The Darlings Plot Their ‘New Escape’

It’s hard to get noticed when you’re just another punk band in L.A. But beating out hundreds of other bands across the country as part of the annual Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands is obviously a very nice start.

Together for five years – two as the current trio of Josh Fasen, Buddy Darling and Chris Kranes – The Darlings are well on their way to moving from a regional band with a decent following to a national punk group, thanks to solid songs, years on the road and a little help from their friends.

Drummer Josh Fasen spoke about the new album The New Escape, calling in favors from friends and the influence of Classic Rock.

Innocent Words: It’s been about five years now for The Darlings. How’d did this band come together?

Josh Fasen: The band started in 2005 when a couple of the guys met skateboarding.  Buddy Darling (vocals/guitar) had just moved here [Los Angeles] from Florida and was looking to start making music.  They realized they had both played music, had similar tastes in music, and thus decided to start jamming together.  Our bass player Chris [Kranes] was brought in shortly thereafter, and I was brought in in 2008 to replace the original drummer.  It started like most bands start…friends find that they have similar tastes in music and decide to pursue actually making music.

IW: How long have you been working on the songs from The New Escape?

Fasen: We have been working on the songs from The New Escape since I joined the band in 2008. One of the first songs we all wrote together was a song called “Fight Alone,” which ended up making the album. It has gone thru a few different changes since we originally wrote it…but it made the album. We have been working on music for this record since mid 2008. Some songs made it, and some songs got scrapped. We took the selection of what made it to the album very serious…we only wanted to put out the best of the best…and I feel confident that we did that.

IW: How did you get Donnie [Nemarnik of Tiger Army] and Jason [Cruz of Strung Out] to come in and record?

Fasen: Both Donnie and Jason are friends of ours. Jason and Buddy have an acoustic project together, and we have played shows with Strung Out on many occasions. All those guys are great, but I think Buddy just asked Jason if he wanted to hang out, record some vocal tracks for the record, and he did. It’s very much a friend thing for us. Donnie is actually close with our bass player Chris and his girlfriend. We had a song on the record, “Headhunter,” that just seemed to be missing something. We asked Donnie if he would be down to do pedal steel and try to add that finishing touch to the song, and he was totally down to do it. We are so stoked to have both of those guys on our record…they are great friends and extremely talented individuals.

IW: Your sound obviously has some punk rock influences, but there’s also a lot of classic rock as well – is that fair to say?

Fasen: I think that is very fair to say. That is what we are all influenced by and what we were influenced by growing up. My dad used to listen to Zepplin, the Who, and the Beatles all the time. I was hearing rock ‘n’ roll from an early age…and discovered punk rock in middle school, listening to all the Fat Wreck Chords bands. Over time, all the influences meshed together, and I just wanted to make great rock ‘n’ roll music. That’s a goal for all of us in the band…to be able to make music that withstands the test of time. Timeless rock ‘n’ roll is far better than any flavor of the week.

IW: Do you plan to tour much in 2011?

Fasen: We would love to get out and tour in 2011. We have a lot of fun places we hit on Warped Tour this past summer that we want to get back to. We have to bring these people our new record and play all the new songs for them. We take our friends and fans very seriously, so we have big plans to tour and support The New Escape in 2011.