Lauren’s Picks: Shrug Dealer

Lauren Mills |

November 06, 2018

Shrug Dealer is a new fast, technical skate punk band from New York. Their self-titled EP was independently released on August 10, 2018. I was introduced to the band through my friend Rob Latterman. He is a punk rock lifer who runs the record label, Hidden Home Records. You might recognize the label for having released records by Forever Unclean, Audio Karate, Wicked Bears and more.

Rob plays guitar and sings in Shrug Dealer. I hit him up on Facebook Messenger and had a nice little chat about their new EP, lyrics, the scene and more. I hope you enjoy the interview.

One thing that popped out to me when I read your bio was that it says your drummer is a scientist. Is that for real?

Yep, he’s a physicist who works at Columbia University.

Makes me think of Milo from the Descendents, Greg Graffin and Dexter Holland. Science punks!

Hahaha yeah, I know. I was like, “Oh shit we’re one of those bands.

Can you tell me about the songs?


That’s $10 You Owe Me, Dickhead:
This song is about big businesses destroying small businesses for money they don’t need. Destroying other people’s American dreams. I’m not as well read and don’t have the vocabulary of someone like Thomas Barnett or anything, but I think most of us have been in the position of seeing a large corporation moving into town literally across the street or next to a small locally ran place, and quickly putting it out of business by using prices that smaller businesses can’t compete with. Those corporations don’t need more money to survive by any means, they just want it. The name came from a South Park episode about Walmart. Russ and I are roommates right now so we watch a lot of TV together.

This Song Written On A Macbook Pro:

This song is poking fun at all of the super anarcho-hyper political people who make judgy Facebook posts about capitalism and how their friends spend their money – from their slave-labor made smartphones. I agree it’s a problem, but be consistent or at least humble enough to point the finger at yourself too. Also, 30 second songs rule.

Who Is Molly?:

This song’s about a friend of mine doing untested Ecstasy. I don’t do drugs besides drink and wouldn’t really consider myself pro-drug but since a bunch of my friends have gotten into harder stuff as I’ve gotten older it’s caused me to learn more about them. What I’ve learned is that it’s sooooo easy to test drugs like that – which are relatively safe but are often sold pressed with other, dangerous stuff, since they’re illegal and can’t be regulated. Testers are legal and you can literally get them off Amazon. This is about me being worried about them. The song title came from an instance where a drug dealer randomly walked up to Russ on tour in Vegas with his old band SKiTTiSH iTZ and said “Yo, you fuck with Molly?” and he genuinely asked the dealer “Who is Molly?”

When I think of your band, I think of a lot of the skate punk stuff I grew up on and tony hawk soundtracks. There’s so many bands doing that style but I think you guys sound a lot fresher.

That’s exactly what we wanna hear – that we’re doing this style freshly. Thank you so much! I love those games.

What’s the New York punk scene been like so far for you all?

Well, for most of us it’s just really new. I’ve toured in the western US plenty of times, but I didn’t really know anyone out here besides Russ. Like everywhere the scene has many different facets. For instance we’ll play a bar punk show with more typically street punk kinda stuff, but then I’ll go to a place like Trans-Pecos which is all ages to see a band like Just Friends play.

Both technically part of New York punk and DIY, but would probably never interact with each other. The other night we played with a post punk band called A Very Special Episode that took us to a goth party with them. I love things like that.

Our bass player grew up in Jersey and is a bit older than the rest of us, so he was more acclimated with the old Oi! and street punk/hardcore scenes. He took a break from music though, so we’re all kind of coming at it with a fresh set of eyes. Ultimately, we’re hoping to find like minded bands that are good people and want to have a good time. Russ’s other band is a ska band called Uncle Djuzeppe and the Mob and they’ve played with bands like Mad Conductor and Sketchy, so I’ve enjoyed going to their shows and seeing the different corners of the state they participate in. Hopefully we’ll play together eventually.

That’s freaking awesome. I always assumed technical skate punk to be more popular in the west coast but it’s cool you mesh well with other bands. I guess the internet democratizes music too. You can find any music from any time period and get into it like it’s new. That’s why I love file sharing . I also like Spotify because I’m always finding new music and I don’t really to have friends in my town that like independent music in order to be able to follow it.

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