American Heartbreak (2001)


AMERICAN HEARTBREAK in Europe ? When I’ve heard about that, I immediately emailed a friend who is part of a collective organizing shows to know if we could co-produce the concert together. That was ok, so on the concert day, after a killer show we couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask them a few questions for Veglam zine. It took place in the hotel at 3:00 AM !! Many thanks for being so nice, guys! Don’t miss them when they’ll be back in Europe !

How do you feel about the tour so far ?
Billy : That’s been great. We played almost every night and the crowds and the shows have been great. It’s been some long drives but the shows have been goin’ well.

What’s the main difference between Europe and the United States ?
People get way more into it overhere but it’s hard to compare. In America, people are very reserved.

Michael : there’s not a lot of rock fans, they’re mostly into KORN or LIMP BIZKIT. Some of them are into NO FX and The OFFSPRING.

What kind of bands do you play with there ?
We play with every kind of bands.

Billy : we’ve played with bands like WARRANT to The DICKIES. What is great about our trip over here is that people know our songs, they know the words.

I was about to ask you this question when I saw this German punk guy who knew all of your lyrics tonight…
Yeah ! And it’s been like that on many shows. That’s pretty good. We came this far, not expecting very much but that happened.

Are you gonna tour in Japan ?
Yeah, we plan. Michael and I went over there with our previous bands (JETBOY and EXODUS), it’s a fantasy island (laughs.) It should be fine to play in the clubs there with this band. We have some hardcore fans and a website in Japan. We cross our fingers. We hope to tour Japan with our friends BLACK HALOS.

What bands do you like nowadays ?
Adam : I like SUPERSUCKERS for a long time.

Billy : there’s a lot you know. BACKYARD BABIES, TSAR. But there’s not a lot of rock bands in America , the only one that’s known is maybe BUCKCHERRY. The US “rock” scene is pretty bleak.

Michael : yeah, LIMP BIZKIT…

Billy : and they call that rock’n’roll. We’ve seen that they’re really big over here too.

Michael : in America it’s either LIMP BIZKIT or Britney Spears…

It’s strange because we often see images of American kids looking very rock’n’roll, we thought that it was still big…

Billy : it was, yeah, but now it’s underground. It’s more like a club.

Michael : bands like us are now like punk rock because it’s so underground. The punk rock bands became…whatever, but now we’re the punk rock. What used to be mainstream is now underground.

Billy : punk rock bands such as GREEN DAY, RANCID and even NO FX are huge. They’re like mainstream today.

About Britney Spears, you have a T-shirt with her on it, haven’t you ?
Michael : we love Britney (laughs.)

Billy : every guy loves Britney (laughs.) Mike got the idea.

Michael : we have a Traci Lords one too.

Billy : T-shirts are selling good over here. Back home, it doesn’t happen much.

Adam : when we play at home, people in the audience would look at each other to see if their friends like it.

A few hours ago, we talked about the L.A scene…
Adam : rock’n’roll is pretty big in L.A. still.

Billy : yeah, there’s some good rock bands. COYOTE SHIVERS is great.

Adam : Richard Hell.

Michael : TSAR…

Is there still many clubs ?
Billy : in L.A there are, but there’s not too many in San Francisco. Now it’s more a “.com” computer world. But we can drive down to L.A for a day to do a show, this is quite close. The best part is maybe the weather, girls walking down the streets (laughs.)

Adam : but we’d rather concentrate on touring rather than to be the king of one city.

Billy : coming over here is a proof of that. This is the first serious tour that we’ve done and I think this is a place to come back. Build and build up to a bigger level, you know… as well as Japan. BACKYARD BABIES do it quite well. We’ve played with them in America, so… bands like BUCKCHERRY do better because they have big bucks behind them, they’re on a major label.

Michael : yeah, but if this record doesn’t sell, they’ re not gonna be big anymore.

Billy : they were pretty lucky, they had the right people behind them. Hopefully, if this record or the new BACKYARD BABIES does well, this will help out bands like us. One band can open the door for everybody else. It’s just like KORN and LIMP BIZKIT, it’s the same thing. The last thing was NIRVANA and SOUNDGARDEN ans the seattle scene.

Do you think you could be the band opening the door for the others ?
Billy : it would be nice.

Michael : if we guys were on a major label, we might be able to do it.

And what about the media like MTV or the radios ?
Billy : MTV in America is like game shows, you know… it’s pretty pathetic.

Michael : and radios always play the same music…

Billy : America is in a strange state right now with music (laughs.) It’s pretty scary. Now that we have a shithead for president, maybe rock’n’roll will become big again. That’s the only good thing about the idiot (laughs.)

Michael : yeah, people need something to rebel against. So nobody likes George Bush out there, did they like Bill Clinton ?

Yeah, Bush isn’t popular. People had quite a good opinion about Clinton. You should see George Bush on a TV puppet show here, that’s funny.
Billy : (laughs) I would love to see that.

Michael : he looks like the guy from Mad magazine.

Billy : I’m sure that people over here look at America in a very comical way in a sense.

It’s really strange that such a guy came to power…
Michael : We would like to apologize for that (laughs.)

OK. Let’s come back to music. I suppose that The RAMONES had had a big influence on you…How do you feel about Joey Ramone’s death ?
Billy : Yes, they had a big influence on everybody…that’s a sad story, he was just about to turn 50.

Adam : especially in Europe, every one seems to like MOTORHEAD and The RAMONES.

Michael : Joey used to support all the local bands in New York.

Do you think you’ll do a cover song , a tribute or something ?
Michael : there’s so many bands doing tributes… Joey doesn’t need us to do it.

Billy : I mean, if we were asked, I’m sure we would do it.

Adam : we have a DEAD BOYS song that is supposed to come out.

You also told me about a ROSE TATOO tribute ?
Michael : we played me, Billy and the drummer with a different singer.

Adam : it’s available here cause we saw it in Belgium.

They’ll be on tour soon.
Billy : they’ re like one of my favourite bands and I’ve never seen them…

Sugar Shock (2000)

“Sugar Shock personify the snotty stage of the teens. With a cockiness not seen since Guns ´n Roses, these boys give their nailpolished mighty middlefinger to the rest of the world. These brats are the rebel rousers of the 21st Century.” Yeah ! it sounds like a good introduction for this Swedish band. Put on your make-up and start a bubblegum diet ’cause you won’t resist their glitter charm.

