Friends W/O Benefits
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Friends W/O Benefits

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Alternative Punk




"Best of 2014 Friends W/O Benefits"

From the first time I listened to Friends W/O Benefits, I couldn’t help instantly relating to their songs. I found myself transported back to the days of youth, angst, and mosh pits. Their music is real and tangible – unafraid to stand its ground and be its own. It is the ultimate middle finger to a scene that continues to get caught up in its own bullshit.

White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac are the fictional character duo that make up the band, both interchangeably playing guitar and drums. The first time I saw Friends W/O Benefits perform live was when I fully realized what this band has to offer the San Francisco / Bay Area music scene. These guys know how to put on one hell of a show! I can’t remember the last time a performance has made me jump in and physically engage in a show- can you? I dare anyone to catch these guys live and not be (physically) moved.

Despite the masks, and behind the characters, Friends W/O Benefits is one of the more authentic bands I have come across. They are genuine guys that deeply care about putting on a real show. Best of all, White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac aren’t afraid to speak their minds and tell it like it is. Now this… this is real! - The Bay Bridged

"Get to Know: Friends W/O Benefits"

Get to Know: Friends w/o Benefits

What can I say about Friends w/o Benefits that hasn’t already been said? Well, considering they are a local band in their first year of shows, quite a bit.

With lovable in-your-face tactics and catchy grooves, this funky punk duo german-suplexes conventional wisdom off the top rope so they can make room for a good time. If you want to move, sweat, and get to know your neighbors, Fw/oB is a band for you. If you are looking to laugh and smilingly worry about your buddy’s safety, befriend Cadet Edac & White Trash Ninja. If you are wondering what the hell I am talking about, check these guys out tomorrow night at Neck of the Woods.

“Yeah, my name is White Trash Ninja, I play a character in a band called Friends without Benefits, and this is my bandmate Cadet, who also plays a character in a band called Friends without Benefits.”

I have heard that phrase so many times at Balanced Breakfast** I don’t mind quoting from memory. Over the past four months, I have grown to know and love Ninja & Cadet as human beings first & have been pleasantly surprised how they walk the walk in their music & performance. Their sense of humor, squirrely antics, and incessant talk about skateboarding and professional wrestling won me over *nearly* immediately (*squirrely antics take some time to process at 8am), and I wondered if these guys, who seem to be so out there, both as individuals and even more so as a duo, could pull together a rock show or an album. I didn’t know it then, but they were already in process of recording their first set of tunes for their 8 song comic-book release, This is Real, a phrase borrowed from Oakland’s premiere professional wrestling troupe, Hoodslam.

A few short weeks ago, I heard Fw/oB’s music for the first time. A delightful mix of pop & punk that filled me with nostalgia for my formative years sneaking a listen in to Green Day & Offspring. Not tooooo poppy. Not toooo punk. Would I call them a “moderate” punk band? Hilarious, and no. Not sure that anything about stopping in the middle of a song to climb mostly up a 12 foot ladder, pump up the crowd, and jump off to continue the drumbeat is moderate. They are going for real. Real entertainment. Real stories. Real fun.

DO NOT GO SEE FRIENDS WITHOUT BENEFITS if you are looking for a computer to do all the front-end labor of timing and pitch correction. The playing and singing are refreshingly LIVE and HUMAN. Both Ninja & Cadet’s instrument and vocals are on point, and they each have their own brand of show-stopping mayhem. Want to request a song? Fw/oB will be happy to see you now. Only they may publicly agree to play it and momentarily get sidetracked rocking out a Miley Cyrus cover. “Yeah, we’ll just play the first few bars, then we’ll play your request.” 2 1/2 minutes later, “well, we didn’t play your song, thanks for the suggestion tho, up next (guitar riff/facemelting).”

So come out tomorrow night, be prepared to jump around & get taken to a little place called “Right here. Right now.”

**Balanced Breakfast is a group of music industry professionals who meet every Thursday morning at the Crepe House on Valencia St at 8 am. Except for the month of September when they meet every Thursday night at Neck of the Woods at 6th & Clement between 6pm & 12midnight to play a series of shows*** together and build community and conversation. Want to join us? $5 single show & $20 for the whole month presales here.

