Dimitri Monroe

JASON B. SADD: THE DIMITRI MONROE STORY BY JACK BASTARD

If King Ink, the mighty Sleazegrinder could be considered the American equivalent of Nick Kent, for all his dedicated years documenting the Dark Stuff in the sad and sordid trenches of rock’n’roll’s unfortunate underbelly, then his old riding pardner, J.D. Monroe could, at least, be viewed as the American counter-part to Kerrang!’s Ray Zell, having introduced, shamelessly promoted, and helped to popularize, literally, hundreds of garage-punk, psychedelic, power-pop, and glammy trash bands in his home-made rant-rags, like ‘Burntout Recluse’ and ‘Ready To Snap!’, as well as in the pages of more conventional publications, such as Hit-List and Now Wave, and Detroit’s entertainment weekly, the Metro-Times. And like part-time glam-shouter, Zell, Monroe’s had many short-lived trashy punk bands with members of Motorcycle Boy, Dark Carnival, Trash Brats, and Dimestore Haloes. He’s co-written songs with members of the Zeroes, and Disruptors. He lived with Dizzy (RIP) from the notorious Glamour Punks in L.A. during the ass-end of the Metal Years. Jeff Dahl dedicated his acoustic, ‘Have Faith’ to him. Bands like Kill City and Pale Imitations cover his songs. The underground’s most discriminating singles label, famous for discovering punk and power pop’s next big things, RAPID PULSE RECORDS, released a 45 of his last set-to-self-destruct-in-15-minutes ‘Flash Metal’ rock group, THE SAVIORS, to worldwide acclaim. Another of his infamous bands, Dimitri Monroe & The Naked Flames, kicked-off the classic compilation, ‘Drunk On Rock Part 2’. He opened for the Humpers on their first national tour. He paid tribute to the Hollywood Brats on the Italian tribute disc. He currently resides ‘in dirtbag motels in the Memory Gutter’, while he seeks a new band, a radio show, a record label, and a reputable country music song-publisher. We managed to catch up with the reclusive bard of the gin-joints, and this is what he had to say about his checkered past.

Interview by Damianne (originally for Lipstick & Handcuffs fanzine)

WHO WERE THE ORIGINAL SUFFERING BASTARDS?

That was me, Nasty Bastard from Pale Imitations, Kid Loser from Eleganza, and Boogie Jack the Bad Joker. We always wanted to add a second guitarist to the band, but never found the right guy. We’d lined up this one cat to audition to be bassist, and the Kid was gonna switch to guitar, but the would-be bassist hung himself from a tree. We made this shitty e.p. at a $25/hour crackhead’s recording studio. We were shootin’ for a really cheap and filthy bluespunk sound, like the Four Horsemen and Beasts Of Bourbon. Flipside magazine said we reminded them of the Turbo A.C.’s and early Humpers. Summa the other guys went-on to form Muncie Rock Crushers, while I did that thing in Detroit.

WHAT THING WAS THAT?

We never agreed on a real name for it. It was supposed to be a rockgroup-me, Mark from the Kevin K. Band, and Ricky Rat & T.T. from the Trash Brats. Initially, both Brian O’Blivion, and Brian Smith, from my beloved Beat Angels, and Mister Cheetah Chrome had all signed-on to come down, and guest-star on that album, but we had some disagreements about who we wanted to participate at the time. I had a bit of a cold, and never got to polish up final vocals, and at $50/hour, we had an excrutiatingly limited recording budget. Then, their friend, Cranford Nix Jr., and my Grand-Daddy both died, and we never got to finish it. We had a good thing goin’ until calamity struck. The record label slated to release the album went out of business, and we all moved-on to other projects. I lost touch with most of that bunch, but I know that Ricky Rat has since worked on some projects with Brian O’Blivion, Brian Smith, of my beloved Beat Angels, and Cheetah Chrome, as well as the Every Other’s brother, Texas Terri, Car City Call Girls, and the Kevin K. Band. He’s a really sought-after guitar player. Still one of my favorites. Mark joined some gypsy flamenco band I never heard, and I went through alot of personal junk-another rock’n’roll divorce, permanent relocation, and several more deaths in the family. I never say I’m starting a group, anymore, because something disastrous always happens. Brett from Cold Front records, heard a couple songs in their primitive, unmixed form, and said he thought, ‘Nostalgia Kills’ was one of the best songs he’d heard in years, but for some reason, him and Jeff Bale never got around to releasing us as part of their Sin City series. Another disappointment was that I’d even been discussing a tour with Nick Marsh from Flesh For Lulu to support that album that never got finished. It was called ‘Trash Romantic’.

WHO WERE THE SAVIORS?

The Saviors were called Neon Jesus when we were teenagers, and we played loads of covers like Lords Of The New Church, Circus Of Power, Dogs D ‘Amour, Balaam & The Angel, Deadboys, Hanoi–stuff like that. When we got older, we reconvened in Ohio, at an ace recording studio called Workbook, with a cuppla the guitarist’s friends, and former band-mates, who used to write for my old sleaze-punk fanzines, and streamlined the name a bit. Muscletone Records passed on signing us, but they were really encouraging about the quality of songwriting. People really seemed to like those songs. All the magazines compared us to D-Generation and American Heartbreak. We should have gone on tour with the Favors, but we broke up, instead! Another one of my absolute favorite guitarists! Still lobbying labels to release our far-superior sophomore single! http://www.myspace.com/thesaviorsarenotreal

WHAT ABOUT PALE IMITATIONS?

We formed Pale Imitations in the late 80’s in hopes of going on tour with Circus Of Power. It sounds naieve, but Ricky and Alex were always chiding me, ‘Where’s Your Tape?’ We were just learning how to write songs. I was really into Mother Love Bone, the Quireboys, and the whole grebo biker-rock movement-Zodiac Mindwarp, the Cult, and Warrior Soul. Even the Throbs and Rock City Angels, and the Front. All that lot. It was the early part of the grunge/alternative scene in Boston, when everybody else was really into the Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr. and we stood out, cos we all wore make-up and leather and cowboy boots and scarves. We were drunk and obnoxious, and really pissed off all the Fugazi ska kids with the back-packs. I worked at Taang! Records, and wrote press releases for bands like the Freeze and Poison Idea. The only bands on the scene we really fit-in with back then, were Facts About Rats, The Fighting Cocks (formerly the Unattatched), and Voodoo Dolls. Local newspapers compared us to the Blackjacks. The real core of the Imitations were me and Nasty, who had just broken up Murder Stars, when Dave started going to college, and this kooky lead guitarist named Tony Meter, who was like our own, very talented and mysterious Brian Jones figure. He made all my shitty Dogs D’Amour-derivative songs sound like the real Rolling Stones. He was sortof like this half-indian, black magician, who lived in a tiny nook halfways up our staircase where he was always burning candles, and performing weird rituals, and casting spells. Him and an old hippie named Hector also had a goth band called Black Snake Moon, that I really loved. Tony was Arthur Lee’s Godson, and when I doubted that, he introduced me to him. I dunno if Tony’s still alive. He was brilliant. Later on, an older musician named Ron started coming around to our jams and parties on Blaine Street in Allston Rock City. He co-wrote ‘Mister Unhealth’, and gradually, became an Official Imitation. He kept that group goin’ when me and Nasty very foolishly tried moving back to the mid-west, and now, they have a whole new audience in NYC. http://www.paleimitations.com

ELEGANZA?

