Let Rage! are a new band out of the Los Angeles area who recently put out their first release titled “EP 1” back in March. The band consists of: Timmy Chunks (guitar & words), Byron Miller (guitar & sandals), Deana Montoya (bass & innuendos) and Herman Ibarra (drums & coffee), and no, you did not read that incorrectly, Timmy Chunks who many may remember as the frontman for NYHC greats Token Entry is indeed their singer and guitarist. This was originally slated to be a Fresh Blood feature for new bands but there were a lot of questions to be asked and this just kind of snowballed into a full length interview which was done in early June with the whole band. Stream or download their new EP by following the links within the interview.
IE: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time out to do this interview. From the looks of things it appears this band got started at some point in 2015 with things kind of kicking into gear in the last 6 months with more shows being played and your first release which came out in March. Just a few weeks ago in late May you landed a spot on one of the Vegas Punk Rock Bowling shows playing with Ignite and Municipal Waste. Although it was a sold out show you did have the opening slot and I wanted to ask about that show in particular. How full was the Fremont Country Club when you played your set and how well were you received? Did landing a spot on a PRB gig live up to what you thought it would be going in?
Timmy: Well the FCC has a curtain that "reveals" the band. It was awesome when the curtain opened and there was one person standing at the barricade! About 15-20 other folks were sitting down around the edges of the room. By the time our set was finished there were probably close to 100 people in the room. It was a great show and people were very responsive. It definitely lived up to our expectations since we really just want to play music and have a good time. For our 13th show it was awesome. We even got our name in small print on the poster!
Byron: Playing punk and hardcore is what we love doing. Personally I’d play in front of no one but its way more fun with people there. Quite a few folks were at the show including friends and fellow Gutter Punx. The crowd was really into us, I’d totally play PRB again. A huge thank you to Mark and Shawn Stern for letting us play!
Deana: I’ve been going to PRB since 2002. So to be able to be play this show is kind of full circle for me. It was a totally awesome experience and I’d say our best show to date!
IE: You guys obviously have Timmy Chunks on guitar and vocals and back here in NY one of his previous bands... Token Entry is and was a pretty big deal in the history of NYHC. Before any of you joined to play in this band how much (or little) did all of you know about Tim's earlier bands like Token Entry? Was it a thing where you were fans of bands like Redemption 87 and Token Entry or have you found out more along the way?
Timmy: I think I'll let everyone else answer this. Personally, never heard of the guy.
Deana: When we met I think I knew more about Timmy's ties to the Bouncing Souls, Chunksaah Records and Green Day than I did about his history with Token Entry. So for me, yes, I learn more about him and the NYHC scene all the time, he's got great stories! When I see video of Token Entry or pictures of his Redemption 87 days, there are definitely those “in awe” moments. He IS a pretty big deal!
Herman: It's kind of funny. I knew of Token Entry and I knew that Timmy Chunks was some guy that people would give props to on stage at almost every punk rock show but I had no idea they went together. I met Timmy through bowling but I didn't get to know him until we were put together on a bowling team. I have a terrible memory so I'm not really sure what we talked about during league but we would go fishing on weekends sometimes.
IE: Having Tim in the band brings this “punk rock clout” sorta vibe quite simply because he has been around for a long time doing good things. I would guess when people get in touch with the band or see Let Rage! play or contact you through social media outlets the questions and conversations probably come back to Tim more often than not. With that said can you guys give us a rundown as to the other members of this band? Who makes up the rest of Let Rage! and what bands have you all been in previous to this one? What kind of influences and backgrounds in music are the non-Tim’s bringing in here?
Herman: I play drums. I remember I got a text message from Timmy, asking me if I wanted to play in his new band, my response was “Fuck yeah, Let Rage!” A mis-text that Timmy immediately turned into the band’s name. At the moment I only play in one other band… Los Creepers, an LA hardcore punk band that started in ‘96. My biggest influences came from watching other bands at backyard punk shows around LA. Going to shows at some random apartment complex or abandoned buildings. Watching huge mosh pits, kids going nuts and the most amazing neighborhood bands killing it. I wanted to be a part of it.
