WHITE FANG call themselves "the stupidest band on the planet." If they are, they're also one of the savviest and most inspired.
Like Juggalos (except drawn to good music), White Fang are a freaky family. They smoke a shit ton of weed. They shoot Jäger and tequila, and chow down at gas stations. They take magic mushrooms and pass out in graveyards. They wear dresses and whip out their dicks. They call their sound "American chunk rock" and write catchy, goofy, incisive songs like "Unchain Your Brain" and "Grateful to Shred." They tour relentlessly. They sleep on floors, and fans bring them drugs. When they're not touring, they're recording.
They run a label called Gnar Tapes, which has put out more than 140 cassettes from bands all over the world—although many came from Portland, which is where White Fang grew up. But earlier this year, they moved to Los Angeles.
"We all grew up in Portland and kind of got tired of it," says singer Rikky Gage. "LA is the best place for rock right now on the West Coast. That's a fact."
LA's draw has a lot to do with Burger Records, another band of wily DIY weirdos in love with weed, cassettes, and community.
"We both feed off each other's energy," says Burger's Lee Ricard. "They put out a ton of shit whether anyone cares or not, just because they like it. We do that. They run shit from home. That's what we do, too—bedroom style. They're some of my favorite outlaws in the world right now."
In the last two years, Burger's popularity and influence have spread like wildfire. White Fang—along with Gnar and numerous side-projects, most prominently the Memories—are basking in the collective glow.
"This move to LA is part of the globalization of what we feel like is a tightly knit music community," says White Fang bassist Chris Uehlein (AKA Unkle Funkle). "Especially in the Gnar Tapes and Burger thing."
In March, White Fang toured Europe. It was their first time overseas. Somewhat to their surprise, fans showed up in droves. Besides the ripping, hilarious, go-wild party rock, what encouraged the European audiences to come out is similar to what drives the fans at home: White Fang embody the most idealistic aspects of the American Dream. They are driven. They are self-made. They are constantly getting better. They make up the rules as they go and defy expectations.
And though in Portland they will be missed, we can do nothing less than wish them the best.