L.A. punk outfit FIDLAR proudly rep their early influences Blink-182 and the Offspring but the young band-- who’s name is short for the reckless, skater cousin of “YOLO”: “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk”-- aim for a more wide-reaching sound on their self-titled debut. “That’s like our old, old influences burnt into our brains,” drummer Max Kuehn says of his homestate heroes. “We can’t run away from that, growing up in California. Those bands made me want to be in a band but they don’t influence our music now.” Instead the group takes cues from artists across multiple genres and decades, whether San Francisco’s recent garage rock scene or ‘80s SoCal punk. Hive spoke to FIDLAR about the five albums that most influenced their debut.
1. Jay Reatard, Blood Visions
Zac Carper: I’m a huge fan of his songwriting and I really like how tight the production is so you can hear his vocals and everything he’s saying. The guitars are very sturdy and clean but bouncy at the same time. The drums are tight. I really like the production, and how he recorded all of his music himself. We record ourselves as well and some of the songs on our record have the same production style.
2. Adolescents, Adolescents
Elvis Kuehn: This is kind of a big record for all of us. Max and I are brothers and our dad was in T.S.O.L. and went to middle school with Tony, the singer of Adolescents. We had roots in the band when we were young and this record is a seminal West Coast punk album. Adolescents were all really young when they made it and the production is really raw but great. There’s amazing guitar playing and musicianship all around. “ No Way” and “Creatures” are our favorites. When “Creatures” starts, it’s pretty powerful and intense and the lyrics are so rad too because you can tell it’s some 14 year old kid writing what’s on his mind. They aren’t the deepest lyrics but it’s so raw-- it’s a fucking pissed off teenager.
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Green River
Brandon Schwartzel: I knew their songs from listening to oldies radio stations when I was younger and when I got older, and got into the ‘Stones and Beatles and ‘60s stuff, I started to appreciate them more.
Zac: The amount of incredible songs on this record is pretty insane. They were all recorded in 1969 and almost every song is amazing. It has “Lodi” and “Bad Moon Rising” and “Green River.” Looking at their albums, this is the one that’s had the most influence on songs on our debut record.
Max Kuehn: We actually cover “Lodi” sometimes in our set. “Gimme Something” and “LDA” sort of have that CCR vibe.
4. Black Lips, Let It Bloom
Max: Elvis and I grew up on late ‘70s early ‘80s punk and this was kind of our introduction to newer garage punk stuff out there. This record kind of blew our minds, like, “Oh shit, people are making music like this now.”
Elvis: There is so much character and attitude [on it], and it’s cool how they all switch off vocals in a lot of the songs-- we do that exact same thing in our live set and on our record. Everybody sings the choruses. We’ve taken a lot of influence from their live performance too.
Max: They’re one of the bands that has been really consistent. Their new records are definitely as good as their old ones, and that’s pretty rare for newer bands.
5. Thee Oh Sees, Help
Elvis: My first introduction to them was the album Help. I hadn’t heard anything like it before. When I heard it, I had no idea what they looked like, which I thought was pretty cool, because they have a mystery to them. I hadn’t looked them up online and the record didn’t have any information about what they looked like or how old they were. It has an amazing cover with a bat that I’m pretty sure John Dwyer drew. I listened to it and thought they were a younger band and then Zac and I went to see them at the Echo a few years ago and realized they were older guys with a bunch of tattoos. I wasn’t expecting that but it made it even better. There’s a history to them and they’re such a unique band, there’s nothing else that sounds like them.
FIDLAR'S self-titled debut is out now on Mom + Pop.