Death March doesn't give a shit what you think about them. Then again, it wouldn't be punk rock if they did. The band is the latest collaboration between vocalist Rob Aston — better known as “Skinhead Rob” from his work with Rancid — Freddy Zepeda, Jimmy Zepeda, and 21-year-old bass player Arturo Leon. Rob says we should expect “no frills, no silly shit, no extra bells and whistles. Just hardcore and to the point — just punk.”
As kids growing up in Echo Park, Freddy and Jimmy sought music as an escape from the temptations of gangs and drugs.
“The whole reason we started playing music was to keep our heads cool, to not fuck up,” Freddy says, adding, “It was a good outlet that wasn't going to end up with you getting shot in the middle of the night.” Rob credits music with helping him escape bad situations growing up in Fresno. He also says it inspired him to give up eating meat 18 years ago.
Their songs include titles like “Fuck your Fucking War” and “Kelly Thomas,” which focuses on the homeless man killed by police officers in Fullerton. “We can't change the world. We know that,” Rob says. “We can't change a lot of things but we can try. If we can get through to just one kid…just like I was one fucking kid.”
Still, they don't mind if you think they suck. “If you agree with what I am saying or you agree with the music we are making that's great,” Rob says. “If you don't, fuck, that's great too. It doesn't affect us, at the end of the day.”
Jimmy says that's because, more than anything else, this band is an endeavor of their combined passions. “We don't do this for money, obviously. We don't do this for fame. This is really us, this is our passion.”
Death March is determined to create something that expresses what they believe and leaves a mark–even if a small one–on the world. They say they don't need anyone to validate that. Still, they appreciate it when someone does. Each member of the band emphasizes how grateful they are for those who believe in them. (Including Rancid's Tim Armstrong, who is planning to sign the band to his label Hellcat Records.)
“I want to go on tour and be in little clubs, sweaty ass rooms,” Rob says, “screaming my fucking lungs out on stage to people who can relate.”
Catch Death March at their first L.A. show tomorrow, September 8 at the Airliner