The Golden Pelicans on a Return to Punk: "People Are Pretty Angry These Days"
Orlando punk band the Golden Pelicans requires that the crowds at its shows pay close attention to their noggins.
This past September, onstage at a rock gathering of the wildest sort -- Gonerfest 11 in Memphis -- frontman Erik Grincewicz shook two bottles of champagne, sprayed down the audience, and threw one bottle to the floor.
"I think he was thinking it would hit the ground and break," explains drummer Rich Evans, "but it didn't. It just bounced off of the stage, real high into the air. It was, like, in slow motion." From behind his drum set, Evans had a good view of the whole thing. "I was like, 'Oh my God, someone's going to get killed.'"
Sorry to disappoint the most depraved of you readers, but no one died. The crowd simply parted as it fell. But, Evans admits, "You could hear it break above the music."
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Gonerfest was just one of the festivals the Golden Pelicans played in 2014. The band also took the stage at Georgia's Meltasia Music Festival, Atlanta Mess-Around, and (the appropriately titled) Pelican Pow Wow in New Orleans. The band also just got back from a short tour with Memphis act Ex-Cult.
Evans is excited about this year of favorable reviews and time on the road. Of those shows, he says, "They've mostly been really well attended, which is something really new to us."
The band is made up of veteran musicians. Most members started out under a different name, making more "beachy" punk as Slippery Slopes. Three years ago, Evans, bassist Sammy Meneses, and frontman Grincewicz had a conflict with the Slippery Slopes guitarist and swapped him out for Scott Barnes. "He has a harder guitar sound" than the former guitarist, Evans explains, "and the rest of us just went with that." The band also changed its name.
The Cooper City-bred drummer was raised ingesting heavy doses of punk at Miami's Churchill's Pub. Evans is also the founder of (currently inactive) record label Florida's Dying and his newest endeavor, Total Punk. "I wanted to start something that was a little more cohesive, that was going in a certain direction, something that was immediately recognizable," he says. Now, instead of a mix of garage and other rock sub-genres, the releases are all punk.
"There's a lot of good punk bands coming out right now," Evans reflects. When discussing why it seems like lately a lot of musicians have gone back to these sonic roots, he says, "For one thing, I think people are pretty angry these days. I think that kind of plays into the whole punk thing."
And not only that, the people playing punk aren't just teens with premature tattoos and mohawks. There's been a return to this anarchical sound for many. "It seems like a lot of the good punk coming out right now is by older people. Which is really cool... I think the older you get, you kind of get grumpier," Evans laughs, "We're all in our mid- to late-thirties now. I think we're just a bunch of grumpy old men. It plays into that."
But it's not just that genre experiencing a renaissance. Evans says hardcore's on the comeback with a new, but old, crowd. "I got really bored with hardcore, but there's a lot of really good hardcore bands coming out right now. And they have an interesting approach to it. It's not just run-of-the-mill Southern California hardcore, it's actually interesting and it has rock-and-roll influences and lot of things going on."
Still, Evans made sure to mention young bands that are maximizing both their talents and the range of the internet, like Lumpy & The Dumpers, a band that's on his True Punk label. Its first single sold out in eight hours; the second single, in five.
Right now, the Golden Pelicans has also sold out of almost all of its merch. The band has about two copies left of its eponymous 12" record. This week's show at Kreepy Tiki Tattoos in Fort Lauderdale will be one of the last times it plays live for a while because the band will be focused entirely on recording so they have something to sell when they venture to Europe next summer to tour and play a festival in Hamburg.
When you head out to the show, know that you'll certainly leave damp. And remember to keep your eyes to the sky, just in case.
The Golden Pelicans with Sandratz, Lazer Puzzy, and the Gun Hoes, 10 p.m., Friday, December 19, at Kreepy Tiki Tattoos & Boutique, 2606 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale.
Cover is $5. Call 305-803-9014, or visit kreepytikitattoos.com.
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