Friday night's 9-0 ass-whupppin' of the Los Angeles Dodgers by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS dashed the World Series hopes for our neighbors to the north, and essentially closed the books on another baseball season in California.
The shell-shock of Dodger Nation could be felt all the way down here in Angels Country, as surely more than a few Angels faithful turned their sights towards Chavez Ravine at some point last year with their beloved Halos plumbing the depths of the AL West for much of the 2013 season. Because apparently, unlike Chicago, where you're either a Cubs fan or a Sox fan, you can get behind both SoCal MLB franchises without incurring excessive acrimony for crossing over. As a Midwest transplant, this is something that I was shocked to learn.
I was hipped to this dynamic by former Thrice drummer and OC lifer Riley Breckenridge, who released a project EP this summer titled Puig Destroyer, a grindcore tribute to Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, a freakishly fast and powerful outfielder who defected from Cuba last year and signed himself up with the Dodgers at $42 million over seven years so as to say, ¡en tu cara, comunistas!
We caught up with Riley, who's finally coming to grips with the end of the Dodgers playoff run, to talk about dual fandom in SoCal baseball, Puig's freakishness, and his latest musical endeavor, Puig Destroyer which, despite the Dodger's recent craptastic performance, is soldiering on to a new EP which will hopefully be out soon.
Heard Mentality (Adam Lovinus): Did you see the game this weekend? Was that a kick in the balls or what?
Riley Breckenridge: Yes, unfortunately. What follows is an actual text conversation between me and Ian after Puig botched his 867th play in right field during Game 6:
Tell me a little about your Dodger fandom. I thought this was Angels country?
My dad was raised as both a Dodgers fan and an Angels fan (back when the Angels were actually in LA), so naturally, he raised me to be a fan of both teams as well. As a kid, we'd watch and listen to both teams, and it seemed kosher to me because they were in different leagues. Apparently, a ton of folks have issues with that–you're either a Dodgers fan or an Angels fan, I guess–but I never knew that to be the case, so to hell with that nonsense. I root for both teams, but if I had to pick a side (say, in the Freeway Series–or the World Series that should have happened this year) I'd go with the Angels, because I grew up 15 minutes from Angel Stadium, have been to hundreds of Angels games in my life and go to about 20 to 30 games a season now.
Can you tell us a little about how you met and started working with your new bandmates, Ian, Mike and Jon?
I actually “met” Ian on the Internet. We both used to post on the old Buddyhead message board in the early '00s, which was a haven for snarky music listeners and weirdos at the time–not that either of us are those things, but yeah. We fell out of touch when that board kinda fell apart and reunited via Facebook and Twitter, bonded over a shared love of baseball and music, and started a baseball twitter account/podcast a few years ago called Productive Outs. Now we talk daily, podcast weekly, and hang out whenever I'm up in the Bay Area or he's in Orange County.
The Puig Destroyer thing was born during a podcast we did this summer, when I mentioned (in passing) that someone needed to start a grindcore band called Puig Destroyer based on a band we both dig called Pig Destroyer. After we finished recording, Ian sent me an email saying “WE need to start that band.” An hour later, I sent him a drum track for the first song, and nine or ten days later, we had an EP done.
Mike and I have known each other since Curl Up N Die and Thrice started playing shows together in the early 2000s. He's a huge baseball fan, and was an easy choice when it came to choosing a vocalist. I love his scream, love his lyrics and his wit, love his positivity and couldn't have chosen a better guy to work with.
Jon plays guitar in Kowloon Walled City with Ian (bass), is a fan of grindcore and riffery in general, and is a phenomenal guitarist, so Ian recruited him right away, knowing he'd fit the bill perfectly. Scott Evans, who also is in KWC, mixed the record and added some guitar work as well.
What is it about Yasiel Puig that moved you to write a noise-thrash album?
He's incredibly raw, totally absurd, mostly out of control, and freakishly talented. So … he's a lot like Puig Destroyer, except for that last part.
Um, there are no Cubano rhythms? Where's the lilting 12/8? Where's the clave?
If you did any of those things at 200+ BPM it'd sound like someone throwing the contents of a Crate N Barrel store down a long flight of stairs.