Fans of punk music are in for a real treat when Strung Out hits out shores alongside the legendary Pennywise. Playing their trade since 1990 Strung Out have won over a legion fans with their unique mixture of traditional punk with elements of prog rock and heavy metal seeping in. Now hot off the heels of their Songs Of Armor And Devotion album the boys are excited to be heading Down Under.
“We were actually heading down for a two week run on our own and then we heard that Pennywise were looking to do a tour at the same time,” says frontman Joey Cruz as we talk about the tour. “Those guys have always been so good to us and they could have got some other band but since the inception of this band they have always been really good to us so they decided to bring us along which I am really grateful for. It is going to be great, Pennywise go off and this is like a dream.”
The friendship between Strung Out and Pennywise is nothing new, in fact it is more like a brotherhood than a friendship. “It think it started back in 1994 or 95,” says Cruz. “When our first album came out they were the first real band to take us on the road with them, back then I think we did a two week run with them on the West Coast. Now to this day they are always looking out for us… I’ve never known a band to be so generous. They are like our big brothers and there is no way we would be where we are at if it wasn’t for Pennywise.”
As we talk about that closeness with Pennywise we start to talk about what Cruz hopes will happen on the tour here in Australia. “We are going to try and tear the fucking show down,” he says laughing. “We want to rip the fucking roof off the place, that is what they are bringing us over for and that is what we are preparing to do.”
The interview takes a very big change in tone though when we start to discuss the inspiration for Songs Of Armor And Devotion and the events that were impacting Cruz when he wrote it. “I had just lost one of my best friends to cancer,” he explains. “That happened about a month before the album got made so that put a huge shadow on the record. Then we had a new drummer to work with and we felt that we had a lot to prove because of the obvious line-up changes. It was just a very intense time so we had to really step up. Life wasn’t going to let us off easy and yeah it was just life stuff, being an adult, being in a marriage.”
“Life throws some curve balls at you,” he says continuing with the emotions still raw in his voice. “But yeah we did really feel like we had a lot to prove… we definitely had a lot to prove. And you know one of my favourite records that we have ever done was our acoustic record and I think people had written us off or had opinions about it, but it was like whatever we came back with all guns blazing and we let everybody know what the deal was.”
Strung Out and Pennywise together is a certain kind of punk nirvana that is rare to experience. Talking to Joey Cruz just hammers home the point that these shows are not to be missed.