By Sarah Mac
CALGARY – Calling all eager ears, Bay Area street punks Swingin’ Utters are bringing peace, love, and stupid lullabies back to the prairies this fall. Founded back in the filthy heaven of 1987, the Swingin’ Utters recently celebrated 30 years of music, the hiatus from 2003-2010 not withstanding.
Innovators and trend-breakers, the Swingin’ Utters extend beyond their punk rock roots, mixing in Celtic influences, strings, and accordions. Of course, there’s a classic UK-style punk, but it’s mixed with a traditional West Coast feel. Their 1995 debut The Streets of San Francisco was released via New Red Archives, then the band was scooped up by the punkcentric Fat Wreck Chords, releasing their definitive LP, A Juvenile Product of the Working Class. Consistent in their quest for sonic diversity, the blue-collar heroes have earned a legion of fans and something they never expected; an enormous amount of respect.
“We never really got very big, but one thing I’m really proud of us for is we’ve always been unique. There’s not a lot of bands like us; as far as exploring different genres, mixing it up on our records and lacking a totally distinct sound,” explains guitarist, vocalist and plumber-by-trade Darius Koski.
“When we write records, we go into the studio with what we have and it just works. Since we’re each interested in so many different types of music, our music reflects that. We could never do the same record over and over again. But, there’s always songs on our records that sound like a Swingin’ Utters song.” He laughs.
Several years have passed since the release of their 2014 album, Fistful of Hollow, but Swingin’ Utters are not ones to milk their down time. They released their ninth studio album on Fat Wreck Chords, Peace and Love, this August.
“I think this record [Peace and Love] brings us back to the basics. Not as much over dubbing, instrumentation or strings. It’s pretty stripped down and kind of just straight ahead punk rock. It’s a pretty fuckin’ angry record too and I think this is our most political record we’ve ever done. But, I don’t think we could help getting a little political, everything is so hateful and fucked right now in our country. So, I thought we should call it Peace and Love. We’re not a hippie band, but that’s what it’s all about and what everybody should aspire to, it’s genuine. It just made sense.”
Setting the tone for the shape of punk to come along with vocalist Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel, guitarist/vocalist Jack Dalrymple, bassist Tony Teixeira and drummer Luke Ray, Koski is pleased that Peace and Love’s release date is perfectly aligned with a fall tour. If you’re a fan of ‘80s punk, undertakers, sirens, spiders, springtime and pure human potential, be sure to pick up a copy and don’t miss the Swingin’ Utters when they head up north this summer.
Dickens Pub, Swingin’ Utters, The Starlite Room
Swingin’ Utters play September 20 at The Starlite Room (Edmonton) and September 21 at Broken City (Calgary).