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SCENE SETTER: Teenage Bottlerocket blasting into Barrie

'What we're seeing now is that fans who were there at the band's earliest stage are now bringing their kids with them now. And we still kick it live! We go hard in the paint,' says drummer
Teenage Bottlerocket will be playing in Barrie at the Queen's on July 15. Drummer Darren Chewka (second from right) took some time to speak to BarrieToday ahead of the upcoming show.

The weather is heating up and so are the city's stages. It feels like ages since Barrie played host to some of the incredible talent that lives south of the border, but they're coming and they're bringing the heat.

For over 20 years, Wyoming's Teenage Bottlerocket has been stirring crowds into a frenzy with their signature brand of fast and fun punk rock mastery. Following the tragic death of founding drummer Brandon Carlisle in 2015, Teenage Bottlerocket enlisted the talents of Edmonton's Darren Chewka and the band has since released several albums and EPs.

Before they light up the stage in Barrie on Friday, July 15, we had the opportunity to ask Chewka a few questions.

RV: For people who are not familiar with Teenage Bottlerocket (TBR), how would you describe your sound and live show?

DC: It's like eating a donair and then at the end you look at the plastic bag it was wrapped in and you're like, "Man, look at all that sauce... it's like dessert."

For real, though, it's a party. A sick sesh, you could say. I've been in the band now six-plus years and I don't remember a single gig that we called it in. It's what we do  we try to kill it every night.

RV: When it was first announced you would be joining TBR on drums, your fellow bandmates said that you had played in pretty much every band hailing from Edmonton. Is that true? And how would you describe the local scene in Edmonton?

DC: When Ray (Carlisle) called me to come down to Laramie (Wyoming) for the weekend, I believe I was in five or six bands. So, not every band, but I was either playing or rehearsing five to six days a week. There are not a lot of drummers in Edmonton, but on the same note, I love playing.

I'm down to three these days  TBR, Old Wives and a new project called King Thief.

I love the scene here. I feel everyone knows everyone, or at least tries to get involved. We're all just trying to help each other succeed.

RV: After the sudden and tragic passing of Brandon Carlisle in 2015, you were recruited and have since recorded three studio albums (among others) with TBR. How was that transition for you and was there a moment that you realized this was a good fit?

DC: If anyone saw us at the beginning of Warped Tour 16, they'd know the transition wasn't easy. We sucked. I remember after the show in Nashville, if I wasn't getting kicked out that I should probably just go home. But we kept on and we got some chemistry  and then we sucked for a few more shows, but by the end of it I totally felt we were a band! And then that solidified when we did Stealing the Covers, we knocked that out in no time and it was a blast to make.

RV: Is there a particular TBR song (or cover) that is your favourite to play? Maverick rules. Strung Out On Stress rules. Gay ParadeGhost Story. All bangers
live. What is it about TBR that keeps people coming out in droves to your shows?

DC: Well, Bottlerocket has a lot of history. The song catalogue is crazy. What we're seeing now is that fans who were there at the band's earliest stage are now bringing their kids with them now. And we still kick it live! We go hard in the paint!

RV: What's new with Old Wives? Will we be seeing info about the new album and tour dates following your shows with TBR?

DC: Old Wives have lots happening this year. Our record is being pressed as we speak. It's been a long process, but so has everything else in COVID times. The album is slated to be released late September or early October. We'll have label and release info real soon.

RV: Fill in the blanks. “I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for _______, _______, and ______ ?

DC: Family, friends and music.

Teenage Bottlerocket will be joined by Jen Razavi of The Bombpops and Barrie's own 30 Going On 13 on July 15, 2022 at The Queen's Hotel. This is a 19-plus event and tickets can be found by clicking here.