So, was it difficult to get the line-up of SUGAR SHOCK ? How did you met ? Did you play in other bands before ?

Starlet/ Sugar Shock: Yeah, it’s always difficult when you are doing something new and have a high ambition. Cristy and Cherry met via Cristy’s brother who is an old friend of Cherry’s (he is also the drummer in Elasmo (http://come.to/elasmo). They mailed Glitzine – an on-line glam/glitter magazine which I run – and asked if I knew anyone that may be interested in creating the ultimate glitter sensation. They were looking for a vocalist and a bassist. I answered that I got a candy-coated voice and twinkeling eyes. We met and it was love at first sight. Everything happened really fast. We had seven songs after seven rehearsals. We shared the same basic thoughts on how Rock n Roll should sound… and look! Simply put, it was an amazing first date! It doesn’t happened often. I’ve been looking for some alleycats with attitude for years! Cherry and Cristy had also played in bands they weren’t comfortable in. Finally, everything felt right. We started looking for a bassist and that’s when the problems started. Bassists are not easy to find. We wanted someone who was just like us, a fourth sugarsweet kid. He/She also had to play tight of course. We tried about six bassist and we’re still looking for a bassist (interested parties should mail info@sugar-shock.com) eventhough we can go on very well as a threepiece.

Are you satisfied with your new cd “First Date” ? Did you put it out on your own label ? How do you distribute it (Internet ? shops ? independent mailorders ?…) ?

We are very satisfied with “First Date”. It’s getting raving reviews and everyone seems to like it, punks as well as glamsters. There are always things that you can do better and different but “First Date” contains four hits with a capital H. It’s one of my favourite albums which says a lot! I love the sound and the attitude. It’s exactly how we want to be. Jukeboxpunk with a teenage twist. I was curious how the masses would react to it. After all, glitter and kisses haven’t been that popular during the nineties. Was the world ready for a revival of rebellion? The Answer is yes! Actually the world begged on it’s knees to be revamped and rocked again. We grabbed a bunch of krayolas and painted a rainbow all across the glitterglobe. We are gonna distribute “First Date” ourselves through our website ( http://www.sugar-shock.com) . We will try to get some distribution deal but this is basically a promoCD. We are looking for a major deal and we just won’t quit. There are some publishing/Record companies that are interested in us already. Things are looking very bright at the moment. We will enter the studio again in feb/mars and record our next E.P.

I’ve heard that you use to throw bubblegums at your audience during concerts, how do people react ?

Bubblegum yum yum. There is only one way to react to it isn’t there? Drastic Plastic Superfantastic!! Some are trying to catch as many gums as possible, others are just blowing bubbles and looking cool. Some just don’t have a clue what to do! We want our shows to be something to remember and come back to.

Is it easy for a band like you to play in Sweden ? Are the conditions good generally ? Would you accept any kind of show ?

Sugar Shock is a pretty new band. We haven’t had any problems with booking shows so far. Sweden is the ultimate scene for a band to start. Lots of culture, tradition, ambition, great bands and an impressive underground network. There’s no place I’d rather be! Sweden’s got one of the best rock at the moment eventhough it’s more punk than glitter. The conditions are good but people in general aren’t that familiar with shock rock. Initially, they look a bit confused but if Sugar Shock doesn’t get your feet moving… you’re already dead! Hey, even stiff kittens got claws! We accept any show as long as there is free glitterglue, marshmallows and mintchocolate. Mail: booking@sugar-shock.com

What do your families think about the band and the way you look ?

Our parents love Sugar Shock. Everyone’s a sucker for sweet stuff right? They are all very proud of what we’re doing. They’re the best! Regarding our looks; in the beginning my parents weren’t that fond of me wearing make-up. I come from a small-town. Lots of prejudices and the tails grown on taller all down the line. Anyway, I can’t and don’t want to be any other than myself so they had to accept it. Which they did. They’ve realized that am still the same person eventhough I have make-up smeared all over my face. They realized that I’m a glitterkid and that my life’s a neonfairytale. I may grow up someday but I will never grow old.

Starlet, when did you start your webzine (“Glitzine”) ? Does it take a lot of your time ? You also run a mailorder, what kind of stuff (cd ? 7″? zines ? what styles ?) do you carry ?

I started Glitzine three years ago. There weren’t any good glam resources on the Net so I started my own (with a lot of help from my old friend Johan Plate). It took a lot of my time and it still does but I’m working more with Sugar Shock now. That is my main priority. I have other writers for Glitzine nowadays who have decreased my workload. The Mailorder was just an idea because I wanted to expand and develope Glitzine. However; I got addicted to Sugar Shocks so I had to put that idea on hold. I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do so a little got more and more…

Many American bands come to Europe, and on the contrary, just a few European bands can afford to play in the USA. What’s your opinion about that ?

We have considering touring in the U.S. later in our career. I have a lot of contacts and it would be major cool. America isn’t our main priority right now of course. We are focusing on Sweden and Europe. Internet has however reduced the distance and we got a lot of American fans who we would love to play for and meet. America is not the land of opportunities anymore but it would be a blast to play there.

I’ve already interviewed many Swedish bands for my paper zine, and almost every time, they said to me that there is a lot of interesting bands (no matter the musical style) in Sweden, do you agree ? Do you think that there are more bands in Sweden than in any other European country ?

I think Sweden’s got the most interesting rockscene right now. There are several glitter/punk bands with a lot of potential (The Jackals, Hardcore Superstar, Scarecrows, Plan 9, Highschool Hellcats etc). I don’t know any other country with such a good and flourishing underground scene. All bands are ambitious and are trying to help each other. Sugar Shock, Plan 9, Scarecrows and The Jackals are trying to put together a Glittertour this spring. We’ll spread the glitter all over Sweden.

Most people who say that glam is back often refer to industrial/neo-metal bands with glam influences mainly in their look. Do you think that glam is better when it contains a good dose of punk/rock’n’roll ?

Everything is better with a dose of punk/rock n roll. I know what you mean though. There are several different approaches right now, all claiming to be ”Glam”. So what do Suede and Psycho Gypsy have in common? I don’t know and I don’t care. Glamrock to me, is all about attitude. It’s about decadence and disrespect. It’s about fashion, flamboyance and flair. It’s about having fun. Sugar Shock is focusing on the sweet boy-meets-girl approach because that is what we stand for. Teenage-lipstick-traces. We are the last great daydreamers. I don’t like to put label on things. We never call ourselves ”glamrock” because it means so many things these days.

