Can't-Miss Austin Bands at SXSW


Local punk supergroup gets all Dickies

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Something funny happened on the way to this side project. It overtook the parent band.

Austin punk's most charismatically spastic frontman Mike Wiebe – whose energy level remains too off-the-charts to be contained by Riverboat Gamblers, Ghost Knife, High Tension Wires, stand-up comedy, or the most hilarious feed on Twitter – needed yet another outlet in 2015. He hooked up with Rise Against guitarist Zach Blair, a friend of 20 years who served time in Gwar and Nineties Dallas punk-pop sensations Hagfish, to create Drakulas, along with fellow Gamblers Rob Marchant on bass and Ian Walling on drums. Auxiliary member Daniel Fried of Bad Sports/Radioactivity/etc., provides keyboards and other needed instrumentation.

"He's one of the handful of people I know who can exclusively write 'musician' on his tax returns," smirks Wiebe of Blair over coffee one cloudy afternoon at a Riverside hot spot. "He fills in for some of the guys in the Gamblers sometimes."

Songs they wrote heavily reference Van Nuys’ venerable punk goofballs the Dickies.

Songs they wrote heavily reference Van Nuys' venerable punk goofballs the Dickies. They also came from another world: a late Seventies/early Eighties, comic-bookish New York that Wiebe imagined as an 8-year-old growing up Texan.

"It's like a mash-up of the opening to Welcome Back, Kotter; The Warriors; and Taxi Driver," he chuckles.

Factor in a fascination with porn's golden age, vampires, street gangs, and art movements and slang that only exist in Wiebe's unlocked imagination. This fuels Drakulas' highly theatrical stage shows, 2015 Red Scare EP Owowowowowowow, and the following year's Dirtnap Records full-length Raw Wave. It also drives the group's forthcoming sophomore LP, scheduled for this fall on a to-be-disclosed label.

"I have these very specific rules," Wiebe explains. "Like I can't reference anything modern. It's nice to have these limitations to write on. It makes it more creative."


SXSW showcase: Wed. 13, Bungalow, 9pm

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Drakulas, SXSW Music 2019, Mike Wiebe, Riverboat Gamblers, Ghost Knife, High Tension Wires, Rise Against, Zach Blair, Hagfish, Rob Marchant, Ian Walling, Daniel Freed, Bad Sports

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