Ray Carlyle of Teenage Bottlerocket

May 28, 2020

Founding member, Ray Carlyle, guitarist and singer of Wyoming’s Teenage Bottlerocket spoke to Modern Free Press about tours current and past, and dropped a little dirt on the infamous Fat Mike of NOFX. With a fresh new tour about to kick off, we had Samantha Morris dig up the juicy gossip. Or something like that anyway.

The band are fresh off a set at Punk Rock Bowling, which took place from May 21st to the 25th in downtown Las Vegas, and featured a slew of great artists. The Buzzcocks, Bouncing Souls, The Menzingers, Circle Jerks, Streetlight Manifesto, Anti-Flag, Propagandhi, Avail, Cock Sparrer, Lunachicks, Municipal Waste, The Adicts and that’s just touch the tip of the iceberg.

“It was a lot of fun”, says Carlyle, “We got there Sunday and left Vegas on Tuesday. It was nice to be there for a couple days. Fun to share the second stage with friends of ours. My girlfriend and I got to go see another show called Absinthe at Caesars Palace, it was fantastic, and nice to get away from all the craziness downtown, you know?”

See Also: Neal Page and Tom Gilhuley of Panic Problem

Carlyle and Teenage Bottlerocket fly to Quebec on in two weeks time, to kick off their next set of road adventures. Bringing with them an up and coming act by the name of Ramona. “Our agent is Toby Jeg, he runs Red Scare, and Ramona one of their new bands. He showed me some of there songs  and I thought they sounded great, they have a new record out so it’s good to take bands you don’t know on tour for the first time.” explains Carlyle.

This upcoming tour has a stop at the now infamous Montebello Rockfest, now re-marketed as Montebello Rock – a massive festival that has massive debts owed to many of the artists that have played the festival over the years. “It’s a smaller one this time,” says Carlyle. “We were a little sketched out, you hear all these terrible stories about previous problems.”

“We’ve heard from the promoters, it’s not like they aren’t returning our emails or anything,” states Carlyle. “We’re confident it’s going to be good show, even with the doubts, here we are and we’re gonna rock it, you know it’s going to be a party. I’m looking forward to it, though unfortunately with the radius clause we can’t play Montreal. It’s sucks because we love playing Montreal. We have so many stories and so many fun times being around there. Our bass player Miguel Chen was married there, his wife Lily is from there, she plays in the band Oh My Snare.”

When Teenage Bottlerocket are in Montreal, you can usually find them scarfing back poutines at Montreal Pool Room – a famous, century year old hot dog joint situated in the former red light district. And they do have some interesting stories about shows in Montreal.

“We played with NOFX at Metropolis, and there was this older guy in the balcony box seating with this young girl. Fat Mike, called them out by saying : “Hey what did you do to score that upper box seat? Did you suck that old man’s dick?” Turns out it was the owner of the Metropolis and his daughter, who then proceeded to come back stage and kick the door in. We’re all sitting backstage and all hell broke loose, they were playing two nights at Metropolis and the mic was almost pulled for the show. That was one crazy night.”

Montreal isn’t always a fun time, as The Penske File recently found when they had their whole van, gear and all, stolen off a Montreal street while they were participating at Pouzza festival. “You know, Montreal has always been famous for that,” says Carlyle. “I saw that they had quite a successful gofundme to help get all there shit back, which i thought was great. You know the community comes together to get back things they’ve lost.”

“I love Travis (Miles), I love that band,” exclaims Carlyle. “I was really bummed to read that. You gotta look after your shit in Montreal, it’s always been that way not just at Pouzza, it’s every fucking day. That is where Mike Watt got his bass stolen that he’s had forever. He played with the fucking Minute Men with this bass. It was a Gibson SG or something a ’78. He had until he was on tour with The Stooges, who knows where the fuck it is now?”

On the most recent record, Stay Rad, there is a song titled The First Time I Did Acid Was The Last Time I Did Acid and it just begs to be asked about. So. We did.

“we were driving to a show with the band The Nobody’s and i think The Lillingtons too, shoot.. who else was there might have been a bigger band playing as well. Anyway Jon Snodgrass was in town and he was leaving to go record some stuff in Tulsa. Someone mentioned something about dropping acid and he said “The first time I did acid was the last time I did acid”, I thought that was great, so that’s the story of how we got the title.”

Everyone that has dropped acid can probably relate to Snodgrass. “I had okay experiences on acid until i didn’t” chuckles Carlyle. “Never again. All my friends and I, we were out camping and the vibe went sour. It was like we’re all gooing to die, the evil spirits took over in our heads, and it was like please make this fucking end, and well, you can’t. There’s no stop button, so we were just stuck there. I remember the next day, my old band, Homeless Wonders had a show, and I told my mom I didnt want to play it. That’s how traumatic this experience was. I was like I’m not gonna play in my band, and my mom was like you’re stupid, your playing the show! I was like, Ok mom, I’ll do it.”

Speaking of Homeless Wonders ,which was Ray and his late twin brother Brandon Carlyle’s first band, what are the chances of anything being re-released?  “It was a pretty terrible band,” says Carlyle.”The first seven-inch wasn’t so bad but i’m sure its pretty hard to find.”

“If anything i’d like to do some re-pressings for some Teenage Bottlerocket stuff. It’s cool that the stuff existed, our bass player from that time just came over today to my house. He ended up going to Milo’s little league game with me last night. With Brandon our drummer passing away, things are pretty unlikely. If people are interested in hearing it, I guess. It’s a little embarrassing to tell you the truth. I was sixteen. I was in high school I liked Green Day and I liked Fugazi. It sounded like whatever we listened to that week. So when asked, what did we sound like, we couldn’t answer that question really.”

The loss of a sibling can’t be easy, harder still when he is also the drummer in your band, and in order to keep the band going, somebody else needs to be brought it to fill that void. I imagine it must be hard for the replacement drummer, as well. Enter Darren Chewka.

“Darren’s a great dude, love him, it’s fun to have a new dude in the band, especially in other countries,” says Carlyle. “He’s always motivated to go out, walk around and do stuff. When we sorta have the more jaded approach, you know we’ve been to Rome three times already, or whatever the city may be. He’s really motivated the band to get off our asses to get around and check out different castles whenever we’re in Germany. He’s bummed out that we like to go to the movies, like we’re in New York city, and you guys wanna go to the movies? So, it’s not all perfect.

Fact is, Teenage Bottlerocket have always been family orientated, and there’s already a next generation knocking at the door. “My son came into the studio when we were recording Stay Rad and got to record two songs for his band Human Robots. We’re going to do a split seven-“inch that comes out in August. Other than that were going to be announcing a few more tours coming up.”

Keep an ear to the ground for that one!


Interview conducted by Samantha Morris, written by Kieron Yates (because Sam was too lazy to get it done!)