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Rancid is an American punk rock band formed in 1991 in Albany, California, by Matt Freeman and Tim Armstrong, both of whom previously played in ska punk band Operation Ivy. The band is credited with helping to revive mainstream popular interest in punk rock in the United States during the mid-1990s.
Rancid includes Armstrong on guitar and vocals, Freeman on bass and vocals, Lars Frederiksen on guitar and vocals, and Branden Steineckert on drums. The band was formed by Armstrong, Freeman, and former drummer Brett Reed, who left the band in 2006 and was replaced by Steineckert. Frederiksen joined Rancid in 1993 when the band was searching for a second guitar player.
To date, Rancid has released six studio albums, one split, one compilation, two EPs, a series of live online-only albums, and has been featured on countless compilations. The band rose to fame in 1994 with their second album, Let's Go, featuring the single "Salvation". In the following year, Rancid released their highly successful album ...And Out Come the Wolves, which produced their best-known hits "Roots Radicals", "Ruby Soho" and "Time Bomb", and was certified gold and platinum by the RIAA. Their most recent studio album, Let the Dominoes Fall, was released on June 2, 2009.
Early history (pre-1993)
Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman had been playing together in the influential ska punk band Operation Ivy from 1987-1989. When Operation Ivy broke up they decided to form a new band, and started another ska punk band called Downfall, which only lasted a few months. They then started a hardcore punk group called Generator, which also quickly broke up. They also started two other ska influenced bands, and Dance Hall Crashers, but moved on quickly from both. In 1991 Tim and Matt decided to try starting yet another band. They recruited drummer Brett Reed and formed Rancid.
Rancid's first recorded release was a 1992 EP for Operation Ivy's old label Lookout! Records. Shortly after releasing this, the band was signed to Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz's label, Epitaph Records. Rancid would release their self titled debut album for Epitaph in 1993.
Breakthrough success (1994-1996)
While Rancid was writing for a follow-up album, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, a friend of the band, joined them to co-write the song "Radio". Tim had previously asked Lars Frederiksen to be Rancid's second guitarist, but he turned down the request initially as he was playing with Charlie Harper’s UK Subs at the time. Frederiksen later changed his mind and decided to join Rancid.
Frederiksen played with the band on 1994's Let's Go. That year their then-label-mates, The Offspring, experienced a huge success with their album Smash. The Offspring took Rancid on tour with them, and helped Let's Go make it to #97 on Billboard's Heatseekers and Billboard 200 charts, respectively. With the success of the album the band was pursued by several major labels, including Madonna's Maverick Records.
The band eventually decided to stay on Epitaph, and the next year released their third album ...And Out Come the Wolves. That album quickly surpassed Let's Go in terms of success. Three of the album's singles, "Roots Radicals", "Time Bomb", and "Ruby Soho" all charted on the North American Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, and the band performed two of these songs on Saturday Night Live.
Middle years (1997-2003)
After two years of touring for ...And Out Come the Wolves, Rancid returned to the studio in 1997 to begin recording their fourth album, Life Won't Wait, which was released on June 30, 1998. The album branched out from Rancid's previous musical styles, and combined punk rock with elements of roots reggae, rockabilly, dub, hip-hop, and funk. Due to this it was often compared to The Clash's Sandinista!. Unfortunately, the album was not as successful as ...And Out Come the Wolves, but has since garnered a strong cult following in recent times. In 1999, Rancid decided to end their seven year relationship with Epitaph and signed with Tim Armstrong's founded Hellcat Records (which was a division of Epitaph).
A second self-titled album was released in 2000 and would be their first release on Hellcat. The album failed to meet the success of Rancid's previous three albums and peaked at number 68 on the billboard charts.
2002 saw Rancid's three original members release three songs under the name Devil's Brigade, one on the Give 'Em the Boot III compilation, and two on a 12" vinyl record. Also that year, all four members of the band played on BYO Split Series, Vol. 3, a split album with NOFX in which Rancid covered NOFX songs and NOFX covered Rancid songs.
