Season 1 - Ep. 8 - Rock Talk - The 90's Punk Genre and Playing in a Pop Punk Band with Justin Jahr of Five Star


I bring on a former bandmate and long time friend, Justin Jahr, who happens to also be one of the biggest punk rock fans that I know to talk about the history of punk music from our perspectives growing up in podunk North Dakota, and how the music shaped our lives and musical direction of our band in high school, Five Star.

Justin brings a fresh perspective that is purely from the perspective of a punk rock fan. So, just like you, he is along for the sheer enjoyment of talking punk music and reflecting on the nostalgia of the 90's punk explosion, the rise of Blink-182 and those awesome punk compilations albums that got us into bands we never heard of up to that point.

Are you a fan of punk music? Then you will definitely want to listen to this episode.

Intro Music: "Colorado" by Birds Love Filters

As promised, the link to our one and only album from Five Star:

Five Star Members: Isaac Kuhlman (guitar, vocals), Justin Jahr (bass), Jay Mosbrucker (drums)


Isaac Kuhlman 0:01
Hey and welcome to the Powered By Rock Podcast where I'm gonna be speaking with someone who I've known since I was like 11 or 12 years old and he's also a former band mate of mine from our high school days in a band called Five Star. Coming up. I'm going to be speaking with my good friend Justin Jahr, about growing up with some punk rock music in the Midwest and being some punk rock loving fools.

You're listening to the Powered By Rock Podcast with your host, Isaac Kuhlman. The Powered By Rock Podcast was created to help showcase some of the best rock musicians in the world, and to pass on to future generations the rock music that has inspired rock fans around the world for decades. We want listeners to be able to hear great stories and life experiences directly from their favorite artists, as well as dig deeper into music theory and talk rock. Like no other show you've ever heard. This isn't about looking cool. It's about getting real and having a great time. Without further ado, let's start the show.

Hey, welcome to the Powered By Rock Podcast. I'm super pumped about the show today because I wanted to bring on an old friend. We're gonna have a couple beers while we do this episode, because it's an old friends catching up type of one. And I want to do that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, so we can spend some time just catching up because it's literally been like, I don't know, a couple decades since we spoke, either, you know, some sort of face to face interaction. And secondly, so we can give our perspective on some of the music that shaped our lives over the last 25 years or so. So with that said, I'm honored and humbled to have the former basis of our shared band and a man who I could call a great friend, even if we didn't speak for next 20 years. Justin Jahr. Welcome to the show.

Justin Jahr 1:41
Thanks. Thanks. Good to be here. Yeah. Yes, yes.

Isaac Kuhlman 1:48
So you don't look any much different obviously then a little bit of longer hair. Maybe I've we've gained a couple pounds, but I think that kind of happens, you know, from age 19 or 18. to like, what 39 now?

Justin Jahr 1:59
Yeah, yeah, the hair is recent I that's the you know, I haven't had to go into the office for a while. So been able to kind of grow the hair out and not really have to worry about what it looks like during those awkward stages.

Isaac Kuhlman 2:13
By the Pixie haircut or something.

Justin Jahr 2:16
Exactly. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 2:19
shave the shave the side and just like sweep it over.

Justin Jahr 2:22
I got this I got the sides kind of shaved up. I guess I too I get too hot. I'm a superconductor. So I got a shave. shave a bit off.

Isaac Kuhlman 2:32
Yeah, so you haven't put it in a mohawk lately? or nothing?

Justin Jahr 2:35
Um, no, no, no Mohawks for a while.

Isaac Kuhlman 2:41
Cool. So I want to break this episode down into a few sub topics that we can kind of sort of hit some major points about the music that influenced us. So it's going to be kind of a time machine episode as well. So buckle up and get ready to flashback everybody. Firstly, I want to dig into each of our own progression in the music that we came to love specifically how you came uber fans of pop punk in the late 90s. Secondly, I want to reminisce a little bit about the pop rock punk rock compilation albums that we used to buy to discover some new music like, you know, since shit like YouTube and Spotify didn't exist and punk music was insanely hard to crack without some sort of Lifeline and some connection there. Thirdly, I want to talk about popular popularization of bands like Blink-182 and how that transformed pop punk for better and worse and lastly, I want to talk about our days and Five Star and some of the musical aspects of just being in a band and making music that we enjoyed playing and listening to because I still think it's pretty good but you know we might be our biggest fans in this so let's dig in so I honestly I've known you for a while but it's like I said it's been quite a long time since we've talked I think we recorded our album The summer after high school or maybe was the next year after after first year of college. I don't think we've seen each other since then or even really spoke since then. So let's kind of go back to even before that let's go back to some of the formative years when we you know we started listening to music and I just want to ask you can you even remember what were some of the very first artists you really enjoyed and I don't mean just like rock or punk rock like before those bands you've ever found those bands What were you listening to because I know I was a big fan of like Ace of Bass and Boys II Men back in like fourth and fifth grade

Justin Jahr 4:15
but yeah, I don't know if I was really a fan but you know the first concert I went to at the Bismarck Civic Center was a who were like Boys II Men and MC Hammer. I think it

Isaac Kuhlman 4:27
was there. Actually that's funny because we didn't even know each other then but I was at that concert.