A total shambles. Named for an old Creem column. Me and this dude, Kentucky Mike Loughnane, a drummer named Heavy Metal Todd, and a bassist called Kid Loser. We drank alot back then. We all dug the Coma-Tones and Thee Hypnotics. We opened for the Humpers, but our best show was at some basement party benefit concert for our old amigo, Johnny Sexx, from Snotboy 77. The local punk flyer compared us to G.G. & The Jabbers. Mike sang for another band, called Cry Baby Killer, until he died.

I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SEVERAL NEARLY-COMPLETED ALBUMS IN THE CAN. ANY PLANS TO FINISH OR RELEASE THEM?

I’m too skint, honestly. Maybe someday, summa my former bandmates might get around to recording someone elses’ vocals on top of mine, or re-recording that old stuff, cos everybody else seems to have their own recording studios nowadays, but for me, old songs are bad fruit-black bannanas and sour grapes, past their expiration date. I’m always intent on finding fresh inspiration, and composing new songs relevant to right-now. I don’t suffer much from writer’s block, I am only blocked by my economic marginalization. I can’t pay nobody for studio access. Fifty bucks an hour might as well be a million dollars, to me. I’m nowheres near to being middle class. Povery hurts. People don’t always appreciate how important music and art become, when you have no other voice, no other options. When it stops being a lark, when it’s your prayer. I think it was Joe Strummer who sang, ‘Some dreams are made for children, but most grow old with us’. Ringo Kid’s one of the hip few who could see past the rawness of my demo-tapes, and appreciate the songs, even if I’m not Robin Zander, as a vocalist, I have other qualities, y’know? So did other guys like Bator, and Westerberg, and David Johansen. Not everybody wants to be Robert Plant. The things I try to convey in my music are often things that only someone who’s been homeless, who’s lost everything, is gonna fully understand. I’m so outside, no one will let me in.

CURRENT EVENTS?

I’ve gone through alot of drastic lifestyle and personal changes in recent years, and I’m taking my time finding the right players for a new, more mature, current-events related song project. Listening to alot of Spencer P. Jones, Steve Earle, Leonard Cohen, Paul K., Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Guy Clarke, Tex Perkins, and the Pogues. I watch that ‘Let’s Rock Again’ DVD over and over again.

WHAT NEW BANDS DO YOU LIKE?

I’m hearing alot of good things about Bubblegum Screw, and Red Invasion seems promising. I mostly still listen to Gen X, Pretenders, Wanderers, Hanoi, and the Only Ones.

ARE THERE GROUPS YOU’RE KEEN TO PERFORM WITH?

When I get a road-worthy outfit operational, I’d love to open for Snatches Of Pink, Stereo Junks, Joker Five Speed, Kusworth, Diamond Dogs, Electrajet, the Hangmen, the NY DOLLS, and Brian James Gang. I really wanna be on Wicked Cool, if Little Steven reads this.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

Yeah-I wanna say a heartfelt thanks to anyone who was loving and merciful to me throughout the Nightmare Years, and especially, to anyone who paid me fair compensation for honest work, or helped me to get paid for my craft. ‘If voting could change things, they’d make it illegal.’

http://www.buzzflash.com
http://www.myspace.com/thesaviorsarenotreal
http://www.rapidpulserecords.com

http://www.myspace.com/thesaviorsarenotreal

Dumbell (2011-12-18)

We sent this interview when DUMBELL was on tour two months ago. Surprisingly enough, it just happened that Paul (vocals/guitar) stopped Veglam’s headquarters last week and took some time to finish answering our questions while drinking tea and listening to some good old KISS songs. Enjoy!

So you’re on tour. Where are you right now and how is it goin’ so far?

well, shit…I’m at home now, I was too busy giggling at the wacky hi jinx on tour to answer any questions in an intelligent fashion. It’s like summer camp on wheels with these guys. Loads of fun!

The band went through many line-up changes these last years, how did you meet Jamy (Luxury Pushers/ex-Mystery Addicts) and your French rhythm section Nasty Samy (Teenage Renegade, Black Zombie Procession, Simon Chainsaw…) and Turbogode (Negeva/Simon Chainsaw)? Do people usually see you as a German band? An American one? Or an international one?

People usually see us as a German band which frustrates me to no end, but I suppose its unavoidable, as when we started in 1996 it was me and 3 German guys. Over the years its become more international, and that’s how I see the band, and international band of misfits.There hasn’t been a German in the band since we started touring again,except for Marcel, who is more alien than German. He quit in 2010 due to work issues, and since hes been gone, not one German passport has graced this band.
The French guys I met over Eric from the rebel assholes, we were playing some shows in January and our drummer couldn’t make it, so Turbo learned the songs in 1 day and we hit the road. After that I met Samy, and really took a liking to him, and thought, if we ever need a bass player, I’ll call him up in a new york minute. And as luck would have it, our drummer who turbo filled in for had moved to bass, and couldn’t tour anymore, so Sam got the call.
Now to my buddy Jamy….Ive known Jamy longer than hes known me. His band haunting souls(from Dayton) used to play in my hometown Cincinnati opening for national acts in the 80s, so I remember seeing him around, and we would sleaze around the same brothels, probably snogging the same goth girls when we were drunk teenagers, he’s kinda hard to forget considering he has this huge tattoo of his band name on his chest. Fast forward to 1996. Im doing a roadie job for a band from Milwaukee, and I’m picking the band up in Amsterdam, and who comes out of the terminal? Jamy. He signed on with Wanda Chrome to play drums, and since then we have been in contact, so when I was looking for a right hand man to fill Marcels alien shoes, Jamy fit the bill 199%. Im very pleased that he’s on board.
I’m actually more than pleased with the entire lineup now. Its the best this band has ever had. And I’m not the only one saying that.

You also released a split record with The Rebel Assholes from France and both bands often tour together. Did you first meet them on the road? Are they the ideal tour partners for you?

I met the rebel assholes over Laurent the ex bass player from the Nitwitz, with whom I was sharing singing and guitar slinging duties with Tony Slug. Laurent likes these guys and played the role of matchmaker over facebook, and we just got on really well. They are all really super relaxed down to earth guys with a lot of positive spirit, which is our common bond.
I have been on a mission to only be around positive people in my life, and since this mission began, positive things are happening all around. Not just for the band, but in my personal life as well! I spent too many years around negative destructive forces, and it dragged me to the gates of hell.

Paul, you formed Dumbell in 1996. Can you tell us about some of your best memories so far? Worst ones? How have things changed for the band since those days? Is it easier to book tours or release records now for instance?

