Interview with Proton Packs

Who are your favorite bands to play with at shows?
We always have a blast with the guys from The Livermores, Chromosomes and Ratbones! Speaking of foreign bands, last year we played with the Haermorrhoids from Germany in Siena and it was really a cool show!

Tell us your favorite memory of Manu Livermores?
He was such a sweet guy, one of those people who are really pure at heart. He was truly passioned about punk rock… a real rock n roller. Our favorite memory of him is all the times he sent us funny vocal messages with his heavy accent about new albums or about stuff that had happened in the scene. He really knew how to cheer you up! We will all miss him a lot.

What do you think about the current state of punk rock?

We think underground punk rock is as healthy as it’s ever been, in terms of new albums and hype surrounding it. There are a few crucial factors that have contributed in the last years to this new interest in the scene: cool festivals like Raduno, Puke Fest, The Fest and so on, dedicated podcasts like The Dummy Room, exciting labels like Mom’s Basement, I Buy Records, Striped, Badman, Stardumb, Hey Pizza, Monster Zero and many others that keep putting out cool records. Also a lot of people from the old guard still believing in it. There are a few new bands coming up too, so we think it’s safe to say punk rock is doing fine, at least in our specific bubble. The problem we see is that touring has become increasingly more difficult and less profitable. It’s almost impossible to make a living off playing punk rock and this will affect the new generation, as there probably won’t be the right environment to generate new “higher level” bands. I’m not talking about the next Green Day, but the next Teenage Bottlerocket or even the next Lillingtons. We also need to factor in what will be left of clubs and bars and of live music in general after Covid. We have a big question mark ahead of us.

What is your favorite project that you’ve been a part of?
Every album we do is special to us because it’s really exciting to see a project coming to life and becoming real and tangible as you go ahead: the artwork, shaping the songs, sequencing them, going to the studio etc. We really love this process! Besides the albums, we loved working on the “Party time for astronauts” split with The Livermores That split is a memento of our time with Manu and we will always cherish it.

What made you guys want to organize Lobotomy Fest?
In the past years we never played too much in Tuscany, because we always preferred to go play around northern Italy, where most of the scene is. Then, a couple of years ago we started talking with the guys from Corte dei Miracoli who run an amazing multicultural space in Siena and we saw that there was the chance to organize something punk rock-related there. It all started like a one night-only event, but it soon turned out to be a much more inclusive project that spanned 5 whole days with movie screenings, art happenings, book readings and many many bands. We had so much fun doing it that we decided to replicate it this year. Unfortunately, Covid put everything to a halt, but we are determined to make it work again, when things will smooth out with the virus. We had big projects for this year.

What are some bands that you want to play Lobotomy Fest?
We like to dream big and we always nurtured the idea of having the Lillingtons play! Nowadays it seems things aren’t too good with those guys, but we also love Sack very much and it would be awesome to have them play over here! Anyway, 2021 is already lined up, because we want to have all the bands that were scheduled to play in 2020 to play the next edition!

What is your writing process? How do you guys pick a topic and then write such great concept albums that are cohesive as they are fun to listen to?

We always start with a concept that we all like and we try to convey the mood of the album in that direction, both musically and lyrics-wise. We also have a very long working list of kick-ass song titles, which we often use as a stepping-stone to begin working on a new tune.
Actually, we consider Space Opera our only true concept album, because it has a single storyline from start to finish. Conspiracy ’66 and P A R A D O X are all centered around a specific theme and topic but the songs themselves are not necessarily related. We like to write about conceptual and specific stuff because we’re not versed in the trivial side. A lot of bands are really good at the girl-songwriting thing and we love to listen to those bands. It’s just not something that works for us specifically. I think our approach to lyrics and themes is a nice thing for the more dedicated fan (given that we have any :D) because the songs contain a lot of references that can be researched and linked to one another.

