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Acid Wrench: ‘We just love playing live’

It began with a drum set. Local attorney Justin Bogan has always been a fan of the punk-rock, digging on classic hardcore bands from labels like SST out of Los Angeles, Sub-Pop out of Seattle and Washington, D.C.’s Dischord, while also sharing this brand of music via his show on local radio station KDUR.

He’s also messed around with making music, but things didn’t get band-serious until a drum kit landed in his possession. That drum set helped birth Acid Wrench, a local, old-school punk and hardcore band that features Bogan on drums, along with Vanessa Bohaty on vocals, Ben Currier on bass and Kellan Schmelz on guitar. Acid Wrench will play Friday night at the Animas City Theatre, along with bands Mom Rock and Moon Walker.

A drum kit is an instrument that in addition to making a healthy racket, takes up space. That’s how it ended up with Bogan.

If you go

WHAT: Rock music with Moon Walker, Mom Rock, Acid Wrench.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Animas City Theatre, 128 E. College Drive.


MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.animascitytheatre.com.

“A good friend of mine, she moved to Denver and couldn’t fit her drums in her apartment. She said, ‘do you want my drum set?’ Knowing that there’s more guitarists than drummers in Durango I said, ‘yes, I’ll take your drums.’ I drove up there, got the drums, and didn’t really know how to play them,” Bogan said.

He began woodshedding, along with taking YouTube drum lessons. Then came the day Currier and Schmelz were in Bogan’s office, noticing punk-rock and skateboard ephemera. That led to music talk, which led to Currier and Schmelz revealing they played bass and guitar.

“I said, ‘I just got a drum set,’ you guys should come over and we should put together a punk rock band,’” Bogan said.

They then needed a singer. They knew they didn’t want just another dude to join a band with a bunch of other dudes, contributing to the predictable, “boys-club” mentality of the punk rock world. It was going to take a female – enter Bohaty.

“We didn’t want to be a band of guys playing music for guys to punch other guys in the pit; we wanted to have a female presence and a woman lead singer who would bring an air of legitimacy and coolness to what we were doing,” Bogan said. “Which made her the No. 1 candidate.”

“I thought about it for a minute and bounced it off some friends who are in punk rock bands and I thought, ‘man, I don’t know if I can do this,’ you know, like being up in front of all these people as a performer, I have no background whatsoever in getting up in front of people and keeping it together,” Bohaty said. “But I went for it, and we did an audition, I passed the test.”

Since then, they’ve remained on a steady pace of playing out on the regular. You’ll see their name on multi-band bills that happen at Anarchy Brewing Co., while also playing KDUR Cover Nights, or other fundraisers that have included last summer’s “Nord-Fest” fundraiser in Mancos, as well as the second “Nord-Fest” fundraiser that will take place again in Mancos in June.

They’re a full do-it-yourself outfit, writing originals that one day could appear on an EP or LP, while also digging into the classic American hardcore canon. It’s a perfect soundtrack for fans of independent music, or for your aging, 50-something punk-rocker and skateboarders who never gave up a love for The Dead Kennedys.

They also just really dig playing live.

“We’ve been probably playing out every four to six weeks, that’s my guess,” Bohaty said. “Some months we’ll play twice a month, and we’ll take a little bit of a hiatus and consider writing some new music.

“We just love playing live,” Bogan added. “So, it’s hard for us to say no to any gig. I don’t think we’ve said no to any.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.