UNIVERSAL CITY, California — Imagine seeing Rancid's first show at the legendary New York punk club CBGB. Or just turn on MTV and watch it.
After touring the punk circuit for more than 10 years, the Berkeley, California, band finally played the shoddy East Village venue late last year for their new video, "Red Hot Moon."
"We played pretty much everywhere else in New York: Limelight, the Wetlands, Roseland, ABC No Rio, Randall's Island — every defunct club known to man," singer/guitarist Lars Frederiksen said recently. "But for some reason we never played CBGB. Playing CB's was an honor,
because so many great bands [started there]. The Ramones, of course, Blondie and bands like that. And don't forget Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, Cro-Mags, Madball and H20. A lot of New York hardcore bands cut their teeth there."
The "Red Hot Moon" video combines performance — including a cameo from Transplants singer Rob Aston, who raps on the track — with a narrative relating to the personal story that inspired the bouncy song.
"It's about Campbell, California, my hometown, and a girl there who kind of ended up taking her own life," Frederiksen said. "She didn't wake up one night."
"Red Hot Moon" is the second single from Rancid's Indestructible (see "Rancid Transform Heartbreak Into Indestructible Punk Rock"), following "Fall Back Down." That two singles have been released since August is an accomplishment, given the band's dislike
for choosing them.
"Every song is like a baby," Frederiksen explained. "You watch it grow and then, when it finally gets all mixed and done, you feel like you've just changed its diapers. So [picking favorites] is hard because you're basically going to make one of them your redheaded stepchild. And I'm
Rancid are taking January off, partly so founder Tim Armstrong can expand his burgeoning writing and producing career (see "Rancid Frontman Says He'd Do Anything For His Homegirl Pink; Gwen's On Deck"). In February, though, the band will launch a world tour, beginning with a month in Japan.
"Japan is one of those places where you can find anything from 20 years in the past to 20 years in the future," Frederiksen mused. "If you've seen the movie 'Blade Runner,' you know what Japan looks like. So we're excited to go."
Although Rancid have pretty much done it all now that they've played CBGB, Frederiksen said they get more stoked to tour with each album.
"We are the type of band that believes 100 percent in every song we put on a record," he explained. "We average 20 songs a record and we have six records out, so that's, what, 120 songs? Plus all the 7-inches and B-sides. We have like 146 songs to choose from every night we play."
And with each new record comes new fans.
"There's tons of new kids, a lot of punks, skinheads, a lot of
whatever," Frederiksen said. "We get old bikers to moms, so it's all cool."
Rancid have not yet decided on summer plans — "We make last-minute decisions," Frederiksen said. But the guitarist hopes to record another album with his side group, the Bastards.
"Bastards, Transplants — when there's time to do them, we do them," Frederiksen said. "It's going to be me and Tim writing all the songs again, with Tim producing it. Bastards is basically Lars Frederiksen and Tim Armstrong, our little band."