When the band started? We started in 2010 I think. We’ve gone through a lot of drummers since. And two guitar players. But we’ve been lucky enough to play in several countries, see some cool shit and drink their alcohol.
Could you please tell us which are your main musical influences ? When we first started we were definitely influenced by the Riverdales and Lillingtons. Now we’re a bit more fluid with how we write songs. We don’t really follow that Ramones Core structure anymore. A lot of bands do that style of music better than us anyway.
You played at PUNK ROCK Raduno in Bergamo in 2017. Im terribly sorry I must admit I’ve missed your set. How do you found playing @EDONE’ in Bergamo and how was your Europe tour? Do you have some funny stories to tell us about? You missed our set?! Haha, it’s okay man. We were on pretty early in the day. That was a lot of fun. Endless beer, great bands and everyone is so friendly. We’ve done a few festivals but the Raduno is up there as one of the best. It’s a different vibe than North America. Way more chill. I got pretty drunk on the last night and fell in a Rose Bush on the way back to the hotel and got cut up pretty bad. I have scars from that. As for the European tour, it was great. We definitely annoyed those Ratbones guys who we toured with. We got really hammered in Austria and woke up at the German Border with illicit substances on us. That sobered us up pretty quick. Luckily they didn’t have the dogs out.
Do you like and do you want to tell us about other good bands from your area? You’re from TORONTO right? Have you ever heard about Vincenzo Esposito? He’s an Italian basketball. player that played in TORONTO RAPTORS around 1995, he was such a pioneer speaking about italian basketball!! Toronto has definitely had some incredible bands. I’m proud of being from Toronto because of our music history is so rich. We’re one of the pioneering place’s for punk rock! Unfortunately a lot of my favorite bands from here have broken up, but Brutal Youth are probably my favorite and they’re good friends of ours since day one. Teenage Head and the Vapidsare incredible bands too, but they’re not from Toronto. They’re from the neighboring city called Hamilton. I’ve been to several Raptors games but I’m not Huge basketball fan so I’m not familiar with that player. The Raptors would have just started in 1995 and I was 12. I was too busy jacking off and listening to my shitty CD’s.
CANADA is great for PUNK ROCK music, I’m thinking about CHIXDIGGIT, my favourite Canadian band, and PKEW PKEW PKEW..another great band i had the opportunity to see before the pandemic. So what’s the magic, the magic glue, that make Canada have so many great bands? Funny story. I recently found a flyer where Pkew Pkew Pkew actually opened for us. But obviously they’re very successful now as well as very nice dude’s and a great band. We’ve played with Chixdiggit a few times too and they’re also great guys. I love KJ. I always say he’s the nicest guy in punk. He can tell you a story about me if you ever get a chance to talk to him. I don’t know what it is about Canada. Maybe it’s the long winter’s. But Italy has some incredible bands, too so don’t sell yourself short.
Which place do you like to play more? I mean when things will be ok again do you wonder about going on tour? Do you think about something to promote the new record? I can’t fucking wait to go back on tour. We had a tour with Lone Wolf through Canada but of course it got cancelled due to COVID. It’s weird putting album out during a pandemic because there’s no other way of promoting it besides online. We can’t even play the new songs live. But we’re very thankful Andrea from I Buy Records and John from Mom’s Basement are helping us put this new album out. Hopefully we can tour America and Europe again. I love the unpredictability of touring other countries.
Another question about Canadian bands..do you guys like the Weakerthans? It’s a band Ive see a couple of times live and that really impressed me alot. I can honestly say I haven’t listened to them very much. I’ve seen them live once and think John Samson is a great song writer but never fully got into them. I really liked the era of Propaghandi when he was in the band still.
So speaking about your new album, could you tell us something more about the lyrics and the ideas behind it? Lyrically I feel it’s darker than any other album we’ve done. Jon, our bassist, called them depressing. But he’s right. The songs I contributed are kind of depressing but there’s also a bit of hope in there as well. I’m a depressed person so that’s what you get. We’re older now so it’s more of a mature album. No joke songs it anything. It’s our first album with Dennis Lee, our new drummer. I don’t think he likes me very much but I like him.
Do you find yourself great playing as a TRIO? We’ve been a 4 piece off and on but I am happy with being a trio. But at times I miss a second guitar covering up for my mistakes.
