In Orange County, there’s an all-ages venue in a nondescript strip mall called Chain Reaction. Though still going strong, the stage’s heyday was late ’90s and early ’00s pop punk. Alongside A.F.I. and The Ataris merch, you’ll also find shirts from bands like Death on Wednesday, Slick Shoes, and Craig’s Brother, a homage to a bygone era. “It’s really cool that we came from a particular time period and we have a specific sound,” says Craig’s Brother frontman Ted Bond. “Now that [the genre] is kind of over, there’s no bandwagon; we can authentically say it’s our sound.” Much as Chain Reaction stands as a monument to another era, so does Craig’s Brother as a band. Still featuring the line-up it had before breaking up for seven years, the four punk rockers returned with 2011’s The Insidious Lie, which functions like a follow-up to 2001’s Lost At Sea—it’s a familiar sound, just with 2011 production values. Nowadays, the band recognizes that its chance for stardom (Yellowcard singer Ryan Key was once even part of the group) has probably passed with the popularity of Further Seems Forever (a fellow Tooth & Nail act), and the cavalcade of pop punkers who rotated through MTV2.
“We’re doing it for the same reasons we always did it,” says Bond. “It’s the music we love, and it’s still fun to write.” Still, Bond looks at the defunct Chain Reaction scene with retroactive pride—and a little sadness toward what’s become of Santa Cruz music. “There’s no all-ages venue in town. We play a lot, but only at bars, and it’s hard to get a fresh crowd in,” he says. “When you’re 16 there’s so much passion directed at the music. I think when you get in to your ’20s you’re a little bit distracted by booze and sex.”
INFO: 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 10. Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $6/adv, $8/door. 423-1338.