Flatfoot 56

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Flatfoot 56
Josh Robieson.jpg
Josh Robieson, the original bagpiper of Flatfoot 56
Background information
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresOi!, Celtic punk, hardcore punk, punk rock, Christian punk
Years active2000–present
LabelsFlicker, Old Shoe, Paper + Plastick
Associated acts6'10
MembersTobin Bawinkel
Kyle Bawinkel
Eric McMahon
Brandon Good
Conrad Allsworth
Past membersJosh Robieson
Justin Bawinkel

Flatfoot 56 is an American Celtic punk band from Chicago, Illinois, that formed in 2000. The group's use of Scottish Highland bagpipes has led to their classification as a Celtic punk band, comparable to Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly.[1][2]


The band formed in summer 2000 as a three-piece punk band; the three original members, who are brothers (Tobin Bawinkel, Justin Bawinkel, and Kyle Bawinkel), started writing songs in fall 2000. By the Christmas season of the same year, they were playing their first concert. In January 2001, the band added Josh Robieson (bagpipes, guitar, mandolin) to the lineup and the band began including the Highland bagpipes and a second guitar into its sound.[3]

In 2001 they recorded their first demo, then in Summer 2002, the band recorded their first full-length album, entitled Rumble of 56; this recording was done in Rockford, Illinois, in a studio called the Noise Chamber. Their second album, Waves of War, was released in 2003,[3] their song, "That's OK," had heavy radio play on stations across the Midwestern United States.[citation needed] It has been known as one of the higher-rated songs Flatfoot 56 has ever played and is a crowd favorite at live performances.

In 2004, Flatfoot 56 performed at the Cornerstone Festival in Illinois for a crowd of about 700 people.[citation needed] It was at this concert that the band released their third album, Knuckles Up, it has been the band's best-selling record, and the group continues to record and tour. The band has been signed to Flicker Records and has re-released Knuckles Up through the label, their fourth record, Jungle of the Midwest Sea, was released on May 15, 2007.[3]

After the release of their fourth album, the band embarked on tours, they also appeared in festivals like Skanksgiving '08,[4][5] Sonshine Festival 2008 and 2009, and the Warped Tour,[6] they are also set to appear at the Sonshine Festival 2011[7] They also appeared in the Warped Tour 2010 Tour Compilation album, and recorded a song for the Swingin Utters tribute album, Untitled 21: A Juvenile Tribute to the Swingin' Utters.

In January 2009, the band announced on their website that they were recording a new, full-length album.[citation needed] On December 18 of the same year, it was officially announced that they had signed to California-based Old Shoe Records for the release of their new album Black Thorn; the album was initially due for release St. Patricks Day (March 17) 2010, but was delayed until March 30, 2010.[citation needed] Upon its release, the album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard Heatseekers New Artist Chart. The first-week sales have also pushed the album into the Billboard Top 200 at No. 160, as well as other Billboard charts.[8]

Flatfoot 56 has been playing a positive-natured brand of hardcore-tinged Celtic punk; the Chicago natives achieved nationwide attention with their first two label-backed records, 2006's "Knuckles Up" and 2007's "Jungle of the Midwest Sea." These releases built on a heavy dose of previously established regional notoriety, helping the band gain steam early on.While each record received its fair share of acclaim, the quintet exploded onto a new level with 2010's "Black Thorn." Landing the band on a total of nine different Billboard Charts, Flatfoot 56 proved it could consistently reach an expanding audience while treading in a genre not often associated with widespread success.[9]

Old Shoe Records released a compilation called WELCOME TO THE FAMILY VOL.4 - A FREE PUNK COMPILATION CD that featured the Flatfoot 56 song "Born for This".[10]

The video for their 2010 single "Courage" was nominated for a 2010 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for 'Best Director.'

In 2010 the Flatfoot 56 songs "Shiny Eyes", "Son of Shame", and "We Grow Stronger" were featured in episodes 7, 8 and 9 of season 3 of the TV series Sons of Anarchy.[11]

While not touring and playing with Flatfoot 56, Kyle Bawinkel sings for the hardcore side project Sexually Frustrated.[citation needed]

Flatfoot 56 also performed two tracks for WWE: Johnny Curtis's theme, "I Told You So"[12] as well as a version of Irish-born WWE wrestler Sheamus's theme, "Written In My Face".

