New York is Dead, Long Live the New York scene

I guess saying that it all started with Johnny Thunders wouldn’t be far from the truth…

Back a while ago I had come across a pair of Johnny’s ballet slippers he used to wear on stage and that were put up for sale by the estate of a Thunders’ fan who had passed away. As only proof of their authenticity was a handwritten letter addressed to their owner from the person he had gotten them from, and whose signature only read “Simon”.

I wasn’t so much interested in the slippers themselves but I’ve always liked a good story, and to me it sounded like this could turn out to be one. It wasn’t long before I realized that “Simon” was actually Simon Ritt of the Daughters, a band that had shared the stage with the Heartbreakers on many occasions. It could have all stopped there with the satisfaction that I had figured it all out, but having been reminded of the Daughters, I began wondering what might have happened to them. I managed to contact Simon who confirmed that the slippers had been left in his apartment where Johnny had stayed, and that he passed them on to a friend who was a fan of Johnny. He had not been in touch with him for a while, and found out about his death when the slippers resurfaced. I exchanged a few emails with Simon, asking about his new band, and he promised to let me know next time he’d be playing in New York.

Thinking about the Daughters, some ideas started burgeoning in my head…the next step was to figure out what had happened to their singer/guitarist, Joe Mazzari. It turned out that Joe was also still very active as a musician. After the release of their one and only EP, they had broken up, but Joe had went on recording on a couple Studio albums by Thunders, and with his own band the Two Saints, all throughout the 80s, later joining Pussy Crush for an album, and then continuing solo, still performing with the Daughters’ bassist Bill Doherty. Soon enough, I had Joe’s latest album in my hands, or should I say in my record player. It was one of the best albums I had heard in a while, and the fact that Joe was one of those forgotten heroes of the scene certainly did add a special something to it. I’ve always rooted for the underdogs.

Having been working as a freelance A&R, signing artists to independent Euro labels Nicotine Records, and Tornado Ride Records, I decided I would do my very best to see Joe get a little piece of the recognition he deserved. Then I realized that the Daughters had recorded a full length album, produced by Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones/Motorhead/etc.) which had never been released due to the breaking up of the band. Johnny Thunder’s slippers had walked me all the way to something that could turn out to be a great project. Joe and I talked, brainstorming the idea. One way or another we would get the album out, with a booklet featuring photographs and telling the story behind the band. It was a few months that we had started working on the project when we heard that our common friend Walter Lure (Heartbreakers) was about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his solo band the Waldos. Joe decided he would make the trip from Boston, and inquired if it would be possible for him to play that same weekend while he was in town.

I had an experience in organizing shows, but had not done anything major since my 30th birthday, 3 years earlier when -out of frustration because NY was agonizing- I figured I should put together a special night to celebrate the NY scene we loved and missed with the best bands the city had to offer, turning 30 being just an excuse to make it happen. It was on a cold winter night at Don Hill’s, and I wondered if people would show up. They did. More than 200 people came to the event which I had advertised as Thomaxe’s Escape From NY, after the column I had been writing for years in a local punk paper. The all-star lineup consisted of NY Junk, Martinets, Bullies, Electric Frankenstein, Waldos, and Cheetah Chrome & the Blackhearts. The show was a huge success, and as a statement against the bookers in NYC, who have been contributing to the slow death of rock music by not paying bands, I did not take one dime for myself.

Back to present days, when Joe told me that his friend Kipp could book us a full Friday night, I was busy but figured maybe it was time to do it again. Joe could reunite the Two Saints and come down from Boston, and I’d get the best bands in NYC to come have a special night in the very spirit of how it used to be before it all went to shit…maybe it was worth it…

As a matter of fact, things were not going better in NYC, with rent getting higher and higher, rock joints closing, and of course with bookers taking all the door money for themselves and giving a slot to just anyone willing to ‘pay to play’ regardless of their sound and/or talent. I was getting sick of giving 10 bucks to see a band and witness my hard-earned money going straight into the pocket of a guy who had basically done nothing at all. I wanted my money to go to artists, I wanted clubs to book good bands, I did not want to hear any of that “but do they draw?” kind of crap. I did not want good bands to have to open early for stupid DJ dance parties.

Since then I had played NYC too, with Ramones songwriter and ex-Marky Ramone & the Intruders frontman, Skinny Bones. I knew the deal even better than ever before, because I had lived it as a fan, as a booker, and as a musician. I was in full knowledge of what was going on and did not like it one bit.

Shortly before the set date for our potential show, Lakeside Lounge was the next place to close, meanwhile local bookers kept paying their rent with someone else’s money, not respecting artists, not respecting the scene that made them live, and only caring for quick profit rather than quality shows.

