Veteran singer Coolie Ranx of the Pilfers is thinking it's time to get back to the roots of his performing life. And he's not ready to just phone it in either. Ranx has been on the scene long enough he can essentially write his own ticket about when to perform.
“I have a different strategy right now,” Ranx said. “I can go play the big shows and make the big money. That’s very easy for me to do.”
But he says the chance do something different, meaningful perhaps, is now most important.
“I’m starting again over again,” Ranx said. “I believe I should refresh from where I came from and get a new audience.”
Ranx made his name early on as singer of influential Two Tone, Third Wave ska band the Toasters and many others since (Reel Big Fish, Catch 22, Pietasters). The Toasters were strict traditionalists; his current band is not.
“It’s a lot different now,” Ranx said of the Pilfers ska/punk style. “It’s not as restrictive as The Toasters. There’s not a set style I have to follow which allows me the freedom to explore and create.”
The brand new Pilfers release, From Far, is a prime example of the musical experimentation he mentions. Ranx says it goes heavy on old-style ska, smidgens of pop, and a dollop of new wave. From Far was recorded with the original band line up along with renowned trumpet player Kevin Batchelor (Steel Pulse, The Skatalites, Keith Richards 2015 disc).
“Each record has similar elements but they’re different,” Ranx said in a recent interview. “This new one is true hardcore punk style with heavy guitar riffs and trumpet over the top.”
The Pilfers show Founders Taproom August 13 spotlights New York musicians on drums, bass, guitar, and trombone—valued instrumentation in the land of live authentic ska.
Ranx says that should the Founders crowd need prodding he’ll be forced to deploy the new tune “Nothing’s Ever Good Enough,” with a driving pulsating beat underneath Batchelor's trumpet, and have the masses take to the dance floor.
“All of my songs are mood songs,” Ranx said. “They go up and down: sentimental, romantic, energized.”
He says the current tour is not just about grabbing the money and running but rather reconnecting and rebuilding his fan base.
“It’s good to go back to the basics,” he says. “It’s humbling and builds character.”
Most of all Ranx insists he’s not afraid of putting forth the effort. He says he's seen what happens to people when they don’t.
“There’s nothing wrong with hard work,” Ranx said. “People get really complacent when it’s just handed to them all the time. They don’t appreciate it in the manner they should.”
Pilfers featuring Coolie Ranx wsg J. Navarro & The Traitors, The Sailor Kicks, 9:30 pm, Saturday at Founders Brewing. 21+ $5
Pilfers Merch: http://pilfers.storenvy.com/