Last year, we introduced you to Colombian Necktie, a rising name within the Los Angeles underground metal scene. The group’s 2014 release, Twilight Upon Us, was rooted in depressive hardcore, tempered by flourishes of sludgy rock & roll swagger.
Today, we premiere the first song released from their newest record, All Paths Lead to Nowhere, which come out Sept. 30 on Black Voodoo Records. Inspired by vocalist Scott Werren’s memories of a homeless man he interacted with while growing up in the San Fernando Valley, “Silly Kid” showcases a band that has further mastered the art of balancing an ugly musical din with engaging, Sabbath-boogie riffs.
Check out Colombian Necktie’s new track, “Silly Kid” below, and then read Werren’s account of what inspired the song:
Growing up in the Valley sucks. It's super-hot, there's not really anything to do and there are cops everywhere that seem to love fucking around with young punk kids such as myself. For those reasons, my friends and I searched out an alternative place to hang, which led us to “the wash.”
“The wash” was a section of the 101 freeway that ran alongside of the L.A. River. One day we jumped a fence and found a path that led us to a patch of overgrown bushes and grass. That became our home away from home and we did what all shit kids do at that age – drank cheap shitty beer and smoked shitty dirt weed. Once in a while, we'd see a random homeless person sleeping or drinking not far from us. Usually they left us alone, or at worst, would come up and ask us for some of whatever we were having. And then there was Silly Kid.
Silly Kid was a white guy that looked to be in his mid to late 30s. [He was] an ex-con and a stone cold junkie that was on and off of heroin since the early ’80s. When I first saw him, I got a bit nervous and thought to myself, “Oh shit here we go.” He walked up to me and said, “Hey man, cool Black Flag shirt!” He then asked me to trade him some weed for beer, so I grabbed a Natty ice [from him] and handed him the joint. He proceeded to ask me if I wanted a steak; I looked over and saw that he had constructed a grill out of what looked to be a pile of sticks, some tin foil and a can of lighter fluid. I said, “Fuck it, why not.”
We sat around a fire drinking and smoking, listening to him recount stories of going to punk shows in the early ’80s, getting fucked up, going to jail and learning to live outside “the system.” He talked about how to survive by yourself on the streets, picking up odd jobs and recycling cans, or asking for change to buy beer, drugs or smokes. He talked about walking into Ralph's and sticking a pack of steaks into his pants and running out before the security guard could catch him. He said, “Look man, I may be homeless but look who's eating steak for dinner!”
That moment I realized this guy was for real. He wasn't bullshitting me. I felt like I was on a camping trip getting a life lesson from one of my drunk uncles rather than just hanging out with some sketchy dude by the L.A. River. I always heard that material possessions don't make you happy, and with him, it seemed to actually be true. He didn't have shit but a sleeping bag, some stolen meat and a 12-pack of Natural Ice, and Silly Kid didn't have a care in the world.
I saw him a few more times after that – always with a drink, a story and a “Do you mind if have bum a smoke off yah bro?”
Then one day, he was just gone.
That's the weird thing about music. I probably haven't thought about him in at least 10 years until I heard the music that would end up becoming “Silly Kid.” As soon as I heard it, it brought me back to Silly Kid's drunken lectures about the man, the system, the fact that the general public are sheep and that you can really only depend on yourself in this world.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to Silly Kid. Maybe he settled down, maybe he's in the joint, but hopefully he's still out there having a cold one and living life his way. —Scott Werren, Colombian Necktie
Colombian Necktie perform at Five Star Bar in downtown L.A. with Phobia on Saturday, Sept. 2.