| AUGUST 2008 | ISSUE 21 | ISSN 1754-3746 |
.THE PHANTOM ROCKERS
JOHN ROBB talks
The real mckenzies RFEEBELLION STIVAL .The SLACKERS .MIGHTYSOUNDS FESTIVAL .
ASHERS, BILLY CLUB, RANK N’ FILE, PLY RECORDS... REVIEWED: STATIC THOUGHT, DEAD CITY DREGS, DEADLY SINS, THE GUILTY PLEASURES, HAVE HEART and more...
LIFE. IT JUST HAPPENS. EDITOR/Co PUBLISHER_ Cerven Cotter email@example.com
ADVERTISING/Co PUBLISHER_ Nikola Cotter firstname.lastname@example.org ART/WEB/LAYOUT_ www.pixeldeath.com
SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR_ Steve ‘I’ll get you a job’ Noble email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS_ John Robb, Willa, Tim Drunk, Fungal Punk/OMD, Mr Funnel, LibraSnake, Imelda, the little punk hanging in the corner... Contact information_ Distorted Magazine 9 Bridle Close, Surbiton Road, Kingston Upon Thames Surrey, KT1 2JW, UK firstname.lastname@example.org www.distortedmagazine.com Distorted Magazine is published by Distorted Ltd. ISSN 1754-3746 All content is copyright protected © 2006 - 2008. Distorted is a trademark of Distorted Ltd. Views expressed in the magazine’s content belong to the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers. The contents are believed to be correct at the time of publishing. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, ommissions or for changes in the details given, © 2006 - 2008 Distorted Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in a whole or in part of this magazine is strictly forbidden without prior written consent of the publishers.
ast issue I promisd we’d have Distorted out on time... so I was a little wrong, not really that wrong as the mag is still out on the 1st... What is our excuse this time? The Distorted family is about to gain a new member. Yes, my beautiful wife and I are expecting our first child. Thanks to everybody for their awesome comments so far, we really appreciate it. In the next few months the world will be one punkrocker richer. With everything going down here on the home front, we’re unfortunately not going to be able to be at Rebellion this year - we’re gutted but we have no doubt that you’re going to have a blast! Have a drink or 10 for us here at Distorted. We’re going to be trying a few new things here at Distorted over the next few weeks... hope you enjoy reading the August issue of Distorted! See ya in September. ~ Cerven Cotter Distorted Editor
ON THE COVER: H2O. THIS PAGE: MightSounds Fest 2008. ÂŠ SKAra.
Lagwagon .. Might Sounds Festival ...
The Slackers ..
The Real McKenzies .
..28 . 36
Editor Notes...... 03 JOHNâ€™S COLUMN... 06 10 minutes with ... 08 Distorted Girl ... 10
Label Spotlight ... 12 Under the Radar....... 48 Soundcheck...... 52 Reviews...... 54
Mutiny! The John Robb Column
“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!” Everyone is revving up for Rebellion festival in Blackpool on the weekend of August 7th to 10th. The world’s biggest punk festival is going to be the best one yet this year.
Its got a real romper stomper line up. Just look at the headliners- each one legendary- Cockney Rejects, Cock Sparrer and the 4-Skins- on the rest of the bill there are all the different shades of punk from street punk heroes Argy Bargy, upcoming New Zealand punk rock heroes The Rabble- whose current album is a glorious punk rock record. We are also going to get to also see Sonic Boom Six whose crush collision of punk, ska, hip hop and a zillion other street musics sees them as one of the fastest rising bands on the scene. There are also punk legends Subway Sect who were one of the first bands on the punk scene way back in 1976 and special guests Stiff Little Fingers. There’s loads of great street punk
from the likes of Deadline and some great anarcho noise from Conflict, also American hardcore legends Agnostic Front and upcoming noisy fuckers The King Blues. It’s like whose who of punk rock- and that’s just the audience. Back on stage there’s the usual wildcard bands like the Boomtown Rats, the Sweet and TV chef Lloyd Grossman whose going to pop up and play in his band from the late seventies. Oh yeah, I get to play as well with Goldblade but don’t let that fuck your day up! Its well worth the entrance fee just to see the UK Subs full original line up on the Sunday- Charlie Harper is heroic these days; nonstop touring and flying the punk rock flag worldwide. Charlie is one hundred per cent punk rock playing hard into his sixties. The man is pure inspiration. One day he will get the recognition he deserves from outside the punk scene. The punk rockers respect Charlie because he always
plays great and he’s a cool dude hanging out with everyone, sharing the scene. Meanwhile the rest of the music biz are scared of him and try to ignore him because he is everything that they are not. He shows them up for the lightweight fakers they are, the squeaky cowards who give up because they get dropped by major labels, who split their bands up because they go out of fashion.
“The UK Subs are relentless; surviving as the music biz collapses in rubble around them.” Every time I’ve seen them at Rebellion they have torn it up. It’s a great festival. It’s in the perfect venue and the right town for these spiky shenanigans. I should know I grew up in Blackpool and enjoyed the late seventies punk scene in the town when I was in the Membranes. We shared stages with The Fits and One Way System in a cool local scene. The Winter Gardens once sued us for sticking a poster on their wall in the late seventies. We used to promote gigs by slapping A4 posters on town centre walls and
one night we stuck one on their exterior. They got thirty quid off us to pay for the soap and water to clean it off. Nowadays we get to play the Empress ballroom- all ornate Victoriana and candyfloss- somehow perfect for punk rock. Rebellion is also a great social. It feels like you meet everyone all at once from the last thirty years of punk rock in the main corridor between the venues. It’s the kind of pace where you get more hoarse from hanging out than playing the gig! This is where the scene gets to reaffirm itself. This is important. There has to be a somewhere where everyone gets to meet up and feel strong again. Rebellion is a celebration of a spirit that won’t die away. Its also a massive piss up… See you there people and if you are undecided about it all get to the website (www.rebellionfestivals.com) and get your ass down there. John Robb is the author of Punk Rock: An Oral History and is the frontman of Goldblade.
HE A DL INES 10 MINUTES WITH:
What’s the deal with Ashers, how did it come about and who is involved? Mark: Well we started one year ago. My close friend Billy and I were tossing the idea around for a while. Bill and I have been friends forever and have both done guest vocals on each other’s albums. He sang on almost every Unseen album and I sang on his previous band Crash and Burns album. We are fans of each other’s work and it meshed well right from day one. Billy brought his close friend Joe also from Bill’s old band in to play bass. Our final issue was a drummer. We grabbed Marc of the band Far from Finished. We wrote five songs in a few weeks and hit a local studio to start what would become “Cold dark Place”- our E.P. At the time we hit the studio we only had one song finished called ‘Destitution’ so we tossed that up online and people dug it!!
Once I returned from tour we got real serious and finished guitar and vocals on the five recorded songs and released our first record “Cold Dark Place” on a local label Welfare Records. We also had to get a new drummer due to Far From Finished always being on tour. What else can you tell us about the E.P? Well yeah the E.P. is on 7 inch and CD. We don’t have much distribution as of now. I sell it at Unseen shows and it’s also available at www. interpunk. com –I’d order one fast if you’re interested because once it’s gone we may not repress it. There is a cool limited red black splatter record that can be ordered from Welfare Records directly. Any particular song you are proud? I like em’ all. I think my fav is the song “Cold Dark Place”. It’s about a mur-
der that happened in the town I live in. Two Winters ago, two homeless men were living in a abandoned army bunker down by the ocean. Well the two men were harmless and not bothering anybody. Three teenagers found them and killed them both for no reason. The town covered up the story, well there was hardly any press about the issue. Two of the killers are in jail. The last kid that was involved did not actually kill them but was with them at the time. He is now out on the streets and oddly he is a kid I know . A friend of my little brothers. This story hit real close to me so that’s where that song comes from. Is this a side project or a full blown band? Where do you see the future of
Ashers? Ashers is a full blown band for sure. We plan on releasing a full length album in the Winter or Spring. We will tour a lot! We already have a great European booking agent Mutti of Muttis booking. We are currently talking to labels to work with us. Is this in any way marking the death knell for The Unseen?
Hell no I hope not. I have been in The Unseen for almost 15 years now. I love it and everything I have done with them. I just wanted to try something else. The Unseen just toured nonstop for three years so we will be taking some time off. In that time off I will be doing Ashers.
Summer? Well as for me and the other Ashers guys we spend a lot of time working on songs, also some of us have jobs that take up a bunch of time. We also drink saint ides to pass the time haha!!
Thanks everyone please go to www.myspace.com/ What do band mem- asherstheband to hear us bers do in The States get tour dates and to order ouropen EP! to SOUTH AFRICANâ€™s when not on the only NOTE: Competition Warped tour in the included, tickets only - no flights | MARCH 2008 | page 07 |
Girls! Holly Homicide
Age: 25 Height: 5’2 Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. Occupation: Drink Slinger Favourite punk bands: Social Distortion, Rancid, Misfits, Pennywise, NOFX, Tiger Army, Time Again, Bouncing Souls, Distillers, Offspring, Sex Pistols, The Freeze, Born Against.. honestly I could go on for days naming bands.. I just love punk rock! Website: www.myspace.com/sickgirlphx www.modelmayhem.com/hollyhomicide
I have skated with the Renegade Rollergirls AZ and the Arizona Derby Dames. Right now I am working on going back to school for graphic design and web developing, I am also a model and hoping to start my own business making rad t- shirts! I love spending time with my boyfriend who is my inspiration and the love of my life, going to shows, makeup, photography skating, laughing, shopping and drinking with my friends. I’m the sweetest girl in the world unless you piss me off, I’m a nerd at heart... I love to read and learn and I spend alot of my free time on the computer.