So, I won’t bother you more, what are your projects ?

You are NOT bothering us bro! We are very thankful for your interest towards us. We will push our CD and spreading the Sugar Shockwave all around the GlitterGlobe. We have some label/publishing -interest and we’ll work more to generate a deal. We will record seven new songs in late February. The New promoCD will be even better than ”First Date”. Everyone who’s starving for Sugar, get a taste of SUGAR SHOCK. Check out our website: http://www.sugar-shock. Mail us: info@sugar-shock.com. Call us: + 46 19 33 02 12. Write us: Sugar Shock, c/o Persson, Tybblegatan 110E:304, 702 19 Orebro, Sweden. Stay young at heart and don’t forget to dream your life away !

Supergroupies (2002)

They have the look, the style and they have songs that you’ll sing again and again after listening to their first and promising demo CD ‘La Musique Pornographique’. Kim (vocals/guitar) tells us more about the GROUPIES and their future…

So could you tell us a bit about the history of the band?
Before Supergroupies I played guitar in various heavy metal bands. At that time I was into playing technical and aggressive, true to the style of heavy metal. However; I was never really happy with the songs nor the image. I wanted to form a band with songs that prioritize the vocal melodies to go with a pronounced visual image. Being brought up on the Stones, Beatles, Kiss and Abba, it was kind of going back to my roots, both musically and imagewise. I started to write songs and looking for musicians. First in was Micael [Grimm; bassist], then John [Linden; drummer]. The three of us began to reherse and did our first show in June, 2001. Though it’s a lot of fun playing lead guitar, I had gone from being a downright guitarist to more of a lead vocalist. We wanted someone who could concentrate on the guitarplaying a 100%. Finally [it wasn’t easy] we found the fourth groupie and guitarist in Robin Berner.

Do you think that it is an advantage to live in Sweden where some rock bands got famous lately?
Yes, Sweden is now the third largest exporter of music in the world, [after the the US and Britain]. Therefore, I believe the music industry really has got their eyes and ears set on bands from Sweden. So, it’s probably easier to get known worldwide if you’re a band from Sweden than e.g France.

Are you satisfied with the songs on your demo CD “La Musique Pornographique”? Why this title in French? Yes, we’re really happy about how the songs turned out on the cd, especially the songwriting and arrangements. The sound quality of the recordings, technically, can get a lot better though. But that’s a question of studioequipment and working with the right tecnichian.The title came up when John was joking around with titles in general. And we have always thought that the french language has a certain glamorous sound to it.

SUPERGROUPIES seem to be inspired by the early glam bands, what are the other influences of the band?
We’ve been inspired by the early glambands such as Sweet, T-Rex, and David Bowie, but also by later glambands like Motley Crue and Poison. We all listen to a broad variety of music that has been, or is inspirational, e.g Micael is hugely influenced by the Ramones, my main influence is the Beatles, Robin was a jazz musican before he got into rock ‘n’ roll, and John has always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan.

You should have put out your full-lenght on Fastlane records but you told me that it won’t happen, have you found another label?
Not yet, but there are a couple of labels who’s interested – we are negotiating with one of them.

Do you often play live? Have you already been on tour?
We’ve been concentrating on writing songs and trying to get a label to put out our debut album – that has been our main priority. We’ve done a couple of shows in Sweden, but no tour as yet. We’re definitely looking forward to it – we love to play live!

Have you got a lot of media support in your country and abroad?
In Sweden, the media has been supportive, they really love what we do, but abroad there hasn’t been much so far. A couple of radio station has contacted us, mainly in Italy and the US, wanting to play our songs. Most of the rock ‘n’ roll/glam www-sites has reviewed our demo-cd or put up a link to the Supergroupies site. On the whole, the support and interest in Supergroupies has been, and is great.

What are your projects?
To put out a record as soon as possible. With a record out, it’s so much easier to get to play live and flourish as a band.

Anything else to add?
That we’re really looking forward to do shows all around Europe – to share what Supergroupies is all about; unlimited, unconditional, tremendous LOVE and having a good time!!

Star Star (2002)

I was more than happy to find a STAR STAR website and to know that Johnnie Holliday still had something to say. If you didn’t know the band when ‘The Love Drag Years’ came out, then it’s never too late and you can start here!…

So, what is the Star Star line-up in 2002?
well there’s Weeds (bass) and me of course. I’m playing more guitar and singing less now ’cause our new guitar player Vice sings alot as well. He’s from Chicago and isn’t really adjusting to being here that well. Then there’s Jak our drummer. He’s from Athens but he doesn’t really adjust to anything very well.

Star Star went through some really bad times, have you ever thought about giving up?
The only thing we thought about was changing the name of the band. It would’ve been harder on us to quit than to continue.

I remember that when “the love drag years” went out, many metal heads thought that it was too punk for them and many punks thought that it was too metal for them (only glamsters were happy 🙂 ), do you think that people are more open-minded now?
Well there is definately more of a blurring of the lines as to what music people identify with now. Generally speaking however I can’t say that I think people are much more open minded today…..and frankly, I don’t believe that people make up their own minds about what they like anymore. It’s done for them by the MTV’s, record labels, etc.

Can you tell us a bit about the new songs? Are they in the same vein than before (musically as well as lyrically)?
Yeah…..you know, you can’t escape yourself. However the chemistry Vice and I have both as guitarists and singers definately gives us alot of new elements, which expand on what we were doing before rather than changing it.

On some Internet auctions, some people would spend a lot of money to get your first release “go go girls in love”, did you know that?
I’m horrible on that album, but if you promise not to play it for anyone I’ll send you a copy.

Do you think that the Internet has changed a lot of things for musicians?
Absolutely, but as time goes by alot of the internet’s power will be taken away from the bands. You already see search engines and directories charging money to give you a higher or preferred listing in their search results, overlooking sites which may be more relevant to a particular search. The internet was a level playing field for everyone but it will move away from that to reflect real life. I could go on and on about this but I don’t want to start ranting……..my ranting gets rave reviews y’know….

