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Music / Rancid

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From Left: Lars, Matt, Tim, Branden
If you wanna make the move then you better come in
It's the ability to reason that wears so thin
Living and dying and the stories that are true
The secret to a good life is knowing when you're through.
"Time Bomb"

Rancid is a punk rock band from Berkeley, formed in the early 90s by bassist Matt Freeman and guitarist/singer Tim Armstrong, formerly of the ska band Operation Ivy. They were joined by rhythm guitarist Lars Frederiksen and drummer Brett Reed. Reed left in 2006 and was replaced by Branden Steineckert.

Along with Green Day and The Offspring, the band are widely credited with the punk revival of the 1990s. Their ska-influenced sound (a holdover from Freeman and Armstrong's previous band) also played a huge part in the Third Wave Ska movement in the later half of the decade.

Outside of Rancid, Tim Armstrong has a massive footprint on the music scene. He's the owner of Hellcat Records, a label which mostly hosts sub-genres of punk such as Oi!, Ska, rockabilly, is a member of the supergroup Transplants and has collaborated with various other acts such as P!nk, Gwen Stefani, Travis Barker and Cypress Hill. From 1998 to 2003, he was married to Brody Dalle, lead singer of The Distillers.

Current members:

  • Tim Armstrong – lead guitar, lead and backing vocals (1991–present)
  • Matt Freeman – bass, backing and lead vocals (1991–present)
  • Lars Frederiksen – rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals (1993–present)
  • Branden Steineckert – drums, percussion (2006–present)

Former members:

  • Brett Reed – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1991–2006)


  • Rancid (1993)
  • Let's Go (1994)
  • ...And Out Come the Wolves (1995)
  • Life Won't Wait (1998)
  • Rancid (2000) - Not to be confused with the 1993 album.
  • Indestructible (2003)
  • Let the Dominoes Fall (2009)
  • ...Honor Is All We Know (2014)
  • Trouble Maker (2017)
  • Tomorrow Never Comes (2023)

Another notable release of theirs is a split album with NOFX in which both bands cover six songs of the other. Two versions were released with differently colored album covers. A green one in which the NOFX songs are before Rancid's portion and an orange one in which this is reversed.

...And Out Come the Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: ...And Out Come the Wolves has its title dropped in "Junkie Man". Although really they got the title from a poem that appeared in Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries, then had Carroll himself recite excerpts of said poem as Spoken Word in Music.
  • Break-Up Song: "Fall Back Down" starts like this, then the song goes into being about friendship in the second verse (specifically, friends that help you work through the end of a relationship).
  • Genre Roulette: Most notably on Life Won't Wait - its predominantly based within Ska Punk, but finds time to explore many other genres.
  • Genre Throwback: The 2000 self-titled album. After two albums experimenting with ska, reggae and other influences, this album was a stark, straight-ahead Hardcore Punk album. It's more akin to 80s Hardcore than the first two they did were.
  • Hardcore Punk: Their first two albums and 2000's second Self-Titled Album; occasionally shows up elsewhere, too.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Considering the fact that Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman have been inseperable for pretty much their entire careers (even before the Operation Ivy days) they definitely qualify as this.
  • Lead Bassist: Matt Freeman is Types A, C, and D, as his aggressive, technical style forms a big part of their sound.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: 2 in fact; both qualify as a Type 2. The Armstrong-Freeman-Frederiksen-Reed line-up lasted from 1993 to 2006, when Reed left. Branden Steineckert replaced him soon after, and has stayed ever since.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Red Hot Moon" definitely counts.
    • To a lesser extent, "Daly City Train" and "Old Friend" count, too- they're upbeat Ska songs about heartaches, after all. The band does this pretty often, actually.
  • New Sound Album: Several. The most notable are:
    • ...And Out Come the Wolves, which introduced a heavy Ska influence to the band's sound after two albums of (admittedly more bass heavy and poppy than usual) Hardcore Punk.
    • Life Won't Wait continues the Ska Punk approach of their previous album,while also experimenting with Reggae, Rockabilly, Blues and Latin music within that framework.
    • The second Self-Titled Album, which returned them to Hardcore Punk territory after the Genre Roulette of Life Won't Wait.
    • Indestructible, which splits the difference between the Ska Punk, Genre Roulette and Hardcore Punk approaches. They more-or-less did this on their next two albums as well.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Journey to the End of the East Bay"
  • Self-Titled Album: Two, actually: their debut in '93 and another in 2000 that was a "return to their roots" album of sorts.
  • Shout-Out: The cover of ...And Out Come the Wolves is a clear homage to that of Minor Threat's self-titled EP: both depict a figure sitting on a stoop with their head down and arms crossed.
    • "Roots Radicals" mentions first wave Ska performer Desmond Dekker.
    • "The War's End" mentions Billy Bragg.
  • Ska Punk: On some (but not all) of their albums. It's generally the sound they're best known for; half the band did come from Operation Ivy, after all.
  • Theme Naming: Rancid has a surprisingly large amount of songs named after places in the world: "Detroit", "Olympia W.A.", "Ruby Soho", "Daly City Train", "Journey to the End of the East Bay", "Hoover Street", "Warsaw", "Leicester Square", "Rwanda", "Radio Havana", "Arrested in Shanghai", "Memphis", "Tropical London", "Ivory Coast", "Brixton", "East Bay Night", "New Orleans", "L.A. River"
  • True Companions: "Fall Back Down" is about this.
    "If I fall back down
    You're gonna help me back up again!
    If I fall back down
    You're gonna be my friend!"