*** Balanced Breakfast Residency. Bands on the docket for this Thursday are Growwler, The Y Axes, & The Oakland Mind. My band, The Damn Fanatics, is playing at the Balanced Breakfast Residency the following week on September 11th, with Bear Lincoln, Beautiful Machines, and DangerMaker. Music on Sept 18th & 25th as well. Bring yo self. - Andy Stong

"Friends W/O Benefits"

You know what you don’t see a lot of these days? Good old fashioned character bands, with all the passion, mystery, and live show thrill that acts like KISS or Fugazi carried.Taking influence from the latter, along with The Blood Brothers comes San Francisco based Friends W/O Benefits. The duo, comprised of Cadet Edac and WHITE TRASH NINJA are releasing their debut track, “Post Apocalyptic Zombie Party”off their upcoming EP, exclusively with Infectious Mag. The band is also opting for a pretty unique marketing of the album, by nixing the physical CD, and instead offering fans a unique comic book and download card. Find out more about how to purchase a CD (digitally) on September 4th, and grab your copy of a comic book here. If you’re in San Francisco, check out the band’s comic book release show on September 4th at Neck of the Woods - Infectious Magazine

"Artist Watch: Friend W/O Benefits"

Iggy Azelea? The new classic? You can cross that off your list. White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac ARE the the new classic, using comic books, autobiographical references, and their System of a Down flare, to better share their real-life story. The duo, better known as Friends W/O Benefits, are taking over San Francisco’s west-side, where the chronic is always greener and the 40s go down easier while sitting on stoops.

“This is nuttier than a squirrel.”

One day in 2003, Massachusetts native, Wyatt Noonja, came into contact with tasty chronic and legendary Wu-Tang in his boombox, where he soon became White Trash Ninja. He then entered two places at once by rhyming sharper than a Japanese Katana sword, put out some magic tricks with his skateboard, and photographed at the same damn time. True ninja status. But it was time for a new adventure, a new story, and a shot at success. During this time, Cadet Edac was doing something similar, waiting for fate to bring him together with who would be his new friend without benefits.

“Become the sequoia you are NINJA.”
proclaimed Cadet.

Also from a small town, Edac hails from Wyoming, where he wrestled, stopped hockey pucks, and lost a bet with the mayor. He then chose to pick up and find a new bull to mess, in the heart of San Francisco, with after reading Dr. Hunter Thompson’s words about the city’s “forward thinking,” due to advancements in technology. Experiencing this for himself, his only option was to “fight for the legacy of experience and weird, with magic, music, and Positive Mental Attitude (PMA).”

It is obvious that their album is an autobiography. Each song’s intro tells a story listeners can relate to, laughing about about all the stupid shit they’ve done in their own life and younger days. The stories speak of turning into robots, kids drinking in parks, tuning out the world with our headphones in, covering our faces with sunglasses, and always being connected with technology. Real people, and real feelings are what we should be interested in, but unfortunately there are only so few of those people who still exist. They don’t exist because of how commercial life has become. The duo even promote safety by promoting the use of safe driving after doing a keg-stand. It is obvious These Friends W/O Benefits will pick-up those who are left and change the world with their special album This Is Real, expected to be released on Sept. 4. - The Music Sponge

"Exclusive: Re-enact the Basement"

When I think of a band with a message, most of these messages tend to be about going green (hello, U2), or even about awareness of cancers or hunger in the world, etc. However, Friends W/O Benefits, a San Francisco-based band, are pursuing the goal of opening eyes to “the current state of boredom and misinformation caused by technology.” With a punk-disco sound, Friends W/O Benefits already stand out amongst the masses of artists.
Get out of your bubble, and listen to their track, “Re-enact The Basement,” exclusively on Planet Stereo! Friends W/O Benefits will be releasing their debut album, This Is Real, complete with a comic book in place of a physical CD, on September 4th at San Francisco’s Neck of the Woods. The band will also embark on a small town tour covering Wyoming to California this October. - Planet Stereo

"New Friends W/O Benefits 'Modern Youth of America'"

San Francisco-based Friends w/o Benefits are streaming their new track “Modern Youth of America” from their upcoming full-length This Is Real. Friends W/O Benefits is a two-man band creating anti-technology pop punk in the vein of Bomb The Music Industry and Fugazi. Take a listen to their new track below.

This Is Real is being released as a comic book instead of a typical physical release. Band member White Trash Ninja had this to say about the comic book release:
“We wanted to have a way for people to be more involved in an album. This isn’t just something you listen to, it’s something you get to look at and touch. With the comic, we figured this was a way to enhance the audience’s experience. The comic tells our story through our lyrics and shows how these songs are more personal to how Cadet and I actually are.

