Ten months after our “post pandemic” feature in January this year, Cleveland power hardcore pack LAST GASP are back to our pages with their brand new high octane LP called “The Storied Weight of it All”, shared digitally on September 29th, and detailed and decomposed in our exclusive track by track rundown below!
Written over 2020, a tumultuous year that kept dishing out the punches, The Storied Weight of it All is available on vinyl via Dropping Bombs label and Crew Cuts Records in Europe, and on cassette tapes via Version City Blues.
After bursting out of the gates last year with a demo, an e.p., a split, and numerous covers, Cleveland’s Last Gasp are back with their debut full-length “The Storied Weight of It All”. Fast, catchy, and on point, these 10 songs show the band firing on all cylinders. Recorded by Steve Perrino, the record sounds crisp and powerful. Jon “Mayor” Mayo has delivered an absolutely iconic visual design that perfectly captures the stress and anxiety we’ve all lived through for the past year.
“I’m not a religious man but last year could make the holiest of believers question if there truly was a God that cared about this planet.” – says the band’s vocalist Ryan Hardwick. “I’d like to think that these ten tracks capture my mental state over the landfill year that was 2020. We worked hard on the record and we hope that you dig it! Here is some insight on the lyrical content.”
1. I Was a Teenage Maniac
This may be my Sistine Chapel of lyrics. I am so very proud of this song. This is the longest track on the record and the last that I finished. Most of the songs in our catalog run about a minute long but we combined the record’s intro with the first track. I probably sat in front of blank paper for half an hour until it just came to me.
Through most of my lyrical content there is a heavy underlying punk rock theme and influence. I grew up in a small town named South Amherst about an hour west of Cleveland (the closest city). I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in.
Punk rock was the only thing I truly ever connected with coming up lonely. It was like a secret that I kept tight and it consumed me. My parents didn’t understand but they were supportive. So on this one, I unearthed some of those feelings from when I was 13 or 14. Out causing trouble looking for some answers.
Fast forward to this past Summer when I was obsessively listening to The Stooges (the greatest band of all time). The S.T.O.O.G.E.S part is a bit of an ode to them as well as Modern Life is War and The Ramones. I don’t know if I’ve ever written a chorus but this is probably the closest I’ll ever get.
2. For the Kid(s)
This track is for the Tony Hawk Pro Skater kids. Just a fun quick outburst of stage dive punk. I wrote this song for my son who screams LAST GASP in the beginning. He’s also the ruler on the cover of the single for Teenage Maniac in the Stooges jacket.
The topic here is keeping your head on straight when the world can be such a truly awful place. To never let insecurities and negativities hold you back, push forward no matter how dark it gets. I don’t write a lot of positive songs but this one is upbeat and means a lot to me. I hope one day my son will listen to this and understand my message to him.
3. The Seeker
Over the past several years I’ve gotten pretty heavy into mediation practice. I thought it was impossible to shut my ADD riddled brain down to reflect but I worked very hard on it. Twice a day for at least ten minutes. This song is about those first few minutes before transcending. Sitting in my room, listening to the city. Trying to block it out but knowing it’s still there. It’s an oddly beautiful thing that I just can’t explain unless you’ve ever tried meditating on a busy morning in the city.
I highly recommend Noah Levine’s book Dharma Punks to anyone curious about getting sober or getting into mediation. It was a massive starting point for me.
4. One Last Drink
On the topic of recovery and sobriety… Alcoholism and addiction is something I’ve struggled with over most of my adult life. I’m fairly public about this and truthfully, it’s something that still gets the best of me at times. I’m no angel by any means and this one hits close to home. I guess you could say that lyrically this song is inspired by one of my favorite bands The Replacements. This may be my take on their track “The Regular”. Such a beautiful and heavy song. One Last Drink is about the alcoholic’s curse. Night after night, drinking to escape sinking into the heinous routine of sitting in bars. It’s punishing and when you can’t seem to kick it…. What do you do? I grew up in bars but I’d rather take my own life than fucking die in one.
Bonus points for the real heads that got the intro to this track immediately. Cleveland punk forever!
This is my favorite track on the record.
5. Nowhere 2 B Found
Another track about kicking booze. This one goes out to all the ex friends that stop hitting you up when you decide to put the bottle down. Thats a tough place to be in. You don’t want to lose your mates but you know the consequences of hanging out with them. This ones pretty straight forward. I was camping in the woods when I wrote this song because I knew where all of my friends were… sitting at the goddamn bar. To me this is a straight up punk rock ripper.
6. Not the One
A song about broken relationships and feeling trapped. I know too many unhappy people in this predicament who feel stuck. This one goes out to an old friend who recently went through a nightmare of a situation with his spouse. In the end he decided to keep his family together knowing that his partner wasn’t the one. I can’t think of a sadder story.
7. Only Jokes
I’m really not a political person but I despise Donald Trump. I woke up every day of his hilarious presidency hoping that his heart would explode on national television. He made me feel ashamed to be American.
During our elections it was tough to be on social media. Seeing friends and family get into daily arguments over the candidates just made me sick. I mainly use social media to promote the band, my business and to see and hear some jokes. I’m mostly in it for the jokes, so tell me jokes or tell me nothing. No one gives a fuck about your political opinions, keep em to yourself and go vote.
The laugh at the end of the track was sampled from a locally broadcasted television show called Big Chuck and Little Jon. I grew up watching it Sunday mornings in the early nineties (when there weren’t cartoons on). That laugh will never leave me. When I die, I want my grave to read “Only here for the laughs”.
8. Postpone my Suicide
A song for the medicated nation. I was going through a tough time when I wrote this one. Cleveland winters can be harsh and they only get worse the older that I get. You wake up under a concrete skyline for so long that it gets hard to see the light of life. It feels like it’s grey here 300 days a year but it’s home.
Thankfully there are plenty of resources on line to find the help you need. I tried medication, wasn’t for me… or maybe I just haven’t found the right one… or maybe that’s just the human condition. Suffering.
9. To Seed the Gravel
2020 was a hell of a year, for the entire planet but my country was on literal fire and I’m not talking about global warming. When the despicable and unlawful slaying of an innocent man shed light on how truly scrambled our policing system is here in the states it was glorious to see people stand up together against the brutes.
Though it was happening in my city, I was paying close attention to what was going on in Portland Oregon. The clown in office basically declared martial law sending federal agents to take on the demonstrators fighting to end systematic racism and police violence. Seeing pictures of federal agents beating, tear gassing, and arresting peaceful protesters made my blood boil. Black Lives Matter and they always will.
10. Vastly Deep
We’ve had this track written for so long. This was written shortly after our EP “Second Wave”. This is also the only track on the record that I had all of the lyrics written prior to sitting with the song. This ones about the gatekeepers and cool kids scoffing at the outsiders. I could never wrap my head around how people interested in the same subculture could halter others from feeling comfortable. I guess this is revisiting old feelings but it’s such a tragedy in the hardcore scene. I’ll talk to anyone, play with anyone, watch anyone’s band, return messages, whatever it takes to make a connection. I genuinely appreciate anyone that gives our band their time and attention. The least I can do is give you mine in return. After all, I’m just like you.
Even though our hearts in Cleveland we’d like to shout out all of our homies in Ohio right now making things happen. Much love and respect to Slug, S.M.I.L.E, En Love, Circus, Rejoice, Vow of Hatred, Ten High, Body Farm, Yambag, Shitty Neighbors, Seeress, TV Drugs, Pawn, Heart Attack Man, Highway Sniper, Wallcreeper, Unblind, Soul Charge. OHIO!