Like most good dads, Ray Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket spends quality time with his son. He and Milo, age 12, go fishing and travel abroad when the band is on tour. Carlisle also supports Milo’s band, Human Robots, includes him in Teenage Bottlerocket videos, and most importantly, makes sure he doesn’t overdo it at shows.
“Whenever (Milo) goes to Europe with us, we have to limit his stage diving,” Carlisle notes. “I’m like, ‘Milo, you can’t just crowd surf the entire show. You get two stage dives and that’s it.’ I just gotta make sure he wears his earplugs.”
But Carlisle and the rest of his legendary Wyoming pop punk band, known for its wicked sense of humor, is royalty in Laramie—though the bassist and vocalist might disagree.
“I’m not really too comfortable with the term “rock star.” I’m not flying around in a private jet or anything like that,” Carlisle says. “Plus, I live in Laramie. A lot of people want to come up and hang out and get their picture taken with us and get signatures as I come home. I’ll go to the bars and hang out with my friends in Laramie. Bottlerocket will play here in Laramie once a year, but for the most part I’m just Milo’s dad in Laramie rather than like, Ray from Teenage Bottlerocket everywhere else I go on tour. A short answer: it doesn’t mean anything, you know? You’re just a rocker.”
In Chicago this weekend though, he’s Ray from Teenage Bottlerocket. For Riot Fest, Carlisle ranked every video Teenage Bottlerocket has done—and his narrative recalls gallons of fake blood, a fair amount of alcohol and one rancid bear costume.
12. “IN THE BASEMENT”
RAY CARLISLE: The least favorite is “In The Basement,” just because it was our first video and we just didn’t have it going on yet. The split screen stuff I think is hokey. But my friend Andy that did the video. He’s a dear friend and he actually did the video for “Skate Or Die” too. So I don’t want to bash it too bad; it’s the oldest. It’s 11 years ago this video came out and this one is okay.
RIOT FEST: Who are those guys moshing?
That was our basement [in Laramie]. We did the song a couple of times, everybody flipped out and then we all went home.
11. “CRUISING FOR CHICKS”
My brother wrote the song. I just think the subject matter’s too much of a joke. There’s a guy making out with a blow-up doll. Not really sure if it’s our vibe. I was super sick when we did the video. We recorded it live in Now That’s class in Cleveland. I’m not completely embarrassed of it. But, like, slightly.
Because of the blowup doll?
Well I mean, just like, “We go cruising for chicks.” It’s always gonna have a special place in my heart. But we haven’t played it for years now at this point. I guess we’ve come a long way since 2012.
10. “SHE’S NOT THE ONE”
“She’s Not the One” really isn’t an official video. These guys sent it to us like, “Hey, I did a video for ‘She’s Not The One’ that has this dude in it that looks like Jerry Seinfeld.” I’m not really sure if we could consider it a Teenage Bottlerocket video, but it is professionally done, so it’s cool. We were totally happy with the way it turned out. I think that the plot that the guy put together is great. The guy looks like Jerry Seinfeld, it’s hilarious.
9. “THEY CALL ME STEVE”
Probably my favorite Teenage Bottlerocket song. And it rules. We looked at people making Minecraft videos online and we found this kid, I think he was 15 years old, out of Portland, Oregon. I sent him the song and I think he whipped it together for like 300 bucks.
It was rad. The kid made a video so we didn’t have to show up to the video shoot, which is always great. You’re like, “Hey, here you go. Here’s a video that we didn’t really have to do shit for.” So that’s awesome.
8. “SKATE OR DIE”
“Skate Or Die” is our biggest song. It’s cool that our band has a hit, I guess if you’d call it that. When we play it live, it always stokes everybody out. We got in touch with Conspiracy Skateboards down in Denver and had one of their skaters drive up to Laramie [Skate Park]. [We] basically just [had him] shred the skate park here and tell him different tricks to do.
All the Laramie skateboard kids show up. My friend Bob was dressed up like a cop. We set up shop at this warehouse in South Laramie and rocked to the song and got to skip our finish and pretty much finished up in one day and I love it.
7. “FREAK OUT!”
Now we’re getting into some good ones. “Freak Out!” was filmed by Andrew Seward from Against Me!—Andrew had this warehouse that we filmed at in Florida. The concept was: “Alright. You guys are gonna break bottles over each other’s heads, okay?”
Fat Wreck Chords bought these sugar bottles for us. I think I get four bottles broken over my head. The sugar bottles don’t hurt at all. But whenever there’s four of them and everybody’s just whacking you in the head with them as hard as they can, [it] kinda hurts. Kinda hurts. It was fun to do that video because the song is so short. It’s 45 seconds long. So that rules—to get in, get out.
I’ve always looked up to Andrew as a bass player, and his stage presence. Those earlier Against Me! records were fantastic. I was like, “Oh man, we get to go film a video with Against Me!” like kind of a rock star—somebody that I only knew because I had watched his fuckin’ band 20 times.
What was the fake blood made of?
We just did the dyed corn syrup if I remember correctly. It was hard to get off. It was disgusting. Sticky. We used the same shit in the “Haunted House” video.
6. “HAUNTED HOUSE”
We’re starting to get into some blood here. We borrowed some Halloween props from the Fort Collins Halloween store. Our friend Clint dressed up as some sort of ghoulish zombie, and there’s the Fort Collins chapter of the Ghostbusters. We got those dudes to show up. Brandon directed the entire video. He really worked hard getting the monster statues that are in the background.
I think the very last thing we shot was just dumping buckets of fake blood on top of Brandon’s head. He’s just sitting there taking it. And I remember just thinking “I’m so fucking glad that’s not me.”