Hmmmmm. The best memories are being experienced right now. The last year was really productive and fun, the way it was in the beginning. After around 2000 when the original lineup changed, the whole vibe of the band became more stressy, and we weren’t very productive, partially due to substance abuse and having negative people in the band. We would tour and record, but there were many false starts, and when I listen back to what we were doing, I can hear the sadness in my voice.The band was dying, and I was not in the position spiritually to get it back on track.
Around 2004 I put Dumbell on ice. I started it up again in 2006 and we had great times, but the damage was done from the years of misconduct and drug induced savagery. We basically had to start new, because 6 years of sporadic activity is a lifetime in the music world. In 2007 right after 1 europe tour and the release of our double LP instant Apocalypse, I had to take a 2 year break because of health issues. So really the band is reborn since october 2010 when we released DEATH RAY and started touring relentlessly again. It’s the best feeling in the world to be back! Things have changed considerably, the record industry tanked since we started, the hypes of all kinds of genres have come and gone, leaving rubble in their wake.

You moved from America to Germany years ago. How come? Did you move with the idea of starting a band?

No. I came here to play with my old band colleague sonny from shotgun rationale for some weekend shows, and i intended on only staying till those shows were done. But as luck would have it, i just stayed here and formed Dumbell, with no intention of being the singer. We were looking to have a front woman, but as time marched on and we couldn’t find anyone, i reluctantly decided to do it myself.

You’re going to be touring the US soon too. Has Dumbell been playing there these last years?

We played there around 1997, and people just didnt get it. We weren’t punk enough and we weren’t enough garage. They couldn’t place us in a specific corner. It was a long tour, like 6 weeks, and wore down the friendships of the original lineup. I was at that time quite an asshole when I look back on it.
We did continue with that lineup for 1 more album and a few europe tours, but Elmar the guitar player was fed up since the USA tour, and he quit when the success he was awaiting didnt arrive. The tour we just did in the USA was GREAT this time around. We were well received and had a ball!

Jamy, are you a permanent member of the band? Isn’t it too difficult to live in the US while the band is based in Europe? What about The Luxury Pushers? Do you guys still play? You also played in The Mystery Addicts. Are the other members still playing?

Seems to have morphed into permanent position. When Paul and I began playing together back in March of this year it was intended to be for 1 tour but here we are 3 tours and an album in and it seems to be a good fit. We’ve gotten a LOT done in 2011.
Living in the US with Dumbell being based in the EU is a bit tricky at times for sure. We’ve made it work so far.
LXP, Luxury Pushers, is on pause for now. I’ve spent 2011 focusing on Dumbell and haven’t had time for both. LXP hasn’t played since the end of 2010, seems like forever but the holding pattern will continue for awhile. I’m excited to get back to writing, actually writing and recording new LXP stuff but tick tock tick tock…
Yeah, I was a founding member of The Mystery Addicts. Of the original line-up Steven still writes and records, Purtle is back fronting a band and recording. LaBonte has been in and out of drumming. We still talk. All the bad blood in the MA’s seems to have been left on the stage. We’ve all carried on ya know.

Last bands you’ve enjoyed (album/live)?

Too many to list! Today, Cheap Trick and The Suburban Lawns, and Adam and the Ants.
New band: The Jim Jones Revue.

Is it easier to play high-energy rock’n’roll without the “help” of alcohol or drugs?

ABSOLUTELY. I never really played loaded…just a few times with disastrous results, like offending the entire country of SLovenia, or having the support band in Munster Germany take all the PA gear because we were razzing them for being EMO. Even so, playing hungover is bad in its own right. Also having to stop the van every 15 minutes for someone to pee. Or panic at border searches and lame hiding places for my drugs, like inside my passport. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that crap anymore.

What big band(s) should Dumbell open for? Why?

The Damned or the Stooges, Why, because they RIP.

Tell people why they should come and see you live!

We do what we do, no pretenses, and the stories we sing about are true. We aren’t pretending. we live to do this. And our main goal is to please the audience as opposed to indulging ourselves.

http://www.dumbell.de/

Dusty Watson

What do bands such as LITA FORD, LEGZ DIAMOND, RHINO BUCKET, AGENT ORANGE, SUPERSUCKERS, DICK DALE, CONCRETE BLONDE and BOO YAA TRIBE have in common? Well, they all had Dusty Watson behind the drum kit at some point in their history. My good friend Buanax (drummer for The IRRADIATES) had the chance to meet this drum mercenary on the road and asked him if he wouldn’t mind answering some questions for a future big French fanzine (that unfortunately never saw the light of day)… But since Buanax never gives up, he decided to start his own zine called Slime and we agreed on putting the English version of the interview on Veglam , and believe me it’s worth reading!
You started playing drums very early, what or who first got you into it? When did you start playing with bands and when did you become a professional musician? You’re part of Musicians Union, can you tell us a bit about it?

My parents were music lovers and allowed me to play drums in the house while growing up so that is probably the one thing more than anything else that allowed me the opportunity to learn to play. There are pictures of me playing on oatmeal boxes when I was in diapers so I don’t remember how it all started. There were toy drum sets as I got older. My sisters twirled baton and I remember marching alongside of them with a snare drum in parades. My first real drum set was a black pearl Gracy which I got when I was 6 and that is when I started taking private lessons from Gerry Colapinto. I was in school bands and learned how to read music, We played swing, big band and jazz charts and competed in a lot of festivals. The first band I attempted to start I was in Jr High school probably about 12 or 13 years old and it was a be bop band with upright piano, clarinet, sax and bass if I remember right. We never made it to a performance level though! I joined my first rock bank called Passin Thru when I was 15 before I could drive. My parents had to drive my drum set to the band room (by this time I was playing a massive double bass blue pearl Slingerland kit) I rode my Bultaco motorcycle to practice until I got my license. Not long after that I joined the Musicians Union and started getting a lot of work. That was a very confusing time for me. Until that time, I had met Gene Krupa, Roy Burns, and Buddy Rich, I was professionally trained, had recorded records and was starting to make a decent living playing music. I earned a scholarship to a 4 year University in San Diego, CA and while I was walking across the school grounds that first day I realized at that moment that I wanted to break away from formal training and cut a new groove for myself. Develop my own sound, my own style. My own identity. I quit school before I even started, quit the Union and concentrated on performing, playing in several bands, challenging myself to find ways to really make the drum set come alive.

You seem to have a special thing for surf music seeing the number of surf bands in which you played: Jon and the Nightriders, Davie Allan and the Arrows, The Surfaris, Slacktone and Dick Dale of course ! What do you like in this music style? How did surf music evolve in California these last 30 years? How does it feel to play with « The King of Surf Guitar »?

My band The Press was booked to do a show with The Knack when they first started out. The promoter, John Blair, had seen me play and asked if I would record a surf instrumental record with him. He had written a book about surf music and wanted to record a record to release with the book. I said sure and that was how Jon and the Nightriders started. I had never played surf music before but I had a lot of years experience playing in instrumental bands. I liked the freedom of expression allowed in instro music and I understood the importance of listening to the other band members and playing with dynamics. So my love for surf music was developed by my years as a jazz drummer, together with my experience in playing rock and punk rock, which eventually led to the natural transition for me to develop as a surf drummer I suppose. Playing with Dick Dale was a huge experience for me, he taught me a lot. Dick demands so much of himself and therefore everyone around him as well, which makes for a very tight ship. I mean our entourage moved with exact precision on stage even though we were literally jamming and improvising the entire time! It was an amazing, passionate adventure and I am grateful to have played so may years with him. The last 30 years has seen a number of surf bands spring up all over the world, which are now recognized as 1st, 2nd and 3rd wave bands. I was fortunate enough to have played in all 3 waves and I plan on being there when the 4th wave comes along!

