To say this has been a trying summer for Pennsylvania punk band Handguns would be an understatement.
“Touring has been total hell,” said founder and guitarist Jake Langley. “My singer quit, our drummer quit, we got a new drummer, he quit, and somehow, we are still here. I don’t know. We have had to find a singer, three new drummers and a new van, but we’ve gotten by.”
For all the behind-the-scenes disasters, the shows themselves have gone quite well, thanks. The group, whose take on pop-flavored punk falls somewhere between Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory, has found itself in between road stints and dates on the Warped Tour, the Holy Grail for bands of this sort.
That’s the most Langley could have hoped for when he quit his day job to start Handguns in 2008.
“The job I got just made me miserable. It all came to a head, and I knew I couldn’t do that job shit anymore,” he said. “I knew I had to do this.”
It was never a matter of not wanting to work hard. Langley puts in long hours to ensure progress; despite numerous lineup changes even before this tumultuous summer, Handguns has managed to put out two, seven-song EPs in as many years between relentless tour schedules. At least the writing part came easy.
Somehow, we are still here.
“Bands who wait five years between recordings, that’s annoying,” Langley said. “Maybe it’ll be harder when we record a full-length, but we’ve never had no ideas; it hasn’t happened yet.”
Handguns are hesitant to try and take advantage of each passing hot sound of the moment to speed its advancement. Arguably, its brand of pop punk saw its heyday nearly a decade ago, but equal parts nostalgia and fondness keep them plugging away at it.
“Trends are going to come and go,” Langley said. “As long as you are playing what you want to play, people will recognize.”
The group seems resilient in its fight for survival, come hell or high water.
“For me, this is the only thing I’m good at, even kind of good at,” Langley said. “I’m sure at some point, I’ll be done with this and start selling fireworks out of a shed on the side of the road in Nebraska, but for now, I’ve got this. Going home is never in my mind. It’s keep going. It’s always keep going.”