I’d still get sick every time I’d walk by where CBGB’s used to stand to see John Varvatos’s store, selling $200 lame rock shirts, and asking $450 for a pair of skull cuff links that would certainly instantly make you ‘cool’ and/or go bankrupt unless you had the money to buy yourself an image. It all goes really well with the bums sleeping on the floor by the mission next door. Trying to cater to the ‘punk’ scene by having free afternoon shows where wine is served…really?! Maybe Varvatos forgot that the Ramones wore $5 keds, and that the Dolls bought everything at thrift shops. I still feel bad when I see kids from all over coming to see the last wall standing of CB’s and getting ripped off by corporate assholes. Don’t be fooled, this ain’t CB’s, and it isn’t rock’n roll either…

Manhattan, including the Lower East Side, had become a zoo for the wealthy, losing great venues was already bad enough, seeing artists being blatantly disrespected by the very ones they helped make a living was even worse, but this was just adding to the insult.

So, I said “screw this”, I knew things were fucked and that one show wouldn’t change that, but I figured I’d show them how it’s done. At least I’d get to see a great gig, and bands would be playing to a packed club as they always should- and would, if only things were done the right way.

“Who are you here to see?”, that’s what the door guys will ask you at any show, and they’ll put a little mark next to the band you came to see, right? Now, do you know that in most cases in NYC a band will need to have 10 to 20 marks next to their name before they get one cent? So basically, if the show is 10 bucks, the booker will generally take the first $100 to $200 that was made thanks to that band. And they’ll do that with every band that plays that night. Let’s say they book 8 bands (which involves one or two bands playing so late that barely anyone will stick around): you do the math. Easy enough for a scam uh? Easy money, no risk, and artists don’t have a choice, and the vicious circle keeps on rolling.

How much does it cost bookers? Well, these people usually don’t promote anyway, because either way they’ll make money, they know that bands will have to promote if they want a shot at making maybe $50 (that can then be split between four members who end up feeling not as special as they should). At best booking guys will print a poster and send an invitation online, just to say they did something. Then you have to pay the person doing the door, and whoever does the PA (and most PAs suck in these clubs anyway), well…how much can that be?! Couldn’t that be largely covered by the drinks sold all night?

Think about it: if a bar has nothing going on, they will not make money. No good band playing results in having no customer at the bar, and no one orders drinks. But if you have a solid lineup and make people pay less at the door, they’ll come. Give all the money to the bands. They’ll play a great show, people will stay to see them all, and they’ll be drinking all night.

So there we were, Uncle Mike’s was the place that Kipp could get us and I was immediately informed that it was a dive bar in the financial district, completely out of the beaten path. Pretty much no one would walk by and just walk in, I was told. But people don’t do that anyway. Get me any place, I don’t care where, with a good lineup you can pack it.

Now how does one get a good lineup? Sure if for years you’ve been treating artists with no respect and mainly using them to make some money, they won’t trust you. There are basically two types of bookers in NYC: 1) the asshole type, who never claims to be anything than what you both know he/she is, 2) the friendly one, who will rip you off with a smile, over and over again.

It happens that I never made/expected/asked for/taken one dime from anyone. I’m as broke as it gets, but I have integrity. I’ll still pay to go support a band rather than ask to be on the guest list. So a great lineup is what I got, the best of the best, and no ego trips, because when you respect people, they respect you back. Did I work a lot to make this happen? Yes. Was it stressful? It always is. However, when I walked in Uncle Mike’s that night -this place I had been told was usually empty- and saw the bar already packed for the first band, I knew why I had done it all along…for the same reasons we were all there…the right reasons.

Fronted by Angie Lesdema, Sunday Masquerade was the first band to hit the stage. I remember being front row at one of their shows a little while back and right next to me was famed r’n’r photographer/manager Leee Black Childers who was ecstatic, describing their music as “the perfect rock’n roll songs”. When I asked them if they’d open the night, they did not hesitate. Sunday Masquerade has played some big shows around the city, but they are not one of these bands who are ‘too cool’ to play early. Promoting the show, I did not say in which order the bands would appear but stated that every band playing that night was a headliner. If you are great, people will come see you, no matter what time you are on. Sunday Masquerade proved me right.

Next were the Martinets –surely one of the greatest live bands in the world- who had already blessed me with their presence at my first Escape From NY party. The Martinets latest record, Comeback Tour, was recently released on Tornado Ride Record and is certainly one of the most exciting Rock albums I have heard in years. In the audience to see them were amongst others Binky and Des of the legendary Planets. The Martinets won everyone over as they always do with their raw energy, and some of the catchiest/coolest songs you’ll ever get to hear. True originals inside and out. Get their album from Tornado Ride Records, it is a must have!!!

Damn Kids hit the stage and kicked some ass as they always do. More known for the fact that they feature Paul Kostabi (White Zombie/Youth Gone Mad/etc) on guitar, the band is composed of a bunch of misfits just as talented, Al Landess on vocals and guitar; Dave Lindsay on drums; and Ned Lindsay on bass. They don’t have an album at this time, just few recordings available on the internet for download, but theses guys must be seen live anyway to fully appreciate what they are all about. A real NYC band. Let’s hope a full length record is on its way.

