Best known as the vocalist for seminal California hardcore punk band Good Riddance, Russ Rankin’s lyrics helped to shape and influence many of today’s most popular bands and artists. During the halcyon days of melodic hardcore from the mid 1990s until the early 2000s Good Riddance released seven full length albums and an EP on San Francisco’s Fat Wreck Chords while gaining a reputation as one of the hardest working, most intense bands around, touring the world dozens of times.
In 2003, Rankin began putting together a new group featuring musicians he’d met while touring and recording with Good Riddance, and in 2004, Only Crime was born. Melding aesthetics of it’s members’ previous groups (Descendents, ALL, Bane, Hagfish & Good Riddance) with elements of jazz and pioneering hard rock, Only Crime quickly became an oasis for punk and hardcore fans who wanted some substance with their style. Only Crime continues to tour periodically and is currently finishing its 3rd studio album.
Rankin has also proven to be a prolific writer, holding down a monthly column in AMP Magazine since 2002 as well as contributing op/eds to such periodicals as Alternative Press and Razorcake, among dozens of others. He has also written liner notes and been featured in several books written about the hardcore genre.
By February of 2011, Rankin found himself with several songs and no suitable outlet for them. Taking the lead of many of his former frontman colleagues, he began pursuing a solo delivery of this new material without an accompanying band. Longtime friend Tony Sly offered him a support slot on several solo shows and it wasn’t long before Rankin was comfortable with his performance and the reviews were glowing.
After sending out demos of his new material, it didn’t take long for Paper + Plastick Records owner Vinnie Fiorello to become interested in releasing Rankin’s debut album. Paper + Plastick had successfully released Dave Hause previously and saw an opportunity to promote a known artist in a different milieu while bolstering its own roster.
Rankin’s songs are different in that they aren’t acoustic or country. They are catchy rock songs mostly dealing with politics or relationships, much like the subject matter of so many Good Riddance tunes. Fans of Rankin’s rough melodic delivery and thought-provoking lyrics will not be disappointed by this new outlet and brand new listeners may be compelled to check out some Only Crime or Good Riddance.