It’s been 20 years since Pulley broke out on to the SoCal punk scene with Esteem Driven Engine, but the five-piece hasn’t exactly been counting the weeks. Sure, it’s great for any band to cross the two-decade mark, but some things have never changed for Pulley. After a certain point, recording and going on tour with a punk rock band just becomes a regular part of life.
“There’s probably nothing more self-gratifying than being able to preserve yourself for that long,” says vocalist Scott Radinsky, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Angels after spending well over a decade as a Major League pitcher. “That right there in itself is an accomplishment and something to be proud of. The evolution [of Pulley] is just the natural progression of life for the most part. I’m glad that we’re able to continue to be a part of it.”
But as much of an accomplishment as keeping a band together for half of a lifetime may be, the guys in Pulley aren’t resting on their accomplishments. On November 18, they released No Change in the Weather – an aptly titled sixth full-length given the consistency in musical style from the veteran band – their first new record since Matters released over 12 years ago.
No Change in the Weather is exactly what Pulley fans have come to expect over the decades. The band’s first release on Cyber Tracks – El Hefe of NOFX’s record label – is unapologetic, unrelenting, and a fitting return to form for a band that had only released a handful of songs in the decade prior.
“[No Change in the Weather] is generally lumped in the same pile of music as some of the first stuff we ever did,” Radinsky says. “We have a sound and a style and a direction that we continue to stick with – like a formula. We know what works for us, and we stick with it.”
Although the sound of the band may not have changed too much over the last 20 years, creating that sound has certainly gotten easier for the veteran punks. With guitarists Jim Blowers and Mike Harder, Tyler Rebbe on bass and drummer Chris Dalley, Pulley’s musicianship is at an all-time high, but the major improvement is that songwriting is no longer a trial and error process. From the moment they begin laying down riffs and lyrics, Radinsky and his bandmates often know roughly where a song is going.
“The songwriting has gotten better as we’ve all matured and figured out what works and what doesn’t work through trial and error.” Radinsky says. “We don’t waste as much time hashing things out anymore. We know what sounds right before we even start with something, and I think that makes the songwriting process a little easier. We’re better and faster at writing a song than we were 20 years ago.”
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While much of that songwriting efficiency is a result of the experience and improvements in the band’s members, it’s also been about learning what they’re not meant to do. Rather than trying to expand into new genres or tackle complicated and convoluted themes, Pulley knows what they’re good at (and what their fans expect) and where their limitations are. So far, staying within their range has kept them successful for 20 years, and they don’t have any plans of stopping now.
“I don’t think any one of us are going to sit and say we’re some super accomplished musicians or composers,” Radinsky says. “We’ve never been afraid to take risks and do things. We have some random songs that have different sounds and styles to them, but for the most part we’ve generally stuck to the same thing. We do what we, do and we’ve found a little niche that we thought we were pretty decent at. It just came easier to us than doing the other stuff that we weren’t quite as good at. That’s what comes out when we write.”
Pulley will be at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on 12/2 & The Karman Bar in San Clemente on 12/17.