Last question..Do you have any message for your Italian fans? We have Italian fans?! Well, I just want to say that we can’t wait to go back there and we are probably going to hug and share a beer with every single one of you when this is all over and we can visit Italy again. Also, Italians are also the most attractive people in the world.
Thanks a lot for your time, please also If you’d like say something funny that you know in italian 🙂 We will mention it on the radio show for sure! 🙂 Thanks Tommi! My Italian is terrible so when we were at Punk Rock Raduno the bartender wouldn’t give me a beer until I pronounced it properly. We also call things that are cool “tight” in North America but in Italy you don’t have an expression like that so we were calling things “stretto” which obviously makes no sense to anyone else in Italy but it was funny to us. We were definitely dumb tourists.
AVEM in Latin means BIRD. And their songs are only about birds: the thing itself is quite bizarre but funny that it intrigued me enough to go deeper. I must say that they are good. And if they have received the blessing of Jimmy “Maestro” Vapid, it means that it is worth knowing them a little more. And who could interview them if not the most famous ornithologist of the italian scene, mr. Tommi GB aka Il Gabbiano from Radio Eustachio? Please a warm welcome to Tommi, a great dude that will entertain you with cool interviews!
When the band started ?
Avem has been around since the end of 2017, when three old friends from high school got together to play some of the old songs we used to jam. That quickly morphed into writing a new song or two, and when we were outside smoking weed considering what to write lyrics about a huge woodpecker started pounding on a nearby tree. The thought of singing about birds came to mind, and that’s what led us to start singing about birds! We’ve added another guitar player since that time, and are on our third drummer so lots has changed since the initial band started!
Could you please tell us which are your main musical influences ?
Well we obviously hate the Ramones LOL jk!!!! We all grew up listening to punk rock and ska of all kinds. We were teenagers in the 90s and early 2000s so it was a lot of Fat Wreck and Epitaph bands. I’d say some big bands for Morry (guitar player) and myself these days are Teenage Bottlerocket, The Manges, The Hextalls, Giant Eagles, The Queers, Windowsill, DeeCracks, Teenage Bubblegums, NOFX. Anything Dan Vapid, anything Jimmy Vapid, Mr T Experience, Weakerthans, Louis Armstrong. Swing music of the 20s-50s. Been listening to a lot of The Beths and Jagger Holly lately too. Don’t forget the Groovie Ghoulies. OH and The SUCK‘s new album kicks ass. Haha we could go on and on. All of these bands do cool little things or write cool songs that inspire us to write the songs we do.
Speaking about influences for sure you love talking about birds in your songs, please tell us something more about this
Birds are so rad. Some of my earliest memories of being a kid living on a farm are all the cool birds that used to come to our feeder. What’s so cool about birds is that the more you learn about them, the more you learn that there are so many species that are incredibly different, and it’s amazing what they do to survive. For example a 3g hummingbird flies over the Gulf of Mexico 1300-1800km IN ONE FLIGHT every single migration. That is twice a year this tiny little thing flies across a massive body of water, for reasons humans still don’t entirely understand. Some birds dance, some birds mimic, some birds simply survive. There are a lot of similarities you can find between birds and how they behave/what they have to go through and humans, so we like to talk about birds themselves, and human life experiences as told through the perspective of birds.
Do you like and do you want to tell us about other good bands from your area?
Oh man I don’t want to do any of them a disservice because there are so many that work so hard and kick ass! School Damage is one that comes to mind but you might have heard of them already 😉 If I had to name 3 local bands they’d be in no particular order: Hangtime, Busm, Mad Murdocks.
My favourite Canadian band are the Chixdiggit! I had the opportunity to see them live here in Italy. I can tell I was also really impressed by the Creeps when Andre from IBR bring them to punk rock raduno. I went in tour as a roadie with Andre and his band The Ratbones…They told me great things about their Canadian tour, about Jimmy Vapid and alot of other cool things. Ah man also i saw 3 years ago the band PKEW PKEW PKEW that are really good… So what’s the magic, the magic glue or powder that make Canada having so many great bands?
