Bolth to finally play farewell show

 

Since their sudden

implosion in January 2010, the members of local punk rock powerhouse

Bolth have gone their separate ways to work on new projects. Drummer

James Lyter found himself behind the kit for mathy post-punks Step

Dads

and hardcore champs Chaotic Neutral. Bassist Will Wissel covered

guitar duties for pop-punk outfit Giant Giant Robot. Guitarist Mitch

Vice took his pop-punk project It's All Happening on the road while

frontman John "JS" Saxen slaved away on his hardcore

experiment, Elle

.

With a high-profile

reunion/farewell show with ska-punk heroes The Suicide Machines

scheduled for Oct. 6

, it's high time to sum up Bolth's impact on the

scene.

On a brisk evening at

The Sinking Ship, Saxen and Lyter sit back and reminisce about the

glory days of Bolth. Saxen formed the band in 2005, but it never

really took off until Lyter joined a few months later. "You can

function as a band with a bad guitarist," begins Saxen, "but

you gotta have a good drummer. It wasn't until James joined that we

had a solid foundation."

With a revolving door

of bassists, which at one point included John Orr, now of The Last

Domino, Lyter and Saxen recorded two albums and toured as much as

possible, building a name and a following.

While their first

album, Ten Shakes of a Lamb's Tale, was more of a high school

pop-punk record, their second, Short Sighted, headed towards

the hardcore territory for which they're now best known. In the years

following Short Sighted's release, the band reached their peak

in local popularity, despite being at odds with the naysayers of the

local hardcore scene.

They began touring

extensively, according to Lyter: "We played about 100 shows a

year. We toured around a college schedule: huge tours every summer

and week-long tours for Christmas and spring break."

Despite all the

momentum following Short Sighted, it wasn't until 2008

that the band was blessed with a more solid lineup. Wissel, who had

previously played with street-punks The Five Second Cummings, joined

the band on bass. Fellow Five Second Cummings alum, James Odae, took

over guitar duties from Saxen, leaving him free to focus on vocal

duties.

And

as the band worked on what would become their third and final album,

Mitch Vice joined, taking over guitar duties from Odae.

"Mitch joined and

learned all of our songs in like, two days," Saxen says. "We

left on tour right after that."

With a solid line-up

finally in place, Bolth began writing songs in a more collaborative

manner than before, according to Saxen: "There's actually a lot

of Mitch on that last record. He would chime in with ideas like a

second opinion."

Despite having settled

on a stable lineup, the stresses of being in a band began to take

their toll. "When you tour as much as we did, work as hard as we

did and consume the insane amount of chemicals that we did, it was

like shaking two rats in a box together," Saxen jokes. "Shit

got really explosive."

"JS (Saxen) and I

took the band really seriously," Lyter adds. "If

someone didn't do something right or something didn't sound right, we

were very vocal about setting things straight."

The same intensity that

helped Lyter and Saxen keep the band focused eventually became a

source of conflict between the two. "We were getting at each

other constantly," Lyter confesses. "The last year or so of

touring was really rough."

Lyter says that the

fuse finally hit the powder keg as the band returned from a winter

West Coast tour. "It was a really shitty and exhausting tour.

We nearly died coming back across the Rockies during a blizzard.

Tensions were really high."

"Our homecoming

show was supposed to be with Hellmouth [a Detroit metalcore outfit

featuring Suicide Machines frontman Jay Navarro], Counteractive and

Picked Clean," Saxen adds. "It was supposed to be this huge

show, and we were supposed to tour on with Hellmouth later. But it

never happened.

"When Will and I

got to the E.S. Jungle, we were about ready to load in when I got the

word that JS (Saxen) would not be coming," Lyter explains. "I

was absolutely beside myself."

The passing of time

eventually mended broken friendships between band members, but there

was little talk of a reunion. That is, until this summer, when Saxen

received an intriguing text message from Vice. "All it said was,

'Do you want to play one last show with the Suicide Machines?' My

response was obviously 'Yes!'"

While a proper farewell

show seemed appropriate, playing with the Suicide Machines, a top

band in the '90s ska-punk explosion, was certainly an added incentive

for the band.

"I think a lot of

people have a lot of nostalgic feeling for them today," Saxen

says.

"This farewell

show will be a lot better than the Hellmouth show would have been had

we ended up playing it," Lyter says. "We're all friends now

and we are all personally in better placed than we were when we broke

up. Will really has his shit together now."

"Now that we've

gotten things smoothed out we feel that we owe ourselves and our fans

one final show," Lyter continues. "When we were putting

together the setlist for the final show we used mostly songs that we

knew that fans would want to hear, not necessarily songs that we

wanted to play."

While it may seem odd

that Bolth is reuniting only to breakup, Saxen is almost certain that

it will be the band's last show: "Of course, I'm never gonna say

never, but there's no reason why this wouldn't be our last show,

ever."

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