Emerging from the prominent East Coast hardcore scene (New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia), Philadelphia-based Black Cherry Soda has exploded into the pop-punk scene with a sound fusing the energy of hardcore punk with smooth harmonies, straight-up lyrics and melodies to hum in the shower. For the past six years, brothers Dan (vocals) and Tim (drums) Rauter, along with Scott Tyson (guitar) and Dave Calamaro (bass) have managed to combine a love for life with a love for people and a desire to spread the joy of being a Christian. The result...their Bulletboy debut release Back on the Map.
A lot has happened since the first BCS basement practice sometime back in the summer of 1990. Here are a few of their highlights:
- 1991 - 15 song demo Interesting Life of Mine
- 1992 - demo charts on regional radio in top 10
- 1993 - 7 song EP "Chew Your Cud"
- 1994 - Split 7" with Crux on Boot-to-Head Records
- 1995 - 14 song album Grin on VIA/Swirle Records
- 1997 - 12 song album Colin recorded on Bulletboy
- 1998 - Back on the Map released on Bulletboy Music
While playing extensively in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, BCS has played with the following bands: Prayer Chain, Morella's Forest, Hoi Polloi, MxPx, Ghoti Hook, One 21, Stavesacre, Pennywise, Sometime Sunday, DPW, Speedy Delivery, Puller, among others.
"BCS is four Christian guys who love people, love music, and above all, love Christ. In a scene dominated by so much depression and negativity, loneliness and insecurity, we are trying to show by our music (as well as by example) that all people have tremendous value. God loves us and has offered to save us in spite of ourselves. That is the most amazing thing in the world," affirms Dan Rauter. "While encouraging Christian youth to stand steadfast in Christ, we also hope our music can break down preconceptions and stereotypes among non-Christians. Additionally, playing at shows not only enables us to encourage others, but also gives us the opportunity to be encouraged by those we meet. We have had excellent Christ-centered fellowship with many of the bands and individuals at concerts. This interaction has been, and will always be, a highlight for us."
Having grown up during the 80's punk scene, B.C.S. is no stranger to the hardcore scene, its beliefs or its sound. Drawing from the likes of such hardcore greats as 7 Seconds, Fugazi, Dag Nasty, and Minor Threat, B.C.S. adopts a "straight-edge" stance. The straight-edge movement advocates a substance-free lifestyle, brotherly love between people of all races, and monogamous relationships.
As a band of Christian brothers, the "straight-edge" approach is combined with Christian values and woven into B.C.S.'s songs. B.C.S. sees its music as a step towards planting the seeds of God's love and eternal gift. Recognizing the hatred and bitterness prevalent within today's hardcore scene, Black Cherry Soda uses its music as a source of hope and encouragement. Having played both Christian and secular venues, B.C.S. sees its role as not only an entertainer, but also a means to spread God's hope to the unsaved.
"From the start, we had never really considered our songs to be much of anything," states lead singer Dan. "We just enjoyed playing them and were surprised to learn that other people liked them as well. For us, playing was a chance to regress into adolescence, back when punk was cool, actually meant something, and skinheads weren't Nazis. Having all grown up in the East Coast hardcore scene, we just enjoyed playing songs that reminded us of our past and made us thankful for the present."
"BCS sees its role not only to entertain, but to spread God's message of love and hope to the unsaved, through its down-to-earth messages, allowing God to work on those hearts that He has prepared," Dan continues. "BCS is not a preachy band. We are not better than anyone else. We are not rock 'n roll stars. We just love people, love each other, and love music. In a scene dominated by depression, loneliness and insecurity, we are trying to show by example as well as music, that all people have tremendous value, especially to God. God loves us in spite of ourselves. That to me is the most amazing thing in the whole world!"
Fugazi, Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, ALL, Nobody Special, Altar Boys, Blenderhead