After our first trip to PRB in 2002 , we wrote a song called ‘Punks In Vegas’ to try to commemorate the feeling of the weekend, and I’ve tried to go every year since. To me it was like all the fun nights on tour wrapped up into one weekend. The Stern’s took us on a lot of our first tours and they taught us how to make the most out of every night. How to make your own fun wherever you are and to make something you care about out of nothing. They invited a bunch of punks to go bowling in Vegas 20 years ago and evolved that into a major music festival that still has the same feeling as a bunch of old friends throwing a party just for the hell of it. Here’s to the memories!
– The Pete / Bouncing Souls
As the night approached to play Punk Rock Bowling, I found myself really wanting to be good. That’s because way down inside I still feel as if Punk is the last unspoiled wild area left to music people. There were a couple of outfits playing it for cheese, but for the most part, the bands I heard were great. There was a lot of sincerity and effort in the music, and the whole feeling in the crowd was personal, like there was still room for human beings, beginning lost and ending found.
I heard that Charles Bradley was going to play the second edition in New Jersey, and I thought that was a really righteous choice. I was so sorry to hear that he passed away. Thanks for having me; viva Las Vegas.
– Iggy Pop
Ah yes prb.
The place where oddballs and misfits gather to celebrate their uniqueness.
I’m one of them. One of the family. One of their own. A place to wander amongst friends with a atmosphere second to none. That’s where we are that’s who we are.
Gather around and hear the stories from far and wide. Listen to the songs laid out bare.
A sight to see a time to remember. I love it.
– Mensi / Angelic Upstarts
The longest day of my life was a weekend at PRB
The Fat Bowling team bowled on Saturday but were convinced we didn’t make the playoffs. Later that evening we were notified that we came in 62 place out of 64 teams. Shit, we made it, but clearly had no chance of winning the next day. So we got wasted. NOFX was playing a corporate gig at a weird small room in a casino. It was awkward.
Then Soma and I went to our hotel room and had a little S/M party with some friends. Friends left around 8:00 am. Shit, I had to bowl in 4 hours. We were gonna lose fast anyway since we had to play the 3rd place team, so I just did more blow and drank whiskey and stayed up for the match.
I was a bit wobbly when I got to the lanes. We won the first match. I kept doin lines and shots of Jameson. Shit, I just wanted to lose and go to sleep. Then a funny thing happened, the tournament suddenly ended. Apparently our team won! Great! Now I can go to sleep, cuz I gotta play a Gimmes show that night at 2:00 am.
Can’t go to sleep Mike, we gotta go to the awards ceremony. OK, what’s a few more hours. Soma was sound asleep by now. I get an award then realize I hadn’t practiced ANY Gimme’s songs, and I hadn’t done a show in over a year. So I went to my room practiced songs and now it’s 11:00 pm. What’s another few more hours? It’s not like I have to sing in the band. So more drugs, play with the Gimmes. Badly. Finally get back to my room where Soma is now awake and dressed in a latex catsuit to reward/ punish me for winning the bowling thing.
How can you not accept that? Next thing you know it’s 8:00 am again. I try to sleep, but we gotta catch a flight, what’s another few hours……
– Fat Mike / Nofx
A few years ago we played the outdoor stage at PRB, and as I don’t drink anymore, I like to slip away un-noticed after we have finished. And my usual plan is to get something to eat and have a nice cup of tea back at the hotel, very Rock n’ Roll Eh? So I was on my own walking back to the Golden Nugget when I spotted a nice little pizza place, get a slice from there I thought. So I walked in and joined the queue for the take out bit. When I got to the front of the line I could see this place had a section with tables, the place was packed… with Mexican punks, who when they saw me, all started shouting “GBH” and “Give Me Fire” and Whoopin’ An’ A Hollerin’ and in the end they all stood up and gave me a round of applause!!! It was very humbling…and a little bit embarrassing. The guy serving just stared at me, “a slice to go please” I asked, he looked very confused, but put my slice in a box, I paid, and as I left the whole place started clapping again. I have never been applauded for ordering a slice of pizza before…Ah… the magic of Punk Rock Bowling!
Punk Rock Bowling !! I remember thinking this can’t really be happening!
When I first heard there would be a vacation destination for punk rockers , I though no fucking way is this happening!!! Hotel takeovers, running wild in the streets, booze mayhem and good music? Too good to be true!! It can’t go on more than the first year right? Nope I was wrong 20 years later here we are… the first time I attended I literally stood in the gift shop of the nugget for 1 hour, watching the look of horror on tourist faces from out of town that unknowingly booked their Vegas trip the same weekend as all these leather clad punk rock maniacs who filled the hotel lobby, pool, black jack tables, restaurants… you name it they/we were everywhere!!! It was so awesome to be a fly on the wall for a minute.. and hear their reactions… punk rock bowling was here to stay.. and Vegas embraces it like any other event that rolls through…. from drinking in the pool with 500 wackos, to playing a show, to being in the pit, to roaming the streets wasted at 4am…to hitting every side show we could squeeze in.. it’s literally the best punk festival in the world…
15,000 punk rockers descend on the city of sin where there are barley any rules to begin with? Perfect!!! Nothing better than finishing the night with a little punk rock karaoke!!