You played on the amazing « Live at the Whiskey » (Jon and The Nightriders – Bomp records 1981)! You played and hung out in many famous Hollywood clubs such as the Whiskey A Go-Go, The Troubadour, The Starwood… Any memories you’d like to share? What bands left a strong impression on you?

Yes it was a very tumultuous time for me and everybody else in Hollywood during that time. Punk rock was alive and well in LA and I was playing with The Stepmothers who were getting a lot of attention. I was also playing drums for Lita Ford after she left The Runaways and I was still playing in a few other bands at the time, including Jon and the Nightriders. None of us thought that instrumental surf music was going to make much of a splash anywhere outside of Southern California. Greg Shaw approached John Blair from Bomp Records after we released the 7” on John’s own California label. Rodney on the Roq got onto the record and was playing it on his show every week. There was a lot of buzz about the band. We thought hell yeah why not do a full length release! Surf Beat 80 came out and as soon as it did we had so many offers for shows it was crazy! (after 2 record releases, Jon and the Nightriders had not yet done a single live show!) So we put a live band together and started taking the offers as they were coming in. Our first show was at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium opening for Dick Dale and The Surf Punks. It was pretty amazing and from there we played all the Hollywood clubs including a 2 day run with The Blasters at The Whiskey and that is where the Live From the Whiskey record came from. The Record Plant sent a mobile truck out and we recorded 2 shows each night so there were 4 shows total that were recorded and John and Greg just picked their favorite takes. There were so many shows and parties it never really slowed down for many years we were all young and full of energy and the excitement was contagious ya know like, “hey did you hear so and so just got a 7 album deal with such and such a label”. Everyone was talking about showcases and label deals and well the parties and dinners and all the label heads running around town trying to sign the next big act it was quite a scene! I was lucky to have been a part of all that.

A quick look at all the records you’ve played on makes us think that you’re a busy man! You played with bands as various as the Supersuckers, the Boss Martians, The Queers and even Boo Yaa Tribe and pretty hard rock girl Lita Ford on her first album. It seems like you also almost played with Black Flag! How did you meet all these people? What are your conditions when you work for a big record label?

I started playing drums at a very early age and I just never stopped. Every opportunity to play I said yes. I still take a lot of gigs with different bands because its fun and it’s challenging for me. I like the way it makes me think on the fly. It makes me LISTEN to what everyone else is doing on stage. Every artist teaches me something I didn’t know before playing with them. I enjoy playing all types of music so it would be a shame to only play with one band my entire career, playing the same songs every night with the same people. I think I would have tired of that rather quickly. Regarding the business end of things, there is no standard in the music industry so there are different arrangements with each and every artist and I don’t really have any conditions to speak of. If I dig the music and dig the players then that is something worth checking out for me, it pretty much just comes down to that. As a new drummer coming up it really just takes a commitment and desire to play as much as possible. The music business is based on word of mouth so the more gigs you play, the more people see you. I have been lucky enough to play with a lot of different bands.

Do you often get asked to work as a session drummer? How do the auditions go? Have you already refused to work with someone? According to you, what is the best album you’ve ever recorded? Which one(s) allowed you to get some recognition in the music business?

I am mostly a touring drummer – a performer – so most of my time is spent playing live shows on the road. I do however record a few records each year and usually there are no auditions, the artist hires me because they are familiar with my style of playing and they feel it will be a good fit for what they are doing. This past year I did records with Frankie and the Poolboys (surf); The Aquamarines (surf); Becky Barksdale (blues); Marisabel (latin); and Blookhook (punk/hard rock). Very diverse music giving me the opportunity to explore a lot of different styles of playing. I don’t know if I have a ‘favorite’ record though I do have some ‘least favorites’! I’m my worst critic so I am not a huge fan of a lot of my recordings but I can say that the Concrete Blonde album, ‘True’ and the Slacktone first release, ‘Warning: Reverb Instrumentals’ are two of my favorites. As far as recognition I haven’t recorded a Number One hit or anything so I wouldn’t know about that, but one of the biggest thrills for me was right after the Concrete Blonde record was released I was looking through the want ads in a musicians magazine and I saw an ad that said, “Drummer wanted – must play like Concrete Blonde”. That made me smile.

You’re often on the road. In which countries do you like to play? What was the busiest year for you as far as shows are concerned? Your best and worst tour/studio memories?

It seems as though I keep getting busier and busier but maybe it is just because I am older and time goes by faster I can’t tell. I am still doing about 150 – 200 shows a year which is quite a lot considering travel days. It’s really quite insane sometimes. I enjoy European shows a lot. The people there are raised with a more diverse art based culture than we have in the states. A lot of the governments subsidise venues and artists and make it more cost effective to tour as well. Possibly the most mind blowing thing for me was flying into Sau Palo Brazil for the first time, that was an amazing sight to see from above that massive city. I had never seen anything so immense in my life. The worst tours were early on with vans breaking down, no money, sleeping on people’s floors and starving our way to the next town hoping we wouldn’t get fired or kicked off the bill!

How is the Agent Orange European tour goin’? When did you meet Mike Palm?

The tour is going great! Weather has been perfect, the drives have been short for the most part, venues have all been well attended and we are having a fun time. Only disappointment so far was our planned surfing trip in San Sabastian, Spain. We had it all planned out and the only day we could surf we got rained out but other than that it’s all been good. I met Mike Palm in 1995. Mike and I are both huge surf music fans and we were both at a show in Hollywood some friends of ours were playing and I sat in with them for a song or two. Mike knew me from Jon and the Nightriders and he approached me and asked if I would join Agent Orange. I knew the band from the Rodney on the Roq release that my band The Stepmothers was on with Agent Orange. Their version of Mr. Moto was pretty cool so I said sure and I have been in the band on and off since that night.

You often play with Sam Bolle who could be describe as you rhythm half. Do you sometimes work together for session work?

Yes Sam and I have been playing together for the last 15 years and we bring each other into most of our projects. I’ve always wanted to have a rhythm section like that and it has been extremely rewarding to work with Sam on so many different gigs. A true professional and dear friend.

How do you deal with all your different projects? Any priorities?

Well you do have to prioritize everything to some degree right? I usually have one touring band that I commit to at a time. That means I will probably play between 100-125 shows a year with them. I will end up getting subs for other gigs I might have that are double or triple booked. Sometimes there are hectic schedules but things usually work out ok. I have a lot of drummer friends and we trade off gigs all the time covering for each other, trying to keep everyone working.

You always look in good shape behind your drum kit. What is your magic recipe to have so much energy after all these years? What are your favourite warm-ups before a show?

I wish I did warm up before a show! I used to be a complete mess and totally unreliable. I changed my life style and started paying attention to what my body was telling me. In other words I stopped putting poison in it and started feeling better. Pretty simple strategy eh? I have always loved the outdoors and I stay active when I am off the road. Boating, bicycling, motorcycles, snowboarding, hiking, camping, surfing…pretty much everything outdoors is all good with me. I think the exorcise and the love for what I do has allowed me a fairly healthy body to live in.

