Getting to know Blue Collar Convicts


Getting to know Blue Collar Convicts:

Where are you from and when did you get started?

Keith: Where to even start? Blue Collar Convicts got started back in 2002 (I think) up in Pepperell, MA. I’m only going by copyright paperwork and it seems we started more presently than the dates the paper work reveal anyway. Most bands get rolling with a focus on something, but in this case BCC was supposed to be a side-project and nothing more. I was playing in a band with two biological brothers that hired me to play bass for them on a studio project. Somewhere during pre-production for our sophomore effort I decided I needed a break to record some of the material I’d been writing for a few years. Gratefully the brothers were willing to learn and rehearse the stuff I’d created. We rehearsed for two months and hit the studio. The sessions were brutal at first. Too much arguing and alcohol consumption left some songs far from completion. Overall the 5-song EP that came out of it received great critical acclaim nationwide but because of the bickering I finished the album with only myself and Dave Minehan (“The Neighborhoods) turning the knobs.

The brothers wanted to go back to the other gig and finish the follow up record but I bailed because I knew in my heart that the Blue Collar Convict journey was going be special. After a year off writing and playing solo acoustic gigs I decided to get it up and rolling again. I called my longtime comrade Jonny “Smash” Doty (“The Bloodsuckers”) to come aboard and start writing new material together. Coyotero and Delorenzo (drums & bass respectively) came on to help us get rehearsals going, however they left the band due to differences and the “$2 & Change” Album was finished up with only Smash and myself. BCC was effectively dead before we could even get the album a proper release party. After about 3 years of ripping through rhythm sections we came across Steve (Drums) and Dean (Bass) and the Blue Collar Convicts lineup has been the same ever since.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

Steve: Well for starters, I’m the drummer. I also handle our entire web presence and most of the bookings for the greater Boston area. Jonny Smash is our lead guitarist/vocs and does a lot of work on our flyers and merch. He’s been in a number of bands over the years and has ridiculous skills on the strings. Keith Jerszyk is our founder and lead song writer on rhythm guitar and lead vocals and covers booking for our northern MA/southern NH constituents. Dean Rider is our voice of dissent and bassist. He’s really good at getting Keith all sorts of riled up.

How would you best describe the sound?

Keith: We have many influences and desires when it comes to music. They range from our mutual love of all things punk rock to our basic foundations of classic rock, early 50’s/60’s rock & rockabilly to your staple blues and country.

Steve: We put forth a combination of all these genres that can be best described (we think) as “Garage Punk”. It’s nitty, it’s gritty, it’s catchy, the lyrics are hard working blue-collar relatable, and it hold true to both the punk and rock ‘n roll genres.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Jonny: I had a dream where I went to see KISS and they were old, not in makeup, and wearing their 80’s glam garb. They were at an arena but nobody was there. I just walked up to the stage and chatted them up and they invited me up on stage. We started running through their old 70’s stuff and the crowd started showing up and we really rocked the house. Everything was fine until Paul wanted to play “Lick It Up” (which I do, regrettably, know how to play) and then I woke up!

Does the time I took mescaline and watched Headbangers Ball and Gene Simmons stuck his head out of the TV and wagged his tongue in 3D count?

Steve: I am a die-hard Fat Wreck Chords fan. In that, my biggest (real) dream is to be in a band that either gets on the label or at least gets recognition from them. I think we have the sound and the ingenuity for it, but are just lacking in the notability nationwide. Now that things are moving, hopefully that will change.

Dean: To tour oversees (or anywhere for that matter) without coming home in the hole.

Still got day jobs?

Dean: While there is definitely great potential for BCC, we do have families and jobs to tend to. Keith works his ass off (10-12 hour days 5-6 days a week) has a wife and two sons that he needs to keep a lot of time for. Jonny works full-time and has a newborn son and a beautiful wife. Steve works behind a desk full-time and has to take on side-contracts to barely squeak by. I’m a truck driver with a newborn on the way (6 months or so down the line).

Any regrets?