Justin Jahr 4:33
Yeah, that's probably inLike we're in fifth sixth grade then, you know, but you know, like lwhen BMG came out with those catalogs and got like 100 CDs for 99 cents.

Isaac Kuhlman 4:44
Yeah. I gotta pay like 30 bucks every month. What the fuck?

Justin Jahr 4:49
There's a catch to that exactly. My mom I pick a few and I picked Nirvana's Unplugged and Green Day's Dookie And then TLC water I don't even know what that city was called water with the waterfall song on it anyway a little too much MTV probably for me at that time but I would say you know yeah definitely probably Nirvana and Green Day you know even if going back even further from that maybe Guns and Roses I really got into as a really young kid I got Appetite for Destruction on my hands when I was like, I don't know that came out in 89 so or maybe even before that, but yeah, I was you know, maybe first second grade I don't even know how I came in possession of that. But mom found it and took it away from me pretty quickly, but yeah, I wouldn't I would say Guns and Roses and Nirvana probably.

Isaac Kuhlman 5:48
That's funny. Yeah, cuz I mean, I remember even before that, my my dad playing music right? So it'd be like Cheap Trick and Nazareth and Beatles, and Led Zeppelin and all those things. And it's like that, that kind of was like there, but it was always like, that was like older person rock music, right? So I was like, it wasn't my music. It was like my dad's music, and I liked it, but I couldn't claim it as my own. And then when, like, you know, we started listening to like Nirvana and and Green Day and Weezer. You know, that's when I started being like, these are my own bands like, these are the ones that were my genre in my era and my era. So yeah, I mean, going from that, that all pop music in like grade school, because that's what only people listen to is like, you had to be the popular kid. Or at least don't be a complete nerd, right? So it's like, Listen to what everybody else is listening to. But then when he's getting into junior high, then all these people start branching off into different cliques. And I think we met shortly after seventh grade or in seventh grade. And yeah, I mean, I remember, like, we were doing a lot of stupid shit with you guys. But listening to music, and then obviously, even buying a I remember going like, CDs used to be released on Tuesdays. So we'd go to like Walmart on a Tuesday after school and be like, let's go get the new Weezer album, or let's go get the new Green Day album or whatever, and it's like, that was that was pretty, you know, I remember those things vividly. Cuz I'm like, I want to be the first person in all of North Dakota to buy this album or whatever. Obviously, we weren't but that was kind of like our goal. Yeah, so when did you remember when was that like sixth grade, seventh grade? When did punk rock and like rock and indie music come into your life? Because it kind of indie music probably comes later. I mean, it's not something that that it's going to be introduced at the same time as Mainstream Rock and punk.

Justin Jahr 7:26
Right? Yeah. More like yeah, like thinking like back like that. 90s alternative scene probably. is where it really started. So yeah. Junior High, I would say for sure. Yeah. If not, you know, maybe maybe by sixth grade even.

Isaac Kuhlman 7:43
Yeah. And so, after you kind of started digging into this stuff, what were some of the bands that like blew your mind?

Justin Jahr 7:48
Um, yeah, you mentioned Weezer. I think they were one of the first ones that you know, kind of that blue album was unbelievable. And then Pinkerton came out a few years later and yeah, you know, was, you know, just as good if not better.

Isaac Kuhlman 8:08

Justin Jahr 8:10
I was like, 25 years ago, right? I think I just saw something that that was that picket fence been released 25 years ago. So that's

Isaac Kuhlman 8:17
Nirvana. Never mind is 30 years old. I'm like Jesus. Yeah.

Justin Jahr 8:21
Um, you know, that's 82 I it's crazy to think about the media you use to listen to I bought the cassette tape of Nevermind. And remember, I still have the still use a boombox. I'm outside doing yard work to listen to the radio, but it still has a cassette player in it. I don't have any cassettes. So I don't use it, but,

Isaac Kuhlman 8:43
man, it doesn't have a CD player on it. That is old.

Justin Jahr 8:45
Yeah, no, it's it's it's old school. Yeah, it's for outdoor work. Now

Isaac Kuhlman 8:49
it's saying put it on your shoulder and rock around. You got it. Got all those giant c cell batteries in there. So I remember you know, obviously, some of the bands that I was listening to and when Weezer came out also right around that time. Matt Sharp of Weezer kind of started his own side project with The Rentals and I was I was absolutely in love with the rentals. Like, I almost like that as much or more than either of those Weezer albums. But I was like, I like blue album is still like one of the absolute Greatest Albums of All Time. pinkertons right there too. But The Return of The Rentals was something that just I didn't I don't think anybody really liked it as much as I did. But I thought that there were some something about the harmonies and just the oddball way that Matt Sharp put that album together and obviously recruited that band that I was like this is this is an incredibly interesting type of music so that kind of shaped my you know, my my perspective of here's what the popular version of Weezer is, and here's basically the not so popular version of Weezer. I thought that was kind of like a cool flip side of the same coin.

