Roughtail Brewing provides refuge for marginalized OKC punk rock

OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Punks are getting a rough ride in OKC.

With all the different musical styles in the city and state, from our increasingly visible and praised indie rock bands, to enduring hard rock and metal scenes, to immortal country and folk communities, Oklahoma is known for a lot of music. We even have a rich jazz history carried by a new generation and the city’s rap and hip-hop scenes have started making films on a national stage.

With so much going on, it’s easy to miss punk rockers, especially when the past few years have seen the majority of their spaces closed, shuttered, repurposed, or sold out.

Drunken Fry is gone. Hi-Lo is closing this week. Blue Note has been closed since last year as they completely renovated and eventually renamed. The handful of warehouses and backrooms that were once perfect DIY spaces have all closed or sold.

Only 89th Street is still going strong, but one venue can only offer such relief to a show-starved community.

And that gave an idea to Zach Green, Lead Production Brewer at Roughtail, lifelong punk and organizer of loyal punk shows.

“Just on a shitty shoot I went to see the guys here in Roughtail and I was like ‘hey, we have bands on tour coming in on a Sunday night. My homie has a PA so I just need some ‘a roof and electricity. What do you guys think about that?” Green told me. “And they were super responsive to that.”

With the green light given, the experiment was launched. Bill sported Body Farm from Ohio, Big Laugh, all the way from Wisconsin, and hard-hitting locals Primal Brain and Grandpa Vern, all hardcore acts you can’t miss, but punk rockers would actually flock to a brewery Northside on a Sunday night?

Well, never underestimate the support from the punk community.

“Next thing you know, 200 kids are streaming through the door on a Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.,” Green said. “It was a no-brainer on the business side for these guys.”

The brewery has hosted more shows since then, quickly beginning to become a welcoming punk destination, especially for tours with little wiggle room in their schedules to accommodate the usually crowded 89th Street slate.

Green has long been close to 89th Street operators Nick Hampson and Caleb Montgomery, and has no intention of trying to compete with them or even profit personally from these Roughtail shows.

“I keep 0% of the money,” Green said. “I don’t keep any money, I give almost everything to the bands and give the rest to the bartender. Each group is paid, from the tour group to the first group of teenagers. Everyone will walk away with money. We are in 2022. We all have expenses. And these kids are thrilled to win $75, because that’s money to record their demo.

For Green, it’s just about being able to support the community they love and help elevate these bands and this music at a time when the city has mostly abandoned them.

rough shuffling
Roughtail Brewing sign inside the bar where punk sounds are welcome. (BRETT FIELDCAMP/Okla City Free Press)

As one of the organizers of Roughtail’s upcoming 9th birthday party on April 16, Green will no doubt have another great opportunity to put more eyes and ears to that stage at the brewery.

“It was just kind of a thing that happened to me,” they said. “Between playing punk shows, booking punk shows and working at a brewery, it all kind of came together.”

Follow shows and events at Roughtail Brewing (including upcoming 9th Anniversary Party announcements) by following @roughtailbrewingco on Instagram and @roughtailbeer on Twitter and Facebook.

And check out Zach Green’s own band, The Incredible Inferna, by following @infernaokc on Instagram.

And that!

Speaking of punks, party rockers On Holiday are gearing up to drop their new single, “Island Paradise,” on April 15, and the track is a big step up for usually simple, boozy-minded pop-punkers.

Opening with a melancholy piano melody, “Paradise” pretty quickly promises to be a departure or experiment for a band normally focused on the kind of driving guitar and four-on-the-floor drums that defined their most recent album. , the “2 AM” EP.

This new track finally opens with that tried-and-true sound, but this time with a more focused take on some of that classic late ’90s pop-punk, bringing the piano back into the fold and culminating, late in the surprisingly almost Track. 5 minutes, in a lively group voice.

A perfect soundtrack to sing along to some impending summer weekends.

Check out onholiday405.com to find all of the band’s links and be among the first to see “Island Paradise” when it’s released on April 15.


Last updated March 30, 2022, 4:13 p.m. by Brett Dickerson – Editor

Diana J. Carleton