Oh man I remember seeing Chixdiggit! with Kepi Ghoulie playing bass for them. I’m surprised their hips don’t break, their power stances are so low awesome. I also interviewed KJ once for a friend’s blog, MusicSheBlogged (what up Sarah Litt!) What’s the magic, you ask? I’d have to ask the same thing about Italy!!! There are some fucking amazing bands coming out of Italy that just blow my mind and I wish they’d come over here to Canada! Maybe because there are a lot of Italians that live in Canada? I’m going to go with that answer.
Which place do you like to play more? I mean when things will be ok again do you wonder about going on tour?
So far we’ve only really played in our home province, in the south side. Toronto at Bovine Sex Club is an awesome place, there was a bar called The Foxx Lounge & Hotdoggery that kicked ass north of Toronto, and an AWESOME place in the suburbs in the basement of a restaurant called Rotilicious. That place kicks so much ass. In terms of where we want to play, we’d love to come across the ocean and play in Italy, Holland, Austria, Germany, France, Europe in general. There are just so many kickass bands in Europe and the scene seems so cool, we would consider our lives complete doing a tour across Europe that ends up at Punk Rock Raduno.
Do you know and do you listen to some band from Italy?
Another question about Canadian bands..do you guys like the Weakerthans?
Fuck yeah. They’re such a great band, I really hope they get back together and make another album. Their lead singer John. K. Samson is brilliant and he kicked ass when he was in his old band Propagandhi (who also still kick so much ass)
So speaking about your EP, how does the idea of doing a split with COBRA&THE DAGGERS came up?
We’ve known those two for a very long time and are dear friends of ours. They had recently moved across the country and sent us some songs they had done together just for fun, and we thought they kicked ass! We asked if they wanted to do a split digital release with us, as their songs needed to be shared with more than just close friends. We’re super stoked with how the EP turned out, and I absolutely love their songs.
Are you planning a full lenght album soon?
We’ve been working on a full length for quite some time now, we’ve got probably close to 15 songs that nobody has ever heard before. With the world being different than it was a year ago it’s been tough for us to get together and practice, it’s also tough to get studio time. We’re still working at that, but in the meantime we’ve recorded a couple new songs with Jimmy Vapid that will be coming out one of these days. Qualcuno ci invita a Raduno così possiamo festeggiare e insegnarti gli uccelli, cazzo sì! OR one I actually use regularly, Manache! hahahaha
Who are your favorite bands to play with at shows? We always have a blast with the guys from The Livermores, Chromosomes and Ratbones! Speaking of foreign bands, last year we played with the Haermorrhoids from Germany in Siena and it was really a cool show!
Tell us your favorite memory of Manu Livermores? He was such a sweet guy, one of those people who are really pure at heart. He was truly passioned about punk rock… a real rock n roller. Our favorite memory of him is all the times he sent us funny vocal messages with his heavy accent about new albums or about stuff that had happened in the scene. He really knew how to cheer you up! We will all miss him a lot.
What do you think about the current state of punk rock?
We think underground punk rock is as healthy as it’s ever been, in terms of new albums and hype surrounding it. There are a few crucial factors that have contributed in the last years to this new interest in the scene: cool festivals like Raduno, Puke Fest, The Fest and so on, dedicated podcasts like The Dummy Room, exciting labels like Mom’s Basement, I Buy Records, Striped, Badman, Stardumb, Hey Pizza, Monster Zero and many others that keep putting out cool records. Also a lot of people from the old guard still believing in it. There are a few new bands coming up too, so we think it’s safe to say punk rock is doing fine, at least in our specific bubble. The problem we see is that touring has become increasingly more difficult and less profitable. It’s almost impossible to make a living off playing punk rock and this will affect the new generation, as there probably won’t be the right environment to generate new “higher level” bands. I’m not talking about the next Green Day, but the next Teenage Bottlerocket or even the next Lillingtons. We also need to factor in what will be left of clubs and bars and of live music in general after Covid. We have a big question mark ahead of us.
What is your favorite project that you’ve been a part of? Every album we do is special to us because it’s really exciting to see a project coming to life and becoming real and tangible as you go ahead: the artwork, shaping the songs, sequencing them, going to the studio etc. We really love this process! Besides the albums, we loved working on the “Party time for astronauts” split with The Livermores That split is a memento of our time with Manu and we will always cherish it.