After a break from touring in 2001, Rancid returned to the studio with Gurewitz in 2002 to record their sixth album, Indestructible, which was released on August 19, 2003. It featured the hit song "Fall Back Down", and was Rancid's highest charting album ever, peaking at number 15.
Unlike all their previous albums, Indestructible was distributed by a major record label, Warner Bros. Records.
In 2004, after a tour for Indestructible, Rancid went on an extensive hiatus. The band members spent time working with side projects, although they had not officially disbanded.
Armstrong continued to play with his side project the Transplants, who released their second album, Haunted Cities, in 2005. He also contributed guitar and backup vocals on Cypress Hill's hit single "What's Your Number?" from their tenth album Till Death Do Us Part. He also released a solo album, A Poet's Life in May 2007.
Frederiksen continued working with his side band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards and released its second album, Viking, in 2004, Tim Armstrong helped produce and write it.
Freeman briefly toured with Social Distortion in 2004 as John Maurer's replacement until they found their current bassist Brent Harding.
Reformation and new album (2006-present)
In early 2006, Rancid would reunite to embark on a successful tour and played several acoustic sets as part of Hellcat Records' Hellcat Nights concert series at The Echo. This was the first time the band had played together since their hiatus. On April 13, 2006, Rancid announced plans for a worldwide tour beginning in July 2006, and the release of a DVD compiling 31 of their music videos, as well as a tentative release date of Spring 2007 for a new as-of-yet-unnamed studio album.
Like many other bands once on the Lookout! Records roster, in September 2006, Rancid pulled their self-titled EP from the catalog.
On November 3, 2006, Reed left Rancid and was replaced by former Used drummer Branden Steineckert. Steineckert was let go from The Used for reasons that have not been made public, but he announced he doesn't feel bitter about it and his new home is with Rancid, joining the band permanently. A full blog describing his feelings may be found at Steineckert's MySpace.
Armstrong released his much anticipated solo LP entitled A Poet's Life on May 22, 2007. The disc features 10 songs, and the album itself is packaged with a bonus DVD featuring a video for each song on the album.
According to new drummer Branden's Myspace blog, Rancid had finished writing their long-awaited follow-up to Indestructible. This would be their first album without the "classic" line-up, with Branden Steineckert replacing Brett Reed on drums. The record was written at Branden's Unknown Studios in Utah and was recorded in California. On February 3, 2009, it was announced that the band finished recording their new album and aiming for a spring release,but then pushed it back once again to a Summer release.
In December 2007, it was announced that Rancid would release B Sides and C Sides. It is a compilation of songs that have been premiered on the flipside of records and numerous compilations.
On February 18, 2008, Punknews.org reported that Rancid would be touring Japan in April for a handful of shows following their two days headlining the Punkspring 2008 festival.Following the Japanese tour, Rancid will also embark on a full scale U.S. tour during the summer and a UK winter tour.
Rancid will be touring again in the summer with Rise Against, Riverboat Gamblers, and Billy Talent through North America. The tour will begin on June 4, 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia and will end in Toronto, Ontario on July, 31.
Rancid used to host a one hour once a week XM radio show. The show was called Rancid Radio and was on "Fungus" channel 53 Saturday at midnight. However, the show has been cancelled due to Fungus 53 being pulled from XM's programming.
On March 30, 2009 Punknews.org reported that Rancid's newest album would be released on June 2, 2009 and would be titled Let The Dominoes Fall. It was also announced that the album was recorded at the Skywalker Sound studio in Nicasio, California, and features an organ performance from Booker T. Jones.
On April 7, 2009 Rancid released an electronic widget via their MySpace with a song off their upcoming new album. The track, titled "Last One to Die", is available for free download.
In late May 'Let The Dominoes Fall' was streamed in its entirety on the band's Myspace.
On June 10th 2009, the band appeared as the musical guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brian playing "Last One to Die" off of their new album.
Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards Tim Armstrong Operation Ivy NOFX Transplants