Justin Jahr 9:57
Yeah. Do you remember how we heard about The Rentals. Um, my my mom had a cousin who lived on San Francisco and he sent me a few CDs and the return of the rentals was one of them. And that was you know, way back in junior high so I'm I'm wondering if that's a week because I totally remember that album too. And I have the same feelings as you Yeah, it was, it was a pretty out there album, as far as different with all the, like, his synthesizers, or whatever he was using and it was was was pretty out there and cool. But yeah, I, I totally remember that. Oh,

Isaac Kuhlman 10:37
yeah. I know that it was on like, they released one of their videos on MTV, but it was like 120 minutes, so you only start at like, midnight or something like that. So I was like, yeah, let's stay up the midnight they're gonna release the new rentals, you know, whatever. It's like, Man, that is such a loser thing to do. But it was like, like, always excited to watch 120 minutes with Matt Pinfield. So then, let's talk about a little bit of a progression, right? So as you started getting older, you know, out of high school, into college, out of high school, or out of college, how did your musical tastes change? Because, you know, some of it doesn't like, I'll still say that. I have a theory that whatever you listen to in high school and college, basically, you'll listen to a lot of that for the most of the rest of your life. Right? So it's kind of ingrained in your DNA, but what kind of stuff started shaping you in those years?

Justin Jahr 11:25
Um, yeah, I would say those years I like musically, I really haven't matured at all, I've always kind of, like, honestly, I listened to the same shit that I did back then. I'm kind of a creature of habit, too. So it makes sense that, um, you know, when I find something I like, I don't I don't move away from it. But, you know, um, Blink came into play, and really opened up a lot of music that I didn't know about before, you know, saw Bad Religion open for them. Yeah. Yeah, we're did did you come with? Yep. Okay, yeah. In an old baseball stadium. Yeah. But anyway, that was the first that you know, that opened my eyes to Bad Religion. I've never really knew about them or heard of them before. And, you know, just a huge fan of them now, you know, like, just thinking about all this stuff they released. And I had no idea you know, back in the 90s and late 80s. And I love it now. But had no clue. back then.

Isaac Kuhlman 12:36
Yeah. Punk Rock peers. That's like, you know, those tweets when like Paul McCartney did a song with Kanye West and they were like, all these kids were like, Oh, it's so good of Kanye West to like, expose new artists and stuff like that is like Paul McCartney. Like he's not a new artist. It's kind of the same thing. We're like punk rock piercer like you had to go through blink wanting to be here Bad Religion. You're a shit punk rock band but we're from the Midwest man we didn't have all the connections that anybody else in California had.

Justin Jahr 13:01
No exactly and yeah, it kind of opened up all that Southern California skates skate punk type stuff like NOFX and Rancid you know all you know Pennywise and Offspring and those bands that kind of came up you know around that time to just really gravitated towards

Isaac Kuhlman 13:22
Yeah, yeah. For me, it was kind of I started transitioning a little bit away from punk because at that point, pop punk kind of became like this. Everybody had to have an annoying voice to kind of be in pop punk so bands like New Found Glory came in and I started liking my first but then they got really kind of repetitive in that and Jordan whatever his name from the band just his voice is kind of higher pitch and just kind of like that nasal use. So it's like that's how bands started to kind of come out and like you know, there's a lot of other bands I can't even think of another one off top my head like Simple Plan, for example. And I was just like, it seems like these adults are trying to act like little measly whiny kids. And I'm like, I'm gonna move away from punk for a little bit because I want to go out and see what the indie rock scene is. And that's why I started finding bands like Cursive, Portugal. The Man later on Minus the Bear a lot of these the bands Cage the Elephant stuff like this. But you know, these bands started getting really really big, kind of not maybe not Minus the Bear but Cage The Elephant and Portugal. The Man for sure, have gotten big over the last few years. And it turned indie rock into the new pop punk. So it's like, now all these bands and indie rock were getting really big. And I was like, Man, it's like the 90s all over again. Because like, I remember when we, we would like watch the Dammit video. We're like, dude, these guys are gonna be huge. I'm talking about that in a little bit. But, you know, with Blink-182, but let's kind of pause there because I think that's kind of us in the formative in our nutshells. So let's move on and let's talk about these punk punk rock compilation albums. This was another little side secret that we had a guess or you know that there was another connection that probably most people didn't pay attention these albums but for guys like us when we couldn't go to shows and see you know Bad Religion and Lagwagon and all these awesome bands kind of ripping through, you know every city in our state I remember like driving to Fargo you know overnight, like driving there and back from Mandan in that's like a three and a half hour drive back and forth and one night just to watch Reel Big Fish. I'm like, I don't want to do that every time I want to go see issue. But when we when we release, punk rock compilation albums came out, you know, we're talking about like, Punk O Rama, Fat Music for Fat People, and all the other Fat ones like Fat Music for whatever people is like now it's like Fat Music for Wrecked People is the newest one that came out. And, and even the Kung Fu Record compilations like No Stars Just Talent and all that stuff. I remember specifically buying the last one that no stars just talent for just the two Blink 182 songs on it. And then finding out that the Vandals were fucking amazing from that album I was like, who are the Vandals? These guys are awesome and I saw that we saw them on Warped Tour I was like dude, these guys fucking rock like so what what bands Did you see from any of those punk rock complicate complications complication compilations that you kind of either just learned about or got way more into from those things?