What made you guys want to organize Lobotomy Fest? In the past years we never played too much in Tuscany, because we always preferred to go play around northern Italy, where most of the scene is. Then, a couple of years ago we started talking with the guys from Corte dei Miracoli who run an amazing multicultural space in Siena and we saw that there was the chance to organize something punk rock-related there. It all started like a one night-only event, but it soon turned out to be a much more inclusive project that spanned 5 whole days with movie screenings, art happenings, book readings and many many bands. We had so much fun doing it that we decided to replicate it this year. Unfortunately, Covid put everything to a halt, but we are determined to make it work again, when things will smooth out with the virus. We had big projects for this year.
What are some bands that you want to play Lobotomy Fest? We like to dream big and we always nurtured the idea of having the Lillingtons play! Nowadays it seems things aren’t too good with those guys, but we also love Sack very much and it would be awesome to have them play over here! Anyway, 2021 is already lined up, because we want to have all the bands that were scheduled to play in 2020 to play the next edition!
What is your writing process? How do you guys pick a topic and then write such great concept albums that are cohesive as they are fun to listen to?
We always start with a concept that we all like and we try to convey the mood of the album in that direction, both musically and lyrics-wise. We also have a very long working list of kick-ass song titles, which we often use as a stepping-stone to begin working on a new tune. Actually, we consider Space Opera our only true concept album, because it has a single storyline from start to finish. Conspiracy ’66 and P A R A D O X are all centered around a specific theme and topic but the songs themselves are not necessarily related. We like to write about conceptual and specific stuff because we’re not versed in the trivial side. A lot of bands are really good at the girl-songwriting thing and we love to listen to those bands. It’s just not something that works for us specifically. I think our approach to lyrics and themes is a nice thing for the more dedicated fan (given that we have any :D) because the songs contain a lot of references that can be researched and linked to one another.
What other projects or bands do you guys have going on? Brodie and El Leon Blanco play in The Thirtysevens. They’re great, check them out! Alex and Brodie manage Commando Records and lately they’ve been putting out cool cassettes like the first Sack album and the latest MEGA LP. So cool! Matt plays in Bentoniac (garage blues) and I Diavoli Blu (country folk).
Hello guys, how are you? Welcome back to IBR headquarters once again! It’s a pleasure to chat with you again! MIKE: Ciao bello, thanks for having us back. All is good here, hope things are great for you as well.
So, September 5 2012. It’s a very important date to me. Well, being that you guys are such a hard-working band, this day doesn’t make a lot of sense to you but actually it was the date of the first show I booked (together with my buddy Ame) since I moved to Milan. IBR wasn’t a thing at the time but I clearly remember everything and that show really pushed me to start doing something (that I hoped would be cool) in Milan. Do you remember that show/weekend we spent together? MIKE: Of course, I remember, we were with our Chinese bassplayer Zhong at the time and it was one of the first shows of a month-long tour. It was at Ligera and you got us some great pasta, from your mom or grandma if I’m not mistaken. You did a great job there and were a gracious host. Your apartment was lovely too. Do you still live there? There was this abandoned building next door, which our GPS told us was actually your place (haha). I’m happy it wasn’t!
Yes, I still live there but the abandoned building is now destroyed!ahahah! So 8 years later, and after thousands of shows, what has changed for DeeCracks? (Don’t say bass-players! 🙂 ) MATT: Not very much really, We all have gotten a little older but I’d like to say the attitude hasn’t changed.
In Addition to DeeCracks, you all have different side-projects (Matt with Ratcliffs & Jagger Holly) (Mike … I can’t count how many bands that you play with) how do you manage to keep up with all of those different obligations? Also, a bit of news over the past few days. It was announced that Mike will play the drums at Punk Rock Raduno for the Mopes, how did this amazing opportunity come about? MIKE: Yeah, it’s so awesome! I can’t wait for that show! I’m really excited for it. Basically Jughead texted me to see if I could play at Punk Rock Raduno with Mopes and of course I said yes. Jughead teamed up with us and Will from Zatopeks to do a special Screeching Weasel/Mopes/Even in Blackouts set at our Sweet Sixteen Festival last September, so I guess, he must have liked the way I played there. I’m super happy about it! I’m always grateful when someone approaches me to fill in or play in a band with them, it’s always an honour and it fills my heart that people dig my drumming, after all, it’s my happy place.
Let’s talk about Punk Rock Raduno. It’s not the biggest festival, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the most beloved festival in the world. Being that you played/attended at every edition, what are your feelings about the festival? And what do you think is the secret behind the success of the festival? MATT: Hm… well if you are looking at Europe during springtime and summer you might have noticed there’s a ton of festivals going on! If you ask me, there’s way too many. Every now and then we are playing some of them but I have to say I don’t really like it. It’s just very unpersonal and stressful. Raduno feels a bit different though. It feels more like a family reunion, you know? Everybody’s there for the same cause! Bands and fans! It’s like amongst all of those parties there’s one just for us!
It’s pretty well-known that way back in 2013, you were banned from USA. I don’t wanna go back to that infamous story but is the ban permanent or are you working on finding a solution to be able to go back to USA? MIKE: Yeah, it’s a never-ending story really. As of now we are still banned, but we are still trying to make it back there one day. Never say never! Maybe once Matt will write a worldwide sensational big hit song, we’ll make it (haha).
Although this sad story might have demoralized a touring band, you rolled up your sleeves and toured everywhere possible. We’re talking Russia, Israel, China, Mexico, Turkey, just to name a few, most of which are not really conventional destinations for punk rock bands. What can you tell us about the punk rock scene in those countries? Leather jackets and ripped blue jeans? MATT: Our main goal has always been getting around as much as possible. We hardly ever turn down offers, especially when it’s about shows or tours abroad. The cool thing about punk rock is that it connects the people all over the world. Scenes are the same everywhere.
Of course there are cultural differences In different places. Like for example Japanese bands practice hard until they reach perfection, while we don’t (haha). And by the way, no one should be “demoralized” because they got kicked out of the USA.
Last summer you guys did a great tour with the legendary CJ Ramone. How it was? What can you tell us about CJ? How is CJ behind the curtain? Any funny stories you would like to share with us? MATT: We like to remember it as the ‘No AC Tour‘. It was kinda hard because last summer was brutally hot… But every show was great! It was professional to a certain degree (which we aren’t really used to), but the atmosphere was super relaxed! CJ is a great guy and really down to earth and yet absolutely aware of how big of a impact the Ramones were on thousands and thousands of people (was and still are) We were really grateful that he chose us to support him on his (final???) Euro tour. And yes, there are some funny stories but I don’t think I wanna share them here (haha).
Let’s talk about records, Sonic Delusions is your latest full length album and two years later, are you satisfied with the final result? What is the general feedback or opinions that you got from friends and fans? What’s it like being on a major label now? MIKE: Yeah man, it’s been great. Our fans really seemed to enjoy it and thanks to Pirates Press Records we found some new listeners, that we hadn’t reached before. I wouldn’t do anything differently with it really, maybe the artwork wasn’t our strongest, but that’s a matter of taste. We wanted to stick out and be different then the other bands on PPR, not only sound wise. So, it was all good. It’s not a major label though, it’s a very ambitious punk rock indie label that’s turning the right screws. We’re really happy to be a part of it and thankful for the opportunity. We like the fact that we got a special place in their hearts also, as we are a little different. Pirates Press and DeeCracks is not an obvious fit, but they took a chance on us and we took a chance on them, and we both thrived with our matching work ethics, vision and spirit. So, in my mind, it’s perfect.
For your upcoming italian tour you will release a new 7″ “…Can’t Get It Right” through Striped Records and Bad Man Records which has two brand new songs and two songs that were previously released on compilations. What can you tell us about it? I had the chance to listen to them ahead of time (thanks for doing that!!!) and I can say it’s another solid release in your discography! MATT: Well the “new” songs are actually taken from the 2017 Sonic Delusions session. We always record extra material for 7″s, compilations and so on. (well I guess every band does that…), “Killed by Death” was featured on the Mom’s Basement‘s HEAD tribute compilation and then there’s a newly recorded version of the song ‘Caroline’ (the original one was part of the OCW 30 seconds songs compilation). We are really happy to have Striped with us for this one since they always did a great job taking care of our merch!
