Eddie Solis has hustle. He’s half of the L.A. punk band It’s Casual — a two-piece that played The Warped Tour with Bad Religion, NOFX and Story of the Year. They’ve also shared bills out of town with Mastodon, Early Man and Fu Manchu. That’s because Eddie Solis works hard making sure his music gets heard. When Solis plays, he comes off even harder. It’s Casual’s songs are loud, straight-to-the-point anthems about life in Los Angeles played. Solis shouts his lyrics with a palpable passion. The avid skater, lover of music and public transportation advocate lives the same way. Target Audience checked in with Solis just before his band released their latest album, The New Los Angeles II, to talk about his passions.
Los Angeles is a city that a lot of people hate on. What is so inspiring to you about the city?
The inspiration of L.A., for me, comes from exploring the city car free. Being green and eco-friendly about it. That being said, as a car-free Angelino, I feel free; I feel un-attached to a congested freeway. I feel un-attached to parking fees, gas and monthly car and insurance payments. So it’s a stress free situation.
It’s easier to love L.A. when you’re not trapped in a car, right?
I can commute from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena to Hollywood to East Los Angeles back to downtown Los Angeles for $3.00 a day by using the “unused” EZ Pass. I get off any stop and explore; soak in the people, the culture, the geography and the vibe. And getting to each destination is a breeze so when I arrive, I’m very open and at ease for a new experience. Los Angeles is so big and being able to explore car free is a treat. I literally hop on and off to each stop. And allowing all things to resonate is completely priceless. The inspiration comes from the ability to explore every crevice and alley way in addition to all the landmarks.
Some people would say the subject of public transportation is fairly mundane? Why write songs about subway lines?
Good question. I am using the theme as a platform to share my perspective and experiences. For instance, “The Redline” was originally written because I challenged a friend to meet me at L.A. Live for an event. And we were both coming from Hollywood. At rush hour on a weekday, I arrived thirty minutes earlier. That is how I started coming up with the lyrics, “The 210 / the 605 / the freeways / are not so nice.’ It’s an all perpetuated from real life experiences.
On the other hand, my intent is to expose a perspective of Los Angeles that doesn’t exist. That perspective is through the eye’s of a bus rider.
What music reached you the way you hope to reach people with the messages in your music? What did those songs inspire you to do?
I would say Black Flag and Cypress Hill. Black Flag inspired me not with the music so to say, but more with the big picture. Meaning: record your own records, release them yourself. And everything is DIY! Don’t follow the trends. Part of the Black Flag message is the work ethic. Being relentless. Cypress Hill for crafting their own sound and sticking to it.
Are you an LA native? If so what was it like growing up in LA?
I was born in East Los Angeles and raised in El Sereno and Whittier. To me, growing up in the 80s and 90s was a cultural phenomenon. Once the movie “Colors” came out, everyone got into gangs. Seems like one day everyone was skateboarding down the street together and the next I was at their funeral. Growing up in LA was definitely great to mix it up with different cultures and defining your own individuality if you were determined to stay on a path of skateboarding and music as I did. That was a challenge, but taught tenacity.
Tell me about Dob Le Ve, the drummer in It’s Casual. How did you meet?
I met him at a gig at Cal State Long Beach. We were bonding over the Melvins.
What’s the wildest show It’s Casual has ever played?
Chicago at the Double Door with Fu Manchu on Halloween. That year it landed on a Saturday. We intentionally didn’t get a hotel room. Our flights were out of Long Beach airport at 3 p.m. PST Saturday. We arrived a couple hours before the gig, sound checked, played, watched Fu Manchu, partied til 4 a.m. and took public transportation back to O’hare airport. Flew out at 8 a.m. Central and landed at Long Beach at 11 a.m. or so.
Most of the songs on the new record are punk rock short. Tell me about your thinking behind “The Gap is Widening.”
“The Gap is Widening” is homage to Black Flag; the process of weeding out.
On your radio show, Los Angeles Nista, you get the opportunity to interview tons of amazing musicians. Who was your favorite to talk to and why?
I would say speaking with Keith Morris from Off! and Black Flag. With Keith, it was the stories. Also, Louie Perez of Los Lobos had great insight on Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s. Carla Harvey of the Butcher Babies because she had great insight and a love for Highland Park and enjoyed taking the Goldline.
Would you ever move away from L.A.?
Yes, but will I always have a residence because this is home.