Are you still influenced by the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?
*smile* I never knew I was untill the press started saying so. It’s unavoidable when something has been a big part of your life. We had fantastic nights at the Waverly and later the 8th Street Cinema (theaters in New York City where “Rocky” played) that defintely left lasting impressions.

What bands do you like nowadays?
Well I’m back to liking the stuff Bowie is doing again. It’s no Ziggy or Diamond Dogs of course but y’know. I saw Smashing Pumpkins in Rotterdam and became a fan. I liked some stuff that Babylon Zoo did and I do like some of the Marylin Manson stuff. It’s been a while since I heard an album that I can listen to while staring at the cover for hours and hours…..and…..if you must pry……I like songs with girls in the video……I’m a victim.

You live in Athens (Greece) now, what are the advantages/drawbacks compared to the United States?
The only thing that makes any difference for us is that you can smoke freely here. The drawback is that “Camel Wides” aren’t available here.

Do you know when you’ll have a new album out?
A five song EP with three new songs and some live recordings will be out late this year. We start mixing in April and if it goes really well there may be more than just two live songs on it…..then it wouldn’t be an EP right?…..what would it be?……hmmmm

Anything else to add?
Thanks a lot for your time.

Robin Black & The IRS (2003)

ROBIN BLACK & The IRS played their very first show in Italy at the Slam! party which was taking place on a boat in Venice. That sounded fun to us so we decided to drive down to hot Italy. Since you can often read about the band on these pages, we thought that an interview would be more than welcome…

So, Did you come especially for this show?
Robin Fucking Black: Yes, we’re here for 3 days in total and we’re just gonna rock this shit out of this boat, it’s our first show ever in Italy and we’re just gonna leave this country with people talking non-stop about seeing Robin Black & the Intergalactic Rockstars.

You’re working on the new album now?
Yeah, we take a break just to come for this show and then we have a couple of shows in Canada and otherwise we’re mainly working on the new record ’til Christmas. We have Bob Ezrin as a producer who produced “The Wall” (Pink Floyd), “Destroyer”(Kiss), etc. He’s a brilliant man and he’s pushing us really hard to make an incredible record, we’re really excited.

And you have an English record label now…
Yeah, TB Records. Mark, one of the owners of the label was on a holiday in a Northern State and he saw our video on MTV and before the end of the video he decided that he wanted to sign our band. We love them, they’re great and we’ve been touring England, Scotland and Whales which was very cool. It was very good. As a band, what we do is really special, we know that there are not other bands as exciting live as we are so we knew it was going to be good and we know that every show will always be good. We play, we kick the shit out of the place and when we leave people talk about that show for a long time.

Can we expect to see you in France some day?
I believe we’re gonna be in France playing with Enuff’Z’Nuff in late October/early November. My father is French and Ky is from French Canada, Quebec and it’s really important for us to go and play France. We’re really excited by the idea of playing in Paris and around France, that would be really cool. By the time the next record comes out after Christmas, we’re going to tour all over Europe and Japan and bring the shit that we do to as many people on earth as we possibly can. People need rock’n’roll right now, there’s not many people around that really make good rock records and really put on a special rock show, so they need us to go everywhere, France needs us too.

What’s your opinion on the rock scene nowadays?
Great rock’n’roll bands almost don’t exist anymore, rock’n’roll bands that put on exciting shows, that really rock out like it means something to them almost don’t exist. We feel like we’re all alone in the world making great rock’n’roll right now. You know, it happens from time to time to hear a good song from Sweden, Germany… but, to have a rock’n’roll band of five exciting rock’n’roll guys who are gonna kick the shit out of you when you see them at night, that doesn’t exist except for us right now. But…That’s why we’re here.

What about what the media call the “new rock” scene?
I went to see The Vines and it was absolutely one of the worse pieces of shit shows I’ve ever seen in my life, they looked like they didn’t give a shit to be Toronto playing for all these people that were so exciting to see music, they looked like they didn’t give a fuck and the singer looked like he’d watch every shitty Kurt Cobain video… All these bands sound the fucking same to me, they’re all guys with nice haircuts. The Hives seem actually kinda cool and that first single of The White Stripes record, that’s a really cool fucking riff but are they a great band? Some guy and his sister pretending to have sex or whatever the fuck they do, that would bore the shit out of me. But there’s some rock’n’roll in the world and it’s good to see that people pick up a guitar, have a few drinks and rock like it means something.

Do you think that you can bring something new?
What we bring, whether it is new or not is something that is true honest passion for rock’n’roll as an important thing, as something that matters to people, to teenagers… people always ask us if we’re bringing something back, a certain attitude in rock’n’roll. If what we’re bringing back is exciting rock shows, over the top fucking excitement, catchy hooky rock’n’roll, if we’re bringing that back, if that’s something from the past, then, that it is pretty sad about the present, if you have to look for a band to “bring back” excitement, you know?

Do you think that it is because of the record industry, the major labels or something?
It’s not the fault of the major labels any more than it’s the fault of people buying records. It’s the fault of the bands who go through the motions and pretend to be in a rock’n’roll band or do it because they saw something on TV and thought that it would be really fun. Unless a band of 4 people, 5 people, 6 girls or whatever the band is altogether make something that matters, somethign that special… It doesn’t matter who the fuck some major label signs because there isn’t enough good music in the world, the have to sign shit…
Starboy: What’s the last great band you’ve heard on a major label?
Robin Fucking Black: Yeah, but even not on a major label, what’s the last great band I’ve seen? What’s the last great show you’ve seen? I can’t fucking think of it… There’s a band in Canada called Bionic,they fucking rock because what they do, they do it with honesty and passion and are committed to what they do. They believe that their music and the fact that they’re playing tonight in some club in Rome is important to some people. But most fucking band out there really could not give a shit. They want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone and they want to get rich and they want the orgasm sisters to blow them….
Starboy: but the last great show I saw was AC/DC.
Robin Fucking Black: Yeah, but why do we have to look at a band that’s been around for 25 years to point a great rock’n’roll band? The reason why AC/DC is so great is because what they do is so honest, so driven and so exciting.. why isn’t every band like that?

