Botch’s Brian Cook opens up about new song & reunion: “For folks who want more, I’m not gonna say never”
Mathcore legends Botch just returned today with their first new song in over 20 years, "One Twenty Two," which is being included on Sargent House's new reissue of We Are The Romans. As guitarist David Knudson (also of the now-defunct Minus the Bear) explained, he felt inspired to write a heavy song during the pandemic, with no intention of writing new music for Botch, but when he needed a vocalist, he hit up Botch frontman Dave Verellen and it eventually turned into a Botch song. Now bassist Brian Cook (also of Russian Circles, SUMAC, and These Arms Are Snakes) has shed more light on the song and the overall Botch situation in a Twitter thread:
Y’all want my thoughts on Botch doing stuff 20 years after breaking up? Here’s a thread…
The two most pivotal musical moments of my life were hearing Dead Kennedys on a mixtape when I was 13 and seeing Fugazi live when I was 14. Those two moments made me want to be in a band. Biafra was vocal about DK never reuniting, and the lawsuits from his bandmates a few years later struck me as their way of circumventing his refusal. Ian Mackaye curtly shot down calls for Minor Threat songs at the Fugazi show. Reunions = bad was ingrained in my head early on. Coincidentally, I pounced at the opportunity to join Botch when Dave said he wanted to cover DK’s “Too Drunk to Fuck.” Never did tackle that song, but I couldn’t have imagined all the other great things we accomplished. When the band was done, it felt like a triumphant end.
Twenty years later, people still routinely ask about a Botch reunion. It’s rewarding to hear that these songs still mean to people, though for me it’s been more important to continue forward than to focus on the past. There was good closure with Botch, and I’ve been fortunate enough to continue getting the same visceral thrill of playing loud, abrasive music thru These Arms Are Snakes, Russian Circles, and SUMAC. The same can’t be said for the other Botch guys. There’s been a sense of unfinished business for a couple of ‘em, and as is so often the case, work/family took precedence over the time commitments and financial burdens of being an underground musician.
So while it’s very easy for me to say Botch will never reunite, that’s a tougher line to draw for the other guys.
It gets tough for me to hold that line when public opinion comes into play. It doesn’t bring me joy to field the routine festival offers, but it also doesn’t bring me joy to see people project their cynicism onto any discussion of current Botch activity. Believe me, I get it. So much of what makes a band special is specific to time and place. Taking it out of that context can sully it. Then again, I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see Rorschach on their reunion run or to see Unbroken play at the benefit for Eric Allen. Putting out a new song isn’t going to satisfy the fans that want a full reunion and it isn’t going to please the people who hold the band as some sacred entity. It wasn’t intended to be a Botch song; it was intended to be its own thing. But it was the 4 of us, and it felt right, and doing something with my four old friends during the loneliness of lockdown for the pure joy of creation was ultimately more important than public opinion.
And that’s it. That’s where we’re at. That’s why you get a new song. That’s why there are no tour dates. For folks who want more, I’m not gonna say never, but it has to be something we all feel good about it, and it can’t be forced.
And for folks who are salty about there being a new song, I’ll go with the old Hydra Head motto: Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.
...so he's saying there's a chance?
Watch the video for the new song below, and pick up a vinyl copy of the new We Are The Romans reissue here.
Meanwhile, Russian Circles just released their new album Gnosis last week, and their upcoming tour hits NYC on November 6 at Warsaw.