This first one is mega obvious but I'd have to say Green Day to start us off. I'm really not much of a fan of what they are putting out these days but I still remember buying Dookie as a lanky teenager at an airport (before a very long flight) and just boshing through set after set of batteries on my shitty walkman, getting my mind absolutely blown for the whole flight. I'd never heard anything like it at the time and it just opened up all this amazing music to me from that point on.
My first punk rock conga line was at a Lightyear gig. Need we say more? It's impossible to overstate just how bloody exciting Lightyear were at the peak of their power. It felt like anything could happen at one of their shows. They could take over anything (even all of Reading festival) and make it their own. It was amazing for us to get to support them at Level Up last year. (Cheers Be Sharp!!)
I was sat at a mate's house one day, he had this smile on his face and said "Oh shit, I've got a CD to play you that you're going to love..." and he put on 'Sing Sing Death House'. I was hooked after that first guitar line and very soon after we formed our first punk band (a two-piece where we swapped guitar and drum duties mid-set like a couple of right little show-offs), we were called 'The Halo Effect'. What a non-embarrassing band name!! Legend has it that all of the noise complaint letters we got from the council are still hanging up in the rock ’n’ roll hall of fame somewhere next to a signed picture of Dave Grohl's cock and balls.
One of the UK early 2000s punk bands who do not get enough love and respect. Fast, punchy and catchy as all hell. I saw 4ft Fingers with my besties in The Splash when I was 16 and we all just wanted to be in that band.
As much as I find these guys a little punk-cheesy these days (who doesn't like rhyming 'life' with 'strife'? Who?!), when I first discovered them I just devoured everything they'd written so far and it got me onto a load of other Epitaph bands. Practising guitar to the Pennywise back catalogue single-handedly taught me how to properly shred palm-mute stuff, haha! However, I still can't drum Pennywise-fast for more than 10 seconds without melting like cheap ice cream on a radiator.
Anyone who saw an early KP show would have seen us butchering a cover of Leavin' (you're welcome – and sorry!). Mad Caddies are just musically incredible. A big, brash, bold, swingin', rockin', skankin' machine of a band. It was great to hear them back at their best on last year's covers album.
Rocket From The Crypt
Not strictly a punk band but there's loads of lashings of garage punk in what they do, I bang on about this band all the time because they are fucking awesome! Like so many bands, I only discovered them once they'd broken up, but then they reformed and I managed to catch them in Paris – genuinely one of the best gigs I've ever seen. They've got an amazing balance of obviously having loads of fun playing but staying super fucking cool at the same time. Check out their old song 'Pictures of Lenny' and grab yourself a new pair of pants before you do (you'll need them).
The Hold Steady
The perfect rock ’n’ roll band for massive nights every time. I find it hard to talk about lyrics; personally I love storytellers (see also Art Brut, Eat The Evidence and The Boss) and I love the way Craig Finn tells 'em. I am not good enough to write stories in the same way so I rely on clumsy metaphors, rhyming couplets, a wing and a prayer. Buy hey, if you're gonna aspire to something, aspire to the best.
Another obvious one, but Smash is still one of the best punk albums out there and the first time I heard it my stupid little brain melted out of my ears. As a teenager, you know you are listening to something cool from the look on your parent's faces as they walk in just at the pinnacle of the singer shouting 'You stupid dumb-shit god damn MOTHERFUCKEEER!' That album is just absolutely full of gold – I think I genuinely broke the CD from how much I used to listen to it – and the ones directly before and after it are very close to my heart too.
Less Than Jake
The first time I swore it was the last time I would go see Less Than Jake was over ten years ago. I always think 'I have got to stop watching Less Than Jake because last time they were amazing and I want to remember them just like that'. Then I get the itch, watch them again and they are great – so the cycle continues…
King Punch have a new EP named Divide And Conga out on July 12th. Keep up to date with all things King Punch here: https://www.facebook.com/KingPunchUK/