Whats next for you guys after the Italian Tour? New album? Big tour in the farest corners of the world? MIKE: You know us, there is no stopping us from hangover hoppin’ all around the world. We’ll be hitting the road again in April around Europe, mostly Gemany, Austria and bella Italia. In May we will record a new album, Pirates Press is gonna release it once it’s ready. So we’re looking forward to that. We will be touring in France and Spain in fall and we’ll do Japan again sometime in 2021. That’s all, more definite plans will come once the new record is ready, so stay tuned.
Before letting you go, this is your chance to say what you want to say and ask me a question!! It’s always a big pleasure to talk to you, see you at NoReason Fest! MIKE: Andrea, thanks again for the interview. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. But what can I ask you? Hmmm… Can I just ask you to just keep up the good work? Keep booking and playing shows, keep IBR and your bands alive, help shape and build the Italian punk rock scene and bring it to the rest of the globe… just keep your heart out there and keep being you. Can you do that for me?
Oh sure, Mike! I will never give up my friend!
Special Thanks Goes To John Proffitt Jr. for editing the interview
Well, well. It took a while (ok, 5 years…) but here is the second part of the interview. Here is my suggestion: read the first part (here) and then read this one. That was a great day, I still remember every single seconds : everything was just incredible, a great day with a punk rock legend. Special thanks goes straight to Enri Gluesniffer because of the help and the support during the inteview, Matt Failure from Proton Packs because he is the one who transcribed it and Matt Gyver for the italian translation. Without them noone would be able to read it. Thanks. Last but not least, Joe Queer to be so friendly with me and let me post this interview after so many years. Please keep in mind that the interview is really old and in the meantime many things are certainly changed… because I got many requests to publish the second part of this interview… Here you are… enjoy! Can’t fucking wait to see the Queers in few days!
Let’s say an important thing. You contacted I Buy Records just yesterday because you read our interview to your ex-bandmate B-Face (interview is now available at Ramona Confidential) and there is something you want to clarify. Of course we can’t refuse to give you the right space to express your point of view and be free to say what you want. Here you go. What you wanna say about it?
This is the good part. I read that thing and I e-mailed him about it, and you know, i really feel bad about the whole thing, I really care about B-Face. Hugh wanted me to stay with B-Face but it was a fucked up situation, we went from like fuckin’ around in my basement in my restaurant, to be in Rolling Stone Magazine, we were in Lookout Records we got good fucking loyalties and good checks and all the shit fucked up, I did the best I fuckin’ could do but we ended up in a bad spot, people asked B-Face how he putted up with that shit so long but dude, we were travelling around the world, you got your royalties checks and shit wasn’t so bad to be all fucked up, so I write him “Dude, I don’t think I’ve treated anyone so bad , I remember arguing with you but I don’t remember I’ve treated you so bad“. We never stopped in making albums that sold quite well too, we were always touring, i think we canceled one tour in Europe or something because we were all fucked up but we didn’t skip a bit because of it; so everybody loved B-Face and they didn’t love me so everybody was believing in every fuckin’ story and people coming up giving me the finger and I didn’t know why! What did I do to be so bad? We did good! We were all fucked and that was the magic of The Queers: we were all fucked up! Honestly, I did e-mail B-Face and then he emailed me back but I gotta read it, I rather be friends with him now, because I’m older and I put more value in friendship, whatever I did it wasn’t worth it. Doesn’t make sense to know who is right and who is wrong in this whole thing.
I talked to Ben Weasel and I was like “Ben, people give me the finger, people that don’t know me: people believe all this bad stuff and nobody talks to me”. Only my close friends like Ben Weasel and Dan Vapid knew the truth about what happened when we broke up. Ben knows about getting some shit, people would fucking hate him, he goes “Dude, most of the people who give you that shit they don’t know you and the only way you’re gonna fucking change right now is to start a new day”. And I fucking just marched through, day by day, and I just kept away from the people who gave me shit, just played the game by my rules and now people know me. It took a while, though.
Do you think the Queers achieved the success they deserve or do you think they could have reached a higher level? Do you have any regrets?