Some of the best days of my life for sure… I’ll take another 20 years please….
– Fletcher Dragge/ Pennywise
My favorite experience at punk rock bowling has to be the time Rancid played there with the Cockney Rejects. We had played with them a few times over in the UK but there was something extra special they brought to the stage that night. Being one of my favorite bands of all time it was great to see that so many years on they still took control of the audience. I was glued to the stage from the moment they graced it till the that last moment when stinky wished everyone goodnight. I wanted them to keep going. But then I was reminded it was our turn. I was happy to oblige. That’s why I love this festival and I love this scene. So many great bands from the past to the present show up and give everything they’ve got. After all it’s Vegas.. there’s really never a dull moment. You see friends that you’ve had from 30 years ago and you make new ones along the way. Playing this gig is like no other. That’s what this is all about. The Gig. I look forward to doing this again and again. Either as a band member or just a spectator. 20 some odd years later It’s still the best punk rock fest in the USA hands down.
– Lars Frederikson / Rancid
Punk rock bowling 2013…. after a weekend of Devo, and Bad Religion just to name a few, I sat back stage doing vodka shots with a sweet little old grandmother telling me story’s about doing Elvis, wild times on the road at 16yrs old with Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Johhny Cash and Roy Orbison while playing a music that she helped invent! Then, this First Lady of Rock And Roll, this hall of fame legend, took my stage and put on one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen in my life and right there and then, she defined the true spirit of punk rock bowling! . . . Viva Wanda Jackson!
And thank you Mark and Shawn for a night I will never forget!
– Big Daddy Carlos / Owner – Backstage Bar & Fremont Country Club
The Sterns are responsible for a lot of landmark moments in my life. The first ‘big’ punk show I ever attended was the “Youth Movement 82” show at the Hollywood Palladium. My first punk riot was the infamous Exploited show in Huntington Park (“Youth Movement 83”). And every year I attend Punk Rock Bowling I leave with a memorable moment that sticks. When Mark offered Final Conflict to play PRB 2014 there was no way we would turn it down. We already had confirmed a festival that same weekend but we were determined to make things work out, and we did. First Final Conflict had to fly to Baltimore to play Maryland Death Fest. We rage that Friday night to a ton of thrash metal fanatics and drink a lot of Yuengling. We barely get a few hours sleep and then take a 6 AM flight to Vegas. Upon arrival the guys all get to check in the hotel and sleep. Not me, I was also tour managing Cock Sparrer who were headlining PRB that same weekend. So while the other guys in FC get to rest, I rush out to 11 AM soundcheck. By the time it came to do our club show the band was primed and ready to kill. The line up that Mark had put together was all 80’s punk vets and it was great to see some of them still vital as they were 30 years ago. It was more a party than a show and we had a blast. I was exhausted but felt accomplished, two huge festivals in two days while simultaneously tour managing two bands. Highlight for me was meeting Exene backstage. I nervously introduced myself to her and she was as friendly as you’d hope one of your musical heroes would be. I have NO IDEA what she was doing at the show.. definitely not to see us! But still, I got to meet fucking Exene!!! Proving once again, the Sterns are responsible for another landmark moment in my life. Bless them.. bless their goddamned hearts.
– Ron Martinez / Final Conflict
To survive all four days of Punk Rock Bowling I’ve accumulated some tips over the years that I’d be delighted to share with you. Pace yourself but don’t sleep, you might miss something funny. Bring a ludicrous mask or disguise to hide your shame from something you did the night before. Eat mushrooms and swim with the sharks. Don’t throw a lamp at your friend or attempt to launch yourself onto a “chandelier” in your room, mysteriously wound yourself so bad that no airline in Vegas will fly you home until you make it stop bleeding. Get stitches if you need them. Don’t regret not getting a flaming PT Cruiser tattoo just get it. If you make the 2nd round of the tournament, set an alarm no matter if it only means getting 5 minutes of sleep. Convince the singer of Turbonegro you are long lost brothers at 6 am. Have a shvitz with your mate. Don’t give Sharky a “1 Punch in the Stomach” I.O.U coupon because you lost all your money trying to learn Craps for 20th time. Hug a Stern.
– Peter Curtis / A Global Threat