Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ray Carlisle, guitarist and singer of the punk band, Teenage Bottlerocket. The long-running punks are celebrating their 25th anniversary together with a full tour in support of Pennywise, a slot on the Warped Tour and their first performances in Brazil.
BeatRoute: First of all, congratulations on touring with Pennywise! They’re amazing, you must be excited.
Ray Carlisle: Thank you so much, we’re really looking forward to it. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the band.
BeatRoute: I know you’ve toured with a lot of big name bands. Is there any musician or band that had you star struck?
RC: I think… definitely Fat Mike, but we’ve hung out with him so much now, that a lot of that’s dissipated and now he’s just a friend of mine. I’m easily star-struck: we’ve played with the (Mighty Mighty) Boss Tones, Dicky Barrett, people like that. Even Brendan Kelly (Lawrence Arms) I felt star stuck around. I was a big fan of Lawrence Arms and Slapstick. But, just like Mike, I’ve hung out with Brendan so much now that, we’re just friends.
BeatRoute: This is your first time on Warped Tour, am I right?
RC: Yeah, it is. We’ve never played Warped Tour before ever! So, the first Warped Tour show in Houston will be our first Warped Tour show ever, and we’ll be doing the whole tour. It’s going to be really cool, we’ll get to tour in a bus — we’ve done one other tour in a bus and I’m stoked, it’ll be a place to get away. If I don’t want to be in the heat or whatever, and I can just play Nintendo on the bus. We’re really looking forward to it. Fat (Wreck Chords) made up stickers that will have four songs each available for download and we’ll be handing them out during the tour. It’ll be great, just go out and play for a half an hour everyday. It’ll be awesome.
BeatRoute: Is there any place in the world that you haven’t played that you hope to play?
RC: After Warped Tour, we’re going to Brazil for the first time and we’re so excited to go there. I know the Ramones have left a huge legacy in Brazil and people are always comparing our music to the Ramones — they’re also a huge influence of ours. So, it’s going to be awesome to go down there and play.
BeatRoute: How do feel about punk being more mainstream these days? Do you think social media has an influence on this?
RC: Yeah, I think so. It’s a lot easier to get your music to the hands of people now. Back when you had to order tapes from catalogues, you didn’t even know what the band would sound like until your package would come in the mail. But now, it’s just one click away. That’s just the way the world goes these days and it’s definitely beneficial to the bands. It was definitely more underground then, you had to dig to find some bands — not so say it’s more mainstream now, but it is easier to acquire. But, underground is still underground.
BeatRoute: You put out an EP last year, do you have any plans for a full length record in the near future?
RC: We do, right now we’re writing. We don’t have enough songs to go record yet, but we do have a bunch of new songs. On this Pennywise tour, we will be playing one new song off the next record, called “T.V. Set.” We’re looking forward to recording this new record and then going out to tour as much as possible in support of it.
Catch Teenage Bottlerocket for their 25th anniversary at Union Hall (Edmonton) on May 2, at MacEwan Hall Ballroom (Calgary) on May 3 and at the Garrick Events Centre (Winnipeg) on May 5.
By Sarah Mac
Photo: Katie Hovland