Guitar riffs and screams filled the Molotov Skateshop garage as it hosted the final send-off for Bowling Green punk rock band, Rat Piss, before the band changed its name to Black Forces. Its first show under their new name will be this month at Portal in Louisville.
Black Forces’ members include drummer and Molotov Shop owner Michael Portugal; guitarist and freelance musician Brayden Conrad; bassist and barista Matt McNally; and lyricist, vocalist and mixed martial arts fighter Derik Overstreet. Following the name change, guitarist and Music Production Centre player Dallas Hurst joined the band.
Rat Piss was originally formed when Overstreet and Portugal met at a local protest organized by Bowling Green For Peace. Through these events, Portugal and Overstreet decided to start a band.
The band first performed in early 2022. Since then, Rat Piss has put on shows in cities such as Paducah, Lexington and Louisville.
“It Only Gets Worse” features songs like “Friends” and “Flag Waiver”. Conrad said that Rat Piss’ musical sound was instrumental, and the band experimented with heavy vocals.
However, the band members decided their branding needed to change. Overstreet felt that under the name “Rat Piss,” the band wasn’t being taken seriously.
“I talk about some heavy topics in my lyrics,” Overstreet said. “I feel like the overall message was being lost.”
The band has created a community that takes a creative stand for human rights in America. “Friends” and “Flag Waiver” discuss topics such as race, sexuality and politics.
When it comes to what human rights the band stands for, Portugal said it would be easier to describe what they don’t stand for.
“We live in the South. It’s riddled with racism, bigots, homophobia and a lot of injustice,” Portugal said.
Portugal said attendees and visitors will not find this behavior when they come to a concert or to the Molotov Skateshop. Portugal said they are looking forward to hosting more live shows at Molotov Skateshop and in different cities.
“I care way more about the live shows than anything we put out recording wise,” Overstreet said.
Rat Piss’ music inspired concert attendees to sing along and join in mosh pits, where dancers moshed, an extreme style of dancing where dancers push or slam into each other. At the October show, band members frequently joined in the pit, creating an interactive experience for concertgoers.
Despite renaming, Portugal said they will continue to make music that reflects their stance on human rights. When asked if the sound of the music is changing, Overstreet described that it will focus more on “powerviolence.”
“Rat Piss had a lot more doom sound, like a lot more buildup,” Conrad said. “Black Forces just doesn’t have that.”
Overstreet said that powerviolence takes the more directly abrasive and dissonant aspects of heavy punk and isolates them. He said that they want their music to reflect the message in the songs.
“We’re switching from upset to anger,” Overstreet said. “Because if you can’t have anger, then you can’t have action.”
Overstreet said that he did not expect Rat Piss to end up like this. When it comes to having advice for people wanting to start a band, Overstreet said to just do it.
“You gotta be prepared to suck at something,” Conrad said. “It doesn’t matter where you start at; it matters how good you get.”
Black Forces will hold a concert at Portal in Louisville on Friday, Nov. 17.