NOTE: Competition only open to SOUTH AFRICAN’s - no flights included, tickets only
PHOTO: Joshua Lemon | MARCH 2008 | page 07 |
L AB E L
S P OT L IGH T
Inside the companies that put out the music you buy.
I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records (AKA: People Like You) Genre of music the label puts out: All kinds of Punk Rock and Psychobilly When was the label started: 1999 Who are the individuals behind the label: Andre Bahr (founder, A&R, distribution) Tobbe Falarz (label manager, production) Oli (promotion, assistant of management) Matti and Dani (accounting) Georgios (distribution) ...and some more music freaks who support them. history of the label: What started as a small and specialised vinyl record store, called Outcast Records, becomes one of Europe’s most exciting and established labels for Punk Rock. In the year 1999, Andre Bahr finally decided that his time had come to start his own label, the illustriously-titled I USED TO FUCK PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN PRISON... often abbreviated as PEOPLE LIKE YOU by those of a sensitive, easily-offended nature. Being an established part of the scene for years already, it was not difficult for Andre to sign various promising bands to the new label. PLY soon became well-known for delivering high-quality releases from hellishly good bands, accompanied with all the extras you’d expect from such a diehard: terrific layouts, coloured-vinyl LPs pressed on thick wax, and collectible Digipak CDs. 24 hours a day often are not enough for the hardest-working man in the industry, but luckily Andre has found excellent support for his label with a solid team of music maniacs. These guys don’t just sell the
lifestyle, they live it! People Like You records are about family. Not blood related family, but the People Like You family that you choose in the travels of your life. People and bands who share similar ideals, morals and an unconditional love and support for music and each other. Like any other family People Like You have disagreements and disappointments, but at the end of the day we all know that they’re there for each other no matter what happens. Later in the label’s development, People Like You licensed top catalogue titles from some of the best US labels in the genre, and PLY just can’t get enough : The amazing roster is full of highly respected bands such as MAD SIN, DEADLINE, THE METEORS, U.S. BOMBS, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK and many, many more. New bands like THE GRIT, FAR FROM FINISHED, MAD MARGE & THE STONECUTTERS, THEE MERRY WIDOWS and others started things off with a bang, and there is definitely a lot more to expect from these bands. Over the years PLY has expanded and contracted. Some people or bands have passed on through while others have stayed around and shown their commitment to the People Like You family. Furthermore, in order to spread its faith all around the world to its fans, People Like You shaked hands with Japanese Punx and Lowlifes and opened a new office in Tokyo to fit the great interest of its audience there. Other offices are also about to be set up in some other parts of the world... PLY hopes everyone can be as fortunate as they are. Either way, People Like You had love for you to come along for the ride. There’s always room in the People Like You family for those whose hearts and souls are true. So watch out for the finest in Punk & Rock`n`Roll Underground that they will bring to you in the future - they’re going to rock the hell out of you! Current band roster: 2nd District, Adam West, The Adicts, Angel City Outcasts, The Black Halos, Born To Lose, Brain Failure, Broilers, Charley Horse, Chelsea Smiles, Chip Hanna & The Berlin Three, Creepshow, Deadline, Deadly Sins, Deep Eynde, Demented Are Go, Far From Finished, P.Paul Fenech, Frontkick,
The Generators, The Grit, Heartbreak Engines, Die Hunns, The Kings Of Nuthin´, Mad Sin, Mad Marge & The Stonecutters, Thee Merry Widows, The Meteors, The Peacocks, Peter Pan Speedrock, Roger Miret & The Disasters, Texas Terri Bomb, Total Chaos, US Bombs, Whiskey Rebels.
| MARCH 2008 | page 07 |
Words by Steve Noble Photos by Imelda
PHAT bASTARDS One of Ska’s stalwarts, the thankful return of The Piestasters to the European shores and a new record in tow, Stephen Jackson, the band’s founder, vocalist and cosongwriter spent some of his valuable spare time to fill us in on the recent tour to the UK, the new record “All Day” and the highs and low business of the music business.
So you have seen a bit of a break from the scene, for those new to it all, tell us about The Pietasters!
Steve Pietaster: The Pietasters are a bunch of beer loving guys from the Washington, D.C. area. Weâ€™ve been playing our mix of ska, rock and soul since 1990 and are rich with experiences if not flush with cash.
And who were the big
influences on the band, US or UK sounds?
When we started playing we were more of a straight up two tone influenced band. Bad Manners is one of our biggest influences, both musically and lifestylewise. The Specials, English Beat, etc were also in heavy rotation in the early days as were UK and US punk bands. Years and years of driving around listening - first to mix tapes sent to us on the road, and now mostly iPod playlists - to a variety of old music that expanded the covers we
played to soul and reggae.
So where does the name come from?
Some British fellows were sharing a townhouse with one of our original members. Every time we showed up for a party they would make fun of our physique using a chant that went, “they’re the pietasters, they’re the pietasters, they’ll eat your pies they’ll tell you lies you won’t believe the bastards size.” So yeah, a silly name for a band that wasn’t meant to continue on for as long as we have.
Heh, what was the reason for the break you had taken in more recent times, and the reason for the bands thankful return?
We haven’t really taken a break, we continue to play a few weekends a month and then when we can save up vacation time we manage to make the trek to the UK or Europe for a few weeks of fun. From 1994 - 2001 we were on tour about 10 months out of the year. Now that we’re older, and some of us have families it’s tough to keep up that kind of a schedule. It was also difficult to record when we were all scattered around trying to pay the rent. We didn’t want to rush a crappy album so we took our time on “All Day”.
“I like to play in new places regardless of how much we will be paid”
And on the ska side of things, are you thankful 3rd wave has petered out? Yeah, that’s another reason we slowed things down a bit. In 2001 (heck, in 1999) the writing was on the wall. Ska wasn’t cool or marketable and we in turn slowed our touring. The best part of this
recession was that the people who still are into our music are into it because of the music and not because it’s some sort of fashion statement. The bands that have survived did so for a reason, they play good music. There was a lot of shit out there in the late 90s being called ska.
On The New album:
You mentioned your new record, how would you describe - “All Day”, your first release in five years!
“All Day” is the kind of songs that you’d hear driving around in the van with us. There is a lot of hurry up and wait and long drives. We listen to a lot of mixes
(there are eight to ten of us in the van at any time). Everything from old soul, ska and reggae to Supergrass and The Zombies. How’s that for varied?
Pretty Varied. What has inspired the band to record a new record, and what inspirations/ goals did you have?
We haven’t thrown in the towel yet. Although we may record at a slower pace than some may appreciate, we always try to record an album of songs that we’re proud of. We never go into the studio with some sort of nebulous goal like “capturing the sound of night.” Our most important goal is to write good songs.
So no night sounds then. Tell us about your favourite tacks on the record. As an album it’s an eclectic mix of soul,the classic Trojan sounds, and rocksteady reggae?
I am partial to ‘Change My Ways,’ ‘Don’t Wanna Know and ‘Late Night Call’ although every time I listen to the album I’m blown away by how good all of the songs turned out. The Tom Petty cover ‘Listen to Her Heart’ and ‘G to F’ are also good ones as far as I’m concerned.
And how happy are you with the record?
Extremely. Can’t you tell? I’m a pretty humble guy but I think we did a great job with “All Day.” And if I get hit by a bus before we record anything else I think it’s a pretty good finale.
You have seen a number of different record labels represent you, why haven’t you found a steady home, and how does this new one (your own) bode?
We put out our first album on our own, then had a two record deal with MOON and Epitaph. After the Epitaph deal was complete there was the afore mentioned backlash against ska. After slowing things down a bit we came up with a bunch of songs and our friend Vinnie from Less Than Jake offered us a one off on his label Fueled By Ramen. A lot of things have changed in the music business since 1992. When it was time to release “All Day” we shopped it around and realized that since no one buys CDs anymore, we should control as much of our destiny as possible. We worked a sweet arrangement out with Red Eye Distribution in the US and formed our own label, Indication. Luckily our friends the Slackers decided to put out an album with Indication too. By maintaining control we were able to work with Rockers Revolt on the UK side of things. It just makes more sense in this day and age to do things this way. If we were three teens in an Emo band things may be different. I think we’ve created a good
home for us and our friends and we look forward to passing along the advantages afforded by Indication to more of our rock n roll friends.
How did forming your Indication come about, who did you ask for pointers from?
We’ve got a good friend, Andrew Courtney, who runs the business side of things. He worked his way up the entertainment chain and is currently high up in the Bruce Springsteen organization. Also, Carlos, our trumpet player is an entertainment attorney. We kind of took the DC Punk ethos of “Do it Yourself ” and ran with it.
Connections. What are the biggest problems or issues? And the biggest positives?
No problems really. We’re kind of jaded when it comes to the music business. We made sure that there would only be positives by not being naive about radio play and marketing. Biggest positive is owning our records. The songwriters own the songs obviously but we don’t answer to anyone but ourselves and that’s a nice position to be in.
