The Front Lines of Good Times Vol. I
When production began on The Front Lines of Good Times Vol I in January of 2017, the future was wide open for MF Ruckus. The band had just completed their second tour of Europe with a third on the horizon, the reissue of their metal-rock-monstrosity Thieves of Thunder on Rodeostar/Napalm had enjoyed a favorable response from fans and the press
When production began on The Front Lines of Good Times Vol I in January of 2017, the future was wide open for MF Ruckus. The band had just completed their second tour of Europe with a third on the horizon, the reissue of their metal-rock-monstrosity Thieves of Thunder on Rodeostar/Napalm had enjoyed a favorable response from fans and the press alike and they had been invited to once again act as main support for Steel Panther to a sold out crowd at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. At the beginning of the first recording session, they passed around a jar of moonshine given to them by Nathaniel Rateliff to commemorate what they believed to be the momentous conception of their greatest record to date. But, as the saying goes, “things fall apart.”
For starters, the relationship between the band and long-time guitarist Parker Meehan began to sour, then curdle and turn rancid. For a variety of reasons, both personal and creative, tensions metastasized into a full-fledged falling-out of the most acrimonious nature. The friendship and partnership was finally dissolved with a legal separation agreement and the pulling of three Meehan compositions from the album, all but mixed and mastered, never to be heard by the public.
Then in 2019, tragedy struck when singer Aaron Howell’s younger brother died suddenly after a long struggle with diabetes. It would, however, not be the last tragic event to test the band’s resolve. Over the subsequent years, the members of the band would mourn the loss of no less than a dozen friends and loved ones including bassist Logan O’Connor’s brother, drummer Ty Blosser’s brother-in-law, guitarist Tony Lee’s mother-in-law, the band’s publicist, Groovey Newville and several others now listed in the record’s dedication line.
Of course, we all know what else happened during this time. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic caused the entire world to screech to a halt, including virtually every element of the entertainment industry. During this uncertain time in the music business, MF Ruckus lost their label, agency and management company overnight when a change in distribution contracts effectively dropped the band from the roster. Loss after loss and defeat after defeat, it seemed unlikely that MF Ruckus would last this long, harsh era of darkness and their album seemed doomed to never see the light of day. However, like 4 industrious squirrels, MF Ruckus had stored up plenty of nuts for the winter.
With three members having, expecting or planning on children over the late two thousand teens and early twenties, the band had already queued up plenty of work to be done during the long, infrequent years of early parenthood. In addition to studio releases, the band had comics, music videos and other content in various stages of production which they were able to release throughout 2020-2021. The one plus side of being released from their label was that the band could now release music as they pleased and began doing so in regular intervals.
During 2022, MF Ruckus put out a self-released live album, “Ruckus Alive!” and then followed up with 6 brand new singles from The Front Lines of Good Times Vol I along with supplemental content featured on the band’s various channels including lyrical deep dives, an animated music video for their single “Acropolis Now” and a handful of lyric videos. In the fall of 2022, MF Ruckus released the single “Be Cool” along with a hilarious, unhinged music video which garnered the band a feature and exclusive premiere on Metal Sucks. In February of 2022, MF Ruckus returned to the stage for the first time in two years, providing main support for Koffin Kats at The Gothic Theater in Denver, putting on a commanding performance and letting the world know they were nowhere near finished.
Now, thanks to Glory or Death Records and a whole lot of patient planning, MF Ruckus is finally releasing the album started all those years ago. The sweet sting of Nathaniel Rateliff’s moonshine is but a distant memory, but the completed work has been cultivated like a barrel-aged bourbon, bold and bursting with a bodacious bouquet of bombastic brilliance. The album is rock, metal, punk, country, psychedelic, surreal at moments, absurd at others and punctuated with hints of science fiction and fantasy all in just over 30 minutes. As an added bonus, the digital release will include three previously unreleased tracks from the forthcoming second volume in The Front Lines of Good Times series. The Front Lines of Good Times Vol I took just as long as it needed to take and after the better part of a decade, it is finally ready for your turntable.