All Ships Rise: Punk lifer Lars Frederiksen shares his hope for hardcore's future while revisiting his blue-collar beginnings
For the most recent edition of the Knotfesf original podcast series, Hardlore: Stories from Tour, hosts Colin Young and Bo Lueders welcomed a legendary figure in the space of generational punk.
With a tenure spanning more than three decades and a resume that includes Old Firm Casuals, Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards and, of course, Rancid, just to list a few, Lars Frederiksen sat in for a candid, comprehensive conversation that took a chronological snapshot of his lifelong connection to the culture.
Breaking routine and skipping ahead to the present, the guys began the discussion by diving into Lars' viral fame as one of the internet's most enduring reaction memes. The musician shared how he initially came across the meme and thought it was funny - having a good sense of humor about his oft-used quote.
Framing his blue-collar Bay area beginnings, Lars segued into what first hooked him on punk. While he found a kinship with one other punk in his neighborhood, Lars confided his introduction to the sound came from rather wholesome source material. Lars shared that Rock and Roll High School was his personal punk rock gateway. He explained that both he and his brother would circle the airtimes for the film in the TV Guide - that was how much they loved the film.
Further delving into how vital The Ramones have always been, Lars also spoke about the band's legendary final show that both he and Rancid counterpart Tim Armstrong participated back in the mid-90's and revealed that it was never supposed to be The Ramones last show. Lars shared that Rancid was supposed to head out on a South American tour with the legends, though that never materialized - making the joint performance of "53rd and 3rd" all the more monumental.
Underscoring Lars' rank as a lifer in the community, he revisited stories about being a young, territorial punk, finding his friends in the circle pit and shared how those early days proved to be especially formative in his first bands. He recalled a show he played as the guitarist in The Nowhere Men and how a cover of the UK Subs his band did ultimately caught the attention of the UK Subs who happened to see the Bay area set in person one fateful night. Proving to be cosmic, that night eventually led to Lars joining UK Subs for a brief stint.
Frederiksen revisited more history, recalling the era when punk and metal, especially in the thriving Bay Area scene, went from feuding to friendly as both communities found common ground on the faster end of the stylistic spectrum. Lars even recalled being an an especially important thrash metal show, watching Steve "Zetro" Souza play his first show as the singer of Exodus.
Reiterating the sense of community that has always been integral to both punk and hardcore, Lars maintains that communal outlook, sharing his excitement about the current renaissance of the sound. Citing , "All ships rise with the tide," Lars explained that while the current wave of punk and hardcore might be different from the pedigree he came up with - like an Agnostic Front - he believes the growing popularity of the music is good for everyone - "I wanna see this music become the most popular music in the world, because that is how much I love it."
Using Turnstile as a point of reference, Lars emphasized that he hopes the band "sells more records than Metallica" and explained that their surge is indicative of the culture evolving, progressing and thriving for the next generation to experience. Lars spoke with a sense of pride, explaining that the ostracism and beatdowns he endured as a young punk, makes the success of current bands cut from that same confrontational cloth that much more rewarding.
The conversation revisited the earliest days of Rancid, dating back to the sophomore album in 1994's Let's Go. The veteran revealed how the seminal album took all of three days to complete in the studio and how that segued right into the release of ...And Out Come the Wolves just a year later due to Rancid remaining diligent as songwriters.
The conversation covered plenty of Rancid history, including the time Madonna tried to court the band to Maverick via very, unconventional, means. The trio also spoke about the band's longstanding relationship both their producer and their record label, Epitaph. From emerging bands to the future of Rancid after three decades and ten studio albums, the conversation offered important, first-hand insight from one of punk's most ardent ambassadors.
Stream the latest episode of Hardlore: Stories from Tour featuring special guest Lars Frederiksen from Rancid below.
Rancid's tenth studio album, Tomorrow Never Comes lands next month. The album amounts to a whopping 16-track punk masterclass and arrives as the band sets out on their European tour this summer with The Bronx and Grade2. Rancid will also be headlining the 2023 edition of Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, NV in addition to confirmed plays at Louder Than Life in Louisville and Aftershock this fall in Sacramento.
Tomorrow Never Comes will be released on June 2nd via Epitaph Records.
Pre-orders are available HERE.