Daily Brew Coffee House, a quick drive from California Baptist University, houses an eclectic menu of tea and coffee beverages for every taste and preference. However, one of the coffee house’s hidden gems is one of their baristas, Mike Perez, who leads the melodic hardcore band No Bragging Rights.
Perez formed No Bragging Rights in Riverside in the late ’90s as a punk rock group. Getting off the ground and into the public eye, however, was no easy feat for the band, partially because of the competitive music scene in Southern California.
“As an artist, being in a band — it’s so oversaturated and there’s so much competition,” Perez said. “How do you stand out?”
By creating a sound that was uniquely theirs, the band paved a way for themselves in an overly crowded arena. Moving slightly away from the punk rock scene, No Bragging Rights found their identity in the middle of two sub-genres.
“We were in this really weird transition, where we were too hard for punk rock bands. But then when we played with hardcore bands, we were too sing-y, too soft,” Perez said.
Perez admits the contrast tends to take a bit for people to warm up to. However, the band always welcomes the challenge of offering their audience something different.
No Bragging Rights also finds ways to set themselves apart from others through something deeper than their sound — their message.
The band’s lyrics focus on pulling through in dark times and share notions of hope where there seems to be none. These uplifting words contrast sharply to the songs of other bands in the hardcore genre, where violence and negativity receive emphasis.
“Being able to see and hear what’s gone on, especially in that genre, it really pushed me to want to write about things like mental illness,” Perez said.
“That’s such a huge thing in our genre, and people don’t know that. It’s a big thing, period.”
Rachel Black, senior nursing major at CBU and Perez’s coworker at Daily Brew, experienced their positivity last fall when she went to see the band in concert.
“He made it clear that they weren’t just there singing for enjoyment, but they wanted to share their hearts and their passion with the crowd,” Black said. “They have a passion for teens and young adults struggling with depression, addiction and, most specifically, suicide. They shared this passion and made it clear that if anyone was struggling, that they wanted to help and there absolutely was hope.”
No Bragging Rights has taken their message all over the world, touring all over the United States, Europe and Australia, but Riverside continues to be the place the band calls home.