White Reaper is the biggest American band in the world, that’s what they say
When you grow up playing in the same bands with the same team for almost a decade, it’s easy to land on a sound and stay put. For the Louisville White Reaper punk quartet, it wasn’t until they began to find inspiration beyond music that their sound began to evolve and get noticed.
“People have compared him to [the sound of] muscle cars, “says singer-guitarist Tony Esposito.” We definitely have Camaros and Richard Linklater movies, which is flattering. “
Aside from obvious influences like the Dickies and Thin Lizzy, the nihilistic attitude of the classic punk doc The decline of western civilization turned out to be a huge influence for Esposito and the company when they started. By the time this year The largest American group in the world was in the tank, however, White Reaper had moved on to a particularly arrogant consignment of arena rock that punks of previous eras were conditioned to despise.
“We didn’t think about what the punks would think of this record when we made it,” says Esposito. “I’m sure people say we’re not punk all the time now, but that’s not much of a problem.”
The album’s main track acts as White Reaper’s current statement of intent, starting with a canned recording of a stadium filled with wildly cheering fans. But it’s the next track, the ’70s teen drama “Judy French,” that proves these guys could really be the Richard Linklaters of punk. If you don’t see images of saggy teens in skinny jeans strolling through a suburban wasteland to crisp classic rock riffs, you might be too far from your young glory days for the feelings to be sore. ‘record correctly.
With bigger riffs and bigger reach thanks to a freshly signed deal with emo power label Polyvinyl, White Reaper now has a chance to grow into the stadium-filling sound they brazenly fight for. They haven’t exactly put the cart before the horse yet, but they’ll be ready if that ever happens.
“We’re really going to enjoy that glory if that day comes,” Esposito said. “But I’ll tell you, I don’t really know what comes with this. When we get there, we’re gonna have a blast.”
White Reaper is playing August 26 at 1:35 p.m. ET.
MusicfestNW presents Project Pabst August 26-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Get tickets here.
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