It’s Casual Frontman Eddie Solis Loves Public Transportation, Local H
There's a movie called Bad Ass that recently hit Red Box. In it, the great Danny Trejo plays a Vato who has to bust some heads trying to make trouble on the bus. Like Trejo's character in the film, fellow Los Angeles bus rider Eddie Solis is also a victim of fate. He didn't know it at the time, but when his band, It's Casual debuted their video for the song "The Red Line", it did the Los Angeles Metro an unexpected service. Who would have thought that a two-piece, Black Flag-worshipping hardcore band would have a green message?
The enemy? Traffic jams, congestion and all the shit that comes with it. "The 605! The 405! The I-I10! The freeways are not so nice!" Eddie shouts on "The Red Line." If you live in The Golden State, you know what he's pissed at. "People just connected with it," says the fast-talking native of Whittier, Calif. of the video show by Jackass and Wildboyz cameraman Rick Kosick. "It's the Black Flag aesthetic. They were totally transparent. They wrote about TV Parties. I'm writing about taking the bus."
It's Casual's latest The New Los Angeles Part I: Through the Eyes of a Bus Rider is a road-raging album full of two minute-get-to-the-point (Thrasher magazine patented) "Skate Rock" anthems about a Los Angeles that Solis has only seen by taking public transportation. "I find a lot of good spots for everything from good skateboard spots to great places to eat," says Eddie who has not owned or rented a car in a decade. With nearly 90,000 miles logged on Skateboard and public transportation, he recently had to give in and buy a van for touring purposes.
As fate would have it, on his van's maiden voyage to a gig in Long Beach with the legendary Negative Approach, the van got stuck in a three-hour traffic jam forcing It's Casual to nearly miss the show. Figures.
Watch "The Red Line" Video
Why a two-piece? It's just Eddie and what has become a revolving cast of drummers. "We started as a three piece and too many bass players just flaked," says Eddie. "It was Local H, to be honest," Solis recalls the influence of the mid-'90s Chicago duo. "They rocked pretty hard. I thought if I could deal with less people for a more effective result than I don't need a traditional band – less is more." For maximum sonic overkill Eddie connects both his guitar and bass set-ups and then splits the onstage signals. "I'm pretty meticulous and detail-oriented about it."
It's Casual (which takes its name from an expression in the 1984 film The Wild Life) don't merely call themselves "Skate Rock"; they embody it. "It's anything from Slayer, old Metallica to Black Flag," describes Eddie who grew up in Hispanic hood of Whittier, Calif. Keep in mind, It's Casual have hit the stage and held its own against the likes of High on Fire and Prong and come out just fine. "It's music to skate to: to skate a half-pipe or a street course. It's music that's just super-hard and driving." Eddie is no stranger to skateboarding, coming up in the early 90's when the sport was in a lull. "I got more into street skating. Skating curbs. Walls. It's like with music, you had to get really creative."
By day, Solis plies his trade in the record game as sales manager for Doom-Metal label Southern Lord. "From working in the music business I definitely don't have any delusions of grandeur," says Eddie, who also has worked at Century Media and SST alongside hardcore guitar god, Black Flag's Greg Ginn. "I've learned that you don't get handed anything. You have to work for it. The reality of this business is harsh. Bands that you think are big really aren't. That's why I'm really happy that people are starting to 'get' us."
If all that wasn't enough, Solis' "strictly-for-fun" Latin Rock project, Matador is getting props for their Roy Z-produced (Halford, Sepultura) self-titled album which placed high in iTunes rock charts on the week of its release. "That's something I did to prove to myself that I can be musical," says Solis, who plays bass is in that band. "I never expected anyone to take notice of it."
Right now, It's Casual is only stepping up its efforts. Solis will be releasing a series of singles from a session with Neurosis/Eyehategod producer Billy Anderson from last year that simply wasn't hard-hitting enough to become The New Los Angeles Part II. Regardless, the first single a split with Early Man is a gnarly slab of suburban disaffection.
Officially titled Less Violence, More Violins, the follow-up to The New Los Angeles Part I is set for release in early 2013. "There's no music being taught in schools, less outlets for kids these days," Solis explains. "That equals more violence. On the first record I'm singing about what's going on. On this next one I'm going to the root of the problem. I'm not just talking about the Band-Aid."
So fuck your Prius, Esse. Grab your skateboard. Take the bus or the subway. What is Eddie Solis' transport of choice? "Skateboard," he blurts with absolutely no reservation. "I've done 10-20 mile rides back in the day. It's the ultimate green component to travel. It's just wood, urethane and foot. You don't get much more green than that."
Get more It's Casual information at their official website.