, I donâ€™t need ton of anything, but I donâ€™t have a ton of money.â€ And Iâ€™ll be like, â€œCool. I got you.â€ Through that I have just met a ton of bands and theyâ€™ll order like twenty shirts and be like, â€œAlright. Under four bucks a shirt,â€ which is like a good deal for them. I wish that when we were starting out we had something like that. So I basically base my business, which will most likely fail because of that, on me as the kid with no money being like, â€œGod damn it. I wish we could go out and hit the road and like do things, but we canâ€™t afford this.â€ Or sometimes Iâ€™ll front bands things and theyâ€™ll just pay me back when they get back from their tour. Iâ€™m trying to do everything and make enough money, like I said, in volume as opposed to doing less. Generally, thatâ€™s how I think capitalism works is you do the least amount of work and make the most amount of profit and mine is do the most amount of work, not necessarily for the least amount of profit, but fairly. I think if everyone was just fair, everyone would be happier and everyone would thrive. So thatâ€™s kind of my goal for the site, the band, and the printing. So weâ€™ll see. I donâ€™t really care either way. Iâ€™ll figure something out.
One of your most common guests on the podcast is your girlfriend Renae. For those reading, is there a secret to dating people within the punk scene? What is your secret for maintaining a healthy relationship like that? Oh my god. If she wouldâ€™ve heard that question she would have smirked, laughed, and walked away from me while I answered that. Sheâ€™s more of a metal head, which is great.
Apparently theyâ€™re nicer. Yeah. Theyâ€™re nerds. Fuckinâ€™ nerds, man. Basically, maintaining a relationship is you need to talk. I think a lot of people are like this, but Iâ€™m definitely like this where you fuckinâ€™ have something that bothers you, and then instead of coming off like a dick you just kind of let it build up and then a hundred of those will build up and then youâ€™re just like, â€œGod damn it. Iâ€™m just fuckinâ€™ straight up unhappy.â€ But if you kind of just vent all that shit regularly in a non dickhead-ish way, youâ€™re going to be in a much better situation down the line. And one of the things that we work with in our relationship personally is that Iâ€™m gone a lot. We lead a very, very different life than most people. You know, people around here in Dixon where weâ€™re living â€“ Dixon, Illinois â€“ they donâ€™t really get that. And whatâ€™s funny is one of her motherâ€™s friends was just like, â€œDonâ€™t you worry he cheats on you?â€ And she just kind of laughed and she was like, â€œNah. Not really.â€ Because she knows that I will always take an extra large pizza and King Of The Hill over any sort of sexual thing. So thatâ€™s just me. Maybe Iâ€™ve fallen into my old, fat guy routine too much. I donâ€™t know. That sort of shit, like conventional relationship stuff has never really worked for almost anyone. You know what me? Especially like now things have changed â€“ like back in the â€˜50s you got married when you were fuckinâ€™ seventeen and like it or not youâ€™re stuck. Thatâ€™s sort of changed over time. Now youâ€™re just bombarded with the possibilities of meeting other people and doing that and like if you let it stress you out and you think that its weird that you are attracted to someone else or anything like that its just going to eat you up. So you got to just be honest with yourself and know where youâ€™re at and keep an open line and thatâ€™s how weâ€™ve maintained this thing for so long. That and donâ€™t do a bunch of heroine and drink beer. Thatâ€™ll distort your thoughts.
Now letâ€™s get to Ezra Kire. Thatâ€™s like one of my favorite episodes because of what happened on there and what he explained and all that stuff. And we talked about this on the Punknews.org Podcast (episode 274) when that episode came out because we posted a story about how he let you play that solo song on your podcast (episode 93). What do you think it is about your line of questioning that gets your musicians to open up so easily? Is it your tone, the atmosphere, etc.? I mean you were able to open up Ezra Kire to the point where he even debuted one of his solo songs on that episode and he seemed like he didnâ€™t even want to put that out. Most of these people Iâ€™m friends with. Not all of them, but usually friends with everyone afterwards. Ezra knows that I am first and foremost a huge fan of him. I think that he is just fuckinâ€™ amazing in the things that he does. Thereâ€™s and element of trust. Iâ€™m not doing this to benefit myself. Iâ€™m doing it expose you. And the coolest thing about exposing someone â€“ and I donâ€™t even mean to an audience, I mean youâ€™re exposing yourself and thatâ€™s what makes what I do sort of interesting. And again, that was sort of unintentional at first. He trusts me just as other guests do to have the best of intentions and be like, â€œMan, youâ€™re going to help someone if you talk about this.â€ And I think we even said that before hand, where I was just like, â€œIs there anything you donâ€™t want to talk about?â€ which I say to everybody. I think even on my latest episode with Natalie from NaÃ¯ve Sense (episode 103), I was just like, â€œIs there anything you donâ€™t want to talk about?â€ and she was just like, â€œWell that depends on what you mean.â€ I was just like, â€œIâ€™m not dumb. Iâ€™m not going to ask stupid questions.â€ I guess the short answer to that is that these people definitely trust me to not be stupid about it and not exploit things that they donâ€™t necessarily want to be exploited. And you know, that makes them want to get shit off their chest, which I think is cool.
