By Victoria Gad
Cole Helman walks out an inconspicuous door looking as though it is leading to one of the local A1A bars, he waves me over and I am walking into what looks like a dojo for music. I am sitting on his couch as he turns on some psychedelic rock in preparation of an interview on his band Minimum Rage. A few minutes later, Richard Lepre pops out of the former bathroom and what is now their make shift darkroom for their t-shirt printing. I continue to peer around looking at various flyers for his multiple bands, which makes me ask what is different about this band than the others. He simply says, “it is the most productive band” and then continues to explain that they do not stay stagnant, “Once a set list is down the band would normally just stick with it.”
In Minimum Rage however they are always moving forward and trying something different. Minimum Rage is an old school, skate-style punk rock band that is a reformation of the band Brown Palace. The reformation has the same vocalist/lyricist, John Blackford, and drummer Jacob Hamilton. Minimum Rage has a fresh start with bass guitarist Jeremy Rogers and guitarist Cole Helman, who are bringing justice to some of the songs their band mates have brought over from Brown Palace.
Cole says that the whole idea in the formation of the band is to keep that style of music alive; “We want to listen to it,” he says. The process of creating the music happens pretty organically. It could start with Jeremy and Cole just trading riffs back and forth in. “We just hold up in the Shred Shed and Jam,” Cole thinks out loud. He tells me they all try to get together and skate as much as possible and on a typical band gig night they will get some beer, go to the Shred Shed and practice, shower, and then play their show.
Cole Helman and Richard Lepre’s record company Mecca produced Minimum Rage’s album “How Much More Can You Take?” There has been a very good reception in Gainesville where there is a large following of old school, punk rock listeners. The album consists of eleven tracks that deal with ideas of the public school system, the President, and just living at the beach surfing and skating. “The album is basically the mind of Blackford,” says Cole, and continues to say, “he’s a legend around here.” John Blackford has been an English teacher in the county for years and has taught all three of the other band members in Minimum Rage. A song that has gained the most popularity on the album due to it’s relatable lyrics is “Chataqua Beach,” which I am told is what St. Augustine beach was formerly called by the Native Americans. “It is about surfing and skating on St. Augustine beach. I can relate to that,” Cole says. Then we take a whole different pace with the lyrics with songs like “Alt Right Delete” on the album. “It is basically a play on words saying delete Nazis,” Cole informs me. The track is telling the story of the Charlottesville attack in 2017 where a 20-year-old man with neo- nazi and white supremacist beliefs decides to mow over a group of people peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally. “We are pretty politically charged,” Cole says after resolving what the lyrics mean.
The band he says finds it their responsibility to talk about some things that are controversial or needs to be spoken about in a form that can be easier to digest or comprehend such as music. You can check out Minimum Rage at Sarbez on October 21st for the prefest for “The Fest ‘17” held in Gainesville. “The Fest ’17” is one of the biggest punk shows in the nation, bringing in punk bands from all over the world. If you are a recluse and do not like large crowds like some of us introverts you can just check them out on the web on Instagram under Minimumrage_ or on iTunes, Spotify, or Bandcamp.