By March 12, 2018 Read More →

The Ranger-Return of the Punk Rock Soundtrack

The Ranger: Return of the Punk Rock Soundtrack

By Middagh Goodwin

The Ranger, Jenn Wexler’s directorial debut for Glass Eye Pix will be premiering on Monday, March 12th as part of the SXSW Midnighter series.  Follow along as a group of young punks have to flee the city after getting into trouble with the law. They head out to Chelsea’s(Chloe Levine) families deserted cabin in the woods. See what happens when they get on the wrong side of Park Ranger(Jeremy Holm). Sounds like a familiar plot but think again.

I worked as the Music Supervisor with Jenn Wexler and Heather Buckley on this project and culled over hours of music to narrow down just the right mix to help drive the action and vibe of the film.  I have always loved the way a good soundtrack or score acts as part of the supporting cast in cinema. As a teenager, I was introduced to many of the bands I would come to love by songs in movies. It was great importance for us to create the next great soundtrack.

We dug deep with tracks spanning over four decades of musical history. It was intentional to have most of the bands be from the West Coast to give it a little lighter feel, we did end up with a couple from Canada and a lone band from Rochester New York. Of all places, three bands from Stockton, CA made it onto the final cut. The Authorities, The Lobstrosities and The Polyester Wags(not sure what they are putting in the Pabst Blue Ribbon) but I like it and I am sure you will too.

The Atom Age on Asian Man Records is a high energy Garage Rock band whose sound pays tribute to bands like the Sonics, the Mummies and MC5 more than Black Flag or the Circle Jerks. Formed in 2008 they are celebrating a decade of performing live but are babies compared to some of the other bands on the soundtrack. “It’s a Mess” from Hot Shame is featured on the Ranger soundtrack.

The Authorities first formed in 1978 in Stockton CA. At that time Punk Rock was quite different, people really felt threatened by it. Guitarist Brian Thalken was also in Fall of Christianity with Gary Young (who later would join Pavement.) They Released Soundtrack for Trouble in 1982 which features the Song “Shot in the Head” which is featured on the Ranger soundtrack.  The Authorities also shared the grooves with Black Flag, Mentors, The Grim, Ill Repute on the infamous The Sound of HollywoodWe Got Power with JFA. Dayglo Abortions, 7Seconds and Killed by Death which also featured Beastie Boys, the Nuns etc. Compilations in the early day much like the Movie soundtrack is how people learned about new bands and music.

The Avengers from San Francisco has the unique distinction of opening up for the Sex Pistols at their final show. Fronted by vocalist Penelope Houston, The Avengers is one of America’s early punk bands and even though they broke up after releasing a self-titled album in 1983, they have a near legendary cult status in the music community. “Teenage Rebel” and The Good, The Bad and the Kowalskis” are both featured on the Ranger soundtrack.

Black Lungs from Canada is a side project of Alexisonfire’s guitarist and vocalist, and current Gallows frontman Wade MacNeil. MacNeil created the side project similar to his first punk rock band Plan 9, a more relaxed and melodic sound than Alexisonfire. Active 2008-2011. The songs “Blood Blood Blood” and “Graveyard Dirt” are featured along with the score by Wade MacNeil and Andrew Gordon Macpherson as part of The Ranger.

DayGlo Abortions, formed in Canada in 1978, are one of the few bands to make the Ranger soundtrack, not from the West Coast. Distributed in the US on Alternative Tentacles the band is one of Canada’s most legendary punk bands. “Used to be in Love” off of the band’s most successful release Feed Us a Fetus, released in 1986, is featured on the soundtrack. Dayglo are still active and have released 11 albums since 1981 making them the most prolific band to be used in The Ranger.

FANG is part of the original Berkeley CA punk scene, they formed in 1980 and released their first single in 1981. They have released 9 albums and a handful of singles and have been on numerous key punk compilations. “We Die Alone” from FANG’s most recent Rise UP! released on Die Laughing Records in 2017 has made it onto the Ranger soundtrack.

The GRIM originally formed in 1982 in Los Angeles were part of the original wave of Punk coming out of Southern California. Maybe a little less known than the Circle Jerks or Adolescents, their influence is still felt. Band members later went on to play with Strung Out, Jughead’s Revenge… “Cop Killer” is one of the bands new recordings off a very limited (350 pressed). We hope that being part of the Ranger soundtrack will introduce them to a whole new generation.

The NERV, formed in 2007, is part of a new generation of punk infused with what made great, raw power, socially conscious worldview lyrics. Fronted by powerful female vocals, The Nerv pack a punch with their heavy driving beats and brutal in-your-face instrumentation. “Truth Be Told” from the Decivilized album out on Die Laughing Records aligns with the energy and forward movement of The Ranger.

“We believe in the power of music and art to create social change on a systemic level. THE NERV stands for emancipation, empowerment and compassion for all forms of life and overthrowing systems that perpetuate oppression.” ~ Nis Anthrope

The Lobstrosities formed in 2001 and features members of Scattered Fall, Cremasters of Disasters, the Outlaw Dance Society and more. Inspired by Stephen King’s Dark Tower chronicles, the band became a NorCal mainstay. Their songs are catchy and driving and will get you moving. The song “Gasher” became a favorite of the director Jenn Wexler with her saying “I love this so much.”

The Polyester Wags from Stockton, CA are punk rockers playing their own brand of Outlaw Country. Featuring Chocolate Alvarez on vocals and acoustic guitar, she sings from the heart. The song “Stockton (Full of Gold)” was recorded in hopes to be a new theme song for the City of Stockton. It chronicles the city’s history as a Gold Rush town to what it has become today.

Rotten UK on Disillusioned Records hail from Rochester NY, the lone east coast band which sound is dark lends itself more to England than any other band on the soundtrack. Rotten UK performs their songs “Animal Sacrifice”, “Siouxie Sioux”, “Dark Times” and “Long Kiss Goodbye” live in The Ranger.

Follow The Ranger on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @TheRangerMovie #RangerDanger

Hear a few Ranger Tracks

About the Author:

Middagh Goodwin LIVES Music. He has been booking and promoting Music, Art, and Comedy in the Central Valley for years. He ran the award-winning Plea for Peace Center in Stockton for 5 Years and has booked bands from A-Z. In addition, he is the managing editor of ModestoView and writes the MAMAView and GeekView. Middagh works with the Modesto Area Music Association and books Music in the Plaza. In addition, he owns and operates Graffiti-Con, where cars and pop culture intersects. More recently, Middagh has been working with the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum, helping to create unique events that help raise funds and awareness of the museum and its mission. On top of that, you can tune into one of two shows that Middagh Goodwin hosts on KCBP 95.5 FM; This is SKA and MAMA Radio.