Ask Nate Jose Garcia, guitarist/vocalist for Come Out Fighting, where his Detroit hardcore punk band performs, and he’ll tell you bluntly: “We will play anywhere that has a PA and is willing to book a punk band. Hell, we’ve played places that don’t have a PA and don’t really book bands.” Gearing up for the release of their latest full-length album Any Port in a Storm, the five-piece powerhouse wrapped up an East Coast tour in March and is gearing up for an end of May/early June run down south and – for the first time – a festival in Germany at the end of summer. Averaging over 100 dates a year, they’ve toured as much as their schedules would allow, and are doing everything they can to step up the pace this year.
In only two tracks, their new two track EP previewing Any Port in a Storm captures everything COF has held wildly sacred since their original lineup fired up their first amp together ten years ago – including Garcia and guitarist/backing vocalist Brian Stewarts blistering guitar intensity, bassist Dan Bruce and drummer Casey Husted’s shattering, propulsive rhythms and the passionate screaming vocals of frontman Nick Rudowyj. For the first time, the band utilized the sonic talents of an outside engineer and producer, Matt Dalton, co-owner of Detroit’s Rock Hill Sound, who takes their vibe and sense of sonic detail to the next level.
Thematically, this mini-package runs the gamut from “Blackout” – a raucous jam about that familiar morning after feeling of the “Where the F am I and how did I get here?” – to “Soundtrack to a Shipwreck,” a wistful and introspective look at loneliness and life on the road via seafaring metaphors. In a genre where noisy clutter and screaming shouts of rebelliousness often pass for songs, Any Port in a Storm is COF’s second release in a planned trilogy of albums with a nautical theme, a metaphor for touring. The series began with the release of their 2018 album Aweigh All Anchors.
“The EP is a good way to experience the range of our two extreme dynamics,” says Jose. “While we are still a goofy, semi-political hardcore punk band, we’ve used these albums to ruminate on how being on the road affects us – from the defiant in ‘Anchors’ to the loneliness in ‘Soundtrack to a Shipwreck’.”
Influenced by groups like 7 Seconds, AFI, Bad Religion, Minor Threat, Comeback Kid, Rise Against and Sick of it All, COF was formed with the intent of being a throwback 80’s styled hardcore punk band. As Nick explains, “The beatdown hardcore bands in Detroit took themselves too seriously for what we were trying to do, and hardcore punk lets us approach serious subjects and still be fun. Over time, elements of other styles we are into leaked into our songwriting, such as street punk, melodic hardcore, post hardcore, thrash, crack rock steady, oi! and pop punk.”
Come Out Fighting’s first show in February 2009 featured founding members Nick, Jose (the group’s original bassist), Brian and Ben, the original drummer. Ben left for school after the release of their 2011 debut release Youth…Or What’s Left Of It and was replaced by Kyle, who joined the Marines after the group’s second full length Fair Use. Later, COF recruited Casey (of The Purps) to play drums. When Brian was diagnosed with cancer after a tour, Jose moved from bass to guitar so Brian could focus on recovery – ultimately, he kicked cancer’s ass!
Dan from Aggro or Die! was approached to be the new bassist after a show by that band. As Nick recalls, “If I remember correctly, it was like, ‘Great set as usual! So, how would you feel about playing in a second punk band?”
Jose attributes the band’s chemistry to “a baked in trust, like we trust each other to get the parts right and we’ve been together long enough to read each other’s thoughts and know instinctively where those parts should go.” Casey adds, “The chemistry we have comes from the fact that everyone’s been doing it a long time and is so good at what they do. It’s never difficult to come up with great new music. Coming up with the songs isn’t the hard part, it’s really all about getting them solid and tight once we do.”
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