In 2018, the most punk rock thing you can do is sell out. At least that’s what Portland punk band Mean Jeans thinks. Over the past few months, they’ve been writing jingles for companies like Mountain Dew, Coors Light. Totino’s, and DiGiorno, but without any of them asking for it.
“We uncovered this case of Mountain Dew that we had used as a prop in a music video we made a few years back,” says guitarist Billy Jeans. “They’d been in the basement forever, but we cracked into those Dews, and they were surprisingly fresh. That was a big inspiration for us.”
This inevitably led to the band’s very first foray into jingle writing with “Mountain Dew (I Need It).” The band released the song online and encouraged fans to badger Mountain Dew on social media until they paid attention to what, in a just world, should be the brand’s new theme. “Maybe Mountain Dew didn’t make the song their new jingle, but they set us up with a crate of Dew and some stylish gear,” says Jeans. “Honestly we’ve got more Dew than we know what to do with.”
In a single weekend, the band wrote and recorded Jingles Collection, an album that transforms commercial jingles into high art. And if the subjects of the songs play their cards right, they could very well have just found their brand new jingle. “We’ve abandoned the previous direction of the band. No one needs to hear another three-chord, pop-punk record about partying. What they need are some sick jingles. We are a jingles band now.”
Now, with 23 jingles written for everyone from Sizzler to Skoal to Applebee’s, Jingles Collection shows that Mean Jeans are ready to become the first punk band to reinvent what it means to be a punk band—or perhaps, a punk brand. No longer is Mean Jeans subservient to punk’s rules and regulations; they are forging their own path, one piece of branded content at a time. “These jingles, man? They’re the future.”