Justin Jahr 16:19
Yeah, I would say I definitely remember the Fat Music for Fat People they they came out with one quite often there was probably a year or something exactly yeah I remember I'm pretty sure that's how I found out about Lagwagon you know bands that are probably really didn't get into but still enjoyed like Bracket and Propaghandi were also really they had really good songs on on those compilations I remember and you know I think NOFX a lot of times puts like there besides or whatever on albums too so that was kind of cool to hear you know songs that you hadn't heard before.

Isaac Kuhlman 17:02
Yeah, we're like sometimes I put a cover up there something like that. Yeah, right exactly. Yeah, yeah, I remember you know, you said you know you didn't you didn't kind of get in a Bracket but I actually from those things I was like you Bracket's like one of the best bands on this album. Like I'm gonna go check them out and then kind of got into Bracket but I could never find a Bracket CD to buy and that was the only way to get into their music so I was like, give me more Bracket How do I get Bracket so like maybe I order one off of like their website or off of like the Fat Wreck Chords website at the time or something but literally it was like, impossible to there was no YouTube again, there was no streaming services. So like you had to go super far out of your way to hear more and more of these bands. And I think there was probably about a four year lag between me liking and finding bracket in the first place to me actually being able to purchase one of their CDs and I was like this is awesome. NOFX. Definitely I got more into them. I mean, I remember them releasing those songs like even I think they're even on the Punk O Rama ones Rancid as well. You know, I liked Rancid I like no effects. But I don't think I would have really got into them more. If I didn't hear more of them through me through these compilation albums. And Millencolin. That was a huge one like, yeah, how fucking depressing would it have been if we never heard of Millencolin?

Justin Jahr 18:17
Yeah, no, that's an awesome album. That one album they released. I can't remember I can picture my

Isaac Kuhlman 18:24
Pennybridge Pioneers, with Fox and No Cigar and stuff.

Justin Jahr 18:27
Yes, that was a classic that every every song front and back was great on that album.

Isaac Kuhlman 18:32
I agree. I just listened to her. like three days ago, I was like, wow, I forgot how I almost know all the words to every song and I haven't listened to this album in like, 20 some years. It's crazy. It's just that good. Yeah,

Justin Jahr 18:42
I agree.

Isaac Kuhlman 18:44
I don't actually I don't know if the record companies made like much money on those albums, or if the artist even got paid much for doing them. But I swear the lifetime value of like becoming a fan from just us buying those things, is well worth those artists appearing on those albums. Do you feel like, you know, any of those same thoughts about the conflict? Have you like, probably purchased more of their stuff and seen them more just because like, you you saw those albums?

Justin Jahr 19:07
Oh, I totally agree. Um, you know, I think, you know, kind of the same, you know, thing that you were saying that bands like Rancid, and NOFX I may have not even found out about or got into if, if we didn't have those compilations.

Isaac Kuhlman 19:22
Yeah. And we did our separate top 40 list and I think you put NOFX on your top 10 or I think I had them around my, my number 19 or 18 or something like that. So, I mean, these are bands that we've liked for our whole lives, and they're up there with the, you know, like most played bands that we've ever seen. I know I know, we saw them at some NOFX at a warp tour. We saw a lot of these bands at work tours and maybe we'll have you come back on and we'll talk about some of the festivals and stuff as well because that's equally an experience on its own for finding out more about new bands and stuff like that, but I do want to throw one more kind of Guess compilation into the mix here. It's not particularly a compilation but there are also soundtracks to like both movies and video games that were absolutely excellent back then as well I mean, I remember Mallrats having a great sound I remember like Weezer had a you know that that song Suzanne on there was like odd, okay like it and then like you know Sublime having Two Joints on there and some other bands being on there. And then obviously Tony Hawk Pro Skater was absolutely legendary, especially for punk rock. So do you have any thoughts about soundtracks that were kind of game changers for you?

Justin Jahr 20:33
Ya know, Suicide Machines comes to mind when you say, Tony Hawk Pro Skater at I don't know, you know, maybe I can't remember if it was Tony Hawk, or like you were talking about that the Warped Tour, you know, you find out bands going to festivals and stuff like that. Yeah. And um, yeah, but get back to your question. Yeah, I would say definitely find out about bands to through that way too. And the Suicide Machines comes to mind for sure.