Friends W/O Benefits will be releasing 'This Is Real' Sept. 4 at San Francisco’s Neck of The Woods. - For The Love Of Punk

"Real Enough For California"

Our Friends W/O Benefits from the far away land of San Fransisco are finally releasing some music and its fucking awesome. Follow them on FB...

Very excited to share with y’all a bearlyasound premier of FRIENDS W/O BENEFITS new jam ‘Real Enough For California’. Thelma and Louise, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bluntman and Chronic, Brad and Angelina, Bill and Ted, Bonnie and Clyde… White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac? We think FRIENDS W/O BENEFITS is the next big duo to take the world by storm, what do you think? - BearlyASound

"This is Real"

I’m back! Two blog posts in a week, surely this deserves some kind of medal or something. But no, it is you who is being rewarded! Your reward is in the form of an exclusive premiere of “This Is Real” from San Francisco based punk rock, “character” band, Friends Without Benefits.

“With the power of music and Positive Mental Attitude, the game is about to be changed. The war between technology and experience will be won, you can bet… This Is Real.”

Friends W/O Benefits may have caught my attention using the internet but their mission is to open eyes to the current state of boredom and misinformation caused by technology. FWOB realize experience is the only way to fight the good fight of boredom in the “real world”. Their self described job description is to give everyone who experiences a FWOB performance a show that won’t soon be forgotten or found online.

Sticking true to their fight against technology, Friends W/O Benefits will be releasing their debut album, complete with a comic book in place of a physical CD, on September 4th at San Francisco’s Neck of the Woods. The band will also embark on a small town tour covering Wyoming to California this October so if you happening to be reading this from that neck of the woods, check ‘em out. - Defy This!

"A Lesson in How to get your band noticed"

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written anything – I’m a self-professed lazy blogger so to update any more frequently would be doing myself a disservice, right? Some lazy blogger logic there. I get lots of generic emails from PR agencies and bands; they all look the same, say roughly the same thing and when you’ve read it a thousand times before, there’s little motivation to listen to the band and even less to sit down to write about them.
With that said, something happened this week that got my attention. An email landed in my inbox from MuddyPaw PR on behalf of Friends W/O Benefits, a punk rock “character” band from San Francisco.

Here’s how their email made me take notice:
1) It said they sound like Fugazi and Blood Brothers in bold in the first line, so I kept reading.
2) They offered me an exclusive premiere of a track from their new record in the second line, which is a pretty nice coup for any blog.
3) THEY RECORDED A SPECIAL PERSONALISED VIDEO MESSAGE FOR ME! Holy shit – how often do you receive something like this?
4) They’re releasing comic books instead of physical CDs. Everyone loves comics. Awesome.

They also included a bio and links to all their social media sites too, which is handy, but I would’ve probably never clicked on them if they hadn’t already told me about the stuff above first.

So yeah, they got my attention because they mentioned some bands I love straight away, gave me an incentive, made a personalised effort with the video (which is genuinely the coolest thing I’ve ever received from a band) and they’re posting me a comic book! Bands and PR folk take note – a little bit of effort and creativity goes a long way.

I’m really pleased to say we will be debuting “This is Real” on 25th August from their debut, available 4th September so come back and check it out on Monday for what will be my second blog post in a week. My lazy blogger title will be in jeopardy at this rate. - Defy This!

"This is Real Album Review"

A 2-piece band from San Francisco by name of Friends W/O Benefits attempt to wage a battle against technology by offering up a unique twist on a physical release. In this case, the accompanying comic is the physical release, the music being available freely as mp3s. Styling themselves as a product of Fugazi and The Blood Brothers, these two musicians “Cadet Edac” and “White Trash Ninja” deliver a minimalist noisy brand of punk, which recalls the jagged edges of their influences.

