Denver Punk Act the Losers Club Was Born by a Vegas Men's Room

The Losers Club came together during the pandemic, and it's ready to dazzle full-capacity crowds.
Chris Tracy
The Losers Club came together during the pandemic, and it's ready to dazzle full-capacity crowds.
Guitarist Cass Braido and bassist Tristin Pounders, from Denver punk outfit The Losers Club, both found early inspiration in Green Day’s 2004 return-to-form record American Idiot.

“I remember where I was the first time I heard it,” Braido recalls. “My grandma had a CD of all the songs that were up for the Grammys that year. It was a CD, which makes me feel old, which is silly. She put it on in the car and ‘American Idiot’ came on. I was like, ‘Whoa, whatever that is, I’m about it.’”

Pounders also remembers digging American Idiot as a young kid and listening to the album to and from school and while he sat in the library.

“I had a Walkman and the headphones you put around your head,” he says. “I had that album from Green Day. I used to listen to American Idiot and walk down the street pretending I was Billie Joe Armstrong, like I was a little rock star. I was like nine.”

Despite the influence, Braido and Pounders both insist the Green Day influence is not why they decided to pursue a pop-punk three piece. They just couldn’t find anyone else to join up, Braido jokes. Both say they want the band to be a serious music project and not just a reason to hang out, drink beer, get high and maybe play a song or two. Finding like-minded musicians hasn't been easy.

The music they’ve made in their short time together sounds like the logical extension of the early 2000s pop punk that influenced the songs, though the band is still grappling with how it talks about its style. (Post pop punk, anybody?)

“We had a conversation the other day,” Braido says. “I don’t even know what we do really. Like, it’s a rock band, I guess. … But it’s super down with the 2000s pop-punk stuff. … When we first started doing it, we talked about doing it like pop punk.”

Like more than a few rock bands, the Losers Club nods to horror master Stephen King. The band name pays homage to the club of misfits in Stephen King’s It (even if it's seven kids in the book's club) and continues a long tradition of bands inspired by the horror master. At least one other punk band, melodic hardcore outfit Pennywise, takes its name from the book's freaky shapeshifting clown monster. And AC/DC released an entire soundtrack album named after King’s directorial debut, the genuinely awful machines-are-going-to-kill-us-all flick Maximum Overdrive.

The Losers Club is a relatively new band, born on the floor of a Las Vegas casino in 2019, in front of a men's room, when Braido and Pounders were visiting Sin City with mutual friends.

“We are standing in a casino outside of a bathroom, and I’m showing him demos on my phone,” Braido recalls. “Ultimately, we decided to buckle down and do it late in the pandemic, like in September of last year.”

The two eventually recruited drummer Cade Ralston on Craigslist. They immediately knew he was their guy upon hearing him play.

“This kid just showed up for an audition and happened to be the best drummer in the world,” Braido says. “And he’s a super cool guy. He’s going to get mad at me for saying that he’s the best drummer in the world, but that’s fine.”

The band has released three singles, available on Spotify, and plans to record more at The Spot Studios, in Evergreen, this summer.

The trio played a handful of shows last year, no small feat for a nascent punk band in the midst of a global pandemic that wreaked havoc on live music everywhere. Braido says that for one of its first gigs, the band had friends spam a local venue that was soliciting ideas for bands to play its stage over Instagram. It was a devious tactic, for sure, but it produced results.

“I don’t want to oversell it,” he says. “But it was like thirty or forty people submitted… We ended up getting booked to play.”

The show was socially distanced per pandemic rules — not the perfect scenario for punk rock, which thrives in a sea of jostling bodies. The band will take to the stage again at Lost Lake on Thursday, July 8. The upcoming performance should come closer to that punk show we’ve been yearning for the past eighteen months, and Braido and Pounders say they like to think they've developed good stage banter to get the crowd involved.

“It’s full capacity,” Pounders says. "It’s wide open, and you can get up close to the stage, which will be the first time in a year we’ve played like that. We are super excited to see if we can get it sold out.”

They have donned bunny suits in the past, but they say that was a one-off thing for Easter. At least one of the suits was burned after the performance, but they have gotten several requests to perform in nothing but a one-tube sock a piece, a la '90s era Red Hot Chili Peppers. So anything is possible.

“We try our best to not be too inappropriate,” Pounders says. “We walk a fine line.”

“If you brought your kid, the parents probably wouldn’t be stoked, but the kids would love it,” Braido adds. “I wouldn’t invite my grandparents.”

Hear more from the Losers Club on Spotify. The band takes the stage with Years Down at 8 p.m. on July 8, at Lost Lake, 3602 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets start at $13 plus fees and are available at Eventbrite.