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Rancid Were Absolutely Crucial To The Fusion Of Ska, Reggae And Punk Rock

Nov 19, 2021

Berkeley’s Rancid, history’s most commercially successful street punk band. After all, both singer/guitarist Tim Armstrong and bassist Matt Freeman got their start in 924 Gilman Street heroes Operation Ivy, who almost single-handedly invented ska-core. Don’t buy it? Listen to “Sound System” and you tell us.

With such a pedigree, it stood to reason the Jamaican riddims would rear their head at some point in Rancid’s development. Reggae imagery pervaded Armstrong’s lyrics almost from the get-go, though ska did not inject itself into their musical stew until 1995 breakthrough LP …And Out Come The Wolves, especially noticeable on hit single “Time Bomb.” From that point, their every release (except the self-titled, turn-of-the-century, all-hardcore statement) numbered at least three or four ska-punk tracks among its highlights.

Eventually, enough ska-punk piled up in their discography that long-serving London bootboy punk outfit Cock Sparrer’s Daryl Smith compiled 22 such tracks in 2015. Dubbed All The Moon Stomper’s, these deep cuts, B-sides and compilation contributions effectively argued Rancid’s importance to the punk/reggae/ska fusion. It places them alongside their heroes the Clash. Missing such crucial pieces of the puzzle as their long out-of-print live rendition of “The Harder They Come” is a minor quibble.

Rancid Wolves Classic T-shirt

Rancid Wolves Graphic T-shirt

Rancid SkeleTim Guitar T-Shirt

Rancid Brain Tour T-Shirt

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