Cleveland's trashy weirdo punks Flea Collar are back today with a new track ahead of their self-titled debut album out this Friday through Feel It Records. Today, we're premiering "Hang in There," a completely demented brain-burster of lo-fi riffage and good old-fashioned beer-fueled rock 'n' roll. Along with the premiere, we caught up with guitarist Brandon "Spot" Gaffney to discuss more about the emergence of Flea Collar and how the high-octane punks turned up the knob across their debut album.
Comprised of members from Rust Belt punk bands Woodstock 99, Brown Sugar, Bad Noids, and Spike Pit, Flea Collar is Cleveland's latest creation that reeks of burnt rubber. The gang of four, known as Spot, Sparky, Cookie, and Blitz, follow up last year's Tetryon Tapes-released cassette with their anticipated self-titled debut album, out November 25th through Feel It Records. Recorded alongside Poopy Necröpondé, aka Sockeye, the debut LP barrels through its 26 odd minutes with nods to good old fashioned Clevo weirdo punk and freaky hardcore that'll make your eyes pop; very fast and very snotty.
Following the album's lead single and opening track, "Burning Desire," Flea Collar returned today with "Hang in There," a burst of their signature hyper-speed tension and bold combative nature. The track opens with about ten seconds of Sparky's cartoonish gibbers before they are struck by a charge of dizzying guitar chords and rhythmic coils that now run with a higher fidelity. This is certainly a track that will draw a line in the sand for many hardcore and alien relish fans over at the Happy Dog; probably multiple lines including the dreaded egg punk vs. chain punk conflict.
Along with the premiere, we caught up with guitarist Brandon "Spot" Gaffney to discuss more about the emergence of Flea Collar and how the high-octane punks turned up the knob across their debut album.
Paperface Zine: How did you all meet and form Flea Collar? I know you've been in some legendary Rust Belt punk bands like Brown Sugar, Bad Noids, Spike Pit, and also now Woodstock 99.
Brandon "Spot" Gaffney: Good question... who DID let the dogs out?? I met the Bad Noids guys like 10 or 12 years ago when I lived in Buffalo, maybe at a Horriblefest or Tower shitshow. Cleveland had a crew that would roll through Western NY somewhat often then too, leaving hilarity and destruction in its wake. The Trail of Beers. I moved to Clevo in 2019 after a few years in RVA so we met up, would hang out and thumb wrestle, and watch porn together. They introduced me to Blitz and his bazooka bass tone and we decided to jam. We've all been in absolutely amazing bands over the years. Don't forget about The Foul Balls, Dammit Janet or KITH (Knights In Thatan's Thervith)!! I'm Spot and I play guitar, Blitz plays bass, Cookie fetches sticks, Sparky woofs.
PZ: We're premiering the second single "Hang in There" off your forthcoming self-titled debut album. Tell me how this track came about and what was it like when putting it together? BG: The same as all our songs... lift a Sabbath riff, add little hardcore riff, make ourselves laugh, Macarena all the way to the bank.
PZ: As a preview to the album, take me through the recording of it. Where did you record the LP and what was the recording and mixing process like for it?
BG: We recorded it in a suburb called Lakewood in the attic of Poopy's abode. We'd show up and his kids would taunt us the whole time. They'd say shit like, "Our lunch ladies at school have a band and it's better than yours!" A very stressful situation. But we'd just throw back those cans of Dr. Pepper and get through it. I think the proof is in the pudding.
PZ: How was the approach to the debut album different to last year's Tetryon Tapes release cassette, A Hole is a Hole? BG: We just honed what we want out of the band with the LP. Turned the evil knob up a bit. Chomped some acid. We're all very eclectic — gypsy jazz, grindcore, right ear homegrown Simpsons stuff... it's pretty easy to land on winners with these guys. PZ: With the album release not too far away, what are you most excited about for its release? BG: Seeing and playing with exciting new breeds of dog. PZ: Your live shows are certainly wild and we've been lucky to catch you live twice; once at Happy Dog in Cleveland and once here in Rochester. What do you enjoy most about the energy at your live shows and do you have any coming up? BG: There's a gear you shift into with musicians you vibe with. It's called "chooglin." If you know you know.
PZ: Lastly, what are your recommendations for toppings at Happy Dog?
BG: I just stick to fentanyl and vegan toothpaste. Thanks for the interview! Woof woof!
Flea Collar is out November 25th through Feel It Records. Pre-order the album here. Flea Collar will also launch the album alongside Le Femme Fatale and Necroprophecy Sunday, November 27th at Happy Dog. Check out the flyer below for more details.