Leisure World's Brand of Punk Is Anything But Easygoing
Photo by Bibs Moreno, courtesy of the band
Don’t be deceived by their geriatric moniker and quasi hapless boy aesthetic, Fullerton-based quartet Leisure World are playing some of the most creative, noisy and pissed off punk rock ever named after a suburban retirement community. Comprised of two parts ex Half Goon rhythm section, one part No Side frontman, and one part ex ELLMS vocalist, Leisure World are a little bit of an OC underground supergroup, and for a band that started in January and has only played 10 shows, they’re off to a pretty good running start.
Vocalist Brian Rogers is no stranger to screaming, but spent the better half of the 00’s touring the United States as an acoustic solo act called Wilmot Proviso, which was a sentimental stripped down indie project that took Rogers everywhere from the East Coast to Alaska. Rogers’ lyrical trajectory has matured over the last decade, and his sound has gotten heavier since the days of unplugged shows. His current lyrics explore personal experiences, like “What Is Your Motivation,” a song about his good friend’s terminal bout with Cancer.
“I hadn't seen him in a few years and the disease made him almost unrecognizable to me from the last pictures I saw,” Rogers says. The two bonded by talking about music, especially their influences. “It made me think about my influences when I got into punk nearly 20 years ago and how as a person I would be somewhat unrecognizable to myself today.” “The Legend of the Mundane Existence” is about the dystopian at times hustle of living in Orange County, and working long hours just to survive. “I beat my body up to make a living, and I don't have kids or a family,” Rogers says. “I see people working harder than me just to support their families and spend all their time working so they can afford to live in so called paradise, but you just end up having a boring, shitty life.”
Anger and Orange County are two of Leisure World’s core influencers. “Growing up first generation in the US I learned from an early age that random people hate me and my family for being Mexican,” says guitarist Andy Paniagua (who is also the frontman of No Side), who loves playing heavy, raw music both as a fuck you to haters and because it takes him back to his dbeat and crust punk roots. “Every time some bigot says some shit to me, my family, my friends, or any person of color, it only adds to my overall anger,” Paniagua says, noting that if it wasn’t for anger he probably wouldn’t play music. Although bassist Erik Varho doesn’t identify as a pissed off person, he appreciates the outlet punk and hardcore gives him. “Possibly because I am repressed, maybe because I am a Libra, [but] having an environment to get pissed off in feels really good.”
Leisure World self recorded and self released their seven-track demo in June, and its brimming with raw, noisy punk driven by angular guitar work, growly bass, and that part-linear-part-space-all-heavy drumming Anaheim native Colin Knight has made a name for himself doing. They’ve already made a ripple in the sweaty underbelly of hardcore nerdery; even landing their mugs in the latest pages of Maximum Rock n Roll in the New Blood section. The tape has original artwork by Mexico City’s Abraham Diaz, an artist Varho became familiar with by collecting underground comics. They celebrated the release of their demo Tuesday to a stoked crowd at the Continental Room, alongside touring band Tunic from Winnipeg.
Moving forward, Leisure World plan to hit up the Bay Area in September, and are in the works of a West Coast tour for February 2017. Until then, they’ll probably play a couple of local shows, record a few new songs, and continue being pissed at their day jobs.
As for their name, Varho tried to find some deep meaning about “Leisure World” as “a metaphor for Orange County as a whole,” he says, “but in reality I just [proposed the idea] ‘cause my Grandma lives there.”
Leisure World are playing at Programme Skate and Sound Aug 18 with Layman, Fish Breath (SF), and Spit Tips (SF). $5, All ages. 2495 E Chapman Ave. Fullerton, CA, 92831.
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