Southern California based skate punk band Pulley is no stranger to performing. Sustaining for 20 years and a few lineup changes, the band continues to tour worldwide, hold down day jobs and still remain friends. They have firmly established themselves in the punk world with their skills, talent and identification with the fans. By the Barricade caught up with Pulley members Mike Harder, Tyler Rebbe and Chris Dalley before their show at The Slidebar in Fullerton, CA to witness some of their chemistry. It is evident that not only do these guys have the music connection, but also truly enjoy being together. Stories from touring and events at shows captured in the interview that follows lend some insight into the longevity of the band and camaraderie in Pulley.
Mike Harder – Guitar
Tyler Rebbe – Bass
Chris Dalley – Drums
Other Band Members:
Scott Radinsky – Vocals
Jim Blowers – Guitar
By the Barricade: A pulley is a tool for supporting movement or changing direction. Is that what you had in mind for the band name or what was the origin?
Mike Harder: Scott (Radinsky) named the band and came to me and said, “I’m thinking Pulley.” And I said, “Yeah, sounds good. Cool.” And that literally is how it was. It sounds cool. Then we started talking about it more as things progressed and thought that it does actually have meaning.
Tyler Rebbe: When I first got in the band I asked that question and I remember Scott saying, “I don’t know, it just looks good on a t-shirt.” That was it.
By the Barricade: More often than not it seems that is how it is, it sounds cool or it is what is available.
Tyler Rebbe: Nowadays you have 8 million bands and you really have to work at it. Everything is taken now. (To Chris) When your other band had to figure out your name I know it was difficult.
Chris Dalley: For Implants it took forever. We were R6i, we were R6, we just came up with Implants.
By the Barricade: I’ve read in a number of interviews that one of the reasons you guys have continued as long as you have is because you do not rely on the band as your sole source of income and that you have a four month season. What do you see as the primary advantages of your arrangement?
Chris Dalley: We don’t get sick of each other. I look forward to hanging out with them because we don’t spend 3 months in a van going out and doing shows. All of us have our primary jobs that we go by but this is a chance for all of us to create rock out together and just have a good time. I live farthest away from the studio, but I look forward to that hour drive because it is going to be fun no matter what. The band has sustained that long because there is no pressure on each other.
Tyler Rebbe: It is like an escape. Absence makes the heart grow fonder so the longest we are gone (on tour) is perhaps a four day weekend somewhere. Nobody is sick of each other, it is just fun. We are glad to get away from our 9-5 jobs or whatever it is. People always say 9-5 but does anybody actually have those hours? I work 7:30-5:30. Who works 9-5?
Tyler Rebbe: That movie with Dolly Parton was a lie.
Chris Dalley: And Dabney Coleman.
Tyler Rebbe: Damn you Dabney Coleman!
By the Barricade: Do you get together weekly?
Chris Dalley: We get together weekly. Unless I am on tour or we have somebody that can’t be there. Usually we do once or twice a week, mainly twice to just write or hang out jamming.
Tyler Rebbe: Sometimes we show up and sit and drink beers and hang out and talk. If it’s three of us there maybe we won’t even play music. We enjoy each other’s company and it is cool. We have a cool little place where we rehearse. It is like our little secret clubhouse you could say.
Chris Dalley: We did a show near the place and Mike and I along with my fiancé and we went over there afterwards and we just drank and slept there.
Mike Harder: It’s a good after party place. We have actually had huge parties there. We have had the place for 23 years.
Tyler Rebbe: We have filmed videos there.
Mike Harder: We have had big parties there. It is like an 800 square foot room for $450 bucks a month. It has 15 foot high ceilings; we have a loft in there. It is a really cool place.
Tyler Rebbe: It is stupid rent. What place’s rent has not changed in 23 years? When the landlord dies it is probably going to change to like $2000 a month to rent.
Mike Harder: There have been lots of bands that have come and gone there, rehearsed there. We have shared with other bands, all different kinds of music. There is a lot of history there, lots of good times and bad times. When the earthquake hit the place fell apart.
Tyler Rebbe: That shows how long we have had it for. The Northridge Quake was in 1994, does that make us sound like an old band?
Chris Dalley: We are not old, we are experienced.
By the Barricade: Perhaps we could say seasoned. You guys have traveled around the world, is there a location that you have played where the crowd reaction surprised you?
Tyler Rebbe: That is rare in California. Usually the people are spoiled and they can see any band they want. At some of the shows the crowd just stands there. Regardless, we are going to play our best but that was surprising last year. I think we were all really surprised the first time we played in South America. That was completely insane. We could not believe how into it people were. They are so hungry for music. They don’t know that Pulley is not as popular as NOFX or Bad Religion they just feel that these American’s came here and they are not scared and they are playing for us in some crazy tiny city in Brazil or something like that and they are so passionate. We were pretty surprised.
