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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Band Pop Punk




"Isotopes Blend Punk And Baseball"

The Sex Pistols challenged authority. The Ramones mastered the three-chord song. Bad Religion wrote lyrics related to social responsibility.

The Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club sings about baseball. And baseball players. They call themselves "the world's greatest baseball punk band."

Sample lyrics from "Operation: Vamos" addresses the kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos:

"A Venezuelan Holiday They're gonna take that kid away Operation: Vamos Target: Wilson Ramos"

It's one of the newest tunes from the band also responsible for "Ballad of Rey Ordonez" and "Curse of Jim Eisenreich."

"I've played baseball every season since I was 3 years old and as experienced as I am at picking up chicks, getting my heart broken and vice versa, I'm 10 times more experienced at fielding grounders and hockin' loogs," said lead singer Evan October (real name: Evan Wansbrough).

The band splits its time between Louisville, Ky., and Vancouver, British Columbia, where October grew up playing middle infield for the North Shore Twins, a league for elite high school-age players.

"The Twins were also in the same league as Adam Loewen and I had to face him a couple times, with no particular success," said October, 27.

The band has been playing since 2006 and put out its first album on Red Scare Industries in 2009. But the boys still find time for bar-league ball, where October generates ideas for songs like "Suicide Squeeze":

"We're tied and it is getting late
We'll manufacture our own fate
They won't believe we did it
First move and I'm committed"

But they'll even delve into the rules. Sample lyrics from "Rule 21," a song named after the MLB misconduct rule:

"I've been erased
A black bar across my name, ashamed and disgraced
Nobody will remember me
I've been tossed outta history
I bet and lost a legacy"

The Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club has a few tour dates coming up, including an appearance at the well-known Insubordination Festival in Baltimore this summer.

Less exciting for October is the Miami Marlins' new uniforms, which he says are about as punk rock as Justin Bieber.

"The Marlins are going to be a team to watch," he said. "I was behind them for NL wild card last season, but the addition of Reyes and Ozzie guarantees that they'll be in the conversation come October. The new uniforms though ... good lord. The Marlins' new branding is the worst baseball has ever seen." -

"A punk rock song about Wilson Ramos"

Here’s a punk-rock ditty about Wilson Ramos. Which is kind of odd. - The Washington Post

"One of the Best Sports-Themed Records I've Ever Heard"

The Isotopes' debut 7" has the distinction of being not only one of the greatest Ramones-core singles of all-time, but also one of the best sports-themed records I've ever heard. Yeah, that's some big talking on my part. But this record more than lives up to it. The Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club formed in 2005 "with the purpose of educating people on topics such as base running, fielding and batting techniques, strategy and general diamond etiquette". Here they debut with two songs detailing the finer points of the game. On "Around the Horn", team leader Evan lays down the law on the procedure his fielders are to follow after retiring opposing batters: "On a ground out: 3-6-4-5/On a strikeout: 2-4-5-6/On a fly out: Eat it, rookie!" B-side number "You Gotta Freeze" stresses a baserunning fundamental: "Freeze on a line drive /Or you're liable to get doubled off". Here we are all urged to wait to make sure the ball is not caught. "And if you're quicker than Dave Winfield/You should advance at least a base or two." Musically, this is truly formidable stuff. "Around the Horn" is a primal early Ramones slammer in the Head/Riverdales vein. It's kinda like a baseball version of "Commando". "You Gotta Freeze", with its catchy melodies and skillfully layered harmonies, recalls the poppier, Beach Boys loving side of late '70s Ramones. Freakin' fantastic! In baseball terms, the Isotopes are batting .1000 at this point. I wholeheartedly recommend the Isotopes' leadoff single to all fans of baseball or The Ramones. This release is not just a recording: you also get career profiles and stats on all the players (band average weight is 145 - clearly there's no human growth hormone abuse going on in this clubhouse!). In the 2007 season, I look forward to cheering on Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and the rest of the fightin' Phils. I look forward to seeing Bonds break the home run record, but only because he's on my fantasy team. And most of all, I look forward to the next Isotopes record, which will feature the songs "Heatseeker", "Suicide Squeeze", and "First Day Of Spring Training". Alright! - Now Wave

"Johnny Ramone Would Be Proud of the Style and Substance"

To appreciate this single on the surface, you need nothing more than an appreciation for the McRackins branch of the Ramones-core family tree. Yet you seek more—I can sense it—and if baseball-themed punk rock laced with Simpsons references (well, one anyway, the band's name is nicked from Springfield's local baseball team), this is your band. It's a perfect fit. The band's sound and look are an orthodox interpretation of the Ramones tradition and the Isotopes' lyrics are all about playing the game the right way—what to do after certain types of outs, how to run the bases—doing the little things right, following protocol. The mold has been cast, folks, work with it, or, as the Isotopes declare, "When I'm in the line-up you'll do it my way/Never shall the order be reversed." Johnny Ramone would be proud of the style and the substance. - Razorcake

"Vancouver's Isotopes Hit A Grand Slam!"

