Roman Candles Uses His Debut Album to Shit on Richard Nixon

Categories: Spare Notes

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Roman Candles is releasing his first full-length album with some help from Indiana label Plan-It-X Records. Chris Gordon, the once front man for Roman Candles and now the only member of the band, has been recording music under the name for about 4 years. He's released two 7-inch records with a full band backing as well as 5 cassettes of acoustic songs. Although Roman Candles is now an acoustic act, the band is more punk than anything else. Playing and booking shows with Andrew Jackson Jihad as well as Pat The Bunny Schneeweis of Ramshackle Glory, and quite a few shows with Joyce Manor, Gordon has done a lot for the scene and really developed his own style over the years.

Roman Candles' new record is basically about one thing; the loving and loathing of the town you grow up in. Specifically for Gordon, that town is OC's own Yorba Linda. Gordon's lyrics are a mix of social and political content about having Liberal viewpoints while living in one of the most conservative and religious parts of the country, as well as sad, honest observations of a long distance relationship not working out. Some of the ideas Roman Candles tackles on this album are living and dealing with social networks, public education, Richard Nixon, Prop 8, and Arizona's law SB1070.

Essentially this debut album is also an ending for the band. As the only current member, the band fate is tied to Gordon going away to school in Humboldt to get a master's degree, and then joining the Peace Corps. Although Gordon is not calling this an end to the band, it's going to be a very long time before he puts out another record or plays shows again.

On the motto "Land of Gracious Living":

It's the motto of Yorba linda, "Land of Gracious living" and I think it's a pretty presumptuous idea. It's just me poking fun at that. So the album's title Riley vs. Jason In the Battle of Gracious Living, it's just an absurdly long and obnoxious title about two of my best friends who got me into punk and just our escapades at poking fun at the city we grew up in.

We can claim Richard Nixon, we have his birthplace and public library in Yorba Linda and that's about the only thing we really have.

Its definitely the place I came of age, there's been a lot of great bands that came out of Yorba Linda and I think that always got me stoked. I just wrote a scene report for the new issue of Maximumrocknroll and I talk about a lot of the Yorba Linda bands that are going on right now. Layman, Media Blitz, Creatures, Loughton, Pocket Knife, Canyons, those are the bands that are active right now, some of the bigger bands are, Atreyu, Death by Stereo, Cold War Kids, and my favorite band, a band I actually like, The Henry Clay People.

On working with record label Plan-It-X:

I set up a show for [label founder] Chris [Johnston's] band Imperial Can and I think I set up 2 shows for him in 2010 and that's when Roman Candles was playing as a full band and you can tell he didn't really like it. And it just wasn't very good. When I started doing zines I sent him them, because I think I reviewed the Plan-It-X book. After he got that he asked if I was still setting up shows and I told him, 'yeah I can set you up a show.' So I set up a show for Tooth Soup back in September at Burger Records. After that show he said, 'I like it a lot more, it comes across better than it did as a full band' I was like 'thanks' and he said, 'yeah if you're recording anytime soon you should send the songs my way.'

In my head I thought it was weird because it was my seven-inch record release, and I had just recorded, like I put this out today, this was it. But I was like starry eyed that he had even said that and I was like, 'yeah of course I'll send it your way.'

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