Isaac Kuhlman 21:03
Yeah. Yeah. So all of this led up to you know, that late 90s push of that. meteoric rise of Blink 182 and this, you know, Green Day was like this monster at the time Green Day was the pop punk you know, best to ever do it essentially. I mean, no effects was in there, but they were underground right? So you see, like, we know of these bands, but these aren't mainstream bands. Green Day broke the mainstream thing wide open for punk rock. And, you know, then kind of Rancid kind of caught on to that. And some of these other bands kind of caught on to that, but only here and there. And then all of a sudden blink went to you know, I remember something to the effect of like, you know, after hearing damage, and that Dude Ranch album coming out, and we listened to that for frickin two summers in a row or whatever, before they launched animal estate. I remember thinking like, these guys should be as famous as boy bands at the time. Like why aren't these guys on MTV everyday like this is crazy. And it just felt like it was only a matter of time before they got famous. So like, you know, we we heard the song Dammit. Bought Dude Ranch I think all all of us. Basically every person that we knew that was like fans of like music like we like. And we went back listen to Cheshire Cat, listen to Buddha. And by the way, I still believe that to this day. That's the all time most best selling album on Kung Fu records is is buoyed by it because they actually released it after they kind of got big. So it was like, you know, they probably would have got 500,000 copies sold or something like that, which blows everything else out of the water on that one. But then basically, I remember even digging up like their demo, which was actually kind of good. It was like, like 10 or 11 songs. It was really, you know, crappy four track recording or something. But then obviously, Enema of the State came up, some things changed. Scott left the band. I didn't even hear why he left the band. You ever had to go look this up like recently, like a couple months ago?

Justin Jahr 22:52
Yeah, um, I guess I always knew it was something kinda I thought with his, you know, just drinking, I guess. That Yeah,

Isaac Kuhlman 23:01
yeah, so the story is, and I'm assuming this is true, cuz he got really drunk, jumped off the top of a house or something and broke both of his legs. So he couldn't drum when they were supposed to be in session for like recording. So that caused a lot of issues. And then yeah, he was, I guess, drinking a lot. But then then Travis Barker comes in. And there's a quote, and I have probably used this in multiple podcasts from now until the end of time. But there's a quote, I think it's attributed Buddy Rich, who's one of the ultimate legendary drummers of all time, he said something to the effect of an average. An average band, average drummer, in a great band will make a average sound, they'll sound average, but you know, a great drummer in an average band will make it sound great. So even if Blink 182 didn't get any better, and they didn't get any more legendary in terms of like what they were putting out. Just by adding a great drummer. Like literally that transformed what their music sounded like. And I remember just thinking like, oh, who's this new guy, Travis, but I we I knew of him from The Aquabats he was Baron Von Tito from The Aquabats I haven't had the thing when we met him and took pictures with him. I borrowed that from a friend of ours and got it signed by um, but you know, when they did that, you just knew like, as soon as you've heard what's my age again, you're like, oh shit like this. This is gonna be huge like soundtrack on summer. So from your perspective, what was that like? And how did that change your kind of view about punk music? I mean, it's now the most famous thing in the world at that point.

Justin Jahr 24:33
Yeah, so it's kind of a double edged sword right because you were talking about how you know we were listening to these guys and just was you know thought they were so great. But now we put out this killer record and everybody likes them too. And it's kind of like I don't know it's just it's it's not really yours to begin with but you just feel like oh man, like this was mine and and now it's everybody's that's more fair. Like I know about This guy's way before you Yeah. But it's just one of those albums kind of like Nevermind where it's just, you know, people say music changes your life and I don't really know what that means, but it's kind of like, it's kind of like something like it doesn't really change your life, but it's just like it's just one of those times where you look back on your life and you just, it's just you remember exactly what was happening. I remember going into that what I don't remember the records what it was called, but it was that strip mall right by the Civic Center. We went in by the Enema of the State record. Yeah. And yeah, we listened to it all summer. It it just yeah, it. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. I guess it was unbelievable.

Isaac Kuhlman 25:49
Yeah, I remember we even went to a concert A few months later. This was a cover band in North Dakota. It was like a shift. I can't remember the guys name. It is the legendary, you know, guy that does cover music. And they do it for like a summer concert series. And we were there we were wasted. I mean, this is like right after high school. Oh, my God is like, and they're playing All The Small Things. And you're just like screaming, you got your backwards baseball cap on. You're like, no, stop, stop, and they think somebody hurt or somebody's dying. And they're like, hold on, hold on, hold on, stop, stop, stop. And they stopped the whole show. And they're like, what's up? And you're like, No, you can't play this is this is Blink-182 song and they're like, oh, okay, well, we're gonna play it too. And then they just started playing, but I was like, what an absolute jackass.

Justin Jahr 26:42
Oh, no. It's a total cringe worthy moment. Like, yeah, you tell that story. And it's just like, man, yep. jackass is a great way to describe it. But yeah, no, I was totally set on stopping this guy from playing my favorite band song because I thought in my head, only they could play it. And like he said, more than one or two cans of confidence in me, I'm sure. And yeah, stop them. And that's exactly what I said to him. You can't play Blink 182 only Blink 182 complete Blink 182. And he just goes, Oh, we're gonna play to just like, like you said, and I continued and yeah, I look like a total jackass.

Isaac Kuhlman 27:23
Yeah, never every year, I just remember looking at you and like, everybody around is just like, what an absolute idiot. What else I mean, I still remember to this day. So it was it was worth worth the memory.

Justin Jahr 27:36
I'm glad I could amuse you.

