Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards is a side project band that Lars and Tim Armstrong
put together and released on the independent label Hellcat Records
. During some off time in between Rancid tours, Tim had an idea and said to Lars, “I love your stories about Campbell
and I think we need to put them on wax
So they got together, wrote some songs, covered a couple more, and with Tim at the helm as a producer, banged out 12 tracks. They wrote, recorded and mixed in five days - this album is really just another extension of their independent roots and creativity. Rancid is a family and this record shows their tightness as a unit and their love for the music.
Lars, on his formative years in Campbell, California:
“Ben, my right hand man and I stayed on Sharmon Palms and acquired what would be a lifetimes worth of scams and good times. You see Ben was punk as fuck and the craziest kid on the block. If you did something like steal a bike he stole two, if you drank a twelve-pack he drank a case. I mean he was crazy, but so charismatic. He could talk you into anything, but at the same time would look out for your best interests, kind of like Loki from Norse mythology.
When he spoke to me, I felt his words with conviction. We always looked out for each other. We stole with each other, drank, fought and fucked around with one another’s heads, all in good fun. We were the terrible twins, christened by our comrades and arm in arm we tried to take over the world.”
The Bastard's are made up of a bunch of Lars' boys from around the way:
Lars Fredericksen: Guitar and Vocals
Big Jay: Bass
Scott Abels: Drums
Craig Frederiksen: Guitar and Vocals
'The Unknown Bastard': Background vocals and Misc. instrumentation.
The unknown bastard wears a ski hat for all the Bastard's shows, but he is truly Matt W. Matt, along with Craig, are two members of San Francisco's hard-hitting street punk band "The Forgotten." Craig also happens to be Lars' younger brother.
The self-titled album was released in August 2000.
2) Dead American
3) 6 Foot 5
4) To Have and Have Not
5) Army of Zombies
6) Campbell California
7) Wine and Roses
9) Ten Plagues of Egypt
10) Leavin' Here
The band then went on the Sing Loud, Sing Proud tour headlined by the Boston skinhead gutter band the Dropkick Murphys and also featuring Swinging Utters and Reach the Sky.
"This album provide a series of portraits that do more to document the essence of real-life punk culture than the majority of the past three years’ worth of releases combined ... it recreates both the daily comings and goings of the punk subculture as well as giving voice to the frustration and desperation that continue to fuel the movement. When he tells the story of a skinhead’s struggle against the law and boredom (6 Foot 5) or a veteran’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (Vietnam) or documents the ups and downs of Campbell’s punks (Subterranean) he paints pictures straight off the streets as vibrant and lucid as it gets. Other tracks speak directly of his experience running with gangs in his hometown with a clarity and honesty that’s as rare as uranium in punk songwriting.
Frederiksen isn’t only able to capture the lives of street punks on this album. He also takes a stab at translating their frustrations into song. Smashing and angry songs like 'Army of Zombies' and 'Dead American' blaze with the desperate, futile anger that shackles the dreams of generation after generation of isolated punks. With Frederiksen’s admission that he’s "just as fucked up as all those guys" (Subterranean), it’s clear he’s got a grip on the perilous emotional drives of his punk compatriots.
Musically, the Bastards don’t break from the mold of typical Frederiksen/Armstrong songwriting, and comes off with a sound that finds the same feel as Rancid’s Let’s Go! or Out Come the Wolves. Snarling guitars dominate the mix, though never find the need to explode into over-amplified excess, and give this album an understated edge ... Less knee-jerk hard punk and more honest songwriting, Frederiksen returns to the same sounds and ideas that marked Rancid’s mid-’90s heyday."
I was lucky enough to catch the "Sing Loud Sing Proud" tour in March of 2001, and the show remains one of the best I have ever seen. I have seen Lars play with Rancid numerous times, and for such an old hardcore punker, I have never met a more soft-spoken, articulate, nice guy. I wish he was my uncle.
When I got to the Dropkick show, I had never heard the Bastards before. The first song they played was "To Have and Have Not." The anthem style, combined with the all too true lyrics got the fists pumping in the air faster than I've ever seen. "...Just because you're better than me, Doesn't me I'm-a lazy. Just because you're going forwards doesn't mean I'm going backwards..." Couldn't have said it better myself.
That show had some extra significance for the Frederiksens. As Lars explained to the crowd before their set, he and Craig's middle brother had died a few days before, and this was the first show they were playing since they'd heard the news. A club full of streetcore tattooed mohawked gutter punks and skins was absolutely silent for a full minute. I saw some of the boys crying. After the show, a few of my friends and I went over to the merchandise table and talked to Craig and Lars for about half an hour. I couldn't respect those guys more, and no matter how you feel about punk (here comes the plug) the Bastards album is one you should try and check out.
"The menace of success oppress rebellion/
The men who play chess with the human weapons/
The rally of ideas is the question/
The city awaits total annihilation/
Living under the muzzle of a gun this is no holiday in the sun/
It's disturbing it's subversion/
"V" is not for victory but for vacant homes/"-Wine and Roses
"Well the light from the alleys brings warmth to the night/We're meager disciples they gather in rite/
It's time for the indignant paupers to speak/
This town belongs to me/
The gravel lines archways/
The perilous streets were desperate deeds/
Find buyers in heaps/
God bless the concrete and chaos it keeps"-Campbell CA