The members of Portland, Oregon, DIY punk bank Ground Score boast nearly 100 years of punk rock experience between the four of them. The band’s members—drummer Ian Jackson, bassist and vocalist Jay Crash, and guitarists and vocalists Kevin Hudson and Robert Rios—have done stints in bands such as PROBLEMS, Dirty Kid Discount, Faithless Saints, My Goldfish Ned, and many others. According to their official site, “their experience across eras of punk rock establishes a firm traditional foundation that is painted with a modern tonal brush and mature lyrical content to set the Ground Score sound apart from the simply nostalgic and give punk rock enthusiasts fresh sounds and fresh ideas to savor. Multi-vocal and melodic yet raw, honest, and angry, this is a new band of old faces that’s sure to please your ear, move your feet, and raise your glass.”
In late 2017, Ground Score released their debut LP, Old Theories on Society, on digital, CD, and cassette via Irican Productions and Crash Assailant Records. The two member-owned labels then partnered with Seventh Circle Music Collective, What’s Left Records, Snatchee Records, Pig Records, and White Owl Records to helm the 12” vinyl release on May 17.
“Ground Score was fortunate to have the support of many friends and labels when pressing this LP,” the band share. “To begin with, we have an awesome local Portland vinyl pressing outfit in Cascade Record Pressing, who helped us out with a quick turnaround, excellent service, and a great deal. The Seventh Circle Music Collective has hosted several Ground Score shows in Denver and has been very supportive as the band has quickly developed. This LP was the first release on Seventh Circle Records. What’s Left Records has also shown their support when they hosted Ground Score on our first road trip to 71 Grind Fest in Colorado Springs and several other tour dates that passed through the Springs. Snatchee Records and Pig Records are both Northwest-based labels and longtime supporters of the musicians in Ground Score. Both labels were happy to contribute to the pressing. White Owl Social Club is a bar in Portland, Oregon, that has hosted several Ground Score shows and has continued to show their support by contributing to the pressing.”
“Crash Assailant Records and Irican Productions are in-house entities run by two members of Ground Score,” they add. “The labels, bar, and production company that all contributed to this vinyl purchased wholesale copies of the record to distribute through their own separate outlets. Ground Score manages to fund these releases ourselves, DIY, with the help of friends from the DIY community—we even went to the record pressing company and stuffed [and] packaged the records ourselves to save costs. We are always looking at creative ways to do things on the business end of things.”
Accompanying the May 17 vinyl release of Old Theories on Society, the band also dropped a split EP with Whidbey Island, Washington, punks Potbelly via N7E Records.
Those who like what they hear can keep up with Ground Score on their official website, Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, and Spotify, and those who are in the right place at the right time can catch them live. The band played with Sloppy Seconds on Sept. 1 and will support The Real McKenzies on Friday, Sept. 21, both at Bossanova Ballroom in Portland.
“[We] will be booking some regional tours this winter,” they note. “We have toured the West Coast [and] Southwest three times in the last year—Seattle to, say, Houston and back along different coastal and inland routes—including appearances at Punk Rock Bowling and strings of dates with Days N Daze, Escape From The ZOO, Dayglo Abortions, Starving Wolves, and more. We are also in the planning phase of an East Coast [and] European tour for summer 2019 in support of the new record we are working on this winter.”
For now, the band are here to break down Old Theories on Society one track at a time…
“Snakes in the Grass”
This song is about the infiltration of frauds, crooks, and traitors in the music and art scene, people who are trying to exploit and make money off of artists without contributing to the culture. The song reflects the hard times we have all gone through and how, sadly, some people have become traitors to the things they believe in. They have sacrificed integrity for profit, while others are desperately trying to hold onto the small amount of success they have attained without getting sucked dry by the inhospitable climate that is the music industry.
“Shades of Grey”
This is one of our “punk rock pragmatist” songs where an old punk tries to extoll the virtues of not succumbing to a knee-jerk reaction and not rushing to judge anyone or any situation of which you aren’t a part. Think that person has a great [or] easy life and hold jealousy and bitterness toward them for it? You’re probably wrong. Think that person is a worthless wastoid piece of trash and feel better than them or feel pity toward them? You’re probably wrong. There are forces at work and pressures in play within all of us that those who judge us would be surprised to find out, so keep that in mind as you look around you. Not very punk, right?
“We’re Still Here”
This song celebrates the perseverance of the true fans and friends that make up the punk scene—a musical style and a group of people who have been maligned, subverted, and even coopted at some points yet still survive and thrive together in the real world and outside of corporate music in our local DIY spaces, dive bars, and record shops.
“All Kinds of 30”
A slightly tongue-in-cheek, fun, and fast-paced song about getting old and still being a part of the punk scene while trying to maintain yourself in an industry where self-destruction is an unfortunate fashion. We ultimately surrender to the fact that the way we live our life is what ends up killing us. This song also reflects on the feeling attributed to having success in punk rock later in life. Punk rock classically is associated with youth culture, and we find many of our peers can be 10 to 15 years younger than we are.
“Hold Me Under”
Outlines an unexpected breakup where one party is deliberately lied to and manipulated much to the disbelief of the other after many loyal years. Attributing it to the feeling of being drowned by your lover while you are desperately trying to tread water.
This song is about the struggle of carrying on after losing someone—losing several people, for that matter. Losing people along the path of life, when good people who tried to make a difference in this world and in the lives of those around them are taken away suddenly. This song is about not having the chance to say goodbye to those people and to appreciate the time you have and had with friends and family. There is also an underlying frustration regarding not being able to get past why things happen the way they do when it comes to life and death and not connecting with a reason for why that is.
“A Thought of You”
Kind of a darker, slower, ’80s SoCal punk feel for this one. It’s about being lonely and thinking about friends and lovers past, wondering where they are now and if they ever think about you in return.
“Alone and Tested”
This song is about striving for personal growth and new experiences, experimenting with modes of existence, and being maybe misunderstood by those with a more limited view of life who must be left behind to stagnate in their inflexibility.
“What A Mess”
A breakup song focusing on the emotional, physical, social, and mental mess left in the wake after a very long-term relationship ends.
“Lost in the Unknown”
Another riff on a common theme for this record, about coming from humble roots and earnestly striving to find your place in the world, then dealing with the blowback from people who are bitter and feel left behind despite your best honest efforts to remain friends with them and involve them in what you are doing with your life.