Isaac Kuhlman 27:40
And obviously, this leads me to our final topic that you know, it's a little bit of a treat for the viewers because I don't I haven't actually shared who I am really with anybody. But it's kind of I'm leaking it through all the episodes bit by bit so they can piece it all together later. But we were such big fans of punk music that we actually went and started our own pop punk band called Five Star. I mean, that was not the only name we went through quite a few different names. Pen 15, Kindergarten Ashtrays was thrown around

Justin Jahr 28:08
I forogt about that one. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 28:11
But that was a name we settled on was five star and you played bass in it. Originally, you were the singer. We kind of brought you in a singer and we had a different bass player. And that we actually have recording of that which is I still I still love going back to that because you have so much energy as a singer that like, like you didn't care if he like you sang well, as long as you like, it's kind of like Dickie bear from mighty mighty bosstones. He's not a fantastic singer. He's kidding, he can sing. But it's more about the energy and the, the what he's saying and so's is awesome to have you on there because you're just like, you know, a 300 pound gorilla just like going up and be like, wow, like, this is awesome. Because at the time, I didn't have all the confidence in the world, or even the skill to be able to play guitar and sing all the songs. So that's why I was like, I'm looking for a singer. And so we transitioned to you to bass. And I thought I just want to get your thoughts on like, what's your memories? How do you feel like that band was I How did your you know what was your your experience going from singing and playing bass? And just how did you think that the music stacked up as far as being good, bad or awful?

Justin Jahr 29:17
Yeah, um, so I remember when we when we first started. Yeah, my my singing and it was mainly a lot of we did a lot of covers. Before we really are you actually started writing like our music that we would put out there eventually. But I just wanted it was just cool to be in a band right? And just, I like you said, I'm, I'm pretty introverted even back then. And now I know myself more and I know I'm introverted. But getting on a stage. Like that whole persona is gone. I guess it just feels you just get energy from playing in front of people, whether it's five people cheering you on, or you know, I probably had our most maybe 30 people.

Isaac Kuhlman 30:09
Battle of bands at our high school auditorium with three or 400 people in

Justin Jahr 30:12
there. That's true. Yeah. Those

Isaac Kuhlman 30:16
are our own shows. Yeah, definitely. 30 people is probably the most.

Justin Jahr 30:20
Um, yeah, um, but, you know, just saying I knew I wasn't good but didn't really care. I just you know, it was was having fun and wait, you know, it's not like we're out to make money just having fun. And then I do remember the transition with with the bass. With Blake with Blake. Yeah, he's, he was kind of an odd duck, right? I mean, um,

Isaac Kuhlman 30:51
his dad was growing up to be a dentist. He obviously wasn't going to be in a band for his life. It was just kind of something we talked him into. I think more than anything, but calm.

Justin Jahr 31:02
He had a bass right? Basically, I

Isaac Kuhlman 31:04
think we made him by one because he got an electro bass guitar and yeah,

Justin Jahr 31:08
okay, okay. Um, yeah, but anyway, um, yeah, that was an awkward because it's not like we didn't like the guys just kind of you know, transition. I came over I think and I I bought a brand new base and I got a bass amps. practicing with you guys. What's good, you know? But anyway, um,

Isaac Kuhlman 31:35
he's gonna love it. If he hears this episode.

Justin Jahr 31:37
I yeah, yeah, I'm just like I have, but he is a dentist now

Isaac Kuhlman 31:42
actually, yeah, he's owns his own practice. If I'm not mistaken. That's right. Feil Orthodontics if you want to check it out.

Justin Jahr 31:50
But, um, so, you know, bass, bass was, um, I'm not, I don't know how I learned to play bass is just basically I followed your power chords, wherever you were. On the guitar, I kind of followed on bass. It's not like we are composing most Mozart or anything like that. It was, you know, quick, fast music. But that was, that was a lot of fun back then thinking, you know, all those times we had playing in front of people and just, just practice was was an awesome time, just, you know, rocking out with with all of us together. Took a majority. I mean, that's how we spent a lot of time back then.

Isaac Kuhlman 32:32
Yeah. It's funny, because I think the most talented person, person in our band was probably Jay. And he kind of just took a backseat and just like, let me lead the band, because I'm like, the most passionate about making the music and Jays, like, over here, like, I can play piano, trumpet drums, and do all this stuff. I'm like, I can barely play guitar and sing like, that's cool.

Justin Jahr 32:53
Yeah, and I'm, I'm no bass player. I was basically, it was pretty easy to pick up. And it was, we just had a blast doing it. I remember that.

Isaac Kuhlman 33:03
Yeah, playing all those extra sessions in Jay's, grandma's grandma's garage and stuff. So I do remember one of the funniest situations of the band. And this actually led to the naming of our album. Basically, we're in practice at Jay's grandma's garage, or their grandparents garage, and he was the drummer. And something was often the timing and I was playing a song and singing, it could just feel something wasn't. Something was off. And I just stopped and I said, Jay, you're a beat off. I got your beat off Jay, like, what do you do? And he's like, I'm not gonna beat off your a beat off. And then we both looked over at you and you're just like, laughing your ass off because we realized, oh, you're talking about like, masturbating, like I'm gonna be off, you're a beat up. So we're like, fuck it. When we were actually recording the album. We're like, well, we're going to call it and I just remembered that that scenario happening is like, why don't we call it I'm A Beat Off? You're a Beat Off. And that's what stuck. I feel like it's one of the best musical pawns and inside jokes combined.