Furious George was next, and them being one of my all-time favorite bands, it certainly was a treat. Furious George only plays once a year due to George health (he’s gotten sick from the aftermath of 9/11, and fighting for the truth ever since). I had tried to have them play at the Arthur Kane tribute in 2005, then at my Escape party in 2009, but as they say “third time the charm”. Seeing Furious George play a full set (which they haven’t done in a very long time) was amazing for all of us, and I’ll go as far as saying that it was a dream come true, only better. Of course they’ll tell you that the PA sucked and that the sound wasn’t the best, but from the audience’s point of view: Furious George RULED. The beast was unleashed, raw and at its best. Thank you guys, now I can die a happy man.

Two Saints who had travelled from Boston the day before were in the audience the whole night supporting the other bands the way it should always be. I knew they wouldn’t disappoint, and they certainly did not. Not only did they rock the club, but one could tell they really were having a good time and that it was also a special night to them. It was good to witness this underground legend back on stage! They are already planning more shows and are looking into touring overseas. Something tells me it won’t be long before they hit the studio for a long awaited brand new album. In the meantime, I’d highly suggest to track down their old LPs and 7 inches, great stuff. Also make sure to get anything by Joe Mazzari, not only does he appear on a few Johnny Thunders studio records, and on the Two Saints material, but he’s also got a bunch of records under different names.

Last but not least was High Teen Boogie, an all American Japanese female punk/rock trio and also certainly one of the most exciting bands I have ever seen live (and trust me I have seen a lot). High Teen Boogie has the pure raw energy of the Ramones in their early days, so it is no wonder why Joey Ramone used to attend their shows when the girls first started out. High Teen Boogie is another of these bands than one must see live, the girls storm the stage and take no prisoner: it’s like standing right in front of a jet plane’s engine as it takes off. High Teen Boogie is Nonlee on Bass, Hitomi on Drums and Yuki on Guitar, these girls sound great, look great, and are totally sexy. If there was any justice in the r’n’r world they would have been signed to a major label already, but HTB has the DIY spirit deep in their blood, which makes them even cooler. I’m pretty much in love with them and they have their spot in my list of all time favorite bands. Do yourself a favor and go see them any chance you get. Don’t forget to also shoot them an email and get yourself a copy of their two self-released CDs, you won’t regret it!

In the end you’ll tell me that it was just a show, but after reading this piece you might realize that it was much more than that.

A couple weeks before they closed Lakeside Lounge I had met Joe Belock there. Joe is the host of WFMU’s famous “Three Chords Monte”. It turned out that Joe had attended my first Escape party 3 years earlier and remembered it vividly, saying that you never get that in NYC anymore: 7 great bands in a row, not one filler. I was really surprised that someone else’s than me would remember and that it would not just be a blur, blending with all of the other shows they had attended -especially coming from a well-known and respected radio host. Before I left, we shook hands and I told him that I was really glad he remembered it, to which he responded “I’ll always remember that show!”. As I walked back home that night, I knew we had made a small difference, and deep down inside I still want to believe that a small difference may lead to a greater one. I’ll never forget that show either, nor the one we had at Uncle Mike’s… and I guess, after all, I might not be the only one.

I also won’t forget that sometimes all it takes for things to happen is to make them happen, just like how it takes for some things to die is to let them die. They’ll close more clubs, they’ll rip off more artists, but it’s not hopeless. Maybe some kids will take over and start doing it again, the right way. The NY scene does not have to live by these rules. I said that if with the lineup we had at Uncle Mike’s people didn’t show up I’d officially declare NYC dead. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that. There is still a drive out there…as the Martinets sang: “rock n roll will probably never die”, it’s just really up to all of us to keep it alive. You can’t put your arms around a memory…so embrace what you’ve got, and if it is any special to you, then never let it go.

Special thanks to all the bands who played that night, all the fans who showed up, Joe for giving me an excuse to do it again, Pat for helping a great deal with the promo, Kipp for booking the club &, doing the stage, Uncle Mike’s for having us. And of course to all the outsiders who left us too early, but we will always remember.

Thomas ‘Thomaxe’ Goze

NYC, 2012

Photos by Bill DesJardins.

Swine Diamond “Swine This Year” (Demo)

Young blood from St. Etienne, France following the hair metal revival path. The band actually sounds more metal than sleaze rock on this EP, but a song such as “Burning For Her” reminds me of U.K shock rock champions WRATHCHILD. All in all, these 5 songs still sound very young (but we’ll keep in mind that this is the band’s first demo) and those heavy metal solos make my head hurt, but there’s some interesting ideas in SWINE DIAMOND’s music (“Oh Daddy Let Me Rock Tonight” and “Piece Of Me” could become the band’s hits with a bit of work and better guitar/bass tuning!), so these youngsters should be able to grow up and deliver us a good album in the future. Keep your eye on the Diamond./Laurent C.

