New Jersey Stage logo
New Jersey Stage Menu

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Doc Rotten’s ‘Fallout’

By Bob Makin

originally published: 12/27/2017

Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Doc Rotten’s ‘Fallout’


Makin Waves’ Record of the Week: Doc Rotten’s ‘Fallout’

The Trenton-based punk four-piece Doc Rotten have a bunch of shows coming up in support of their four-song debut EP, “Fallout,” including Dec. 28 at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, and Dec. 29, the BrightonBar, Long Branch.


The Trenton-based punk quartet Doc Rotten are a part of that Noisy Joisey sound that combines the intelligent edge of The Clash with the rootsy lyricism of Bruce Springsteen, much like fellow Trenton-based band The Cryptkeeper Five and Asbury Park’s The Vansaders. On their debut EP, “Fallout,” co-produced with CK5 helmsman Sean Glonek, Doc Rotten also bring to the table strong vocal harmonies for which I am a total sucker. The harmonies of bassist Mike Romanowsky and guitarist Andrew Keris sweeten the bitter snarl and sentiments of guitarist Wes Bentley, kind of like a punk-rock take on The Beatles’ Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

The opening single “Brass Tacks” is Bentley’s spirited salute to punk, its longtime fans and two greatest architects, Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone. On the tune about a cultural war that has been taking place since 1994, the year Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died. Bentley roars, “I got a solution, but the government's outlawed miracles. I made a decision, but again I'm backed against the ropes. I keep walking with my head down, humming a sickening melody. What's the use in dreaming if you can't, you can't break free? One for the movement! One for the cause! This one's for Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone! Let's get down to brass tacks. Here I'm a soldier in my own war, the same one that I've been fighting since 1994. No one's ever gonna, no one's ever gonna take this away from me cuz this is our revolution and you're its casualty. I didn't roll with the rich kids, the jocks or yuppie sluts. With NOFX in my headphones, I sat by myself in the front of the bus. An angry teenager, mad at the world, too much to comprehend. Got a problem with a lot of things. That's why, that's why I'm in this band.” 

Similarly strong lyrics are found on Romanowsky’s “Souvenir,” a Social Distortion-like romp about a lost soul who can’t find comfort in a love or a bottle. “I walked this town for miles and ended up in that field, lost and crossed,” Romanowsky declares. “Nothing left to yield, deluded thoughts chip away, like a rotting fence, paint faded, toxic and jaded. What will guide me home? My mind is overblown. Street lights and the moon’s glow is all that I know. Lost at sea, I’m lost at land. Miles from bed, all I’ve got is this empty bottle in my hand. Screams echo down an empty hallway, and they’ll never reach her ears. A scenario cliché, she couldn’t hear it anyway. A blockade in her heart, it stops and starts. She silences the waves.” 

On “Better Days” and the closing “Let Go,” Bentley and Romanowsky share lead vocals to great effect, especially the EP’s final mid-tempo scorcher, which also boasts inspired rolls from drummer A.J. Martinez and tasty bass chunks. For my money, Doc Rotten are one of the four best punk bands among the vast NJ landscape of them (others being The Cryptkeeper Five, Crazy & the Brains and The Vansaders). “Fallout” is really great, but the live show is the thing to best experience this band. Doc Rotten can be enjoyed Dec. 28 at Roxy and Dukes, Dunellen, with CK5, Newark-based Rough Spring, and the Punk-A-Go-Go Dancers, and Dec. 29 at the Brighton Bar, Long Branch, with The AristoCants. Other upcoming shows include Jan. 6, Hank’s Saloon, Brooklyn; Jan. 9, The Saint, Asbury Park; Feb. 1, 1984 Arcade Bar, Wilmington, Del.; Feb. 2, New Dodge Lounge, Hamtramack, Mich.; Feb. 3, Melody Inn, Indianapolis; Feb. 24, The Tusk, Philadelphia, and March 10, Skeletunes Lounge, Fort Wayne, Ind.  The band also will be making a second video at noon on Jan. 13 in Trenton, and there’s a party afterward where they’ll play with fellow Trenton rockers Alpha Rabbit and Philly’s Trashcats and Lamplighters. See the band’s Facebook page for details. 

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at Like Makin Waves at



Lee Brice: Me & My Guitar

Thursday, February 22, 2024 @ 8:00pm
State Theatre New Jersey
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: music

Click here for full description

The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Friday, February 23, 2024 @ 8:00pm
Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC)
100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
category: music

Click here for full description

Growin’ Up: An Evening of Two One-Act Musical Memoirs with Matt Butler and Mike Montali

Friday, February 23, 2024 @ 8:00pm
Outpost In The Burbs
40 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
category: music

Click here for full description

Click here for more events

Listings are available for $10 and included with our banner ad packages.

Click here for more info.



Newton Theatre hosts The Last Waltz Celebration featuring The THE BAND Band & Special Guests

(NEWTON, NJ) -- The Newton Theatre presents The Last Waltz Celebration featuring The THE BAND Band and special guests on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 8:00pm. They will bring to life one of the most historic concerts of the rock era.

New Jersey Symphony Presents Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony

Westminster Conservatory Faculty Recital Series to present two free children's concerts on Sunday

Woodbridge Township presents Screaming Orphans at The Avenel Performing Arts Center

Click here for more event previews

New Jersey Stage

© 2024 by Wine Time Media, LLC
PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762

Nobody covers the Arts
throughout the Garden State
like New Jersey Stage!

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms. If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and on our RSS feed

Art | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Ad Rates | About Us | Pitch a Story | Links | Radio Shows | Privacy Policy