Transplants: Rob 'SR' Aston
Rob 'SR' Aston has never been in a band before, but now he's the lead vocalist for one of the most talked-about punk bands of the last few years playing alongside Rancid's Tim Armstrong and Blink 182's Boxcar Racer in the Transplants. The Transplants' self-titled album is out now on Hellcat Records and is a hybrid of punk and hip hop that features an array of special guests, such as members of the Distillers, Nerve Agents, AFI, and other members of Rancid.
Interview by Tim Krysko
I think the question most people would like to know is if the Transplants is a one-time project or something you will be continuing in the future.It's definitely not a one-off. And even though Tim has Rancid and Travis has Blink and Boxcar, it's definitely not a side project for them. It's a full-functioning band. With Tim and Travis is other bands, will there be time to tour?We're gonna be touring in March or something next year, and we're going to make another record next year, and we're gonna keep making records and keep doing shows. It's just gonna take a little bit longer since everyone else is so busy. We just have to work around everyone else's schedule. Right now Tim's doing a new Rancid record, and in January or February Travis does a new Blink record. And right now I'm writing an all hip hop record. Oh that's cool. Can you tell me about that?It's just me, a little solo thing, I'm sure I'll have some guests. Son Doobie who's on Diamonds and Guns - I want to do some more stuff with him. Hopefully I can get Muggs from Cypress to do a couple songs. Nothing is really set in stone; I just have a wishlist of people I want to work with. We'll probably put it on Hellcat. It's a different record to put on the label, but if Tim really likes it, he'll put it out. Why not. So you must have some background in hip hop for Tim to ask you to do the Transplants record?I've been listening to hip hop since I was six years old. I didn't start listening to punk until I was in high school. I listened to metal, and hip hop, and oldies growing up. When Tim asked me to do it, he had never heard me rap or anything. We were driving one day and he played me some songs. There were no lyrics, but he asked me if I could. I have no idea why he asked me, but I'm grateful he did. What else would I be doing right now. What else did you do before you started this?I was a roadie for AFI. I did that for a couple years. Even during the recording process I was a roadie for Rancid. They're going to do Warped Tour this year and I'm gonna go out with them. Have you recorded a lot of other Transplants songs that didn't go on the record?Yeah, we did thirty or forty songs. We just chose the twelve that were our favorites. Each one can stand on its own. There's not a bunch of filler songs on the album. Do you have a favorite song on that record?I like "One Seventeen" and "Sad But True" the best. I like "California Babylon" and "D.R.E.A.M."Wow, thank you. When we played live, nobody had heard the record yet, nobody knew what to expect, but the feedback was that people liked California Babylon a lot. I think the second half has more hip hop influence than the first half, so I like that side more. I'm a big fan of hip hop too. Well, sort of. I'm still trying to get into it. I haven't discovered all the good stuff that's out there yet.There's a lot out there, so I'm sure you'll find it. I know who most of the guests are on the record, except for the two guest rappers on "D.R.E.A.M." and "Diamonds and Guns". Who are those guys.Danny Diablo on "D.R.E.A.M." is Lord Ezek from Skarhead. The other person rapping on that is me. And on "Diamonds and Guns", Son Doobie from Funkdoobiest. He did the last verse. And he's the shit. It was really cool for me to be able to work with Son. He's one of my favorite rappers. I can't wait to do more stuff with him. What are you going to be doing until you go on tour?I'm out here right now with the Distillers on the Garbage / No Doubt tour. That goes until the end of the month. When I get back, I'm just gonna do the solo record. That will keep me busy, and hopefully when we go on tour it will be done. Then we will tour, and then Rancid will do the Warped Tour, and hopefully after that we can do another Transplants record. Had you talked about releasing the Transplants record on other labels?At day one, it wasn't even going to be a record. It was just Tim and I fucking around in the studio. He said "let's do the record for Hellcat", so it was always going to be on Hellcat. Makes sense. I just bring it up because the website allmusic.com says you signed to Vagrant.Yeah, absolutely not. We're not on Vagrant and we had no plans to be on Vagrant. When did you get your first tattoo?I was like fifteen years-old. I got the Consolidated Skateboards daredevil head. That was my first piece. That guy in the poster is Mr. Cartoon. He tattoos everyone from Eminem to Redman. He's our homeboy, and he and Scandalous did our artwork. I had one kind of stupid question that I know you're not going to answer, but after hearing this record I had the idea that you were the Unknown Bastard in Lars's band.(laughs) No, I'm not! That's funny though. I wonder if that secret is ever going to come out.Well it's not really a secret anymore. I can't give it away, but most people already know. Really, most people already know? Can you at least tell me if it's some from a Hellcat band?Not a Hellcat band, but another punk label. But I don't want to blow the spot. Have you heard any the feedback about the Transplants record? It's maybe the most talked about record on the big punk websites right now.Yeah, it's crazy. I don't even own a computer, but I don't go online to check what people are saying. For the most part, from what I know, the response has been really good. Kids come up and say they like the record, and that's a good feeling. If people in bands get too caught up in checking the message boards, that's bad news. It's not about trying to make everyone else happy; it's about making an album you're happy with. You can't make everybody happy. There'll always be some idiots who talk shit, but it doesn't matter.
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