What are your favourite bands/drummers/musicians?

Well I admire Terry Bozio as the drummer’s dream technician. He is truly a master. I grew up with my heroes being Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and they remain at the top of my list. Others that grabbed my attention along the way were Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Ian Paice, some others in that time frame. Later it was Tommy Aldrige, Kenny Jones, Clem Burke, Chester Thomas, the list is endless. The most impressive drummer I have seen recently is Derico Watson, a soulful technician of the highest calibre. There are so many great talents out there it is really unfair to try and compile a short list. I appreciate technicians but I am a bigger fan of groove and feel so most of the time I appreciate the simpler approach more than the flash. My favorite bands lately would probably be the garage bands that all busted out a few years ago (love their energy) also fell in love with Mute Math when I first heard them and still admire them a lot.

You saw Gene Krupa and even Buddy Rich play! Was he really the best drummer in the world?

Gene Krupa was a true gentlemen in all aspects of the word. A hero, well respected and admired. Buddy was a child prodigy, an entertainer from age 2. He grew up on stage. His demeanour as everyone knows was very aggressive and demanding. His outbursts at his band on and off the stage are legendary. The drum battles that were waged amongst the top drummers back then were mostly in good fun, though there are some, which depict Buddy going for the jugular. I think Gene created the pathway for the drummer to be recognized as an integral part of the band, especially live performances. And I think Buddy took that a step (or two) further and created the Star image of the drummer for the first time in modern history. When Buddy left the bandstand after a performance, everyone in the room was utterly speechless, awestruck and most would proclaim, right then on the spot, Buddy to be the greatest drummer of all time bar none. That is how his performances effected people.

I’ve seen you started a « drum studio » with your wife who is also a drummer. Can you tell us about it? Who is the best one at drum battle?

Well as you know there are no battles with one’s wife because you are sure to lose! Circle City Studios is a demo studio where we lay down drum tracks for songwriters and bands working out new tunes. We have several kits to choose from and can match the style of the music both in performance and sound. We also like to go there and just work on our technique or to just play, as we both love drumming so much. We teach private lessons from beginner to advanced, and are working on developing a few different workshops we can take outside of the studio. We have direct relationships with several drum stores and manufacturers and have helped out with all kinds of drummer’s needs like drum repair, re-wraps and new and used drum sales. It’s just our way of keeping the spirit of drums alive. Rikki is a natural behind the drums. (Check out her band The Woolly Bandits http://www.myspace.com/woollybandits) One of our first ‘dates’ we went into the studio and played drums together for like 6 hours. Everything I was throwing at her she was picking up and playing along. It’s really been fun talking drums and working out parts for songs together. I never would have dreamed it possible to marry someone as talented and as passionate about drumming as Rikki. She has helped me develop a greater love and understanding for the instrument and I have fallen in love with drumming (again) AND her so it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me!

You appear on a DVD called « Surf Drumming ». What can we see on it? Where can we find it?

This was my first involvement with an instructional drum recording. I learned a lot from doing it and we all had a lot of fun talking about the drummer’s role in the development of surf music. It is narrated by surf guitar legend, Paul Johnson, so it’s not just about drumming, it’s more of a cultural piece on surf music with the drummer’s perspective in mind. There are several pointers and tricks and lessons from 4 different surf drummers, me included, so it is an educational and entertaining release. You can order it from my website: http://www.dustywatson.com

Why are Ludwig drums so special compared to other brands?

I like the way Ludwig drums feel when they are hit. I like the sound they produce. I like the staff at Ludwig and I like the artist roster of everyone who plays them. I have a lot of different Ludwig kits that I use depending on the music. The Ludwig Classics have been wonderful for many years and now the new Legacy series that just came out, 3 ply with reinforcement hoops, are going to be the benchmark for all drum sounds again, just like they were when they were first introduced in the 60’s. Ludwig offers a sound that is incredibly unique and the characteristics of the drum seem to respond differently with each drummer’s individual style and attack, which makes for a more personal sound that emanates from the drum. I have several kits and they all sound different – each one has its own tone and resonance and decay. Ludwig drums are still hand made one at a time and I think that kind of care and craftsmanship shows in the sound they create.

Who is the real Niki Syxx?

That is a funny question! Well if you read the Motley Crue biography, the Nikki Sixx that is most familiar to us all says that he was playing at a club and there was a guy there with the coolest name in rock and roll and he just decided to steal it. And that is exactly what happened. I was playing with the original Nikki Syxx at the time. His real name is Jeff Nicholson and he owned a club in Riverside, CA called The Squeeze. He was the bass player in Jon and the Nightriders when we played together. There was no Motley Crue yet. A little while later when I was playing with Lita Ford, Motley Crue and us were all living in Hollywood and being signed to record contracts and rehearsing at SIR and going to all the clubs on the strip each night. It was funny because Lita started dating Nikki and I remember sitting at their apartment and thinking you are NOT the real Nikki Syxx and you know it!

Anything else to add? What is happening now and in the immediate future?

Right now I am playing in several bands. Agent Orange is a skate/surf/punk band and we are always on tour. Slacktone is an instrumental surf band, which will be back in Europe in September of 09. Becky Barksdale is a blues band 3 piece with heavy rhythm section. We are playing festivals this summer. Marisabel is a full band backing a Rock en Espanol pop singer which is planning a South America tour later this year; The Surfaris is the world famous surf band who wrote Wipe Out, and we are always playing events up and down the California coast as well as planning another European tour in October. I am also working with a 3D film company that is currently working on a surf film and I am the music supervisor on the project. I am licensing music and also writing and playing a lot of drum parts for the film, something I have been interested in pursuing for sometime now so I am extremely excited about this new adventure.

Thanks for your time and I hope to see you again live behind your drum kit soon!

http://www.dustywatson.com

Gemini Five (2005-10-11)

The Swedish band has got a brand new album (‘Black:Anthem’) out so it was the right time to ask Tin Star (vocals & guitar)a few questions…
Your new album “Black :Anthem” just got out, how have the reactions been so far? Are you satisfied with it? What are the main differences with your first album ?Babylon Rockets??We´ve been getting really good reviews so far. Everybody seem to think that the new album is heavier than Babylon Rockets. We´ve been trying to take the band to a higher level and i feel that we have succeded with that. Better and heavier songs.GEMINI FIVE started in 2001… Why this name? Was it difficult to put this band together?We got the name from a song with Rod´s former band The Jet Set. It´s a cool and universal name from the NASA spaceship. Me and Pete left our then currently band Plaster to form an oldschool L.A hardrock band. We heard Rod was back from the US(deported) and told him to come to Stockholm and do an audition. Snoopy was a local drunk at my bar and we asked him if he was interested to join a cool new band in the same vein as Mötley Crüe and Skid Row. Everything happened very fast and we got a record deal half year later.Do some of you play in other bands besides GEMINI FIVE? Do you have jobs?

Snoopy´s playing with his childhood friends in a band called Wounded. Gemini Five is a fulltime job for us.“Babylon Rockets” was released in countries such as Japan and South America. Did you go and play there? Or will you?

We haven´t been there yet. We´d love to go there and play. Maybe in the future. It´s so much easier to tour Europe.Are the lyrics based on real life experience or are they more fictional?

Mostly self-lived experinces and thoughts I carry inside.The band seems to have a strong sleaze/80s hard rock influence but also more modern ones like industrial, am I right? What CDs have you enjoyed lately?

I think we have a good mix of both. We call our music Nu-sleaze. I think the lateset albums with Marylin Manson and Korn have some highlights. I also enjoy HIM and The 69 EYES.The Swedish scene has been growing bigger and bigger these last years, do you think it helped GEMINI FIVE in some way? Any band to recommend?

It´s always good for a band if the interest is big in your country. There´s a sleaze thing going on in Sweden right now. Crash Diet,Hardcore Superstar and Babylon Bombs are good bands worth checking out.Any plans for a European tour sooner or later?

We´ll definitley tour Europe. I think we´re doing some shows in Germany and Italy this fall.

Idol Lips

We wanted to know more about those exciting Italian Lips who love their Dolls and like their Boys Dead while singing “Hey Ho Let’s Go!”. Drummer Dee Blade answered our questions…

Can you introduce the band? When did you start and how did you meet?

Well, we’re the Idol Lips, a punk rock band from Ceccano, Italy. Mr. Adrian Valentine is the singer, Tony Volume plays Junior TV, and Vale Blade too, Luke Voltage plays bass and Dee Blade is on drums.
We started about four years ago as Idol Lips, but we came from long time attending in various punk rock bands.
How did we meet? There’s not many people who like playing rock’n’roll, and who love Johnny Thunders…so it’s quite obvious that we finally end playing together.

Your NEW YORK DOLLS-HEARTBREAKERS-DEAD BOYS influences are quite obvious. Do you think that real rock’n’roll stopped in the 70s?

Maybe the best, but fortunately there’s someone who try to keep the faith alive…not many more, but someone…rock’n’roll really stopped in New Orleans, on april 23 1991 (this date doesn’t need no explanations…).

You seem to get a lot of inspiration from living in a city. Do you think that writing songs about living in a city is a kind of therapy?… And did you ever get the idea of writing a song about crazy car driving in Italian cities?

Living in a city could really destroy you, you have to know how take care of you, and this is what we put in two fuckin’ minutes of a song. We don’t know if it’s a kind of therapy, but it’s the only way we know to write a song. Everything around us could be an inspiration, good things or bad things, but it is an inspiration.
What about a song about crazy car driving? Nowadays here in Italy there’s a lot of talking about drunk or doped car drivers…but it’s only talking, it’s only media hype…

Your music isn’t really the typical kind of music you can hear from Italy. Is it harder for an Italian rock band to get some recognition in your country?

We’re dead and gone, no time and no interest for recognition now. We played and play a lot of shows here in Italy but there’s no actual recognition; our best experience was out of Italy, when we played some gigs in London as opening and backing band for Rick Blaze and the Ballbusters, from NYC. Guess who was in the audience one night? We met the great Steve Dior from the Idols…wow!!!
At last: ‘The only way you get respect is when you die’ said the Patron Saint of the losers…Italia is spaghetti and mandolino, you know…

Your album was released on an American label. How did that happen? Did you choose the label or didn’t you have any other opportunity to release the album ?

The album first went out on Italian label Bondage Records, only on vinyl, later it was reissued on the American label Zodiac Killer, who asked us to put out a cd version for a US distribution. We’re very satisfied about its sound, it was recorded with 70’s analog equipment, you know, it’s not like being in the Seventies but we tried…

We can read ‘This one is for Johnny and Jerry’ on the cover of your 7′ Love Hurts. What’s your opinion about the NEW YORK DOLLS reunion?

The reggae version of ‘Trash’? Next question please…

Would you have Silvio Berlusconi as a guest for backing vocals on your album?

For sure!!!!!!!!! He’s got the hottest groupies in the world…didn’t see that on tv? Every chick on italian tv has sung at his microphone…and of course he would be better as a singer than politician…

Do you feel close to a band such as TAXI?

We’re close friends from the very beginning, but we think we don’t have not so much musical affinity with them. They’re cool guys but we’re a world apart, lost in NYC ’76-’77.

Any other band you like in Italy?

Not many more…rock’n’roll is a rare thing here. Besides Dissuaders, Taxi and Silver Cocks, you know, the scene is quite distressing…if not dead.

What albums have you listened to today?

We grew up with Heartbreakers, NY Dolls, Dead Boys, Dictators, Ramones…we think we don’t have to name the same names. We left our hearts in New York City…the drugged big apple…

What’s next for IDOL LIPS?

Who can tell??? At first playing playing playing…We’re workin’ on some new cool songs, and we hope to put them out as soon as possible. We have to diffuse the gospel everywhere we can go…it’s a mission. Sooner or later we would like to take part on a Johnny Thunders tribute. That’s all folks, kiss me in italian.

http://www.myspace.com/idollips

Jeff Dahl

I remember when I picked up “Wicked”, the 1992 Jeff Dahl release on Triple X records! I listened to it in the record shop (something that is harder and harder to do nowadays since the record market sadly collapsed and killed small record shops first!) and it just hit me in the face… This mix of glam and punk rock was exactly what I was looking for at the time! Years have passed, Jeff Dahl recorded many records and played tons of shows since those days… It’s 2009 and his passion for rock’n’roll and music in general is still intact… Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Jeff Dahl!

So, you were a teenage glam fag?

Apparently, yes. I started listening to music before early punk started. In the late 60s & early 70s. So that music is a great influence. And like a lot of the earliest punk rockers, the 70s-era glam rock was a huge influence for me. Alice Cooper, Slade, T-Rex, Silverhead, David Bowie, the New York Dolls, Lou Reed and, most importantly, Mott The Hoople.
For me, there is a direct connection between 70s glam and the early punk movement. So I guess that makes me a glam fag!

You started your career very young in 1976. How different is the way you see music now since those days?

Well, it was after glam had finished and disco was the popular music of that time. Before punk rock had gotten any attention or popularity. So it was completely underground.
I remember seeing the Ramones and Patti Smith when they first were starting out and maybe only 50 people were at these shows! So 1976 was a time for underground music.

We heard that you’re working on new projects, can you tell us more?

I’m finishing up writing the music for a new album and I will begin recording soon. I am always writing new songs so that’s pretty normal for me to be writing or recording. I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about tours or traveling to play some shows but I don’t have any plans for that right now.
My priority is to record a new album.

You hung out and played with many rock’n’roll legends/famous people, which ones had the most impact on you? Do you want to share a few anecdotes with us?