Dennis Most “Instigate Me!!!”

7 new songs by punk rocker Dennis Most with a new band line-up (seems like he dropped the name DENNIS MOST & The INSTIGATORS.)
“Blood Rush To Your Head” opens this CD in an early GG Allin kind of way and there’s a bit of RAMONES too in songs like “There Is A Mall” or “I Love My Car”, but Dennis Most showed on his previous releases that his influences weren’t limited to punk rock. Indeed, there’s a good dose of 60s keyboard driven rock as well in these songs, some goth rock influences in “As I Lay Dying” (A Love Song), and you’ll find a good trashed-up version of CHEAP TRICK’s “He’s A Whore.” This is quite an interesting mix. This is all DIY and Dennis is interested in any release offers./Laurent C.

Thomas ‘Thomaxe’ Goze’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK

-10 years ago, Dee Dee left the scene-

 Black Leather & a Black Armband,

Remembering Dee Dee Ramone

It was on a cold winter night back in 2003 when I first landed at the JFK airport. A 25 years old French guy freshly done with grad school, I had been spending the previous few months completing a master thesis on the New York punk rock scene of the 70s and Dee Dee Ramone’s Chelsea Horror Hotel novel. Of course, when I first considered it, my peers thought I was plain suicidal for taking the risk of dealing with a subject certainly way out of the usual path, but what else was new? Always somewhat of an outsider, I could never follow the white lines neatly painted on a boring straight road of conformity. Great things rarely happen without taking a risk.

I had been informed that I was welcome to tackle the subject as long as I could prove that it had a cultural and social value, and as far as I was concerned, it was just as important as all the Shakespeares or Frosts they want you to read…it certainly had had a bigger impact on my life than whatever we are supposed to study. It came from the heart, so I took a risk. As a result, I proved my peers wrong, and got my degree.

Having extensively written about it in my work, and considering the history of the place, it seemed only normal that, once out of the airport on my very first night in NYC, I would go pay a visit to the Chelsea Hotel. To me it represented much more than just a physical landmark; I had to stop by because of what it meant to me.

It was actually my first time in the USA but it shouldn’t have been. As a matter of fact, I had had previously planned a trip to Seattle to see Dee Dee Ramone perform live, as fate would have it Dee Dee passed away 10 days before the set date for the gig, and only two days after I had sent an email through his website to let him know a fan would be making the trip all the way from France to see him. And so it never happened, and I ended up writing my thesis in his memory…now you see why I had to do it.

When I finally reached the Chelsea on that cold winter night after a 7 hours flight, I sat for a while in the lobby thinking about everything and everyone I had to think about. I told you, to me the Chelsea was more than a hotel, and it was somewhat part of me already, a material representation of what made me who I am. I didn’t sleep there that night, I didn’t have the money for it, but it was important for me to see it anyway.

Soon after, I was invited to join the writing staff of a well-established NY punk rock paper, and from then on the following few years flew by. From writing and photographing bands to organizing shows, becoming an A&R for an independent label, getting Heartbreakers’ very own Walter Lure back over to Europe for the first time in 25 years by co-organizing a short tour back in 2007…I did it all and met lots of my all time favorite musicians in the process. Some sort of a DIY underground success-story if you will, just without the money but that was never the idea. I ended up celebrating my 30th birthday at Don Hill’s in 2009 with Cheetah Chrome & the Blackhearts, Walter Lure, Daniel Rey with the Martinets, the Bullys, Electric Frankenstein, NY Junk, etc …and then…then I played bass for Ramones songwriter Skinny Bones for a while…Not too bad for a French kid who was just going to spend a short vacation in NY. Of course the ride that took me there was a bumpy one, and it only got tougher and tougher for the scene and for me…but I’m still here. I haven’t given up just yet. It’s not like me.

When my old high school pal from France Stephane decided to visit for Christmas in December 2010, I figured we might as well do it the right way, so I figured “why don’t we stay at the Chelsea for a couple days”. In all honesty it was more like daydreaming than reality, but when I mentioned it to him, he was all for it.

So on Monday December, 20th 2010 we checked in at the Chelsea Hotel, some 7 years after I originally sat in its lobby. This time around I made it all the way to the front desk and we got our key. Soon we reached our room on the 7th floor and I was as excited as one can be when we dropped our bags and opened the windows that revealed a small balcony with view on the front street. The Chelsea Hotel sign all lit-up, and only stars above us, “I finally made it here” I thought to myself, and, strangely, for the first time in years I actually felt at home…I was at home.

I told my friend lots of stories about the Chelsea, Dee Dee, Sid, and all the famous outcasts who walked through these doors as we wandered in the hallways looking at the paintings and photographs that decorate the place. The two nights we were supposed to originally spend at the hotel turned into four, until he had to fly back home..

When we finally checked out, I fantasized about how life would be if I could be living there, if it was the place where I was going back to every evening. I looked over my shoulder to give a last look at the building before heading back to my apartment in Brooklyn. It took me seven years to finally spend a few nights there, but I did. Less than a year later in August 2011, the Chelsea Hotel closed to guests and for renovations. They will be turning it into another fancy place for the wealthy and it will be left to us to remember it just like we remember all the places that made NYC what it was Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s, Continental, etc. all gone, and going.

Somehow it started there…with Dee Dee, in the Chelsea I made up in my mind and with my words. If it wasn’t forhim, I would never have achieved half of what I achieved these past seven years. He taught me it was worth taking risks, and OK to be oneself no matter who you are or what people think. A few months after he died I saw him in a dream…he was sitting on a couch along with a few other guys…I’m pretty sure one of them was Sid…I’m wondering if the others were Stiv, Thunders and Nolan…I wouldn’t be surprised. They were chatting around a low round table, and I was standing far away in a dark corner where they couldn’t really see me. I really wanted to talk to Dee Dee…thank him for everything…but I didn’t want to bother him. Then he stood up and came to me…I was nervous and started talking…and telling him how I was going to fly across the ocean just for his show…He let me put everything I had on my heart out there, and then in a very calm and soothing manner simply said “I know…”. From the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice I understood that he had just let me say everything because I really needed to. Then he hugged me, and I woke up…The way I felt afterwards was very different than the usual feeling one gets from a dream; it felt like it had really happened, and I felt at peace. It was just a dream, but who knows…

A couple months before my friend and I stayed at the Chelsea, as I was walking on 5th avenue, I passed by an old black homeless guy pushing a cart full of empty cans…sitting on top of his stuff was a tape player blasting Blietzkrieg Bop. I couldn’t help but smile, I think Dee Dee would have been proud…I know he would have been. As for myself, I realized how fortunate I was to be in the presence of a walking myth… because this vision truly was the one of the very essence of rock’n’roll in its purest form…Its ultimate representation. For a brief moment, Rock was brought back where it truly belongs…the streets. So I looked over my shoulder, I kind of wanted to turn around and follow him… because, to be fully honest, wherever he may have been going… that’s my part of town…

Thomas ‘thomaxe’ Goze

NYC, June 2012

For pictures of Dee Dee Ramone at the Chelsea Hotel, surf to

Sal (Electric Frankenstein)

Our friend SAL from ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN is recovering from major surgery and will be unable to rock for a few minutes, so while he is using his super powers to recover, I call upon all of you in the underground who’ve been touched by their music, or helped by his generosity, to go to their webpage and order some kool as hell Electric Frankenstein merchandise to Help SAL pay the bills while he is unable to work. Send good thoughts and prayers out for SAL! Order an Electric Frankenstein t shirt, or CD to help out, if you have any money, TODAY! EF t shirts make especially great gifts for kids-who wouldn’t wanna rock an ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN t shirt? Badass Deadboys meets AC/DC streetwise, hi-energy punknroll! Thanks all you true rocknrollers. This could happen to any of us, and Sal is a good guy and the real deal.

Suicide Bombers

Norway’s finest new sleaze band tells us about the past, present and future of rock’n’roll!

So, when did you think about starting the SUICIDE BOMBERS? Did you have the idea before the end of the TRASHCAN DARLINGS or just after? I remember you had the image idea/concept right from the start…

CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL: Parts of the vision was there years before the end of the Trashcan Darlings, such as the band name, image, general musical direction and a few songs, but it evolved a lot when Trashcan Darlings broke up and the chance to start this band was there for real. It evolved even more as we got the band together and started working on everything.

Were all the songs written especially for the band or were some of them planned for the TRASHCAN DARLINGS?

CHRIS: As a songwriter you always have a bag of riffs and ideas lying around that you have not yet used, so some parts here and there is older stuff, but as far as finished songs there are only a few that were written for the Trashcan Darlings, and even those have been rearranged and changed around by the Suicide Bombers. Teenage Breakdown was written in the mid 90’s and is the only track Trashcan Darlings ever played. We did it live once in 1998. It was in a different key then and we never recorded it as it was very hard to sing, but it’s always been one of my favorite of the unreleased songs. When I presented it to the Suicide Bombers they loved it, especially T-Bone, so we decided to do it. I transposed it to a better key and changed it around to be more of an “open chord” track, rather than the punk/powerpop thing it originally was, something that has made the song really blossom.

Princess Socialite was written even before the Trashcan Darlings, but never used as it didn’t fit that band. The lyrics and title have been changed and there are a few arrangement details here and there that has been worked on, but apart from that it’s the same song. High On Explosives was written in 2002 / 2004. I had all the riffs, except the one that goes under the guitarsolo, I had the first verse and pre chorus, but the title was different and sucked, so it was never played. This Time Tomorrow was written right at the end of the Trashcan Darlings and intended for the next album. We never got around to rehearsing it, but it was there and ready. Suicide Bombers added a much harder drive to the song + the riff at the end of the chorus and the track really came into it’s own. The rest were all written especially for the Suicide Bombers. Coming from a situation where you have a back catalogue and then to start over again really inspired me to write and most of the songs came fairly quickly when I saw that the Suicide Bombers would happen for real. Even more came when we got the band together. Napalm Heart was one of the first ones and I think that kinda set the standard for the changes in songwriting direction. Let’s Rock’n’Roll and Riot were the last ones written for this album. A track like Bombers En Vogue was basically written at rehearsals. I kept playing the intro riff and one day we just decided to start working on it. I had a few more riffs and we put it together as a band and worked a lot on it.

So there are all kinds of different tracks here, but most of the album is written especially for this band.

Was it difficult for you to get the right line-up for the SUICIDE BOMBERS? You introduce each member with detailed descriptions on the record and on the website. It brings to mind bands like KISS or MÖTLEY CRÜE, do you think this thing about the importance of each member is missing in bands nowadays?

CHRIS: Well, it was kinda difficult. I wanted to be in a band with members who had the same vision as me, both musically and all the rest. I didn’t wanna get some guy who could play an instrument and have to tell him how to dress or anything like that. I, and then we as we started to get members, wanted to be in a band with people who live and breath this stuff, people who feel it in their guts. It all flows naturally then and it’s so much better to use that extra time and get the right people from the beginning, rather than to just go for someone and then have a lot of unnescicary work explaining stuff afterwards. I was looking for STARS and I found them!

The only member I knew from before was T-Bone, the Outlaw Groover. I had known him since the mid 90’s, but never played with him. Bitch Commander James Nero was however first onboard the spacecraft. I got a tip from a friend about this fantastic bassplayer with musical skills, attitude and looks who didn’t have a band. We met over a few beers, he listened to some of my demos, loved them, we rehearsed together once and he was in. T-Bone had seen that we were advertising for a drummer, but was taking his time thinking about it. He showed up for an audition together with a lot of other drummers and literarily wiped the floor with all of them. He’s a fantastic drummer, a very creative guy and always delivers his beats with intense power and immaculate precision. We became the final 4 when Lazy Leather, The Sex Gunslinger, joined.

LAZY LEATHER: I hadn’t played in a band for years when T-Bone one day showed up at my door in the deep forest bringing two Suicide Bombers songs with him and asked me to join the band. The songs were “High On Explosives” and “Bombers En Vogue”. The songs blew me away and of course it wasn’t possible for me to say NO to such a fantastic band. In the years prior I had been asked to join many bands, but I always declined the offers. This band, however, I really wanted to join.

CHRIS: As far as importance of each member in bands nowadays, I wouldn’t know. I do know that all the members in this band are extremely important as everyone bring their own flavor to the mix and it’s the sound of everyone playing together that is the sound of the band. For us it was only natural to emphasize that in our press release and CD cover. What other bands do, I wouldn’t know.

Lazy, how was it to join the band as a guitar player? How do you function with Chris as far as the guitar parts are concerned?

LAZY: It was cool, it was really great and I felt welcome from the very first rehearsal we had together. I was not looking for a band at that time, you can almost say I’d have given up on being in a band and was just playing guitar and writing songs in my home studio. The first song we did together was High On Explosives, it was a killer right away.

Our playing styles are very different, but I think it fits perfectly together. From my point of view: If it’s mathematically correct, it doesn’t feel right. You have to play with your heart, soul and energy and not just play the correct notes at the correct time. We work very hard on creating different guitar parts to make a fuller and more interesting guitar sound.

You’ve just released your first album “Criminal Record” as a self-release. Where and how did you record it? Is it going to get distributed or only available at shows/online? How do you feel about record labels in 2012?

LAZY: What was important to us was to find a studio with huge drum sound, after a lot of research we found a studio about an hour out of Oslo called Toproom. We really enjoyed recording this album! “Criminal Record” is, to us, the album we all dreamt of making.

We actually recorded it very quickly, I think we had 6 weekends during the summer 2011 and that’s it.

I don’t feel much either way about record labels in 2012. There isn’t much money to be made from recorded music anymore and that means that the record companies don’t have the budget they used to have to promote new talent. This means that the few major labels still left have to focus on safe bets, mostly in the pop genera, while smaller labels basically just work as distribution labels. The job of the record companies used to be to discover new talent and then put a lot of money behind them, so they got big quickly, but without the finances a record company really isn’t much use anymore.

CHRIS: It’s distributed through Indie Distribution so it’s available in all stores in Norway. For citizens of the EU it’s available through CDON.COM. For the rest of the world it will be available through iTunes and all other digital channels from the 1st of October this year. If you want a physical product and live outside of the EU, you can contact us directly at , which is the same address anyone else should use if they want a T-shirt, a pin or the the Limited Edition CDep as well.

How many shows have you played so far? Chris, is it difficult for you to sing and play guitar at the same time? How different is it from doing backing vocals in the TRASHCAN DARLINGS? Any favourite song(s) to play live?