Justin Jahr 34:01
Yeah, I definitely remember that. And yeah, speaking of Jays, grandma's garage, just that brings back a whole ton of other memories. Hanging out there a lot, but

Isaac Kuhlman 34:14
recording music video and all sorts of stuff like that. Exactly.

Justin Jahr 34:18
Exactly. Yeah. But no, that was, that was so great. I don't think you guys you guys had no clue what you were saying. You're just calling each other beat offs at the top of your lungs. And I was just over there laughing my ass off.

Isaac Kuhlman 34:33
Yeah, I will say that I probably only have two regrets about our band. One. At one point, Jay mentioned that. We knew Duck Dodger, which was a band from our band from across the river in Bismarck, I believe but they actually were supposed to be playing a show with MxPX in South Dakota. Do you remember this? Because I mentioned it to Jay and he had no recollection of this.

Justin Jahr 34:54
I don't know. Okay, so

Isaac Kuhlman 34:56
at one point, Jay came to both of us and said hey, Dakota. Roger is going to be playing for MX PX and Pierre South Dakota, like two Tuesdays from now. And he's like, Duck Dodger was asking if we were interested because they were asked to find, like a an opener. And Duck Dodger was the supporting band. And I was like, I don't give a shit. Like, let's go, let's do it. And you guys are both like, no way. Like we can't. First of all, we are seniors. So like, Why the fuck not like, like, it's a Tuesday who gives a shit about a Wednesday? Like, nothing's gonna happen on that Wednesday. But you guys are like, No, we can't miss school. You are definitely like, I'm not gonna ask my mom. I'm like, Sandy won't give a shit. Just Let's go. But yeah, you're like, I'm not gonna ask my mom to like, take a night off of school to go down to Pierre South Dakota with, you know, a couple of 18 year old like us. Like for you guys. It was an I knew Jean Jean. warrants are gonna be like, absolutely no way. I'm like, that's why you don't ask just somewhere else. But yeah, so that got kyboshed. And I was like, I wish that we would have done that. Even if we just said yes. And even if we didn't get it, but we didn't even say yes, we just, I think he just never went back to him. Which was one of my biggest regrets. Because I think that would have been an eye opening experience playing for a bigger band like that. Just one night one random night in our, in our lives. So that was my one of my biggest regrets. I can't believe like, neither of you guys seem to remember this at all. Because you had no, you had no reservations. Like you weren't going to do it.

Justin Jahr 36:29
Yeah. That sounds like something definitely that would have. There's no way I would have been able to do that. With my mom at the time. I doubt she would have let me go by myself for one. And then yeah, but I yeah, MXPX. I can't believe that. That was a definite No, so fast. That's kind of that is kind of surprising.

Isaac Kuhlman 36:53
Yeah, I was, I think there was a little bit of like, could we do it? And then you're like, Well, I'm not gonna ask my mom and Jay was the same. He's like, I'm not gonna ask my parents. I'm like, we can do it. Just say yes. Now and we'll figure it out or something. And you guys are just like, Nah, like, the only other regret I probably have is just like just saying, fuck college. Like, let's go out and play for years a band and see what happens and, and, and just see what goes on. Because, you know, at that point, I would have just loved to keep playing music for like two or three years just to see what would have happened because we were kind of getting on a roll. You ever kind of look back at that and think, you know what, maybe we should have given this a shot.

Justin Jahr 37:33
Yeah, cuz I think I would have been totally open to it. Because I didn't really commit to a college until later in my senior year. Really? I had Yeah, I was gonna go to the community college there in Bismarck for a while until I kind of sat back and thought about it, but um, yeah, I think I think you know, it would have been a lot of fun.

Isaac Kuhlman 37:58
Yeah, well, I think this is the 20th anniversary of our album, actually.

Justin Jahr 38:02
Is it Yeah, I think like a year after we graduated you said that song? Yeah, that's

Isaac Kuhlman 38:07

Justin Jahr 38:08

Isaac Kuhlman 38:09
20 years ago Wow. Great, I was gonna actually do a music video for astronaut like I was gonna get animated because I like that's like the best story on the album. And I was looking at costs and I was like, I'm not gonna do that for like four grand now but if anybody out there is willing to animate the five minute video absolutely hit me up I'll look into it because this is it's a great little song. Probably the most professional sounding song or most kind of radio ready I guess the rest are all pop punk. That one's kind of more like a rock song. But yeah, that was I really wanted to do that and be like 20th anniversary reissue like remaster and all stuff. And I was like, that's so expensive and so time consuming. So I was like, I didn't do it but

Justin Jahr 38:56
Oh, man, I would have been great.

