Black Market Syndicate are true believers. Besides releasing second album And the Peasants Rejoiced at Fitzgerald's Saturday, the Houston punk quartet is streaming it all weekend on their ReverbNation page. For the people.
Produced by Street Dogs' Johnny Rioux, Peasants stands up for the powerless and dreams of escaping the workaday routine in barricade-storming, fifth-column would-be anthems like "Disenfranchised Rebellion," "Greed and Hate," "Great Leap Forward" and "Avalanche." It's very much in the proud tradition of a couple of their punk heroes you'll read about in a bit.
Rocks Off subjected the five-year-old band's singer and guitarist Randy Rost to the third degree via e-mail earlier this week. Okay, maybe two and a half degrees.
Rocks Off: Tell us a little bit more about the band. Something even your fans might not know.
Randy Rost: Well... I didn't really go to school until the ninth grade. And that year I skipped 64 nonconsecutive days in one semester until I got caught, haha. Somehow I passed and graduated, though (Says a lot about the public school system, right?)
Gaspar (bassist) LOVES comic books! Especially Batman, Punisher and Preacher.
All Nathan's (guitarist) Ex's Live in Texas, he's an amateur filmmaker and member of the KISS army (although he claims he was drafted).
Matt (drummer) Just had his first son a few months back and is getting married April 28
RO: Why did you decide to make Peasants vinyl only?
RR: A record is a validating artifact both for the artist and the listener. It maintains (and often appreciates) in value. It's a far more collectible piece of memorabilia than a CDR. The artwork is also bigger, and the jacket can even look good framed on the wall of your living room.
Statistically vinyls are booming while CDs are quickly going the way of the 8-track. I'm not certain, but I don't even think new cars are being manufactured with CD players in them anymore. Only 1/8" jacks for iPhones.
Our solution for making nostalgia meet the digital age halfway is including a free digital download code inside every record. You go to the host Web site, enter the code and presto... ATPR is on your computer.
RO: Where can people buy the album?
RR: As of April 21, the physical album will be available on most online retailers (Amazon, Best Buy, etc.) and the digital album will be on all digital retailers (iTunes, Amazon digital, etc.). The album will also be available at www.blackmarketsyndicate.com.
RO: I hear a lot of Rancid on the album. Was that an important band for you?
RR: Oh, for sure... Our two biggest influences would have to be the Clash and Rancid. I would go as far as to say they are the two most important bands of the last three and a half decades. Both were able to basically write songs about anything. From horse-track races to the music industry to the illuminati to crime to just having fun.
And they did so while being musically diverse and without being contrite or pretentious. Both truly chronicled the human condition of the 20th century unlike any other. Period. Getting to open for them a few years back was a show that has yet to be topped.
RO: What are some of the other punk rock bands out there in the trenches with BMS right now?
RR: Everybody playing on our record release show gets a big thumbs up from us. Jason Bancroft and the Wealthy Beggars are a fantastic folk group from Houston as well. Another Houston band that really impressed me were The $ellouts. We're really proud to be from the same city as all of those guys.
Some other bands we've met on the road that are really good would have to be Big Attack (Philadelphia), Dead Town Revival (Chicago), Mission VS. Madness (Lafayette, Louisiana.), and the Hand Me Downs (Detroit). I could fill a page, though. There's a ton of great people making great music out there.
RO: Who are a few of the band's working-class heroes?
RR: Mine would have to be James J. Braddock. He was a real people's champion. An incredible fighter with a hell of a comeback story. It's also awesome irony that he ended up owning machinery used on the same docks he had to work on during the Depression.
RO: What is Houston's punk scene like right now?
RR: It's pretty big. I mean, Houston is gigantic and all of its outlying areas both have lots of bands and fans. Sadly, you rarely see all of 'em out at one time. Unless it's for a really huge show.
And even then, there's so many different subcategories of punk. Some people don't like the poppy stuff. Some people don't like the fast, thrashy stuff, some people only like Oi!. But I think there is also a good amount of people that just appreciate a diverse range of music styles as well.
The other sad thing is that there hasn't been a punk revival in mainstream music since the early 2000s, so I'm not seeing too many young kids at shows anymore. Unless their parents or older siblings get 'em into it or something.
RO: Do people pogo anymore?
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RR: Haha. I think. People do all sorts of nonsense.
With Skeleton Dick, Dead to the World and the American Heist, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak.