One element of Off With Their Heads’ ever-shifting lineup has always remained constant: Ryan Young, the guitarist and vocalist at the heart of the long-touring punk rock group.
On Thursday, Off With Their Heads will play an acoustic show at PK’s in Carbondale in support of their 2016 record, “Won’t Be Missed.” The show will also feature opening acts by folk-punk artist Seth Anderson, stand-up comedian JT Habersaat and local punk group 7Daze.
Young, a Minneapolis native, said his acoustic shows have evolved into laid-back performances resembling comedy shows. “I was really nervous to get in front of people with just a non-distorted instrument,” he said. “I think I've conquered that fear, and that's a good feeling.”
The show begins at 9 p.m. Thursday at PK's, 308 S. Illinois Ave. Admission is free.
The Southern caught up with Young last week over email.
Have you ever been through Carbondale before?
YOUNG: Yep! We used to play down there all the time in the early days. I would say we have stopped through five or six times. It's been a while though. Just hasn't made sense with how busy we have been and routing issues and all that.
I wanted to ask about your voice. You’ve got this great punk-rock growl with a lot of power; it’s also really melodically expressive. But I imagine you must put a lot of stress on it, especially with how often you guys tour. Tell me about your relationship to your voice — how you take care of it, what it means to you as an instrument, that kind of thing.
YOUNG: I used to lose my voice constantly. It was mostly due to not drinking enough water and drinking too much alcohol. We like to "enjoy" ourselves a bit too much sometimes. The only thing that keeps it going night after night is a gallon of water a day and as much sleep as I can muster. I also found a sweet spot between what you call a growl and actual singing. It took a learning curve, but I've figured out how to keep it in action. I hate when it gets weak. I like to accent certain lines in songs. When it's blown out, I feel like it loses that power.
I’ve heard great things about your mental health-focused podcast, "Anxious and Angry." Can you tell me the story of how you were first inspired to create it?
YOUNG: It came from people coming up to me and either telling me that they relate to the content of the lyrics, or asking me for advice. Now when someone comes up to me at a show and wants to talk about something serious, I get a little weird. It's just not the time and place to take something SO heavy so seriously. I want to, but it's just not a good setting. So between that and the fact that I needed my own personal therapy sessions, I created the podcast. It was a great way for me to figure out my own problems by having guests of mine talk about theirs. Then those people that come up to me at shows can also write in and get our take on things. Even though I know our advice isn't always as sound as it probably should be, it's sometimes just helpful for people to know that we all have our own problems and they aren't alone with theirs. Up to 178 episodes as of this! Pretty cool.
Has the podcast influenced your other work?
YOUNG: I wouldn't say so. It's definitely its own thing. I hope that it influences people to do their own thing and to pursue interests of theirs, but it doesn't really play a part in anything I create personally.
After this leg of the tour wraps up, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
YOUNG: I'm going to focus all of my energy on a new record, the podcast and my website. That and try to make sure the important relationships I have are as healthy as they can be. I don't have as much interest in long touring for the time being. I finally have a bit of a home life and it's really nice. I'd like to not blow it!