We got to a point when we were able to play a Tuesday night and 200 kids would show up and we got royalty checks and I thought “I don’t give a fuck what happens after this. This is way more successful than I ever thought I would be”. When you have that mindset, it’s all gravy. It’s all gravy when you get 100 kids in Pescara, Italy, on a fucking Monday night. That’s great, you know. I wish we had gone to Epitaph, not because we would have probably made more money – the way I was on drugs it might have killed me, I almost killed myself with the money I had, so if I had earned more I don’t know if I would have made it. But when Mr. Brett talked to me, and I told him I wanted to work with Andy Paley and Brian Wilson he said “That’s how I wanna run my label, I wanna make this stuff happen for bands! That’s why I run a label, more than making money”. That’s why I regret not going and I wished it had happened. I was so excited when Brett talked to me like that.
Also the Joey Ramone 7”
Exactly, and Brett was very tight with Joey! Who know what would have happened. I wasn’t a good businessman. If I had been, we would have done that e.p. with Andy Paley and Joey because we would have jumped on it within a month. I know that now, but back then I thought “I can wait until next year or something”. That’s why I regret not going to Epitaph. But as far as getting as big as Green Day… nah. I don’t think with our name we would have anyway. I didn’t have any illusions, you know.
What is Joe Queer currently listening to as far as personal taste in music? Could you tell us some new bands you really love?
Old stuff like Jan & Dean… cause I would talk to Joey Ramone about it and he loved it, so it was cool to realize he was onto the same stuff. That’s where our hearts were.
It’s very “Don’t back down”style
Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of this stuff.
So it looks like the next record will be closer to “Don’t back down”
Yeah, I was talking to Lisa Marr who sings on “Don’t back down” and she just sent me a song I’ve been listening to nonstop. This is a cover she just did for a compilation benefit tribute. It’s an old song from the ‘70s from some unknown rocker. I’ve been getting on some more poppy-type things and some soul stuff as well. There was this band from Brazil that never hit it big and had this one song whihch was great. The lyrics gotta be changed. They had this album on a major label 15 years ago that was never released. I don’t wanna say the name around too much until we get it done, but it’s a really cool tune.
So you almost answered my next question! There are rumors about a new Queers record. Is it true? Any confirmation you can give us?
We’re re-doing Beyond the valley of the ass-fuckers album, which isn’t too poppy. We’re doing it next month and it’s gonna be on Asian Man. Hopeless Records hasn’t paid us in years so I got a lawyer and I was talking to Blag from the Dwarves and he was fighting with Sub-Pop and said I wanna re-record those albums and put them out myself!”. So, we’re re-doing “Beyond the valley”, then we’re gonna record, I’m hoping in May, “Punk Rock Confidential”. We’re gonna film a dvd of the whole thing. We’re hoping to do it in LA. I’m hoping to get Lisa down and my buddy Scott from a great band called the Piniellas from Seattle. Richie Ramone would get to do a cameo, that’s why I wanna do it in LA. Dangerous Dave and Chris are gonna be on it too.
Then I’m trying to get together with Ben Weasel, ‘cause we wanna do this project with Richie Ramone drumming and Ben Weasel singing and me on guitar. But it’s like that Joey Ramone / Andy Paley thing. I realize if it’s gonna happen, I gotta make it happen, cause everybody’s so busy. Richie’s doing a new solo album tour, Ben is always busy cause he’s got a family. But I wanna do that next. And then I got my book. I’m hoping to get done this year and praying to get it out by the end of the year or within a year. It’s gonna be killer, it’s coming out great.
What’s it about? What’s it called?
I can’t say the name because it’s so good I’m afraid someone gonna steal it. It’s centered around the Marky Ramone tour we did. It’s not about Marky Ramone at all, it’s about touring… behind the scenes at the level we’ve kind of had and the stupid shit that happens. It’s about traveling with the band, basically stories. You don’t have to make anything up, you have to just tell the truth, all this crazy insanity. All these tour books are all about these huge stars, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen. There’s never been a book about a little band, at our level, day-to-day touring, what goes on and whatever. I’m really psyched about the whole thing.
And then te’ll do a pop album next. Lisa will do demos. If this other stuff gets done, then we’ll start it.
You were talking about a new side project of you and your longtime friend Ben Weasel. Could you tell us something about it? Which is the band’s line-up? It’s public domain that Ben Weasel doesn’t like to tour like you. Is there a chance of any live shows?