I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to meet, record and play with some of my favorite musicians and musical heroes. Certainly, working with Cheetah Chrome is at the top of the list. He’s the best guitarists I’ve ever played with and he’s a really funny guy. Always making a lot of bad jokes and there’s always laughter with him.
We did 2 shows with Stiv Bators and this was the last time Stiv & Cheetah have played together. So that was an honor.
Recording with Poison Idea was an amazing experience and maybe the best singing I ever did.
And all the tours in Europe that I did with Freddy Lynxx are my favorite experiences on the road. He’s the perfect guitarist for me to play with, our styles compliment each others music perfectly. And he’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Freddy & I did an acoustic tour with Nikki Sudden in Europe and that was another great time… I’ve got so many great times over the years. I’ve traveled playing music all over Europe, the USA and Japan…
I’ve been so fortunate. Not just as a musician but also as a fan. Because that’s how I really look at myself, I’m still just a fan of good music.

You lived in Hollywood for 12 years, what were the best and worst things for you there?

The best part is all the music and musicians there. Any night of the week you could go to clubs and see some great bands that are now legendary. Basically, any cool band that played in Los Angeles from 1979 into the mid-80s, I saw.
The worst part was getting too far into the drugs and seeing your friends die.

You are considered as a leading figure in rock’n’roll and an inspiration source for many bands, how does it feel?

It’s a humbling and more than a little puzzling. As I said, I still just think of myself as just a “fan.” So if someone is influenced or enjoys my music, I know what that feels like because I still feel that way about the music I like.

A few years ago, you produced an album for The SLASH CITY DAGGERS, do you think that you’ll produce bands again in the future?

The Daggers was done at my studio in Arizona. I produced a lot of bands at that studio. But I’ve moved to Hawaii now, and I just have a small home studio… so I don’t know.
I suppose if the right band approached me, under the right circumstances, I would consider it. I like to produce and record albums but it has to be a band that I really love. I can’t produce something that is boring just for the money.

You have a song called “Junkies Deserve To Die”, did you write it because of bad experiences with junkie musicians?

Actually, the lyrics are written from a “first person” personal point of view. It’s how I felt about myself when I was using too much drugs. So when I sing:
Let me tell you about the times I gave myself up for dead…
or
Let me tell you about the visions of Hell I have seen…
This is me speaking for myself. There can be a lot of self-loathing involved when you’re addicted.

In Kevin K’s new zine Thunderpop, you say you don’t like the way modern albums sound, but you also admit that Protools and computers are quite practical. Do you think that you can have an old-school sound/production using modern technology?

Well, I am hoping so. I much prefer analog tape for recording but where I live is the most humid, rainy area of America so tape machines will not work properly out here. I’m just learning protools and I’m am mainly concentrating on the most basic, simple functions and applications.
My plan is to use it as closely to an analog 16 track recording rig as possible. I’m not interesting in advanced editing features, beat mapping, auto tuning, or midi. I want to just mic up my guitar, bass, voice or drums and record it straight in. And not manipulate things further.
Basically, using it just like in my old tape based studio. It’s just a different technology for capturing sounds. And so far, the sound quality is pretty good. Protools is clean but accurate so far as what it records. In the end, the computer and protools are just a tool and it’s how I choose to use it that should matter most.
So if I keep it simple it should be fine.

Many people found out about the best of glam and punk rock reading your fanzine Sonic Iguana, have you ever thought about bringing this amazing fanzine back to life?

I loved making that magazine but unfortunately now printed magazines are almost impossible to sell in stores these days. So many of the cool, small record shops that would sell this are closed and now gone, the same for distribution.. and the cost of shipping and printing are now much, much more expensive.
So from an economic standpoint, it’s can’t be done. I’m glad that so many people enjoyed that magazine… I still have people asking me to buy old copies but I have sold-out of everything now. Now, I guess, it’s a collectors item! Ha ha…

You’ve always written many acoustic songs, what is your approach when dealing with this kind of songs? What makes you want to write an acoustic song?

For me music is just music… you can call it punk, glam, rock n roll, blues, acoustic… if it’s good, then it’s good. I just enjoy making music. I just write songs. If someone wants to label it a certain genre… punk, hard rock, whatever… then that’s fine with me. It’s doesn’t matter. I just write and record songs.
One thing I can tell you is that a “good” song can be played in a lot of different styles… you could make a slow blues version, a fast punk version… a good song will translate itself into a lot of cool styles. When I play solo acoustic shows I might take a faster punk song like Goin’ Underground or I’m In Love With the GTOs and play it as an acoustic blues or in a folk rock style. It’s fun to do things a little different from what people might expect from me.

In Kevin K’s autobiography, we learn that Freddy Lynxx escaped from the music world, what do you think about that? Any news from him?

No, I’m afraid I don’t have any news from Freddy in some time now. I know he had some health problems and he was concentrating on raising his children. I’m sure he still loves music but I think his priorities are now his children and family. And, of course, I wish him all the best. I hope one day well make some good music together again.

I read somewhere that your drumming technique improved when working on the JET BOYS album…

I never played or worked on the Jet Boys album. That was recorded before I first met Freddy. But I started playing music as a drummer when I was in school and the style then was that bands wanted me to play like Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell… Basically, jazz drummers playing a lot of crazy stuff in a rock style.
But I much prefer drummers like Jerry Nolan, Charlie Watts, Buddy Miles and Ringo Starr… simple drummers. So that’s how my own drumming has evolved over the years. I’ve gotten more simple.

What about your French connection nowadays?

I still have so many good friends all over Europe. With myspace and facebook I try to keep contact. So in that respect, I’m still connected all over the world.

You got back to your family lands about one year ago. How is your life in Hawaii?

My wife and I grew up in Hawaii and it’s where our families live. We wanted to be closer to our family and Arizona got too crowded. So it seemed like a good time to make a move back home. Life here is in a small town on one of the less populated outer islands. It’s very quiet, the ocean is beautiful and there is a lot of nature.
There is not too much of a rock music scene here but there are a couple of good punk bands. So it’s a different life but we’re enjoying it a lot.

Imagine your house is being flooded, which guitar are you going to save first?

Well, first I would save my wife and my cats! But for guitars… probably my Les Paul that used to belong to Ron Asheton.

Will you tour again in Europe in the future?

I hope so… There are no plans at this time… it’s a long, expensive plane trip from Hawaii. But if the right offer were to be presented to me I would consider it. And if the opportunity to play with Freddy Lynxx or Cheetah Chrome came up again I would probably do it.

http://www.myspace.com/jeffdahlband

Jeff Drake

Jeff Drake, guitarist/vocalist for the legendary JONESES is coming back into the lights thanks to Full Breach Kicks records, so it was time for us to get news from this odd and exceptional musician…

So, how does your life look like nowadays?

Well, it’s hard for me to be objective. Kind of in a transitory state. Getting my degree (who knew?) I hope to be Dr. Drake someday. Maybe making a musical comeback? Mid life crisis.

Were you surprised to see that Full Breach Kicks wanted to re-release « Tits and Champagne »?

Yeah those songs were originally just demos and stuff. But it was very hard to find so I guess I’m not surprised.

What about the live album and the live DVD that are supposed to be released soon on the same record label?

Still working on that, I’ve been editing the live video for the DVD & so far out of about 12 hours of stuff, I found about 10 seconds that’s fit for public consumption. We really blew. Like a Hoover.

In the 80s, you were seen by many as a kind of West Coast Johnny Thunders, do you understand and accept this comparison?

