Fifteen years is a milestone for any band, especially for one that formed while its members were still in high school. Local pop-punkers 5606, now in their late 20s, have accomplished a lot in the past decade and a half, including releasing four albums and going on dozens of tours. They celebrate their 15th anniversary this Saturday at Homestead Bowl & The X Bar.
“We were all just little kids when we started. We were like, ‘we’re going to get rich and famous and super powerful. We’re going to be the next Metallica.’ That wears off,” says bassist Andy Warpath. “Our priorities have shifted a little bit. We’re working full-time jobs now. But the reason we started is still there—which is to play music with our best friends.”
These days, the trio don’t tour as aggressively as they once did, but they still write new material. Last year they released At Least We’ll Give ‘Em Hell, their first record in four years. Musically, it’s in line with the hyper-fast, catchy pop-punk sound of their earlier releases, but lyrically it’s a much different album.
“We sat down and wrote a really honest album about how we were feeling. Half the songs were about the girls we left—or who left us. The other half is just about, ‘hey, we might not be famous, we might not have the nicest cars, but we’re not going to go down without a fight,’” Warpath says.
The album marks a big change from its predecessor, The World’s Most Dangerous, which captured the members at a different time in their lives.
“It’s very party-pop, like, ‘hey we got bottles of whiskey and we’re going to party and hang out with girls and this and that.’ We got past all that and realized we were being kids,” Warpath says.
However, whether 5606 are singing about mindless fun or recovering from a broken heart, they are steadfast in their desire to put on wild, high-energy punk rock shows.
“There’s still mosh pits. There’s still stage diving. There’s still people stepping on other people’s heads. We love that. I feel like it’s not a good show if there’s not sweat in my eye after the first song,” Warpath says.
Reaching that 15-year milestone spurred the band to look back at everything they’d been through, including a few close calls with record labels that never panned out. Warpath doesn’t seem upset by it.
“There were definitely a couple nights where we celebrated thinking that something was about to come together. It never quite did, for better or for worse,” Warpath says. “What keeps us going now is just love of music. I love standing on stage next to those guys that I started a band with years ago.”
The band has always drawn well locally, but at the same time, has rubbed some folks in the San Jose music scene the wrong way. Warpath has a sense of humor about it and chalks that up to the party vibe 5606 used to have, as opposed to their music.
“People have some preconceived notions about us that, there’s a good chance, are just incorrect,” Warpath says. “If someone has a negative opinion I’m happy to talk as much shit about my band as the next person. I think I could get along great with those people. We’re really just here for friends and fun. How could everyone not want to be involved in that?”
Warpath has also worked as an active promoter in San Jose. He started Pinup Productions in 2004, and has booked hundreds of shows in the South Bay. He recently retired from Pinup Productions. As business-minded as Warpath can be, he’s excited to play 5606’s 15th anniversary show, which he admits is something he’s really lucky to be able to do. As a promoter he’s seen a lot of bands come and go.
“You think it’s going to last forever. You think the shows are going to keep coming up, that people are going to keep caring. All your friends are going to be your friends a thousand years from now,” Warpath says. “Now I realize how sacred these shows are—and the people in your life are. I definitely think that that’s a ‘me being old’ kind of statement. We’ve all learned just how important it is to just cherish it.”
Homestead Bowl & The X Bar, Cupertino
April 19, 8:30pm, $5