What other projects or bands do you guys have going on?
Brodie and El Leon Blanco play in The Thirtysevens. They’re great, check them out!
Alex and Brodie manage Commando Records and lately they’ve been putting out cool cassettes like the first Sack album and the latest MEGA LP. So cool!
Matt plays in Bentoniac (garage blues) and I Diavoli Blu (country folk).

HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents Ratcliffs

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s announcement time. We’re very pleased to tell you that the Ratcliffs from Austria have recorded a killer cover for the HEAD tribute. I’m a huge fan of these dudes and their latest album “Hell Mental” is a must have so head over to the I Buy Records webstore and pick that bad boy up. .

Here’s what the guys have to say about: “Our entire existence orbits around HEAD and their spiritual teachings. We have been following them for at least forty years if not even longer. Hence, we feel beyond delighted to pay homage to this formidable squadron of merry-men and pranksters. Aloha

HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents Volkov

Alright everyone! It’s time for another week of HEAD tribute bane announcements. This time we’re pleased to announce that Volkov is on the HEAD tribute. They’ve been with the Mom’s Basement Records since the beginning so you had to know that they were gonna be on there. They just released a brand new full length Fat, Rich and Sad on vinyl and/or Cd. The Cd has different artwork, a different album title and another special surprise so you should buy both. Released by Mom’s Basement Records, I Buy Records and One Chord Wonder.

Here is what Mr. Specianin had to say about “Once I was talking to Chris Mugwump and we found out that we both have been trying to write a song in the style of HEAD for over 20 years with no satisfactory results. That’s why they’re so unique.
You can write a song that sounds like Screeching Weasel, You can try to write a song that sounds like the Beatles. You can even try to do your best and write a classical Chopin style song. But you’ll never score that goal with HEAD. I dare you to try asshole!”


HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents The Young Rochelles

Happy Friday everyone! It’s almost time for the weekend and that means it’s time to announce another band on the HEAD tribute album. We’re happy to announce that Long Island, New York’s own Young Rochelles are on the tribute album! These dudes have been at it for a while now and they show no sign of slowing down.

Here’s what Ricky had to say about the tribute album The Young Rochelles got good grades in school but nobody cared”.

Check out their awesome cover of Teachers Pet and many more on the HEAD tribute album which is coming at you really soon!


HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents The Livermores

It’s the middle of the work week, that’s no fun. How about a band announcement for the HEAD tribute? We’re happy to announce that the Livermores from Ancona, Italy are on the HEAD tribute comp. This newer band has self released a couple of CDs and a split 7” with fellow label mates the Proton Packs. Word has it that they’re working on a new full length that will be releasing via I Buy Records and Mom’s Basement Records.

Here’s what he had to say about the tribute “We didn’t choose a HEAD song… The HEAD song chooses you when you listen to them. Tire Shredding is in our top five of the best punk rock killer songs ever written. It’s a privilege to be a part of this compilation”


HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents The Putz

It’s Monday again, so that means it’s time to announce another band from the upcoming HEAD tribute album. This time it’s another MBR family member, we’re talking about the Putz! These guys are one of the best in the USA (as if you already didn’t know that) they’ve dropped 2 full lengths and a 12 ep on the best punk rock label on the planet Eccentric Pop Records and they’ve also worked with us on the Hole In One reissue and the Passport Split series vol.3 with the Proton Packs.

We spoke with Dougie and he had this to say about the HEAD Tribute album, “Head is exactly what you’d expect a “Ramonescore” band to sound like, in all the best ways. Simple, fun, repetitious, witty songs about the darker, more off-beat side of life.

Don’t Go Looking In the Closet is a perfect example. Classic Ramonesy song structure, tongue-in-cheek black humor, and a catchy as hell chorus. This song was a no-brainer when it came time to record our track for the record.

There you go folks, you can expect this killer contribution and many more on the upcoming HEAD tribute album.


HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents Lorrainas

Hell yeah! It’s Friday and it’s time for yet another band announcement for the upcoming HEAD tribute! This time we have a bit of big deal on our hands. We’re stoked to have The Lorrainas from Ontario, Canada on the tribute album. If you aren’t familiar then let’s take a trip down memory lane. The Lorrainas stormed the scene in the mid 2000’s and toured Canada and the States, all the while stealing the hearts and wallets of those in attendance!

The dynamics of the band consisted of 4 badass punk rock ladies and a rotating cast of Canadian legends like Jimmy and Scotty Vapid and the original drummer for the forgotten rebels all of which seemed to constantly complain about the ladies shenanigans. One constant quote was “You girls are killing me

We talked to Lasha from the Lorrainas and she spoke on behalf of the band stating that

The Lorraina’s LOVE Head.
Oh wait, you mean the band Head?
Never heard of them. Do they have a MySpace?

There you have it folks, another killer band confirmed for the HEAD tribute. You’ll surely keep going back to their cover of “Stag Party” it’s one of the stand out tracks on the tribute and you can quote me on that jerks.


HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents So-cho Pistons

Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re back with yet another band announcement for the upcoming HEAD tribute. We are absolutely delighted to announce that the mighty So-Cho Pistons from Japan have contributed a killer medley to the tribute album. These guys are legendary and I can assure you that their song hits you right in the gut the second it starts. What a way to start off a tribute album. Click the link to see what Nasu had to say about HEAD and their involvement in the comp.

“My encounter with HEAD was at a small imported record store in Osaka. I found their first full album “The Monkeys” on the shelf. It’s hard to forget the impact of when I saw the cover art, of course I bought it immediately. Shortly after I got most of their records.

“We’re the HEAD ARMY!”

“This time we recorded our favorite instrumental song “Theme of HEAD” and “No Hugging No Learning” which TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET also covered.
We’re proud to be participating in this great tribute album!”

HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents Flamingo Nosebleed

It’s Monday again! That means it’s time to announce another band from the HEAD tribute. We are very pleased to announce that our own Flamingo Nosebleed are obviously on the HEAD tribute. The boys just had a killer run over in Europe including a scorcher of a performance at Punk Rock Raduno with their label mates the Ponches and the Livermores. Check out the official write up at I Buy Records for the scoop on their song choice and general thoughts of the almighty HEAD!

Booger from Revenge of the Nerds said it best with a t-shirt “Gimme Head til I’m Dead”. Head is clever and funny lyrically, and super straight forward. They’ve influenced some of the best bands in our genre, while barely ever leaving Seattle, and barley promoting their band. They best part is they’re dead serious attitude. Super rad band and “Am I fresh” is one of the funniest tunes written! Give us Head, til we’re dead!

HEAD Tribute Album – Mom’s Basement Records presents NECK

Alright! It’s Friday and it’s time to get in another band announcement for the HEAD tribute. We’re heading back up to our neighbors in the North NECK from Ontario, Canada. I’m not sure if there is a direct connection there but the theme of the band name seems familiar? NECK kinda came out of nowhere a few years ago with an instant classic “Hate To Read” and those dudes have had my undivided attention ever since.

They just released their second full length “You Don’t Think It’s Evil” a few months ago which is also classic status. If for some dumb reason you don’t have those 2 records than you’re fucking up. Stop what you’re doing and go buy them immediately. Here is what Jeff from the almighty NECK had to say about their involvement “We first heard of HEAD when the ‘head-honcho’ John from Mom’s Basement Records tapped us asking if we wanted to be a part of a tribute album. We accepted the challenge as we had never actually heard of HEAD prior to meeting John. Many, many voice/drumming/bass and guitar lessons followed before recording Larry Tate …to which we just learned (yesterday) that he was a character from a late 60’s sitcom called ‘Bewitched’!!

That is clearly 100% true and I’m really happy that I was able to trick them into being on the tribute bc they knocked “Larry Tate” out of the park. They’re one of my favorite bands and one of the main mans favorites from this website too” Stay tuned for more announcements next week!

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