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Indulge punks in well-earned nostalgia

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jason Cruz is a poet, an artist and a musician. But it’s the music that still keeps the 38-year-old California native going.

“This is all I’ve ever known since I was 15,” he says while taking a break from loading in at a California club. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything different. Yes, I’ve dabbled in art and poetry as a side thing, but it’s music that keeps me getting up on stage every night.”

Cruz has been a member of the punk-rock band Strung Out for more than 20 years. The band has released seven full-length albums. It consists of Cruz, Jake Kiley, Rob Ramos, Chris Aiken and Jordan Burns.

Strung Out
With The Swellers, Such Gold, Stabbed In Back
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25
WHERE: Launchpad, 618 W. Central
HOW MUCH: $13 at or 886-1251

While Cruz and company are working on new material, it won’t be out for some time. Yet the band is going on tour and performing its 1996 album, “Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues,” and 1998’s “Twisted by Design” in their entirety.

Cruz says that choosing the albums made sense because it would be a good, fun tour.

“We wanted to do something fun and get re-acquainted with these records and just have a good time before we go off to writing a new record,” he explains. “When we get home, we’re going to write a record and leave all this stuff behind.”

While Cruz admits that playing the entire albums will be a lot of music, he thinks revisiting the old material is a good thing.

“We haven’t really played this music for a long time,” he says. “It’s also a chance for our younger fans to get to know our music.”

Cruz says while the band has changed over time, so has the recording process. He says that when they did their first albums, there was a lot of growing.

“ProTools was new and it was the first time we used a tape machine,” he explains. “But as we’ve grown, we’ve become accustomed to being in the studio and working on our music. We’ve become comfortable with our music, and it shows.”

Though he’s grateful for the music lasting for so long, Cruz says he’s looking forward to moving on and creating new music.

“I feel like I’ve grown so much that there is so much more for me to say,” he says. “Becoming a dad has changed my outlook on life, and I’m so glad to have a family.”