Fat Heaven – ‘Tough Luck’ | Track by Track

fat heaven

Tough Luck is out now.

According to their Facebook page, Brooklyn punks Fat Heaven love, and I quote, “Dogs, 40s, and Rock n’ Roll.” Sounds about right. Their three chord, breakneck, and distorted glory reeks, in a good way, of the carefree and rather feckless cacophony and drive of the Descendents and the Vandals. Perhaps with a lovely pinch of 90’s punk revival for good measure in the chunkier riffs. These are mostly songs that profess a wonderfully nostalgic desire to live in the moment, and generally have a fucking good time.

We spoke to the trio about the stories behind each track on the album. They did not disappoint.

1. Amphetamines

We wanted the first track on the record to set the tone. A song amphetamines seemed adequate. The first demo was written on adderall over the course of a night and the result was pretty similar to the one heard on the record. When we started playing it live we added in the intro guitar build up to kinda simulate the feeling of an amphetamine kicking in. We start most our live sets with this song too.

2. Nowhere

This track was originally written in a slower, swing kinda feel, going for that Social Distortion ‘cow punk’ vibe. Eventually, it was revised into a faster, and more straight forward track. It might have turned into our most straight forward punk song on the album. Lyrically, the song was written in a cynical place. The future wasn’t looking to bright and it seemed like nothing could really turn that around. Things are better, but we’ll see.

3. Bowling for Bones

This song was written in about a half hour. Maybe thats why its a minute long. Anyway this was done initially on an acoustic guitar and was purposely supposed to be a bit goofy. Despite the fact its not a serious song, its actually influenced by some serious subject matter, more specifically the documentary Bowling for Columbine. There’s something weird about mixing games and murder. Anyway, when we started playing it as a full band I remember Gayla trying to figure out the drum part while listening to Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me! On the record you can definitely hear some similarities in the drum part.

4. In My Head

“In My Head” is another song that was demo’d in a really different feel. Actually it was written was before Fat Heaven was a thing. That original version was super over the top. It was slower with like a huge 80s snare and claps in the chorus, and the verses had these clean unnecessary guitar riffs. Just so many stupid layers and nonsense. However, the chorus was always catchy. Like the rest of our tracks, we realized if it was faster, with less frivolous shit going on it would probably be better. This is the result.

5. Control The State

If any song on this album has an actual message about our society this is probably it. Written in the wake of constant police brutality, the prevalence of racism, and the political confusion in our country, the lyrics wrote themselves. It feels like there is nothing we can do about it. Protesting doesn’t work. Violence especially doesn’t work. Neo-fascists are shutting down venues because they think these places are breeding grounds for progressive thought. Well they aren’t wrong, but they certainly aren’t welcomed at our shows. America is weird.

6. Christ on a Cracker

Ugh. This song is stupid. Next.

7. Hit the Bottle

Everyone likes a drinking song. This was one of the songs that we wrote together. Jack came up with the riff and we demo’d this down in the basement. Its a really fun one to play live… unless the crowd is sober. Lyrically its not that creative. Just pretty much getting drunk to escape our problems and being hungover the next day so naturally, ya know, fuck tomorrow.

8. LA Girl

So we’ve recorded this one before on our first S/T EP. Same song but the first version was slower. We were a newer band and hadn’t even really practiced anything yet. It was slow because that was as fast as we could play it. Now we’ve played it live so many times that we needed to redo it to match our live set. Going back to the formation of Fat Heaven, this song was written in a small apartment on an electronic drum kit and acoustic guitar. We were pretty much fantasizing about a killing a downstairs neighbor who happened to be from LA. She was not a nice person and had a shit taste in music.

9. What Do You Do?

One day I went up to Jack and said “Hey I wrote 7 songs today.” I proceeded to play him all of them. Each one he hated. However, this one he said “ok so you have 1 good song out of 7.” The two of us proceeded to demo it in the basement and fully flesh out the track. We don’t play it live too often just cause its a little slower than most of our set, but this band called Carmichael from Indiana did it live and it was the best fucking cover of this song I could’ve ever fathomed. Seriously, they do it way better than us. I consider it their song now.

10. Turning Into a Monster

While on the surface “Turning into a Monster” is a fun zombie influenced horror movie kind of song, its actually written about people being brainwashed. Whether its nazi’s, republicans, or even just the hive mind circle jerk around some shitty bands, people are quick to turn on their friends for their own benefit. People are fucked up and kind of monsters to begin with. Anyway, this song was another one that was written real early on but not well practiced enough to make our first EP. We’ve been playing it live since the beginning however.

11. Liar and a Thief

This was the first song that was ever written for Fat Heaven. There are real early versions of this on the internet when no one knew what direction the band was going in. The first version was super poppy so after we started playing it live we knew that wasn’t our actual sound. The one you hear on Tough Luck is actually how it sounds live. Ya know, like a punk song.

12. Out of Your Mind

“Out of Your Mind” is one of our darker songs on the album thematically. Simply its about knowing someone close to you with a drug addiction and trying to get them to see they that they aren’t who they once were. Don’t get us wrong, drugs can be fun and we’re not trying to be all narcs about it. It’s just addiction is a nasty beast and makes people irrational. This was originally a demo that we never really practiced before going into the studio. It was a real last second decision to even put it on the record and a lot of drum parts were figured out in the studio that day. For all of our goofy shit, why not be serious for a second? Right?

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