Armstrong: guitar/vocals (1991 - present)
Matt Freeman: bass/vocals (1991 - present)
Lars Frederiksen: guitar/vocals (1992 - present)
Branden Steineckert: drums (2006 - present)
Reed: drums (1991 - 2006)
Origins and Background
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.
'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".
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.
to their Roots
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.
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
After this release, Lars and Tim both released the second works of their
respective alternate projects, focusing on Bastards and Transplants for
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.
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....