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FUGAZI Tribute: CHAMBERLAIN premiere their cover of “Runaway Return”, discuss the legacy

4 mins read

FUGAZI’s music and ethics have been immensely influential on punk and alternative music throughout the years, and has earned the band praise from many notable musicians as well. Arising from the mid-80s DC punk scene, Fugazi created a wealth of emotional yet immediately absorbing music that countless bands strive to better even now. They crafted a sound that didn’t so much bridge the worlds of alternative rock, punk and hardcore but rather tightly interwove them, resulting in a sound that has influenced anyone with a guitar, a moral compass and the drive to create something that could tear the world in two, or stitch it back together.

Ripcord Records has spotlighted many underground bands with regular releases and special charity compilations over the years, and this October the label is releasing a huge compilation giving the FUGAZI cover treatment by a diverse range of bands. After two previous premieres (Nathan Gray HERE and Viva Belgrado HERE), we’re stoked to give you our third feature, this time revealing a re-worked version of “Runaway Return”, performed by American rockers CHAMBERLAIN, whose las year’s album “Red Weather” is out now via Arctic Rodeo Recordings.

Fugazi Tribute promo - Ripcord Records

Silence Is A Dangerous Sound: A Tribute To Fugazi is being released digitally and as a double CD (a one-time limited pressing of 500) on 1st October 2021 by Ripcord Records, and all profits made are going to the Tribe Animal Sanctuary in Scotland. The compilation features covers from Authority Zero, Belvedere, Shai Hulud, La Dispute, Tsunami Bomb, Chamberlain, Viva Belgrado, Into It. Over It., ZAO, Jonah Matranga, STORM{O}, and a lot lot more artists from all across the world.


Hey there. Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. It’s a great pleasure to host a special feature in support of this amazing compilation release. Please tell us how you got involved.

Thanks for featuring our contribution here. Charlene at Ripcord simply emailed us out of the blue. We were flattered she thought of us. For a good charity it seemed worthwhile to give it our best college try.

You’re releasing a cover of Fugazi’s “Runaway Return”. Do you have any nerves? Last year you released Red Weather, a whopping 19 years after your last studio album – were there nerves with that?

I’m still not certain anyone has any business covering a Fugazi song. (Even after recording a version of our own). That said, we are huge fans and felt we’d give it a go. Hopefully that love and admiration comes across in our version. As for Red Weather, no nerves there. We enjoyed being in the room together and wanted to make something we were proud of in current times.

How did you go about choosing this particular song and reworking it your way?

We’ve always been a huge fan of “Steady Diet of Nothing.” The focus on musicianship on that record was such a great follow up to the hit-laden “Repeater.”

You guys were around in the early 90s as Split Lip. You released your first demo in 1990, the same year Fugazi released Repeater. What was it like back then in terms of rock music? Was there a general awareness in the scene that something special was happening? That there was a kind of musical revolution going on and that bands such as yourselves and all the other emo and post-hardcore bands would still be relevant and influential today, 20+ years later?

The Fugazi eps / 13 Songs took us by storm. Fugazi was an instant influence to us as young kids. The rhythm section was nothing we had heard of coming out of the hardcore scene. 1990 / 91 was an exciting time for hardcore / indie music with so much energy and purpose behind each release.

What about Fugazi in particular? When did it become clear to you that they were going to be an iconic band?

The first note on their first EP. History was made.

Can you speak a little more about your perspective on FUGAZI and how you see them in relation to other top influential bands out there?

Politically minded, energetic, experienced musicians with integrity. The perfect storm for the times.

Fugazi live at Masquerade, Atlanta, GA, 3.29.96 - photo by Molly Stevens
Fugazi live at Masquerade, Atlanta, GA, 3.29.96 – photo by Molly Stevens

How much of an influence did they have on your musical evolution?

Their influence was immediate and immeasurable. They became part of the fabric. Woven into our DNA.

What do you think it was about the band that inspired so many artists, including bigger names, who appreciated FUGAZI in the early 90s, and hundreds of DIY bands to become better writers themselves or even to pick up an instrument and form a band in the first place?

Their DIY ethics, the rhythms, the energy, their swagger. They were the full package.

Have you been lucky enough to see them perform live?

Many times and they never disappointed.

Can you give us your top 5 Fugazi tracks every newbie should check out before diving into their catalogue?

I suppose we start with Waiting Room, Margin Walker, Merchandise, Nice New Outfit, Bed For Scraping.

Ok, so since we’re here, let’s go ahead and touch base on the rest of your work and plans for the next months. First off, how has the Covid pandemic affected you and your fellow friends in your local music scene?

We ended up having to get creative with the release of “Red Weather” happening right in the midst of the pandemic. We did what we could, but would’ve been nice to have more time together. We’re playing some midwest shows in October which will be a nice chance to get in a room together.

Where do you think the pandemic and its impact on the music community is headed in the next couple of months?

I’m hoping it has made us all a bit more appreciative of what time we have have with each other. Time flies.

Ok, so finally, what’s in store for you for the rest of the year and beyond?

We’re finally booking shows stateside! Have some announcements forthcoming. We’ve also got some release news celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Fate’s Got A Driver.”


Fugazi Tribute promo - Ripcord Records


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