Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 09th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Bomb’s Away

mus featJeff Rosenstock breaks up Bomb the Music Industry and goes solo

When Jeff Rosenstock decided to give away his band’s albums for free on the Internet in 2006, people thought he was crazy. But that band, indie-punk-ska-electronic maniacs Bomb the Music Industry, became one of the biggest-drawing DIY punk bands in the country, and the subsequent success of Bandcamp would suggest he was ahead of his time.

In January, Rosenstock baffled fans again by breaking up Bomb the Music Industry, just when things seemed to breaking for them in a whole new way. Amongst other things, they’d been selected to cover the Weeds theme song in the show’s final season in 2013, alongside the Mountain Goats, Steve Martin and Aimee Mann.

Clearly, he has no interest in doing things just because “that’s the way they’re done.”

“I think a lot of conventional wisdom is a bit of a red herring,” says Rosenstock. “All of the stuff that I have done, I haven’t done to go against the grain—it’s because it makes sense to me. It’s like, ‘why isn’t everybody else doing this?’”

Rosenstock wasn’t impressed by the cool factor that became attached to what was originally his dorky bedroom solo project.

“It seemed like we were a cool band once it stopped. Once people didn’t have to go see us live anymore, they could say that they liked us—that’s when we started to be a cool band,” Rosenstock says. “We were still fighting to do whatever we wanted to do. We were still a band that was getting ripped off by promoters on our last tour, and had shitty shows. We didn’t get that many reviews for [their last album] Vacation. We never felt like we were a cool band.”

Ending the band made perfect sense to Rosenstock. By that point, they really were a band, not just his project. He didn’t want to start swapping out members or dishonoring what they’d all accomplished together by milking the brand.

Their last couple of shows in Brooklyn drew a ton of people, and a lot of media attention, but Rosenstock has already moved on, releasing the solo album I Look Like Shit, which is similar to Bomb the Music Industry’s crazy eclectic punk sound, but darker and moodier.

Now he’s just finished recording his second album, and is setting out on a string of six West Coast dates, the first shows with the backing band from his new album: John DeDomenici, bassist for Bomb; Mike Huguenor, guitarist for San Jose post-punk band Hard Girls; and Kevin Higuchi, drummer for San Jose/San Diego ska group Whiskey Avengers.

“I just want to keep making good things that people can like. That’s the only thing I worry about. I don’t ever want to half-ass it, or put out something that I’m not 100 percent proud of at the time,” says Rosenstock. “With I Look Like Shit, it was a weird record, but I was 100% proud of it. It makes me feel good that my life is not going to end because Bomb the Music Industry ended.”

Unlike the new record, which was recorded at a real studio (Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto), I Look Like Shit was made much in the same way as the first Bomb the Music Industry album, Album Minus Band—alone in his bedroom. It was released with no real intentions of it going anywhere, but Rosenstock’s fans loved it.

“There’s a lot of stuff that you start thinking about once you turn 30,” he says. “My whole goal is always to be as honest as possible, and I think the longer I write songs, I go deeper into myself—there’s a lot of dark things in there,” Rosenstock says.

The new album is yet to be released, and he’s fairly certain it’ll be a Jeff Rosenstock solo album, though it could be a new band altogether.

“Honestly, if it wasn’t for those last Bomb shows, I probably wouldn’t be going out to record a record at a studio. I probably would have released what I made in my bedroom,” he says. “There were people at those Bomb shows that were talking to me and saying, ‘don’t stop playing music.’ I don’t need to throw up any more roadblocks.”

Jeff Rosenstock performs at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 12  at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz. Tickets are $10.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 9

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist