Californian punk rock band Rancid have celebrated over two decades of ska punk music. With over 4 million record sales, they have become one of the most successful bands on the original punk rock scene.
Formed in 1991, Rancid was started by Tim Armstrong (guitar/vocals) and Matt Freeman (bass) who were later joined by Lars Frederiksen (guitar and vocals). Drummer Brett Reed was replaced by Branden Steineckert in 2006 after he left the band.
Duo Ivy Matt Freeman and Tim Armstrong were in the legendary ska-punk band Operation Ivy until the band disbanded in 1989, and the pair formed Rancid. It wasn’t long until their notoriety was noticed by Epitah Records head honcho and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who promptly signed the band.
When Rancid’ eponymous album was released in 1993, it was the only album not to feature Lars Frederiksen on guitar and was not a commercial success. It was with Rancid’s second album Let’s Go (1994) and touring with alternative mega stars The Offspring in 1994 that things began to move quickly for the band, and the album reached the top 100 on the Billboard chart, and the single “Salvation” received massive exposure on MTV.
Rancid gained major success with .... And Out Come the Wolves in 1995 which proved to be one of the band’s most important releases and reflected the influences of The Clash on their music. The band released a series of singles “Ruby Soho”, “Time Bomb” and “Roots Radicals” which were all highly successful, and the album went platinum making Rancid one of the most popular band’s at the time.
The band then toured with the album in 1996 on the Lollapalooza Tour, and Matt Freeman played in the band Auntie Christ, while Tim Armstrong set up Hellcat, a subsidiary of Epitah Records.
In 1998, Rancid brought out their fourth album Life Won't Wait which featured members of ska bands The Specials and Hepcat, Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, dancehall reggae star Buju Banton, and Agnostic Front vocalist Roger Miret, although the album didn’t match the original hype of their first album, but later gained a cult following in later years.
Rancid parted ways with Epitah and signed with Hellcat Records to showcase their new musical direction, and the band released their second self-titled album which reached the top 100 on the Billboard Chart and moved away from their ska roots and focused on a more hard-core sound.
The band went on tour for a year and returned to the studio to record Indestructible (2003) which was inspired by deaths from family and friends and released via Warner Brothers. The album reached #15 on the Billboard Chart and was the last album before the band went on hiatus where the Rancid band members worked on individual projects. Tim Armstrong was part of another band called Transplants which he played with and Lars Frederiksen set up his band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards.
In 2006, the band decided to reform after they had had time to reenergise and refresh their sound and toured again, performing a number of acoustic sessions. At this time drummer Brett Reed decided to leave the band after 15 years and was replaced by Branden Steineckert.
Rancid went on to release B Sides and C Sides in 2008 which was the band’s first album since their hiatus in 2004. The album contained rare songs as well as soundtrack pieces which included "Tattoo" from the soundtrack album to Taylor Steele's surf movie The Show on Theologian Records (1998) and previously unreleased track "100 Years".
Let the Dominoes Fall (2009) was the seventh studio album by Rancid and featured new drummer Branden Steineckert who joined in 2006 after Brett Reed departed the band. The singles “Last One to Die" and "Up To No Good" were released from the album in 2009 and the album reached the top 50 on the UK Album Chart and #11 on the US Billboard Chart.