Byron: Guitar over here. I have played in LA punk and indie rock bands since the early 90’s. Just local bands which only a handful of people remember. My background is fairly diverse but heavily steeped in punk and hardcore from the 80's and 90's.
Deana: I play bass. I haven't been in a band in a very long time! Not sure why these guys keep me around. I played bass in a punk band in the mid 90's, our singer was straight edge and in another hardcore band at the time. Our sound was very similar to Let Rage!, Definitely punk rock vs hardcore kinda thing, so I’d say my roots were planted there.
IE: And just out of curiosity what are some of the more popular questions you all are fielding in regards to Tim on social media since it seems like he is the lightning rod of sorts to this band? Tim has no input, influence or presence of the band's social media pages, correct?
Timmy: I choose to stay off of the social media circus because I feel like there is mostly gossip and rumors out there. This world is becoming far too impersonal for my taste. If you're a friend of mine then you have my phone number. Give me a call anytime and I'll be happy to talk to you or better yet meet in person and have a sugar free Red Bull!
Deana: Most of the people who contact us are old friends of Timmy's, trying to get into contact. So we field the messages and phone numbers via text to him frequently. Other questions we get revolve around his time playing and touring with Green Day. He may be absent from social media but we (me and Byron) make sure questions get answered by him, we're like Timmy's ghostwriters!
Byron: Well, there’s that one guy who keeps asking about Timmy’s guitar and amp set-up. That’s kinda cool! As a gearhead myself, I always wanted to know what guitars, effects and amps other musicians were using.
IE: Tell us a little about the LA Gutter Punx Bowling League where this band has its roots.
Timmy: The Gutter Punx league is a great place to hang out on a Sunday night and meet up with like minded people. The band actually formed two years ago when Deana and I (and Jed) were driving to Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling. Deana has been the only steady member in the Gutter Punx league. The rest of us kinda flow in and out of it as our time and finances allow.
Deana: I've been on the LA Gutter Punx league since 2011. I met Byron and Herman through the league when it was formally known as the "West Side Bowling League" and was located in Santa Monica. I was introduced to Timmy by our league President, Jamie Stern, some years later after the league had established its new name and location in Studio City, CA. Me and Timmy have been on the same Punk Rock Bowling team for the last 3 years now, we are the "True Bowlievers"!
Byron: I love the LA Gutter Punx. I joined it when it was WSBL back in 2012. These degenerates who love punk rock and bowling are the most solid group of people you will ever meet. I met Timmy in the league a few years ago. We had a short-lived but fun project with Brian Melville (Eyelid), Kevin Jaros (Internal Affairs) and when he could get to LA, Gary Gutfeld (Redemption 87). Our practices involved playing a few tunes, going for a dip in Timmy’s pool and then playing more songs. It was awesome when Timmy asked me to play in Let Rage! Now we rehearse in a real practice space, but with no pool.
IE: Who is the best bowler out of the Let Rage! crew? Give us some positives and maybe some dirt on each member's bowling game.
Timmy: Me! I'm the best bowler in the band. The other band members are pretty good but I kill it!!
Herman: D is the best bowler in the band but not so much this year at PRB....not so much this year.
Byron: Deana. But we are all really good bowlers. Deana has the most trophies from league though. I, for some reason, only bowl well at PRB in Vegas. I think the hangover and lack of sleep makes me focus more.
Deana: We are all above average bowlers, but I’ve been in bowling leagues since I was 8 years old, so I’ll admit I do have a slight advantage.
IE: The “EP1” is your first release and runs around 7 minutes in length. How have you guys been filling up your set lists when playing out live? Are there a lot of other songs that are being saved for future releases? A bunch of cover songs? A lot of talking in between songs? Or all of the above?
Timmy: Actually, yes to all of the above. We have other songs and we are a punk band so we love covers and dear God when Deana has a mic she doesn't shut up! So we do have other material. It's difficult to find the time to get to a recording studio. Byron and I both have daughters so that takes up a lot of time… but in a good way. Plus we all have steady jobs, well three of us do, so it's not always easy to get together to record. Some of our other songs include: “We're Doomed”, “Chances Are”, “All The Words”, “Stay Safe”, and “All My Best Friends”… so yeah we have a few more and are constantly writing new material.
