As an adolescent, I distinctly remember hearing the sounds of Punchline’s 2003 album Action, seeping through the walls of my teenage sister’s bedroom. “Heart Transplant” was forever sewn into my heart with the admiration for my cool big sister and her very rad music taste. The harmonies were infectious, the bouncy pop-punk anthem perfect for singalongs.
I grew up to be a teenager in a pop-punk/easycore band and continued listening to 37 Everywhere, Just Say Yes and Delightfully Pleased. My bandmates and I geeked out at the chance to play a gig with them in Jeanette, PA. Imagine, high schoolers playing with a band that was a core part of the early 2000s pop-punk sound that sparked emo and pop-punk nostalgia dance parties across the country.
Little did we know, Punchline had been just like us. A band formed in high school in a garage, writing ska and punk songs as a three-piece, figuring it out as they went. In fact, July 8th, the day of the band’s 20th anniversary show, coincides with the date of the band’s very first practice.
“I don’t know why, but our friend came over and filmed our first practice. We could have had that practice and it fizzled out, but the fact we have that is super embarrassing,” says vocalist and guitarist Steve Soboslai, “[In the video] I’m wearing a Hard Rock Cafe shirt, middle-parted bowl cut, jumping off time while playing ska upstrokes.”
That footage may never see the light of day, and the band may write off its first five years as the awkward, cutting-of-teeth phase. But, the band largely stuck together, even through various lineup changes.