Steve: I think our only real regret is not getting the band together as the line-up stands sooner. BCC has ripped through rhythm sections like one may cheap whores. Bassist after bassist, drummer after drummer and only 8-9 years later did we finally settle on a lineup that is all of what Blue Collar Convicts is, wants to be and stands for. The only problem now is that many of us have full fledged families making large-based touring pretty much out of the question and an ever growing shitty economy makes it hard to pay the personal bills, let alone keeping the gas flowing for local gigs, the electricity pumping for our rehearsal studio and the extra funds to cover things such as merch or studio time for a new album.

Jonny: That I squandered most of my talent for drugs. That I sold my VoxAC10TS for rent (and drugs/smokes). That I should’ve gone to Berklee on guitar instead of taking the flute scholarship. That my date with Winona Ryder fell through..frickin’ Johnny Depp…true story…

Getting to know Phat Meegz

Where are you from and when did you get started?

We’re a band from Tasmania, Australia, and all of us live here, albeit a bit scattered across the island at the moment. We got started sometime in early 2009, right after I moved to Tassie from Sydney. I was 16 and just moved out of my parent’s house to live with a friend halfway across the country.

At the time Tassie was a bit of a hotspot for traveller crusties and other such riffraff cause of these massive protests over the logging of the upper florentine, which is an old-growth forest that was getting turned into wood chips and chopsticks. So, living here, I quickly gravitated to a few other out-of-town punks that had just stopped by to fulfill their rent-a-riot duties, one of which (Joey) became the bassist of the band. We used to jam even though he claimed he hated reggae, and wrote a bunch of songs. We then found a drummer and enlisted him cause he was wearing an Op Ivy shirt, and a second guitarist just cause we could. Eventually we found a music nerd to play trombone for us. After about 3 months we decided to go on tour around Australia and all spent a bunch of money and met a bunch of people, which was cool.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

Well, I’m Ethan, I sing and play guitar. Joey is our bassist, he gets naked a lot on stage. Sam is our drummer and he’s the level-headed one. At the moment our Second guitarist is Jono, he’s 17 or something and has to sneak into all our shows. Luis is our trombone player, he lives on the other side of the island and handles all the complicated musical stuff, he doubles as our sound engineer and tambourine player.

How would you best describe the sound?

Old school reggae, if everyone in Jamaica was high on tweak instead of weed, and also white, angry and underage.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Real: Having the power cut at a show for playing too long, Joey being completely naked, and everyone in the crowd singing the words anyway.
Not Real: Brad Nowell somehow being alive and us opening for Sublime, and Joey flashing his balls to the entire crowd.

Still got day jobs?

Sortof. I’m usually unemployed but I just started work at a lettuce farm, picking and planting little lettuce babies. Joey goes to university and works at a fancy art gallery, Sam does furniture design at the same uni. Luis goes to Uni in Launceston, the other, shittier major city in Tasmania. Johno is still in year 12.

Any regrets?

Too many to count.

Getting to know Holding Onto Sound

Where are you from and when did you get started?

We’re Holding Onto Sound from Las Vegas, NV. We formed in 2003 and have been playing live almost every weekend since. We were drawn together by our love of certain bands & styles. Punk, reggae (not ska), Metal, Hip-Hop. We wanted to make something new, while using all the old styles.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

I am Senor Bennett Mains. I sing lead vocals and am one of the many guitar players for HOTS. We’ve also got Zabi Naqshband on the low end, he’s a bass playing maniac. He also brings the backing vocals and sings lead on a few tracks. Sitting behind the drum kit is Vanessa Tidwell. She blows my mind and the minds of all around with her drumtastic beat bangin’. Last but not least, our brand new addition, Bob Gates. Bob lends both rythym and lead guitars and some backing vocals, also. We tracked Bob down like an animal and captured him, forcing him to play guitar for us. We’re fuckin’ savage.

How would you best describe the sound?

