Terminally Ill Are Terminal Jokesters

Terminally Ill doesn't give a fuck who they piss off. What else would you expect from OC punkers barely old enough to drink legally?

The Anaheim punk-rap outfit booked a show scheduled for May 26 at Slidebar and promoted it with a flier that read, “Please, no date rapes, no homeless,” printed alongside the show details. When the band arrived for the gig, the club management told them it was no-go; the event was canceled.

“We were just trying to be funny and retarded, just like how we are, you know, and they didn't find it very funny, apparently,” singer Ryan Risetter says. Indeed. Slidebar owner Jeremy Popoff confirmed that Terminally Ill have been blacklisted from the club, calling the group's smack-talk “beyond unprofessional” and “immature.”


And it's not just that Fullerton venue. Unit B in Santa Ana won't book them either, Risetter says, because the management doesn't like that they say “fag” and “faggot” in many of their tunes.

The band insist this sort of language isn't hate speech. They use it to mock the North County/Inland Empire “909 Bro” culture–the main target in the band's breakout music video, “The Bro Anthem,” which features the band cruising in raised pickup trucks, ripping bongs, getting jacked on Monster energy drinks chased with Extenze pills, and spouting lines such as “What's up, bro, sag your Dickies low, and we'll lift our fucking trucks about as high as they can go. We'll mob out to Glamis; we'll mob out to Havisu. We'll all mob out and get some Orange County tattoos.”

It's some pretty funny shit, actually (trust me, YouTube it), and pissing people off has been the band's modus operandi since the very beginning. “The band's name is Terminally Ill, and that's already making fun of people who die,” Risetter says. A valid point.

“When people see us, it's like, 'Oh, these white kids are going to rap. Are you fucking kidding me? Are they retarded?'” Risetter says. “If we don't make fun of ourselves immediately, then we come off as these kids who actually think they're hard.”


This is a requisite for white-dude bands that rap, even ones that are just as much punk rock; if people think you want to be taken seriously, it's pretty much game over. It is important to be ridiculous.

Terminally Ill address that in their video “White Boy Problems,” which laments Asher Roth and Harry Potter spoilers, plus ironically name-drops Darius Rucker. They show themselves getting ridiculous in the video for “Box of Wine,” a hardcore, punk-party ode to binge-drinking Mom's Franzia. The “Act Sick” video gets in your face with fuck-you stanzas and low, tight camera work. Every song the band has recorded thus far has a video, each produced pro bono by Kyle Cox, a close friend of the band. “If you just have songs on a CD, it's so hard to get people to care about it,” Risetter says. “The only way we ever got any recognition is through our videos.”

This attitude gets to the heart of what Terminally Ill are all about: getting off on dick and fart jokes, so long as they have a solid core of fans laughing with them. “Fame for a punk band would be like Guttermouth or Bloodhound Gang, where they're known for being ridiculous,” Risetter says. “It would be sick if we went to play shows around the U.S., and a bunch of people showed up.”

For more information on Terminally Ill, visit www.facebook.com/TerminallyIll420.

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