Have you heard The Darkness?
You know what? We like The Darkness, but we’ve never seen them live.
Killer Ky: I think that what they do is very refreshing in today’s musical climate.
Robin Fucking Black: Whether or not it’s gonna work in France, Italy or Canada, I don’t know… But, to hear a record that sounds like a bunch of guys are really fucking exciting to make a rock’n’roll record is very cool and I don’t have very much good to say about very many things but we heard that Darkness record the last time we were in England and we all really liked it.

Does the word “glam” mean anything today?
Nothing… Whatever it means, it probably doesn’t really apply to us in any meaningful way. I love glamour, I love glamourous women or parties, I’d like to be a glamourous guy.. If what we do is glam or is rock’n’roll, that’s fucking cool with me but the word “glam” means all kinds of things, all kinds of people, we’re a rock’n’roll band. The fact that we like to be pretty, be the centre of the party.. Whether we’re a glam band or not, I don’t think we care.
Killer Ky: The media usually put this thing on us.
Robin Fucking Black: There’s no such thing as glam rock in Canada, at all. I don’t know if there ever has been, maybe Platinum Blonde in the 80s, whatever that was. We’re very much left alone in Canada. Despite the fact that we are so different that the stuff that they would normally put on television, the stuff they play on the radio, are sheer force of will and the force of will of our fans in Canada made them have to play us on MTV or radio, made them write about us ’cause there’s no wuch thing as a glam scene in Canada. We’ve been able to do things ’cause what we do, we do it so well… that made us become successful at home. And that’s all we’re gona do in Italy, in France and whether “glam” is in or out or a certain kind of rock’n’roll is irelevant.. we are the best at what we do and when you do something that well people will care. To us, as long as people give a shit when we play, and after this boat is done, when they pour every fucking liquored-up fucker from out of this boat, they’re gonna walk, stumble all the way home talking about how they saw the greatest fucking band thay’ve seen in 10 years. As long as we do that, I don’t care what the fuck is in or not in.

It seems like your audience in Canada is getting bigger and bigger.
Our first record “Planet:Fame” did exceptionally well in Canada. and it got us really started. It will be almost two years by the time our next record comes out and during that period, more and more people have come across our record and more and more people got into our band. I’m very proud of our record, I think we made a really great first record. It’s brand new in England and it only comes out in Italy and it’s not yet available in France, it’s so exciting to me that people get to hear our record and really like it. We worked really hard on it and it was really important to us. And then you hear that guys in other bands like this guy from The Wildhearts or that guy from The Darkness like the record, it’s cool because you know, we know that we made a good record.

Hollywood Killerz (2011-07-08)

Torino KILLERZ are finally back with “Dead On Arrival”, their new album. The perfect occasion for us to talk about it with them and get some fresh news from Italy…

You were one of the first band we interviewed back in 1999. It’s been long and the HOLLYWOOD KILLERZ has changed and evolved through the years. Can you give us a bit of history and tell us who is in the band right now?

(Harry – vocals) Hollywood Killerz is an evolving creature, it’s an hybrid between glam and punk. We got through several line-up changes, lots of demo and promo CDs trying to become the band we had in our minds. We started as a four kids combo influenced by the sound of infamous L.A. ‘89 era, we recorded our first demo CD exactly in 1999, and then worked hard to grow up both as a band and as musicians. Unfortunately all the line-up changes and drummer-dramas delayed our debut.

(Simo – guitars) Right now Lollo is back banging the drums, then there’s me and Dome on guitars, Livio on bass and Harry on lead vocals. Let me say this line up is a killing machine when it comes to rock the fuck out on stage!

It took you quite a long time to release your new album “Dead On Arrival”. How come? Did you have any idea about how you wanted this new album to sound like before entering the studio?

(Harry) “Dead on Arrival” is the last chapter of a ten years rock n’ roll confusion time. We recorded the same songs more than once through the years. Almost every year it was like getting back from the start. It has been a very stressful situation, as you can imagine. But in the end we made it! When we finally entered the studio we wanted our album to sound as a mix between D-Generation and Motley Crue. Now I know it sounds simply like a Hollywood Killerz debut album!

(Simo) Sometimes I feel like we were recording a kind of greatest hits album, as half of the songs were written in 2003-2004! But you know, songs like “Lovecrash” or “Goin’ Down” deserved to be recorded in a better way than we did in our old demos, so we couldn’t help but putting them in the album. I’m happy with DOA, even if I might say that guitars sound too heavy. But that’s the way the songs were conceived, so that’s ok. I can’t wait to record the new material, this time I want guitars to be different, use several instruments and amps to get the right mood. Keep it simple with a good vibe.

“Dead On Arrival” is out on Italian record label Street Symphonies who release quite a few records these days. How did it happen? Are you distributed outside of Italy? Any plan on releasing a vinyl version?

(Harry) Street Symphonies is a little record company that’s working hard to produce and promote the good old rock n’ roll that we all love! We met the guys at a GlamAttakk and since then it started it all. At the moment we’re not being distributed outside Italy and we are not planning a vinyl version of DOA, even if I would love it!

(Simo) Oscar and Stefano are cool cats, and they are doing a great job with Street Symphonies / Logic(il)logic. Even if we have not a distribution abroad, everyone can buy Dead On Arrival on www.hollywoodkillerz.net or on iTunes. Vinyl is gorgeous, hopefully we will release a 7” or a split EP as soon as we record the new material.

What are your favourite songs from the album to play live? Do you plan on touring outside Italy to promote “Dead On Arrival”? 

(Harry) I personally love “700.000”. The song that open our shows, and it’s really funny to play “Lovecrash”, people like that song and they sing it along with me, I love it! We wanted to tour outside Italy to promote the album but it ain’t easy, because we are currently not working with a booking agency, so it’s hard to do all the hard work ourselves. We were planning to play live in Germany and Switzerland…

(Simo) …I AM Hollywood Killerz booking agency! And yes, I’m planning to play around Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France. I just have to work on it, sometimes I tend to be a lazy bastard! My favourite songs are “Home Sweet Hom…” wait, just kidding! I so love “Our memories may be right” and “Girls R Dead”. Also “Goin Down” is magic, and sounds ten times better when played live.

Some of you are involved in the Glam Attakk festival. Can you tell us a bit about it and introduce the festival to readers who might not know about it yet?