CHRIS: At this point we have played 6 shows, all in Oslo. We really wanted to get the album out before we started gigging a lot, so people would have the chance to hear the songs before they went to a show. It took a bit of time getting the mix right for the album, so the gigs we have played so far have more been a matter of wanting to get out of rehearsals and blow off some live-steam, but the reception at the gigs have been fantastic! Every one of our shows have gotten killer reviews in Scream Magazine or Norway Rock Magazine or both, and the audience has been great. We just signed a deal with Live Wire Booking for Scandinavia, so now that the album is out we’ll be able to play a lot more. We’re hoping to do a few shows this autumn, but I think the major part of it will be from early next year. We are also looking to get out of Norway and tour next year, but we have to find a good booker for that first.

It was difficult to sing and play at the same time at first, but I’m getting the hang of it. Suicide Bombers music is more riff-based than the stuff I have done in the past, so not only is it the issue of playing and singing at the same time, but also playing more advanced stuff while singing. Having a brilliant guitarist like Lazy in the band, who can play all that stuff in his sleep, has really given me the opportunity to focus on my rhythmparts and concentrate on the lead vocals. And I have to tell you, there is a tremendous difference between the lead vocals on the album and those on my first home demos hahaha.

Lead vocals and backing vocals are 2 completely different galaxies. With backing vocals you don’t sing that much during a song and you kinda shape your voice a bit for the mood of it. With backing vocals the most important thing is to get the right element…whether that is massive gang vocals or some fucked up shit.

With lead vocals you have to find your real voice and learn how to use it, but I love it and the band has given me a lot of positive feedback for my singing, so that’s all cool. One of the things I enjoy the most with singing is that it gives me so much more time to work on the lyrics. In the past a lyric would be done when it was good enough to sing, I’d hand it to the singer and forget about it. Now I have all these rehearsals where I try out new ideas and that’s very cool. A few of the lyrics actually weren’t finished until 5 minutes before I recorded them for the album.

I love all our songs for different reasons and I think all of them work very well live. It’s too hard to pick one favorite, as it differs from gig to gig. We did our first support show recently and the time restraint meant that we had to cut a few songs from our set-list… and there really were no obvious ones to skip either.

LAZY: One of my favourite live, and on the album, is “Bombers En Vogue.” It’s our slowest song, but it has sooooo much energy.

What are the former TRASHCAN DARLINGS members up to these days?

Strange? has a cool rock’n’roll band called Hard Luck Street who’ve released a 7” and a 10”. Frankie is in a band I haven’t heard yet called Anton Ruud i Terapi. Andy is still with me in Ronny Pøbel. Q.Ken is not in any band, as far as I know.

Seems like Norway’s scene is more rock’n’roll oriented than Sweden’s one (which still seems to be more into “hair metal” stuff), I’m thinking of the KILL CITY BANDITS for instance. Any other interesting bands to check out?

LAZY:Yes I guess you can say that. Sweden has so many great metal band with looks that kill and world class production. In Norway we have always had great rock’n roll bands, not many but some great ones like Backstreet Girls, Turbonegro and Motorpsycho.

CHRIS: Kill City Bandits is Suicide Bombers’ bassplayer James Nero’s other band. It also features members of Viper Cult and Hollywood Vampires and they are cool. In general I guess you can say that the Norwegian scene is leaning more towards classic rock, while the Swedish is more metal… I guess, I haven’t really thought about it as I like both.

You have your own website (, do you think it’s still important to have band websites in this Facebook age?

LAZY: It’s really important to us to have our own website. Our website will always be the main place to find info about the band. Naturally we have a facebook site and a youtube site as well.

Right now the “web en vogue” is facebook, but you’ll never know in 5 years, that might have changed… maybe there is a site like youbook, facetube, or something like that. Our own website will always be there and be the Suicide Bombers home on the internet. Facebook has even started charging us to reach our fans now.

There’s a bit of SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK in the SUICIDE BOMBERS’ concept. When you look at SSS, they really were the future, the whole image thing (can be found in Lady Gaga today for instance), the whole thing about computers and advertising invading/controlling the music industry, and their music that was ahead the whole electro-glam thing… What do you think? How and when did you get into SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK?

CHRIS: I got into SSS in 1986. Bought a pop compilation cassette from the gas station where I live for the soul reason that Love Missle F1-11 was on it and I had seen their pictures in the magazines. I was blown away! At first I didn’t understand any of it. Wild echo, guitars coming in and out, voiceovers, pieces of commercials, sound effects… There was nothing like it and I thought it was the weirdest thing I had ever heard. Then I discovered just how to listen to SSS. The trick is that you have to embrace the insanity.