Aggressive and passionate and energetic. We love everything from The Clash to The Deftones to Genghis Tron to Bob Marley to Johnny Cash to Rx Bandits to Thrice to the Moody Blues to Interpol. haha. Some of us like Lady Gaga & Kesha. I don’t think we sound like any of them though. Maybe a little like Kesha. I often find myself wearing blue lipstick, with a pound of eyeliner running down my cheeks. And that has alot to do with our sound. We go for that ‘recently drugged & fucked’ sound.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Very real. We opened for the greatest band of all time, NoFx, January 2009. For me that was my moment. It’s all down hill after that. Any time you catch someone you’ve never met singing the words to your song with you, that’s a dream moment for anybody who ever decided they wanted to be in a band. Gotta love it man.

Still got day jobs?

But of course. Collectively we sell clothes, fix bikes and clean pools. What a life.

Any regrets?

Nope. Well….Maybe my ‘recently drugged & fucked’ remark earlier. Love you mom.

Getting to know Mall’d to Death

Mall'd To Death

Getting to know Mall’d to Death:
Where are you from and when did you get started?

We’re from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.  We first got started way back in late spring/early summer of 2009.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

Dani – drums and sometimes backing vocals
Tyler – bass and vocals
Dan – guitar and 2-inch tape

How would you best describe the sound?

Tyler: Melodic punk for the ADD Generation.

Dani: Sergei Prokofiev of punk.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Dani: Playing drums for Katy Perry. I guess that’s not a moment though.

Tyler: I’m not sure. Having our album [Can’t Make a Living] put out on GC Records and a vinyl release [out soon on Bitter Melody Records] is cool enough for me.

Still got day jobs?

Dani:  I just got laid off, actually. But I worked at a grocery store.
Tyler: Yeah.  I guess I default with the Chuck Dukowski philosophy claiming he’d rather work a day job for the rest of his life than ever become dependent on his music.

Any regrets?

Dani: Telling Tyler he could take credit for all the songs I wrote.
Tyler: Telling Dani he could take part in this interview.

Mall’d To Death’s latest release, Can’t Make A Living, is out now on GC Records

Getting to know Mall’d to Death:

Where are you from and when did you get started?

We’re from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.  We first got started way back in late spring/early summer of 2009.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

Dani – drums and sometimes backing vocals
Tyler – bass and vocals
Dan – guitar and 2-inch tape

How would you best describe the sound?

Tyler: Melodic punk for the ADD Generation.

Dani: Sergei Prokofiev of punk.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Dani: Playing drums for Katy Perry. I guess that’s not a moment though.

Tyler: I’m not sure. Having our album [Can’t Make a Living] put out on GC Records and a vinyl release [out soon on Bitter Melody Records] is cool enough for me.

Still got day jobs?

Dani:  I just got laid off, actually. But I worked at a grocery store.
Tyler: Yeah.  I guess I default with the Chuck Bukowski philosophy claiming he’d rather work a day job for the rest of his life than ever become dependent on his music.

Any regrets?

Dani: Telling Tyler he could take credit for all the songs I wrote.
Tyler: Telling Dani he could take part in this interview.

Mike Ivey of Basehead

Interview with Mike Ivey of Basehead
Conducted via email 11/08

Jerry ActuallyWhen “Play With Toys” came out it was greeted with a decent amount of attention, but by the time “Not In Kansas Anymore” was released, Basehead seemed to have faded back into obscurity.  Was I just not paying attention to the right channels, or did your audience pick up the ball and then drop it?

Mike Ivey – Actually, the fade back to obscurity was after “Not In Kansas Anymore,” and after we recorded the follow-up “faith” which didn’t get a major label release after parent label Imago’s BMG distribution deal ended.  Prior to that Kansas sold about as much as Toys, we did got some press, and we toured opening for Stone Temple Pilots, Butthole Surfers & fIREHOSE, as well as on our own and in Europe.  Therefore the fade to obscurity was a bit more gradual than described above.

Jerry ActuallyIn regard to the question above question, basehead came about a few years before the massive proliferation of the internet and the whole peer to peer file share phenomenon.  Do you think if basehead would have been more in line with this that things would have unfolded differently?

Mike Ivey – Actually, things unfolded the way they needed to.  “Play With Toys” came out right just as Soundscan was in the process of rolling out, and that multi-year run ended right before the internet really got going, so I feel fortunate to have experienced the record business prior to the traditional industry model falling apart.  I’ve always been skeptical of the panacea of promises of the internet age, particularly in regards to how artists are supposed to be paid for work when everything is available for free.  But in general, it’s a cost-effective means for marketing and communications in the 360 degree-DIY business model that the future seems to be calling for.


