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Grumpy Old Men: Listen to Kevin Seconds’ New Album, ‘Off Stockton’

Plus, we talked to the 7Seconds frontman about the Warped Tour, internet trolls, and keeping it punk at 52.

Anyone who grew up with 7Seconds records like The Crew knows that the band doesn’t pull punches. Like many punk and hardcore bands of the 80s, 7Seconds’ songs have always been fast, direct, and don’t spare much room for interpretation.

But behind the 90 seconds of fury has always been a man who appreciates the craft of songwriting. Kevin Seconds’ new album Off Stockton features Kevin at his most heartfelt while still maintaining his punk roots. Stream the album below and check out our interview where Kevin opens up about the current state of music, internet trolls, and why in god’s name he played the Warped Tour.

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Pre-order Off Stockton here.

The response you posted to the negative feedback to the new 7Seconds song was maybe my favorite thing on the internet last year. What prompted that?
Well, I was getting emails from people that are diehard fans, mostly people in their 40s who’ve grown up rooting for us, and a lot of times if I say something really self-effacing, they’re the ones who will write me and say, “You’re really hard on yourself, man. You’re great.” It’s very sweet. But when that thing came out, I expected there would be some backlash from the typical Rise Records bands’ fans. I’d even talked to people at the label about it. I just sort of felt like I’d throw something out there just to let them know I was standing up for our fans. It kinda got out of hand because—and I forget this all the time—you can’t really do something on a Facebook post or Twitter without someone taking it out of context. Part of it was like, I was having fun with it. I’m a bit of a shit-stirrer. Even the guys in the band were like, “Don’t even pay attention to that.” And I was like, “If you guys think I’m doing this because my feelings are hurt by some 19-year-old kid with a cool hairdo, you know that that’s not me.” And also, I’m a punk rocker still. I might be 52 but I’m still a loudmouth. When I hear about something I think is bullshit, I’ll say it. I don’t care. If it makes me sound like an old grumpy man, well, I am an old grumpy man! I worked for it, you know?

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On that note, you played the Warped Tour last year. No offense, but you had to have been the oldest guy there, right?
Yeah, absolutely. It was crazy.

Why’d you decide to do it in the first place?
Well, it was a thing where my booking agent Margie had said, “Hey, you got an offer to do a bunch of Warped Tour dates. Do you want to do them?” I just really don’t understand a. why anyone would ask me and b. why I would say yes. So was gonna say no. And she was saying, “You’re always saying to try to find new things for you to do that are a little uncomfortable and play places that aren’t within your comfort zone.” Which is true, I always do say that. So the more we talked, I said if they were willing to let me do three dates in California where I don’t have to drive clear across the country, I’ll do them on the acoustic stage. What the fuck?

I don’t regret doing it. The only thing was a week prior to that, 7Seconds had played Montreal and on stage, I had torn my calf muscle. So I was gimping around. I had to have crutches. When I got to the Warped Tour site, I had to have one of those guys in the carts to pick me up. So not only am I the older guy by far, but now I’m walking around like a really old man. There were times I was there and about 20 times, I must’ve said, “What the fuck am I doing here?” But it was just like, you know, fuck it. I’m here, might as well make the best of it. I know I’m gonna get some funny stories out of it. Also, it was a chance for me to open my mind and gimp around a little bit and see new bands. Out of all the bands on the entire tour, I knew of two: Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish. So I was like, I’m gonna check it out. Of course I hated it. But the acoustic stage was great. It was such a weird thing between our thing in the tent and you hear, “RARR RARR RARR!” in the background with all the punkcore or whatever the fuck it’s called. I wouldn’t ever do it again and I did go against my better judgement just because I was trying to be a team player. Whatever. It wasn’t horrible. It’s just something I don’t ever need to do again.

You’ve played the Warped Tour in years past—15 years ago. What do you make of the direction the tour has gone in?
I think my first thought was that it was just bullshit. I’m 52 years old. I’m not tuned in to what’s happening and what’s cool or whatever. At least back in the day, Warped Tour seemed to be going for 17, 18, 19, 20-year-olds. Now it’s like 13 or 14-year-olds.

And that’s a big difference.
Yeah, I mean it’s pretty creepy to be there and watch the big name bands that are on the tour. It’s crazy to watch these really young children cheer on these guys who are like, “OK, you motherfuckers! We’re gonna fucking…” and they’re talking about raping and it’s like, I’m trying not to be my fucking dad and go, “I can’t believe they’re saying that!” But at the same time, their followings worship them. So it was very strange. It was eye-opening for me. I don’t really know how I feel about it to be honest. My first thought was, as long as I can keep doing what I’m doing, what do I care? It just reminded me of my friends years back going off on rap music. They were so convinced that it was going to destroy the world. I feel like if I start making a big deal of how much I think this sucks, I’m just another boring fucking adult that’s out of touch with everything.

Another trend I wanted to ask you about was—you’ve got the new album coming out. It’s very folky and acoustic. A lot of the dudes who have been doing this for a long time are drifting towards that, doing more folk-punk stuff. It maybe took off a couple years ago when Chuck Ragan started doing the Revival Tour. Why do you think it started going in that direction?
I always wrote songs on the acoustic guitar and played and hosted open mics for 9 or 10 years in Sacramento. I’ve always been tapped into the singer-songwriter thing and just wanted to get better as a songwriter myself because I think there’s always been this lack of acknowledgement that there's great songwriting in punk rock. It’s almost like it’s forbidden to talk about, or it used to be. It felt corny to even acknowledge that you were a songwriter. But I started playing acoustic shows back in… 89 was when I played my first solo show in New Jersey. It was scary and the punk rockers hated it and I just kept doing it and kept doing it. I think guys like Chuck Ragan with the Revival Tour and Frank Turner, I think they legitimized it within the underground music scene. It’s great. But it’s good and bad because now every time I play somewhere, there are always a couple of opening kids who are basically playing like Chuck Ragan. I guess it could be worse. It could be something like John Mayer. It’s just interesting to see how it kicked into gear with younger people. And now there are people in their early 20s who are playing like, bluegrass, and like, really well-—in their Crass jackets and mohawks or whatever. I’m alright with it just because it seems like younger people are getting back to the idea that it’s important to write good songs.

Dan Ozzi is gonna stay young until he dies (but realistically probably like, two more years, max). Follow him on Twitter @danozzi