The lyrical delivery varies throughout the verses of each song; examples include a scattershot style reminiscent of Justin Pearson’s work in The Locust to a pseudo-rap on ‘Goin’ To Town On The City’, with an annoying “Uh huh” call-back in response to the vocalist’s lines. Immediately upon listening, the listener will be enveloped in the band’s overwhelming positivity. Simplistic musical arrangements, à la Pixies and Nirvana, pave the way for songs about ‘Post Apocalyptic Zombie Part[ies]’ and the ‘Modern Youth of America.’ Unfortunately, if it wasn’t for the riffs that form the verses and the infrequent forays into movie sound bites as intros, there isn’t really enough character in the songs themselves to differentiate between them. Fortunately, second track ‘Re-Enact The Basement’ bucks the album’s trend by giving a nod to the frenetic ska-punk of Less Than Jake in their heyday, crossed with the post-hardcore edge that this pair pride themselves on. It’s difficult to listen to this without recalling a band who ploughed a similar musical path, if more electronically-based, I Set My Friends On My Fire, whose two albums and singles with the comedy group Smosh offer up the same vessel overflowing with positivity and party vibes, but smarter and slicker lyrics and music.

The group genre-hop with their verse riffs, from ska-punk to country, unfortunately, this only furthers the monotony of the choruses, which truly could have been something interesting. Instead, this offering appears to scream “we can’t settle on a sound” rather than “look at what we can do.” This is a shame, because when the band kick into gear into one of many scream-along choruses, the result is that long-forgotten ’90s dive bar’ club atmosphere, where you almost feel connected to the band on a first name basis.

Friends W/O Benefits offer the premise that this album is a return to “experiencing” music over “hype” and technologically-fuelled sounds prevalent today. This is undoubtedly a noble cause, and I’m certain that these songs will translate well into a live setting, where they can truly push this idea of an unforgettable performance. The spoken-word/screamed vocals on ‘Real Enough For California’ stand out as the best on the album, as the vocalist explains his observations on how gadgets and technology corrupts and makes people seem like robots, almost qualifying as wry humour. The overarching feeling that the group keep pushing is that of This is Real‘s authenticity, and how unique they are for producing music in this way. This is a double-edged sword at best; it’s edifying to be soaked in the euphoria that the pair feel while making this, and you really do feel the sense of fun through the music. However, the constant reminder that “this is real”, beginning on the album title and oft-repeated throughout, including the entirety of the refrain of the title track, comes incredibly close to making the whole effect rather contrived. The conceptual equivalent of pinning a child’s drawing of their family to the fridge: yes, they’re rightly proud, but Dad was never that bald or had three legs- at least you hope they’re legs – everyone is smiling inanely and seems to be floating a few feet above the grass.

The physical release itself, i.e. the comic, consists of 12 pages of photographs of the band doing “dude stuff” – i.e., chillin’, ridin’ the subway, skatin’ – and is presented in bold black and white. The pictures come with captions of lyrics lifted from the album. Some placed next to relevant photographs, some confusingly juxtaposed next to images that make no sense of what either part’s message is really trying to convey. For those expecting something beyond what many bands place in booklet inserts in usual albums, there will be disappointment. However, the unifying feeling that joins the two parts together is that of the band’s pure joy in producing it. The positivity that emanates from the music is amplified here. Although the comic itself is disappointing, and little more than a booklet that arrives bagged and boarded, with a number out of #300 and a personal message, I cannot help but smile and congratulate the band on This is Real. However, my cynical self suggests that this could be interpreted as a marketing ploy to put out an album with a booklet but save on pressing CDs and purchasing a stock of cases. - Broken Amp


Friends W/O Benefits present: 

The Real Singles Life vol. 1 2 3 & 4

Cadet and Ninja have a new round of music and are excited to release 8 new songs over the course of the first 4 months of 2015. The Real Singles Life will be released online digitally as a collection of singles. Keeping with the comic book tradition of "This is Real" each physical copy of the singles will come in zine form. When all 4 singles are collected they will come together to create a limited edition poster furthering the story of Friends W/O Benefits.

This Is Real (the comic book/album)
White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac have used their love of all things tangible to create Friends W/O Benefits' debut album 'This Is Real' released digitally and physically as a comic book. Each comic includes a download card for the album with the comic establishing the story of White Trash Ninja and Cadet Edac, YOUR Friends W/O Benefits.



 Friends W/O Benefits is a punk/disco duo with a simple mission...put on the MOST entertaining live show possible.

White Trash Ninja (aka Wyatt Noonja on Facebook) and Cadet Edac realize experience is the only way to fight the good fight of boredom in the "real world".  Idealistic like Fugazi, sassified like The Blood Brothers and LOUDquietLOUD like Pixies, (Ninja_y_Cadet)  are creating something that stands the test of time in the music business...quality live performances.

Ninja and Cadet give everything they have and look onward to the future by leading the way back to what once made music great. Forget hype, try experience. T
he fight against boredom has begun...this is real.

Band Members