Bands don’t get much cooler than The Bronx. For the last 15 years, the Los Angeles punk n roll kings have been a never-ending freight train storming through the punk scene. Since their 2003 self-titled debut, The Bronx have delivered the most exhilarating fusion of party-hard, rock n roll and intense, not-to-be-f*cked-with hardcore, which makes for music that makes you feel like you’re kicking ass whilst smoking a cigar. The band pull this off with riffs that breeze like a Cadillac through the desert, but is ready to storm the gates as well as frontman Matt Caughthran being a frontman that tackles his demons by coming out swinging and screaming through his music.
They’re showing no signs of slowing down with the newest album, The Bronx V, being another barrage of good time music you can fight to. The band recently did a string of dates playing the album in full where we were lucky enough to talk to Caughthran about the bands’ high energy, punk and metal shows.
“WE’RE POSITIVE MOTHER F**KERS, WE TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD…”
Even just in talking Caughthran bleeds cool, with quick, laid-back, but well-rounded answers to anything slipping off his tongue where not much thought is given and yet it’s a fulfilling explanation just like The Bronx’s music acts on impulse.
‘That’s just kind of who we are as individuals, The Bronx is very much a sum of its parts, we love aggressive music, we’re punk rockers at heart, we’re rock n rollers, we’re hardcore kids. That’s who we are, but we’re also full rounded individuals’ says Caughthran on The Bronx’s sound.
The Bronx may seem larger than life and untouchable, but Caughthran insists there is a darkness to the band, but a darkness that fuels them. ‘We take the good with the bad and we’re positive mother f*ckers. That’s what the band is, there’s a lot of hope to what we do and a lot of silver linings. We dwell on a lot of heavy and negative stuff sometimes, but that’s the nature of punk rock. It’s a revolutionary music, it’s a protest kind of genre.’
“We’re punk rockers at heart, we’re rock n rollers, we’re hardcore kids.”
The Bronx carry that devil-may-care attitude, but they’re the kind of rebels that step-up when it counts and still enjoy the thrill of the fight. ‘That’s what we grew up around, just playing your anger and your frustration with the system and standing up for something you believe in and fighting the status quo, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be f*cking miserable.’
The Bronx do have something to say on The Bronx V, a little more so than usual, with Night At The Glue Factory referencing things like the alt-right and police brutality. ‘It was a big point of the record not to dodge that stuff, there was so much to talk about. It felt honest to talk about that stuff on record. We’re not really a political band, but sometimes things get so band and it gets to a certain point where things get so bad and you’ve got to stand up and voice your opinion. In the States there’s a lot of issues going on right now and in the world too. For us, it was a conscious decision to face that and talk about it in very a Bronx way.’
Whether it is getting political or still being all-out for a good time, The Bronx are still distinctly The Bronx all across The Bronx V and the most punk thing you can do at anytime is be yourself and sometimes the biggest protest you can make in a world of impending doom is still doing things you love, exactly how you’d do them anyway regardless of who’s trying to drive the Earth into destruction.
The Bronx really believe in The Bronx V, in-fact they believed in it so much that their recent UK dates consisted of them playing it in full, something that normally happens when an album reaches a milestone anniversary, but The Bronx were keen to get done immediately.
‘It was just doing something different, we wanted to get over to the UK when the record came out last year, but we couldn’t find the time or the schedule so we were thinking what if we come out early 2018, play some super small shows, let’s do something different and then it was like ‘hey let’s play the new record’’ and it just sounded good, so that’s how it came about.’
” ‘I gotta be honest with you, two bands is a lot of f*cking work…”
‘It’s been good, it’s always a little bit weird playing a record back-to-back because when you play live, you want to play the songs everyone loves and everyone has records they like more than others and you have to understand that, it’s a different kind of gig’ says Caughtran about how people have been responding to the album live.’ It’s better that way, it’s doing something different or something you don’t normally do.’
Frankly though, it doesn’t matter too much what The Bronx decide to play live, it doesn’t matter if they played a setlist of their 15 least best songs (whatever they may be), cause this band go so hard live, that it’d still be a more exhilarating experience than what most bands can offer. Whether it’s Caughtran playing in the crowd, on the crowd, on the ceiling, wherever or just the sheer amount of chaos the crowd is bound to produce to The Bronx’s ragers, you can always count on Bronx show for the funnest kind of madness.
‘I just like to have fun man, stale environments piss me off. People come to have a good time at a show and sometimes they just need a little encouragement and if I’ve gotta be the fuse in that respect, I’ve got no problem being that. When people come see The Bronx I want people to know it’s okay to let go and have a good f*cking time and if you don’t want to I’m not saying you’ve got to jump off the speaker, it’s not a forced type of thing, but it’s environment where you do what you gotta do and we’ve got your back.’
“the future is unwritten…”
The Bronx really live and breathe punk rock. Upon being asked if he thinks they’d ever start another band on top of The Bronx and their mariachi side-project Mariachi El Bronx, Caughtran immediately replies with a Joe Strummer (The Clash) quote: ‘Who knows? Joe Stummer said ‘the future’s unwritten.’’ It may seem like a tiny thing, but the fact that such an iconic quote from maybe the most key man to punk was the first thing to spring to mind to answer a question, shows just how much punk means to Caughtran. He humorously continues to say ‘I gotta be honest with you, two bands is a lot of f*cking work.’
When asked about the key to The Bronx’s longevity Caughtran responds with a cool, zen answer like he has done with every other question ‘Loving what you do. We try to think different, we try to push ourselves, we try to encourage each other and we love what we do.’ The Bronx remain such a force to be reckoned with, because they’re still having such a blast being The Bronx and it’s a party that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.
WORDS: MAX CUSSON