New York City punk band MORAL PANIC have recently released their new “White Knuckles” seven-inch on Robellion Music, and to celebrate we’re giving you their fresh photo shoot, showing them at rehearsal at their rehearsal space in NYC. A new Moral Panic full-length album is in the works now, to be released on Reptilian Records in the US and the Berlin-based Alien Snatch! Records in Europe, so stay tuned for more news from the band very soon!
A trio of bare-bones rippers, the “White Knuckles” seven-inch comprises two new originals – “White Knuckles” and “T-Rex” – and a cover of Big Black’s “Colombian Necktie” (available only on vinyl, not digital) which takes Steve Albini’s caustic classic and reimagines it as a rousing call-to-arms.
With founder Daniel Kelley’s earnest shout and garage-rocking guitar tone leading the charge, the “White Knuckles” seven-inch features the debut of Moral Panic’s new, ironclad rhythm section: bassist Michael Dimmitt and drummer Eric Robel.
A West Coast native, Kelley founded Moral Panic after relocating to NYC. He reminisces: “I’m originally from Los Angeles and grew up going to punk shows in the LA and Orange County area. There was a time where I was seeing bands like TSOL and The Adolescents play every weekend. I went to college in San Francisco and immersed myself in the scene there. After that I felt the calling to go to New York, so I up and went, with one suitcase, a computer and my Gibson Les Paul.”
A week after arriving in New York in the spring of 2011, Kelley met New Bomb Turks frontman Eric Davidson and joined Davidson’s brand new band Livids as a guitarist. Two years later, Livids imploded and Kelley immediately formed Moral Panic, taking over vocals in addition to guitar.
In its first few years, Moral Panic released two albums (both recorded by Phil Palazzolo and the latter mixed by Jeff Burke of Radioactivity and The Marked Men) and played shows with the likes of Night Birds, D.O.A., and The Dictators. Maximumrocknroll bestowed these words on the band in a 2019 review: “This is punk rock. Sure, it’s catchy, but it’s got this nervous energy that keeps the listener on edge. They keep up the pace for the entire record. This thing just shreds. At times I’m reminded of Dead Boys, only amped up a tad.”
Kelley states: “I think Moral Panic has always had a hard time fitting in. We are generally too rock n’ roll for the punks and too punk for the rock n’ rollers! In my opinion we are a punk band, plain and simple.”
In late 2019, with a slew of bassists and drummers having entered and exited the fold, Kelley welcomed the new rhythm section of bassist Michael Dimmitt and drummer Eric Robel, a move which turned the band into an absolute killing machine but did nothing to please the purists; the new members’ love for the noisier side of rock n’ roll mixed majestically with Kelley’s wild-eyed punk rock fury, making Moral Panic stronger than ever and tougher to pigeonhole.
“The three of us started writing new Moral Panic tunes and used the lockdown to write, rehearse and get tight as a band,” says Kelley. “With literally nowhere to play we decided to do a series of guerilla shows where we would set up in the window of Eric’s East Village apartment and play for neighborhood folks starving for some music.”
Veterans of the NYC underground, Dimmitt and Robel have each lent their passion and prowess to a litany of bands, spanning punk, rock, and metal. Robel’s many credits include The Heroine Sheiks, fronted by Cows wild man Shannon Selberg, and Born Loose, fronted by Larry May of The Candy Snatchers; Dimmitt has done time in Disassociate, Mutilation Rites, Overdose, and more. Documentary filmmakers as well as musicians, the two collaborated long before teaming up in Moral Panic – Dimmitt assisted Robel in the making of The Color of Noise, a documentary about Tom Hazelmyer and his legendary label, Amphetamine Reptile.
Moral Panic‘s “White Knuckles” seven-inch was recorded by Joe Hogan (Ronnie Spector, Murphy’s Law) at Six Feet Under Studios, mastered by Matt Rocker and mixed by Adam Tucker. The record will be released on Robel’s own label, Robellion Music. Available in black vinyl and transparent orange vinyl, the record features four different hand-sprayed cover designs which combine to form a single piece of artwork when joined together.
Lineup: Daniel Kelley – vocals, guitar, Michael Dimmitt – bass, Eric Robel – drums