An Interview with Teenage Bottlerocket

Laramie, Wyoming’s Teenage Bottlerocket have been making waves in the skate punk scene for well over a decade.  They are heading out for a tour in support of Pennywise and A Wilhelm Scream in leading up to the album’s release on March 31st.  They will be going to Germany with Masked Intruder and will be gracing a Pouzza stage this May.  They have played with acts from the Ghoulies to Nofx and even released two albums with Fat Wreck Chords.  Their upcoming release Tales from Wyoming will be released on Rise Records.

We spoke with Miguel Chen from Teenage Bottlerocket:

It seems that within the world of punk rock and most especially pop-punk/ skate punk it seems being on Fat Wreck Chords is somewhat of a seal of approval, why the label change?

Really we just wanted to try something new. Rise has a different crowd and it was a good chance for us to try and reach some new kids. Everyone at Fat was super cool about the move, we’re all still friends.

Is there anything that sets this album apart from previous releases?  What differences can fans expect to hear?

I like to think each record is similar to the old ones, but hopefully a little better. Same formula but we incorporate some tricks we’ve learned along the way. Also having Bill Stevenson produce this time around I think helped push us harder than ever.

Is it exciting or intimidating working with such an accomplished producer as Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents, All)?

We’ve been buddies with Bill for years so that aspect was really comfortable, we can hang out tell jokes and have fun. When it came to work however Bill really pushed us, and that can at times be intimidating or frustrating but at the end of the day he wants us to do the best we can and I think his efforts helped us make a better record.

The album is called Tales from Wyoming, is this a more personal record?

I think all of our records are just about what we know. The songs aren’t about cowboys or anything like that, but they are about things we know from growing up in Wyoming, like pizza, or scary movies. Really we have always been proud of being from here so it seemed like a nice way to share that. 

You guys have done tours and festivals; played all sorts of venues from taverns to concert halls, do you prefer a small tour or a larger cultural event like Pouzza?

I love it all, seriously. I know it sounds stereotypical but we’re just stoked to get to play shows and different types of shows are awesome for different reasons.

It seems you guys have played with some of the best modern punk bands around, who is your favorite band to play with?  What was your favorite tour or festival?

NOFX is always a blast to play with, great dudes, amazing band. As for festivals Groezrock is amazing, we are super stoked to be coming back for that this year.

Do you notice a difference between North American crowds to a European crowd or possibly from the U.S. to Canada or do you find it pretty much the same everywhere?

Crowds are different everywhere, and that’s the real beauty of traveling. You get to meet so many different people from such different backgrounds and it is a very humbling experience.

Wyoming is generally associated with cowboys and rodeos is it odd being a punk band from the heart of western culture?

It still surprises people when they find out where we’re from, but to us it feels totally normal.

Written and Compiled by Jarod Semple
Photo Credit – Johnny and Dawn Wilson


About Jarod Semple 24 Articles
Jarod is best known around the Southern Ontario scene as the high-energy lead singer and lyricist of the punk rock quartet The Readys, formerly known as James and the Readys. When he’s not touring the surrounding region with the band or reworking songs for their soon-to-be upcoming full length album, Jarod aspires to become a sci-fi/fantasy novelist. He currently lives in Tottenham, Ontario with his wife Sarah and his cat Thor. His literary inspirations include CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Chuck Palhanuik. Musically, you can find him on any day of the week rocking out to Tool, Thrice, Mars Volta, The Flatliners, and Dropkick Murphys.

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