It may seem odd that a band with six studio albums, five 7-inches, two EPs, a live CD, a B-sides album, and numerous soundtrack and compilation appearances under their belts during the last TWENTY years would name their new album Agents Of The Underground. It doesn't seem strange to the members of Simi Valley, California punk pioneers STRUNG OUT, who will release their seventh studio album on September 29th via Fat Wreck Chords.
"With Agents Of The Underground, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that we are still alive and kicking just below the consciousness of the mainstream media and are celebrating our place here in "The Underground"," says Strung Out vocalist Jason Cruz. "Like a resistance movement, we move freely and without boundaries. We say what we feel and do it all our own way, and we've done it all this time without radio, without TV, and without the help of a corporate record label. We are the essence of what the punk rock movement started out as and has strayed so far from. We are living proof that you can succeed by doing things your own way."
The band proves on Agents Of The Underground that they are still doing it their own way after all these years. Unlike previous releases, the five-piece enlisted an existing fan of the band, Cameron Webb (Motorhead, Ignite, Social Distortion), to produce the album, which helped the group record their strongest album to date. "We've done a lot of touring and made a lot of records," admits punk veteran Cruz, "and we have learned A LOT. I have a tendency to defy expectation and abandon what has already been achieved, and Cameron was great at balancing what people want to hear from Strung Out, and at the same time, letting the band move forward. I believe this album is truly the culmination of everything we've done."
Loyal fans that have been following the band throughout their twenty-year career will appreciate new Strung Out cuts like the driving "Ghetto Heater" and the shredding "Jack Knife," while "Carcrashradio" and "Vanity" will have new fans jumping around and shouting along at a live show like it was their tenth time seeing the band. Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara fans can get their first taste of the new album by checking out the band during the groups upcoming live shows (see dates below). A full US tour is being confirmed at the moment and will be announced shortly.
Strung Out's signature sound of punk fury and conciseness melded seamlessly with metal's technical guitar-work, blistering solos and pounding drums helped define a genre and made it acceptable for punks to actually explore their instruments instead of only learning 3-chords. Strung Out's influence can be heard on releases from a number of artists, such as Rise Against, AFI, Avenged Sevenfold, and Thrice, to name a few. In celebration of Strung Out's 20th Anniversary, a number of musicians who have been influenced by the band have decided to share their experiences and reflect on what Strung Out means to them.
"I remember hearing Another Day In Paradise for the first time back in '94 and being so blown away by it-- fast, melodic, energetic, metal-influenced punk rock, with beautiful harmonies and some of the best musicianship I'd ever heard in a punk band-- that I followed them around the West Coast like a Deadhead. I couldn't get enough of them. Strung Out was the soundtrack to some of the best (and worst) moments of the 90's for me. They were a huge influence on Thrice in our early stages, and I don't think I'd be in a band today if they didn't pique my interest in music back then." - Riley Breckenridge, drums/Thrice
"Some of our very first tours were opening for Strung Out, so I had the opportunity to see them live over and over. Growing up in the punk scene, but always having one foot in the metal scene, I appreciated the metal they blended together with pop and punk. Jason is one of the most compelling frontmen/lyricists in punk, and added imagery and intellect to a pop-punk scene inundated with goofy songs about farts or bad break-ups. Their complex riffs and harmonies challenged and inspired the scores of bands that would walk in their footsteps." - Tim McIlrath, vocals, guitars/Rise Against
"Strung Out was a major contributor to my musical influences growing up. Aside from metal, I was listening to a lot of west coast punk rock. Strung Out was different for me because they blended the sounds of melodic punk and metal unlike any band I had heard before them. They could play very well and very fast but still kept one foot in the punk rock scene. I still love throwing on Strung Out to hear the soundtrack to some of my greatest summers." - M. Shadows, vocals/Avenged Sevenfold
Strung Out is Jason Cruz (vocals), Jake Kiley (guitar), Rob Ramos (guitar), Chris Aiken (bass), and Jordan Burns (drums).