Drain recently released their hotly anticipated second album Living Proof via Epitaph. A rousing, ravenous display of hardcore fury, injected with plenty of west coast sunshine and sentimentality, it is a home run from one of the most exciting bands in the community right now.
But everything that Drain exhibit comes from their love and respect for hardcore. Even more so, it’s because of the bands that came before them who have allowed them the space to do things their way. So we sat down with Drain vocalist Sammy Ciaramitaro to talk through some of hardcore's hardest hitting groups, exploring the hardcore bands every metalhead should know.
“The thing with Descendents is that I found them when I was 17/18. I immediately fell in love, because they felt like such relatable lyrics. I'm not someone who cares too much about what people say about me online, but I do like to look, and I see people saying stuff like, 'Descendents is just music for suburban kids'. I was a suburban kid! I wasn't into graffiti or street shit. I wasn't fighting kids or anything like that.
When I listen to something like Urban Discipline by Biohazard, I know it's hard, but I can't necessarily relate to it. But when I hear a song like Catalina, I can. To get to Catalina Island, you have to get on a boat from my hometown. That rings true to home for me. They were too nerdy for the punks, not cool enough for the girls, and just regular dudes writing about their lives. It's music for the common folk who grew up with nothing to be that upset about, and that's fine.
It's been really cool to be able to cover the band on Living Proof. It's something that I wonder if other people think is cool. I don't really care because I like it. We were all stoked about it, and I hope people will go out and jam Milo Goes To College, and I Don't Want To Grow Up because of it, because they rule.”
“Hardcore, especially the hardcore that we play, was some of the last stuff that I found. I was into thrash metal and punk rock more before that. But the first band that I really heard and loved was Destroy L.A.
I was in 4th or 5th grade and thought it was such a crazy name for a band. At that time, Minor Threat and Destroy L.A. were the best bands in the world for me. I got to see them when I was in high school, and it was wild. I knew all the words to every song, and I was seeing it live for the first time. It was crazy. I lived in the town they talked about as well, San Pedro. They spoke of things that were happening in San Pedro. I was just hooked. It changed things up for me in a big way.”
“You see people unsure about bands bringing something a little different to the table [in hardcore]. But doing things that bring in new people isn't always a bad thing. And when [hip hop collective] Odd Future and Trash Talk worked together, it was like watching that in action.
For every 100 kids who learned about Trash Talk because of Odd Future, five or ten will have said, 'This changed my life, and now I am here for this. I am in hardcore now. I love it and want this to be my lifestyle now.' I was one of those kids who has felt that happen.
I went to see them when they played together in LA, and I remember watching the Trash Talk set and feeling someone elbow me in the chest. It was Tyler, The Creator, throwing down. The most insane thing I have ever seen. Trash Talk are punk rock with no barriers to me. That's something we are trying to be ourselves with this new release.”
“They are a band that just changed so much. Going to see them made me realise that they were completely different from every thrash metal band I have seen before. It's really easy for people to say stuff into a microphone when you're in a band. But then there are people like Riley Gale who say it but don't really need to. That's because they walk it.
Some people need to remember where they've come from and how quickly all of this can be taken away. At the end of the day, we are all just huge fans of hardcore and punk rock. The only thing that separates us from the crowd is we are in a band already. And Riley embodied that attitude, knowing that the only reason he could do what he did was because of the people in the crowd supporting them.
Riley reached out to me when [Drain's 2020 album] California Cursed dropped, I'd never met him, and he just said, 'Hey man, love the record.' This dude was playing arenas, but when he went home, he was still just a regular dude wanting to listen to music. That's something we feel strongly about as well. This is so much fun when we all win, so I hope we never get to a point where we don't feel that way.”
“Rotting Out was always a punk band, but something set them apart. When I saw them live, I realised the thing that made them different was that they were actually a hardcore band. Growing up, I'm from the same town as them. All of their album covers are from places that I know exactly where they were taken. When you look at my blueprint and base level of hardcore, this is what it looks like. That's as real as it gets because you know Walter [Delgado, Vocalist] isn't singing about shit he watched on TV or that he made up. He has lived and experienced it, and that's why he's writing it. It's the reality.
The first time I saw them live was at a free show in a skate park back home. Walter got in a car accident that day, but they still played. They just set a mic stand up with a microphone on it, and every word still got sung. That's how you know that there is so much realness going on.”
“We did a three-week tour with Terror, and maybe it's because I got to see them every day, but I kept thinking, 'Yeah, that's how it's done'. Not just in the way they are and the way they perform on stage, just everything. Seeing Scott Vogel say, 'This is positive music. If you came here to hurt somebody and start a fight, you're here for the wrong reason,' but then starting the next song off shouting, 'Fuck everything, fuck everybody' is just something that you feel.
There's a way to be positive without being a little bitch; that's the best way I can say it. If we can think positively but don't give anybody a reason or chance to stop you, that's how we get shit done. That's been the mantra from day one. We got ourselves a shitty van, got out there and showed them what we were about. And if people didn't like it, fuck them.
But yeah, the way Terror operate is insane. Nick Jett, their drummer, will run seven miles during the daytime. He takes care of his health and then works his ass off playing drums every night. Then when the last note is played, he tears down his stuff and packs it up himself. That's always been the same; they've done it a million times. He is also the main driver of their van. They show that you can do this in a way where you truly mean what you say.”