Continue reading Mike Ivey of Basehead

Agnostic Front – 2002

Interview # 9 – Agnostic Front

Interviewed by Jerry Actually and Jimmy Bile – entered on or around March 05, 2002

This interview takes place with Jimmy Colette and Mike Gallo of Agnostic Front in Portland, OR on 2/12/02 outside on the street at the Meow Meow. It was bit cold out, but a good interview none the less. It is after all, Agnostic Front.:


Jerry Actually Agnostic Front has been around a long time, what is your biggest accomplishment as of yet?

Jimmy Colette Being around a long time.

JA (Laughs) Enough Said.

JA A lot of Bands have been influenced by Agnostic Front, who are your influences?

JC I would have to say (pointing to Jimmy Bile) this guy’s shirt right here, G.B.H. – definitely an influence.

Mike Gallo Negative Approach

JC I would have to say, the Business, Cock Sparrer.

JA A lot of old Oi stuff?

JC A lot of old Oi. A lot of old Punk and a lot of early New York scene stuff like Urban Waste, Close To O… editor (a guy walks up and tells Mike and Jimmy, “Just so you know, bands get free water in the concessions.”

JA Wow, what a deal!

JA On Police State off of “Riot Riot Upstart” you have a pretty negative opinion of Giuliani. Has that changed in light of his publicly well accepted handling of the September 11th attacks?

JC Nooo, Definitely Not. You know the whole city turned against him for the last 5 months before that happened. Everybody turned against him and he’s really a scumbag. His true colors showed through. He just happened to be in the World Trade Center when it happened and got out and you know of course he’s in a position of power so he’s gonna take charge.

JA Saving face in light of tragedy?

JC Same thing if Mike (Gallo) was in charge, if you were in charge, if I was in charge, you’d take charge. That’s your job and that’s what you gotta do and people are going to listen to you cause you’re in charge. So of course you’re going to have the leadership qualities. And that’s what he gets paid to do. Just cause he’s a scumbag… and um you could say he’s a good leader.

JA So even despite that, you give him some credit for being a good leader at the time?

JC Obviously. Ya know anybody who is a leader, is a natural leader usually. It’s just you know, the guy’s a scumbag. It doesn’t change anything. Now he’s a hero. He’s a world wide hero and he doesn’t really deserve it. He got picked to be our mayor cause he was supposed to be a leader, ok of some sort. Whether he was the leader of the prosecutor’s office or whatever he was, he’s some sort of leader so he did what he was elected to do. So he shouldn’t be no hero.

JA Fair enough.

JA Prior to 1995 you had been absent from Agnostic Front for over a decade. What led to your early departure and how did you fill those ten years?

JC Jail!

JA Yeah, honestly?
editor (somebody comes up and bring Jimmy and Mike some Turkey wraps and some cokes)

JC Yeah, pretty much yeah. You know I fell apart a little bit you know. I was into drugs for a while and jail and did some shit you know. I played with other bands…

JA Anything of note?

JC Not really, just a, it’s a fucked up story basically.

JA Since the beginnings of Hardcore, NYC and much of the bigger cities in the North East have always been the major source of Hardcore, do you feel it is still that same way today. What other Hardcore scenes if any do you feel rival that?

JC Oh definitely it’s always been New York, LA and England, I think ruled the punk and hardcore world. Now other places that are… definitely Boston, or course Boston was definitely in the running all the time. There’s a big Boston New York rivalry. You can put Boston in there with New York and LA and it still is. Basically, you know there’s good bands that come out of everywhere, but a lot of the credibility comes from New York and LA and Boston and London. Like Avail comes from Richmond VA, I think. You know, a good band.

JA Definitely, I love those guys.

JC Just cause they’re not from New York, you know, there’s a lot of bands like that. We just played with a band called “Rise Against” out of Chicago. It just happens to be sometimes people look at the label or the area the band’s coming from instead of looking at the band.

