Throw The Goat includes Troy Whitford, Brian Parnell and Michael Schnalzer.
Photo by Jara Ruiz-Anchia

Idyllwild punk rock-metal band Throw The Goat got a big present to kick off 2018.

The newly resurrected Combat Records label, which went dark for 15 years before reemerging in 2016, specializes in thrash metal bands under the EMP Label Group. It announced the winners of a Band-to-Band Combat contest on Jan. 1.

Throw The Goat was among 25 bands that won from thousands of entrants, thanks to fan votes (with 24,013) and will be featured on the new compilation album “Combat Bullets, Vol. 1” alongside artists including Raven, Helstar, Dead by Wednesday, Wrath and Marc Rizzo.

But the biggest prize was the ultimate dream package given to only one band from the 25 Band-to-Band Combat winners and hand-picked by David Ellefson, Combat president and bassist for Megadeth, and the Combat staff.

The prize includes an artist services and distribution deal with Combat Records plus “a pile of gear from our sponsors,” including a guitar and bass package from Jackson Guitars.

“It was a pretty hard decision because we got a lot of stuff. I mean, a lot, a lot, a lot of bands,” Ellefson said Monday via Facebook Live.

“A lot of the artists we choose to work with at EMP are bands that are in the trenches. A lot of them have been relentlessly working for years, popped up on our various radar screens over the years many times; they’ve toured endlessly …. They 100 percent embody the DIY ethos that is Combat Records … Work ethic is important,” Ellefson added.

And then, “The winner is … Throw The Goat!” he announced.

Throw The Goat just finished production on its new album “The Joke’s On Us,” and it will now be released and distributed by Combat Records.

The new album was entirely recorded, engineered and mixed from Emesis Studios in Idyllwild, which also serves as the band’s rehearsal space and guitarist Brian Parnell’s residence.

The “Joke’s On Us” was mastered by Dave Klein, drummer for California surf punk legends’ Agent Orange.

“It still doesn’t seem real,” Parnell said the day after learning of the news. “We’re honored and humbled to be picked as the first band to be offered a deal from Combat Records. It’s a total shock to us, but everybody else seems like they knew all along that this would happen,” he said.

The band was formed in 2011 by bassist and lead singer Michael Schnalzer and drummer Tim Olivier. Lead guitarist Parnell and rhythm guitarist Johnny Wilson joined soon after and they got to work on their first LP “Black Mountain,” released in 2012.

Olivier and Wilson left the band in 2014 before the release of the “Blood, Sweat & Beers” LP in 2015. Drummer Troy Whitford joined in 2016. (Whitford also drums for Coachella Valley bands 5th Town and The Sweat Act.) Throw The Goat next released the “Vote Goat” EP in 2016.

The group has toured the U.S. several times and the U.K. twice. It has built an international following without the help of an agent, label or manager. It produces its own graphics, merchandise, music videos and many of its songs. “Throw The Goat has been a DIY machine since day one,” its online bio explains.

“We’re very excited to take Throw The Goat to the next level,” Parnell said. “We’ve worked very hard to get this far. Now the real work begins.

Throw The Goat’s next appearance is at the Doll Hut in Anaheim on Jan. 25. More information is available at

About ‘The Joke’s On Us’

While albums past have blended songs of a more lighthearted nature with songs more politically charged (“Beef” vs. “Too Late” on 2012’s “Black Mountain” album, “8 More Minutes” vs. “Drown” on 2015’s “Blood, Sweat & Beers” album, and “Utah” vs. “Ameritude” on the 2016 EP “Vote Goat,” respectively), “The Joke’s On Us” weighs in much more on the political side.

Songs like opener “Shackles & Wings” and “The Truth Is Worse” take aim at the establishment, while “You Want It, You Got It” and the title track are scathing observations of the president and his devotees. “Melt Away” ends side A with a downright unsettling look at our environmental crisis and the album concludes with “Forward,” which ends on a much more positive note, trying to make sense of it all.

But the album does also contain TTG’s signature wit and whimsy on songs like “Chuck Don’t Give A F**k” and “Droppin’ Bottles.” Plus, the Goat continues to expand on its already genre-defying tendencies with tracks like lead single “High” and the beautiful psychedelic melancholy of “Epilogue.”