Chris Dalley: We just did Montreal last October where we did Matters in its entirety plus we did Ten Foot Pole songs. Scott did Ten Foot Pole songs he hadn’t done in 20 years. People flew in from all around the world for that show. It was insane and gave me chills.
Mike Harder: Canada is a really good market for us. They are very hospitable. South America is really good. Here is hit or miss, you never know what you are going to get here. It is nice once in a while to get crowds like we did here last year.
Tyler Rebbe: It keeps you grounded. A couple of years ago we played this festival in Belgium, it is pretty popular and there was something like 20,000 people there and we had one of the best shows we ever had. The next weekend we were playing Victorville and the PA broke and it was snowing and there were about 15 people there. We just thought, “Yep, that’s Pulley!” That is typical. You never know what you are going to get.
By the Barricade Have you ever had a super negative fan experience?
Mike Harder: Last week at The Roxy.
Tyler Rebbe: One time somebody dragged me off the stage and beat me up. That was pretty fun. Mike thought I was rocking out with the crowd.
Mike Harder: I stuck up for you. I went down and faced off with the guy. At that point Scott said, “No Mike, come here.”
Tyler Rebbe: I am such a mean person. Everyone wants to beat me up.
Chris Dalley: Last week at The Roxy?
Tyler Rebbe: We played a show at The Roxy last week and it was with a generation of bands that was before us.
Mike Harder: It was a generation that we were a part of but Pulley is more of a 90’s style of punk rock. We played with all 80’s punk rock bands last week. JFA, Ill Repute, Naked Aggression. We have played with Ill Repute several times before and it usually the other way around for them. It usually great for them, but with us everyone was like (demonstrates stone faced stare, arms folded). It was still fun, we had fans there but the billing was kind of weird.
Tyler Rebbe: I was once in another band and we were on a really weird heavy metal tour and we were pretty much getting booed every single night. We had stuff thrown at us, it was pretty interesting. On the last show of the tour we had to basically skip town. We had to load out and run away because people were going to fight us just for playing music. Isn’t that weird?
By the Barricade Sometimes show crowds are particularly aggressive. I personally got knocked flat on my tailbone at your recent show at The Gaslamp in Long Beach. What are some of the injuries you have seen or heard about from pit or crowd action at one of your shows?
Chris Dalley: I saw a person literally break their leg (not during a Pulley show) and hop around the pit. He hopped around for three or four more songs before the show was over.
Mike Harder: Tyler getting pulled off the stage was one.
Tyler Rebbe: One of my best friend’s has town both of his ACL’s at different times both at our shows. He tore his ACL at The Troubadour and I forget where the other one was. One thing that comes to mind is a whole thing in Portugal with Tony (Sly).
Mike Harder: Oh yeah that was gnarly.
Tyler Rebbe: We were playing with No Use for a Name in the early 2000’s and at the last show of the tour was in Lisbon, Portugal. We played our set and then No Use for a Name was playing and the bouncers were really rowdy. This one bouncer was basically beating up this girl in the crowd and Tony Sly took his Les Paul and basically knocked the bouncer right in the head.
Chris Dalley: Which are not light guitars, they are really heavy.
Tyler Rebbe: Lots of interesting stuff happened but that was a crazy night. They wanted to kill everybody and they held our instruments hostage and it was the last night of the tour and we were trying to get out of there.
Mike Harder: They pulled a gun out after the show.
Tyler Rebbe: The guy had a gun and came on the bus and was trying to find Tony. “Where’s the singer of the band?” It was pretty crazy. Our band all went our separate ways that night. I was sitting on the side of the road with our merch guy. Our entire band was gone and we had all the merch and all the equipment just sitting there waiting for a cab to show up and take us away. Not really knowing where we were going with people trying to kill us. That was kind of crazy.
By the Barricade When injuries happen in the crowd does that affect your performance?
Chris Dalley: It depends on the degree of it, if it’s just a little scuffle that doesn’t stop me from playing. If it’s someone getting their asses jumped then …
Tyler Rebbe: We’ll stop the show. I don’t think it happens very often.
Mike Harder: Back to that thing that happened in Portugal, Matt Riddle, Tony Sly and I jumped into pit where the bouncers were. Everyone was swinging their hands. That is rare. I will say that Scott has gotten into some good scuffles with bouncers before.
Tyler Rebbe: Nowadays it is so mellow, it’s mainstream.
Mike Harder: It is not as dangerous as it used to be.
By the Barricade I was asking because on a personal note, I had my nose broken a Pennywise show when a crowd surfer landed on my head and my nose connected with the barricade. It was gushing blood all over the 3 security guards as they pulled me out. Do you see stuff like that and does it affect your playing.
Chris Dalley: It does. If I see someone really hurt or something disastrous or really bad happening, if we don’t stop the song, when we finish we do say something.
Mike Harder: We help people out.
