Bucking trends has always been the main ethic of punk rock. Way back in the ‘70s when bands were releasing bloated, self-indulgent albums, punk music came swooshing in like a bandit and cut through the cheese like a razorblade. Aggressive, short and punchy, punk rock proved just how lame rock was getting.
To that effect, New York old school hardcore heroes The Casualties are on the same page. These days, many ethical singers of dubious ability are honkifying themselves in order to get more purchase in the North American music market.
Not The Casualties, though. They’re stepping back into their history, having just released a new version of their latest effort On The Front Lines entirely in Spanish.
“[Singer] Jorge is from Ecuador,” says guitarist Jake. “He’s always felt very close to his roots and it just made sense for him to try doing the whole album in Spanish. It’s opened up a lot of doors for us in South America because not a lot of bands are willing to do that. It’s something special for everyone: us, Jorge and our fans down there.” This isn’t the first time The Casualties have used their second language. Throughout their decade-long existence, the band have quite prominently featured Jorge’s lyrics in his native tongue. However, this is the first time the band have used the language to such extents. With results that have garnered rave reviews, the band can’t help but feel positive about it.
“Of course we’re into it, but it’s amazing to see how passionate Jorge gets about it,” adds drummer Meggers, barely containing himself. “His delivery has this new quality to it that I’ve never seen before… not that he hasn’t been having fun with our past albums, but this was obviously a charge for him.” Slated to release a follow-up to On The Front Lines – or rather, En La Linea Del Frente – in early 2006, The Casualties [completed by bassist Rick ] are still too thrilled with this version to delve into writing mode just yet.
“I’m busy learning Spanish now so that I can relate to what Jorge is saying,” laughs Meggers. “It’s really weird to see your songs in a language you don’t understand. You have no idea what [Jorge] is saying, but you can tell he really means it. You start singing along and you have no clue what’s going on. You just enjoy the ride.”