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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
<p>The current Casualties lineup, from left to right: Rick Lopez, Jake Kolatis, David Rodriguez, Marc "Meggers" Eggers.</p>

The current Casualties lineup, from left to right: Rick Lopez, Jake Kolatis, David Rodriguez, Marc "Meggers" Eggers.

The Casualties vocalist, David Tejas Rodriguez, doesn't think the story of him joining the band is very interesting.

Rodriguez, 40, regularly toured with The Casualties with his own band, Starving Wolves, before original singer and founding member of the Casualties, Jorge Herrera, decided to retire from the band in 2017. Rodriguez took the opportunity to join some of his closest friends and replace him.

It was a daunting task replacing the voice of the band for over 25 years.

“[The Casualties] asked me to fill in for this one show. I filled in, and we had so much fun. It was like I wasn’t a new member because we had been touring together on and off for 15 years,” Rodriguez said.

The band is once again on tour and getting ready for a concert at The Wooly on Thursday, opening for punk band Strung Out. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $18.

The Casualties were formed in New York City in 1990 by Herrera. After a few changes to the lineup, the band eventually settled on bassist Rick Lopez, drummer Marc “Meggers” Eggers and guitarist Jake Kolatis.

This iteration of the band played together from 1998 to 2017, when Herrera retired and Rodriguez was introduced.

The addition of Rodriguez changed the way the band approached music. While he and Herrera have similar vocal styles, they had stylistic differences the band needed to address.

Rodriguez said the years of touring together helped the band quickly get past these differences.

“One thing that is important is knowing how to disagree,” Rodriguez said. “If there was something that I did that they didn’t feel comfortable with, that they didn’t like musically, they told me.”

When he joined, Rodriguez made it clear that he wanted to make new music. The band immediately went to work on a new album, titled “Written in Blood.” It was released last October, a little more than a year after Rodriguez joined the band.

The album marks a shift in the sound and style of The Casualties. Rodriguez’s songwriting is influenced by politics more than The Casualties’ earlier albums, and this is shown throughout the entirety of the album.

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Writing music for The Casualties gave Rodriguez a platform to speak about what he thinks is important, including police violence, the wall at the Mexican border and honoring loved ones who have passed.

“We wrote a song called ‘Lost’ about the friends that we have, and the stories that we share and is about keeping their memories alive,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he thinks creating the new album helped the band evolve musically.

“It let them put their guards down to try something new, and gave me the opportunity to step up my game and get out of my comfort zone,” Rodriguez said. “The new record, it sounds like The Casualties, but it has a new vibe.”

“Written in Blood” can be found on The Casualties’ iTunes and Spotify pages.

Nick Hudson is the editor of the Avenue. You can follow him on Twitter @Nick_R_Hudson and contact him at nhudson@alligator.org

The current Casualties lineup, from left to right: Rick Lopez, Jake Kolatis, David Rodriguez, Marc "Meggers" Eggers.

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