Paper+Plastic Records announced in October 2011 that they would back the band's next full-length recording;[13] the band will enter Matt Allison's Chicago-based Atlas Studios in January to record its first release for Paper + Plastick Records. “We have always respected Paper + Plastick’s independent approach to putting out records because they always seem to promote the creative side of the album,” Bawinkel said. “As a band we all really value that creative vision, and Paper + Plastick is the place to be for that.” Like "Black Thorn," Flatfoot 56's Paper + Plastick debut will be produced by the Street Dogs’ Johnny Rioux. “We decided that since the last experience with Johnny was so beneficial, we wanted to repeat it,” Bawinkel said. “We have been friends with Johnny for years our mutual respect fosters a good creative environment for putting together a record. He knows how to challenge us and push us the next level, which is what any band hopes for.” While the record is set to be more rootsy and folk-oriented, it promises to pack the same relentless, knock-down punch that fans have grown to expect from Flatfoot 56. More than a decade into its career, Flatfoot 56 isn't slowing down, but maintaining a blistering pace of touring and musical output. “The next record’s sound is taking on a much more mature, heartfelt tone,” Bawinkel said. “We’re writing these songs as life gets thrown at us, and as we all get a bit older and start to interpret life in different ways, we want to express ourselves to reflect the victories and defeats that we all go through. We still love whipping the crowd into a frenzy and making everybody dance but we want to write some tunes that people can relate to, and that they can sing along to.”[13]

In January 2012, Flatfoot 56 announced the finish of the recording stage of its still-untitled new album; the Celtic punk group recorded with Johnny Rioux (of Street Dogs, Social Distortion and Bruisers fame). Flatfoot 56's new record is slated for a summer[when?] release on Paper + Plastick Records. The album is now[when?] in its mixing stages while Flatfoot is on a month-long tour in Europe and Russia. Despite not hitting the studio for over a year, Flatfoot 56 kept busy in 2011 – playing over 220 live shows in nine countries.[14]

Black Thorn was mentioned by Spin Magazine in Gavin McInnes' March 2012 "List of 7 Life Changing Records".[15]

On July 30, 2012, the fourth label-backed full-length recording Toil was released.[16] Alternative Press Magazine gave the record a favorable score and AbsolutePunk.net heaped praise on the band: “It’s not every day you come across a Christian group that’s unabashedly liberal politically. On Toil, it’s much less a gimmick and much more a reflection of the band’s genuity – their working class roots and the ability they have to combine faith, culture and song to stand up for them. That, to me, deserves a respect that runs deeper than the freshness, or lack thereof, of a melody.”[17]



  • Tobin Bawinkel - lead vocals, lead guitar
  • Kyle Bawinkel - bass, vocals
  • Conrad Allsworth - drums
  • Eric McMahon - bagpipes, guitar, bass drum
  • Brandon Good - mandolin, guitar, vocals


  • Josh Robieson - mandolin, bagpipes
  • Justin Bawinkel - drums, vocals

Chart positions[edit]

Black Thorn[edit]

Year Chart Position
2010 Billboard 200 160[18]
2010 Christian Albums 11[18]
2010 Heatseekers Albums 2[18]
2010 Independent Albums 17[18]


Year Nominee / work Award Result
2008 Jungle of the Midwest Sea Rock Album of the Year (Dove Award)[19] Nominated
2010 "Courage" Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence Off Camera[20] Nominated



  • Brotherhood (2006)
  • This Town (2006)
  • Loaded Gun (2006)
  • Warriors (2007)
  • The Hourglass (2009)
  • Courage (2010)
  • I Believe It (2012)
  • Stutter (2017)
  • Odd Boat (2017)


  1. ^ GlassPipeMurder. "Jungle of the Midwest Sea (2007)". Punk News. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Walsh, Jason. "Flatfoot 56: Black Thorn". AMP. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Monger, Christopher. "Flatfoot 56". Allmusic. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ska Is Dead - Home". skaisdead.com. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  5. ^ Ska Is Dead Tour presents Skanksgiving ‘08 Fest at AltPress
  6. ^ Flatfoot 56 steps to its own street-punk beat on Boston Herald; Thompson, Barry (Dec 15, 2010)
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2] Archived April 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ [3] Archived August 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ Thompson, Barry. "Flatfoot 56 steps to its own street-punk beat". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  12. ^ "I Told You So". iTunes. July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  13. ^ a b [5] Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ [6] Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Eternal Rebel Gavin McInnes' 7 Life-Changing Records". Spin. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  16. ^ [7] Archived March 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Flatfoot 56 - Toil". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d "Black Thorn - Flatfoot 56". Billboard. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  19. ^ "Nominations Announced for 39th GMA Dove Awards". CBN.com. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  20. ^ "Indie programming up for Nov. 6 Emmy Awards". ReelChicago. Retrieved April 11, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]