The return of indie labels and a watering down of the big labels is; A- a good thing, B -a bad thing, and why?
The indie label thing is a great thing for us. The big labels are dead for a band like us. They make their money on volume as the profit margin is slim. Even with a big labels marketing efforts, we were realistic about the audience we were
targeting and in this day and age of the WWW we were confident that we could reach the people on our own. It also got kind of old touring around all year not making any money while everyone at the label had a salary, health insurance and vacation time. And at the end of the year you get the statement from the label saying you owe $xxxxx and they own you until it’s recouped.
So new label aside, what keeps the band and the members motivated in the current musical landscape?
Beer and women. And that’s what motivated us on the first day of the first practice. We have a great time playing music and making new friends all around the world. Going to Japan is still a motivation as we haven’t been there yet.
But you have recently seen a stint in the UK with The Slackers and Pama International on the “Reggae For The People” tour, how did you feel it went?
We had a blast hanging with and listening to Pama and the Slackers. I wish the tour had been during the school year as some of the shows weren’t sell outs (possibly due to vacation and/or the economy?).
Both probably. Any good stories from the road?
I cut my hand really badly last time we were in the UK so this time I brought my own sutures, just in case. I made it through the tour with no problems but
the weekend we got home we had some shows in North Carolina. After singing “Drinking and Driving” (one of our most requested covers, thank you Business!) I was climbing back onstage and managed to cut a huge chunk out of my left shin. 21 stitches later and it still hurts like shit. The UK portion was fairly uneventful. I don’t want to incriminate anyone either so I’d better keep my mouth shut. The drunken rides to hotels after the show were not so much fun as tolerable considering we had 12 people in an 11 seat van. I am proud to say that in the van, stage dives are fun when you’re loaded.
Do you have a prefer-
ence in where you tour?
We love touring in the UK because your money is worth twice what ours is! Europe in Nov/Dec is cold, real cold, but we always seem to end up there during that time period. We’re always driving around in circles in the US. I’m way too familiar with places like Albany, NY, Jacksonville, FL and Knoxville, TN and I know where all the best truck stops are. On the up side of it though there are some great people and great bars out there. We manage to have fun no matter where we end up though which is why, after 18 years, we still keep booking those small town shows.
PHANTOM ROCKERS Words by Mr Funnel.
HAIRS Formed in 1988, The Phantom Rockers are doing a small UK tour in August, their 1st tour in 10 yrs. The last CD was released on SOS Records and was titled ‘20 years and still kicking.’ Adam Funnel emailed Karl, but got a reply from Mark Burke (Stand Up Bass & Lead Vocals)...
Confused? It will all make sense by the end of the next question...
Tell me about the band... “ The band started in 1988 after I left the Krewmen. This was shortly after the original singer Mark Cole left. The Phantom Rockers have now been going for twenty years with no intention of stopping! the band is now based in the U.S but there are a couple of guys (Mick and Karl) who still play with us that are based in the UK and they usually do the Euro tours, Phantom Rockers signed to SOS Records a few years ago and we just released a 20th anniversary album called “20 Years and Still Kicking” it is basically a compilation of all the best bits from all our albums.“
Been around for 20 years you may be an authority on answering this, what is the best album and best band ever? “ My all time favorite psychobilly album is the “Wrecking Crew” by The Meteors. But my favorite band ever is The Clash! “
Why no tour in 10 years? “If you mean in the UK the reason is that psychobilly comes in waves and always has And we just feel that right now its time again“
You’re named after the Phantom (super hero Google it now) If you had a super power what would it be? “My superpower it would be the power of moonlight (laughs), joking of course! But really I’ve always wanted to be real stretchy, you know like the geezer from the Fantastic 4.“ (Being an email interview I can’t ask him if he means his schlong so we move back to psychobilly...)
What do you think of Psychobilly both locally and internationally since you first started, pretty positive? “Psychobilly has had its ups and downs just like any other scene. Surprisingly England has caught on to it again, it was gone for a while.“
Following from that, what bands do you currently rate, psychobilly or other, anyone that inspires you? “Mainly the Brit bands that came out in late 70’s and early to mid 80’s, or the European bands. But all the inspiration I need is The Clash (Joe Strummer) and I can’t forget Carl Perkins.“
From meeting internationally (the band were originally formed on a German airbase) to current location of most of the band you have been about as international as you can get, Where is your favourite place to play and why? “I haven’t particularly a favorite place to play because I have fun everywhere I go. Last year my favorites were Mexico, France, Japan and South Korea. Lots of good memories and good friends.“
What can we expect on your tour, do you take requests? “We are up for anything! Whatever you want use your imagination! Typically we dont do requests, hmm well maybe... “
20 years is a long time what’s the secret and any advice? Just try to enjoy what you do? “Do not expect to much and don’t over do it. Plus the Phantom Rockers are all good friends, so it makes it much easier to work and have fun.”
Anything else (rants, plugs, randomn philosophy) “As much as I complain I enjoy everybit of this. It’s all Rock n Roll to me. Also we are just looking forward to playing the UK and Europe, i know it will be a lot of fun catching up with old friends! eating real fish n chips and pork pies and watching Man Utd in the pub. “ Does age bring regret or knowledge? “Both regret and knowledge! Regret ‘Who is this monster I woke up in the morning with’ - Knowledge ‘How to make a quick get away’ “
Nothin to Prov
COVER FEATURE: H2O
After a seven year hiatus, H2O, have returned to the scene they helped shape with their blistering new album, Nothing to Prove. It may come across as an arrogant tile, however, this is a band that does have nothing to prove. They are who they are and do things the way they want to do it. We briefly spoke to frontman, Tody Morse, before they hit the stage at the Underworld in London, UK. Words by Cerven Cotter. .
AS TOBY EYED MY IPOD RECORDER WE GOT STARTED ON THE SUBJECT OF TECHNOLOGY WHICH SPILLED OVER INTO THE MUCH TALKED ABOUT AND DEBATED SUBJECT OF DOWNLOADS...
I mean it is good and bad (downloading) . It helps sales and it hurts sales. Kids can find out about you in 1 second by googling you, they can find out everything, your all career, all your songs, just everything. So that is cool. But back in the day for us, we had to go to record stores and read magazines to find out about bands. You had to be more creative to find out about new bands, today is’s just a click away. iTunes is great, we get paid when people download our stuff off there. But at the end of the day no one can control the downloading. You should get paid for your fuck’n art. If you like the music, why not support the bands as they make the music as a living... but most times I think somebodywill download an album and if they really like it, they go out and buy it... well I hope so.
HAS THE RISE IN DOWNLOADING INCREASED MERCH AND TICKET SALES? Yeah definitely. I guess with increased merch and ticket sales it kind of balances out the lack of money from selling records. We as the band, we make money directly from the merch where as it is the
labels are suffering, and I don’t really care. We’re the one’s out here touring, we’re the one fuck’n playing and making the music while they sit behind their desks.
WIth the mention of labels, how does h2o feel about being with bridge9 records?
It’s great! It’s the best record deal we’ve ever got in our life. It’s a good deal, and it will probably the first time where we can start making money in the shortest possible time. Our last album was done on a major (label) and they had tons of money and stuff... kind of night and day really. The process of making music, producing records and everything is so different than it was seven years ago. So far it has been good.
HAVING KEPT FANS WAITING FOR 7 years, IS the album worth the wait?
We are so proud of the new record. It is by for the most personal album for me lyrically. We’ve been getting great reviews - better than any reviews our previous one’s got. We’re really proud if it. We’re blessed. It could have gone the other way, it could have gone sour. The kids could have been ‘fuck this band’, kids forget, but the fans have always been there. But we’ve been amazed by this, and glad the fans are enjoying the new album. I feel reborn with this album. The crowds at shows have become more mixed, old people like you (pointing at me) and then the young kids. It is crazy but feels great. Last night a
COVER FEATURE: H2O 50 year old dad who was a H2O fan brought his three kids, 21, 14 and 11 down to the show - tey were all singing along, they bought shirts, it was crazy! It was really cool. We’ve always had a mixed crowd but these days it’s really getting more diverse.
mix with this album. It was the first time in many years that we made an album just because it was fun. We didn’t make this album because we had to, we did it because we really wanted to make it happen. We got nothing to prove, that’s it.
ASIDE FROM THE 7 year wait for the new album, uk fans have had to wait just as long for the band to return to play live shows.
AMID a long list of guest appearances it was odd to find matt skiba of ALKALINE TRIO as a guest on the album.
Yeah, we had to cancel the last tour, must have been about 7 -8 years ago. not sure why but I was about to become a dad and I was getting anxiety like a motherfucker... (bursts out laughing)... I was loosing my mind I think.
AS THE ALBUM AS BEEN OUT FOR A WHILE NOW, IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THE RECORD THAT Hasn’t been said yet?
There was no pressure involved when we did this record. We did it in three and half weeks like we did our first records. It was about doing it for fun, no other reason. It was the right time to make it happen. There were no expections and we did the record we wanted to do. We gave everything in our hearts and soul to make this album the best we could. Despite the seven year break, the ages we are, me being a dad, we’re all bi-coastal - there were a lot of things in the
I knew you were going to ask that (laughs). Myself and Matt are like best friends and it just happened. I always wanted him to be on a record and this one just happened. He was working on his record, I rang him up, sent him the demo and well, it just happened. It was amazing that him (mat) and Lou Koller were both in New York at the same time, and we did the video, it was just crazy. We were really excited to get this song out there, we knew it would bug people, in a good way. Mat and I go way back, he was an H2O fan for a long time. Mat is also like my kids best friend, he gave him a custom Alkaline Trio drumkit. Myself and Matt always hangout together. It is just crazy and it is great to have him on the record. Later H2O would receive a huge welcome from the London fans and the show would be remembered for many years to come.
Words by Mr Noble
STILL ROLLING After some phone technical issues we managed to catch Joey Cape sitting in San Francisco, enjoying some R&R after their rushed tour through Europe. With their first release since 2005’s “Resolve” due in August in the form of an EP “My Older brother Used to listen to Lagwagon”, Joey spilled the beans on his growing quite comfortably into middle age, his solo work and Lagwagon’s evolution as a modern mature punk rock band in a rapidly changing musical landscape.
Lagwagon has been for me a memory and a nostalgic band, and you are approaching that magical 20 year mark, can we expect to see cheesy memorabilia coasters and coffee mugs to commemorate the milestone. Joey: I haven’t thought about any merch stuff at all, I don’t think about it, rather I think about how I’m going to make it. (Laughing)
ests musically and Lagwagon is one of them, but it’s different now that when I was a kid of course ya know. It’s so close also, technically for the band 1989 was the start so I feel we are on the cusp of 20 years and you can’t throw in the towel when you are that close. But sometimes on tour it does feel like, ya know, a little tiresome, for an old guy like me. (Pauses) I sound like I’m 80 don’t I?
Does it feel like it’s been that long? It doesn’t feel long at all. There are always eras with a band, right now it feels like the era of a old man doing a young man’s job for me. I have many inter-
Haha, well you guys have had ups and downs l i k e a n y
band and you had a hiatus in 2000-2002. Even in the past few years you guys have not exactly been doing nothing but it seems to have been quieter. Even with this EP due for release and your recent tours, is this Lagwagon coming back to full speed? It feels like full speed to me as we are touring a lot. We are touring through to Mid Septem-
ber and cos of that it feels kind of full on. At the same time compared to the early days of the band where we were playing 280 shows a year, I suppose it all relative. Itâ€™s more difficult to do as many shows in a row as when we were kids ya know. Its busy with whatâ€™s on the table right now with Lagwagon, were busy for sure. And your new EP, or the title touches on that.
LAGWAGON “My Older brother used to listen to Lagwagon” ,talk me through the title, and are they all new songs or some B sides from the past? They are all new except for one outtake from the “Resolve” record which we had an Itunes release with. We chose to shift it a bit and make it more comfortable for the EP. And we put it on there as it was a song we always liked, otherwise the other 6 songs are new, with the exception that five of them were already recorded from my acoustic record. Which is kind of a bummer but what can you do, I’m only one guy ya know. It’s ironic cos I had finished that (acoustic) record already and gave the guys a copy and I thought they would want a few of them and we would work on some together and we ended up recording five of them! And now the album is coming out before the acoustic record. About the title it’s something we hear a lot, one way or another we get that kind of quote a lot. I think the full statement is “My older brother used to listen to Lagwagon in High school!” I think we are toying with the idea of doing a trilogy
and following up with the next one being called, “I think my grandfather used to…” (Both laughing) It’s kind of a inside joke anyways. Alright, so have you seen a change in the crowd then? Well we have the fan base that’s one of two things, its either old fans that are dedicated to the band, and they get older with us, which is nice as we have made a lot of friends over the years; anywhere we go we get to see those people again. And there are a handful of people that are newly introduced to the band. I guess that’s probably a normal thing for any band, so it’s nothing unusual. I would say the size of the crowd and audience changes in different places and at different times. Whether you are doing better in a market, I hate that word market, but I can’t think of a better word, um is difficult to tell. For the UK it has fluctuated quite a bit. There have always been trends and it’s hard to care to tell you the truth, you just got to keep focused. In this last tour we were playing venues we had not played for 16 years which was depressing and in-
teresting to see promoters we had not worked with for years and years and play these venues we haven’t played for years and years. Yeah it’s good and bad. But you have to take everything with a grain of salt when you are in a band, the only thing that’s important is that you enjoy what you do, and if you’re passionate about it and I think Lagwagon has and is. Onstage, like in London a week ago, nothing seems to have changed in how you come across, the banter the fun and good music, and speaking to people at the show, that they were surprised Lagwagon is still going, maybe that’s because there hasn’t been a release since 2005. Is there a new album in the horizon besides the EP? I’m not sure if the album is to some extend a dead art. The idea of making a record is always something that has caused me some discomfort as the analogy I always use, a painter wouldn’t paint 14 times or 14 paintings at one
time. It’s hard to focus on making a record, with budgets being eliminated and time constraints. It’s always an issue when making a record in the studio. One of the things I find kind of pleasant with the way things are with downloads and record sales way down; it’s nice just to make an EP. Or just to release a song every now and again because then you can throw everything into it the idea of making it. A record; I’m not married to it like a lot of people are. Some of the guys in the band, they were resistant to making an EP, but I loved that. So as far as I’m concerned if we could put something out once a year like a song or something new for people and for us, that’s fresh, that kind of gives you the feeling you get from new material. You have been on Fat Wreck for a long time, have you seen a shift with how bands and labels are suffering. Do you visibly see that at the moment? Oh yeah. Some areas/parts of the world record sales are up but for most bands in most parts of the world, especially
LAGWAGON ones like us who have been around a long time, the record sales are down. That’s part of the deal, things change and you have to accept that. I think a lot of bands are breaking up and it comes down to why you are doing it? If you are making music purely for sales you’re in the wrong business, so it’s sort of a good thing in a way. Our record sales, that’s the obvious thing, they are not what they used to be for us at all. But that’s ok we make records fairly inexpensively now and we have the relationship with the label where we could make records probably indefinitely if we wanted to so. You mentioned already that Lagwagon is just one of the projects you are involved with. Do you feel like you have to be in a frame of mind to be writing material for them, or for particular projects? To be honest I have never really done that, been calculated. I just write songs. I find it actually pretty effortless to format them for lack of a better word. But that’s what it feels like if I have a song complet-
ed and I’m thinking of Lagwagon and the vibe, how it’s going to played by the band. Fortunately for me I play in a band that’s pretty headstrong and have their own ideas. So I can pretty much play a tune on an acoustic guitar with vocals and say “hey, what do you guys think”? And that’s cool, so it’s not a workload in terms of calculation and seeing the right fit. OK, the band itself, are you friends first? Um, well with some of the guys, because they have been in the band so long, it’s more like family first and band second. And other guys in the band; our relationship I would say is a mix. There is always a little bit of that camaraderie and gang mentality in a band, that you are in a family and a band and that your riding together, on stage, traveling or how your going to approach the next record. On the other hand you have to get along to a certain extent to maintain that. (Pausing) You know younger bands deal with all the politics that are so unnecessary when touring. They don’t have that family thing, where you have been together so long that
they can finish each other’s sentences and let all those little idiosyncrasies bother them or not bother them anymore. I understand all the people in the band and respect them as individuals and I think they do me too and put up with a lot of my shit. It’s sort of, well not worth our time to worry about the small stuff. And you seem pretty comfortable on stage, and the banter is self deprecating and fun. I think we are all just comfortable with who we are and have no illusion of grandeur. We all in the band get that we are who we are and there is a little bit of a black cloud above us at all times and we’re not spring chickens or doing anything that’s going to change the world. We just do our best. Actually the London show you mentioned was pretty strange for us, it was the last of tour as well and I would say it wasn’t my favorite show, You liked tired? We were tired! When we got off stage, well we have a saying in Lagwagon we say “show” a lot and we would say “hey, show?”, not a good show or
a bad show, and that kind of felt like a “show” to me. There wasn’t anything great or bad about it, just, I don’t know. But last shows of a tour are like that a lot, your thinking of packing and going home and that tour was pretty tough actually. There was a lot traveling and it was, well intense. I don’t feel like we have had a really good show in London ever. One day we will have a great London show but I haven’t experienced it yet. In terms of proudest achievements for the band? What would you say those are? Going to Russia was a big deal. Growing up in America and being a cold war kid, Russia was always a bit of a mystery and a romantic idea in my mind, so yeah going there and seeing that. Those achievements that are built up; just being able to set foot in a land you have heard about and read about. I think it’s a difficult place for a band to go. Or it used to be, there were very few bands on our level that went and now the doors are opening and more bands are going. And every time we go to Japan I love going. Australia
LAGWAGON is like that for me. It’s more about the places in the world we play and things that have to do with Lagwagon for me. Like making my acoustic record is a achievement. Kind of like a rite of passage as a song writer, which I had all these mixed feelings about. It all seemed kind of clichéd andI thought; if I don’t do that play- shows by myself, what am I? Am I really a musician? That’s something I have been doing All these things though seem to pale in comparison to things outside of my work, like my family.
