Surf-punkers the Frights were still teens when founded by Richard Dotson (the Cricks), Mikey Carnevale, and Adam Lomnitzer (both from Monomood and Black Hootie).
“We did go to the same high school as blink-182,” says Rancho Bernardo High alum Carnevale about himself and Lomnitze (bassist Richard Dotson went to Westview in Rancho Peñasquitos). “And every band who came out of our school wanted to sound like blink. But it wasn’t my style.”
The Frights recording career was made possible by Soma manager Joe Nammo, who released their debut on his Postmark label. “We had just played this really good Soma show opening for Voodoo Glow Skulls. Joe came backstage and told us he really liked us and he wanted us to be on this new label he was starting. We had literally just played our first show and we had, like, five, maybe six songs. We weren’t even planning on taking this seriously then. We asked ourselves, do we sign with this stranger we just met at Soma?”
They changed their name to the Frights and released their Dead Beach EP. They released a split 7-inch single in November 2011 with Mrs. Magician, "Prescription Vision" b/w "I Know What Girls Like", with 500 copies on the Grizzly Records label, followed in May 2013 by their Fur Sure EP and then a self-titled full-length album.
Dotson and Carnevale formed the Otters, and were later joined by Lomnitzer to play as Black Hootie at Soma in December 2012.
In 2015, the Frights signed with Dangerbird Records, which released their album You Are Going to Hate This early the following year. They played Berkeley, CA's Uncool Fest in February 2016. December 2016 saw the release of a new single and video for “Christmas Everyday.”
In 2018, the lineup included Mikey Carnevale and Richard Dotson now accompanied by guitarist Jordan Clark (Feelings Mutual, Hot Like a Robot) and drummer Marc Finn. Early that year, they signed with Epitaph Records, and released a Valentine's Day song and video for “Valentine’s Sux.” Another single debuted in May, "Crutch," said to be from a full-length due later in the year and promoted with a short U.K. tour.
Their third full-length Hypochondriac was produced by FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper (SWMRS, Dune Rats), mixed by Rob Kinelski (Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, 30 Seconds To Mars) and mastered by multiple Grammy Winner Greg Calbi (Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, the War on Drugs). Their major label debut, it dropped in August 2018, with videos released for "Crutch" and "Me and We and I" and a lyric video for “No Place Like (Not Being) Home.” A support tour ran through October 2018, after which another video debuted, "Over It," filmed at the Dorie Theatre in Hollywood.
The Frights Live At The Observatory, released in April 2019, is a document of their sold-out kick off show of their Hypochondriac headline tour at the Observatory in Santa Ana on September 8, 2018. The album, featuring 14 songs spanning the band's complete catalog, was supported with a tour that included their debut appearance at the Coachella Festival. A single for "Over It (Live)" quickly earned around 1.5 million Spotify streams and was released as a video as well. It was followed by a single for "Whatever (Live)."
They played the 2019 Coachella music festival, as well as the 2020 BottleRock Napa Valley festival, headlined by Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, and the Dave Matthews Band. Their fourth studio album Everything Seems Like Yesterday was released in March 2020, produced by bassist Richard Dotson, and written and performed by vocalist and guitarist Mikey Carnevale with some sonic assistance from Dotson. Regarding the video for "Leave Me Alone," Carnevale says “I think that ‘Leave Me Alone’, being in the middle of the record, serves as a perfect bridge between the opening first half, and the kind of darker 2nd half. It’s a sunny, bouncy song about love and separation.”
The album first took shape through a handful of songs Carnevale wrote on acoustic guitar back in fall 2018. Carnevale originally intended to release the material as a solo album, but had a change of heart upon sharing his new songs at a series of shows in San Diego and L.A. After receiving a unanimously positive response from his bandmates, he began to see the songs as more of a natural evolution of The Frights. Carnevale enlisted bassist, Richard Dotson, as producer and the two set off to record at Carnevale’s grandmother’s cabin in Idyllwild, CA. The pair recorded the record in sequence over the course of one week. The record features a wide array of ambient sounds and the use of real-life objects around the cabin as instruments; glasses with water in them, leaves, pots and pans, a ringing phone, etc.
It also documents a particularly challenging year of Carnevale’s life. It starts with "24" – The Frights latest studio album, Hypochondriac, was released on August 24, 2018 (Carnevale’s 24th birthday) - and ends with "25." “A lot of these songs are about friends who are gone now, either in the sense that they passed away or that we don’t speak anymore,” Carnevale points out. “Our songs have always involved some kind of looking back over the past, but this one feels like the first time where I’m dealing with those situations and growing from them.”
The headline support tour featured Mikey Carnevale (vocals/guitar), Richard Dotson (bass), Marc Finn (drums), and Jordan Clark (guitar). It kicked off at Spreckels Organ Pavilion February 15, 2020, wrapping May 30 in L.A. They also appeared at the BottleRock Napa Valley festival, running May 22 through 24 and headlined by Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, and the Dave Matthews Band. A video was produced for "Leave Me Alone."
(Photo: Rowan Daly, courtesy Epitaph Records)