Celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year, California-based label Hopeless Records has been at the forefront of the modern Punk movement since their inception in 1994. With a host of Pop Punk, Hardcore, and Post-Punk acts on their roster, the label has been one of the most influential on the scene. With releases by All Time Low, Sum 41, Neck Deep, Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice, Yellowcard, Anarbor, Taking Back Sunday, Silverstein, We Are The In Crowd, Bayside, The Used, The Wonder Years, The Human Abstract and Enter Shikari, Hopeless has always embraced the energy of modern Punk and releasing albums that have helped shape the genre. Through it all, the label has earned the respect of the Punk Pop/Emo kids and that is what is most important.
It’s not the size of your catalog that matters, it’s how you use it…
Years before it became a name for a mobile video rental service, Red Box was a band. To be more precise, British Pop outfit Red Box released their debut single – “Chenko” – in 1983. Since then, they’ve only managed to release four albums, but what they lack in quantity, they certainly make up for in quality. Red Box is a staggeringly original outfit that mixes everything from classic Pop to Native American chants, from World Music rhythms to winsome sing-along melodies. Whether the song is bright and upbeat or slow and somber, there’s always a feeling of pure passion that inhabits Red Box recordings.
Regardless of what the Billboard charts might insinuate, Pop Punk – AKA Punk Pop – was not born in the mid- ‘90s. The roots of the genre first came to prominence in the late ‘70s thanks to bands like Ramones, Buzzcocks, The Dickies, and The Undertones. The blending of the raw power of Punk Rock and soaring, sing-a-long melodies reignited the Indie scene and made Punk more -for lack of a better term – consumer-friendly. The term ‘Pop Punk’ wasn’t widely used until bands like The Offspring, Green Day, Rancid, and Blink-182 brought the genre to the mainstream, selling millions of albums in the process. MTV and radio embraced this new movement that was as hook-filled as it was loud and aggressive. It is hard to tell whether Pop Punk was a reaction against the slick Pop and smooth R&B that filled the charts at the time or a full-on musical revolution but whatever happened, happened.
STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: VINYL TAP has just been released. How are you feeling about the album and the reaction to it so far?
JAY BECKENSTEIN: I have felt great about this record since the days when we first started rehearsing it. The band responded to the challenge of doing alternative covers, really, I think quite brilliantly, and I’m really proud of this record. Reactions have been excellent. I think that people really responded to us doing some material other than ours. I also think that they responded to how much we changed the material and how the material was inspiration for more creativity.
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the U.S. charts very rarely embraced blatantly retro bands like the U.K. did. Sometimes, a band like The Stray Cats would defy the odds and connect with a large commercial audience in the States but that was a rarity. Bands like Sha Na Na were considered a novelty act by the critics and would generally be ignored. At that time in America, the ‘oldies’ were so in the past…