The Moans are here to stay

Old school punk with a bloody twist

When horror punks won’t let you enjoy your dang brunch.

When horror punks won’t let you enjoy your dang brunch.

Photo by jon hermison

Check out The Moans 7 p.m. August 23 at Ace of Spades. The Adicts and Igor Spectre are also on the bill. Tickets are $20.

When I say that The Moans draw heavily from an attitude of having fun, I mean something like this: When they formed in 2011, their original name was “The Shitty Ramones,” and they billed themselves as a “Ramones karaoke tribute band” before introducing original songs about vintage horror movies. They’ve since developed into a fully original and refreshing punk group in the Sacramento scene. What’s not to love about an origin story like that?

Comprised of singer-bassist Matt Crap, drummer Jeff Reset and guitarist-punk veteran Danny Secretion, The Moans play songs about vintage horror tropes such as zombies, Frankenstein and vampires in the style of 1970s, proto-pop punk.

Yet The Moans’ music never feels gimmicky. If anything, their conceptual focus grants the band immunity from falling into the realm of self-seriousness. It maintains an air of fun. “You can try really hard and have a good time while your doing it,” explains Reset.

The group’s focus is the music. “I love the style of music,” says Secretion, “It’s just down strokes and eighth notes.” At the same time, they don’t seem all too concerned with giving themselves a specific label. “We’ve never shot down what someone wants to call us. Horror-punk, nerdy, vintage pop-punk, whatever we are to that person, that’s what we are,” says Crap.

Digressing from theories of how concept affects attitude, The Moans have found a great sound. On the track titled “Theme Song” from their first full-length album From Underground, Crap sings, “When there’s no room in hell / we’ll take the bible belt,” in front of a thrashing series of guitar riffs and a pulsing drumbeat. The chorus galvanizes an anthemic feeling that you can’t help but bang your head to: “The Moans are here to stay, The Moans won’t go away,”

And The Moans haven’t gone away. From 2011 to 2012, the band released four self-recorded demo EPs. “Our early recordings sound very much like a garage rock band that was still trying to find its groove,” Secretion says.

Then in 2013, they took to a studio to record From Underground, followed by two EPs, Arrested For Possession and Graveyard Sale. “Over time, our sound has become solidified and amplified,” Secretion says.

The music is unmistakably punk, but it isn’t necessarily angry in the way many folks might believe punk rock has to be. Instead, it’s raw and enthusiastic, and therefore more accessible. You can thrash around in the pit to this, but their style also lends itself to listening for enjoyment’s sake.

Despite their motives for just having fun and playing music, The Moans are in for a big couple of months. On August 23, the band is opening for the internationally known British act The Adicts, along with the Los Angeles group Igor Spectre at Ace of Spades. Then in September, they are on the bill for the City of Trees festival, with Blink-182 as the headline act.

“It’s crazy how fast it went from being a side project to the band I wanted everyone to see.” Secretion says. The Moans also have been back in the studio working on a new project of original songs. With all their recent and upcoming successes in mind, Reset gives me the final word on The Moans’ philosophy: “As long as we get to have fun and play music, I’m happy.”