July 15, 2024

By 1987, Punk was over a decade old – a lifetime in pop culture. Funny thing, the same conditions and sense of desperation that initially sparked the movement still existed. In a blue-collar California backwater (Albany) guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong and bassist Matt Freeman (aka Matt McCall) started the short-lived Operation Ivy. When that group bit the dust, Armstrong and Freeman teamed with drummer Brett Reed to form Rancid.

The group produced a five track “single” titled “I’m Not The Only One.” They considered adding Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong as a second guitarist but went with Lars Frederiksen during the recording of their debut album. The self-titled ’93 set on the legendary Epitaph Records launched the group on their first national tour followed by European dates.

In ’94, the epic (23 songs) “Let’s Go” was released to critical acclaim and platinum sales. Success like that doesn’t go unnoticed. Soon the group was offered a contract with Madonna’s Maverick label and Epic Records. Rancid turned them down deciding to stay with their “friends” Epitaph.

“… And The Wolves Came Out” hit in ’95 and it too was a major seller. The album, notable for “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho,” saw Rancid broaden their sound.

Three years later “Life Won’t Wait” featured tracks recorded in Jamaica. The song “Cash, Culture and Violencerecorded with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ vocalist Dicky Barrett.

After and extended break, including some side projects, Rancid unleashed “Indestructible” in ’03. But after a supporting trek, Rancid went on yet another hiatus.

Rancid got back together for some ’06 acoustic shows that became part of Hellcat Records’ “Hellcat Nights.” The group released a DVD containing all their music videos to date in advance of a world tour. However, Reed checked out and Branden Steineckert was selected as his replacement. Next, the group issued “B Sides And C Sides” which as the name implied was a collection of songs that were on the flipside of singles or had appeared on compilations.

“Let The Dominoes Fall” dropped in ’09. It was their first album without the complete original line-up (thanks to Reed’s departure). But before the album hit, Rancid launched a joint U.S. tour with Rise Against. “This tour is the face of Punk today,” said Tim McIlrath of Rise Against.

Rancid filled the next five years touring and marking their 20th anniversary before the arrival of “…Honor Is All We Know.”

The band’s ninth studio album, “Trouble Maker,” topped Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart as Rancid embarked on a co-headlined the “From Boston to Berkeley Tour” with Dropkick Murphys.  There was also a ’21 edition of the tour.

Rancid released its tenth studio album, “Tomorrow Never Comes,” with the title track serving as the lead single.

Produced by Brett Gurewitz, Epitaph Records founder and longtime Rancid collaborator, “Tomorrow Never Comes” was released in ’23 via Epitaph and Hellcat Records – an independent label that’s a partnership between Gurewitz and Armstrong.

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