If you’re into glam punk, then you probably remember or heard the name The ORPHAN PUNKS. Their lead vocalist Ashliegh Wolfgang now writes books and tells us about it… A good occasion to talk about The ORPHAN PUNKS as well!
You were the singer in The ORPHAN PUNKS. Can you tell us a bit about the band’s history? When did the band start? What have you released? Best memories? What are the other members up to these days?
The Orphan Punks were formed in 1993 in Chicago, we were one of a very few glam/punk bands that weren’t huddled up in New York City or Los Angeles at the time, so we were definitely a bigger part of the punk scene than the glam scene in Chicago. I’d be remiss to not mention Thee Trash Brats from Detroit (about 6 hours away), who certainly were in the same boat. We played a lot of shows with those guys and it was always cool to know they were more punk than pretty. We could certainly relate.
The Orphan Punks officially released one full length CD in 1996 “Running with Scissors, and one 6 song EP “Pogo –A-Gogo: The Pirate Tapes” in 1994…I think. I know there are a lot more recordings floating around but those are the only two I recall actually releasing.
Among my best memories with The Orphan Punks are getting to open for Cheap Trick (Who we adore!),Playing shows with crazy billing like Anthrax and GWAR, Getting to be the back-up band for Billy Idol, and getting to do radio shows with guys like Brian Setzer.
Sadly our drummer Brian, passed away from complications due to Leukemia about 10 years ago. Everyone else in the band has families that occupy a lot of our time. To the best of my knowledge Darrell (bass) is the only one that is still playing in a band currently. He’s in a really cool surf band called Roger and the Wraybands. Jimmy (guitar) built a studio in his home and still plays. I think Billy (guitar) is a poker champ or something. We did get together a few times a couple years ago to jam…we always joke that someday we’ll do a reunion show.
Have you completely stopped music?
No not completely…I’ve been writing songs with other artists for a while now and that’s pretty rewarding in itself. I think I still have an album or two in me before it’s all said and done.
When did you start writing? What have you published so far? Can you introduce your books?
I’ve kind of always written but I’ve only recently begun to get it organized enough to publish. Currently I’ve published the first three parts of a planned five part series called Ramblings of the Damned. The books are derived from the journals of Christian Laurent who finds an ornate silver flask and drinks its contents, only to discover that the drink has granted him immortality. The first book The Devil’s Serum is more of a supernatural love story but the theme changes a bit as the series progresses.
Your favourite authors?
My favorite classic authors are Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, I love the twists of Poe and the strangeness of Lovecraft. My favorite contemporary authors are Anne Rice and Clive Barker…beyond those I really enjoy Bukowski and Kerouac, William Burroughs and Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis, and Shakespeare.
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, Memnoch the Devil and The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice, Barflies by Charles Bukowski, It by Stephen King, Naked Lunch by Burroughs, American Psycho and Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis and nearly any book about David Bowie.
The topics of immortality and vampires have been popular again in mainstream culture for a few years now. What do you think about this trend?
I think it’s a cool thing, I’m a fan of all of that stuff and if its popularity helps me sell a few more books than I am all about it. I welcome the opportunity for my books to get turned into a horrible movie franchise like twilight. It means that it would afford me the time to write and not be so concerned with trying to sell my books. I think it’s cyclical and it always seems to come back around, but for a lot of people like myself it always remains a favorite theme and topic.
Favourite vampire movies?
Let Me in and Let the Right one in which are two adaptions of the same story and I think they are just brilliant. I love Salem’s Lot and as much as I am not a fan of Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldman is awesome in Bram Stoker’s Dracula…Martin by George Romero is another that I really enjoy…and Daybreakers is a great story and highly underated. I love all of the Hammer films with Christopher Lee as Dracula.
The music industry has been suffering from the whole download thing and seems to be struggling to find new ways of making money. Do you think the book industry could go the same way?
I think it’s always possible but I think that for whatever reason books have appealed to a less diverse audience than music and you actually have to invest time into books and don’t get that instant gratification. So my experience is that just because someone got something for free is no guarantee that they’ll even read it. Those that want it will usually go about getting it through the proper channels. I’ve given away hundreds of copies of my first book in hopes that anyone that enjoys it will hopefully purchase the rest.
There’s a dark romantic influence in your work, have you ever been into dark/goth rock bands?
I love Bauhaus and Peter Murphy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and The Damned and more recently I’ve dug a lot of H.I.M. …I’m sure I’m forgetting other bands but those are the first that come to mind.
Last records/shows you’ve enjoyed?
I had Duran Duran tickets last week and they cancelled which bummed me out. I did see Cheap Trick and Aerosmith last month and both bands still put on great shows, it was even more evident having seen Van Halen a couple weeks earlier. I’m most excited about seeing Adam Ant in a couple weeks…I’ve had the tickets for nearly a year, since the moment it was announced he was playing the US.
Are you working on a new book?
I am and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll let you have the exclusive because I haven’t told anyone else about it. The brief synopsis is that the main character is a 16 year old girl that meets a guy on the internet and ends up putting herself in a horrible situation that leads to her getting raped. After being left for dead by the rapist she is found and turned by a vampire (yes I’m actually writing a vampire book) so now as an eternally 16 year old girl she starts putting herself out there as bait for other pedophiles in an attempt to find the man that raped her as well as thinning the herd of guys looking to do similar things with young girls. It’s definitely a departure for me to write the character of a 16 year old girl but I think that it will also have a wider appeal than my previous books. So far it’s coming together better than I expected.
In closing allow me to say thanks, Laur and Veglam for giving me the chance to help spread the word, and for more shameless self promotion: All of my books are available on Amazon sites worldwide and for anything else I can be found at www.ashlieghwolfgang.com