SONG PREMIERE: Scranton folk punk band Old Charades recalls ‘Last Days of the Wild Ones’
Scranton folk punk band Old Charades has been fairly quiet this year, save for a handful of shows in their hometown and Philadelphia, but that is changing today as they premiere a brand new song, “Last Days of the Wild Ones,” exclusively on NEPA Scene.
The trio wrote and later recorded a few tracks in October with Eric Ritter at the Windmill Agency in Lake Ariel, so expect to see more of singer/guitarist Sean Flynn, drummer Jerry Connor, and bassist Tom Lopes together in the new year.
“To me, it’s a song about getting older and becoming content with where you’re headed. Parts of it sound like a song about a hangover, but being hungover can be a very reflective and vulnerable period,” Connor told NEPA Scene.
“I really wanted to start a song with that floor tom, kick, and snare beat. So many of my favorite punk songs start like that. Sean and I started writing the music for it last fall and it came together very quickly. We were playing a bunch of Philly shows last year, and we talked about wanting to write something fun and loud that would work just as well in a basement or on a nice stage. Most of the song is unchanged from the first day we put it together, which is pretty cool. Tom is one of the most talented musicians I know, so adding his parts to it only made it better.”
These songs may end up on an EP that would follow up their 2017 release, “Stories from 2nd Street,” but for now, every member has a lot going on.
“We’ve all been pretty busy outside of the band between work and other things. Tom spent a big chunk of time traveling around the whole country, which is so rad. He also wrote and recorded an entire album of his own songs under the name Sudden Atrophy. Sean has been keeping busy with his American Buffalo Ghost project as well and he put out a new record too. He also just got engaged, which is awesome! I’m about halfway done with law school and spent a few months helping research for a book on the First Amendment. I’ve also been playing and writing a bit down in Philly with a few other friends,” Connor explained.
While Flynn has been playing frequently as both a solo artist and a full band under the American Buffalo Ghost moniker, it hasn’t conflicted with Old Charades too much – it has actually helped in some ways.
“Sean definitely has the mindset of ‘OK, I want this to be loud’ when we’re writing,” Connor said of the differences in the projects.
“Doing his solo work has definitely made him a better guitarist, and it’s been awesome seeing that in action. I think he knows what songs work well for each group as they’re being pieced together. There are some things that would definitely not work too well as an Old Charades song, and there’s absolutely some things we’ve been working on that would not work as an American Buffalo Ghost song. There’s some overlap between the two when working parts out, but the vision and finished product is different.”
Though Flynn and Lopes are in Northeastern Pennsylvania while Connor lives in Philadelphia, the distance also hasn’t hindered the band.
“It’s definitely helped us while booking shows in Philly. We’re usually pretty busy, so I’m back in NEPA enough to keep us well-rehearsed and ready to play. We probably could have practiced more and spent more time writing, but I didn’t really have much of a say in picking my school schedule this past year. This next year is going to be more free and open,” Connor noted, adding that both music scenes continue to influence Old Charades.
“Hearing all of the great music definitely lends itself to trying to write better songs and put on a better show. Sean and I love The Menzingers, and they’re a big reason as to why we even started the band. I was also a big fan of Sean’s old band, Those Clever Foxes. I don’t want to start just naming bands because I’ll forget a bunch of friends, but Esta Coda and Permanence both put out great new music this year, and James Barrett is going to release some great songs as well. Scranton and Philadelphia both have so many great bands. Playing in Philly has definitely helped us meet other bands from across all genres. We’ve played shows with doom metal bands, folk singers, indie bands, and plenty of others from across a bunch of states. I wouldn’t have met my friend Jared Hart (who plays in Mercy Union and The Scandals from New Jersey) or became close with the guys from Three Man Cannon if it wasn’t for us being active down here.”
With some unfinished songs currently sitting on Connor’s phone, the band plans to end the year by continuing to write new music and then track a few more tunes at the Windmill Agency in early 2019. Their next show isn’t until Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Pharmacy (1300 S. 18th St., Philadelphia), so for the time being, the drummer left us with some solid recommendations to stay busy with.
“Watch the new seasons of ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ on Netflix, read ‘On Tyranny’ by Timothy Snyder, and listen to ‘The Quarry’ by Mercy Union and ‘King Bitter’ by Esta Coda. Also, keep supporting NEPA Scene and go listen to Sudden Atrophy and American Buffalo Ghost.”