There haven’t been very many women musicians in the punk rock scene in recent past, however, this is a trend we are seeing take a more positive shape. With more and more females in bands, whether they are the lead vocalist, a guitarist, the drummer, or all of the above, the count is growing and music is constantly getting better.
Fresh off a tour with Teenage Bottle Rocket and just back from Punk Rock Bowling, the tremendous American punk band, The Last Gang, fronted by rad female guitarist and lead vocalist Brenna Red, are releasing a new album tomorrow.
The Last Gang has been around since the early ‘00s, but really made themselves known in ’17 with a single on Fat Wreck Chords that lead to a full album, “Keep Them Counting.” They caught the eye of mega music magazine Alternative Press in ’18, and were listed as one of 18 bands to watch for.
Now in ‘21, their album, “Noise, Noise, Noise,” is coming out tomorrow, and it includes a “new” lead guitarist. Actually, Ken Aquino has been in the band since ’18, but joined just after the last album was released. We had the chance to speak with Aquino about the new album, the inner workings behind the writing, and much more.
Aquino was friends with the band in ’18 when The Last Gang went on the Punk in Drublic tour. Aquino helped the band while they were on the tour, and they liked his guitar addition so much they asked him to be a permanent member. This is when the wheels started turning. Aquino and drummer, Robert Wantland, started writing the new album almost instantly with Red and bassist Sean Viele. Working as a complete band, they wrote and perfected this new album, “Noise, Noise, Noise.”
The first single release came out on September 1st and it was an instant addition to playlists everywhere. The song title matches the album – meaning, “Noise, Noise, Noise” – and has a strong reggae or slower old school ska feel. It creates a nice break up of sound and expands the feel of the album. Aquino told us that there will be a few songs with this footprint, and even though it’s different than the majority of the record, it still flows well. “This album will offer more variety since we all contributed to the writing process. Brenna was definitely the finishing part of it, but we were all really collaborative and I think it will show.”
Aquino goes on about Red, “A big thing for Brenna is lyrics. When people listen to the record, the lyrics will be thought provoking and politically driven in spots. Brenna is a freak’n poet. She’s a hell of a songwriter and I think her lyrics are most intriguing on top of being a great songwriter and the melodies she comes up with.”
When we mentioned to Aquino that Red has a voice similar to The Distillers front-women Brody Dalle, he said, “I take that as a compliment and I’m sure she would, too since we are Distillers fans!”
When the new album was at its track peak, The Last Gang had about 20 ideas for songs. Producer and musical wizard behind the curtain Cameron Webb was able to help the band whittle them down to 10 tracks. Aquino sings Webb’s praises with, “Cameron has become a good friend of mine. I love that guy!”
In celebration of tomorrow’s release of “Noise, Noise, Noise,” The Last Gang will be holding a listening party at Mission Bar in Downtown Santa Ana at 9 p.m. There will be food, giveaways, and merchandise for purchase, along with the band, friends and fans.
You can purchase the album on all streaming platforms or from the Fat Wreck Chords website in vinyl and digital copies.
The Last Gang is headed out on the second leg of a tour with Teenage Bottle Rocket, and the mega punk rock invasion of 2021 Punk in the Park with Pennywise, NOFX, Bouncing Souls, The Vandals, Lagwagon, Strung Out and so much more.