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Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen on Opening for Misfits at Madison Square Garden: “It Was So F**kin’ Surreal”

"You're kinda just looking around and thinking, 'How the f**k did I get here?'"

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    Having been around for 30 years, Rancid have had their fair share of standout moments in their storied career. For guitarist-singer Lars Frederiksen, one exceptional highlight took place in 2019 when the band opened for Misfits at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

    As Heavy Consequence attested in its review, the October 2019 show at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” was a pure triumph, perhaps the best of the Misfits concerts since Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only set their differences aside and reunited in 2016.

    For Frederiksen, it not only gave Rancid the opportunity to provide direct support to the legendary horror-punk band, it also fulfilled his lifelong dream of performing at Madison Square Garden.

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    “Wanting to play the Garden goes back to me watching WWF [wrestling] on TV and seeing Superfly [Jimmy] Snuka jump off the cage on [Magnificent Don] Muraco,” Frederiksen told us in the video Zoom interview above. “At that moment, that experience that I watched on TV, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I need to go there!’ … And I actually never stepped foot in that building up until that day [of the Misfits show].”

    Frederiksen continued, “To play with the Misfits … they’re legendary, they’re iconic. I can’t even tell you how many times you’d see a devilock [hairstyle]. … They had an influence on the punk rock culture that was new and totally, completely different. … Glenn sounded like Elvis Presley, and it was f**kin’ rad.”

    Once Rancid took the stage that night, Frederiksen was in disbelief. “You’re kinda just looking around and thinking, ‘How the f**k did I get here?’ Like literally, ‘How the f**k did I get here?’ … It was so f**kin’ surreal and it was over before you knew it.”

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    During the show, Frederiksen name-checked a bunch of New York Hardcore bands from the stage, and as he explained, he felt like he was representing them at Madison Square Garden, despite Rancid being a California band.

    “All my New York Hardcore homies, that’s my family, man,” Frederiksen said. “I was representing them, too. Madball, Agnostic Front, Sheer Terror, Murphy’s Law — you know, those are my brothers, my legit brothers, that’s my family … so to be up there it was like I’m also doing it for them, even though I’m the California guy. … To shout them out … in their town, that was a no-brainer.”

    Watch Lars Frederiksen talk about his experience opening up for the Misfits in the video above, and see our full interview with the Rancid guitarist-singer about his solo EP, fatherhood, and love for KISS here.

    Trouble viewing the interview in the player above? Watch on YouTube.

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