Re-energized Happy Campers come through at crossroads

It’s a grown-man record, the kind of album that results from punks becoming fathers and husbands, their outlook on life expanding right along with their families.

“Dancing With Demons,” the latest disc from Las Vegas’ Happy Campers, isn’t loaded with songs about changing diapers and paying down mortgages.

But on album highlights such as “Life,” “It’s All on Me” and “Bleeding Me Dry,” the Campers confront a challenge that faces many veteran, working-class bands: growing up without giving up.

And they do so convincingly: Seventeen years in, “Demons” is the band’s best record, though it wasn’t easy getting here.

After hitting it hard for a decade beginning in the mid-’90s, the Campers eventually hit a wall.

“I was at a point five years ago where I had been doing this for 10 years, basically my whole adult life, really pushing it and just getting to the point where it was like, ‘All right, now I’m not making any money, people aren’t really caring as much anymore, I’ve given everything that I have in my life to this band,’ ” singer-guitarist Isaac Irvine recalls, reclining on a couch in the living room of drummer Jason Losey’s home. “Eventually, you get to the point where you almost don’t like the band for a little bit because that’s all you are. But then at the same time, I need to do this.”

And so after putting the Campers on the back burner for a while, the band recommitted themselves with a retooled lineup that adds a palpable newfound energy to “Demons,” which the group will demonstrate live with a free, all-ages CD release show Saturday at the Hard Rock Cafe.

First, there’s the addition of second guitarist Bill Simons, who greatly strengthens the band’s sound.

“The way I play, it’s more about thickness, the crunch,” Simons says. “I’m almost a bass player in a sense. I lock right in with Jay when we’re playing. That’s what I always thought the band needed.”

The Campers also recruited bassist Rob Detie, a longtime fan of the band who sings as well, enabling the group to pull off three-part harmonies that brighten the album in numerous places.

Lineup in place, the group splurged for noted punk producer Ryan Greene, who’s worked with such influential acts as NOFX, Lagwagon, Propaghandi and dozens of others and who pushed the band hard, capturing a full, crisp sound that’s easily the best the Campers have achieved.

“We had never worked with someone on that next level,” says Losey, arms brightly tattooed. “That’s the only way we could have gotten an album like this.”

As such, “Demons” feels like a rebirth for a band born so many years ago.

“I realize that we’ve been around 17 years, but this is the band now,” Irvine says. “We’re not the band from 17 years ago. Obviously, we have a history and a back catalog, but this is what we want people to hear.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Five albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like