Punk Rock Bowling With GBHBy Ren Potts
A drunk punk tossing his cookies. All photos by Ren Potts.
Have you ever been to the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival? If you haven’t, I’d challenge you to find a better way to spend Memorial Day Weekend. It’s four days of debauchery in Vegas, complete with drunk punks, live music, bowling, scantily clad tattooed women, pool parties—basically every wet dream a blooming punk ever had.
Look who played this year: Municipal Waste, The Dwarves, Adolescents, NOFX, The Adicts, Far From Finished, Holding Onto Sound, Good Riddance, Dead To Me, Matt Skiba, Hot Water Music, Rancid, the Street Dogs, American Werewolves, Tim Barry, 7 Seconds, Toys that Kill, Pennywise, and GBH. A hefty list of sonorously excellent music, and that’s only the half of it! The line up may change year to year, but it’s always a good time, and that’s why Punk Rock Bowling is my favorite holiday.
The festival has been going on for fourteen years, and now it’s going through a bit of resurgence. There’s a whole new crop of kids crawling out of their mothers’ basements to participate. Great live music needs your love, so I’m going to give a little love back to all the first timers: here's an exclusive interview with Colin Abrahall from GBH, five tips for your future survival of Punk Rock Bowling, and a photo gallery of the event.
Colin Abrahall from GBH.
As I mentioned, GBH was on this year’s bill and I was given the opportunity to speak to their singer Colin. For a band that’s over three decades into their musical career, they’ve been asked about every question imaginable. Let’s see if I can do anything to make another interview with a band I love even slightly more ridiculous:
Noisey: So how much can you bench?
Colin Abrahall: What?
You know, how much can you bench press?
I’ve never benched anything in my life.
So for all you know, the most you can bench press is like… an infant. (Motioning benching an infant’s body.)
Yeah I guess, pretty much.
Moving on… I like to call drinks on the road, “tour juice”. What’s your favorite tour juice?
What music have you guys been heavy on lately? What’s your favorite album for the road?
All different things, you know… Reggae, Punk, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams.
Hank Williams III, or the original?
GBH as a band, is known for your views on atheism and nihilism. Has any of that changed, as you’ve gotten older?
No, never. You only see more evidence that you’ve been right.
Fair enough, I imagine I’ll feel the same. Was there ever a pivotal, defining moment where you stopped and went, “holy shit, we’re huge” or realized that you’d become influential to other bands?
Yeah, yeah actually. The first time we came to the U.S. They treated us like a real band, things were more organized. In England we sort of battled for shows or to get anything. They wouldn’t have given us drinks or sorted us out.
Where do you dudes call home base these days?
Do you live near each other?
Ross [Lomas, bass] lived in Hawaii for a bit, but we all live within a three-mile radius of each other now. But when we’re not on tour, we have our own separate lives. We don’t always hang out.
Perfume and Piss in 2010 was your first album on Hellcat; how did that go?
Great, we had no problems.
So you like your relationship with that label?
Yeah, they’re easy to work with. We basically just write our album and go in and record when we’re finished.
So… it’s 2012. Can we hope to hear more from GBH, do you have something in the works?
Of course, we have half an album now.
Good news! Is there anything you want to ask me?
What’s your name again?
Ren, R-E-N, like Ren and Stimpy.
Ah, got it.
So are you feeling ready for this? You’ll be going up to play soon.
Yeah, we’re on in about an hour. Saturday we played Milan and then flew straight here. We just got in about this time yesterday, so we’re still a little jet lagged. Being jet lagged is like being on acid without the acid.
Which is almost a shame.
So you should probably go next year - here are my tips for a healthy, happy good time:
Tip #1: Pregame
I’m not just saying this because it’s fun. If you drink, then slam some beers, get a good buzz on, and get cozy with that feeling pre-festival. Because that’s basically where you need to stay all day. You’re going to be pissed if you wake up at 2AM from a midday drunk-out to realize that you’ve slept straight through the Dwarves. Incidentally this leads me straight into a couple of more pointers.
Tip #2: Drink water, dumbass.
Don’t forget. Half of the people you’ll see getting carried out of the festival got that way because they’re little booze raisins. You’re in the heat all day, probably dancing around like an idiot and downing beer-shot combos. Don’t ruin your good time with a bout of dehydration.
Tip #3: Remember, there are cops at these things.
Duh. Most of these guys aren’t there to ruin your good time. In fact, these are the same dudes that are going to pull your drunk, crowd-surfing ass to safety, so be nice. However, there’s always got to be at least one dick in the bunch, and you never know who it’ll be. This year, it was absurdly the one security guard with blue hair and piercings that I saw pin a girl to the ground. So you know, anarchy and all that blah, blah, blah, sure, but the bottom line is that these dudes have the power to kick you out of the fest or get you arrested. And you don’t want either of those things. Jail sucks y’all.
Tip #4: Don’t fuck with the women.
I mean, don’t fuck with anyone, but trust me, the women at Punk Rock Bowling are definitely not afraid of you. This year during Rancid, this piss-hammered drunk guy is falling into everyone around him, taking people down with him repeatedly. One of the girls he’s haphazardly accosted yells at him to knock it off. He, being the respectable gentleman that he clearly is, yells back, “Yeah?! Why don’t you punch me in the face?” Derrrr, good idea holmes. Maybe if you weren’t so deliriously drunk it would have floated through your foggy brain that, none of these women look like they have a problem banging up their delicate hands on your face and you just asked for it. Across the board women appreciate a little chivalry. Sloppy aint sexy, Junior.
Tip # 5: Respect your fellow heathen.
You’re all at PRB for the same thing and that’s to see live music and have a good fucking time away from any of the pollutions of your normal life. So act like it. It’s simple, don’t be a dick and support the bands. Ladies, you too, play nice.
Drunk punks (they're not a band)
Hot Water Music
Fat Mike from NOFX
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