Recently on social media and that episode with Natalie that you are talking about, you seem to be increasingly getting fed up with political correctness and over sensitivity within the punk scene. Youâ€™ve even been the victim of it technically, not recently, but in the past. I was wondering if you could expand on your view on that a little bit. Hereâ€™s the thing with political correctness. The idea behind it is right and I do agree with a lot of it, but when you fuckinâ€™ come out swinging like some sort of shitty gang, youâ€™re not going to change anyoneâ€™s mind. What youâ€™re going to do is ostracize yourself into this tiny, little community and youâ€™re not doing anyone any good and youâ€™re basically just grandstanding. A lot of it as to do with dumb terminology that just angers people. I think even like yesterday I was just like, â€œOh my god,â€ with whole Joe Queer thing. I usually wind up getting on these kicks with fuckinâ€™ people that I donâ€™t even really care about. You know what I mean? Itâ€™s just the point behind it. Itâ€™s a matter of like â€“ I expect more out of people in this punk scene, than to need a â€œpolice force,â€ you know what I mean? And I do see that. The shitty thing is anytime I say Iâ€™m against being PC or anything like that, the fuckinâ€™ other side of the idiots come out. And just like, â€œMan, no. Youâ€™re missing this, tooâ€ where some will be like, â€œYeah! Fuck those faggots!â€ like you are exactly opposite of what I am talking about here, like knock it off youâ€™re even worse. So obviously Iâ€™m a left leaner, but Iâ€™m in the middle of everything. No one should ever come -- and I say this now at Off With Their Heads shows, pretty much every show â€“ no one should ever feel uncomfortable here. No one should ever have to fuckinâ€™ go through dumb bullshit at the show. This is where we go to kick it and have a good time. Iâ€™m not going to preach to you because thatâ€™s just as annoying, you know what I mean? Common sense police are just unnecessary in my world and thatâ€™s basically a one-sentence answer. It should self-regulate and I wish in a perfect world that was true, which is what Iâ€™m trying to say. I straggle the line where Iâ€™m irritated with politically correct bullshit because itâ€™s a phase is what it is. We saw this back in the â€˜90s, too and its fuckinâ€™ ridiculous. Jesse Thorton from The Slow Death was one of those PC people and it was fuckinâ€™ hilarious. I know that bums some people out, but think about like Lauren from Worriers, good friend of mine â€“ very PC, but like we just talk about it and Iâ€™m just like, â€œYeah, but what you do definitely speaks to certain people, but what about the ability of what I view to speak to people who would never listen to you and to tell them to chill the fuck out?â€ Itâ€™s just a different thing I guess. Itâ€™s a different strategy of getting people to be cool. Imagine if I came out and started talking about marginalized minorities, you know what I mean? No one would fuckinâ€™ take me seriously, but the fact where I can get up and be like, â€œIf you have a fuckinâ€™ problem!…â€ you know what I mean? Thatâ€™s more of the aggressive way instead of the passive aggressive â€œbig word talk.â€
I know Off With Their Heads will be playing Punk Rock Bowling this year, will you have audience members draw cards out of a hat like you have been doing at some of your shows? Can explain that to those who might not know what that is? The Lawrence Arms asked us to open or their Christmas show and weâ€™re sitting in the basement of the Double Door in Chicago and weâ€™re just like, â€œHey, whoâ€™s playing this show?â€ because thereâ€™s fuckinâ€™ six of us down there I think. And one of the guys was like, â€œIâ€™m not playing. I didnâ€™t practice.â€ I was like, â€œNo, you flew out here to play. Play!â€ So we were trying to come up with a set list and I was just like, â€œAlright, we have these Santa hats. Letâ€™s just throw a bunch of songs in there.â€ And then it turned out someone threw a bunch of other shit in there other than songs. Now itâ€™s just kind of become a thing that weâ€™re kind of excited to do for the next few shows. Certain things like â€“ well you have to follow the directions on whatever you pull out of this hat. It could just be a song. You might have to go buy the band a shot. You might have to go do a shot. You might have to stand outside while we play this next song, you know? Like shit like that. The reason weâ€™re doing that is because the content of my songs are fuckinâ€™ kind of heavy sometimes, but weâ€™re all there because we relate to it in some way or another and its supposed to be fun. So weâ€™re just trying to have a little more fun at the shows instead of just banging through the songs. The reason we used to go song to song to song was because I had no ability to interact with the audience. I was bad at that. It made me super anxious and nervous and now Iâ€™m just like, â€œEh, whatever. I donâ€™t care.â€ If someone is going to be a dick to me, someone is going to be a dick to me. But thatâ€™s what the hat thing came from. And will we do it [at Punk Rock Bowling]? I donâ€™t know. Weâ€™ll see. You should make Vegas-themed cards for that show. [laughs] Oh my god.
Well Ryan, thanks for taking the time to talk, anything else you want to add or say to the wonderful Punknews readers and commenters? Ah well, I have always had a love-hate with the whole Punknews thing. Itâ€™s a great site. You fuckinâ€™ always get great information every day and that aspect has always been rad. They have always been super supportive of the things we do. And then you know, where ever you can give anyone a voice to anonymously spout hatred at you they're going to go apeshit. So Iâ€™m sure someone will do that with this one, but whatever.
Probably. I do want to say thanks for all the help that the site has given me over the years. And on Anxious & Angry we will have a new flexi that is free with all the orders, which is Off With Their Heads covering a Jim Ward (from Sparta and At The Drive-In) song and thatâ€™s the next thing I have coming where Iâ€™m pretty excited about it. The flexi series has been Off With Their Heads just covering songs outside the genre that were sort of in and itâ€™s a lot of fun to record those things and press them up and give away. Now we got all these bands from like Pegboy, Dillinger Four, ToyGuitar, Samiam, Iron Chic, Banner Pilot, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Off With Their Heads, PEARS, like all that shit. If you just order anything from any of those bands you get a free record. I assume that is the best deal going in the online shirt-ordering world. Thatâ€™s all I got.
Thanks for taking the time to talk Ryan. Of course man!