Rundown Kreeps // Feature Friday
Written by: Kayla Lee
If you've ever found yourself wondering what all exactly is being cooked up in the hot Los Angeles sun, feast your eyes (err, ears, rather) on the Rundown Kreeps. They have a new album (with some older tracks included) out now, titled Illside Village. From the fun, colorful album art to the rapid fire track list, this album is one that you can come back to time and time again without feeling bored.
This trio is comprised of brothers Richard and Steven Lamas, with both sharing vocal duties and playing guitar and drums respectively, and Anthony Melendez on bass. While the band is only made up of three members, their sound is full and complete -- nothing seems to be lacking, which is evident from the start of the record.
Are they punk? Are they ska? Are they rockabilly? Don't worry -- they're actually a creatively wonderful blend of all of the above, and then some.
The opening track "Me & Jay In Space", is a fast ska inspired jam that kicks off the album with short, simple lyrics ("Wake up / look at my phone / oh no its time to go / I'll pack the ramen if you take the blankets and hot cocoa") coupled with an appealing instrumental rhythm. Not to worry-- the rest of the songs meets the mark and continues to impress.
Noteworthy songs include "Pulling Pins", which is a classic sounding punk rock track supported by Richard's guitar and backed by cascading drums that drive the song forward. Joined by the starkly dark lyrics "Oh a heart is mending / with your deficit spending of life/ A tragedy as another landmine blows up / why can't you see / nothing matters to them it's a matter of life / mourn a tragedy as the bombs go spinning round and round and round and round and round", this track truly makes the gears in your mind turn and take current events into consideration.
"Here Nor There" slows things down a bit, with an almost beachy vibe and sing-songy lyrics that are easy to dance to. The second to last track on the album, "You Belong'd To Me" showcases Richard's versatility, both vocally and lyrically. The opening lyrics can certainly hit home for listeners from various walks of life-- "I don't know if I'm glad to have met you / We've had our good times and our bad".
Overall, even if you aren't a huge ska fan, or a huge rockabilly fan, or even a huge punk fan, there's at least one track on the album that you'll enjoy due to the groups assorted sound.
Location: Punx In The Woods Music Festival
I asked Richard, Rundown Kreeps vocalist / guitarist, some questions about tour memoroeis, live shows, and more. Check out his answers below!
Q: With Illside Village's recent release, what tracks are your favorite to play live and why?
A: It really depends on the crowd. If we're in a punk dominant atmosphere then I would have to say "Pulling Pins" and "Silent Shots." Although if the audience seems to be leaning towards Ska music or even just a mellower mood, I'd have to say "Here Nor There" or "Not A Clue". "You Belong'd To Me" is also fun to play live, there's something about performing a sad acoustic song in a rowdy environment that feels almost taboo.
Q: What do you think that musicians can do to make sure that their shows are fun for everyone?
A: I'm not so sure how to answer that one other than to have a large selection of material to choose from. Although I honestly believe that regardless of genre, if you're enjoying yourself on stage, the music is on point, and your state of mind is away from negativity the show will be good. Law of attraction.
Q: How did you decide on the name Rundown Kreeps?
A: We named the band after the Stray Cats song "Runaway Boys" and the Social Distortion song "The Creeps". Those were a couple of the first songs that we learned as a band. The original name was "Runaway Creeps" but we all thought it was pretty lame. It only took us about 15 minutes to decide on the change from Runaway to Rundown and also to swap the "C" in creeps to a "K". I honestly think our name is still sort of lame.
Q: Your music definitely doesn't fit into one specific genre. Which artists inspire you the most when writing?
A: We take influence from everywhere. To be honest if I had to choose specific names I'd say Operation Ivy, Toy Dolls, Action Bronson, Tom Waits, AC/DC and Soom T. But that still wouldn't truly be something that affects my writing in a major way. We come up with new material in a very erratic fashion and only release what we believe has potential to be a good song.
Q: What's your favorite memory from the road so far?
A: That's another question that's hard to answer. I find fun in hilariously awkward and potentially dangerous situations, and we’ve encountered a few of those on the road. There was the time that we got lost in the woods of Packwood, WA at night and had to drive cliff side for four hours in hopes that we’d hit some sort of phone reception or town.
For those of you who’ve never been in the woods at night, I’d like to point out that it is absolutely 100% pitch black. The scene felt like we were stuck in the Blair Witch Project. I was beginning to convince myself that we were permanently trapped between the trees. Everyone was terrified and even though no one would admit it, the look amongst our faces was clear. So we began to take bong rips every 5-10 minutes to keep our minds away from the fear. Not a conventional idea, but it was all that we could come up with at the moment.
We figured that it would either calm us down, or at least make the thought of inevitable disaster slightly more acceptable. That was until we came face to face with an elk that was larger than the truck we toured in. We all sobered up real fuckin' quick and for a good 15 seconds I was almost certain it was going to ram us off of the cliff. Luckily nothing happened to us that night.
Despite the elk, the darkness, the altitude, and the lack of a sense of direction we were somehow able to find our way to the PUNX IN THE WOODS festival. The next day we got to hang out 15+ ft. up in a hammock kingdom made by Tacoma punk rockers that offered us acid. They were some of the nicest people we’ve ever met out on the road.
I can also recall the time that our old bassist ate cod that an El Paso punk forcefully farted on in front of us. The result was us having to watch him take a shit barefoot on the side of the freeway in the middle of the desert at 114 degrees, but that’s a story for another time.
Q: You've played a lot of West Coast shows. Are there any plans to tour the East Coast in the future?
A: We will definitely be hitting the East Coast sometime in the future. As for when, we’re not too sure of. We do all of our booking independently and are waiting for the right bills to line up so that we could make the trip. I’d love to hit Boston, Florida, and New York. It’s definitely just a matter of time.
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