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Punk rockers Strung Out tie into the past on current tour

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Strung Out frontman Jason Alexander Cruz says it's time for the California punk band to start thinking about its next album.

But in the meantime it's remembering a couple of its older ones.

The quintet is playing its second and third albums -- 1996's "Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues" and 1998's "Twisted By Design" -- during the group's current tour. "Those are probably our two best-selling records, and people have been asking for it for awhile," explains Cruz, 38. "It felt right, and it works out well when there's a lot of competition out in the summer. When you put a theme behind a tour, it works well."

And while nostalgia isn't necessarily Strung Out's cup of tea, Cruz acknowledges that the fan reaction has been an eye-opening experience for the group

"The connection they have, the obvious enthusiasm from people showing up at the shows has really been great," he says. "It makes you really re-evaluate the fact that you do this to make people happy and just to please yourself. It's a good reminder of that."

Cruz -- who recently released an EP, "Lounge Core," with his side band Howl -- says Strung Out is feeling ready to start a new album this fall, its first since "Agents of the Underground" in 2009. The group has been "talking about music and writing" in the tour van, but he's not yet sure what direction Strung Out will embrace.

"We've been doing this long enough that we don't have anything to prove to anybody anymore, so I just hope we can come together and do something original," Cruz explains. "We're at a crossheads now -- Do we keep rehashing the same stuff people are expecting us to do or do something a little left field?

"Knowing the way I am, I'm going to try to push for the latter. I don't want to be in a band that just lives off its reputation or its catalog. I want to contribute something interesting to music right NOW. I hope I can pull that off on my end and get everyone else to agree with me."

Strung Out, The Darlings, Handguns and Slaves to the Pavement perform Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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