JOEY CAPE on his SOLO RECORD How did it come about? “Well every incarnation of every song I have ever written started on a acoustic guitar. I write on acoustic so it was inevitable I would start writing acoustic music and recording on a higher level. I mean I kind of did that on Bad Astronaut and the split with Tony Sly. So that gave me a bit of a bug. And over the years I have developed a better studio in my house and now I have a really nice studio in my house, it’s just, yeah it’s different to working with other people.” Is it more self indulgent?” Oh yeah it’s more self obsessive as well working alone and not having anyo”ne to tell you when to stop. But yeah it was something that had to happen sooner or later that I would try and make a record that was all original and just me. It got to the point where I had been working on it on and off for a couple of years and I just said “come on, you got to finish it.” So yeah it is what it is. I called the album “Bridge” because it might be a bridge for me to something new, it might open up new doors for me as a songwriter to more of that kind of thing. But yeah it was fun and I’m mildly proud of the record (snickering to himself) ...
MIGHTY SOUND FESTIVAL 20
Words and Snaps by SKAra.
MIGHTY SOUNDS 2008
From 18th-20th July, the village of Olší u Opařan (70 miles south of Prague) holds host to the Mighty Sounds Festival ; bringing together an eclectic mix of musical genres that are often omitted from mainstream festivals. This year over 10,000 people are expected to cross the gates, with over 100 bands from 16 countries. The organisers have thrown in a little bit of everything from ska, punk and psychobilly to hip hop and electronica. A ticket costs £20 for three days plus camping – combine that with a bit of sunshine and is it any surprise that European festivals are growing in popularity compared to its UK counterparts. It’s my first time here at Mighty Sounds with Owen (Hot Rocket Trio). We set off in a camper van from London and here we are three days later in Olší u Opařan, ready for a weekend of extreme musical indulgence...
Arriving on site at 4:30pm, PUB ANIMALS (CZ) are kicking off the festivities with a bit of ska punk on the main ‘Chuck Norris’ stage. Surprisingly, it’s raining. At last year’s Mighty Sounds temperatures soared to 33 degrees and the local fire brigade were called in to water down the crowds. But the rain isn’t dampening anyone’s spirits as already there is such a good vibe to this festival. The crowd is friendly; there is so much love for the music and an appreciation for just having a good time. The festival feels safe, a lot of people have brought their toddlers along and it’s even canine friendly. Walking around there’s the usual market stalls you’d expect to see but also a giant fuβball tent, a chill out area with hammocks and bean bags, an inflatable gladiator duelling arena and a climbing wall. And of course, 3 live stages, 2 DJ
stages and a theatre tent. There’s beer tents a plenty with premium ice cold Czech lager for less than a pound and a tasty selection of cocktails for £3. Not a fast food burger van in sight as all food is cooked freshly in front of you, from spit roast grills to vegetarian kebabs – but after a few drinks and as all the menus are in Czech we pointed at what looked good or enjoyed what we ended up with. As the rain stops we head over to see SKAOS (DE), one of Germany’s most popular ska bands. There’s a huge crowd and a proper ska skank down party erupts to their energetic two-tone sound. As the singer points out, European bands have a hell of a lot of offer; it’s not all about the mainstream bands that get the most publicity. I’m already beginning to see his point. We pass by THE LIPTONES (SW) and join in with the skanking to more upbeat ska antics before heading to the shisha tent; like a little bit of Arabian Nights right here in the Czech Republic – Persian rugs, bright coloured cushions and your own table to sit at and enjoy your shisha, all for £4. We kick back with a bottle of vodka, smoke, and enjoy the almighty dancehall sounds of RING DING & SAB (DE). Back to the Chuck Norris stage and I’m loving POLEMIC (SK) - singing in Slovak with an original sound that’s not strictly ska - there’s a fusion of reggae, latino and jazz. Ska has never been strongly established in Slovakia and it seems they have worked hard to define their own sound. We stay for the whole set and I pocket my first CD at the merch stall. The great thing about European festivals is that the music doesn’t stop until at least 3am, so having a small siesta to recharge energy levels whilst we waited for KAMIKADZE QUEENS (DE) seemed like a good idea. In true drunken style we slept through their set and annoyingly missed BORN TO LOSE (USA) (who were apparently on top form). Hearing the horns from ‘Road Rash’ by MAD CADDIES (USA) I literally jumped up
MIGHTY SOUNDS 2008 from sleeping to catch their set. An excellent choice to put on at 1am as the crowd went skanking crazy from start to finish, fast paced chaotic ska punk at its best, playing every classic tune in an hour and a half set. It’s 2:30am and we caught up with BORN TO LOSE for more drinking before falling into the camper van.
Energy levels are at a high and a few cocktails make a good start to the day as THE UPGRADES (IRL) start to play and the sun starts to shine. It’s all a little bit McFly, so we sit back and look over today’s line up. Thumbs up to the guy doing a Morris dance with an English flag for an Irish band, it went down well. It’s party time with YELLOW CAP (DE) with a rock steady beat, perfect for getting everyone dancing with some skankaholics unanimous. Local heroes PRAGUE SKA CONSPIRACY (CZ) draw in a very ska happy crowd but having cracked open a bottle of Jagermeister we’re in the mood for something a little harder and faster. In the next field on the Nick Slaughter stage a big wrecking pit has opened up for the HEARTBREAK ENGINES (DE). Featuring the bass player from Demented are Go, who is already standing on top of the speakers throwing his upright bass around, their aggressive punk’n’roll makes for a good break from ska and makes a very good impression on the crowd. On the smaller Kalouge stage THE RUINED (UK) throw themselves into their set, bringing hardcore punk to those looking for an escape from all the ska. With clashing set times I head over to see SONIC BOOM SIX (UK) and the crowd are loving the diversity of the hip hop, ragga riffs and jump-around ska. We catch a bit of THE
HITCHERS (UK); a little subdued to win over the psychobilly crowd but still play a great show. SUBHUMANS (UK) don’t fail to disappoint with some ferocious punk noisiness, creating a European riot with the first order of crowd surfing. Thanks to Donagh from Bomber Music, the next few hours are more than a little bit hazy. The kilt-clad REAL MCKENZIES (CAN) blur into a big punk bagpipe and, yes, I missed CITIZEN FISH (UK) (who I had been looking forward to seeing for months). As my senses return to normal it’s back to the music. DEMENTED ARE GO (UK) are on excellent form with one of the best shows they have played in quite a while. The combination of a full moon, cloud cover and smoke machine makes for an absolutely perfect atmosphere to watch their set. Local band FAST FOOD ORCHESTRA (CZ) draw us back to the main stage, truly the best live band I have seen in a long time – a mix of ska, heavy beats, sublime vocal harmonies in English and Czech and an outrageously high level of musicianship; I highly recommend a listen.
A festival wide hangover from the night before and lying in a hammock in the sunshine feels like heaven as we enjoy the sounds of SWING BAND TABOR (CZ) and BASTA FIDEL (CZ). The instrumentals of the ROTTERDAM SKA JAZZ FOUNDATION (NL) are perfect for chilling in the sunshine; it’s a slow start to the day for everyone. DRUNKEN BOOMERANG (CZ) are the first band to
MIGHTY SOUNDS 2008 get some energy back into the crowd and stir up a bit of Sunday chaos (a sort of ska punk super group made up of members from FIGHTING COCKS, DUB IN DA TRIP and PRAGUE SKA CONSPIRACY). Back to some two tone ska with THE CHANCERS (CZ), singing songs about David Blunket in a mockney accent and a front man who sounds like he learned to speak English by listening to Bad Manners – you have to love it. I’m super excited to be seeing THE TOASTERS (USA), hailed as the pioneers of the third wave ska explosion. But everyone else heads over to show some support for CRAZY ARM (UK), something about needing a break from all the upstrokes. Having seen all the European bands averaging about 8 members The Toasters seem a little quiet to begin with but with some kicking horns, spot on harmonies and a tightly played set you can’t help but skank along – especially to ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down’. The headliner of the weekend the legendary DOREEN SHAFFER & THE MOON INVADERS (JAM/ BE), the original voice of the Skatalites. Her mellow, soulful voice was like a glorious ray of sunshine on a rainy evening – truly mesmerising, you couldn’t help but smile. Backed by the Moon Invaders cooking up some jazz style instrumentals with equally dazzling solos, this is live music at its best. We stop to check out the TURBO AC’S (USA) with a bit of dirty gung-ho rock’n’roll who have a good turn out followed by the long awaited RANDOM HAND (UK). They have it tough at midnight on Sunday but they explode on stage, shifting from moshing to skanking, creating a very energetic circle pit and making use of a long set time to play some not-so-often heard tunes. It makes for a good end to unbelievably ska happy festival. I probably met a handful of festival goers over the 3 days who spoke English but it didn’t really matter, music can be enjoyed regardless of the language it’s sung in. I hope next year’s Mighty Sounds continues to build on what the organiser’s have already succeeded in making happen, this festival is certainly one of a kind.
Catching his breath and a few swigs of beer after his London performance with the Slackers, we managed to get some downtime with Vic Ruggiero to talk new releases, labels, tours and the Blues influence of philosophies on the man at the helm of New York’s finest ska ensemble?
Words by Steve Noble Photos by Imelda
The new album is out and you have been on tour in the UK, so how have things been going?
Things have been going very well. We had a couple of light shows in the beginning up North, but in some ways we have never played much up North except for Sheffield. We played Glastonbury which was like, awesome (in a New Yorker). At Glastonbury we played to 5000 people!
Something that surprised you?
Yeah it was very surprising. Cos we didn’t expect it. We knew that people liked our kind of music, but we didn’t expect that as many people would be familiar with the stuff and that they would be curious. If they didn’t know us they were willing to stay. At the end of it, it was just awesome. We were worried after the first couple songs but by the end we were just like Wow!
With the U.K, you often come here on your own and have supporting bands; this tour has obviously been a bit dif-
Well we came over just for Glastonbury, initially. And the Pama (Pama International) guys are putting out our record over here and they said “Well we are doing a tour, why don’t you come on tour?” And they already had The Pietasters, who are like old buddies of ours and we figured this will be great. And we wouldn’t have to play last every night (Cracks out laughing) and its great cos now I can actually have a beer instead of rushing off and getting kicked out of the place.
And you’re supporting your new record, ‘Self medication’, which has just come out?
Yeah I think it’s just come out, like the week before Glastonbury, I think?
So how do you feel about the new record, obviously not your first by any means!
(Grinning broadly or slightly drunk?) Yeah. Well it’s being received really well. By our fans that are most critical, and our fans can be very critical.
Is that who you listen to the most?
Mostly. Well if we like it, it’s one thing. But too be honest many of the bands I loved never received any kind of acclaim from anyone. And I’m happy to be in the underground myself and I’m happy the bands that I love are true to their musical beliefs because they are forced to the underground. But it would be nice if one day (mimicking a young label exec’s voice) “Oh my God, you and your friends are like complete geniuses! We want to pay you millions of dollars”.
You think that will happen one day?
(laughing) No I think it’s highly unlikely. I think its good, we get to do what we want. And I have been touring the world since 1996; a long time. So for 12 years I haven’t had to have a regular job. And I have been a complete maniac, not the whole time but I have had a great time. You couldn’t trade this for a million bucks.
Is this the life you wanted to choose in hindsight?
Yeah, hey man, if somebody told me -Yeah 12 years of running around the world playing music, I would be like- “definitely!” It’s great. And the other thing is I have been in bands where they make you play the part and they want you to do this thing and dress this way and don’t speak out of turn and this is pure fun, pure creativity. We can kind of do what we want. And we are lucky because the record companies we are with are kind of small.
You have seen quite a change in the record companies you have been with Hellcat and now independent.
Yeah, well like now we are the old Blues guys. I started reading about the Blues guys, and ya know, who is the famous guy?- even pre Fats
Waller. Guys like John Lee Hooker or Howlin’ Wolf and they would go around to all these different labels. Sun house was a famous one for that, and they wandered around from label to label. You kind of picked up work here and there. And somebody would say “Hey do you want to make a record”? And the Blues thing to say was “Yes ,sure I will make a record” and make sure it’s not anything that’s on another record. And they would say “Guaranteed”, cos they don’t play the same thing twice.
Is that a philosophy you believe in?
Now I see it (his expression looking re-assured), if you put out a bunch of releases and record all over the place at once. Like its better than having one guy, you have a bunch of guys, and little guys and they really like gonna lose if they don’t push it. Little guys are really where it’s at, the little record companies.
Especially now. As the major record labels are seeing a down turn and it’s all about the Independents
Yeah I guess, but even Hellcat was an independent, and even that started to be too big for us. And even though they never told us what to do, which is good and bad.
You always want the freedom.
Always, yes. I mean I would love to be on a Blue Note type label, or like the 2 tone
wars where they had an idea.
Yeah, if they told me, “Hey this is what they are going for”, I could write songs for that. Like Stiff Record. Stiff Records is one of those labels, where you feel they had a concept. But ya know ; It is what it is.
That’s very New Yorker of you (Grinning)
(laughing), Hey it’s the rule of chaos. New York rules.
In terms of The Slackers change of line-up which has been pretty organic, is it a good thing?
Yeah it’s alright. I mean the guys that couldn’t hack it and fell out, wasn’t because of anything bad. Just cos sometimes the road will kill ya and sometimes you are just not cut out for certain shit.
It’s not an easy lifestyle.
Nah (pausing and laughing) Even now I’m hurting a little bit.
But still looking to be dangerous?
Yeah ya know, if ya don’t do it, what else you going to do? We always say, if we quit doing this, went home and got regular jobs, we would have a band on the weekends and eventually that band would try and make a record and would start trying on the road and I would be
back to where I am, and doing the same thing twice.
Fair enough. Let’s talk the new record. What would someone expect who has not heard of you previously?
Ah! ( Considered complexed face)- every band says, “this next record is going to be a major departure”, and “This is the one where we really went there with song writing”. Look some of the songs are older and some of the songs I had from a really long time ago I never had a chance to put out. Some of them are news songs written by different guys in the band. Usually I write the whole record or most of it. Me and the sax player (Dave Hillyard) do. But this record, everybody had about two songs on it.
It was cool because that’s not usual. Everyone was inspired; everyone put their two cents in. And unlike other situations it really worked. I felt like it was one of those records where everyone was involved, it came out really cool and yeah I’m pretty happy with it.
Do you see the future of The Slackers continuing for a number of years, do you think about a end in sight?
They say the beginning of the end, is knowing that one exists and I would say that I know an end exists. I don’t know when, but definitely not know, not for a
couple of years.
Good to know! And on your solo record, tell me about that, how did it come about?
Yeah right. Well a German company asked me to make that record. And I had been playing with a bunch of those guys for a number of years touring around Germany, a band called the Young Soul Rebels. Guys that have good taste and stuff. And I was asked to make a record, and I said “You got it man” and I made it right before The Slackers new record. And I had made a few over that Summer, and I kind of see it as a learning process.
If you had took for inspiration, and you have been in this business for a while, where do you turn to?
Oh man, the 60s records. Look, we started recording these things in the late 80’s. And they would want you to put drums down first. In a little box of a room, and then the bass player would sit down and they could barely see each other and everything was over dubbed. The drummer was expected to play the record in its entirety on his own. And we were one of the first ones in our crew of people that were saying “Hey put the mic up in the room and just play”. And now you hear, 20 years later, like the Stones staying “Well yeah it was strange we just decided to put mics up in the room, like we did in the 60s. Like we didn’t know we could still make records like that.”
And we were trying to convince people, like since the late 80s. Cos that’s when music was pretty bad. I try and consider myself on the front of that retro forefront that tried to make music organic again.
You were lucky to escape the 3rd wave tag?
Yeah it seems like even, the UK had its moments where a lot of the 3rd wave ska punk was popular, but now with bands like Newtown Kings, that are doing some really cool stuff, The Dualers- really nice.
And Stateside, who would you pick out?
Ya know Westbound Train is doing some really good nice music.
Vic: Yeah they are great. Strangely enough, people like the way we screw up more than the way Aggrolites don’t screw up. They are one of my fave bands, cos they play the music we love and they play it really well. But like Slackers fans, over here, not in the US, for some reason, the Aggrolites don’t make enough mistakes or something, and our crowd like it when we screw up! And we screw up all the time.
And in terms of the future, where are things going?
God knows man? Just hope that everything continues in a positive direction. It seems like the past couple of trips to the UK, was to make it a more solid base for us.
Vic: I guess there is a big story behind this. We do different stuff Dave (Hillyard) with the Rocksteady Seven, does some crazy stuff and not at all reggae, blues and country. We don’t fit into a pigeonhole. Someone has to start it, we are a little bit different. We are a misunderstood band but if they (People) get in the door, cos I guarantee if you get in the door, you probably will like it. People that hate ska, that say “I hate ska, I can’t stand that stuff ” I say, please just try it and I promise you I will like it. (Laughing, pleading)- Please just try it once; it’s more like boogy-woogy! There are no heavy metal guitars, promise!
Under the radar with FungalPunk OMD.
A true force to be reckoned with Billyclub play like they mean it and never fail to leave many a dropped jaw at every gig they play. Tight, efficient, brutal and totally focussed, each and every show is a masterclass of hard riffology and head-bursting aggression. The road has been rocky but finally this lot are getting the attention and appreciation they deserve. I caught up with 3 of the members and gained insight into what makes the Billyclub bomb tick.
The Billyclub history is long, twisted and slightly confusing. Clarify the bands life so far and how it came to the current line-up. Karl - Err - that is a long, long story so Iâ€™ll do a quick version.
Matt McCoy and myself quit The UK Subs after the 91 US tour and we stayed in the US, I went to L.A and Matt stayed in Kenosa (Wisconsin). After a year or so I ended up back in K-town and we put a band together and after a couple of years, two name changes and a
few different members we got Billyclub rolling! We started gigging around the Chicago area and were signed to Idol Records in 95 then we released a 7” single and in late 96 the Debut Album ‘It’s Better To Be Pissed Off ’. We did a tour and ended up in Dallas. We all really liked Dallas and moved there a few months later (Spring 97) and recorded the 2nd 7” single (on Sour Records) and set about recording the 2nd CD ‘Out To Lunch’. Here is where it went a bit pearshaped and the band parted company with vocalist Kurt. We drafted ex-Reo Speeddealer front man Dave Woodard into the band and finished the CD then spent the year touring our asses off! Things changed again and Tezz Roberts (Discharge etc) came on board just in time to play bass on the ‘Serve Loud’ EP which came out on Coldfront Records (98). We then toured a bit on our own which was followed by a 2 ½ month tour with GBH during winter 99 which of course was a fantastic tour. We released the GBH/Billyclub split CD ‘Punk As Fuck’ just in time for the tour. After the tour finished the band kinda fell apart. Tezz buggered off with his new love, Dave formed The Hellions, we did however get together to record another split with GBH. We went into the studio with Casey Orr (Gwar, Rigor Mortise) on bass and recorded 4 tracks, 3 of which were for the ‘Punk Rock Ambulance’ EP (released on Hello Records). Dave did the main vocals and Kurt did
the backing vocals, one other song ‘All Wound Up’ was for the Circle Jerks tribute CD and had Kurt on vocals. After that was released we regrouped with original guys Kurt and Kevin and set about writing a new CD which was our last US record and it was entitled ‘FUVM’ and came out in 2001. We did a few tours and finally called it a day in 2001..phew! In 2002 I came back to live in the UK and reformed Billyclub with Mok on vocals and Andy on Drums. We have had a few bassists but finally settled after John Kitson came on board. We have been gigging hard and released the UK debut “No Justice” last year, this came out on Cultjam Records and we have been supporting that release as often as we can…ha! The story winds down with John having problems with work and health and he recently stepped down, Jizz from the Bastard Son Of Charlie Brown jumped in and is now doing the bass slot…so now we are getting back to writing for a few releases later this year! I have seen the difficulties you have encountered from a sometimes un-accepting scene. How do you feel about the many ‘closed doors’ and indifferent attitudes out there on the British scene? Andy - Bit of a weird one this, we always seem to hit brick walls whatever we do. We have always
Under the radar with FungalPunk OMD. been fortunate to have some really good friends in the scene GBH/ Drongos/ UK Subs and many other bands, who have helped us out over the years, without their help and support I think the road we have travelled would have been a lot more ball-breaking. It’s quite a difficult scene to get into as most people aren’t interested unless you are a BIG name. This really is a shame as there are loads of young bands out there that are a hell of a lot better than most of the dross that is out doing the rounds at the moment. As you know yourself you can put amazing bands on for free, advertise the nuts out of the gig and still end up playing to just the bands and their mates - it really is gut wrenching. It’s no wonder kids are getting disheartened and end up forming and breaking bands faster than you can flip a finger at a Burberry wearing fucktard. Mok - What makes me laugh is the big promoters that don’t take on the new and up and coming bands, all the old bands aren’t getting any younger, but still they keep cashing in off a dieing breed (get your hands in your pockets and support the young bands you money grabbing twats!!) Following on from the previous question - how does your home country compare to playing abroad and what are the major differences in fans
attitude and quality of bands? Andy - Promoters/organisers in mainland Europe are completely different to the guys you get over here. You really get looked after and they can’t do enough for you, whereas over here you’re lucky to get a glass of water even if you have just travelled the length of the country to play a set for an hour or so. Things are improving but we are still nowhere near our brothers over the water, maybe someday eh? The fans are the same anywhere you go - can’t fault em! They are the guys who drag their arses all over the place and the least you can do is your best to put on a good show. Quality of bands again I reckon there is the same ratio of good/ piss poor bands it’s the same wherever you go. One thing I always pick up when chatting to you guys is that you are never afraid to speak your minds. This is an aspect of punk I thoroughly respect but it seems if you say too much you get branded as a cheeky fucker and pay the consequences. Remember I didn’t get the OMD tag for nothing ha, ha. Andy - Better out than in I always say. Karl - Ahh bollox to the wankers… just remember Punk was, is, and should always be about speaking your mind. Not being told what to
do, dressing how you want to dress, not having to be told what is cool to listen to and what is not cool to listen to. Basically be yerself and not a soddin’ sheep! If someone thinks I am a cheeky fucker well they can kiss my pale fat arse and get back under the rock they crawled out from! ( On a side note - this politically correct brigade need to be tied up and thrown in a big hole and buried, I am sick to the back teeth of being told that you can’t say that because you may offend someone or you can’t do this because it may offend someone’s religious beliefs. These fuckwits have no place in punk rock! They need to get back to listening to EMO or whatever mardy arsed shite they listen to… leave punk alone) What are your personal fav. Billyclub songs and also who are the best bands around at the moment that you individually rate? Andy - My personal fave is ‘Changing Times’ for the simple reason it was the first track we wrote as the UK line up - that and the fact it kick’s ass. New bands: Our good friends TBSOCB, The Shadowcops, To The Bones, Far too many to mention. In fact go and check em out yourself ya lazy bastards. Mok – Fave songs are I Saw God / No Justice / Self Help/ I Fuckin Hate You. Fave bands are GBH,
Sick 56, Mangled, TBSOCB, Sick on the Bus, Kings of the Delmar, Drongos, better stop ha, ha Karl - All of the above plus the Dwarves, Zeke, Stuntface, Pistofficer, Self Destruct, (the latter two are KTown bands check our myspace profile) Phantom Rockers, Mad Sin, Dogsflesh – for fuck sake the list goes on. As for fave Billyclub songs I like em’all cos if I didn’t I wouldn’t have put em’ on a record! WHAT about the bands future, where we can get merchandise and are there any imminent releases we can look forward to. Mok - We have a busy year gigging, on tour in the U.S.A in October, gonna write some more songs and release a new CD next year. We are just having a new website built so all our merch will be up there. www.Billyclub.co.uk and www. myspace.com/Billyclub95 we are also on Punkrockers.com and Mowhawk radio. Karl - I just want to thank all the good folk who have took time out to support us and all the promoters and clubs who have had the bottle to put us on their shows! Also to the few people in the media that have written good things about us…CHEERS! See you out there for noise ‘n’ beers.
RANK n’ FILE WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
“Some fucknecktown in Norway with no punks and way too many metalheads.”
Trond - vocals & guitar Øyvind - guitar Hans Olaf - bass/vocals Mads - drums
‘Subject To Disorder’ 7” ‘Vomit, Feces And the Final Solution’ full length (to be released soon) - both on Scratched Up! Records
Best gig played:
Mostly 80s bands like Minor Threat the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Battalion Of Saints, but also newer bands like Propagandhi and Good Riddance, and traditional Norwegian hardcore like Svart Framtid and So Much Hate. Non-musical influences include: Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Bill Hicks!
How long have they been together: Almost 3 years
“Best gig?!? We’ve never even played any ‘good’ gigs, but we’ve played some that were considered ‘okay’ and ‘halfway decent’. The best one though, must have been at the Stavanger Punk Rock Festival ’08.”
c Dream tour:
“Through the UK playing all kinds of small venues for drunk punks who actually give a shit.”
Drink of choice: Cold beer all round
Bands They Recommend:
When & where did they play their debut show:
They can’t remember - “Too drunk. Probably sucked anyway.”
Wrist Rocket (fast melodic punk rock), Töxic Death (drunk thrash metal), C.H.U.D. (sloppy punk/thrash), Piss Drunk Bastards (spiky hair drunk punk!).
REVIEWS The Motive for Movement Static Thought (Hell Cat)
Why are 2nd albums such a tough act for a band? I’m sure you can figure that one out for yourself... Static Thought deliver their new album in style. They have maintained the same feel of their debut, In the Trenches, but have successfully built their own sounf on this release. It really sounds like they’re growing into their own unique style. With some great songwriting full with guitar hooks around every tempo change, The Motive for Movement is the album that will see Static Thought firmly cement themselves in the punk scene. Look outfor the catchy ‘Terminus Mos Adveho’ and the eerily metal’sque final track, ‘Conquest of Saints’. If you missed their first release, grab this and then get stuck into ‘trenches’. – Tim Drunk
Songs To Scream At The Sun Have Heart (Bridge 9)
Call it post hardcore, call it modern new something, Have Heart play that ever changing blend of hardcore and everything else. How ever, this is not emo! I repeat this is no emo release. And in the same breathe it isn’t a punk album - however it has it’s roots in hardcore. It goes up, it crashes down, it speeds along and grinds to a halt. This album is a mixed bag of great songs that will appeal to the more adventurous hardcore fans. They remind me alot of Paint it Black - so if you’re into that kind of stuff, be sure to add Have Heart to your list. – Curvball
Dedicated To Babies Who Came Feet First Cold World (Deathwish Inc)
It’s funny how the hardcore scenes and the hip hop culture walk hand
in hand. Now when I say hip hop, I’m talking the real sound of the streets, not the stupid blinged up MTV crap about ‘bitches, ho’s, cars’ and crap. Cold World are heavy but in a clean traditional hardcore way. Many of the songs are mixed in with some interesting beats, loads of commentary for various people - it makes Cold World sound important, it also makes me think about the current H2O album. Overall I’m on the fence about this, I just haven’t been able to get into the record - but then again I can be fickle about what I like. I prefer a higher noise to music ratio when it comes to hardcore. – Tim Drunk
What are we fighting for?
The Guilty Pleasures Who the hell are the Guilty Pleasures? Should you care? If you’ve got this far in the review then I’m assuming you do care... I remember getting their 8 track EP a while back and
> ALBUMS > EPs > BOOKS > GIGS
it was good... but this full length is awesome! It is really raw but underneath the less than ideal production are some musically punk rock diamonds. I say diamonds, not gems - as we all know tha diamonds are worth more than those ‘gems’. The pace of the record is always on the up, neatly written bass lines will be leading you down to the dance floor while the catchy throaty vocal attack will be having you singing along. The hypnotic, Goodbye to the UK, will have you brainwashed while ‘World Religion causes War’ will see you throwing your best friend around the pit. The entire album captures the essence of punk in all it’s ‘imperfect’ glory. This is band to watch out for! – Tim Drunk
Dead City Dregs Landmine (BTTP)
No matter what you’ve got to love Rancid for inspiring a whole new generation of punk rock. Hang on, don’t go thinking that
Dead City Dregs are copy cats, they’re not, they just play in that all familar rock’nroll meets punk rock ctachy big chorus, walking bass style. On this 7 track release, they really showcase a great songwriting style mixed with a bunch of standout songs. Be sure to look out for the title track, ‘Landmine’ and ‘Dead Air’. – Curvball.
