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Life's A Risk, Dudes: Fidlar at the Hoosier Dome


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There's little doubt that the members of FIDLAR were destined to do what they do for a living.

And that would be play punk rock in the classic sense and participate in increasingly legendary bacchanalia along the way.

After all, the Kuehn brothers (guitarist/vocalist Elvis and drummer Max) are the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist for the '80s goth-punk group T.S.O.L. Like them, bassist Brandon Schwartzel grew up in Southern California, birthplace of the skatecore FIDLAR so effortlessly thrash out. Guitarist and vocalist Zac Carper grew up in Hawaii, so he has the same sensibility – just with a different board.

"We all grew up surrounded by surfing and skateboarding," says Schwartzel by phone while the band is en route to a show at Phoenix on their current tour. "Punk music has always gone hand-in-hand with that. We all grew up kind of listening to the same stuff."

FIDLAR is an acronym for "Fuck It Dog, Life's A Risk," a motto Carper picked up from former skateboarding roommates who would say it before attempting a trick or to convince someone expressing doubt.

"We kind of adapted it to how we made music and partied," Schwartzel says. "It became less about skating and more about, 'I don't know if I should drink this beer.' I don't know if we've actually called FIDLAR on each other though. It's more an attitude than anything else."

The band seems to have made the saying a prevailing philosophy of its day-to-day existence. Part of the lyrics to their song "Cheap Beer," off their self-titled debut, goes, "Me and my friends in a hundred dollar Volvo / Bustin' down the street while cruising Alvarado / Getting fucked up on the 101/ Shooting our guns and having fun."

"There's a little embellishment here and there, and some of it's not about us but friends," he says. "But it's basically our experiences of being young and broke in L.A., and all the things that come with it."

It's not just one big party though. They've worked hard at their craft. And like the best of their genre, much of it has been DIY. It's paying off too. Three years after recording their first songs, FIDLAR shared a stage with the likes of The Hives. Schwartzel says they'll play wherever they're invited and allowed to.

"It's not like the work's done and we're just coasting now," he says. "We're still hustling all the time. When we're not on tour, we're at home trying to write new music. But that's the fun part. The partying is just a bonus."

For a band that's quickly garnering a solid reputation for showmanship, it's ironic that FIDLAR started with the intention of only being a studio project. It began when Elvis was interning at an L.A. recording studio in 2009 and met Carper, who was working as an engineer. Their musical chemistry was convincing enough for them to recruit enough others for a band (Elvis' brother, naturally, and Schwartzel in Carper's case).

"We weren't even planning on playing shows," Schwartzel says. "We were just getting together, hanging out and making recordings. Then people started responding to the songs and telling us we should play a show. So we developed that secondarily, but it's become a huge part of this band's reputation."


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