Interview with Casualties Bassist Rick Lopez

Posted June 3, 2013 in
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The chaotic punk rock of The Casualties baptized the Salt Valley in sweat on May 25,  and SLUG Magazine got the opportunity to speak with Rick Lopez (bassist) before they walked onstage at the Salt Haus.

SLUG: How has the tour been going?
Lopez: It's been going good. This is a small tour we're using as a means to getting to Punk Rock Bowling and Choas in Tejas. We do a handful of shows in the West, play those festivals and do a handful back. It takes about two and a half weeks. It's barely a tour—we usually go for two to three months.

SLUG: You guys recently release Resistance. Who was involved, and how long did it take you to write and produce the album?
Lopez: We recorded it in Massachusetts. …  [Our producer] is a great guy—he's worked with bands like Hatebreed and other, more metal bands. We wrote a bunch of it out of the studio and wrote some of it in studio while working on other songs or practicing. It took probably about a month in the studio and we wrote it in about two to three months. It's not one of those epic albums that take five years to make. They're punk songs, so we know we like to make our music fairly simple and fast.

SLUG: For Resistance, you signed with the label Season of Mist. How does it feel to be a punk band on a metal label?
Lopez: We don't mind at all. We're fine with that. They were the most willing to work with us and they were willing to do the most in promotion, and as far as helping us financing the recording album—which is not fucking cheap—they were really great for that. They approached us because they didn't have any bands with our style, and I think, maybe, they wanted to broaden their label. It was all doom metal, and they brought us in, and so far, it's been going pretty good.

SLUG: What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?
Lopez: Oh man, I've got a whopper for you. We're doing something called the Scion Music Festival. We're playing with the Melvins and Testament, which is cool and weird, because they contacted those two bands and us. After that, we'll be in Europe for July and August, then back on tour in October and November in the States. Between that, we'll try and do some of the “wacky” places like Japan, South America and Southeast Asia. […] South America has some interesting things going on there. I mean, traditionally, they have that good rhythm going. They get really fucking angry down there—they don't have a lot of money, their way of life is not as good as ours in the States, and they have that “we're poor and angst-y” vibe. It comes off really well.

SLUG: Later this week, you're playing Punk Rock Bowling. Are you staying to watch a few shows, and if so, who?

Lopez: We have one of the days of PRB off, which is Monday, so we're going to catch as many bands as we can. I want to catch Flag really bad. I want to see Devo, too. There are so many on the list, but those are the two main ones. I mean, Bill Stevenson [of Flag] produced our last three albums before this one. He's a great friend of our and a great fucking musician. Anything he does is going to sound good. Keith Morris is 50 and some change, and he has more energy than most of these hipster rock bands.

SLUG: What is the most un-punk thing about yourself?

Lopez: Oh, man, I don't even want to tell people. I do, I do shop at Wal-Mart. I hate that I do it, I don't want to do it, but we travel so much, and everyday, we have to be somewhere, and we need a place where we can get all our shit at once. Anytime I'm at home or we get [to our destination] and we have time to kill, I always go to local stores, especially music stores.

SLUG: How has the punk scene changed in the last decade?

Lopez: Well, emo started up and that is never a good thing. That came around and fucking ruined everything. Jake does a little joke onstage where we get the audience to do the “wall of death” and he says, “Punk kids on one side, metal kids on the other and emo kids in the middle,” and one time, at the end of the show, one emo kid comes up and says, “Um, hey man, that wasn't really cool. You guys are supposed to be about unity and stuff and that really divided us.” I was like, “You're upset that we teased emo kids for being whiners and you came here to whine about it? You're a fucking emo kid, get the fuck out of here. What you're doing exactly why people hate emo.” I mean, I do love everyone, but don't come to me crying about shit. So I guess emo changed it, fucked it. Things like Warped Tour, which I'm not against, that's a weird thing. I mean, CBGBs was where we went to see and play punk shows, and now Warped Tour comes and we're playing for these huge festivals with huge amounts of people. It's not a bad thing, the bands aren't always good, but anytime you play to a bunch of people, it's cool.

SLUG: “Street punk” isn't a genre we hear much bout these days—do you guys feel like you still represent that scene?

Lopez: I've always had a weird issue with the term “street punk” because it's all punk to me. I feel like it is one of those subdivisions that are unnecessary. I'm not against it, it sounds cool to say, it looks cool on records, but I mean, I don't know if you consider Negative Approach a street punk band—I would consider them a punk band. I consider us a punk band, I consider Shear Terror a punk band, but no, “They're a hardcore band because they wear baseball caps.” I don't know—it’s all punk rock to me. I think Little Richard is punk rock—I mean, he's a bad ass. It just seems unnecessary.

Be sure to check out The Casualties newest album, Resistance, on Itunes, Spotify and Amazon.