The definitive sound of punk has been fiercely debated for decades, but one thing most critics can agree on about the music is its antagonistic nature. Right down to its name, Portland's Drunk Dad is a middle finger in the face of musical conventions. Although the band eschewed the handle "Meth Lab Blues Explosion" in favor of a moniker with more uncomfortable associations, singer-guitarist Dane Herrin explains the genre he self-applied to the band's Facebook page in a way that's undeniably punk as fuck.
"We were hanging out in my basement making a Facebook page," Herrin says, "and one of the genres to choose from was 'chillwave.' I thought, how about 'fuck you all wave'? So I wrote that in. When they add that one as an option to choose from, then we're changing it."
In the tradition of the Melvins, the Wipers and modern contemporaries like Converge and High on Fire, Drunk Dad makes dense, bludgeoning metal thatâs way too fast and pissed off to fall under the âdoomâ or âstonerâ umbrella thatâs attracted media attention to the Pacific Northwest since the â80s. Post-Nevermind interviews found Kurt Cobain talking up how âchallengingâ and âunlistenableâ he planned In Utero to sound, but weâve heard âAll Apologiesâ enough times to write that off as bullshit. On its forthcoming record, Ripper Killer, Drunk Dad makes good on that promise, deploying a sludgy blast of hardcore that may be just what the metal scene needs to stay awake while everyone else is ripping off Sleep and moving at a glacial pace.
After catching the first performance of Drunk Dad's current lineup, local scuzz-core superstars Rabbits caught up with Herrin and asked if he was interested in recording what would turn out to be the first release on the band's resurrected Eolian Empire label. Like Sub Pop in its pre-grunge salad days, Eolian is quickly gaining momentum as the regional go-to for sludge-mongers with ambitions reaching beyond the DIY house-show circuit.
"They're trying to showcase the kind of shit that doesn't usually get the attention," Herrin says. "Any band they put out—Hot Victory, Honduran, Dead—we would still all be doing the same things we're doing [without their support], but it would be in basements with no press, no interviews, no love. What they're doing is bringing the music industry to Portland and making sure these bands that would otherwise get overlooked are getting the attention they deserve."
Perhaps it goes without saying, but despite Nirvana's entry into the classic-rock canon, this boozy, high-octane foursome of 30-something dudes is not as fatherly as its name jokingly implies.
"Y'know, there's dad rock," says Drunk Dad guitarist Jose Delara, "which is like a bunch of 40-year-old midlife-crisis guys who probably used to be in cool bands when they were in their 20s and now they're older and have kids. We, on the other hand, are dad punk: a bunch of dudes in their 30s that kind of want to ride on this wave of hardcore, but we're just old scumbags."
SEE IT: Drunk Dad plays the Know, 2026 NE Alberta St., with the Great Sabatini and Rabbits, on Friday, May 30. 8 pm. $5. 21+.