When you look back at The Germs and The Dead Kennedys in the 1970s, Black Flag and Agent Orange in the 1980s, or NOFX and Rancid in the 1990s — to name but a few — it is indisputable how important California has been in the evolution of punk music. Growing up in such an environment is understandably going to play a big part in shaping the sort of person you become, and it certainly helped shape Joyce Manor frontman and Torrance native Barry Johnson.
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"At a formative age we all got into punk because it was all from California", says Johnson. "Epitaph, X Games, getting into skateboarding and listening to punk bands at a really young age. Your brain hasn't stopped developing at that age, so it's always going to be there. I would have to be running from it to not do something that's anchored in it."
Given this fact it's no surprise that a young Barry Johnson played in a string of punk bands. When he and future Joyce Manor guitarist Chase Knobbe took a trip to Disneyland, the seeds for Joyce Manor were being sown. Joined by drummer Kurt Walcher and bassist Matt Ebert, Johnson wanted to write songs with a greater pop sensibility, citing the likes of The Beach Boys, The Kinks and The Strokes as influences. Yet his punk roots still played in an integral part in the band's sound, and after a number of releases on indie label Asian Man, the band released latest album Never Hungover Again through Epitaph earlier this year. The album is a collection of perfect pop in the vein of classic Weezer, delivered in short, sharp, two-minute bursts, and leaves the band in an unclear position within an ever-changing punk landscape.