The Dennies serve fresh punk music


Photo by Harrison Dear

The Dennies at Val’s Halla

On Oct. 30, the Dennies stood out among a host of artists at a local show at Val’s Halla, a record store on Harrison St. Playing both covers and originals, they lit up the venue with their skill and stage charisma. 

From their matching blood-stained t-shirts at their most recent concert to their memorable, engaging punk sound, The Dennies know how to captivate an audience. They performed songs to a packed Val’s Halla, and the crowd was delighted.

Three members of the quintet, vocalist Miles Toppen, bassist Sofia Wardzala, and drummer Brett Linzing are current OPRF students. Guitarists Heyn Negrete and Benji Trujilo join them. Toppen and Trujilo are both sophomores, Negrete is an eighth grader, Linzing is a freshman, and Wardzala is a senior.

The Dennies, a local punk band, “formed as a joke,” according to Toppen. He says they formed after a picture was taken of them this summer at a School of Rock gig, and they were likened to a viral video of a hardcore punk band playing at a Denny’s. 

Toppen, lead singer, says that they “formed as a joke, planning to maybe mess around … but then a week later, there was an open mic at Val’s Halla.” Toppen says “people really seemed to dig what we were doing, so we kept going with it seriously.”

Despite their new formation, The Dennies sound like a years-old band. 

“I think it’s nice to be surrounded with a bunch of just crazy talented musicians,” Toppen said. “Everyone in that band is just fantastic.”

The band has “a pretty wide range of influences,” said Toppen. “I’m a big hardcore punk fan. There’s a decent amount of metal, there’s thrash in there…pop punk…jazz…whatever we like we throw into a pot.”

Benji Trujilo, guitarist, says that “Our artistic process is some parts individual writing and group writing…one of us comes to a practice with a riff or lyrics to make a song, then we will try and come up with the rest of the song by improvising.”

Trujilo says that “just having a fun time and getting our listeners (or) audience having fun at shows” drives them to create. Another thing that drives the band is “making a career out of something we all love, which is music,” they said.

And fun they are. Toppen is known for instructing people to form mosh-pits, which crowds lovingly participate in. Sweaty bodies can be seen bouncing and pushing whenever they break out their fast tunes.

The Dennies are trying to get more shows under their belt. “We will hopefully have some shows too coming up for the holiday season,” says Trujilo.

Gracie Walton, fan of The Dennies and owner of Instagram account @ilovethedennies, saw the band perform at their first show. 

“Me and my cousin just went to one of the Val’s shows,” said Walton. “They were playing and they had really good energy … I just love their energy and like their music, I think it’s really unique … there’s no one like them.”

 “We are currently writing songs for our upcoming album, which will come out in 2022,” said Trujillo. “Our single ‘Flesh’ will be re-recorded and our songs on our live EP will be on it plus some others.” 

The Dennies’ music can be found on all major streaming platforms. They are @thedenniesband on Instagram.