Selling Your Weaknesses Deadly Sins
(People Like You)
By now you regular readers know that I’m no fan of female vocalists except for a handful of bands - and well, here is another band I can add to my seemingly ever growing ‘Girl led punk bands I like’. Deadly Sins takes the classic sounds of melodic punk rock and a dash of rock ‘n roll to produce catchy music that will make you want to run roit in a pit. – Tim Drunk
TRACKS OF CHOICE MISPELT 2.0 ‘Junkfood Generation’ What a fine song this is and one I just can’t stop playing. A band on a sudden upsurge and one brimming with an abundance of talent. Crackin’ production and a moment that should bring the band many accolades.
3 BLACK DWARVES ‘Time’ I saw this young 3 piece play to no-one at a recent big band gig and all I can say is that once again the punters missed out. If this is a glimpse of punks tomorrow then be prepared for some real good times for the scene. This first track of a free 4 track CD is the finest from a quartet of quality.
THE SCABS ‘Bastard’ Filled with charming viciousness this anthem is The Scabs finest moment and embraces the gutter swimming approach this band have. One of my favourite bands delivering a true punk moment to savour. - compiled by FungalPunk OMD
R EV IEWS Don’t take our word for it, make up your own mind!
SHOWS & GIGS Lagwagon / Sonic Boom 6 / 4Ft Fingers The Forum, London 20th July 2008
So it had been a wee while since I had since Lagwagon live, and I was quietly all nostalgic about seeing them again, with high hopes their apparent quite period behind them and tonight’s show would be a good run down memory lane. Up first were 4Ft Fingers, with apparently a change in the line-up I was told, who played a decent set up front to the slowfilling venue (Sunday night blues). Sonic Boom Six played their all too familiar sounds to a mix of fans and detractors alike, but as ever energy was in abundance. Joey Cape had a strained voice too I was informed which made me hesitant about their performance, but the standard long stretch between last support and headliner finally came to an end and Mr Cape entered winged by the colossus that are the rest of the band, and aptly titled Big Bitch standing on Joeys stage right playing what looks like a toy guitar set against his frame. They tore through song a old, from “Hoss”, “Double Plaidnum” and “Trashed” and started entering more recent territory with “Blaze” and “Resolve” as the crowds requests cried louder and the band grows more relaxed. Maybe it’s last night of tour relaxations and mind one half on home, but the show felt a little odd with a large
Sonic Boom 6 © Imelda amount of banter. That aside their sound was great, they played plenty of songs that probably have not been heard for a while on these shores. Thrown into that mix same samples of their forthcoming EP, a comedy set for free, plenty of self deprecating abuse and banter and plenty of reminders for why Lagwagon remain the kings of punk rock melody. Plenty to keep old fans satisfied and urge new fans to borrow albums off their older brothers. - Steve
> ALBUMS > EPs > BOOKS > GIGS
Argy Bargy Album Launch Party Bridge House 2, London 26th July 2008
A 150 strong star studded Oi! crowd packed out the cosy little BridgeHouse 2 for the launch party of Argy Bargy’s new album “The Like Of Us”. It was a great night, and those who didn’t make it really missed out. I think this night was one that will not be forgotten by so many. In attendance were Gary Hodges, Frankie Flame & Super Yob, Gary Bushell, The
Argy Bargy © LibraSnake
Business, The Concrete Gods, most of Cock Sparrer, half of The Warriors and many more. There were no egos there and no trouble, just everyone having a good time. Coventry lads The Aids kicked off proceedings with the general consensus being that they will go far in the Oi scene. It was the first time that I had seen/heard them and would highly recommend checking them out (myspace.com/uptheaids). Next up was a sterling performance from Code 1, whose fan base seems to grow at each
RE V IEW S Don’t take our word for it, make up your own mind!
Send us your gig reviews! email@example.com
show they do. Locals, East End Baddoes gave a high energy set with Gary Hodges joining them on stage for “Chaos”. Argy Bargy stormed onto the stage blasting us with tracks from their new album. The pace was fast and furious and the crowd went wild. The new stuff seems a little heavier with a more gravely vocal... fantastic! They threw in a couple of old favourites and played Argy Bargy for the encore to which Colin from Cock Sparrer got up and sang with Watford Jon giving an already ecstatic crowd another treat. It really was a show not to miss and make sure you pick up their new album as soon as you can. LibraSnake
Reggae for the People Tour Pama International / The Slackers / The Pietasters ULU, London 4th July 2008
With Glastonbury behind the tour, and a run through large parts of the UK already taken care of, the unusual but apt venue at ULU played home to the greatest ska event of the year to date. With a superb line-up and plenty of dancing to come, it was disappointing to hear the show might not be a sell out. A sign of the times with financial woes? That aside, I managed to catch the bulk of the Pietasters set, full big band splendour
and a live sound too long removed from these UK shores. The Pietasters crank up the party atmosphere and set the tone for a night if sheer revelry, skanking beer flowing, hot sticky London Summer times. The Slackers follow suit with their terrific, mood uplifting throwback to the 60s, organ driven and soul filled vibes. They never disappoint, and there was barely s static soul in the room by the time they were done. One to go and Pama Int, playing their very own distinctive reggae dancehall with Lynval Golding including some Specials treats to a baying crowd. Not many in the crowd, still full of energy camaraderie and smiles want the night to end, and join the band on stage to a mass sing along and show their appreciation with some sore heads in the morning. A better anecdote to any woes anywhere would be hard to find. Please sir, can we have some more, soon! - Steve
completely... UNLEASHED! (and possibly unhinged)
It’s impossible to pigeonhole a band that helped create the hole in the first place. The Real Mckenzies have been playing their Scot/ Canadian Celtic Punk ’n Roll since 1992 and are hot on the heels of their latest offering “Off The Leash”. A few months ago we spoke to the Real Mckenzies in the March Celtic issue, and the band; Paul McKenzie on vocals, Matthew MacNasty on Pipes, Dave Gregg on guitar, Mark the Bone Boland on guitar, Little Joe Raposo on base and Sean Sellers on drums and Magdalena Schmied joining them on the violin have been running through Europe in support of their latest record. We managed to steal some of Paul’s precious time whilst on the road to offer insight on the record and the bands touring needs.
T he roots of the band are somehow Scottish, and we asked
Paul how many Scot Canadians there are and if that meant that maple syrup on haggis is a staple diet? “There are millions of Scottish Canadians in Canada and
although I haven`t tried maple syrup on haggis it sounds delicious and I will try it next Robbie Burns day!” says Paul. The Real McKenzies have resurrected traditional Scottish songs giving them a punk-influenced sound. They include bagpipes in all of
Words by Steve Noble
THE REAL McKENZIES
their studio albums as homage to their roots. The band is not exactly new to the scene either having played a pivotal part in initiating the Celtic punk rock back in 1992. Since the beginning the band has had different sounds over the years, but all of those sounds have been influenced heavily by Celtic Ilk and Kin. We asked
Paul what the most significant changes in the past decade had been “The Internet has changed things significantly on the media front. However there are still brand new geniuses and I find that refreshing” adds Paul. With a new release out recently “Off The Leash”, their second release on Fat Wreck- we asked Paul what fans could expect from
THE REAL McKENZIES the record? “We are going in few different directions on this new cd and in my opinion this new release reflects the true essence of the Real McKenzies as we are today.”
from village to village, coast to coast.” As bands do. And what they looked forward to most in Europe? “The bread, the beer, the broads, the bears, the bums, and all other flora and fauna.”
The album was recorded in San Francisco, at Fat Wreck Chords Motor Studios and Paul says he and the crew “love to visit Fat Mike and the Fat crew as well.” Haggis and maple syrup all round then?
There is surprisingly no stop over to visit to their roots in Bonny Scotland on this trip though? “Not this time but definitely next time. We miss them immensely.”
We asked Paul what was different in recording this album to previous efforts? “We did lots of preproduction for this album where as there was limited preproduction’s on previous albums” he said. We asked if the whiskey helped to make the decision making easier on the record? “Very much of all of it. But don`t forget eating properly as well” adds Paul. In terms of personal favourites Paul says his favourite song is “Culling the Herd” because it “gives me the opportunity to express my opinion in world disorder.” With their current European tour in full swing we asked him how they were. ”We are all doing very well, living and learning, eating and drinking, and singing songs
Touring brings, well, live shows and theirs has a raucous lively reputation. We asked Paul if playing live is the most fun you can have as a band? Paul adds “To play all the correct notes at the correct times and spin a plate on your nose” is their aim. Finally we asked Paul how the punk rock scene was going in Canada, and he answered quite patriotically” I wouldn`t know, I haven`t been in Canada for a while but I am sure they are sprouting all over.” Enough Said. In closing Paul extends a healthy and strong Celtic welcome and invitation to anyone who wishes to experience some refreshingly modern Celtic Music performed by The Real McKenzies. Adieu The Real Mckenzies.
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