I just remember loading all the gear as the video was done. After we were done shooting, loading all the gear back in the van and just being completely exhausted. There’s one scene were we have a candelabra floating, and you could see the fishing line connected to it. We always thought that was funny. Like “Yeah, let’s not have great effects; let’s make this look hokey.” And Vincent Price.
5. “DEAD SATURDAY”
We had just signed to Rise Records. We did three videos for the Tales from Wyoming album: “Dead Saturday,” “They Call Me Steve,” and “Haunted House.” It shows that we were trying to do some work.
The video took forever. Brandon throws his drumstick at the zombies that are rocking out to us, and it stabbed one zombie in the eye, and then Brandon tossed the drumstick back and there was an eye stuck to it. He says “Oh fuck” into the camera. I always thought that was a great part. There were these two zombie twins and they were adorable, but one of them got scared, and she decided she didn’t want to be in the video. Little twin zombie girls. Hats off to everybody involved with that video. There’s just tons of blood, tons of effects.
Kody gets his fingers bitten off by a zombie and blood squirts everywhere. When we posted the picture of his fake fingers being cut off on Instagram, everyone was like, “Oh my God, is he okay?”
We got messier towards the end of the day, with zombies eating Brandon’s guts at the end, that girl biting my neck… I remember Brandon got it worse.
4. “WHY THE BIG PAUSE”
That was the only video we did from Stealing The Covers. It was our first video after Brandon passed away. Filmed it at the Buckhorn. Fat Wreck Chords gave us a bar tab— it was $200, I think. We were fucking drunk. We went to another bar after. We were all passed out by like 7:00 PM.
Darren Chewka, our new drummer, is not in the video. We told everybody he’s the bear. He’s not. He’s not the bear. Kurt Patrick(?) was. It was like, “Hey, let’s snuff this video out. Let’s get it done. Darren is up in Edmonton, Alberta. Fuck it, let’s just do it with us three and we’ll pretend like he’s the bear, right?”
We bought that bear suit on Amazon. It was $100 and now it’s played like, 100 shows. We lost the bear suit once, and I just feel sorry for whoever has to get into it. It’s getting pretty gross.
I like how the bear looks at the stuffed bear on the wall at some point, because someone shot a bear and fuckin’ stuffed it and put it in the Buckhorn. There’s a real bullet hole in the mirror behind the bar. It’s got a lot of history, a lot of dead animals—kind of your typical Laramie, Wyoming dive bar.
If I were going to visit a Wyoming bar, would it kind of look like this video?
If you came to Wyoming and you went to Laramie, and you didn’t go the Buckhorn, you’d like, fail at life.
3. “EVERYTHING TO ME”
We recorded at Miguel’s Yoga Studio here in Laramie. The white shirt with cutoff sleeves I’m wearing I lost. I’m bummed.
Love having [my son] Milo in the video. Milo’s premiere debut on Teenage Bottlerocket videos is at the end of “Skate Or Die” in his little Run-DMC t-shirt—he’s on his skateboard and does a little grab. This song’s about being a dad, about hanging out with Milo. We got Olivia in the video as well, which is Miguel’s daughter.
Then he got kind of cranky towards the end of the shoot; it was a long day. I had to tell him, like, “Dude, you can’t be in every shot. This is gonna be the band.” He was like, “No way man.” Ironically enough, a video about how much I love my kid and being a dad, and I’m pissed off at my kid.
I think it gives peakable, good vibes. Good glowing vibes. A lot of people told me “I watched the video and I teared up.” I think that’s kind of cool to invoke that sort of emotion into someone with our songs.
2. “BIGGER THAN KISS”
The best part about the “Bigger Than Kiss” video is that I didn’t have to do shit. Nobody had to do shit. This guy drew it, put it together. He sent it to us and we’re just like, “Dude, awesome.” Kody’s in a hot tub with girls and there’s blood coming out of his nose from doing cocaine. How do you get Kerry King and all the members of Kiss in a video? You just make it animated.
The ending is so true of so many fuckin’ punk bands. Every band at some point’s at that point, right? You show up somewhere and it’s like, “Oh my God, there’s 10 people here. This is fucking terrible.” And sometimes you set up your stuff, you play and it can be one of the most fun shows in the tour. So it’s cool to end the video with that sort of vibe.
Did you ever hear from Kiss?
No. No. If we did it would be awesome though, like a cease and desist from Kiss. Paul Stanley had to have heard the song, right?
There’s all those lyrics in there: “Ray beat the piss out of Peter Criss / Now we’re bigger than Kiss.” When that came out, I was like, “Yo, Peter Criss is in a wheelchair, right?”
I’m pretty sure Paul Stanley did fall down on stage and break his hip. I guess we’ll have that to look forward to when we get older.
I guess a hip injury can be really bad.
Well, you know, especially whenever you’re fucking a hundred years old.
Alright… We’re beginning as a Guns N’ Roses ripoff. This is at Brandon’s house in Fort Collins. We all had to head bang really hard. Everybody showed up and dressed like metal heads. Our friends were wearing Death Angel shirts, friend’s wife was wearing an Overkill shirt, got the fog machine…[and we were] drinking a lot of booze. Tony from Municipal Waste is in the video and we spray painted “Municipal Waste” on Brad’s halfpipe. GWAR was playing with Municipal Waste up the street.
This band called the Head Injuries was there. Clint Carlin was doing a keg stand. Magic Cyclops (who plays the headbanger) comes in the room looking like the ghost of Cliff Burton, and his shirt says “Bark at the Moon.” Magic Cyclops was the best thing that ever happened to “American Idol” ever. And he still lives in Fort Collins. Love that dude.
Wow, so many videos to watch. But you know what you should really watch? Teenage Bottlerocket’s Riot Fest set on Sunday at the Rebel Stage. 6:00 PM–7:00 PM, baby. Oh yeah. Don’t miss it.