Elephant Rifle

Band Information

According to a Washington Post study published on Sept. 2, 2022, the “most-regretted college majors” are the arts and the humanities. Nearly half of college graduates who studied subjects like literature, visual art, and journalism now say they wish they’d studied something else. Maybe computer science or engineering. Those students have no regrets.

But when a society no longer values the humanities, that creates a void in which inhumanity takes hold.

That’s the background hum of 2022: Wars motivated by control of energy-producing resources. Global pandemics. Systematic racism, sexism, and xenophobia. The lingering aftereffects of colonialism. The dehumanizing, alienating, isolating results of capitalism-driven technological “innovation.”

People feel sad and lonely. We work two jobs and can’t afford the things our parents could buy with one salary. And those of us who studied art and music, or journalism and cinema, no longer feel like we have a place.

Closed circuit cameras surveil us all as we walk down the street. As we scour the internet, the search engines search us back. As we write messages, a robotic intelligence curbs our thoughts, automatically altering our greatest curses into mere attempts to lower oneself beneath the surface like a waterfowl.

We have all forgotten how to dance. Every motion is carefully choreographed. Every glance at the camera is self-conscious. Every sound is precisely placed and calculated to optimal electronic frequency. There is no blissful, mindless thrashing. There is no total obliteration of the self in service of an ecstatic moment of ridiculous volume. We have all forgotten how to mindfuck.

So why make music? Why write songs? Because the mindfuck matters. Not the cold, long-play confidence-man mindfuck of a nightly television drip of propaganda that slowly warps a brain out of shape, but the hot, immediate mindfuck of a fearless sound that cleans cobwebs out of craniums like a blaze of fire coursing through an attic.

Elephant Rifle is a band from Reno, Nevada. They have been toiling in relative obscurity since 2010. Their music draws from ’90s noise rock, ’80s hardcore punk, and ’70s classic rock, with some metal, jazz, and psychedelia, among other things, thrown in as well. They are middle-aged men who have, among them, fathered more than enough children to field a baseball team.

Broken Water, the band’s forthcoming new record, is their fourth LP and their first full-length album in five years. It’s a new lineup of familiar faces. Vocalist and unemployed music journalist Brad Bynum, and guitarist and Grateful Dead/Minor Threat enthusiast Clinton Wallace are joined for this record by heavy-hitting drummer and golden-eared sound engineer Mike Young, and, back from some long Orphic journey into the underworld, bassist Scaught Bates, who once came in second place in a “most handsome man in Reno” contest. Scaught played on most of the band’s early releases, like the 2011 EP Teenage Lover and the 2012 debut full-length, Party Child. And Mike was a big part of the band’s 2018 opus, Hunk.