Isaac Kuhlman 38:57
Would have been awesome. Yeah, I will say one of the craziest things and this is another random memory I have of that band was we played a show and this was in Bismarck. And it was completely random because we got put together with this band who you might not even remember this because it seems like a dream. I'm like I don't even know how we met these guys. I don't know how we got put on to show with them. But they were like probably two three years older than us. And they were like straight up like Mohawks and like spiked leather jackets kind of guys and you know, they played just like thrash punk like just like every song was like they're just hammering on the snare and the hi hat with an open hi hat the whole time. And we played the show and I believe was after the show. We ended up going back to like, their house or their band house or something like that. It was just like, Pabst Blue Ribbon everywhere. Probably marijuana and drugs. I don't even know I wasn't really paying attention but I'm just like, we're literally like, you know, pretty clean cut guys, and I know you had the Tom DeLonge thing going on at the time, like, you were like painting your fingernails and stuff like that look like an emo kid. So I'm like, how are we even like that, like, This is so weird that like music can bring these totally different types of people together. And we ended like shotgunning beers with these guys. But I'm like, I think we left a little early because we felt we might get murdered. If we stuck around too long. You remember that band?

Justin Jahr 40:23
Yeah, that was I don't remember the band. But I kind of remember being at that party now that you mentioned. Because Yeah, it was so odd. And we were and I definitely felt out of place.

Isaac Kuhlman 40:36
But I was like, these people look like they're about to shoot heroin. And I don't think I want to be around.

Justin Jahr 40:43
That was probably what was that? The Bean? Is that what that place was called?

Isaac Kuhlman 40:48
It wasn't for that show. But it was for a different show in Bismarck at like some random like, VFW? Well, exactly, like one of them holes or something like that. Yeah,

Justin Jahr 40:56
that's and that's I think, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Isaac Kuhlman 40:59
I do remember playing that coffee shop at the bean though. That was interesting. venue. And then we wrote a song about killing people at The Bean later.

Justin Jahr 41:09
Oh, boy. Yeah.

Isaac Kuhlman 41:11
So yeah, I mean, that's pretty much it. I think. I think it's been always it's always good to have a kind of trip down memory lane, but I'll definitely bring you back for some more, you know, entertainment conversations. Maybe we'll have some shots on air next time. And I'll end up throwing up in a wastebasket or something like that. But, you know, I think that's all I got. So I want to thank you, obviously, for joining me. Did you have anything that you want to part, you know, just parting words for any aspiring punk rock fans? Or, you know, anybody in the Midwest who might struggle to actually listen to good music? Because that's where we grew up, and you're still there? I mean, you moved out of their small town, but you're still in the Midwest? Yeah.

Justin Jahr 41:48
And you put me on the spot here to give some words of wisdom. I can barely met navigate my own life. But let's see here. Oh,

Isaac Kuhlman 41:57
I made it this far in life. So that's

Justin Jahr 42:01
No, I mean, you know, angst all about you be you. Right? Like, whatever makes you feel good. You should do it. And if it's not like other people, then you know, so be it. But uh, I would say to any aspiring artist out there just yeah, just just keep going at it and do whatever feels good to you.

Isaac Kuhlman 42:23
Yeah, don't Don't, don't let your other bandmates say no, just replace him.

Justin Jahr 42:30
Go to Pierre, South Dakota yourself and open for an XPS.

Isaac Kuhlman 42:34
Like, this looks pretty awkward. There's supposed to be a bass riff here. So drum solo What the fuck? Yeah. Yeah. So I think that's that's pretty good word of advice, because I think especially in towns that are so clicky and so like, you have to, like stick to one kind of, you know, you know, type of social environment. You know, punk music comes in there, and it makes it like the epitome of punk music is kind of rebel against stuff, right? I will say that there's a lot of conformity in that nonconformity. Though, like, all those people end up wearing the exact same clothes. It's like, you're just wearing a punk uniform now, like, that's not what punk shows to be right. But like, that's how it ends up being. So like, I'll see like pictures of people who are punk. And I'm like, you look like everybody else. You don't have to have 1000 tattoos, and a spiked leather jacket to be punk. Like, you just have to have the mindset and the freedom to be able to express yourself in different ways. And you can do that. I think that's pretty good way to go in your life. And don't feel like you have to dress up to play, play the punk rock like so. I want to thank obviously my lifelong friend Justin Jahr, for joining the show today. And I think we should do this again soon, because I feel like we only scratched the surface on the past. We can also spend more time talking about present day bands as well. Oh, and as a special treat, I'm going to put a link to the Five Star album I'm a Beat Off? You're A Beat Off! in the show notes below this. So if you hate it, that's pretty expected. But if you like it, well, we're happy that you know someone other than ourselves does so awesome. If you like what you heard on the show today, make sure to subscribe to the podcast and share it with your friends on social media. Also, if you want to check out some of our written content, or any of the products or merch that we have available, go to Power BI to read our absolutely free rocking blog full of album reviews, interviews and lists to keep you entertained and find our gear as well so you can pick up some items to play and look like a rock legend. That's our show for today. We'll see you soon for the next episode. Until then, rock on. 

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