(Harry) The GlamAttakk is a 13 years old rock n’ roll Italian festival. We invented, promoted, played and made it grow up with our long time pal “DJ Glaze”. In a few words it’s a yearly show with 3 or 4 Italian bands and a foreign headliner. Thanks to the GlamAttakk thing we played with some of the coolest bands of the world! From Mike Monroe solo band to The Dogs D’amour, Vains of Jenna, Peppermint Creeps, the Sparkling Bombs, Nasty Idols, Gemini Five, Crashdiet and many many others!

(Simo) I’m proud of everything we did with Glam Attakk, but I’m not sure it’s worth organizing it anymore. See, back in the days, when Glam Attakk was born, the glam music was totally undeground and considered dead by magazines and radio stations. There were NO glam bands playing around. So we decided to kick the party off ourselves! After the very first two editions people started to get crazy and feel enthusiastic, you could breathe some fresh air… and yeah, hairspray. It was powerful. Nowadays… it’s weird, but you can hear people complaining that bands like Hardcore Superstar or Crashdiet play Italy twice a year! People now is spoiled, and more difficult to satisfy. Last time we had Michael Monroe headlining. It’s been the peak of the Glam Attakk so far… on one hand I feel like we won’t be able to make it any better, on the other hand I think that Glam Attakk has lost its “underground halo”, so we’d better cut the crap and focus on other things.

Italy still has a scene for glam metal/sleaze rock since there’s many bands there, some cool webzines, the Glam Attakk festival, etc. How do you look at all of this? How would you compare the Italian scene to the Swedish one for instance?

(Harry) OH! We got a lot of good bands, but it’s hard to call it a scene. Italy is very different from Sweden, big or medium record companies don’t care about rock n’ roll bands and the audience prefer to follow foreign bands instead of their local heroes. A scene needs to be supported by the people. We here got a scene without supporters.

(Simo) To be honest I don’t like today’s Swedish scene, too much “glam metal” to fit my taste. Anyway, Veins of Jenna are cool cats, maybe they’re the only “new” band I like. I wouldn’t talk about “scene”… we have some cool bands like Thee STP, Lester and the Landslide Ladies, The Leeches to name a few… some cool stuff and some shit too.

2010 is over. What 2010 records have you enjoyed the most? Best live performances you’ve seen in 2010?

(Harry) It’s been a while since 2010 is over!! Ahah! That’s because we are very fucking late answering your interview! SORRY. Let’s see if I remember what happened in the magic rock n’roll world in 2010! For me the best records of 2010 were the Jim Jones Revue CD titled “Burning Your House Down” and the Bloodlights one titled “Simple Pleasures”, but I can’t remember any impressive live show sorry!

(Simo) Primadonna gig in Milan, I can’t wait to see those guys again, they simply kick ass! A Kevin K show somewhere in northern Italy. Despite there was just me, my girlfriend, the bartender and a couple of villains, they played an old style true to the core show. There was Ricky Rat on guitar… that shit was real! Best record? I enjoyed Reverend Backflash “Who’s The Man” and Sin City Sinners “Exile on Fremont Street”.

Last movies and books you’ve enjoyed?

(Harry) “The Black Swan” is the last movie I enjoyed and “The Double” by Jose Saramago, “Everyman” by Philip Roth and “Men and Cartoons” by Jonathan Lethem are the last book I’ve read!

(Simo) “Life” by Keith Richards. A must read for every rock n roll lover! And “Hell Bent For Leather” by Seb Hunter, big time fun. I don’t like movies, I’m a TV series junkie! To name a few, lately I had a blast with “Fringe” and “Breaking Bad”.

What are the good and bad sides of living in Torino?

(Harry) Torino is a nice city, a little big city with a “working class” past and a trendy future. The most important hardcore punk bands of the eighties came from here and it’s a stylish city if you know what I mean. The bad side is about the opportunities, not only in rock n’roll or in the music career, but in every way. It ain’t NY… but I like it!

(Simo) I love Torino! It’s a city fulfilled with lots of artistic and cultural events, despite its industrial background. Nightlife is great, and we have one of the best live club in Europe: the United Club. That’s our very own CBGB! Bad sides? Well, I can’t find corndogs anywhere… that sucks!!

Imagine, Berlusconi is having a big, larger than life party and wants HOLLYWOOD KILLERZ to play, offering you good money, what do you do?

(Harry) Ahahah, Berlusconi would never call us to play at a bunga bunga party! I mean, Rock n’ roll is such immoral for such a good catholic man!

(Simo) I’d rather play at his funeral haha!

So what can we wish you guys for 2011?

(Harry) Half of the new year is gone, we played live supporting “D.O.A.” all over Italy, we played with Mike Monroe and recorded an amazing videoclip for the song 700.000. At the moment we are writing songs for the follow up of DOA, and I promise you it won’t take long as the debut to come out!

(Simo) Yeah recently we filmed 700.000 video, directed by Alberto Chimenti Dezani and Patrick Delorenzi at Problematic Ent. These guys did a GREAT job, we’re so happy about it! By the end of the year we plan to record some demos and then start working on the new album, I’m so excited as the new stuff sound good and inspired. So… see you on the road, and keep in touch!

http://www.myspace.com/motorcitymaphia

Backyard Babies (2001)

Dregen and Nicke from BACKYARD BABIES were in Paris for a promo day. Waiting for their new album called “Making Enemies is Good”, Veglam and Lollypop zine got together to know more about it and to talk to one of the most interesting rock’n’roll band around.

Can you describe the new album, how is it different from “Total 13” ?
Dregen : Well, I guess this is the first time we wrote an album from scratch. Before, we had like 15 songs, recorded them and then made an album. This time, we already knew that we had to go to the studio, sit down and start to write. “Total 13” was pretty much like the music we listened to at that time, but for “Making Enemies Is Good”, it’s kinda like we’ve gone back to what we’ve been growing up to and checked out our record collections from… when we were 10 or 12 up to today. That’s why you can hear what some of the guys listened to and guess that they have some PINK FLOYD records at home for example. With “Total 13”, we came out in the media kinda like a punk band, which we are, we’re punk rockers but also we’ve been growing up to stuff like IRON MAIDEN, MOTLEY CRUE, GUNS N’ROSES and even earlier stuff … put a bit more of ROLLING STONES into it and a little bit of BEASTIE BOYS as well.

