Sometimes when you’re homesick, you luck out and you get to go home. But sometimes, a little bit of home comes to you.
The Raging Nathans, a punk band from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, are coming to the Valley on tour next week.
In the eight or so years since I’ve lived in California, I’ve only been home once — for one whole day — and my friend Kevin only sends me cans of Skyline Chili on my birthday, so I’m woefully out of touch with Ohio. This is probably why the Cavs have been struggling lately.
So, it’ll be fun to see a band from my hometown play in the Valley and to see my friend Nick, who plays drums and whose old band, The Adversaries, have many nice T-shirts that I still wear despite the fact that they are old and resemble the moth-eaten cloths of ancient Egyptian mummies.
But, most of all, I am looking forward to hearing stories about the place I called home for about three decades.
“I don’t want to sugarcoat it about Dayton anymore. Nobody cares. Nobody gives a [doo doo] about punk rock,” singer/guitarist Josh Goldman told me Tuesday over the phone as the band drove from Las Vegas to Phoenix, in between shows. “I’m pretty jaded about Dayton as a scene and as a city. I’m just tired of all this indie rock [doo doo]. Dayton has this ability to create this indie rock low-fi garbage. There was Brainiac and Guided by Voices and just get over it. People only support your band if you’re one of the cool kids in the Oregon District. There’s just this false sense of being supportive.”
That’s the Dayton I know. And that’s the Dayton I miss.
“I want people to like us and I want to be successful. I just don’t want to have to kiss anyone’s [buttocks] to do it,” he said.
Goldman also laments the all-too-familiar anger at the tribalism in local music and in punk rock in general.
“You know why I like juggalos,” he asks. Juggalos, of course, are the often-ridiculed, die-hard fans of Detroit horror-rappers, the Insane Clown Posse. “Punk rock used to be inclusive and be for weirdos and outsiders and used to be a way to create a community to accept everybody. But in reality, it’s just a clique. It’s all about who you know and who [you can do sexual favors for]. And that’s why I like juggalos because they’ll accept anybody, no matter who you are. I’m quitting punk rock. I’m going to be a juggalo.”
Goldman asserts that his new juggalo name will be “Evil Carnevil.”
The Raging Nathans will play the Cellar Door in Visalia Wednesday, Feb. 28 as part of their West Coast tour in support of their new album, “Cheap Frame,” which you can buy for whatever you feel like paying for it at https://theragingnathans.bandcamp.com.
The band will be embarking on a tour of the United Kingdom later this spring, but why anyone would want to go there is beyond me.
The band formed shortly before I left town and have released two full-length albums and a slew of seven-inch records since then.
And while Goldman is disenfranchised with the general population’s apathy toward punk rock (a sentiment I echo, as a man who worships at the altar of the Ramones), there is no other path for him.
“I couldn’t do anything else if I tried, I don’t think. I just do things the way they come out,” he said. “Nick’s a little more versatile than me and I want to expand the band so that I don’t feel pigeonholed to write songs a certain way, but I really only know how to write one way and that’s just what comes out when I pick up a guitar.”
Goldman started record label, Rad Girlfriend Records, in 2011 while playing with his previous band, Rad Company.
“We didn’t fit into the typical thing people were doing in terms of pop punk, so I started the label to put out our own records,” he said.
The label has since been putting out albums by his own bands, The Raging Nathans and the Dopamines, as well as some of my favorite bands of all time like The Queers, The Soviettes, Masked Intruder and The Capitalist Kids.
Goldman says that it’s maybe not the best time to start a record label, but he also doesn’t really care. The label does well enough to keep itself afloat, and while he wouldn’t mind making money, that’s not why he does it.
“I don’t mean to come off as so angry. It’s just frustrating to do something you care about and you sometimes feel like no one else cares about it,” he says. “It grinds down on you. Especially when you think you write good songs or you’ve been on the road for a long time and you’re tired. I just want it to continue and I feel like there’s this decline in punk rock and I don’t know where it’s going. And that’s where the anger comes from.“