Mosh pits, crowd-surfing and yelling out of a microphone backed by adrenaline-rushing guitars and drums aren’t things expected from the average Joe. Somewhere in the midst of the Triangle area, a professor, an IT specialist and a nurse come out of their 9-to-5 jobs to rock the house and bring the crowd back to the hardcore punk era of the 1980s.
These not-so-average Joes are called The Bastages, a punk rock band created in 2010 by Durham musician with their roots in punk and indie bands including the Ugly Americans and Superchunk from the 80s and 90s.
After going through member changes, the band is now composed of Danny Hooley, Christopher Horstman, Chuck Garrison and Chris Eubank.
On Nov. 4, they played at The Station in Carrboro, with bands Almost People and The Record Collection.
Although the members of Bastages are long-time punk fans, punk didn’t have deep roots in the Carolinas. It was something they discovered on their own through magazines like “Hit Parader” and word-of-mouth.
“I saw a picture of the bass player from The Clash in a column in Creem magazine,” said N.C. Central University instructor and guitarist Hooley.
“The thing was, he was still a novice at playing the bass so he had the note names painted on the fret board of his bass so he knew where he was playing,” said Hooley. “It’s like, ‘yeah I don’t play that well, so what? I’m up here.’ It was exciting and accessible. I was really into that idea.”
On stage, The Bastages’ music is loud, fast and wild. Lead vocalist Horstman was having fun on stage. A microphone was swinging around his body and sang like he was Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys.
And much like the Dead Kennedys, The Bastages are not above mocking Fox News, speaking out on social issues or making fun of rude people in their own fun and chaotic way.
For instance, their song “Stand Your Ground” from their album “Scavanger Birdsongs” is a satirical take on how the law fails to sever the ends of social justice.
Performing shows has become more than a hobby for the members of Bastages.“We like to play,” said Eubank. “We stay involved in things we like doing. It’s fun. It’s more than a hobby but a little less than a career.”
For now, the band is thinking about taking a break from shows and plans to work on new material while building their fan-base.
“I don’t know if we’ll be doing anymore recording and if we do, it’ll be a smaller scale thing. Maybe some EPs or singles,” said Hooley. “We’ve done everything ourselves so far. It would be nice if we were under the umbrella of some kind of label or some kind of collective, like Second Wife and other bands.”
The Bastages bring the nostalgia of old hardcore punk back to the surface, showing that they’re as old-school as it gets. Their music isn’t soft or obscure. It’s in-your-face, it’s angry about the state of the world, while keeping it fun. They show us that punk isn’t dead, it’s thriving.