Fred Armisen to Lead a Punk Rock Museum Tour in Vegas

Posted on: June 21, 2023, 04:12h. 

Last updated on: June 22, 2023, 10:15h.

Comedy icon Fred Armisen will conduct two guided tours through the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas next month. But why?

Fred Armisen
Tickets are still available to join Fred Armisen on one of two guided tours he will conduct next month at the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas. (Image:

Well, before achieving legendary status on “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia,” Armisen was the drummer for Trenchmouth. He and singer Damon Locks formed the punk-rock band after dropping out of the School of Visual Arts in Armisen’s hometown of New York, moving to Chicago in 1988.

Armisen, left, played drums in the Chicago punk band Trenchmouth from 1988 to 1996. (Image:

The Windy City five-piece released four albums, one on a major label, before calling it quits in 1996.

While always a funny guy, Armisen, 56, didn’t even consider comedy as a career until his short film, “Fred Armisen’s Guide to Music and South by Southwest,” a reference to Austin’s annual indie music festival, went viral and drew critical raves in 1998.

He joined the cast of SNL four years later.


It was their mutual punk roots that first bonded Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, his future “Portlandia” partner. They met when Brownstein’s band, Sleater-Kinney, attended an SNL afterparty in 2003. Not long after that, the two began collaborating on sketches that eventually became part of IFC’s Emmy-nominated 2011-2018 comedy series lampooning the Oregon hipster haven.

Armisen has always kept his career punk-adjacent. On “SNL,” he played a Johnny Rotten-like punk singer called Ian Rubbish, who took on the police and the queen, yet had a surprising soft spot for Margaret Thatcher.

Armisen reprises his Ian Rubbish character for a Funny or Die interview with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash. (Image: Funny or Die)

“I’ve been rehearsing for that sketch since I was 15,” Armisen told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I’m such a fan of that era of music. I’m such a fan of all those bands — the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Stranglers, the Damned.”

Several of his “Portlandia” characters were based on scenesters from the community. He also appeared in two punk documentaries: 2014’s “Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC (1980-1990) and 2015’s “The Damned: Don’t You Wish You Were Dead.”

Arimsen keeps his musical chops up these days as the bandleader and a frequent drummer for the “Late Night with Seth Meyers” house band.

The Punk Rock Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated entirely to the history, culture, and absurdity of rock n’ roll’s bastard stepchild. Located between downtown and the Las Vegas Strip, it houses artifacts and memorabilia from across the world’s punk scene, such as handwritten lyrics, instruments, clothing, photos, flyers, and artwork along with a bar, wedding/wake chapel, and tattoo parlor.

The museum hit upon the novel idea of having former punk rock musicians act as tour guides for the collection. Taking them up on the offer so far have been members of the Ramones, Social Distortion, and the Germs.

Armisen’s guided tours of the Punk Rock Museum will be Sunday, July 23 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $100. For more information, visit