Well, yeah I do. At one point he was a big influence. But I was kinda already like that, growing up on Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley & Keith Richards and all. But Johnny Thunders was a genius in the Dolls, so I don’t really think that I do compare. He was the proto-type for lots of guys. I think I was more country though.

Over the years, The Joneses has often been referred as a cult band, I guess you’re quite proud of it, aren’t you?

Fuck no! Cult band means you’re broke all the time & no one knows who you are. It’s like a consolation prize, or parting gifts. No thank you. Sounds like a religion.

What were the reasons for the end of the band?

I didn’t wanna do it anymore. I thought Amanda Jones & the Vice Principals were both better bands, just later & not so much of me.

Is excess obligatory to create a legend around a rock band?

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” I think that was Rousseau or Voltaire or one of them smart Frenchies.

Is there any possibility to see a Joneses reunion some day?

I’m sure someday somewhere there will be. I don’t know which Joneses would wanna do it though. Seems like nobody gets tired of those songs except those of us that have to play them.

Why do The Vice Principals (the band with your brother Scott) never released more than one album?

We broke up. That was never really meant to be a real band anyway. More of a swindle. Hee Hee. Too much genius for one band. Really. I mean it.

Jeff Drake back on a stage would probably make many people happy… so?

Well, okay, what’s it pay?

Some young bands sometimes say that they’ve been influenced by you, do you feel close to some of them in any way?

They are the children I’ve never known. Did they bump their heads when they were young?

I heard that some amateur reviewer once said that you’re not humble, what do you answer to that?

A very astute observation on his part. I see a brilliant future in Journalism for him. I am humble compared to some…..

The Humpers or 8-Foot Tender?

Why you asking me? 8 Foot Tender! Jeff Fieldhouse is the King of Portland OR!

A last word for your fans?

“Only in the savage forest of vice can new domains of wisdom be conquered”.

Thank you very much Mister Drake.

Jennyfer Star

A new promo CD, a new project… hear STARLET SUICIDE’s singer talk about her new songs, downloading, Sweden, books she enjoys, etc.

So here you are as a solo artist, is STARLET SUICIDE definitely over ? How do you feel about the future…band or solo?

JENNYFER STAR: Right now I´m pretty sure I will remain as a solo artist. But only time will tell I guess.

Can you tell us more about the songs of your new promo CD?

JENNYFER: “As Good As It Gets” was a song I wrote earlier this year. I had been sick a lot, one infection after another. And with the band I never had time to recover, since you can´t just cancel a gig cuz yer sick.. So all of the infections and stress led to a deep depression with panic attacks and shit. So I just felt I had to write something about it. I´m really sick about be so troubled all the time. There is always something that bothers me you know.. I guess I´m a neurotic wreck haha.. So I asked myself if this is “as good as it gets” and the answer came clearly.. “there just has to be a twist about it. It turned out to be a real hit song and I´m very happy about it! “Be The Same” was something I wrote after I got out of the depression, had decided to leave Starlet and the spring had arrived. I was out walking my dog in the morning, hungovered after one of the first nights out for months, but I felt like everything´s gonna be fine. It was kinda like a happy song first, but the re-arrangement made it kinda melancholic. I like that there´s a certain feeling about this song. It´s kinda dreamy. And I like that it turned out so different than I had imagined it. The music is pretty blue and the lyrics gives a feeling of hope. “Power ballad” might be the right category for it. I also recorded a cover song. Betty Blowtorch´s “Size Queen” which will be on a tribute cd for the band (due to be released Spring 2008). It´s a real killer, a party song and I´m happy that I got the opportunity to be on the tribute cd since Betty Blowtorch is one of my favourite bands. This song, however, is not on the promo cd, but it´s available for download on my website: http://www.jennyferstar.com

According to you, what are the main musical differences between these new songs and the ones in STARLET SUICIDE?

JENNYFER: For me, it´s pretty hard to say. Since it´s still MY music… But I guess that the new songs aren´t as much glamrock as the later Starlet stuff and not either as punky as the early Starlet stuff. I guess it´s more plain rock, with a Jennyfer Star-edge of course 😉

Have you already played these new songs live, or will you?

JENNYFER: I haven´t played them live yet, and right now I don´t know when I will start playing live again. I feel pretty comfortable with having the summer off, for once. I have been playing so much for the past years, with no time to relax and think it all through. So I guess I need this “break”. I´m writing a lot of new stuff though, and it feels really good!

What about your fanzine Cherryfuck? Does it still exist?

JENNYFER: Actually, we just decided a few months ago that we should let Cherryfuck go. We had a lot of fun with it and maybe we will do another fanzine some day. But for the past year/s we have been to busy to run it and it also felt like that was the past. There were many things with Cherryfuck we weren´t proud of. Like that mental illness was always in the focus. Sure, it needs to be in focus, because it sucks and there is a lot of ppl not understanding, but at the same time we felt like we need to focus on other things instead.

You offer your songs to download for free… What’s your opinion on legal/illegal download? Weren’t records a better thing?

JENNYFER: I don´t really wanna take a side in that battle. I think both sides have good opinions. For me it´s all about getting my music out, and to offer ppl to download it for free will give me a bigger audience I believe. I do believe that records is a better thing, and if I download something I like I usually get the cd. Although, I like vinyl better than cds and most of the new stuff isn’t available on vinyl, so that kinda sucks.

Have you enjoyed any shows or bands lately?

JENNYFER: Yeah actually I went to a couple of shows last week here in Stockholm. Loud N Nasty played last Wednesday and on Thursday Crashdïet played as well as Sister. It was a lot of fun and a lot of beers included..

Do you have any explanation on the fact that there are so many glam/sleaze bands in the North of Europe, especially in Sweden?

JENNYFER: Actually I don´t.. Other than that we peeps up north must have nothing better to do that to play dirrrty rock n roll all nite long haha..

Do you enjoy books and movies? Any interesting ones you’ve read/seen lately?

JENNYFER: Yeah I read pretty much and I love to watch a good movie! I mostly read biographies/memoirs and one of my favourite books is “And I Don´t Want To Live This Life” by Deborah Spungen. (In case someone doesn´t know, it´s the story about Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid from The Sex Pistols, written by her mom.) It´s one of the books that really ment something for me. And movies, I recently saw all the Rocky movies. I never thought I would like that kinda movies but I actually find Rocky really cute hehe.. Usually I like to watch romantic comedies, chick flicks and psychological thrillers though. A few other movies I loooove is: Natural Born Killers, Gia, Love And A .45, The People v/s Larry Flynt, Sid & Nancy and so on…

If you could play on your dream bill (bands or artists from now or the past), what would it be?

JENNYFER: I´d love to play with Betty Blowtorch. They are probably the best band that has delivered true rock n roll the past decade. Also Joan Jett, that would be awesome!

Are you working on new songs? What’s coming next?

JENNYFER: Yep yep, I´m writing like a maniac hehe… And hopefully I will record some new tunes by the end of the summer or early fall. I think it will be a lot like the songs I have released now. So keep yer ears on me! “As Goos As It Gets” will also be released on a compilation cd that the fabulous fanzine “Bubblegum Slut” is putting together. It will be out in June so check it out!