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Transplants have a punk rock backbone

Transplants singer Rob Aston on the glue that binds this all-star power-trio.

Transplants are, from left, Aston, Barker and Armstrong. They play with Rancid (Armstrong pulling double-duty) at the House of Blues in Boston on June 16 and 17, at Terminal 5 in NYC on June 20 and 20 and at the Electric Factory in Philly on June 22. Credit: Estevan Oriole Transplants are, from left, Aston, Barker and Armstrong. They play with Rancid (Armstrong pulling double-duty) at the House of Blues in Boston on June 16 and 17, at Terminal 5 in NYC on June 20 and 20 and at the Electric Factory in Philly on June 22.
Credit: Estevan Oriole

With the members constantly working on a multitude of projects, it’s no wonder that it took so long for Transplants to release new material. To say that drummer Travis Barker, guitarist Tim Armstrong and singer Rob Aston have kept themselves busy since disbanding in 2006 is an understatement. After eight years, the trio is back with a new album, “In a Warzone,” which still blends punk rock with hip-hop, like on previous releases, but this time the focus is more on punk, says Aston. “We’ve all grown up listening to different types of music, but punk rock has always been the backbone for all of us,” he says. “I personally think that’s the best type of music we make together.”

To someone who has never listened to you before, how would you describe Transplants?

If you listen to either our first or second album, it’s a little harder to describe because there’s so much going on. There are punk rock elements, hip-hop elements, dub elements … all kinds of stuff going on. But I always tell people that we’re a punk rock band. We do what we want, and that’s punk rock.

Why did the three of you decide to produce the album yourselves this time around?

We figured that nobody knows the band better than we do. Me, Travis and Tim write all the music and lyrics ourselves. Plus, we were already doing it at Travis’ studio anyways, so it just made sense. It’s us.

Were scheduling conflicts between the three of you the main reason why it took so long to make this album?

We took a break after Warped Tour in 2005, but I guess we worked on the new album for about three years before we turned it in. Obviously it wasn’t three years straight because everyone’s busy with other projects. So we recorded when we could and we didn’t want to rush this album or turn in something half-assed. When you’re gone for a long time, you can’t come back with just anything. We had to give it our best, and that’s what we did. I think it’s our best work by far.

Is there any pressure to recreate the success that came with your last album, “Haunted Cities,” which came in at No. 28 on the Billboard 200?

We broke up shortly after “Haunted Cities” was released, so there really wasn’t a push to promote the album. It makes you wonder about what could’ve happened, you know? But at the same time, if we kept working, I don’t know what would’ve happened with the band. I don’t know if we’d still be together today, and I don’t know if “In A Warzone” would sound how it does. Maybe it’s a good thing we had that break.

Are there any guest vocalists on the new album worth mentioning?

This time around we only put a few guests on the album. We have Paul Wall on one song, and Bun B and Equipto on another. But that’s it, just three rappers. It’s kind of funny that this is a punk rock album, but the guests we have are rappers. But that’s true to Transplants form. We’ve always put people on our albums that you normally wouldn’t think would be on an album like ours.

 
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