"Runner runner," definition: a poker term that, loosely defined, means "coming out of nowhere and pulling off a winning hand at the last possible moment." With a name like that, there's heavy expectation for a sudden musical miracle, but Runner Runner didn't just come out of nowhere. Its members put in their respective time touring as part of other skate-punk and pop-punk bands from all over the country before starting their own band. In fact their old bands toured together, but when things slowed down they found a new force with each other, like a five fingers in a fist of punk-infused fury.
With smiles as easy as their pants are tight, Southern California-based Runner Runner was born in the punk and surf scenes in Huntington Beach. Frontman Ryan Ogren, guitarists Nick Bailey and Peter Munters, bassist Jon Berry, and drummer James Ulrich (no relation to Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich) bonded over touring life, punk rock, and their favorite '80s songs. These boys traded in the spikes and safety-pins for tailored seams with a version of punk that doesn't rely on scathing vocals, string-breaking chord progressions, or bloody noses.
What acoustic performances always reveal is the true nature of a band's technical skill and songwriting talent. Runner Runner's songs are tight, relatable, and entertaining, and Ogren can actually hit those high notes. Like a scene straight out of I Love You, Man, their sincere bro-connection makes a balanced environment for pop creation, and it shows in their performance--they look like they're having fun.
While the band's bio reads right out of Happy Days (Nick and Jon catch waves! James rides a motorcycle! "Friendship is our destiny!"), their radio-friendly sound will certainly open a lot of doors for them. Hopefully they can keep themselves away from the unfortunate clichés other pop-punk outfits wrestle with. But with high-energy melodies, contagious hooks, and genuine talent, Runner Runner is a gamble worth betting on. And with purported good family values and morals, you CAN take these punk boys home to mom.
Runner Runner came by the Yahoo! Music office and treated us to an acoustic set of songs off their self-titled debut album that drops on February 15. Watch them perform their first single "So Obvious" and more from their new album, plus a bonus acoustic performance of "Hey Alli". Enjoy!