Punk and alternative fuse together on the Turlock band Broken Trojan's new, solid six-song EP “Lemmings and Hypocrites.”
Many people get a chuckle at the Broken Trojan's name, completely confusing its meaning. That doesn’t seem to bother founder and front-man Bryon Powell (vocals/guitar), though.
Powell formed the band over seven years ago. I remember watching them perform a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” at Al’s Billiards. Al’s has been a starting point for many bands in Turlock. Though Al’s has never changed, Broken Trojan certainly has.
Currently, Broken Trojan is a three-piece comprised of Powell, Carl Kaminski (bass/vocals) of Riverbank and Cameron Ludlow (percussion/vocals) of Hilmar.
Powell explained the name of the band, his disdain for politicians, how the band has grown and where they are musically in an interview with TurlockCityNews.com.
TurlockCityNews.com: Was the name Broken Trojan meant to be funny as in a failed prophylactic? Or is there a serious meaning such as a damaged warrior?
Bryon Powell: The name is a combination of a damaged warrior, both mentally &
physically as well as my personal pessimistic view (which is where the song “Stupid People” came from). It has a kind of self-defeating type of meaning. I’m sarcastic by nature so a little wit naturally had to be thrown in as well.
TCN: What is your favorite local venue to play?
BP: It’s difficult to pick one because we’ve had fun playing all of them. Some of our favorites are Hero’s and Spinnaker’s in Modesto. Grizzly Rock Café in Turlock always feels like home.
TCN: Is the first song “If You” on your new EP “Lemmings and Hypocrites” about President Barack Obama, or is it a reference to politicians in general?
BP: It is definitely a politically driven song but not necessarily about Barack – though it easily could be. It’s more my generalized opinion of politicians and corporate controlled media. I hate them all equally. They force feed the sheeple on a daily basis.
TCN: How long has the current trio been playing together as a band?
BP: The current lineup has been playing together for about four years now and I couldn’t be happier musically. Cameron and Carl have made music fun for me again.
TCN: The song “Lemmings and Hypocrites” reminds me of one of my favorite punk bands, Bad Religion. I know you listen to exceptional music. Who has been your greatest influence?
BP: The song “Lemmings and Hypocrites” is a combination of my personal influences such as Bad Religion and NOFX. I grew up skating to them as well as Minor Threat, Black Flag, etc. My biggest influences would have to be Social Distortion, Pennywise, Pearl Jam, Seether and NOFX for sure. I’m still a punk rocker at heart.
TCN: You’ve been involved in promoting the local music scene for close to ten years now. What is the best thing that local bands can do to support the scene?
BP: The best thing that bands can do to support the scene is to show some courtesy to the other bands you play with. For instance, some bands show up 15 minutes before they go on and leave right after their set. They don’t bother to check out the opening bands and miss the bands that follow. The friends of those bands do the same and don’t see any band except for the one their friends are in. Also, leave the rock star attitude at home. You are in a local band, after all
TCN: Last year Broken Trojan won a Modesto Area Music Award for Best Rock Band. In your acceptance speech you had a few choice words for a couple of people in the audience. Do you think you’ll ever be nominated or asked back as a presenter?
BP: I’m very proud of the fact that we won a 2013 MAMA award and how we have evolved as a band. The choice words during the acceptance speech were a combination of my sarcasm and a bit of pent-up frustration over some of the disrespect we’ve received as a band. All-in-all, it was intended to be funny. As far as being nominated again, previous winners are ineligible for a year or two but I wouldn’t be surprised if we were never nominated again.
TCN: It’s 1972. John Wayne and Johnny Cash get in a fist fight. Who wins?
BP: John Wayne was a bad *** but I’m going to have to say coked up Johnny Cash wins every time.
It’s been a pleasure watching this band develop over the past seven years or so. They’ve developed from a one-bar cover band to a touring band with an original set.
If you like Social Distortion, Pennywise and Bad Religion you will like this album. I’ve currently got it on rotation in my workout section because it gets the blood pumping.
The songs “If You,” “36 Times (Walking Dead),” “As She Bleeds” and “Lemmings and Hypocrites” are composed of the same up-tempo guitar work and drumming that made people take notice of Bad Religion's “Against the Grain” (Epitaph). “36 Times (Walking Dead)” wouldn’t be the same without Kaminski's fluid bass slapping that would make Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary proud.