OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The punks are getting a raw deal in OKC.
With all the various musical styles around the city and state, from our increasingly visible and lauded indie rock acts, to the enduring hard rock and metal scenes, to the immortal country and folk communities, Oklahoma is known for a lot of music. We even boast a rich jazz history being carried by a new generation and the city’s rap and hip-hop scenes have started making movies on a national stage.
With so much going on, it’s easy to miss the punk rockers, especially when recent years have seen the majority of their spaces shuttered, closed, repurposed, or run out.
Music and Film
with Brett Fieldcamp
Drunken Fry is gone. Hi-Lo is closing this week. Blue Note has been shuttered since last year while they renovate and possibly completely re-brand. The handful of warehouses and back rooms that used to be perfect DIY spaces have all shut down or sold.
Only 89th Street is still going strong, but one venue can only offer so much relief to a community starved for exposure.
And that gave Zach Green, Lead Production Brewer at Roughtail, lifelong punk, and stalwart punk show organizer, an idea.
“Just on a crap shoot, I went to the guys here at Roughtail and I was like ‘hey, we’ve got touring bands coming through on a Sunday night. My buddy’s got a PA, so I really just need a roof and electricity. What do you guys think?’” Green told me. “And they were super amenable to it.”
With the go-ahead given, the experiment was on. The bill sported Ohio’s Body Farm, Big Laugh, all the way from Wisconsin, and heavy-hitting locals Primal Brain and Grandpa Vern, all can’t-miss hardcore acts, but would punk rockers actually flock out to a Northside brewery taproom on a Sunday night?
Well, don’t ever underestimate the support of the punk community.
“Next thing you know, 200 kids pour in through the door on a Sunday night at 8:30,” Green said. “It was a no-brainer on the business end for these guys.”
The brewery has hosted more shows since then, quickly starting to become a welcoming punk destination, especially for touring acts with little wiggle room in their schedules to accommodate the usually packed slate at 89th Street.
Green has long been close with 89th Street operators Nick Hampson and Caleb Montgomery, and has no intention of trying to compete with them or even to profit from these Roughtail shows personally.
“I keep 0% of the money,” Green said. “I keep no money, I give nearly all to the bands, and give the rest to the bartender. Every band gets paid, from the touring band all the way down to the opening band of teenagers. Everybody’s going to walk away with some money. It’s 2022. We’ve all got expenses. And these kids are stoked to make $75, because that’s money to record their demo.”
For Green, it’s just about being able to support the community they love and to help lift up these bands and this music at a time when the city has mostly abandoned them.
As one of the organizers of Roughtail’s upcoming 9th Anniversary Party on April 16th, Green will no doubt have another big opportunity to put more eyes and ears onto that scene at the brewery.
“It was just kind of one of things that fell into my lap,” they said. “Between playing punk shows, booking punk shows, and working in a brewery, it all just kind of came together.”
Keep up with shows and happenings at Roughtail Brewing (including upcoming announcements about the 9th Anniversary Party) by following @roughtailbrewingco on Instagram, and @roughtailbeer on Twitter and Facebook.
And check out Zach Green’s own band, the blistering Inferna, by following @infernaokc on Instagram.
And … This!
Speaking of punks, party-rockers On Holiday are gearing up to drop their newest single, “Island Paradise,” on April 15th, and the track is a big step for the usually straightforward, booze-minded pop-punkers.
Opening with a wistful piano melody, “Paradise” announces itself pretty quickly as a departure or experiment for a band normally focused on the kind of driving guitar and fist-pumping, four-on-the-floor drums that defined their most recent release, the “2AM” EP.
This new track eventually opens up to that tried-and-true sound, but this time with a more focused take on some of that classic late-90’s pop-punk, bringing the piano back into the fold and culminating, late into the surprisingly nearly 5-minute track, in a rousing group vocal.
A perfect singalong soundtrack to some impending summer weekends.
Check out onholiday405.com to find all the band’s links and to be among the first to catch “Island Paradise” when it drops on April 15th.
Last Updated March 30, 2022, 4:13 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor