Show Preview and Interview: Reagan Youth – DFL – Decry – STALAG 13 – SideKick – Skaal – Tartar Control – and Rockous – at The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA – October 4, 2014
September 25, 2014
Reagan Youth will be playing a matinee show at The Observatory in Santa Ana, Saturday October 4th along with stellar line up of Punk bands including DFL., Decry, STALAG 13, SideKick, Skaal, Tartar Control and Rockous. Matinee shows start at noon, what a great excuse to day drink!
Big Wheel Magazine recently conducted an exclusive interview with Reagan Youth. Here are answers to 15 burning questions that will give you insight to the band's past, present and future.
BW - Paul you’ve been with Reagan Youth since the beginning, during the band’s long and colorful history what is your absolute favorite memory of being with the band?
Paul Cripple- Locking in with a tight rhythm section and being on stage as Dave Insurgent, the best singer, takes over as if he's some big time preacher and we're just the gospel band, but instead of religion, Dave Insurgent was spreading the message of Anarchy, how no one individual(s) should ever hold any authority over another. Any of those gigs where it clicked like that, and there were a bunch, would be my favorite. Cannot pick one in particular but playing again has made me a bit giddy at times and I thank the band I have these days for that ability.
BW - Reagan Youth became very popular for its extreme political lyrics and anarchist ideologies, do all of the current band members still hold the same anarchist beliefs as the original Reagan Youth did?
Paul Cripple - I'm not absolutely sure of the beliefs of each band member, what exactly their beliefs system are, but one thing I know with no uncertainty and that's one thing for sure; THEY HATE HATE. And if you take all of the band's anarchist ideologies and extreme political lyrics and mixed them all together in a giant pot, one thing would rise like the cream to the top and that's "I HATE HATE". When I started playing again in 2006 it became painfully clear that even a band mate from the 80's hadn't a clue about the band's stance. And every new singer I brought in would say "But Paul, I'm just not political" and I'd be like "Yeah, that's probably true but do you really have to be a douche bag of a band mate?" and the answer every time was that they did, couldn't help themselves and if they could, they still wouldn't. So I got rid of the rhythm section guys I had recorded and performed with during the 80's along with a singer that kept pushing me to play "His" other band's songs in our set, so I got rid of the lot of them, searched around, didn't give up and glad I didn't because Tibbie X, Trey and Greg got it and it's not just nice, but nicest!
Tibbie X- I think anarchist beliefs can be translated in many different ways but we are all freedom fighters and rebellious by nature and that bonds us together. Politically it’s safe to say none of us are right wing and we all have the same sentiment of the peace punk message easily summed up in the song "I Hate Hate".
BW - Being a huge fan of the band I feel obligated to ask, how close is the band to releasing its new album?
Tibbie X- It’s going to be awhile we are touring a lot but we have a great studio to go to and Paul has the songs all planned out. It will happen, probably in about one year from now.
BW - Who are the band’s biggest influences?
Paul Cripple- Dave Insurgent and I listened to 70's rock before Punk Rock appeared, so Black Sabbath were so huge with their basic guitar, bass, drums and Ozzy sounding the way he did when he sung, very punk rock in a way. When Punk entered the fray we liked Generation X and The Ramones, didn't really dabble in metal except for Motorhead but later on Crass was very important politically ( or should I say apolitically ). We then went retro and starting listening to all the old stuff such as Zeppelin and Hendrix, and why not listen to the best. These days I've been listening to Wire, I consider them a really good Joy Division with Pink Floyd overtones and I'm literally crazy about Uriah Heep. They have so many great songs and Demons And Wizards is as great as any rock album from that period. David Byron is such an underrated vocalist, r.i.p., and they're still playing, huge shows at festivals and arenas in Eastern and Central Europe with only one original member: Guitarist Mick Box. When we finally grew up, ceased being 'youths', we went back to the music from the past and it was pretty obvious that there was a lot of great stuff to listen on. Soon you realize there are only two types of music and it ain't country or western, rap or hip hop, speed metal or death metal. NOPE, there's only two types of music, and it's either Good or Bad. Sure some are better than others and that's great, like "Phoenix" by Wishbone Ash which is simply incredible while there is a whole lotta unlistenable shit out there, and when you're like "These guys are still playing that same lame set, the same one, 10 years running?" and wonder why they haven't developed a scene around their shows, that's inexcusable.... SO SAYETH REAGAN YOUTH. Yeah, so if it's good, like Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Tarkus, then obviously that's a big influence on Reagan Youth. In junior high school Dave Insurgent made a paper mache TARKUS, which is an Amardillo/Tank, during shop class, and really what else was there better to make than that for a kid back then. And if it sounds like 99% of the hardcore bands out there that just don't care about learning songs or how to play an instrument and all they think is about how cool they look, how expensive their equipment, which they'll never share, is. Acting like the merch is what's important, and being scensters, kissing ass to get gigs, or just actually starting a Hardcore Punk band so they can make it mainstream, making enough money so hopefully one day they can pay the government taxes for their "Hardcore Punkrock", NO! Bands like that have the balls to make jokes after a half hearted cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" like that song is a joke. Fuck that, that band's a joke, not the song "Paranoid" which is a stone cold classic. So that is an influence for us as well, an influence NOT TO SUCK. Well hope I explained things well enough, and now I gots to go listen to some Conway Twitty because it's just all too beautiful, and no, I ain't joking. Serious as a heart attack. And Reagan Youth can play "Eastern Music" ( Hindu, Arabic, throw some Syrian scales in there ) as well as thrash. It's important to rip some nice country guitar solos for our thrash breakdowns. And we do that because America encompasses so many different influences from all the people all over this great planet of ours who have come to the U.S.@. searching for a better way of life. Those are sounds we'd want to embrace, and why not embrace their sounds,........ but only if they sound cool and don't sound like some atonal crap. I love music, it's an essential such as the air that we breathe or the water we drink.
Trey Oswald- Off the top the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards is my second influence behind Paul Cripple. Iggy Pop showed my I could front a good band. Stiv Bators convinced me I should.
BW - Being one of the biggest and most influential hardcore punk bands to come out of the east coast, what do you think of the west coast punk scene of today?
Tibbie X- I think the scene East/West..worldwide is more united than it was in the past. We've toured with Angry Samoans and had a blast and are returning to California twice this year because the shows were so much fun. I’m psyched to get to Portland and Seattle this year also and we have Hawaii in the works where we plan on playing with "The Quintessentials" a Satanic Surf Punk band with members from The Queers. East Coast is a lot of fun in the summer but those long months of snow storms make it difficult to get out and about so we love to have the opportunity to tour and meet people all over the country.
BW - What is the weirdest thing you've seen while on tour?
Tibbie X- Well it’s not really THAT weird and more awesome but we walked out of the place we were staying in Germany and ran into an awesome Punk girl named Aylin who was walking a pet skunk. We all got to cuddle with the skunk, I was in love. I was holding him and he was sniffing my face, lightly bit my finger and curled up on my back.
BW - Seeing as the band’s name is a mocking nod to our former president Reagan and his faults, what are your thoughts on President Obama?
Paul Cripple- He's an Obamination ( nuff said, don't ya' think? )
Tibbie X-- I am disappointed in President Obamas actions although not surprised as the corruption and stupidity of religion infiltrates ever major political move. Government is big business , money and Christianity go hand in hand and are the basis for all major political decisions , greed and can never lead to a positive outcome. Obama in a very passive aggressive manner sent the "OK" for Christian companies to deny female workers contraceptive coverage instead of clearly stating separation between church and state. Google it, its too detailed to answer but its more men making decisions about women’s bodies based on delusional religious "respect" as it has ALWAYS been. His war mongering solution to problems in the middle east , more of the same. No politics will ever be able to ensure absolute freedom as it attracts power control type people who want to dominate and conquer, same as police same as every cooperate position of power. Until people are ready to intelligently govern themselves, drop false believes in manifested imaginary "friends" that cause wars and begin to evolve mentally and physically for a higher purpose of living we will always be enslaved by our rulers.
BW - You hear many people nowadays (myself excluded of course) claiming that punk is dead, how in your opinion, has this claim affected the punk scene of today?
Tibbie X-- I think some punks enjoy the nihilism of that statement and maybe grow older and miss the "good ol days" if they don’t allow themselves to evolve and grow with changing times. It could very well seem dead to someone who’s been going to the same bar for 25 years expecting it to be the same as it used to be. Punk is a humungous world wide movement, very organized activists in some parts of the world and personally speaking, playing shows in my all time favorite bands for hundreds of people hardly feels "dead. On a less grandiose scale I am genuinely moved when I can travel somewhere I’ve never been before and meet up with a stranger on the street and we have those common beliefs and interests and can hang out. As long as there is oppression there will be punk.
BW - What is a day in the life like for the band members of Reagan Youth?
Trey Oswald- On tour or in our daily lives? Tour, to leave out all the specifics, allows me to explore and understand the world. I am able to meet people and visit places I would otherwise be denied. In my civilian life I am a lover, brother, son, worker, writer, etc…..
Tibbie X-- I wake up at 6:30 am and meet up with my trainer Joe DiBianca and work out at the local gym 5 days a week. Then I come home and have breakfast with my 4 year old son and I either bring him to school or we go to the playground together. My husband often works from home so we convince him to drop work and come play with us as often as possible. In the evenings sometimes I have band practice with GASH, sometimes I go to local shows in philly, but mostly I like to smoke weed play some bass and watch old horror movies in bed with my husband. Very occasionally I like to go out dancing if there’s some retro punk night or a fetish event but it interferes with my early morning schedule. Mostly I see friends and catch new bands on tour and we tour frequently so my time off is all about my family.
BW - Trey, coming from a Reagan youth cover band yourself, how does it feel to be at the head of this iconic punk group?
Trey Oswald- Flattering. The role also comes with a sense of responsibility. Some how, through a strange series of events, was asked to sing in my favorite band. Paul, Tibbie, and I all agree that the band will not continue without either of us. As agreed until I can no longer physically play, I am in it for the long haul. We cannot let the music or the message down. We respect it too much.
BW - Are any of the current band members involved in any side projects? If so, what are they?
Tibbie X-- I sing for a Satanic S/M themed Sleaze Punk band from South Philadelphia called GASH. Our music is online for free HERE. I am documenting a project I am doing with the band where I am publicly submissive involving the audience as DOM so we are all united in S/M play during our sets- photos and writing about that http://gashuniverse.tumblr.com/
BW - What is the most fun you’ve had on your current tour?
Trey Oswald- Germany, England, both US coasts, Canada, the Midwest, and New England are places the band has taken me. I will share this with you ‘cuz it is a great story. While living in Austin, Texas I sang with New Aryans in 2009. After joining Reagan Youth I did my first tour in the Lone Star State. The bands in Austin contained NA members. I somehow completed the full circle and pulled the Judas Priest story on everyone.
Tibbie X- This is so basic and we have had many many wild party type nights but there was one day in Canada where we all went out for breakfast together and had these croissants and coffee. Some girl was selling all these cool clothes on the side of the road real cheap and Paul found a leather skirt for me for 50 cents. Either Paul or Trey found a joint on the side of the street which was magical. We were just walking around chatting and I know this may seem like a boring answer but I really love my bandmates and the time we get to just hang out and chill. Off the top of my head some other memories would be staying with Bill Vockeroth drummer for the Angry Samoans and his wife cooked breakfast for us and the band 13 Scars we were touring with. In Canada I was psyched to meet and stay with the girls from PantyChrist who smoked us out and gave us tons of food. In Texas I went out dancing after the show to a gay bar with the worlds most fabulous Santiago and we did catwalk runway moves all over the motel then when we left we ran into both bands we were on tour with Sober Daze and Before Dishoner. This is like 3 am a huge group of us all crashed the Alamo and then scattered all over town when the cops came to break it up.
BW - Reagan Youth has been through it all, do you guys have any advice for the youth of today entering the punk scene?
Tibbie X- I would say be true to yourself and don’t be pressured to conform to any commercialized punk ideal or uniform. Stay away from heavy drugs no matter what stupid band glorifies them. Drugs are awesome but keep it light.. weed and beer, once you have an addiction your life is enslaved forever. Women, learn how to play an instrument and fucking own it you don't have to be a groupie to hang out with the band, you can BE the band. Speak your truth and never let anyone's judgement control you.
BW - If you guys could cover any song from any band, what would it be and why?
Trey Oswald- Right now we are covering Class War by The Exploited. The line “Mein Kampf keep out” made this a great song to play while in Germany. Right now I am pushing for Fairies Wear Boots by Black Sabbath you gotta believe me!
Tibbie X- HOUSE OF GOD Dave insurgent and Paul's second band. I pretty much begged Paul to do those songs and we are just getting into them. They are beautiful and they didn't get to exist as Dave's life was cut short.
BW - Are all of the new band members involved in the writing process for the newest album? If so, should we expect a completely different kind of sound from Reagan Youth?
Tibbie X- No, Paul wrote all the music although he sometimes suggests that he wants us involved in the writing process. Trey has been writing some lyrics. I am here to support Paul’s vision and carry on the message and spirit of Dave Insurgent and not to distract from that. In the past we had band members who's egos were completely out of control and they wanted to be big rock stars and change everything around for some attention driven agenda. As a Reagan youth fan first I'm just honored to help bring these songs to life and provide the backdrop for Paul’s work to shine. Give and play with Love for all XX !
Interview by: W.Wallace
Big Wheel Contributor
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February 23, 2014
Interview by: Mindiana Jones
Big Wheel Contributor
The manly noise rock duo Qui is ready to bestow a new album, "Life, Water, Living" upon the world. February 25th 2013 will mark the release of the band's first full length since "Love's Miracle," their 2007 collaboration with David Yow (Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid.) In celebration of this joyous occasion, Qui will hit the road for a west coast tour, kicking it off February 28th at The Satellite in Los Angeles.
They will be headed up the coast to Seattle with fellow hot and heavy rockers Moistboyz, and then cruising back down to LA on the solo.
Witnessing a Qui performance is a magical experience. Paul towers over his warm toned, tiny Gretsch set like a jolly fair skinned giant, while Matt eludes a subtle bear appeal, sway and sweating his heart out all across the stage, sensuously strumming his Gibson ES135. Qui melds together a legion of influences to create a sound that is notably Qui. Hints of jazz dashing up rock riffs, an awkward quirkiness, and their ability to perfectly fuse voices all emphasize their exclusive sound.
Recently Qui have been pushing the boundaries of bromance with their latest video, "Whateryadoin." The killer Qui track features a sensual bass line and silky smooth harmonizing vocals that blend together like a thick and creamy milkshake. The video delves into the hidden sexual tension that grows over years of being in a committed musical relationship, and shows guitarist Matt Cronk longing for special attention from drummer Paul Christensen. The video previews a track that will be on the upcoming "Life, Water, Living" release.
BW- So the music video is...
Paul- That song is going to be on the full length coming out at the end of February, "Life, Water, Living."
Paul- It is out on the 25th of February, and we start gigging the 28th.
Matt- You can order it from Cobraside, or from our site www.ihatequi.com It is a full length and going to be CD and LP.
BW- Is that what you recorded with Deaf Nephews?
BW- Awesome, so this "Whateryadoin" video. You illustrate bromance quite well. Is this based off reality?
Paul- No, I just remember thinking it would be funny to base a song off of that. With the years of people asking in interviews, peers, friends, contemporaries, you know...are you guys a couple? How often do you make out? How many times have you had sex? Stuff like that.
Matt- It has been hypothesized that we are gay for each other, but we are not.
Paul- So yeah, we thought it would be funny to sorta press the issue, and throw it in everyone's face.
Matt- Yeah, it's just a funny thing to do. It's like one of those...you know your sitting with your friends and someone gets the idea "Hey guys, wouldn't it be funny if..." we try to do all those things that we think of. "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we had a song about how I want to have sex with you?" You know. We do a lot of that kind of stuff.
Paul- The most recent video we filmed stars the lovely Nicole as Goldie the clown. During the verses, she is lip syncing the vocals and then Matt and I are in the back ground wrestling in our tighty whities and its pretty hot...and during the chorus there are a bunch of still photos of her around town as Goldie. It's real icky.
Matt- It's hard to watch.
Paul- It is hard to watch.
Matt- It's because of how sexy we are.
Paul- It's definitely one of those things where we were like "Hey we should do that" OK let's do it.
Matt- It has been fun just doing every stupid thing we think of.
BW - So, this upcoming tour your out with Moistboyz?
Matt- We are just out for the first week, from LA to Seattle, then going out for a week on our own, making our way back.
BW- February 28th is at the Satellite in LA?
BW- So I hear you have a special Greeting Card Release Out?
Matt- Yeah, that is called "No-Legs," and was actually some stuff we had recorded back in 03, with some live stuff from 05. We made a record that never got released, and then some of it got reworked with David Yow and put on "Love's Miracle." So we put that out in November 2013, and it came packaged in a handmade greeting card. People can pick it up at the gigs.
Paul- The Artwork is by David. It's pink.
Matt -You know, Christmas is just around the corner...
BW- Or Valentines Day?
Paul - Actually that would be perfect, you know it's pink, and you can write on the inside and make it hateful or welcoming, whatever you want.
BW- So Paul, if you were to send your band mate Matt this card, what would you write in it?
Paul- I would put a used banana peel inside, because when he would open the card, it would fall to the ground, and then, well... tripping... slipping and sliding all through the house... and then we he goes off camera KABOOM! You know, so that's what I would put in there.
BW- So is that a love felt or hateful greeting?
Paul- Oh, it's both...it's Qui. That's how we show affection to each other.
BW- What about you Matt, what greeting would you like to send to Paul?
Matt- Oh, I would probably put a nice note like "Hey Paul, no special occasion, I just wanted to say what's up. I hope your having an awesome day, I'll see ya at practice later, love ya buddy, alright later." Something like that.
Paul- His was an even bigger lie than mine.
BW- What are you guys working on right now?
Paul- Well we just worked on and recorded a little single for a release on Three One G, which will be out in April.
Matt- That will be a split with Secret Fun Club. Then, we have a ton of sorta half done songs, we keep trying to find time to get in and crank on. With playing gigs, recording, and working full time, it's been a little more slow going than we would have liked. We will have another batch of stuff soon.
BW - Where did Qui start?
Matt- We both grew up in Minneapolis, we met when we were like 16 in high school. We were buddies, but we didn't really start Qui until we moved to California when we were like 21 or 22.
Paul- Yeah, it was 2000, so like 23.
Matt- We sorta played together goofing around, and tried to get some things together, but when we moved out here is when we actually solidified what we were doing.
Paul- Yeah, we came out here and played with a few different people, but nothing really stuck...so after being frustrated with not gelling with a 3rd person we decided to be a two piece...and then gigs ensued.
BW- did you move to LA together?
Paul- We moved to LA together from Santa Barbra. Once we got down here, it was down to business.
BW- When you moved to LA did you live together?
BW- Did you share a room, were times tough back then?
Paul- We had a one bedroom apartment. So I had the living room/kitchen, and Matt had the bedroom/bathroom. It was like one big room with a wall.
BW- Matt, you let him use the bathroom right?
Matt- Within reason....I mean I had a girlfriend at the time, and you couldn't get to the bathroom without going through the bedroom. So if we were in the bedroom making love, Paul would just have to take care of himself in the sink.
Paul- He let me use the bathroom, and I let him use the kitchen...pretty much whenever.
Matt- We lived together in a bunch of different places, and come Saturday we will be living together again.
BW- Well congratulations.
BW- So, as a two piece going on tour, tell me about road time bathroom breaks? Do you guys go in together or spread it out and take turns?
Paul- We typically go together every time.
Matt - Yeah we love it.
Paul- It's rare when just one of us has to go, and if just one of us does, the other guy has no problem going along with it.
Matt- We both drink a fair amount of Dr. Pepper and Earl Grey Tea, so every couple of hours its nice to just get out and stretch your legs and have a pee.
BW- Do you guys ever cross the streams?
Matt- We have in our life, but it's not something we do often.
BW- You mean it's not like a special pre-show ritual?
Matt - We are gonna do it for Paul's birthday.
Paul- Yeah we have... but it has definitely been years.
Matt - We're older...
Paul- Yeah, that's more of an early thirties thing, we're in our late 30's
Matt- Mid Thirties.....or late mid thirties.
P- Late mids....we're Late mids. My birthday is in like a month.
Matt- Which will put you at 37.
Paul- Which is not old...
BW- Have you guys ever had any musical injuries?
Matt- Yes. I don't have it so much anymore, but growing up I had bad tendinitis and carpel tunnel in my left hand. I don't hear so good, if I scream a bunch my throat hurts and I loose my voice so I have to rein that in. I have a bad back from being hunched over a guitar.
Paul- Dead hands, finger nail sensitivity, pelvis discomfort, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, numb lips.
Matt- Involuntary trembling....
Paul- I have hit my left knee, cut a finger open a few times. It was pretty cool in Europe I did that and there was some blood on my snare for like a week. It was pretty cool.
BW- Being a touring band, and coming from Minnesota, has there ever been a time where you guys had to cuddle, merely for warmth and survival?
Paul- That wasn't on the road...and we weren't in Minnesota... and we didn't need warmth. We've cuddled a few time over the years.
Matt- Sure, well you gotta understand were best friends, best friends of 20 years. Eventually your gonna cuddle, and it's not that big of deal, and it's not even a sexual thing...for me.
Paul- There was a time we were sleeping in the van somewhere in rural Nevada...or somewhere. Anyway we snuggled that night, it was kinda chilly.
Matt- There was that night in Utah, that horrible night in Salt Lake City where we didn't quit snuggle but should have.
Paul- Yeah, we got heckled by a midget, and one of the 3 people at the show that night offered his trailer for us to sleep in, so we slept on the floor of this trailer, which was about wide enough for one body, and a small L shaped corner, so we just kinda sporked each other.
Matt- That was a tough night. Also, the trailer was unheated and we were sleeping in these dirty giant military sleeping bags in Utah in the middle of December. And that God Damn Midget...
BW- How do you guys feel about hecklers, do you appreciate them?
Matt- Um...they are so seldom funny or clever. I can enjoy a good rejoinder with someone but it's just so seldom interesting that it's just like ahhh....shut up.
Paul- We used to be in a band called "The Gentleman Callers" which had a much more fun, drinking, rock n roll vibe, and that was sort of encouraged, and we got to do a lot of that with that band.
BW- Have you ever have anything thrown at you?
Matt- Yep. We opened for the Ataris in 2004 in San Diego, and it did not go over. Someone threw a golf ball it hit me square in the forehead.
BW- What makes you guys happiest as a band?
Paul- The writing process is what I take the most joy out of.
Matt- I would say preforming. I like the writing process too, but if I had to pick a favorite. I enjoy every aspect of all of it. I like humping gear, I like driving to gigs, I like all the admin work that goes into it. One of my favorite things in the world is getting in the room and making stuff up. But if I had to pick a favorite part of it all I would say playing on stage.
Paul- I like writing because when you have an idea that your excited about, you might sometimes have an idea of where it is going to go, but then you play it for your friend and it goes somewhere else. Something is created from nothing. I also feel it is the one things that is free about being in a band, you get to write songs. Everything else costs money but you can't get taxed for a song idea. You can do whatever you want with it. I guess I just like the thought of the possibility of where is this gonna take us. For instance, the last song that we recorded, it all started with this drum beat I had, and when I was first playing it and was jamming on it, it was kinda spazzy and jazzy. Then, through playing it with Matt it kinda got slowed down and became dancy, kinda 4 on the floor, and I would not of imagined it going that way. After recording it, it sounds way different than I ever would of thought. So I like all the transformations.
Qui will be hitting the road starting February 28th at the Satellite in Los Angeles. Check www.ihatequi.com for tour dates and links to their albums, including the upcoming "Life, Water, Living."
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November 13, 2013
Interview by: Dod Morrison
Big Wheel Overseas Reporter
Toy Dolls have just finished there Uk tour. I had been to two of the shows, one in Sunderland, his home town which they hadn’t played for 30 years, and Glasgow, both were brilliant shows. I managed to get front man Olga to answer a few questions from his favourite food to playing at Rebellion.
BW: You have just finished your 1st UK tour in a while, how did it go?
Olga: Highly enjoyable! And what a lovely warm loyal crowd, EVERYWHERE! Local crews and treatment were nice too! Twas a pleasure! But knackered now though!
BW: How did you feel playing Sunderland your home town for the 1st time in 30 years?
Olga: Oh, a bit surreal! Felt like being in a dream, so many people we knew from the past there! A very special night for me obviously, but the nerves didn’t help!
BW: What is your favourite country or venue to play?
Olga: Ah, I wouldn't like to single out one particular country! Wouldn't be fair, Japan is great for many reasons, France mega too, Brazil, Spain, Argentina are probably the wildest party people! Germany & Switzerland rock, and Austria, Poland, Czech Republic & Hungary, I love Sweden & Norway also, Russia too …..Bah, EVERYWHERE ROCKS!
BW: I read that originally you could only play if you wore your sunglasses, is that still the case?
Olga: Yep, always has been! Already a bag o’ nerves with them on, never mind taking them off n’ playin’!
BW: How long will you keep touring. As a very big part of your show is jumping about etc, when you can't do that anymore would you still play?
Olga: Mmm, tough one, as soon as we can’t manage certain jumps & choreography, then we will stop, I wouldn't wanna carry on if we couldn't do the full stage show, so probably a couple more weeks I guess!
BW: Can you remember that eureka moment when you decided, that’s it I want to be in a band?
Olga: Yes, when I saw Suzi Quatro on Top of the Pops, it’s her fault!
BW: Some bands have outrageous items on there riders what’s the weirdest thing you have asked for if any?
Olga: Ha, boring rider we have, water, water water…., we did ask for Cadburys flakes a few years back, but they didn't have them outside o’ the UK, so they used to give us 30 boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes instead!
BW: When writing your songs what comes 1st the lyrics or the music?
Olga: It differs all the time, but generally the melody, but could be a lyric or title or whatever.
BW: And how do you get your ideas for songs?
Olga: From everyday life, keep listening to gossip & people talkin’ on the bus, and try to absorb everything that's going around.
BW: When not touring or writing songs, what do you do to relax?
Olga: Well, on those rare moments. I like the theatre, TV, walking… Punk or what!
BW: What bands are you listening to just now?
Olga: Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker or silence!
BW: What is your favourite food?
Olga: Cauliflower cheese.
BW: Million dollar question, will you ever play Rebellion punk festival?
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October 27, 2013
Interview by: Mindiana Jones
Big Wheel Contributor
Altamont is amping up to unleash Mrs. Creech, their new limited edition 7 inch unto the world. This will be the first release from the ear popping rock n' roll band since 2005's Monkee's Uncle. To celebrate they will be playing a special release show November 2nd at Bender's Bar in San Francisco.
Altamont was born in 94 when Melvin's drummer Dale Crover bought a guitar. He started the band with his friends from Acid Kings, Dan Southwick on bass, and Joey Osbourne on drums. They later added engineer Toshi Kasai on guitar and keyboards.
I sat down with these four fellows for some insight into their style and upcoming release.
BW: What genre does your music fit into?
Dale Crover: Rock. We kinda got lumped in with the stoner rock stuff, especially because we were on Man's Ruin Records for our first couple of releases. I don't think any of us have a problem playing with those types of bands, but I guess we never felt that we were (stoner rock.) We don't worship Sabbath as much as those other bands do.
Joey Osbourne: There is a lot of variety to the way Dale approaches writing.
Dale: I borrow from all kinds of different places. Obviously with our name we are fans of the Rolling Stones, so that's where the blues element comes in.
Joey: What's not blues about it is that the tempo can shift a little bit, so it's slightly prog. It has fusion elements, but it's watered down.
Dale: We have a new 7 inch coming out and for the original track I was trying to writing something that's Tom Waits meets Captain Beefheart sorta, kind of noisy. The new 7 inch also has a Blue Oyster Cult cover on it, the song "Transmaniacon MC," which is a fictional Sci-fi version of what happened at Altamont.
BW: When was this 7 inch recorded?
Dale: 2 years ago. The basic track was 3 years ago.
Dan Southwick: We have a fair amount of basic tracks recorded, we just have to finish them.
Dale: We try to get together on the weekends, play, and then record it right then so we don't have to wait.
BW: Who produced the upcoming 7 inch?
Dale: I guess all of us. We have this guy here (Toshi) so it's easy enough to just have him do stuff. We recorded it in our rehearsal space with Toshi doing the engineering.
BW: Is it hard to engineer as well as be a part of the recording?
Toshi Kasai: Not at all, it's easier. I can record any time I want, I don't have to worry about other's schedules.
Dale: That's what took so long we were waiting on this guy to finish up.
BW: When did Toshi join the band?
Dale: After we did "Monkee's Uncle" in 05 we decided that Toshi should play in the band because he played a bunch of keyboards on the record.
Toshi: I didn't know I was in the band until the album released.
Dale: Yeah we just told him to show up to rehearsal because your in the band now.
Toshi: That album (Monkee's Uncle) is also the first production of Deaf Nephews.
(Deaf Nephews is the joint production and engineering project of Dale Crover and Toshi Kasai.)
BW: So, will this show on November 2ed be the official 7inch release show?
Dale: Yeah. The people putting out the album kinda made it that way. Our friend Bob started an Ace Frehley cover band (Frehley's Vomit) and wanted to do a show around Halloween, so it's a Day of the Dead thing. He asked us to play, and that got us together to start playing again. Then, these guys who run Valley King, a label in San Francisco, wanted to work with us. Alan Forbes is a poster artist, he designs all the album art for the label, and Justin McNeil runs Secret Serpents, they sell posters and work with a lot of different artists. So the 7 inch is limited edition colored vinyl, with Alan Forbes artwork numbered and signed. There will be 500 copies pressed. The cool thing is that they are also making a limited number of matching tee shirts with Alan Forbes artwork.
BW: Will the songs from the 7inch be available in other formats?
Dale: Probably eventually, we might add them to a full length at some time, or you will be able to download them.
BW: How has the sound evolved since your last release in 05?
Joey: It sounds the same to me, we just kinda kick stuff out.
Dan: I think we always go different places. We have a lot of basic tracks to go back and mix, and I think it will be interesting to see where that goes. I think it just goes down different roads depending on what we are listening to at the time. Now I think Dale and I have been listening to a lot of Captain Beefheart for some reason, and I was hearing it on the 7 inch. You kinda don't think about it and just go with it.
BW: Any current musical influences?
Joey: Ralph Carney, he played with Tom Waits. He is a bay area buddy of mine and a crazy bizarre instrumentalist.
Dale: When the White Stripes came out I kinda liked what they were doing and it was kinda like what I wanted to do. Not necessarily the two piece thing, but I guess going back to the bluesy thing. I thought it was similar to what I wanted to do.
BW: Does Buzz's style have an influence on your guitar playing?
Dale: Oh yeah, defiantly. We've been in a band for such a long time together, for sure.
BW: For the production quality, do you go for any type of style, such as the analog sound?
Dale: As analog as we can get with the protools rig. You know, we just leave it up to Toshi.
Toshi: It's doesn't matter. Good sound is good sound.
BW: Any non-musical influences on your style?
Dale: Baseball for Toshi and I.
Dale: Yeah, for some reason that always seems to be a running joke. There is a song called "Dumb Dumb Fever," and it was an episode of the Simpsons where grandpa Simpson is talking about Bart being sick and he's all like "What do you have?" and starts naming off all these things, dumb dumb fever was one of them.
BW: Does Altamont have a set writing formula?
Joey: Dale usually writes the songs.
Dale: Yeah, but it helps to get together with these guys to kinda flush things out. I have written stuff at home just kinda messing around. Dan and I have written stuff together. Then we have all collectively written songs together.
BW: Does your drumming style come into play when you write for guitar?
Dale: I let Joey do his thing really, because he plays different that I do. I think about it, and sometimes do demos on my own to show the basic idea.
Joey: That happens a lot, where I will ask if I can play it my way and he will be like "yeah, whatever." He comes in with pretty developed ideas on drums and because he's a really percussive guitarist and a really good guitarist, it makes it really easy to play to. It's not that complicated of a process.
Dale: Also it is easier for me to communicate with him too, I can explain things easier being a drummer.
BW: What equipment do you use that is vital to your sound?
Joey: I have an oversized 70's Ludwig set, with a 15 inch rack tom, 24 inch bass drum. As a gift Dale gave me a double pedal so I have been using those for about 10 years now. Generally speaking I'm all Zildjians. Usually bigger 20 or 22 inch older Zildjians with a darker sound. All rides even though I am using them as crashes.
Dale: I play a Les Paul gold top that I bought around the time of our 1st show. I really wanted a Les Paul for a long time because of KISS, I was a big KISS fan when I was a kid. Also Neil Young's electric stuff is a big influence on what we are trying to do. I have a bunch of amps this SUNN beta lead combo. My 1st amp with these guys was a Roland jazz chorus. Buzz convinced me to buy one because they are really versatile. I also have a 70's Marshall 50 watt amp. I have an old turbo rat pedal for distortion. A Dio D buzz box, a pedal that Dio D made for the Melvins, it is modeled after the MXR blue box, this crazy distortion pedal. I have been using a wah and a Boss delay. I have been trying to use less stuff so there is less to break down during a performance.
Toshi: Heritage guitar, which is made by the Gibson guys when they moved to Nashville in the 80's. Close to the feel of a Les Paul, a little bit thinner neck. A great guitar I found on craigslist that I have wanted since I was a kid. Gary Moore used it, he was in Thin Lizzy. My amp is a Fender super sonic. Great underrated guitar amp. I don't want to have the same Marshall sound as Dale on the record I wanted to get a little bit of a different sound. Xotic pedals, it is my friends company they gave me a bunch of stuff. The BB preamp is a better version of a tube screamer and has really nice EQ.
Dan: I play a Fender reissue early 60's jazz bass, it's really nice. I play a basic rock bass set up, a 69 SVT Ampeg head through an 8x10 cabinet. I have used a Boss bass overdrive pedal for years. Usually some octave pedal. I try to keep it basic, it jumps around depending on what we are recording. At one point I was using a wah wah on bass.
BW: After this release, will Altamont be more active musically?
Dan: I think the really cool thing that has been going on lately is we have been getting urging from other people to get going again. Our friend kinda pushed us into this show. Valley King asked us to do this 7 inch and that forced us to put it together, so that has been really cool.
Dale: Hopefully there will be more to follow. One good thing about Valley King is that they want to do more. They have already asked us before this first one is even out. You know, when we started the band in San Francisco, the Melvins didn't really practice because we all lived in different cities. Buzz lived in LA and our bass player lived in London, so we would only get together to practice before we had stuff to do, either record or tour. I had plenty of time and thought it would be fun to play guitar in a band and do something different.
Dan: I would say that the basis of the band has always been friendship. So there has never been the pressure of officially breaking up and getting back together. It is just we are always hanging out so it just kinda works out.
Dale: We never really broke up we just didn't do anything. Next month will be our 19 year anniversary as a band.
Altamont's new 7 inch Mrs. Creech will be a limited edition release on Valley King Records, with 500 copies being pressed on colored vinyl, including silk screened covers signed and numbered by artist Alan Forbes. There will also be a limited number of tee shirts available.
Altamont will be live at Bender's bar in San Francisco Saturday November 2ed. They are sharing the stage with Frehley's Vomit, with artwork being shown by Alan Forbes and Junko Mizuno.
Keep up with Altamont HERE
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February 9, 2013
Interview by: Louie Bones
Big Wheel Journalist
We caught up with Peter Hook at his hotel hours before his appearance at Skylight Books where he was scheduled to discuss his new book and sign autographs for fans. We chatted all things Joy Division and current New Order affairs. Peter gave us some great insights into how music is used in films as well as the feeling of some artists on how their music was used, how screwed up the music business it and more. This is a very interesting interview, enjoy!
BWM - Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and talk about your new book. This is the 2nd book you’ve written, and perhaps it will be the one that stirs the most controversy, especially with the surrounding happenings in regards to New Order….
Hook - Controversy is an interesting word… How do you feel it’s controversial?
Well, given what New Order have said to the press recently surrounding how they feel about you and what you’ve said oh how you feel about them.
(Laughs), well that’s a nice way of putting it.
From an outsiders point of view I definitely see where you’re coming from and what a nightmare it must be to have to deal with all the legal issues involved with your old band mates.
Well we’re not the first to have fallen out like that and we wont be the last. See the interesting thing about them is that they did it completely behind my back and presented it.. Now if that happened to you with your lives business.
I’d be devastated.
Ya see it is like a divorce, basically.. Have you ever been divorced?
Ya know when you have a really bad fall out with someone and you’re really at each others throats. It’s like you wouldn’t expect them to sort out your CD collection, or whatever. The argument is quite interesting because the way they say it, it’s supposedly about me stopping them. But there is the 3 of us and what I dispute is because they are doing it without the consent there is just no way they can say they are New Order. That’s like saying Peter Hook & The Light are Joy Division! Because of the way they’ve done it, ya know if they could have manned up and sat down like grownups and said “Oh listen Peter, we want to go ahead, we want to do this.. Can we sort something out to do it?”
You’d go “Well yeah okay fair enough”
We were together for so long, to actually do it behind your back and present it as a fuck you is deliberately antagonistic. Everyone has a different story, if you spoke to them maybe you’d get to the bottom of their problem, but the thing is when people speak to them, I don’t really see a justification for doing what they did. “Oh Peter plays Joy Division music, he deserves it!”
When you began to write “Unknown Pleasures, the story of Joy Division” were you already experiencing unfavorable feelings from the band? When did you start writing?
I started writing it in umm in 2010 just after we did the first concert celebrating Ian, yeah May 2010. What happened was when we split up, like any divorce, the people in the middle who like you both sort of have to decide who they are going to go with don’t they? And that’s the most problematic thing with any relationship that breaks down. Who gets custody of the friends, it’s a tricky one. We were actually working together quite well. Bernard didn’t seem to like me splitting the band. When you split something like that you think there’s no future and the reasons why you started it don’t seem to be there. So you go “I can’t work with you anymore, ya know, it’s over.” And he actually accepted that and then what he took great exception to was that I did an interview where the interviewer, not me, said that we had split, and I had never put it that way. It was the interviewer, he is one of my best friends, Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets. Bernard took exception to it, it become a tussel of what he wanted to call it and what I wanted to call it and because he sort of stuck with Steve (New Order drummer) he preferred to say that I broke up the band. That was the argument. It becomes a bit more important, that argument when you begin again using the name, because for some strange reason when you leave a band your entitled to less favorable financial treatment than if you split the band. If you’re gonna be nasty minded you’d say its about the money laughs. Its just two fat old blokes arguing isn’t it?
With this book now out and getting acclaim from fans and critics, does it give you fuel to write a book someday on New Order?
(laughs), the interesting thing about my book Unknown Pleasures.. Is that there was no sex, drugs and rock and roll in Joy Division. Well there was lots of rock & roll, but there is no sex drugs or money. You never had a bean from the start till the end, you had nothing. It was quite pure like that, because we had the drive to succeed and the music and no other thought… and New Order isn’t, laughs. So the odd thing about Joy Division is that I do like that people say its not like a typical rock and roll book. Not like a Motley Crue or story of Fleetwood Mac book, it’s quite unusual like that. The trouble with the New Order book would be it’s a much more ordinary rock and roll book.
In that you’d expose fans to a side they weren’t familiar with.
They are if they’ve read Motley Crue ! Most bands are the same if you know what I mean laughs, unless you are trying to promote a pure image. Regardless of the music, most bands do act the same way! If there was to be a New Order book, well because of the 80’s and 90’s, which were very hedonistic, it would be a completely different book from Unknown Pleasures. I just spoke the other day to New Orders old manager and we talked about the things we all got up to, well its amazing were still here laughs. The whole thing about a band, when a band gets success, you are exposed to a lot more pressures than when there is no success. With Joy Division there wasn’t any success, it was a completely different type of a pressure. It was mainly about Ian’s illness, that was the only thing we sort of had to deal with. Musically we were fantastic, we were writing loads of songs, the songs were getting better and better. The audience was getting bigger, the biggest we played to was probably 400, we really hadn’t had our heads turned by success, there was no money.
It’s interesting when you compare it to how influential Joy Division really is.
Speaking of influence, listeners of modern rock radio may tune in and hear a band, say like Interpol. They in particular take more from Joy Division than the average band who’s influenced by your guys sound does, many say Interpol owe their career to what you guys did in the late 1970’s.. How do you feel about bands who do that?
Well ya know the thing about using music as an inspiration is that the art in it is what you finish with isn’t what you started with. I was doing an interview earlier today where “Shadowplay” which was inspired by The Velvet Undergrounds “Ocean” was played and then “Ocean” was played by the interviewer, they were poles apart. But we did start with The Ocean by The Velvet Underground as inspiration. And that’s the skill I suppose you would have to say, you start with, something like every musician does. With New Order we always said the song you most need is a fast dancey song, and they’re the hardest to write! The mid tempo songs seem to be the easiest to write. To get a fast dancey pop song is really difficult.
You certainly succeeded in that department.
We did, but it was always difficult to get that particular style of song. So what you do is you listen to something you like Kraftwerk, ya know we want something like that, like the Passenger, and you work through it. That’s the secret there as I said before as it doesn’t sound like what you started with. A lot of bands don’t seem to accomplish that. I do take it as a compliment though. The Cure in particular ripped off, they’ll deny it, but “In Between Days” and “The Walk” sound particularly like “Blue Monday” and “Dreams Never End.” The Cure did actually use what we considered to be Joy Division bass lines.
Their bassist did use the same custom basses as you for most of the 1990’s. It‘s fair to say the band took influence from Joy Division
It’s an odd one isn’t it really. I don’t think anybody does anything wrong, I do take it as a compliment. But if you are going to rip somebody off and then sound like them, you are leaving yourself open to criticism. As to whether that criticism is valid, well were all critics aren’t we? laughs it’s an odd situation to be in really.
Do you find yourself enjoying any of the bands that cite Joy Division or New Order as a major influence?
I do, the interesting thing about The Editors, they were deemed to be very Joy Division’y.... and I actually quite like them.
Joy Division never got the chance to get as big as New Order did. New Order headlined huge venues and played gigantic festivals all over the world in its original formation, even headlining Coachella 2005. The band seemed to do things differently though… Could you elaborate?
Just before we split in the early 1990’s, we did a shed tour and played to average 27,000 to 30,000 people nightly. New Order were actually bigger than Oasis and the Spice Girls. But it was all very underplayed as we weren’t really ones to shout about it, we only did it once and then we stopped and split up. Just as we got to the point that were actually huge and the biggest venue we played was in Toronto, at a football ground where we played to about 34,000 people, it was our biggest audience. Then we stopped, we split up after that and never did a tour that big again, by choice. We didn’t really play the game as such, and in a funny way it actually added to our allure by being that difficult and that odd. Normal bands get that point and playing sheds, they’d just carry on and milk it, but we stopped, we never bought into that bit. The reason we liked America was because the Americans were so welcoming and enthusiastic about what we were doing. And then we’d go play Europe and we’d be like “Ahh shit” laughs . So we’d just go back to America. And we actually inadvertently concentrated on America, and because of college radio and the way that films by John Hughes brought a lot of bands into the mainstream with the “Pretty In Pinks“, “The Breakfast Clubs“, you did become a very very popular group commercially.
Do you have fond memories of ROQ of the 80’s with DJ Richard Blade?
Yeah I do actually! I went to it when it was a shed! When KROQ was a broken down little hub right when it started. It was quite interesting because the rest of the band didn’t do interviews, they just couldn’t be bothered. So it was me that used to go out and do them, it was quite interesting to do that Kroq one and then come back and see that they had grown huge! Absolutely fucking huge! People I find are quite loyal when you support them from the start, well they tend to support you, and later KROQ were always fantastic supporters of New Order.
You know it’s a weird situation to be in, even when we signed to Qwest in America, which is Quincy Jones label on Warner Bros. We really didn’t buy into the normal group aesthetic. New Order always used to deliberately do things and just fuck everything up. We still had that punk attitude, an ideal that you liked it when things were difficult. Not things that normal bands did, very punk, quite destructive.
One of the things I did enjoy in Unknown Pleasures is the fact that you say that seeing the Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1976 was the spark that helped start Joy Division and other bands locally, many of which found success. Some bands broke up and later reformed years later, how do you feel about bands from the era that have gotten back together again but haven’t been as effective live?
(laughs), are you talking about New Order? (laughs). It’s a really odd thing now isn’t it? When you’re young you live to work, and as you get older you realize that you work to live. The important things to you when you get older tend to be the complete opposite of what they were when you were younger. Now the funny thing was when the Sex Pistols reformed I went to see them, I went to see them at the Manchester Arena which was really weird, the first time I saw them there was 40 people. The second time there was 16,000 people and the biggest mosh pit of fat old blokes I‘ve ever seen in my life! It was really weird, my mate was promoting the gig, he gave me seat 1-A, it was fucking wild right up front. I’ve got my two Sex Pistols tickets, the very original one from the band that played the first gig, and the reformation ticket.
Both gigs with Glen Matlock on bass guitar, as a bassist were you at all influenced by his style of playing?
No, but the interesting thing about Matlock as a songwriter as he actually writes some very good songs. When he was working with Dead Man Walking he was playing some of his own stuff, less well known than the Sex Pistols. Glen Matlock wrote the music in the Sex Pistols, it wasn’t Steve Jones. The interesting thing about Glen Matlock is as a person he is “square”, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, he is quite normal, you wouldn’t think that he would write those songs. Rotten did the vocals, so it’s to whether you think the music for “Anarchy” is anarchistic or not. The vocals are, but would you say the music was as it fit’s the vocals perfect, it’s a fantastic pop song. But whether the music was anarchic, it’s a tricky one. I’ve never met Glen Matlock, I know Johnny Rotten quite well. P.I.L. toured with us in America and I got to know him quite well.
To have PIL support New Order, that must’ve been like a dream?
I wouldn’t say it was a dream (laughs!) He is a very difficult character, he never has a moment off, he is always Johnny Rotten, in your face, spitting! I actually do like him a lot, for me it’s like in a funny way, its almost as important what he did for me in the way that my mother gave birth to me. Johnny Rotten gave birth to me as a musician and when I was doing the book, the thing that frightened me was what if I hadn’t gone that night to the gig?
You wouldn’t not be here right now.. Would you?
Well I might be here at the hotel, but I’d probably be sweeping the floors laughs, which isn’t a bad place to be. There are worse floors to sweep!
Johnny Rotten, when you saw him it was a little bit ridiculous. When I went to see Led Zeppelin I hadn’t looked at them and thought that I could do that. When I saw the Pistols, I thought I’ve got to do that! Considering I’d never been a musician before, I’d never been a Punk, it is quite shocking, the risk that you took. The other interesting thing is for me and Bernard to be there, to take that plunge together and to do what we’ve done in music together, you couldn’t bet a gamble on that! If you went to a bookie in England and told him these two kids going to a concert tonight, I reckon they both will be in two world famous really influential bands, he’d probably say go piss off mate!
The chances of it happening and it happening to a pair of you were incredible, but you really did take a risk. The truth is you walked in that concert a normal 9 to 5 civil servant as we both were and you came out a Punk rock musician, it’s fucking mad. But not only us, Mark E. Smith, Morrissey, The Buzzcocks, so many people were waiting for that.
You were at the right place at the right time…
New Order happened in many right places at the right time over the years as well, it will make a great book. Because the things that we went through during the 80’s and the 90’s as a group apart from the hedonism were a fantastic period for music. It’s well worth documenting. I wasn’t going to do it, the book because I felt, should I say it’d be betraying too many confidences. It was a little bit odd like that saying what goes in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Were there moments during the writing of Unknown Pleasures where you thought that perhaps sharing certain details might be displeasing to those involved?
Oh yeah! Perhaps it was easier now with Bernard and Stephen and I being so estranged. If I was friends with them I don’t think I would have written the book. Friends would have to ask if it’s alright to say this? So I probably wouldn’t have done it. The book would have suffered for that. We did get offered a book about New Order, when we sat there we talked about it but there was just no way we could all write a book because it wouldn’t be the truth. It would have to be a complete homogenized version that pleased everybody. So its like a fan book it would be, we didn’t see it as being worthy so we turned it down.
A lot of your songs have been used around film and television. Are you involved in allowing Joy Division and or New Order tracks to be used in film, commercial or soundtracks?
Yes I am, it was me who used to handle it all actually.
Fans may recall songs you’ve recorded getting major airtime in movies, for instance a comedy like The Wedding Singer, Trainspotting, and of course Pretty In Pink. Were you generally satisfied with the end result of lending your music to a films soundtrack?
There is one business that you have no control over whatsoever and that is the film industry. Once you agree to do something, even if you’re told on what terms it’s going to be done on, there’s no comparison to the terms you end up with. So really, the first couple times we did it, we were upset. I remember we did The Beach, we did a track for The Beach called “The Beach“. We were told it was gonna be featured, they commissioned it and paid quite a lot of money for it as well. It was when we were coming back so it was very important to us, the song. It’s actually a great New Order song and we were really looking forward to it seeing how it was featured in the film. In the film it is actually featured on radio when there’s a tropical lightning storm on a tin roof so you can’t fucking hear it anyway!
