Interview with Lars Frederiksen about the new Old Firm Casuals album
With a new Old Firm Casuals album due to drop on the 27th April Louder Than War’s Hannah McFaull reached out to band leader Lars Frederiksen requesting in interview. Inevitably the interview focusses on said album but it also touches on subjects as diverse as violence, politics & football.
The photographer for both pics on this page was Steve Terrebonne.
Louder Than War: Allo, how are you sir? What are you doing right this second?
Lars Frederiksen: I am good thank you. I am listening to the new “Old Glory” EP that Bolado sent me and getting ready to answer these questions.
The new Old Firm Casuals LP is called “For The Love Of It All” … All what?
Everything that has to do with Punk and Oi! music really. If you were to put it in a nutshell my answer would simply be the 30 years of my life dedicated to this music and way of life. It’s my culture and I love everything about it. Always have, always will.
This in an incredible amount of songs for an Oi! album, I recognize some from your live sets but not all of them. Is this a complete collection of OFC tracks or the cream of the crop?
This is everything we have ever recorded, except the very first 4 song EP and the cover of Madball’s “Pride” we did for Roger Miret’s & Onno Cromags (RIP) comp called “Respect Your Roots” on Strength Records. There’s also a Last Resort cover on the record that was never released on anything and some of the songs were remastered as well. We knew at some point we would wanna have all the songs in one place so we decided to make “For The Love Of It All” our first official full length release. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few years since the band started.
What track on the record do you consider to be the definitive calling card for OFC?
That’s a hard question to answer (I have been sitting here for 15 minutes thinking about it) but in my opinion it would be between “A Gang Like Us” and “For The Love of It All”
What track on the album are you most pleased with the finished result?
Were there any tracks that were a pain in the arse to get finished?
From the very first time we sat down to write Ignorant Ones at Casey’s house, that song was a pain in my ass. We wrote that around the same time as Casual and Lone Wolf, but it took a while for it to be finished completely. It was one of those songs that I got too crazy with and always thought we could make it better. Every time I walked into practice I could tell that Paul and Casey were thinking “Oh Christ, what’s he gonna change in the song now?” I finally had to tap out and just listen to them when they said enough. To this day I still hear different things we could have done when we play it live. I’m going crazy again just thinking about it. Next question
You can’t really deny that violence (whatever the motivation) is a theme throughout the record. Do you think this contributes to the continuing misunderstanding about skinhead culture? Does the canceling of Instafest, which you were supposed to play, buy into this misunderstanding?
Yeah it’s a theme for sure. It’s a violent world that we all live in and I don’t think its gonna change anytime soon. The things we sing about, violent or not, could have happened yesterday or 10-20 years ago. I think singing about what we experience in life, whether it be past or present, is what’s real to us. As far as the misunderstandings of the Skinhead and Punk culture go, it’s been happening so long that any mainstream media will never pick up on any positive or truthful thing about it. The reason why is simply because it won’t sell papers or get people to pay attention to the sensationalised storytelling that happens on TV, blogging or in the general media today. Anything negative or perceived negative gets better ratings.
As far as the canceling of Insta-Fest goes, that was just pure hypocrisy on the Echo’s part (the venue in LA). When there was problems with the first venue for the festival, I thought since Rancid did a residence at the Echo some years back, maybe we could put it there. I called Tim (Rancid) and he got me in touch with the people down there. They accepted the show back in January and seemed generally excited about it. As time drew closer and preparations needed to be made THEY avoided the promoter and then waited to tell him and myself they cancelled the show 2 weeks before it was supposed to happen, citing “THE SKINHEAD ELEMENT” as being the main reason. One of the worst parts is that they also claim to be old punk rockers, but that’s obviously just a big fucking lie. You would think after all it’s 2013 and people would get what’s up by now. Obviously the Echo has no clue about Punk and Skinhead culture. No self respecting Punk or Skin should ever step foot in that place. Fuck that club and all who go there.
I found a few songs, Red, white n blue in particular to display a feeling of patriotism which isn’t a theme I was expecting in the album, what prompted the call to arms?
I think no matter what band I have been in you will find a patriotic element to some of the lyrics in some of the songs we do. That song in particular is calling out all the politicians who swore an oath to their political party and not to their country which is a fact. I’m not on the left or on the right. I
‘m personally in the middle. I just call it as I see it. For a long time now political parties do what’s best for them and how they look, as opposed to what’s gonna help the greater good of the nation. Both sides are guilty.
Tell me about Doc Martens Dental Plan, which is one of my favorites on the record. How much of the lyrics are based on true stories? How long have you been sitting on the phrase for?
That phrase I first heard back so long ago I cant even remember. I just thought it would be funny to write a song around it. Paul took it real serious, nothing in that song is tongue in cheek to Paul. Everything in that song is true for him. Paul has done all those things twice. Some of them as many as 3 times, especially the ‘Drive Through’ line. He forced me physically with his anger to write the lyrics. He even hit me and Casey when we didn’t play the song right the first time. He can be so mean…
Despite you being Millwall scum, I respect the fact that you made the time to go to as many football matches as you could when you were on tour in the UK last year. Which ground was your favorite and which had the best pies?
Thank you West Ham vermin. First off as you know the football is only as good as the company you keep so you know I’m gonna say going to Millwall with Roi, Steve Whale, and Steve Bruce was the best. I will add going to watch Linfield FC away at the Oval with Colin Runnin’ Riot was a highlight because I had never gone to football in Ireland. The best pies were up in Scotland at Rangers, although the curry chicken at Villa was pretty good.
According to Branden’s relentless instagramming, we know you’re putting the finishing touches to a new Rancid album, what can you tell us about it that no-one else knows?
Matt Freeman plays all the drums, Branden plays all the bass, I tracked all my guitars playing left handed and Tim tracked all his playing right handed. When you think you’re hearing Tim sing, it’s really Iain from Control. When you think you’re hearing me sing, it’s really Skippy from Pirates Press. When you think you’re hearing Matt sing, it’s really Ross from GBH. Oh yeah, and all background vocals are done by Tim. Please don’t tell anyone.
The Old Firm Casuals are back in the UK this year, playing the next Oi Oi! The Gig show at the Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden. What are you most looking forward to about being back in the UK?
Seeing everyone of course!! We are super grateful to Billy Bulldog and his missus Sarah from Oi! Oi! the Shop for setting up the gig for us. It’s no secret I love England and any chance I get to go there I take. Playing with Control is always a highlight since they are one of the best Punk / Oi! bands happening today. I’m looking forward to seeing the Angry Agenda as well, which is another great band.
And with a few more ‘West Ham vermin’ ‘Millwall scum’ exchanges, I let one of the busiest men in punk get back to his day with a promise to actually talk to us about the Rancid record when it’s ready. ‘For The Love Of It All’ is released on Oi! The Boat Records on April 27th. You can pre-order your copy here.
All words by Hannah McFaull. Both photo’s on this page were by Steve Terrebonne. More of Hannah’s writing on Louder Than War can be found in her author’s archive.