Chris Dalley: Crowds come to a punk rock show or a Pulley show as an escape from normal life. Everyone has their trials and tribulations to deal with so come to a show, have a good time with us, and escape for an hour. When things get out of hand and we stop it takes away from people’s fun time.
By the Barricade Speaking of Pennywise, what other bands do you enjoy touring and playing shows with and why?
Mike Harder: Lagwagon is up there for sure. No Use for a Name.
Tyler Rebbe: Pennywise, all those types of bands who kind of came up around the same time as us. There is always a cool camaraderie. It was really cool when we did that show at The Palladium (January, 2013) with Pennywise, Lagwagon and Strung Out. Between the bands that were there, the crew and friends of the band it was like a high school reunion kind of thing. It is fun to see those people. When we used to tour more we didn’t say goodbye it was like, “See you later. See you in a field somewhere in Europe.” We might next see each other in a tent eating goulash out of a pot.
Tyler Rebbe: It’s cool to play with newer bands too because a lot of them like our band and grew up listening to us or maybe it’s a band that we think is cool with up and comers. You get to know those people and camaraderie develops.
Chris Dalley: Another band we just shared the stage with was Face to Face. That was an incredible night. Matt Riddle who played bass for Face to Face was in Pulley before Tyler. It is a big camaraderie, I was in Death by Stereo with Tyler and I was friends with Mike for a long time and Jim (Blowers) and I are in Implants. For The Palladium show that Tyler mentioned, I wasn’t part of Pulley yet, but I was Jordan (Burns’) tech for Strung Out so I was a part of that show and all of us hung out. That was the cool thing about it.
By the Barricade I know Chris is heading out on tour with Authority Zero, and Scott is leaving for spring training, what else do you guys like to do between Pulley seasons either personally or professionally?
Tyler Rebbe: We are usually working on writing. If it is Pulley night we may just get together and hang out. We stay in contact. There may be two or three weeks in between but we may get together for beers. We seem to always have something to work on even if Scott is gone.
Chris Dalley: I joined the band in October of last year. We worked on things right before the Lancaster show.
Chris Dalley: It was a good place for an opening show for me.
Tyler Rebbe: That was a good show for very odd backstage paraphernalia. There were statues of people and a huge moose head sticking out from the wall. It was like a Moose Lodge or something.
Chris Dalley: It was a Moose Lodge.
Tyler Rebbe: That is what I remember about that show, but not much else.
By the Barricade Besides working on band stuff, is there anything personally or professionally that you are looking forward to doing in the upcoming months?
Chris Dalley: I am getting married in four months.
Mike Harder: Surfing.
Tyler Rebbe: I don’t know if are aware, but I am Mike’s personal videographer. I have filmed Mike surfing in Hawaii a month ago, I filmed Mike surfing in Brazil, and I filmed Mike surfing in Australia in a lightning storm. Lightning was hitting the water and I am standing on the beach holding an umbrella just waiting for it to come to me because it is like I am holding a lightning rod.
Mike Harder: It was Chris Rest (Lagwagon) and I.
Tyler Rebbe: Chris was filling in for us on guitar because Jim couldn’t make the tour for some reason and Dave Raun (Lagwagon) also did the drums.
By the Barricade (To Mike) Where is your favorite place to surf around here?
Mike Harder: Probably Ventura. I would say Oxnard and Ventura.
Chris Dalley: There was one place Mike told me about when we were driving back from Santa Barbara. He would just say, “I like that spot and I like that spot.” It was cool because it was just the two of us and I was getting to know him. I knew he was surfer, but I did not know how avid he was. He would tell me what part was good and what sucks all along the coast.
Tyler Rebbe: Mike picked out a surfboard in Hawaii and they charged him $10 bucks to rent it for an hour. A lady right after him came up and it was $90 for the same thing.
Mike Harder: They do take advantage of tourists. I walked up and I talked to the guy for a while and he was a local so he said, “Ten bucks for you bro.” Make friends with the locals.
By the Barricade: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of By the Barricade?
Tyler Rebbe: Thanks for listening. We hope to continue doing what we are doing as long as we can, even if there are only 5 people at the show … in Victorville… and the PA breaks.
Chris Dalley: We have a blast doing what we do. We enjoy being around each other and I think that rubs off on people. They see how well we get along on stage. Pulley is the only band I have ever been in where pretty much the entire band will come up to me when I am playing and rock out with me. It is pretty awesome. I think the audience feeds off that and it resonates on stage how well we get along off stage.
Chris Dalley: Yes, and I hate you. He comes up and just goes, “Ha, ha!” A couple times he gets me.
By the Barricade: Do you have any advice for up and coming bands?
Chris and Tyler: I don’t know what you do now. Good luck.
Tyler Rebbe: Play music because you love it not because you want to be popular or rich because it’s not going to happen.
Chris Dalley: You are not going to sell a ton of records anymore. People are happy if they sell 100,000 records now. It is a different industry nowadays. If you are going to do it, do it because you truly love it.
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