Nov 032005
Authors: Dominic Graziano

Check out Heartfelt Bastard Tonight at The Starlight Theatre with Bill The Welder. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the price is a mere $5 for over 21 and $7 for under.

Some would argue that punk rock is all about certain ideals like positive thinking, making changes and educating listeners. But not Heartfelt Bastard.

No, they would rather drink a couple beers and have a good time.

"We don't have a message, we just like to have fun," said Brad Cross.

Along with Cross on vocals, Heartfelt Bastard is made up of junior Spanish major Matt Wildhagen on bass, Psychology alumnus Ryan Heller on guitar and Jamie Lucas on drums.

Since they formed in 2003, the members of Heartfelt Bastard have been bringing their fun-loving style of punk rock not just to Colorado, but as far as California, New Mexico and Arizona.

Last summer's tour, which brought the band out West, included a pool party at a Day's Inn in Phoenix.

"He got [those] scars from fighting a polar bear," said Cross, pointing at Lucas' upper leg.

"We were [actually] jumping onto a plastic table in a pool," Lucas said. "The table must have been 40 feet from the edge when I [jumped] through it and cut my leg."

"Then he went swimming in the ocean and the cuts got green and infected," added Wildhagen.

The boys of Heartfelt Bastard got a taste of the touring life with their trip out West, but they still love Fort Collins.

"I moved up here to go to school," Heller said. "The rest is history."

Wildhagen shares Heller's fondness.

"We're all pretty broke, but we can still afford to live here," he said. "And Fort Collins has a lot of cool [venues]."

Heartfelt Bastard has played numerous shows at Surfside 7 and The Starlight. But it isn't just venues that bring the Bastards to Fort Fun's masses; they will just as soon set up their gear in living rooms and backyards.

"House parties are good because everyone kisses your ass 'cause you were just playing," Cross said.

"[At] this one house party I played bass naked," Wildhagen said.

"Actually he was playing in flippers and a smile," Cross said. "Halfway through our set some girl took pictures of him."

"[The pictures] were probably on the Internet in 20 min," Heller said.

It was that caliber of stage presence that helped Heartfelt Bastard win an award for Superior Showmanship in the Front Magazine.

"I hate going to a show and seeing four bands that you can't tell the difference between," Lucas said.

"There's a problem with not enough people having a good time," added Wildhagen. "It's because of an over saturated market."

"I really don't like [what] punk has turned to," Cross said.

Cross added he misses bands like Screeching Weasel and the Methadones, two of his major influences.

Lucas said bands like Alkaline Trio influenced him, while Wildhagen is a fan of The Broadways and Dillinger Four.

Heller's musical tastes aren't exactly in tune with the rest of the band's.

"I've [been] listening to Billy Joel's greatest hits lately," he said. "I can sing all his songs."

"I think we can agree as a group our favorite band is us," Wildhagen said.

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