MG I think that the music is actually, it’s been around for so long now. So like it’s starting to branch out everywhere you know.

JC Every city and every scene is gonna have their own certain style and I guess some sounds are more popular than others. You know like upstate New York had the whole straight edge style, the metalcore straight edge scene. You know and that branched out and there’s a big scene of that in Utah. You know so it’s hard to say now, it comes from everywhere.

JA Definitely, I get a lot of stuff sent to me from around the world and a lot of times there’s good stuff coming from obscure places.

MG Totally and you would never know it, right?

JA Places I’d never think of going to in my life.

JC A lot of times bands move to places cause it’s cheaper to live. Like I know All moved to Ft. Collins, CO. Definitely, It’s hard to be a band in New York

JA The cost of living there is insane.

MG There is so much competition also.

JA Who are some of your favorite current bands?

MG Avail, Good Riddance.

JC F-Minus

JA It’s a shame about Blood for Blood (calling the new album the last) they were topping my list.

JC Blood for Blood, their new record is great.

JA “Outlaw Anthems” I think it is.

JC Mike’s band is one of my favorites, “On the Rise”.

JA Right on, I’m not familiar with them. I’ll have to check it out.

JC Roger’s (Miret) got a new band, “The Disasters” which is a great band. I like my band too, “Loved and Hated”.

MG (same time) He’s got a band called “Loved and Hated”.

JA Excellent!

JC (laughs) Plugin’ Plugin’

JA Hell yeah, that’s what it is all about.

JA I see from the Agnostic Front website that you’re a big fan or “Drink Drugs Sex and Music” not necessarily in that order, is that still the case? Or have you chosen an order for them?

JC Whatever comes along.

everyone (laughter all around)

JA If you had to choose, who would you say has the best tattoos in the band and why?

JC Me, cause their mine!

everyone (more laughter)

JC I guess everyone would have to say that, cause I, all the tattoos I got all mean something. If I were to explain each one of them, it would take three hours.

JA We’ll run out of tape long before that happens.

MG I’d have to say Roger has the most.

JA You’ve apparently been at hardcore for a while, what events in your life set you down that path.

MG Hating everyone else around you.

JC Being an outcast of society is what drew, I know Roger Vinnie (stigma) and I into the scene. And that’s how the scene began. I know when Mike came around it was a different scene. But it’s still probably the same reasons. For us it was only about 50 people tops that were around in New York. And that’s when everybody came out of the wood work and we were the outcasts of New York. We got tattooed cause we didn’t wanna be like anyone else. We said fuck you fuck your jobs.

MG People say you get a tattoo you’ll never get a job. Well fuck you!

JA I don’t want a job anyway.

JC We don’t want it. We don’t want it and that’s basically how we wanted to live. We wanted to live outside of society.

MG Now it’s trendy.

JC Now it’s trendy.

JA I know doesn’t that suck. Gotta keep going on.

JC So we stopped.

JA Although I suppose this a very hypothetical question, what would you be doing in life if you weren’t playing Hardcore?

JC Probably selling drugs.

everyone (laughter)

JC To be honest, yes.

MG I’d be doing either construction or landscaping.

JC Time, We’d be doing time. That’s what we’d be doing.

everyone (more laughter)

JA Jimmy, I’ve heard that you do most of the writing for Agnostic Front; does that include music as well as lyrics and arrangement?

JC Yes

JA Interesting, I wouldn’t have suspected that. It seems that Roger is usually the most interviewed and what not.

JC Well, Roger has a lot of influence with the lyrics also. Basically for an Agnostic Front song, I write the lyrics for Roger. The lyrics I write that he sings that he doesn’t help with, they’re written for him anyway. They’re not basically written about me, a lot of them are written about him.

MG He’s got to sing them, so if he doesn’t like them he’s not gonna sing them.

JC A lot of them are written about his life too. But basically we all have kind of the same life but, I’ll think what he thinks about. And I’ll put it in more of a poetic way than he does. Most of them are his ideas, I get them on to paper faster I guess.

JA At most hardcore shows that I go to, the age of the crowd stays relatively the same over time at around 17-25 or so, explain?

JC It’s only in America. It’s because America’s very trendy and people… girls are very trendy. And it’s well known that girls aren’t very loyal fans, they’re great fans when they’re your fans, but they don’t stick around too long. They seem to change a little bit with life as they get older, they grow up sometimes.

MG You can’t say that for all.

JC Say when a trend hits, like the “mall scene” it’s gonna be a lot of girls and sometimes this attracts a lot of guys of course, and they’re the people that just come and go. The fans just go. There’s a lot of die hard women and a lot of die hard guys. But um I think when the guys get a little bit older they’re scared their not gonna get laid anymore so they start changin’ the way they dress.

everyone (laughter all around)

JC The women they just fade out, but the guys they get fuckin’ scared. So they puss out. But you look at South America, Japan, Australia every other country, you’ll see 55 year old skin heads at the show, or punk rockers. Charlie Harper for instance. I mean he’s not the only one. He’s not the only old punk rocker there is, you know what I’m sayin. I stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks and I seen a 70 year old skin head, an old man. I mean he’s in boots and bracers and you’d never see him at a show, but that’s how he’s been living his life, I guess since he was young and he stayed that way. What you are is what you are. You don’t change with the times. That’s how we are. Even though Agnostic front stopped playing for a few years, nobody changed. Everybody’s still the same.

JA I can tell that in music.

JC We just come right back as the same people. We just aren’t like, we haven’t stopped hangin out with the people. We didn’t start going to discos or something like that ya know.

JA How did you get your start as a musician and were you shown a lot of support by your family?

JC No, not at all. Well actually my whole family, my entire family, aunts uncles grand parents and all that, they bought me my first drum set. And they were supportive when I was younger.

MG It does taste like glue! (the aforementioned turkey wraps)

JC Yeah, It tastes like glue, right!

everyone (laughter)

MG (to Jimmy Bile and I) Would you like some glue?

JA No I’m gonna have to pass on that.

Jimmy Bile No thanks.

MG You remember havin this in junior high school?

JC (back to the questions) When they started hearin the drums playin, they weren’t too supportive no more. And as I didn’ go to school any more, it wasn’t just the music, but my behavior wasn’t normal I guess, they didn’t look upon music as something great, they probably thought it was something that was hindering my attitude.

JA Just a phase? You’ll get over it?

JC No they probably thought it was something that was hindering my attitude or something. No, I wasn’t supported with this. I’m still not.

MG My parents are a lot younger. I come from a family of musicians. My father’s not crazy about punk rock and hardcore, but he supports me.

JC (again with the turkey wraps) THIS TASTES LIKE FUCKING GLUE!

everyone (big laughs)

Jimmy Bile Portland Hippie Food!

MG What do they put glue instead of mayo on that shit?

JC It’s glue right?

JA Of course it’s not real turkey man, you’re in Portland it’s “Tofurkey”

JC (sounding bummed) Ohh…, Is it really?

JA God I hope not.

JA How did you come about with the lineup for this tour? Was there any special motivation for the supporting acts?

JC A lot of it is just falling together at the right place at the right time bands that are available. Also we don’t take out anybody we don’t like.

JA Of course.

JC So um, of course TSOL they’re a great band from way back when, they deserve it, they’re playing again and we wanted to play with them. I think a lot of people want to see two big bands one from the east coast one from the west coast together. Casualties from New York they’re friends of ours. They’re a great punk band. Course were gonna take someone like them in. We’ve been trying to take them out for years. It’s just our schedules don’t always match. Rise Against is a brand new band that I, I was actually, I played drums for F-Minus for a while when their drummer was absent and it was on the AFI tour and we liked the guys and our booking agent booked them, we said let’s bring these guys, but they’re not on tour anymore. They did their two weeks and you know.

JA One last question, if you had to be represented by a malt liquor, which one would it be?

JC (emphatically) Balantine!

JA Balantine?

JC (even more emphasis) BALANTINE!

JA Aw Yeah! I haven’t had Balantine in a few years.

MG I’d have to say Old E, though only because it’s essentially the only malt liquor I’ve ever really had.

