Strung Out turned 20 this year, which means these L.A. punks started the same year Batman ruled the box office, Operation Ivy released its first full-length and Buckethead presumably still worked at KFC. Metallica hadn’t even recorded the “Black Album” yet. So how does Strung Out celebrate outlasting the GMC Saturn? They released the new album Agents of the Underground and launched a national tour that hits the Karma in Victorville this Sunday. “With Agents Of The Underground, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that we are still alive and kicking just below the consciousness of the mainstream media and are celebrating our place here in ‘the underground,’” says Strung Out singer Jason Cruz, who co-founded the band in Simi Valley in ’89. “Like a resistance movement, we move freely and without boundaries.” It’s this lack of boundaries that made Strung Out a major influence for future acts like Rise Against and Avenged Sevenfold, both of whom openly acknowledge the inspiration. That’s because Cruz & Co. were part of the ’90s punk wave but not of it, meaning they didn’t chase the radio hit. Instead, they blended West Coast punk with metal and hardcore. As a result, when post-Y2K punk got reduced to “Sk8er Boi,” Strung Out could keep doing what they do and still crack the Billboard 200 for the first time. It’s this consistency that helped Strung Out sell over a million total albums and continue circling the globe year after year.
Strung Out with Pour Habit, Nations Afire and Set It Off at Karma, 12152 Cottonwood Ave., Victorville, (760) 955-1500; www.strungout.com. Nov. 1. Doors open at 6PM; $14 adv, $15 door.