Rancid is:

Tim Armstrong: guitar/vocals (1991 - present)
Matt Freeman: bass/vocals (1991 - present)
Lars Frederiksen: guitar/vocals (1992 - present)
Branden Steineckert: drums (2006 - present)


Past members:

Brett Reed: drums (1991 - 2006)


Origins and Background

Rancid was formed in 1991 by childhood friends Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, both born in the town of Albany, situated near Berkeley, CA. The two had previously been bandmates for years in various bands, of which the most notable is without doubts Operation ivy (1987-1989), one of the first bands of the well known Gilman St. scene. The band played a huge amount of shows and helped to set down the guidelines for what would become a genre of its own: Ska-Punk.
When Operation Ivy broke up, it was due to various valid reasons. But while the other members had moved on to form other bands, Armstrong found himself lost and without purpose, having the band been his only focus for 2 years. He fell into alcoholism and spent the next two years in and out of detox centers, risking his life at least once due to a crisis caused by an abnormally high percentage of alcohol in his blood. Meanwhile, Freeman got involved with a few bands including MDC, and the G'Rups. He actually tried to take care of Armstrong helping him with money from time to time, and taking him as a rodie during a tour with MDC; however, he was getting frustrated as Armstrong's problems got worse and worse. Eventually, Armstrong found the strenght to quit drinking and at the same time, the money gained with the Operation Ivy releases started to come in. Now with enough money to take care of himself, Armstrong decided to form a new band with his longtime pal. At first Freeman was skeptical, so he kept on playing with his own band as well (the G'rups), but after Armstrong demonstrated him that he really stopped drinking, he committed wholly to the new project. The pair recruited a local skater kid, Brett Reed (who at the time was 19 and barely able to play), and Rancid was born.

Debut

In '92 the band put out their first release, an untitled 5-songs EP on Lookout Records, which was Operation Ivy's old label.
Not long after, Brett Gurewitz, head of Epitaph Records, asked Rancid to join his label, and the band accepted. Around this time, Rancid came to the conclusion that they needed a second guitar player to strenghten their sound. For a very short period, a young Billie Joe Armstrong (no relation to Tim Armstrong) joined the band, but he left as he was too busy with his own band (Greenday). Tim and Billie Joe however remained friends, and the latter successively even co-wrote one of the most well-known Rancid songs, Radio.
The new guitarist came in the form of 21-years-old Lars Frederiksen, who had previously opened for Rancid with his own band (SLIP), and who also had a brief experience touring with the UK Subs. However, in the beginning not everything went well. Frederiksen was recovering from his drug addiction, and a heavy drinker. One of the first times he hung out with the band, he got so drunk that he started pissing in the middle of the street in front of a laughing crowd, even asking a girl to "put my dick back into my pants" (she apparently refused, since, well "it's all covered in pee!"). It was obvious that things couldn't work that way, so Frederiksen received an ultimatum: quit drinking altogether, or you are out. He chose the first option.
The first full-lenght release came out on Epitaph in 1993 and was self-titled. As Frederiksen wasn't in the band yet when the album was recorded, he is not credited in the liner notes (though, he is thanked as "lars"), and does not figure in the band picture on the back cover; however, he appears in the band's first video, for the song "Hyena".
Rancid toured extensively during this year (even in Europe) and got good reviews. They also released a new EP on Fat Wreck Records, label of their friend Fat Mike (NOFX). It was called "Radio Radio Radio" and contained 4 songs, one of which was a cover of the Blitz song "Someone's Gonna Die Tonight".

Success

1994 saw Rancid gaining more exposure to the mainstream, following their second full-lenght release "Let's Go".
The album, containing 23 songs of catchy punk-rock, was a strong confirmation of the band's talent, which began to attract the attention of major labels. They received many contract offers (most notably from Epic Records with a rumoured offer of about 1.5 millions), but ultimately decided to stick with Epitaph, to keep as much artistic freedom as they could.
The next year, ...And Out Comes The Wolves was released. The album went on to become the most successful of the band through the years, gaining them international exposure. The album went platinum with over 1 million of copies sold and it was certified by RIAA late in 2004. It includes their best selling singles and some of their most known songs, such as: Time Bomb, Roots Radicals and Ruby Soho. It also included a few ska songs, which was a first for Rancid. Because of the somewhat "poppier" sound than the other works, there were many outcries of selling out, which were generally dismissed by the band as laughable. 1995 also saw Tim's falling back in alcoholism. With the help of the rest of the band and other friends, he luckily recovered. Over the next two years and a half, the band toured and travelled around the world, experimenting with new sounds and making friends in the international musical scene. The results of these journeys and collaborations were all shown in 1998's Life Won't Wait, which was the band's most various work yet. It contained songs written and recorded in 4 different cities (L.A, Kingston, New York and London, as is sung in the album's latest track, "Coppers"), blending in a mix of punk, ska, rocksteady and rockabilly. There were a few collaborations as well, in particular with Marky Ramone, Roger Miret (of Agnostic Front fame), The Specials, and Buju banton. Though many fans reputed this as their most mature work, the album didn't sell well as the previous ones.

Back to their Roots

In the year 2000, the band released their second self-titled album, commonly known as "2000" or "Rancid 2000". With 22 tracks clocking in at around 39 minutes, the album was a clear return to their hardcore roots, without any hints of ska. At the time the band explained that going back to their old more aggressive sound was an answer to all the fans who called them sellouts after LWW. It was also their first release under Tim' Armstrong's own vanity label, Hellcat Records (an Epitaph subset). Right after that, Lars and Tim dedicated themselves to their new alternate projects, The Bastards and The Transplants respectively. The first band with a more "classic" streetpunk impostation, and the second wich proposed an "alternative" blend of punk and hip-hop.

Latest

In 2003, the band's latest full-lenght recording came out. It was named Indestructible, and again the band took a turn for more melodic music. The album was critically well-received, but many fans were heavily disappointed by both the songwriting and the fact that after 12 years of career, Rancid had signed to a major label, nominally Warner Bros. It was later stated that the band was still on Epitaph/Hellcat, and the Warner Bros. contract regarded only a distribution deal, but this didn't change much in that aspect. Besides, many fans simply regarded the songwriting somewhat weaker than usual. (IM NOT AGREE AT ALL)
After this release, Lars and Tim both released the second works of their respective alternate projects, focusing on Bastards and Transplants for a while.

From 2006 on, Rancid started touring again, in the U.S.A, U.K, and Japan. 2006 also saw Brett Reed leaving the band for "personal reasons" which have never been explained in detail. Rancid recruited ex-Used drummer, Branden Steineckert (he himself a big fan of the band) as the new drummer. In late 2007 they released their "B sides and C sides" album, which contains many of the songs released in singles and collections from, plus a few previously unreleased ones. In 2009 they released the first full lenght album recorded with the new drummer Branden. Most of the songs from "Let The Dominoes Fall" were also recorded on acoustics versions and released by Hellcat/Warner.

Nowadays

After celebrating the 20th years hitting the road for a worldwide tour in 2012 they released "The Essentials" a remastered collection of 7 inchs whose cointans the whole Rancid discography. In early 2014 they announced the plan to release another album next July. Keep waiting....