You have to treat all the crazy effects like they are guitarfills, drumsbreaks or whatever. Then you start remembering them and seeing the big picture and before you know, you’re looking forward to your favorite effect, the one that kicks the whole song almost off-beat for a few seconds, like you would look forward to your favorite piece of lyric from a more conventional song. It took years until I heard more songs from them. The gas station where I live never carried the album, but when I heard the rest of that first album I loved it just as much as F1-11. I have bought all the albums and most of the singles since and even saw them live once, at the Rock Garden in London in September 2000. There is an audiobootleg from that gig and the harmony vocals you hear during the chorus of Dancerama, in that bootleg, were all done very loudly by me from the audience. I still check in regularily on to see if more parts of the movie have been posted. Sigue Sigue Sputnik were definitely ahead of their time with a lot of their ideas. U2 stole so much for their Zoo TV tour, but I haven’t drawn a connection to Lady Gaga, before you mention it now.

I’ve always been into bands with strong concepts as well as great songs. SSS is not the only band with a strong concept in my record collection. I could talk just as much about any other band I love, but I am also very much into Sci-Fi and action movies and a lot of the stuff SSS were into as well, so it all comes naturally really. The Suicide Bombers music has a lot of personality and doesn’t sound like SSS or anything else, but if you hear the SSS influences coming through in the intro, I take that as a compliment. I mailed it to Tony James and he certainly heard the SSS influences, but I think he enjoyed it. He’s a great guy. I do, however, think that I am the only one in the Suicide Bombers who’s that much into Sigue Sigue Sputnik. We all bring our influences to the table and it’s where those influences meet that the Suicide Bombers happen.

What are the other bands that had a big impact on you when growing up?

LAZY: We have different influences in the band, but also some shared influences like Motley Crue, Kiss, Hanoi Rocks, Guns N Roses etc.

Aerosmith kicked it off for me really. It’s my all time favorite band, but I’m also crazy for bands like Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Free. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone hearing a bit of something in your music, but don’t be a rip-off. No matter how original you are you’re still just the sum of your influences.

CHRIS: There are too many to list, really. I still love discovering new bands and I think I like something in almost every genera of music. Kiss was the first hard rock band I discovered, after Elvis and the Rolling Stones. Then I discovered W.A.S.P. and several of the other west coast bands of the 80’s. A bit after that I got into the Sex Pistols and with them came a whole bunch of other bands that led me to the New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks and the more rock’n’roll orientated glam bands. Then there was that whole bubblegum glam scene in Hollywood in the 90’s. Glamour Punks, Queeny Blast Pop, Heart Throb Mob, The Zeros, Big Bang Babies and Alleycat Scratch being my favorites. After that I started discovering the more classic rock and metal bands like Judas Priest, Aerosmith, AC/DC and so on, but along the way there has been tons more… My record collection spans from stuff like Doris Day to Darkthrone and everything in between, and as Lazy says, the important thing is that you draw inspiration from as many sources as possible and have a strong sense of direction and personality in what you do. We have succeeded in that.

Do you play any covers live?

CHRIS: So far we have done Mike Monroe’s Dead, Jail or Rock’n’Roll at nearly every gig and one time we did a totally reworked version of Get It On by T.Rex. There are a bunch of songs we’d like to do, but we’ll see what happens. Covers are not our main priority.

Where can the SUICIDE BOMBERS be seen live next? Your projects?

LAZY: We’ve just signed a deal with Live Wire Booking who will book shows for us in Scandinavia and we’ll start playing more here early in the fall, It’s going to be killer. And, yeah, we are already working on some new songs for our next album.

CHRIS: Lots of stuff going on, but too early to talk about most of it.

Check out our web-site for more info.

We’ll see you out there!

History is about to begin!

…over & motherfucking out!

L.A Guns “Hollywood Forever”

LA Guns have gone back to the future in every way on this new release, from using long time producing master Andy Johns to the sound and placement of the tunes on the disc, but most importantly to writing some good hard rocking tunes with Phil Lewis doing what he does best, some good glam punk rock and roll screaming. The song “Hollywood Forever” has Phil belting out the song and giving Blackie Lawless a run for his money and it features a cool Iron Maiden type guitar solo. “You Better Not Love Me” is a catchy poppy hard rock number with Phil’s vocals harking back to his first band GIRL days, which was my favorite era of Phil Lewis. The band pulls off a cool Gary Glitter drum beat on “Eel Pie”, which fit’s the English theme of the tune as well as with the Glam street rock anthem “Vine Street Shimmy”. “Sweet Mystery”,Burn” and “Underneath The Sun” are well played slow tempo songs, but the highlight of the disc is “Dirty Black Night”, which is the modern day companion to “Sex Action”, with it’s similar sound, structure and subject matter! Also standing out is the very British sounding GIRL style boogie woogie song “Queenie” and the sung in Spanish “Arrana Negra”, which is another old school Sweet/Slade sounding track. This CD has it all, good production, good song writing, good playing and most importantly, Phil Lewis’ voice is in rare form circa his GIRL/Torme days. Old school fans will rejoice and new school fans will rediscover as Hollywood Forever is a good mix of old members mixing with young blood.
Teddy Heavens