Amplif[ie]d | Voodoo Glow Skulls
By: Jamie Durante
Photo Credit: Dana Krashin Photography
As a band that needs no introduction, the guys in Voodoo Glow Skulls are solely responsible for serving as the masters of California street punk for decades. And although we are lucky enough to claim Voodoo Glow Skulls as a local band because of their roots in Riverside, these guys have attained a level of success that most musicians dedicate their life to chasing. With over one million records sold, dedicated fans, international tours, and 24 years of success and experience under their belts, you better believe that VGS will not slow down for anything. Taking the nation by storm with the sick sounds off their newest album Break the Spell, Voodoo Glow Skulls are also well-known for lyrics that really mean something to people, and that might be why they’re so closely connected to their millions of loyal supporters. We were lucky enough to catch Frank, the dedicated frontman of VGS right before their tour across the nation makes its way back to the IE!
Q: Who are your band members, and what do they play?
Frank Casillas: Frank Casillas - Vox, Eddie Casillas - Guitar, Jorge Casillas - Bass, A.J. Condosta - Drums, Mark Bush - Trumpet, Dan Albert - Trombone
Q: How would you personally describe ska-core to new potential listeners?
Frank: Hardcore punk with ska influences.
Q: Who are your biggest influences, and in what way?
Frank: We grew up in the ‘80s, so our ska influences are mostly from the British two tone era. Our metal influences also come from a lot of the British metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc . . . And we grew up in SoCal, when all the cool punk bands like Social D, Adolescents, D.I., Descendents, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, and many more were playing small clubs all over LA and Orange County.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming and past album releases.
Frank: We are currently recording a new one, and should have a release next May or June of 2015. But this is our past discography:
- Who Is, This Is? – 1993 Dr. Strange Records
- Firme – 1995 Epitaph Records
- Firme (en Español) – 1996 Epitaph Records
- Baile de Los Locos – 1997 Epitaph Records
- The Band Geek Mafia – 1998 Epitaph Records
- Symbolic – 2000 Epitaph Records
- Steady as She Goes – 2002 Victory Records
- Adicción, Tradición, Revolución – 2004 Victory Records
- Southern California Street Music – 2007 Victory Records
Q: What can fans looks forward to at a live VooDoo Glow Skulls concert?
Frank: A live VGS show is pretty much a combination of seeing a ska, punk and metal band all mixed into one.
Q: How is the Riverside and SoCal music scene different from when you first started in the ‘80s compared to how it is now?
Frank: The scene in Riverside was small, but close-knit. Bands played together, no matter the genre or style. Everybody shared the same stage and supported each other. Much different than LA at the time. There was a small pizza place named Spanky's Cafe that would host shows at night, and that became the main venue in town, eventually hosting national touring bands. That's how we were able to take our music to the next level. We had an outlet!
Q: Has social media and technology changed the way you do things as a band?
Frank: Well, I seriously believe that it has killed the major music industry. But on the plus side, you can share information so much faster and easier. Now bands can truly become independent, and get the music directly to their fans by eliminating the middle man. Resources are a lot easier to obtain now with modern technology too. It's crazy. There are bedroom artists making millions off YouTube now.
Q: Can you tell us about the new record label you have?
Frank: Well, we've tried a few attempts at record labels in the past. But the band was at its peak at the time, and we were always busy on tour. We couldn't concentrate on running a label at the same time. Our label now is more like a re-launch of a label we did a few years back named California Street Music. Again, with the modern technology we have now, you can literally run a business from your smartphone. It's a different era now, and we are surrounded by a lot of talented friends that [are] musicians and deserve some help from guys like us who have experienced some success.
Q: What is your favorite venue to play at in the IE?
Frank: Well, there aren't really any consistent places to play lately, and it seems like we play in the IE less now because of that. But I like The Glass House in Pomona even though it's not really in the IE.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Frank: Check out our record label www.californiastreetmusic.com. Thanks for listening! Who Do Voodoo We Do!
Be sure to catch the Voodoo Glow Skulls as their tour stops in their hometown of Riverside:
Voodoo Glow Skulls with Sick Sense, Pull Punch n Pray and Slow Children on Fri, Dec. 19th at Romano’s Concert Lounge in Riverside at 10p.m. General admission is $12. Ages 21 and over.