A few months ago tragedy struck Brandon Carlisle’s family, Teenage Bottlerocket and the Punk Rock community. I wrote a blog about it. Find it here. I was heartbroken. He was such a nice guy. The whole band are great guys and they are like brothers. My heart ached for everyone involved.
After digesting the news that Brandon had passed away I wondered what would happen to one of my favorite bands. Would they go on? Would that be too much for them to bear? I’ll be honest – I had a feeling they would regroup and come back, but I didn’t think that would happen for a long time. Brandon is irreplaceable and mourning his death was much more important than playing punk rock.
Today is January 18th. This morning I was sitting at my desk, casually scrolling through Twitter and I saw the news. Teenage Bottlerocket had found a new drummer and is ready to get back at it. I think its rad. I think the outpouring of support around Brandon was rad, and I can’t wait to see them again.
Although it is impossible to replace Brandon, I am hopeful that they still kick ass on stage. The whole band seems to think that the new guy, Darren Chewka can do the trick. If they think so, then I think so. Can’t wait to see you dudes. Below is the band’s entire statement:
Since the sudden passing of our brother, best friend, drummer and founding member Brandon Carlisle there has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not TBR would go on. Brandon was one of a kind, an incredible drummer, a passionate punk rocker and one of the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet. We miss him every day. The outpouring of love and support from all over the world has been amazing and we know wherever Brandon is he knows how much he is loved, how much of an impact he had on so many.
The decision as to whether or not to continue playing as Teenage Bottlerocket has been a very heavy one for sure. We know we can never replace our brother, that there will always be a void in our lives without him. However it all came down to one deciding factor. We kept asking ourselves and each other: what would Brandon want us to do? And we all knew the answer immediately.
There’s no way Brandon would want us to throw in the towel, to let this band that he spent his life building just end. Fuck no. Brandon would want us to keep playing, always. The decision was made based on that, and so here we are. We’re still a band. We’re going to keep rocking and we’re going to do it with Brandon in our hearts.
And so we sat down and talked. Who could we bring in? Who could do Brandon justice? While we knew it couldn’t ever be the same, we also knew we were going to find the best fucking drummer we could. Someone who was on the same page as us, wanted to shred and could actually play the damn parts. And we found him. In Canada.
So without further ado, we’d like to introduce the world to our friend, and new drummer: Darren Chewka. Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Darren has played in probably every band that has ever come from that city, and then some. We met him as the drummer for Old Wives. And he fucking shreds. We flew him in for a weekend of practice and it all clicked immediately. Day one we were all in disbelief at how well he knew the songs and how solidly he played them. Day two we knew 110% we’d found our guy.
So friends, please join us as we welcome Darren Chewka to the Teenage Bottlerocket family. Check out this video of us practicing with the new lineup! We’re already talking about our next move, so stay tuned and see what happens next!
Miguel, Ray, Kody and Teenage Bottlerocket