FLYER Q&A: Burned Up Bled Dry returns for show at Smoke & Barrel on June 25

Burned Up Bled Dry (provided photo)

Arkansas hardcore band Burned Up Bled Dry were a flagship band in the late 90’s. Shortly after the central Arkansas Towncraft boom in the mid 90’s, Burned Up Bled Dry released two excellent 7-inch records: Kill The Body…Kill The Soul and Cloned Slaves For Slaves.

Those two records established Fort Smith as a hub for punk that was brutal and uncompromising, bringing hardcore bands from all over the world to Northwest Arkansas, and building a legendary scene in the process.

Besides releasing a split record with Deadbird, Burned Up Bled Dry has been inactive over the years. Luckily for everyone who missed them, they returned earlier this month with a performance at Mutants Of The Monster Fest in Little Rock. And they’ll return to Fayetteville on Saturday, June 25 for a show at Smoke & Barrel Tavern with Bones Of The Earth and Stress Dream. It’s a highly-recommended show if you enjoy unrelenting chaos and/or memorable performances.

Who: Burned Up Bled Dry / Bones Of The Earth / Stress Dream
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Where: Smoke & Barrel Tavern, 324 W Dickson St, Fayetteville
Tickets: $10 advance / $12 door

I talked to BUBD guitarist Evan Garner about the return, here goes…

How would you describe Burned Up Bled Dry to a stranger?

“Really Fast, really loud” is usually my go-to answer, which works when talking to a curious coworker or grandparent who has no idea about the type of music we play as much as it works when talking to a new friend at a punk show.

BUBD were on a long hiatus. How did you get together again? Was it a smooth process or did anyone have to be coaxed back into the band?

Things just sort of fell into place. We’ve spread out over the years, but three of us currently live in the area again. Our new second guitarist lives in Tulsa and our singer lives in Dallas. We’ve been able to write and learn songs here and record demos, then send the tracks to the other guys so they can record their parts and send them back. It’s rare to have all five of us together in the practice room at the same time – I think it’s only happened twice over the last few years – but we’re all committed to making it work so it’s gone smoother than I would have imagined. The internet makes everything a million times easier than it was 25 years ago when we first got together. And the fact that even a recording on a phone today sounds better than our first record is amazing in regards to the changing technology over time.

You recently played at Mutants Of The Monster Fest in Little Rock, how was that? And how did it feel to perform live again?

MOTM was amazing. CT did an awesome job this year, all the bands we played with were great (Brat, Knoll, Deadbird, Cloud Rat, Black Cobra), with positivity all around. There’s always the worry like ‘will anyone care about these middle-aged men playing in a hardcore band?’ And whether we will be able to pull it off so that we don’t embarrass ourselves. We received a great response and lots of kind words so it was reassuring. Several people mentioned that they had never been able to see us play back in the day and were happy to finally get the chance, so that was nice to hear.

What parts of BUBD did you want to carry on into 2022?

At this point, we just want to play hard and have fun with each other. We don’t know how long we can keep doing it so we want to give 100% and blow some minds if possible. We’ve been friends and playing music together for almost 30 years now so it’s more like a family at this point. Moving forward with energy and positivity while still making a lot of hateful noise, haha.

Northwest Arkansas seems to be left out of the hardcore resurgence that’s happening in other areas, do you feel like the odd band out? Who are you looking forward to playing shows with in Fort Smith and Fayetteville?

The only thing that feels odd is that even though we’ve been around forever, this is probably the first chance a lot of folks will have to actually see us.

One thing I’ve always said over the years is that now is the good old days that someone will be looking back at some day. People really should appreciate what’s going on because it’s always changing. There are a ton of great bands in the area right now: The Phlegms, Bones Of The Earth, TV Preacher, Heldtight, Stash Hag, Deadbird, Mudlung. Plus, there are several brand new bands that I’m excited to see, like Obliviate, Stress Dream and Sleep Clinic. And I’m sure there are bands I’m not even aware that will blow me away soon. Now if we could figure out a new reliable DIY space to replace Backspace, things will really be cookin’.

Any records in the works? Any plans for a tour?

We’ve got a few songs coming out on comps and whatnot and we are working hard on our full length. When your songs are 45 seconds long it takes a LOT of songs to finish an LP. We’ve got 90% of the songs written and demoed (shoutout to Raif at Holy Anvil). It should be finished sometime this year, fingers crossed.

No tour plans as we are focusing on finishing the LP but some weekends here and there and a festival in L.A. in October.

What have you been listening to lately?

Oh I have varied tastes. I like everything from early 80’s hardcore to mid 80’s hardcore. Seriously though, I’ve been trying really hard to avoid the trap of not listening to new music as I get older, so I’ve been spinning lots of contemporary grind/hc bands like Cloud Rat, Hummingbird Of Death, Chepang, etc. Otherwise, I did go see Steely Dan the other night, so their catalog has been playing a lot in the car lately.

Are there any unexpected influences you’d like to share for the first time? What’s the weirdest thing that’s made you want to write a minute-long hardcore song?

We honestly listen to a wide variety of stuff and almost anything can influence us. I can think of riffs I’ve written that came from listening to The Cure or The Smiths, drum parts influenced by The Police, and many many hours have been spent in the van together listening to Captain Beefhart. I don’t know if anyone else would ever be able to hear it in our sound, but we know it’s there.