Rancid was undoubtedly a front band in the early 1990s punk revival.
Stemming from Albany, California (San Francisco Bay area), the
band consists of Lars Frederiksen (guitar), Brett Reed (drums),
Matt Freeman (bass), and Tim Armstrong (vocals / guitar). The
band, whose members are from blue-collared homes, sing about traditionally
punk ideas concerning life and politics. The roots of the band
begin in 1987 when Armstrong and Freeman (sometimes goes by the
alias of Matt McCall) were in a band called Operation Ivy. The
band also was composed of Dave Mello on drums and Jesse Michaels
on vocals. In 1989, after the band split up, Freeman, Armstrong
and Reed formed Rancid.
Rancid's 1992 debut EP was entitled I'm Not the Only One. The
EP consisted of five tracks and was released by Lookout! Records.
At that time, Rancid was looking for a second guitarist. They
debated using Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. They were, however,
approached by Brett Gurewitz and eventually signed to his label,
Epitaph Records. While recording a demo for Epitaph, Reed met
Frederiksen and convinced him to join the band. Frederiksen had
previously played guitar for UK Subs. Rancid's self-titled debut
was released in 1993. In September of the same year, the group
went on their first national tour. In November, they went on their
first European tour. In February of 1994, they began to record
The band's sophomore album, Let's Go, contained twenty-three songs.
The album also contained the hit single, 'Let's Go. The group
was compared to 1970s punk band, the Clash. The album soon went
gold and then reached platinum status. Rancid had definitely made
their name with punk audiences. At this time, punk bands, such
as The Offspring and Green Day, were going main stream. Labels
realized the wide acceptance and popularity of the punk revival.
Thus, a bidding war began to sign Rancid to a major label. The
group was approached by many big name companies. Madonna's Maverick
records made the band an offer. Supposedly the letter to the band
contained a picture of the singer nude. The boys declined Maverick's
offer. Epic records offered Rancid a half million dollar advance
if they signed to them. The group also declined Epic Records.
Rather than go with a big name label, the stayed with Epitaph.
Rancid wanted to stay where their 'friends' were. Also, they realized
they would have more creative ability, and be able to do what
they wanted with Epitaph. The group was never looking for main
stream exposure or popularity. This decision helped Rancid maintain
their punk fans after the other main stream punk groups faded
away. In March 1995, Rancid returned to the studio once again.
Their next album, .And Out Came the Wolves, was a major seller.
The album contained the hit singles Time Bomb and Ruby Soho.
The album soon went popular. The videos were constantly being
shown on MTV and the singles were receiving major air play on
radios. Rancid named the album after their 'predatorial' experience
of signing with a label. In 1996, the group played on the Lollapalooza
tour. Afterwards, they took their first break since they created
Rancid's 1998 album, Life Won't Wait, featured many artists.
The album featured The Specials, Hipcat, Dicky Barrett, Buju Banton,
and Agnostic front vocalist, Roger Miret. The group collaborated
with The Mighty, mighty Bosstones on the single Cash, Culture
And Violence. Life Won't Wait contained much more ska than the
group's previous albums. Two of the tracks were recorded in Jamaica.
Rancis released their second self-titled album in 2000. Rancid
contained twenty-two songs and the album finished in less than
forty minutes. The album received great, positive response from
the punk community.