The first general order for Poor Richards is fun. These guys love surfing, skating and raising hell. The band — singer-guitarist Cousin Matt (aka “Throat”), bassist Sean Piper (“Sean Pee”) and drummer Jimbo Slice — honors those passions in its high voltage tunes.
On “Old School Night,” Cousin Matt growls about shredding down the snake run at Arlington’s Kona Skatepark. “Blue Ribbon Passion,” dedicated to cheap beer, includes a warning to avoid “Buffarillos,” particularly those found on the Westside.
Poor Richards’ music includes elements of rock, punk and reggae. They draw their punk inspiration from bands like Dead Kennedys, and their reggae influence from punk/reggae combo Bad Brains. A beach-punk, party vibe is kept by Slice, who plays unsafe at any speed.
The trio affectionately refers to their fans as “dick heads,” who are encouraged to not ”F this up.”
As much fun as these guys have, they also have a few bones to pick with corporate America, railing against advertising, materialism, conformity and general lameness. The tune “Salt Life” ridicules those with that particular brand’s ubiquitous, eponymous stickers slapped on their cars. Over the band’s blitzkrieg riffage, Matt sings, “Displayed on your car everywhere you go, there’s only one way for people to show, you’re cool enough to call me bro.”
Poor Richards has opened for nationally known punk acts, including an explosive show with hardcore heavyweights 7 Seconds at Jack Rabbits in San Marco this past November. In addition, the band has shared the bill with Agent Orange, Lagwagon, Guttermouth and Reagan Youth.
Oddly enough, bass master Sean Piper was destined for a life of conformity. After graduating from The Citadel Military College, he joined the U.S. Army. But a funny thing happened on the road to the bureaucracy: Piper’s soul was infected by the gnarly groove of punk music.
Piper blamed it on his love of surfing in his hometown, Jacksonville, North Carolina. Piper was a big fan of the Lost series of surfing videos, which featured punk bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat and 7 Seconds. This now-classic ’80s hardcore punk was the music that had fired him up when he paddled out.
Always concerned about keeping up with the Kardashians, Piper keeps his fashion choices fresh. His ensemble of concert slacks includes herringbone, madras plaid and desert camouflage. In 2012, Piper sported a nearly-neon-bright-red afro, wrapped by a John McEnroe-inspired sweatband. He currently rocks the skinhead look, à la Mr. Clean.
Poor Richards is fiercely protective of its image. When I threatened to focus the article on Piper’s snazzy fashion choices, he shot back, “It’s your call. You’re welcome to say whatever you think … Good, bad, shred, suck, awesome, ugly, pants, hair, no hair, no pants, revolving door on guitar, etc.”
The band, founded in 2010, has changed its lineup considerably. Originally a stripped-down three-piece, Poor Richards became more complicated with time as the music incorporated more technical aspects.
With the arrival of Cousin Matt in December 2013, Poor Richards returned to its roots. Their latest recording, Back to Basics, reflects this change with more energy and less fancy window-dressing.
Their website claims they are dedicated to “ruining expectations, and making fun of just about everything we can, including ourselves.” It also encourages fans to “waste” their money on Poor Richards’ recordings.
Poor Richards celebrates the new album release this Friday at Across the Street in Murray Hill, joined by The Sweaters from Deltona and Rushmore from Orlando. Admission is free; the first 25 dickheads through the door score a free album.
Fans are encouraged to not “F this up.”