OFF WITH THEIR HEADS
When it comes to unpredictable, self-deprecating, beer-swigging, working class punk rock, you don’t have to look much further than Off With Their Heads. Whether they’re playing to a crowd of twelve at a dingy sh*thole in Iowa or in front of thousands on tour with bands like Against Me, one thing is always certain, OWTH deliver honest rip-roaring punk rock in it’s true form time and time again. And as the band readies the release of their second full length album, In Desolation, OWTH soldiers on in their busted up RV, playing to those who’ll listen and self-loathing every minute of it.
Formed in 2002, Off With Their Heads went through a slew of musicians before finally cementing the lineup with Ryan Young on vocals/guitar, Justin Francis on drums, Zack Gontard on guitar and Robbie Swartwood on bass. Since their inception, the band has released an impressive catalog of music including seventeen 7”’s, one LP and a few comps, and has toured relentlessly in US, Europe, Canada and Japan for the past five years with bands like Against Me, Youth Brigade, The Bouncing Souls and Municipal Waste to name a few.
It was during Off With Their Heads’ 2009 tour with Against Me when the band got the call from Epitaph’s owner/president Brett Gurewitz saying that he was a fan of the band.
“Off With Their Heads might be the best punk band going right now, Epitaph needs them; music needs them,” says Gurewitz.
“I remember the first time I'd heard of Epitaph,” Young adds. “It was when I was in junior high and Rancid had just released Let’s Go. I saw the video, and immediately went and bought the record. I got into the compilations, and that started me on the road to finding all these great aggressive catchy punk bands. Living in a small farm town, I had never been exposed to this kind of music before, and from there I learned about punk. I guess you could say Epitaph was my gateway into everything that I would wind up becoming. For that reason alone, I am ecstatic to be a part of one of the biggest influences on my life.”
Off With Their Heads are well on their way to carving out their own punk rock story with their modern take on vintage punk fueled anthems. As the band begins the next chapter of their career they took the time to record their best album to date.
Produced by Off With Their Heads and Jacques Wait at the Terrarium in Minneapolis, In Desolation is 34 minutes of non-stop gut wrenching honesty. Singer Ryan Young’s candid lyrics about life’s misadventures, stress, drugs, love, death and everything between add a raw surly edge to the band’s full-throttle music.
“This record is kind of a collective mix of all the styles we've done in the past,” Young explains. “Everything from aggression to sappy bullshit, because that’s who I am! This is going to be the record for people who like the whole spectrum of what we do.”
From its first track, “Drive,” a petal-to-the-metal opener about Young’s incessant habit of over thinking things and becoming his own worst critic, to the harsh reality of OD’ing on the sobering yet rowdy song “Trying to Breath” and the explosive middle-finger-in-the-air sing along “Their Own Medicine,”
In Desolation is authentic punk rock to its core from a working band who lives and breathes it every day.
When it comes to touring virtually year round it isn’t a choice as much as it’s a lifestyle for Off With Their Heads, and after years on the road the band has finally taken a brief break.
“Until the record comes out in June, we won’t be doing any shows,” says Young. “That’s the longest stretch in almost two years that we haven’t been on the road. People ask us how it feels to finally get to relax. I'm fucking bored. The other guys are bored. We want to get back out. Not to further our band, but just because we love doing it and are used to it. The title In Desolation comes from a lyric in the song “ZZYZX” on the record. I chose that because after years constantly on the road, being 100 percent by myself sounded pretty rad.”
In June Off With Their Heads will once again pack the RV and head out on another indefinite tour strapped with one of the year’s most engaging punk rock records and the sheer will to keep the wheels turning.