By Jenny Charlesworth, April 30, 2009
If the extent of your baseball knowledge ends at Cracker Jack and AstroTurf, local sports-enthused quintet Isotopes might be a bit over your head. The act isn’t messing around when it claims to be Vancouver’s premier baseball-themed punk band—a lengthy conversation with the Straight peppered with terms like Baltimore chops and chat napping more than proves it.

“I wrote a song about baseball and realized I couldn’t think of any other topics to write about, so I decided to write songs only about baseball,” explains frontman Evan October, interviewed with his bandmates at a Commercial Drive sports bar.

When October, formerly bassist for the Jolts, says he’s been focused on the realm of umpires and switch hitters since forming the “team” in 2005, he’s not exaggerating. Listen to “Suicide Squeeze” or “Infield Fly”—two of the spunky chargers off the outfit’s new Heatseeker EP—and you’d be hard-pressed not to imagine the guitarist as a latter-day Pat Hughes running the play-by-play as the Cubs try to make up the count.

With catchy numbers about “protecting your man” making reference to bases being loaded, it’s tempting to look for metaphors hidden among all the ESPN–worthy jargon, but Justin Safely, the act’s rhythm guitarist and alternating bassist (or, as he likes to be called, the utility infielder), insists that there aren’t any underlying messages.

“There’s no ‘She won’t let me get to third base,’ ” he says with a laugh.

“That’s a love song,” October interjects. “We write baseball songs.”

The question, though, is for how long? Fast-forward a couple of years and chances are good that the novelty of rocking out about fly balls and chewing tobacco will start to wear thin. October seems content to play the odds, convinced he’s found his true calling: “I could write baseball songs for the rest of my life and be happy,” he exclaims.

Safely agrees. “It’s the perfect game to have a band about,” he declares.

So what does baseball punk sound like? Well, it’s got the backbone of your favourite Ramones anthem and the zany flow of the classic“Talkin’ Softball” jingle featured in The Simpsons’ hilarious “Homer at the Bat” episode, which might explain why Isotopes share a name with Springfield’s favourite minor leaguers. And let’s not forget about the rampant shout-outs to grand slams and home runs.

As proud as the lineup is of its uncanny ability to discuss everything from a freshly cracked beer to a pretty girl walking down the street as though it were a play in the fifth inning, it’s Heatseeker that really has the punkers feeling as though they just hit one out of the park.

“We wanted so badly to get it right that the main songs were recorded three times and we canned it twice,” Safely says of the group’s sophomore release. “Heatseeker is the result of perfectionism.”

October adds, “We’re not trying to reinvent the musical wheel in any way. What we’re doing is playing punk rock, and we’re doing it well, and also the lyrical content is fresh.”

Gimmicky might be another word for it. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there are other bands out there topping up the rent by paying tribute to national pastimes. Look no further than NoMeansNo offshoot the Hanson Brothers, a group that’s enjoyed a long run by spreading the gospel of “the good old hockey game”.

“We love the Hanson Brothers,” Safely says. “With all respect to the Hanson Brothers, though, one-third of the songs on each of their records is about hockey, and the other two-thirds is about awesome stuff like brewing beer. I’d like to see them play a set where every song is about hockey—we’re trying to take this to a new level.” - Georgia Straight

"Isotopes Sign To Red Scare"

Red Scare has announced plans to distribute the new EP from The Isotopes. The label explained:
It's hilarious, upbeat, and catchy baseball-themed pop-punk. Like the Hanson Brothers...but for Americans! They released the "Heatseeker EP" on their own and we are welcoming them to the Red Scare family by distributing this EP on iTunes and other digital retailers. I know Red Scare is known for being a buncha godless commies but even WE like fun times and baseball. We're pretty sure you'll enjoy this stuff too, so scamper over to iTunes and check out this EP. We'll leave the baseball puns to them, they're way better at it.
Check out the album via iTunes here. - Punk News (dot) Org


Lead-Off Single 7" - 643 Records - 2007
Heatseeker EP 7" - 643 Records - 2009
Heatseeker EP digi - Red Scare Industries - 2009
Cuban Missile EP digi - 643 Records - 2010
Blood Diamond EP 7" - 643 Records - 2012



Red-hot off a first half of 2012 that saw the club deliver a gem with their Blood Diamond EP and knock off road-wins at Ottawa Explosion and Insubordination Fest, the ‘Topes continue to earn their reputation as the World’s greatest baseball punks [] and the club to watch out for as they gain momentum down the stretch. Gritty, tough, and hookier than a Chuck Knoblauch double-play relay, the original bad-boys of summer promise to be a heavy presence right through October as they line ‘em up and knock ‘em down with their 100% juice, no-bargain brand of playing over a 30-date North American road schedule capped by an inaugural appearance at the Fall Classic of punk, Gainesville, Florida’s Fest.