It was a televised mud-fight watched by millions of people that turned pop-punk into a global phenomenon. The year was 1994 and Green Day’s major label Dookie was slowly climbing the Billboard charts for around five months, but it was their appearance at the Woodstock festival – which started with a few handfuls of earth and culminated in a near-riot which left bassist Mike Dirnt with broken teeth – which changed everything.
In the subsequent years after the Berkeley trio’s mud bath, Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy followed in their footsteps and became arena-filling superstars themselves. Its after effects are still being keenly felt today, with a stream of young bands snapping at their heels. It may be a genre more closely associated with the west coast of America than Britain – thanks the glorious weather bleeding into the effervescent choruses and breezy ‘whatever’ attitude – but the tide seems to be finally turning with bands like ROAM flying the flag for our rain-lashed rock.
“I don’t think the scene’s ever been this good,” says guitarist and vocalist Alex Adam. “The UK’s getting a lot of attention for pop punk at the moment, especially for bands like Neck Deep. American bands like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far have toured so much over here and that’s helped it flourish, too. It’s really picking up.”
Growing up on a steady diet of pop punk, the quintet –completed by lead vocalist Alex Costello, Sam Veness on guitar, bassist Matt Roskilly and drummer Charlie Pearson – caught the attention of US label Hopeless, who’ll release their Viewpoint EP later this month. Like stable mates Neck Deep, their British spin on the earnest pop-punk sound is sure to have fans of the genre screaming their lyrics back in their face, both at home and across the Atlantic. They don’t want to stop there, though, as global domination is on the band’s ‘to do’ list.
“Last year, touring was massive for us,” says Alex, “and we were able to get out and see that we had a fan base. The most recent tour we’ve done was in October with Enter Shikari. We went all over to eastern Europe – places like Turkey and Greece. One of the highlights, though, was when we played Bulgaria. We were so far from home and we had quite a big following there, everyone was singing along. We played to thousands of kids who said nobody ever tours there. So now, we want to get out and play places that bands don’t tend to visit.”
Now, if you believe YouTube star Jarrod Alonge – whose fun-poking clip (below) has had over a million views – all pop-punk bands do is eat pizza, sleep on people’s floors and fall off their skateboards. The question is, how closely do ROAM’s lives resemble this pop-punk cliche?
“The thing is, pizza has nothing to do with pop-punk,” laughs Alex. “At the same time everyone in the band loves it, so that doesn’t help push against the stereotype. We play pop-punk, eat pizza and we skateboard a bit. I think it just comes with our age. But who doesn’t want pizza?”
Fair point, well made.
ROAM’s new EP Viewpoint is released through Hopeless on the January 26th. The band are also on tour at the end of the month – check out their Facebook page for more details.