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