I’ll always remember Echo & The Bunnymen when we did Pretty In Pink, our songs in Pretty In Pink were used quite a lot and featured very heavily and it was really good. Echo & The Bunnymen had a song and we all went to the premiere and everyone was really looking forward to hearing how their song was used in the film. Echo & The Bunnymen’s song was used on the radio while he was having a shower and they got up and stormed out! They were really annoyed! There was another girl, Suzane Vega, she was really upset with the way her song was used, she started crying.
So the thing is when you give permission to a film, you have no control with what happens in the end. You have to sort of realize that and make allowances for it. And the allowances you make with a film like The Wedding Singer, it’s obviously gonna be a very popular film, and it’s great for the band. It may be a bit cringey, it’s actually quite good fun, but you do have to bear that in mind when you do anything with film. When we did 24 Hour Party People and we were involved with the production, when we saw it at the end we were a little bit upset, but that’s the industry.
When can fans expect to see Peter Hook & The Light on tour again in North America?
Hook - It’s been a really weird time to be honest, with New Order doing what they did and excluding me while I was doing the Joy Division stint, it was quite an odd feeling. For me to play the New Order stuff like I just have done in England, it was really weird getting those songs back as well. The decision is whether we carry on playing Joy Division stuff which you do feel guilty about because as a creative musician you always sort of have to carry on writing. When you’re not writing you do feel a bit weird, it does make me feel a bit weird even though I’ve done Freebass and also done a lot of new music with my other guys as Man Ray which is a band I use on Hacienda Records. So yeah, it was an odd feeling and now they’ve asked us to play New Order songs over here which we are supposed to be doing in September. It’s weird ya know? New Order splits up and all of a sudden you end up with two fucking New Order’s, laughs.
The current lineup of New Order toured through Los Angeles in October of last year, I personally spoke to different kinds of fans, casual’s to diehards. Some were into seeing it live and others were strongly opposed to the idea of it…
It’s really interesting isn’t it? It‘s a really odd one. I was talking to this German guy, I was doing a DJ gig in Germany and this guy is a huge Dead Kennedy’s fan. We were talking about things and New Order and he then said (in Peters best German accent) “It happened to me with Dead Kennedy’s, there is no Jello Biafra but I love them, so I thought I will get them a chance!”
So I says to him, well what was it like?
He says.. “I would not go again!!” laughs
In a weird way it’s a really hard position, and I think if they hadn’t had done it in such.. Well their intention was to get rid of me, and in a funny way they didn’t get rid of me in a way where they excluded my bass from the songs. A lot of people come up to me when I’m DJ’ing or signing and they say they saw me recently with New Order and I go well cheers mate and shake their hands.
Well clueless might be a little bit of a strong way of putting it, the thing is if you’re gonna bring it down to enjoyment maybe you have to admit to yourself that anybody can play the songs and if they play them well then it’s okay, it’s really difficult to judge. Really I would love it nobody went to see them because I wasn’t in it, that would be wonderful. But life isn’t like that. If there’s one thing that I learned this past year is loyalty, and not just particularly with the audience but especially with the people who you worked with. I sort of thought, because of what they’ve done to me was so horrible that people would go “Oh what a bunch of bastards” but they all just fucking worked with em, every festival put them on, they didn’t fucking care. That was a shock really. It’s ego isn’t it? It’s a really weird position to be in, watching people that you love and have loved for years just act like you’re not there anymore. Man I love that guy! I worked with him for 30 years. Fuck ya know! It’s very very strange and a horrible horrible feeling. There are times when you realize that in the same way that I’m playing Joy Division songs without them, they’re playing New Order without me, but I do feel a hell of a lot better now that I’ve played New Order as well. Their bass player actually got involved in the slanging match and Phil Cunningham and really they’ve got no place to talk about anything to do with me. My argument is with Bernard, Stephen and Gillian. It’s not with two guys that don’t know what happened anyways because they weren’t there. I did have to phone Phil Cunningham up say “Be careful what you say, I‘ve got no argument with you but don‘t fucking join in cuz you weren’t there.”
It’s the weirdest thing, being in the music business for 35 years, this last year has been the hardest, weirdest year. It’s really been an educational and not a nice one, maybe I was a bit naïve for 34 years, laughs.
Most musicians who’d spent that much time would think that they’d probably seen and experienced everything that could happen in the music world.
It was horrible, a horrible thing to go through and the thing that struck me was that if you’re going to start a band again after 5 years away, it seemed a hell of an odd way to start a new career. They could’ve done the deal with me and gone “Yeah yeah yeah we done the deal with Hooky and everything’s fine, yeah yeah yeah, I would gone good luck to em.” I love the music, I love the boys, good luck to em and instead the sniping, constant sniping which has even gotten worse this week and over the period of a year and over a year and a half, it just seems fucking ludicrous really.
I suppose I should take it as a compliment really.
You’re under their collective skin.
Right, see they’ve got the band back, got the headliner gigs back and they’re supposedly really happy… Why do they have to mention me at all? Let alone discredit ya in front of the fans. I suppose it should be a compliment, it’s not. Quite a pain in the ass. I suppose it’s better than being ignored.
When was the last time you were all together in person?
Well we had a mediation, but that has to be private.
If you were out at a music festival in England and happened to come across them all backstage, say at catering.. Would you shake hands and say hello, or would you feel it’s best to not even go in their direction and speak to them?
I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but I won’t be shaking their hands, no. What they did was incredibly underhand and incredibly cowardly and the accusation that they did it cuz I played Joy Division music doesn’t actually ring true. They actually played it before me. Bad Lieutenant played before The Light, they played New Order and Joy Division music in October and we played it in May, of the next year!
In a funny way it’s a very difficult economic situation and I do feel that if Bad Lieutenant had in particular been a success I don’t think they’d be resorting to New Order. It’s not about the fans in my opinion, it’s more to do with the economic situation than it has to do with the fan base. I mean, I’m still seeking a legal remedy.
I wish you the best in all of that.
I wish nothing but the best for all of us. But my God, if you’re gonna act, act in a certain way to do it, it just seems for a manager and a lawyer to actually say well hey this is a good way of doing it, I find that unbelievable. The great thing about being in a group is it’s a license to act like a child for all your life, especially as a successful musician, you are allowed to behave very badly indeed, and all of us are guilty of doing that and you do have to resort to the grownups, the people who look at it objectively at a level point of view to achieve anything, but in this case it seems.. Well it’s just been left to the schoolyard. It’s like a game of bleeding tennis, you knock one over, laughs... They hit one back!
With the recent release of the book, have you received much praise from fans of the band via social media networks?
The interesting thing about that is really the book is judged as a story. It has a very tragic ending, now the fans are either gonna like it or they’re not. You see, Joy Division used to get played very much from a dark, intense, gothic, arty, intellectual point of view and it was that side that I could never really buy into because I knew the boys. I knew what we were really like behind the scenes and my frustrations really with every time somebody wrote a book about Joy Division, it was always about that same aspect. I felt that didn’t show any of the humanity, it didn’t show the human side of it, which was an inspiration ya know? The hard work that you put in was mind boggling really as it was a very difficult thing to do, to get a group off the ground as we did then at that time. It was very difficult and really hard work and I think that was the thing that was never coming across, the struggle and the fun we had while we struggled. So that’s what in a way I wanted to say, to get our side of the story across. I didn’t know whether the fans would like it or not.
It is interesting to read about an influential band on the road having hardships in a crashed van opposed to reading about a band and their groupies on their bus as that has been said and done many times before in rock and roll memoirs.
(Laughs!!) That’s what I was saying to you before with the comparisons of the New Order book and Unknown Pleasures; the Joy Division book. The reason that the Joy Division book is special, it’s the truth about how hard it was to make a band successful. Even though you had the impetus of Punk and the wonderful interest of all things Punk, once you got through that, to establish a group, even in this day and age to establish a group it’s probably more difficult now than it was in the 1970’s. There are hundreds of thousands of bands now, and the internet brings all those bands together into your living room. Before all you had was local competition, but now you have international competition so its very very difficult. Musicians now have to be real businessmen to survive. In the 80’s and 90’s when the record companies were king you were allowed to just be musician, now you have to be a businessman and a musician, otherwise you wont survive.
