With Blink-182's Travis Barker on drums and Rancid's Tim Armstrong on guitars and occasional vocals, the Transplants have plenty of punk credibility. More recently, they've been going after hip-hop cred, first by collaborating with the likes of the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. and Dilated Peoples, and now by enlisting Houston rapper Paul Wall to chop and screw their new album.
Wall, one of the leading lights of the slowed-down, messed-up sound (see "Chopped And Screwed: A History") is working on his version of Haunted Cities for release later this year, which will mark the first time a rock album will be given such treatment (officially, anyway).
In the meantime, the original Haunted Cities is due Tuesday (June 21), three days after the Transplants kicked off the Vans Warped Tour (see "My Chemical Romance And A Very Stiff Chicken Rock Milwaukee Warped Tour Stop").
The album was recorded in between Blink-182 and Rancid tours and recording sessions. "It was all done sporadically, here and there," Barker said. "Sometimes it would be [singer] Rob [Aston] and Tim, sometimes it would be all of us in the studio playing together, sometimes it was on a tour bus — whenever we could get to it."
"We all stepped our game up a lot from last time," Aston added, comparing it to the band's 2002 self-titled debut. "And nothing on the record sounds forced. It all came together naturally."
That includes the collaborations, which feature B-Real and Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, Rakaa from Dilated Peoples, and the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., who appear on the album's second single, "What I Can't Describe."
"I wrote that one about dying and stuff," Aston said. "Like, just get it while you can, you know, while you're here. Nothing lasts forever and it is what it is. I'll go when it's my time. I'm ready."
The Transplants shot the video for "What I Can't Describe" at the same time as the video for their first single, "Gangsters and Thugs."
"It's like some more of this gang-life sh--, all the homies come out, backyard boogie and all that," Aston said. "Just everyone hanging out, having a good time."
Estevan Oriol, who directed Blink-182's "Down" video, helmed both clips. "That's our homie too, so that's always good when you can work with people who are your close friends," Aston said.
The Transplants will be on the road with the Vans Warped Tour through August 15 in Northampton, Massachusetts. Afterward, the band will head overseas for a few dates, including the Reading and Leeds festivals on August 27 and 28 in England.
In the fall, Barker plans to dedicate more time to his new project with DJ AM (see "Travis Barker Hooks Up With Nicole Richie's Fiance, Makes Transplants Priority"), while Aston will turn his focus back to his solo album.
"Actually, a bunch of the songs that ended up on this record were gonna be on the solo record," Aston said. "But I'm still gonna keep recording that and put it out after this record's run its course. I've still gotta work with DJ Quik."