Maybe it's true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Who says those tricks aren't worth revisiting, though? The Bastages, which includes two members of eighties hardcore eccentrics Ugly Americans and Superchunk's original drummer, can claim a rich punk-rock lineage. The hooky political barbs they've delivered since 2009 don't stray far from the acerbic anthems of the Dead Kennedys, either.
With the panache of veterans, the band filled an EP, a two-song single, and last year's searing, frequently hilarious Scavenger Birdsongs with punk rock that loaded the unorthodox spirit of Ugly Americans with sneering jokes. Songs like "Fisted Santorum" added dick jokes to sharp protest. "Stand Your Ground," a tribute to Trayvon Martin, took a serious, snide side on gun control. The Bastages' members came of age with Reagan-era punk, but they had a keen eye for contemporary commentary.
Now they're calling it quits. Bassist Chris Eubank, a longtime sideman for many bands, will be leaving the Triangle for work. While The Bastages weathered the departure of singer/drummer Simeon Berkley by filling his roles with drummer Chuck Garrison and singer Chris Horstman, this is different.
"[Chris is] irreplaceable," says guitarist Danny Hooley, also Eubank's bandmate in Ugly Americans (and, full disclosure, a staff writer at the Indy). "Ask anyone in any of the other bands he plays in, and they'll tell you the same thing."
With The Bastages officially put to bed, Hooley says he's ready for something different. Garrison is still active with other bands. It's less clear for Horstman, the lead singer, who'd never been in a band before.
"There's always unfinished business," Hooley says. "We were knocking around new and different song ideas when Chris sprung the news on us. But, hey, those ideas will turn up somewhere." With Horizontal Hold.