The record company is not there to baby bands or nurture groups in ways that they were in the past which is really sad actually, it’s a real odd situation to be in cuz they can’t earn any money because of illegal downloading. You can have huge hits, but they’ll never see the income from a decent gigging band. From a medium scale success band, they cant make any money from it, it’s really frightening cuz those bands have to find a new way to survive. Bands have to look after their merchandise. It’s a weird situation, my mates have a thrash metal band in England and he was saying to me that his fans have no concept of paying for music, not for an EP, not a single or tracks on their website, the kids wont buy it, they have no concept of it. But the band can sell their old guitar strings and the kids will buy them as fast as they will come off! All the t shirts, all the drum skins, they’ll fucking buy anything but they cant get their heads around paying for music.
It’s a bizarre time.
It’s a really weird situation to be in. If you go to a lot of countries, say like Russia or European countries where download is king, literally people in our merch stand when we were in Russia were all crowding around our CD’s cuz they had never seen one, a CD!
I’ve read before that bands who visit those countries often don’t sell well because their albums are more often than not bootlegged by vendors. Was this something you noticed with New Order?
That’s why we stuck to America!
But no its true, the biggest bootlegging country in the world today is Italy. Italy has really strange copyright laws, and the laws that do exist don’t really allow you to stop Italians copying your music and your record and selling it. What the Italians do now, they don’t restrict it just to Italy, they now import your copied records all over the world. So I will sign a record, probably one tonight where it will be an import from Italy that we don’t get paid for. Bootlegging is a real big problem.
Also if you go on Itunes, and it wasn’t long ago that I went on and saw a load of Joy Division songs for sale that were up for download that wasn’t by us! The bootleggers had put them up, we had to fight with Itunes to have them take em down. It took ages to get it off, people are very opportunistic in what we do. There is an entrepreneurial streak to what people do which you have to admire while they’re doing it. You have to be very careful. It is also now that vinyl is coming back, kids are buying vinyl again.. The bootleggers are gonna start bootlegging that.
On your book tour fans are allowed to also have Joy Division and New Order items signed, what has been your favorite item to sign thus far?
There was a 12” copy of Ideal For Living yesterday and it was original as well. I can tell the difference. The guy had two, he had the original 12” and a fake, its amazing the things that turn up.
It’s part of life’s rich tapestry isn’t it? I remember being in Bangkok once right, and when you walk along the main street there’s a market with loads of stalls selling bootleg CD’s. And I was walking around spotting The Simple Minds, The Clash, The Police, The Pistols and I thought well why no New Order? Aint that shit! We aren’t being fucking bootlegged! Anyway I came up to the next one and I see New Order.. Oh you fucking bastard laughs!!
You can’t win can ya?
There’s an old saying that I believe Dave Gahan said he’d heard from Keith Richards.. “If you aint being bootlegged then you aint worth a shit.”
Yeah! And If you aren’t it bothers you and if you are it bothers you! It’s a really odd situation to be in, you cant win can ya? You’ve go to be realistic.
I’m not sitting here an object of poverty am I? I’m not homeless on the street, I’ve had a very very good life and made a really good living out of it. While they may be annoying they haven’ t stopped you from achieving a wonderful level of standard of living. They can sell all the bootleg shirts and albums they want, but the fact that I get up on stage and am appreciated for writing and playing the music is the best thing. It is an odd thing, you don’t want to fixate on that side of it too much cuz it really does devalue the rest of it. I suppose in a funny way that’s what the argument with New Order does. The argument with New Order devalues everything that you achieved in the past because all you remember is the bad thing at the time. If we could settle this stupid argument then you’d start looking at it in a completely different light. And that’s what amazes me when people ask if ill ever get back with them, it’s like splitting up with your psycho girlfriend when she’s just about to split your dog in half with a saw and someone turns around and goes “Do you think you’ll ever get back with her?!?”
Not at the fucking moment! laughs
Maybe in ten years when we’ve happily shared the dog ya know what I mean!?
That was all we could discuss as Peter had to soon get ready to leave for his book event. We want to thank Peter for being so generous with his time.>
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January 4, 2013
Interview by: Jo Problems
Big Wheel Journalist
There are few names more iconic than Henry Rollins, and few names in Punk rock more polarizing. Ruthlessly outspoken, Henry spent the months before the election touring America, delivering his special brand of insight and experiences to audiences in every capital city of the country. We at Big Wheel Magazine managed to catch up with him briefly for a few questions about some of the issues facing the country today.
Big Wheel Magazine: The dust of the election campaigns has settled, but the divide in America has not; with individuals filing petitions for the cession of heavily "red" states, and others filing counter petitions to deport those who wish to cede. You have frequently called upon people to get to work on the important issues, how do you think the nation can move forward from this ridiculously polarized position?
Henry Rollins: I think America has never recovered from the Civil War. In many ways, things have not changed all that much since 1865. It can be argued that the Reconstruction era America had more failure than success. We got the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The Fourteenth is an extremely important one for all Americans. However, America still largely votes on the same lines drawn up during the Civil War. There are at least two Americas. The Tenth Amendment keeps the level of friction at flashpoint. I think we do, eventually get on with things. Americans don’t like change, so things take awhile. There was a time, less than one hundred years ago, when women couldn’t vote. Years from now, marriage equality will be one of those things that’s not a thing. It will just be marriage. I think a lot of America’s woes are generational. I also think things are getting better.
If the Tenth Amendment contributes so much to partisan friction, is there a good argument for retaining individual state identity? In modern times when information can be shared almost instantaneously, and physical distances spanned in a small number of hours, is there a benefit greater than the cost of maintaining both states and inter-state rivalries?
HR: You will never dissolve state lines. State versus Fed will always be a functional friction and a money maker. In the American identity, there needs to be adversarial relationships. It sells football tickets. I think the tension, for the most part is good. It's a large land mass. The problem is that some of the states are now becoming more like countries.
This holiday season has seen a large number of tragedies related to gun violence here in America. You have traveled broadly. Is there a fundamental difference in how Americans perceive violence and violence control measures from the way other cultures or nations do? Is this responsible for the high rates of gun violence in this country?
HR: I think that in other parts of the world, they have a history of loss that is in their culture. In a place like Vietnam, it is a country still emerging from a conflict decades ago. American forces left a lot of chemicals and ordinance in that country. They know all about loss. A lot of European countries didn’t let the lessons of WWII go unlearned. America by comparison, has no real history of loss. Our sense or idea of freedom is often accompanied with a lack of responsibility. Americans act out. We do a lot of things in large, high contrast fashion. We have a gun culture and there are a lot of tough guys out there. They seem to me more loudmouthed weekend warrior types. I think those who have really been out into to territory and seen some real death are not nearly so loud. Americans are not always tested that much but are often quick to buy all the accessories.
So can some of American machismo in public policy be attributed to what amounts to a lack of context?
HR: I think all machismo, the self aware version at least is mere insecurity. "I am rich because I am strong. You are poor because you are weak and lazy." that kind of fake toughness, it costs America quite a bit. It's why the country isn't leading the world in everything.
You have said many times that in your travels the most common thing you find that people want is access to clean water, and that that's something you work on. Is there a particular group you support for that cause? How can other people also get involved?
HR: Dropinthebucket.org is the NGO I work with. What they can really use is money. They don’t need you to drill for water, they have all the teams in place. They need money to keep it happening.
Does music still have a role in changing the world? How? Or is the old light bulb joke about Punk rockers not being able to change anything more accurate?
HR: I don't think it ever had anything to do with changing the world. If a song could stop a war, then Dylan and Marley would have already stopped them all.
What's coming up for you? What's one thing you wish everyone knew about? One thing you wish everyone would forget already?
HR: I will be traveling a lot in 2013. I have some employment set up and am looking for more. Past that, I have two or three books slated for release in 2013. One thing that I wish everyone knew? I guess I wish more people would take the time to check out the facts and figures on more things before they say stupid things about guns, taxes and foreign policy. I read a lot of heated words online from people but they seem to only go with their emotions and not the facts. There is a lot to know and I certainly don’t know it all but I try to get my head around the facts and not be too angry at anything, lest I lose clarity. One thing that want people to forget? I don’t think one can forget. Perhaps I wish some people would get over some things like the fact that even with Citizens United, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson, they still lost.
So there you have it. Some thoughts from a prolific Punk rock thinker. You can always keep up with what Henry is doing here: www.henryrollins.com
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