Deana: Timmy likes to talk a lot! But we all have a great time bantering with each other on stage. It's very much like watching us at practice. But I'm usually the one who has to wrangle them in to play the next song.
IE: The band is based in LA with Byron still living in the Bay Area. Has this prevented any shows from not happening in the past because of the distance between you all and is this arrangement subject to change in the future? How does that work out with band practice? Is the band looking to play out more and do some touring or is the mindset more so a thing of playing shows when you can?
Timmy: Byron lives in the Bay Area because it's closer to his daughter. Byron is an amazingly talented player so when we come up with something new we will usually just send him the notes plus a phone recording of it and when he shows up to the next practice he's got it down. As far as touring or playing more, we would love to but when me and Deana talked about doing this band on the drive to Vegas I made it clear that what I want to do is "hang out with my friends and play music at least twice a month". If we get to play shows every now and then, AWESOME!"
Deana: Surprisingly we've only had to turn down a few shows due to scheduling conflicts. I personally would love to practice more and do some touring. I think right now we are limited to how far we can travel, but I foresee playing the Bay Area in our near future!
IE: With Byron in the Bay Area and the rest of you in LA do you often find yourselves in heated arguments over sports particularly Giants/Dodgers feuds or is the whole No-Cal vs So-Cal sports hate towards one another blown a little out of proportion?
Timmy: To quote my friend "I HATE SPORTS!"
Deana: Go Dodgers!
Byron: I grew up and lived in Los Angeles until recently. I bleed Dodger Blue and will rock my LA Kings sweater forever. Sorry Bay Area readers.
IE: “EP1” has four songs kicked off by “Timmy’s Doing Drugs” which is a funny title when you look at it but when you hear the lyrics being sung it all comes together as, yes…. Timmy is in fact doing drugs… but not the drugs you might be thinking. Can you give us some more insight to this song?
Timmy: I have never been high and I have never been drunk. But in the past 17 years I have had some health issues that require me to take drugs every day. The night I wrote that song Herman and I were at the rehearsal studio and I had to take some of my meds. Herman looked over and shouted "TIMMY'S DOING DRUGS!" I thought it was funny so I just kinda ran with it. I love playing that song too.
IE: “Soda Pop and Cigarettes’ is up next and is a shorter tune with more of a poppy vibe. Following up that track is “Teenage Altar Boy”. Can you give us a little info on these two tracks as well?
Timmy: “Soda Pop” was actually written by me and Brad Logan almost 20 years ago. It's just one of those songs that I've always loved playing. “Teenage Altar Boy” is just a story of some of my teenage years. I was raised Roman Catholic and was an altar boy when I was 13-14.
IE: “No Clout” finishes the EP off. Is this the song that is a cover by Felix which is/was Tim’s previous band?
Timmy: Yes, this was first recorded by Felix. A band with me, Amery Smith, and Jonny Wickersham. I love the bass run/breakdown part of this song. Back when I first recorded the song I was having some struggles with people who I thought were friends. So this song always mentally goes out to those people
IE: Before the “EP1” came out Let Rage! had a previous singer in place and Tim was just playing guitar but that singer left and Tim took over the dual role of guitars/vocals. Was the decision to take over the lead vocals in this band more of a thing where you couldn’t find the right fit with a replacement for the last guy or did you think your vocals would best fit the band? What was the mindset when this change happened?
Timmy: The band said I was gonna sing. That's pretty much it. Jed (mentioned earlier) was having a lot of personal issues and wasn't able to make it to practice so the other three looked at me and said "you're the singer" I've tried to deny it but to no avail.
IE: That is all I got for you. Is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrapped this all up? Thanks for your time!
Timmy: Thanks for a great interview. If anyone wishes to have a Felix 7" they can write me at: Timmy Chunks/LET RAGE! PO Box 1633, Sun Valley, CA 91352. If they send $5 that would help too.
Deana: Or you can reach us at email@example.com, Facebook or Instagram, like a normal person.