By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Similes are all the rage these days.
With a name that pretty much spells out what they are, California duo Punk As A Doornail recently unveiled their third album ‘Dead As A Sad Snail,’ which features the single “Crack & The One-Armed Baby.”
With a style that meshes apocalyptic tendencies with heavy riffs akin to pioneers like Black Flag and Agent Orange, member Keith Irish uses a homemade skateboard guitar (coined “The Skatar”) that contains a bass string that goes to a bass amp and two guitar strings that run through a 1989 Marshall half stack.
Since their 1999 formation as a project made up of homemade instruments, Punk As A Doornail have transitioned their way into a more polished skate punk act with its original quirks still intact.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with drummer/vocalist Johnny Rage about ‘Dead As A Sad Snail’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you get to decide the band name?
Johnny Rage – In 1999 when this was birthed, you would hear people saying, “Punk is dead.” Somehow, it brought to mind, “Dead as a doornail.”
Music Bugle – What was your goal for the new record ‘Dead As A Sad Snail’?
Johnny Rage – When Cary, the original drummer, retired from music and Keith asked if I would want to play, we wrote some new material. So much was written that we were able to have a full album.
Music Bugle – What made you want to release “Crack & The One-Armed Baby” as the first single from the new album?
Johnny Rage – The intensity and funkiness of it. It sets a good tone of what to expect when purchasing the album or seeing us play live.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Johnny Rage – How unique it is. You don’t hear many skatars out there.
Music Bugle – What is the most challenging aspect of being a musical duo?
Johnny Rage – Not having that third person to gang up and pick on. Most duos have the issue with not sounding full when they play live. They sound great, but there is always something missing. The skatar is pretty much two instruments in one, so it sounds full and if you heard it outside the club, you wouldn’t think it was just two of us.
Music Bugle – How would you describe California to someone who has never been there before?
Johnny Rage – California is a big state, so let’s narrow it down to where we are. The Los Angeles/Orange County area of Southern California is a nice place to live, but your neighbors might suck. It’s nice that with all the venues opening back up, you can never really say there isn’t anything to do. You can come out here and see the air.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Johnny Rage – Nothing new. I keep recycling my music collection. Right now, a lot of Tom Waits, Sonic Youth, The Cows, Beastie Boys and the Heroine Sheiks are on heavy rotation on my iPod.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Johnny Rage – I don’t believe so. It is a pain in the ass to try to keep up with all the latest platforms.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Johnny Rage – We wrote the new album during the lockdown, so I would say it had a positive impact.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Johnny Rage – Las Vegas.