What about the lyrics ? Are they still in the same vein ?
Nicke : Yeah, I guess they’re in the same vein but, I think we actually know for the first time what we’re talking about. We actually put some more focus than the lyrics that we’ve done before. BACKYARD BABIES should and always will be a band that, even if you don’t understand any single word of English, can make you jump around, cause it’s the music that talks. But there’s been so much happening in our heads over the last three years that it felt very natural just to write stories about every day life from “Total 13” up until now. Sometimes, we even touch more serious stuff that we’ve never done before, some of the songs are angry, other not that angry like we want to have a laugh and get some sunshine. We’re proud of the lyrics for this album, I think that they mean a lot but, the thing is that our lyrics should always be able to be read into two or three different ways, and it can mean something totally different to you and to me. To me, lyrics are like poetry, we’re just storytellers, we never want to point anything like “do that” or “don’t do that”. This is what we experienced, take it your own way and maybe learn something about it or whatever.

You were on tour with AC/DC, how was it ?
Nicke : Every rock band’s wet dream is to play before AC/DC and then stand with a drink and watch them every night. It was like a rock school, we learned a lot on that tour and they treated us really really nice, the whole crew and everything. We got the chance to test our new songs before the release in front of ten thousand people every night. That was really good, it was cool for us, we were like “…this is a good album that we made”. Everybody warned us before “oh, you’re gonna play with AC/DC, they’re gonna kill you and AC/DC fans like any other band than AC/DC”, but it wasn’t like that, the crowd was already in while we were playing. Like Malcolm Young said himself, it’s a three chord two guitar rock band, it doesn’t try to be anything more or anything less and that’s what AC/DC has been doing for 25 years. We worked really good together even though we’re not exactly the same.

Dregen : It was a really great experience for us as a band. We’ve already done big shows before like festivals, and then went back to clubs. We did 28 shows with them and it was a great experience to be part of a major tour, big stages every night, great sound, great lights and great people. We’ve never met a band that treated us better than AC/DC. It’s really weird cause they’re one of the biggest band and they were really nice. But they like the band as well, that’s why Malcolm Young came up and said that they wanted BACKYARD BABIES as a support act. It’s really flattering and that’s the highlight of our career so far.

Which band would you like to play with now ?
Dregen : I think there’s only The STONES left, isn’t it ? A dream for us has always been to play with The RAMONES but… (Veglam : Joey passed away 4 days before.) We recorded one song called “Friends”, it’s not ready yet but it includes a lot of friends that we met over the years like Joey Ramone, Joan Jett, Kory Clarke, Tyla, Nina from The CARDIGANS, Michael Monroe… all on the same track !

Nicke : And L7, The DICTATORS, Sam Yaffa from HANOI ROCKS…

Dregen : That’s gonna be out sometime. It’s like a new version of “We Are The World”, but weird, rock’n’roll.

Nicke : It’s really cool cause I actually don’t sing anything else than the choruses. All these people also had to write their own lyrics as well. It’s a very cool thing. It’s comin’ later on this year.

You guys played with KISS as well ?
Dregen : We were booked for that tour but there was some fuckin’ L.A glam rock band called BUCKCHERRY instead of us. So we decided to write the new album. We were supposed to do the whole European tour with KISS but I think AC/DC was way better so… that’s cool.

What’s your opinion about the Swedish rock scene ? It seems to be bigger than in any other European country…
Nicke : I think that’s great. Over the last two years, the media started to write about bands gettin’ tours outside. Everybody knows each other and compared to London for example, when someone gets big in London, the media start talkin’ shit about that. In Stockholm, we help each other out in a way. For instance, The HELLACOPTERS gets some success in Germany and they bring an unknown band with them, we’ve brought some bands over to England… We all share the same ideas and always hang out together anyway. That builds a strong scene, it’s like the Seattle scene, hopefully it doesn’t go down as the Seattle scene did.

And what bands do you really like among the Swedish bands ?
Dregen : HELLACOPTERS, TURPENTINES, there was a band called the A BOMBS…

Nicke : But now their singer is working for us as a guitar tech (laugh), they split up but did some really good EPs…ENTOMBED, SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, NOMADS… there are also good producers… The only thing that is really bad is that the rock clubs, the rock places in Stockholm are being shut down. The computer business companies are buying all the buildings in the centre of Stockholm.

Dregen : There are still good places for bands to release their first CDs or first 7″… but there’s no place anymore for bands to play before 400 people, which is really bad. One of the best places has been around for like 20 years but a fuckin’ Swedish car company bought the whole place, and now there are some boring offices there. That’s bad.

Nicke : But I mean, that’s a little bit of our goal, maybe someday, hopefully we’ll make some money out of this and actually open up a place, you know, spending money in a good way like having a bar and supporting live bands. That’s always been like a… not a dream but like an idea in our heads to have our own place to promote new bands. Maybe in 20 years (laugh.) It would be a really cool thing.

You talked about punk rock, do you consider yourselves as a punk rock band ?
Nicke : Well, what’s punk rock today ? I think that we actually are very much a punk rock band because of the way we’ve always done things our way. It’s like the title of the album “Making Enemies is Good”which means do it your way, trust yourself, follow your heart, don’t listen to anybody else, walk on a straight line and you will succeed someday, sooner or later.

Dregen : Maybe we’re more a rock punk band than a punk rock band.

Nicke : Today, what is punk rock ? RANCID punk ? LIMP BIZKIT punk ?

Dregen : We grown up in a kind of trash culture, you know, comics… when your biggest hero was Ace Frehley when you were 6 years old, you get a bit wicked I think (laugh.)

Nicke : Punk rock is just like to start and do what you believe in, believin’ so hard and actually doing this stuff, you know.

Dregen : Some of the punk rock today is very much political, we’re trying to be as unpolitical as we can be because we don’t wanna be a band which is pointing things like “don’t do this”, “don’t do that”. We’re pretty openminded and we just want people to have a good time.

Nicke : Punk rock should have nothing to do with politics…

Yes, it’s a very difficult thing to be a political punk rock band without sounding like “don’t do this”, “don’t do that”… a band like PROPAGANDHI do it well for instance, with humour.
Dregen : Yeah, in that case, I consider RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE as a punk rock band, but they are more like a punk rap band. But I guess there is a political message in our music anyway, our message is kinda like not to think too much about people who try to force their messages on you.

Nicke : It’s like Spinal Tap, “have a good time all the time”(laughs.)

