Some of us like to think that music and tattoos are a birthright, and for the 11th year in a row, Musink supports that mindset. This year has an epic lineup that sucks us back into the world of punk, rap and permanent ink. What is it about Musink that has led this festival into its 11th incarnation? Musink is Travis Barker’s brainchild. If the name seems familiar, he’s the intergalacticaly renowned drummer of SoCal ALT Rock icon’s Blink 182. Barker was once an Aquabat, but once Blink’s Dude Ranch, and especially, Enema of the State blew up, his skills were on full display. Along with Blink, he’s been in other successful bands like +44, Box Car Racer, and The Transplants. Barker is so talented, Rolling Stone Magazine referred to him as punk rock’s first “superstar drummer.” Being the youngest of three children, and the only boy in the family, he’s always had lots to aspire to. In addition to being the little brother, his hard work developed into him having a legit set of drumming skills. So much so, he has established himself as a versatile drummer producing and making guest appearances in countless music projects in numerous music genres including hip hop, alternative rock, pop and country. He’s also a published author releasing a memoir entitled; Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums. Along with all these other accomplishment, he founded clothing company Famous Stars and Straps, LaSalle Records, DC Shoes and Zildjian cymbals co-designed products in his name. So what else is left for this dude to do? Organizing festivals was the next step in his evolution. This is where we circle back to Musink.
When Musink was established in 2008, the initial lineup included Tiger Army, The Used and tattoo artist extraordinaire, Kat Von D. Musink has taken us through a musical journey with an array of alt-rock, metal, rap bands and ink along with a load of events and attractions each and every year. In addition to the kick-ass tunes, Musink is one of the high-end tattoo events on the planet. Each year, the event includes one of Barker’s passions, a petrol-packed car show. The car show displays rock and lifestyle-themed cars with a load of unique engines and motors. There’s a ton of cool stuff going on, but make no mistake, the bands are the draw. Over the years, Musink has featured bands and artists like Bad Religion, Buzzcocks, Circa Survive, Deftones, Rancid, New Found Glory, NOFX, and Snoop Dogg just to name a few. These bands have lit up the night shredding with their unique and bone crunching sounds.
The festival hits the OC Fair Events Center in Costa Mesa, Friday, March 16 through the 18th. Night 1 features The Adolescents, Strung Out, Fear, and Descendents. Night 2 features The Interrupters, Good Charlotte and Blink 182. Night 3 closes out the festival with The Fever 333, WiFisFuneral, Machine Gun Kelly and Lil Yachty. Here’s the thing, inasmuch as music fans come to great festivals like this to see their heroes on stage, bands, too, live for festivals like Musink. Bands that have earned the respect of fans and other bands are icons like the Descendents, Blink and newcomers that really aren’t new to the scene, The Interrupters.
As for Blink, they are the Warped Tour poster children for alt-rock antics. It’s been a very long time since they were 17, and life has made them no strangers to the difficulties of stardom; for them interpersonal challenges, near death experiences and personal struggles have all culminated in a success story that is worthy of a great novel. Their music has captured the hearts and souls of old timers and new fans alike. Over the years, we have laughed along to their colorful lyrics and funny music videos. What we often don’t see is the hard work to become the juggernaut band they have become. For Hoppus, Barker and Skiba, their hard work paid off with their release of the Grammy nominated 7th studio album simply entitled, California (2016, BMG). With that album, Blink is back on top of the alt-rock music world. Their fans are just happy to see the band out and killing it.
Descendents on the other hand, are one of those bands that just make you smile. They, too, have an album out, Hypercaffium Spazzinate (2016, Epitaph), and fans are digging those tunes. They are working on more music, no release date just yet, but they are still going strong. As for the band’s drummer Bill Stevenson, he marvels at their longevity and popularity with their fans. With their latest release doing well, he is humble and well- grounded on what they do, and their success. To their credit, they stuck it out, and festivals like Musink keep them feeling young in mind and soul.
Another band that has been around, but only in the spot light for the past few years is The Interrupters. Coming off an uber successful album, Say It Out Loud (2016, Epitaph), this band has simply exploded. So much so, they just finished successful tours with the likes of the Dropkick Murphys and Green Day. They too have a new album in the works; but what draws them to fans, and distinguishes them among their peers is their electric music. The band is spearheaded by Grammy Award winner, Kevin Bivona, and their dynamic lead, Aimee Interrupter, the band is rounded out by the two other brothers, Justin and Jesse Bivona. Aimee has one of the strongest and most distinctive voices you’ll ever hear; together, their sound is as electric as it gets, and their performance makes you want to bust out your dancing shoes. It’s no doubt they are the reason punk-ska is back in fashion, and the 4th wave of ska is in its early stages. For the Interrupters, they too have played with many bands throughout their career. That is why Musink is a place where they too can catch up with old friends and reflect on the journey that has gotten them to this point in their career.
For all the bands playing Musink, the fact that they are on the bill means they’ve made it. All the sacrifices, missing life with family and friends, missing out on the little things like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries–it is a testament to their character that they made it despite all the obstacles life can throw at you. Playing near their home on a stage like this, in front of family, friends and their fans, it helps puts life in perspective. As for Musink, it’s a great festival; it has a little bit of everything for everybody. If you love music, you can experience life with the bands you’ve grown up with and love. Truth is, at this stage in their careers, these bands don’t play for the money or the fame, they play because they love to play. That’s the best reason of all to come out to any show.
Musink is becoming a must-see event, and on March 16 through t18, Costa Mesa, California is the place to be.