JC Balantine is the old Skin Head beer. Balantine is what we used to drink in front of CBGB’s every Sunday…(laughs) To keep warm.

JA Well shit guys that’s the end of the questions, I certainly appreciate your time.

JC Ok, you can plug the other bands, “The Loved and The Hated”, coming out with a full length LP on uh, or CD whatever you call it now on GMM records. It should be out in June. “On the Rise” is recording right now, it should be out around the same time.

MG On Eyescream records.

JC And “Roger Miret and the Disasters” it’ll be out on Hellcat. All coming out probably around the same time.

Reverend Norb – Boris the Sprinkler

Interview with Rev. Norb of Boris the Sprinkler, conducted a damn long time ago.

!upstarter: So Norb, with the release of “Suck” do you feel you’ve reached a new pinnacle in the evolution of rock?

Norb: Sadly, no — and i don’t even think we’ve even reached maximum suckitude, which would be a lame consolation pinnacle, yet a pinnacle nonetheless. By my calculations, “Suck” is maybe the 538th best album of all time, which is vaguely respectable, given the monumental output of albumage emitted since the dawn of recorded music, yet, when one stops to think about it, hardly the type of success that one feels satisfied holding up for public scrutiny as one’s “life’s work.” Feh. Brilliance and success are overrated. Monotony and toil are where it’s at!!!

!upstarter: In your opinion who is the greatest band of all times of any genre?

Norb: Wait, wait, i don’t understand the question, is it “the greatest band of all time,” and genre be damned, or “the greatest band of any given genre, your choice of genre?” If A, then i guess i am still forced to say the Ramones, although the atrocities perpetrated by this band in recent times have set me to occasionally contemplate if the title shouldn’t revert to its previous owner, the Beatles. If B, then i will say, without fear or favor, that the Stray Cats were quintessentially the #1 eyeliner-wearin’ eighties rockabilly revival fag band, of the eyeliner-wearin’ eighties rockabilly revival fag genre, but, now that i think about it, that’s probably not what you were asking.

!upstarter: Are the kids really all right?

Norb: Hell no. The kids are all wrong! Don’t listen to Pete Townsend, he’s from England and drives his car on the wrong side of the street, so everything he says should be interpreted backwards.

!upstarter: So, Sheena’s got a Microwave. What kind of microwave is it?

Norb: It’s a walk-in. She got it at War Surplus.

!upstarter: I haven’t lived in Wisconsin in a long time, how’s the scene in the Green Bay area?

Norb: Little by little, people are gravitating towards worse and worse bands. It has gotten so bad that somebody actually had the gumption to write “LAGWAGON” on the wall above the urinal at Taco Bell #2676 in the Port Plaza Mall, Green Bay, Wisconsin,where i dine frequently. I took my marker in there one day and fixed it, though. It now says “FAGWAGON.”

!upstarter: Now that you are on Go Karts Records is it fair to day that Bulge Records will be no more, or is there plans for more Bulge releases?

Norb: Actually, there will be a 45 of unreleased Angry Samoans stuff from 1978, “I’m In Love With Your Mom” b/w “Too Animalistic” (diff. version than the one that was released), and hopefully a Figgs 45 as well. Plus, our deal w/Go-Kart was only for one record, so our next one might very well be back on Bulge. Whoo! Shameless self-demotion!

!upstarter: A little Wisconsin trivia for ya. What beer made Milwaukee Famous?

Norb: Wasn’t it Schlitz??? Anyway, i thought it was Da Crusher what made Milwaukee famous?

!upstarter: If you were in Stoughton on May 17th, what holiday would you get roped into celebrating?

Norb: Feast of the Buttfucked Hodag?

!upstarter: Who are you going to be touring with in support of the new CD and when are you hitting the West Coast?

Norb: No and no, in that order.

!upstarter: Well, Norb I’ve got to be going I appreciate your time and effort. Keep on keepin on etc…

Norb: Our bass player and drummer quit, and were replaced with our original bass player and drummer. Be very afraid.

