Zander Cox and Wes Walsworth were neighbors growing up in Ketchum, listening to everything from the Misfits to Johnny Cash. Today, the two have taken their love for music and made careers with their American punk band Scotch Greens.
The outfit is touring this spring to promote the release of their new album, "Professional."
From Madison, Wis., the American leg of the tour brought to their Southern California home base before they spirited themselves to Europe. In April alone, the Greens played gigs in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, England and the Netherlands.
"Professional" is full of the sort of hard-driving, folk-tinged punk rock that has been powering the band since its inception. Cox has a clear lead vocal voice lending distinct personality to often-funny lyrics. In "Deaf Girlfriend," he pleads with his sound technician: "She taps her foot/she knows every song/tells us when we suck/she's as honest as the day is long.
So please mister soundman/if you find it in your heart/take it easy on the levels.
You're tearing my girl's eardrums apart."
True to their punk roots, the Scotch Greens also take their turn bashing mainstream, establishment culture with songs such as "City is Poison."
Although "Professional" is their third release, Cox considers it a milestone. "It's our first real record, as far as we're concerned."
With Russ Ellis and Nato Bardeen on banjo and mandolin, the overriding punk noise has an undercurrent of down-home American music and bluegrass, with a bit on an Irish twinge.
For Cox, the sound is all about the many paradoxes in his life and his music: Idaho and San Diego, bluegrass and punk.
"The old sounds are just as important to me as the new ones. At the end of the day, this is all folk music anyway."
Celebrating the 10th year anniversary of their Idaho conception, Scotch Greens look to be cruising into a successful summer stateside.