“We owe it to the fans who have kept us going all these years,” says Strung Out’s Jake Kiley. “They’ve kept us fired up to keep going.” This has been the ethos for the Simi Valley band, now in its twenty-sixth year in existence. The band's latest album, Transmission.Alpha.Delta, its eighth, was released this past March, and the almost-always on tour outfit is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Along with original members Jason Cruz and Rob Ramos, Kiley has soldiered on in a punk rock career that has retained relativity and continuity thanks in part to Strung Out's chemistry. “Like with anything, after we’re together for months on end, there are times when you’re like, ‘I can’t wait to get away from these guys.’ But after a couple of weeks you just can’t wait to get back. It’s the kind of thing everyone needs in their life.”
Originating in an era when the Southern California punk sound dominated the underground airwaves, Strung Out was an anomaly in a sea ruled by Bad Religion, NOFX, and numerous other similar-sounding bands. While it is true that other bands from that era have continued their careers and have evolved and refined their sound, Strung Out came out of the gate with its eclectic attitude.
“We’ve seen a lot of different bands come and go over the last 25 years, that’s for sure. That SoCal kind of style that we grew up with: Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies, Excel — all that stuff also mixed with thrash metal. And then we got into the Descendants and the melodic stuff. It was just a fusion of all that and during the ‘90s we just did our thing, and into the 2000’s a lot of the old bands kinda stopped but we just wanted to keep going.”
This singular approach has yielded eight full-length albums over the span of Strung Out's career. From its debut Another Day in Paradise to this year’s release, Strung Out has maintained a relationship with Fat Mike’s (NOFX) California-based independent record label Fat Wreck Chords, and has managed close to a hundred percent of its releases through the large independent label.
“Our relationship with the label has always been very dependable,” notes Kiley. “We’ve always been able to rely on them and they’ve always trusted us without asking to hear demos and that kind of thing. They just believe in what we want to do. And also, thank you so much to everyone who has stuck with us and to everyone who has come out to the shows. It means a lot to us and I just want to say thank you to anyone who has come out and supported us."
It helps that Strung Out, regardless of what the band's moniker might imply, has strived to focus on its career and musicianship, and has been afforded the support from a sympathetic label. The band has come a long way from the punk rock politics of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but with a little humility and perseverance, the boys managed to stay ahead. That’s pretty punk rock.
Strung Out with Red City Radio, Break the Hero, and La Armada at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 15, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. 18+, advance tickets cost $18 plus fees and $20 at the door. Call 561-832-9999 or visit respectablestreet.com.