The Chinkees

Interview with Miya of the Chinkees conducted about a brazillion years ago

The Chinkees

!upstarter: Please introduce yourselves and tell my what instruments you play:

Chinkees: Mike–vocals |  Miya–bass, vocals |  Greg–guitar, vocals |  Jason–guitar, vocals |  Rich–drums |  Steve–keyboards

!upstarter: So, When did you guys first get together?

Chinkees: Mike had come up with this idea for having an all Asian band, so he wrote some songs and found all of us.Greg was an old high school friend, I (Miya) work with Mike at Asian Man. Rich, Jason & Steve we found in other bands and asked them if they wanted to do this project. That was about a year ago…

!upstarter: I know that Mike (Park) has been in other bands, Skankin’ Pickle And the Bruce Lee Band, what other bands and projects have the rest of you done.

Chinkees:Let’s see, Rich is actually a guitar player who we saw playing drums in this funny spoof glam metal band called Pantz Noyzee, but he also plays guitar in a bluegrass combo and has been in a bunch of other bands, Osgood Slaughter was one. Steve Choi, we saw playing drums in this band called the Blockheads in Santa Rosa, but he can play everything so we asked him to be our keyboard player. Greg used to be in a band called Statueman and has been playing guitar forever. Jason currently plays with a band called The Mod Kill. And I play in two other bands in the Bay Area right now, The Muggs and the Peggy Hills…

!upstarter: I’m kind of sensing a recession in the popularity of Ska Music, even over last year. What is your take on that?

Chinkees: It’s hard because ska fell into the hands of the masses and MTV and commericals and that’s always a Catch 22. On one side, it’s great because people got exposed to ska and the bands actually could successfully tour and stuff, but on the other, it just got too trendy, too many bad bands just playing ska for popularity, and now shows are empty and every one has moved on. Things change, and people have to try new things…There is some non-ska stuff on the new Chinkees album even, but overall, I think you just have to stick with what you love and believe that what you are doing is right even if it isn’t “popular”…

!upstarter: You recently returned from a Japanese tour, how did that go?

Chinkees: It was amazing…Japan in such an incredible country–so different from here so we were just in awe the whole time. We all fell in love with the countryside, the people and ramen! Plus we got to tour with Kemuri who are huge over there and the nicest, most generous band…they really showed us a good time. And the fans are unbelievable, so positive and friendly…and crazy!

!upstarter: Whom would you cite as some of your major musical influences?

Chinkees: As a band, I would say that our music is inspired by bands like Operation Ivy & The Specials…personally, we all have different tastes… But Mike, he loves ska through and through…

!upstarter: So you’ve got a new release coming out “Ska against Racism” when is the Tour coming around in support of the release?

Chinkees: Actually the new album is called “Peace Through Music” (editor’s note: I knew that.) and it will be out this June. We aren’t going to do any more touring this year…After Japan we all had to get back to work and our other bands and families…so we just said we’d try again next year!

!upstarter: Do you feel that there is a lot of racial tension in the ska community? And for that matter a lot of disharmony in general?

Chinkees: Hmmm, I think the reality is that racism is unfortunately all too present everywhere…That’s why Mike has made this a central issue of the band (and his label too). I think what attracts Mike to the ska community is that there is a sense of awareness and unity there…it is a very positive channel for talking about and addressing racism. It’s not that it doesn’t exist in the ska community, but it becomes a very open forum for discussing these issues…look at the success of the Ska Against Racism tour…And we feel like it could be and needs to be even bigger…

!upstarter: If you were stranded on an uncharted desert island (much like Gilligan’s Island what would you take with you?

Chinkees: The whole band together? We’d definitely need to take ALOT of food, because those guys EAT so much!!!

!upstarter: You guys have the honor of being my first electronic “Webterview” how do you feel its went so far?

Chinkees: So far, so good…

!upstarter: Who has been your favorite band to tour with?

Chinkees: Kemuri, and we feel very close to MU330 and Alkaline Trio too!

!upstarter: What is in store for the Chinkees in the future?

Chinkees: Rest…get ready for some more touring…

!upstarter: and finally who is your favorite super hero and why?

Chinkees: Underdog…because he tries so hard…