Let’s come back to Joey Ramone, now that he’s dead, how do you feel about that ?
Nicke : Of course that’s very sad but he was sick for a long time, and when we recorded with him and met him, he wasn’t that healthy even if he never looked healthy… he was very weak, but still he went to all of our shows in New York and he was on his way to finish his solo album. It’s just very sad that he was only 49. Being in a punk rock band such as The RAMONES is a very tough thing and he always did his job very very well. I’m very happy that we actually got the chance to meet him and actually work with him. There are people who are still alive today but who are so totally fucked-up in their heads that you can’t even talk to them. Joey was such a nice guy, it’s sad.

Are you guys going to do something about that like a cover song on a CD or something ?
Dregen : I don’t know but we’re gonna dedicate this song “Friends” to him.

Nicke : I don’t really like that stuff, that when someone dies all these small record companies put out thousands of different compilations.

Dregen : Yeah, that’s a bit greedy, making money out of somebody’s death ain’t right.

Nicke : Maybe we’ll do a show or play a song on a tribute show, but not an album.

Dregen : We did a tribute yesterday actually on Swedish television, we all played in RAMONES outfits, you know leather jackets, sneakers and blue jeans and we had the picture of Joe in the background. It was one live song recorded for a youth programme, kinda like a teenager programme.

What was the song ?
Nicke : “Brand New Hate”, the new single.

Dregen : It actually went on number 14 in the Swedish charts, that’s pretty fuckin’ hilarious. The best we ever had before was like 39 or something.

Was that “Highlights” ?
Dregen : “Look At You”. It went better than “Highlights”. The new single is gonna be out here and in Germany and the UK on the 14th of May or something.

Nicke : The album is gonna be out in a week in Scandinavia and Japan at the same time. It’s like a month later in the rest of Europe.

Are you selling well in Japan ?
Dregen : Yeah, we’ve done four tours so far.

Nicke : We’ll go there this summer again in July.

Dregen : And we’ll go to Australia for the first time, we’ve never been there and we’re gonna do that in July.

Nicke : We’ll actually play a gig with The WILDHEARTS in Japan, that’s gonna be cool. They always play once every year in Japan.

We met a guy in New York City, he works in a store on Broadway called Colony…
Dregen : Oh yeah ! I think I know him…

He’s like 45 years old or something, and he told us he saw you live in NY. He loves the band and he told us that he was kinda disappointed that you guys are not doing that well in The States, he’s thinking you’re not working with the right people there. He thinks that if you had the right people around you, you would do much better. He was talking like you could be like fuckin’ GUNS N’ROSES or something…
Nicke : In America, people you work with is a very important thing. You got a lawyer, a manager, a tour manager. I mean, there’s so much people there… we just wanted “Total 13” to be released and it was a really short time to get the right deal. It was released by Scooch Pooch, a sub label to Sub Pop. Now it doesn’t exist anymore, they got bankrupted. When they released the album, we had to do two tours that worked very fine, we played with L7 but it was obviously not the right pick up, they couldn’t promote the band.

Dregen : But it’s a bit the same here, I mean, we only played once in Paris and we were out on East West that is like a major company, but they didn’t care about the band. That’s why it took almost five months to break with them, and now we’ve signed to BMG. We’ve only been on the label for a month and a half and we’re already down here doing interviews. From the first time they’ve heard the album, they were like “this is the shit !”. But I think we’re gonna concentrate on Europe til’ maybe Christmas. Next year we’re gonna fuckin’ conquer America man (laughs.)

Ok, and what do you think about Napster ?
Dregen : I don’t think there’s any real problem with Napster. For me, music is more than just music because I’m a freak when it comes to layout and all of that, that’s why I prefer vinyl instead of CDs. I like blues music like John Lee Hooker but I’ve only been into that like 5 or 6 years, so it’s like a jungle, there are millions of albums and you don’t know where to start. I’ve been on Napster and checked out some blues, I’ve find two bands and went to buy the album. To me, it was a good thing for that artists, I think it’s good for new bands too. The people who are complaining are fucking greedy bastards like METALLICA and MADONNA and people who don’t really are music fans. When we started, we printed demo cassettes and sent them around, today it’s easier, you can download our files and check us out.

Nicke : The only thing with Napster and the whole Internet is that there is so much crap… sometimes it takes forever to find something. It’s like when you end up on a porn site and can’t get out of it, you click and there’s always a new one, a new one… There’s too much on Napster and I just get confused.

Dregen : But I think that something good will come out of the whole general idea in 10 years, it’s like when the VCR came out, all the cinemas around the world were screaming “this is terrible !No one ever gonna go and watch a movie anymore”. But that didn’t happen, people are still going to the movies. Now people are screaming about Napster and say that people won’t buy any records anymore. Anyway, not even 10 percent of the price of a record goes to the band. If a band can sell a record through the Net and get 50 percent, that’s still more, so…

Nicke : It’s good that Napster is pressing down the prices on the record companies, they’re giving out free music and the companies think “ok, maybe we should put our prices down a bit”. I mean, I’m not broke but I don’t buy as much records as I did before cause I think it’s too fucking expensive. Today, many kids can’t afford buying many CDs.

There are some pretty cool BACKYARD BABIES bootleg CDs, are you aware about that ?
Nicke : Yeah, but from that,you don’t get a single penny (laughs.)

Dregen : I know one called “Spotlight The Babies”. I think that bootlegs are pretty cool as well. Maybe we could collect them all and then pick up the best songs from each and do our own official bootleg.

So are you happy to be here in Paris ?
Dregen : Yeah, we arrived 4 hours ago from Sweden.

What about the other guys ?
Nicke : They’re hopefully rehearsing (laughs.)

Dregen : We’re gonna rehearse cause the Swedish tour starts on the 2nd of May, and then we go out to Scandinavia, England where we’ll do a couple of shows with MOTORHEAD, after that we’ll do some more promo in England and then the summer festivals start in Spain, Portugal… In early September, the real club tour starts.

People from BMG told us that you might play in Paris in a month or two ?
Dregen : Yeah ! Maybe we’ll do one or two festivals here in France.

Nicke : Maybe Les Eurockéennes in Belfort.

Really ? It’s where I was born !
Dregen : Cool ! Maybe we’ll play there but it’s not confirmed yet. There’s some talking about it.

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/