I don’t know. I did talk to Richie and he was psyched about it. And Ben said “Fuck, I’ll do it”. We’ll be a thing where we’ll play once or twice a year. Those guys are both busy. Richie’s got this cool new solo album and I’m busy with the Queers. The only way that band would play more is if we had a number one hit on the radio, which ain’t gonna happen! I said to Ben “Dude, this is Richie” and to us Ramones fans we always loved Richie, we always looked up to him because he wrote songs too. So I said “Fuck let’s do it!” Richie’s cool as fuck anyway. I met him. I handn’t talked to him in like 20 years and within 5 minutes he was like the long lost friend you grew up with. I’m gonna try to make that happen.
You still haven’t recorded any songs?
No. I only have songs ideas that we’re gonna do. But we got some cool ideas so we’ll see. Ben has written a couple of songs that he wrote for the Queers and we never recorded. I would like to do “I wanna be happy” because Ben and I wrote it and he never got to sing it and he always wanted to. It would be kind of cool because he had a different idea on it and, with Richie drumming, it would be cool. Anyway it’s gonna be a Ramonesy type kind of thing. There’s a couple of songs on Back to the basement that I wanna work on with Ben Weasel and re-write. I also have a couple of originals that I think would be great. I’m gonna try and make this happen. I would be fun.
Every year we hear rumors about it being the last Queers tour and bullshit like this. Instead you don’t give up and you’re still kicking ass after so many years. Do you imagine your life without the band?
People ask once in a while How long are you gonna be playing? I don’t even think about it anymore, to me this is my life. I make a living out of it and at this point I think I’m just gonna keep going and see what happens. I don’t think Ben Weasel thought he’d be playing this long either. We’re all unemployable. What else are we gonna do? Work at the grocery store or Burger King? None of us has a safety net under us. We’re not college educated people, Richie Ramone, Ben Weasel and me. We got nothing else.
Do you imagine your life without the band? Who would be Joe King without the Queers?
I had a restaurant. I was a chef owner, I loved cooking, I was really good at it. Joe’s Place: Screeching Weasel ate there, the guys from Jawbreaker came in. I was in the process of buying another reastaurant in a bigger town near Portsmouth. I had no illusions about the band. I thought we were gonna do another album and then I was gonna buy another restaurant, that’s what I was doing. That’s what I’d be doing without the band.
I Buy Records is a Ramones-nerdish webzine. We have a real obsession for those Forest-Hills guys, so everytime we interview someone, we have the tradition of asking the last question about them. Last year we had CJ’s “Reconquista”, Joey Ramone’s “Ya know?” and Richie Ramone’s “Untitled”. Did you listen to these records? What do you think about them?
Richie’s stuff I loved because we kinda became friends with him and it was interesting what he did. I think “Smash you” was as good as the other stuff the Ramones did, I think it was really cool. It’s cool because it’s the stuff he felt he would have done with the Ramones, had he stayed with the band. We’ve been friends, he just emailed me yesterday. I’m very supportive, I think his album’s great.
Joey’s thing… I didn’t think too much of it… it feels too much like scraping the bottom of the barrel. He told me that he wanted stronger songs, he wasn’t happy with the first album. He said “People will kiss my ass and say it’s great”, but deep down I need stronger songs. “Maria Bartiromo” and “What a wonderful world” he was happy with. I thought it was really cool that he was so honest, that he thought he could do better. I thought some of that album was spotty as a first solo album. This other stuff is interesting. One of his best friends was Evil from the Independents. Joey had it in his will that he wanted Evil to go through his own belongings and tapes and all that stuff.
Do you think there’s more material?
I don’t think there’s too much, according to Evil. He played me a couple of things, songs idea that Joey had on cassette tape. Nothing too exciting, though.
It’s not a secret that the Queers are influenced by the Ramones. What does this band mean to Joe Queer? What are your best memories related to the Ramones?
That was it, you know? I couldn’t believe that these guys were singing about all that stuff I felt, like after high school sitting around, not washing dishes, drinking beer at night. We knew we were smarter than everybody else out there but we didn’t know what we were doing or how to express ourselves and the Ramones came along with “I don’t care”, “I just wanna have something to do”, “Loudmouth”, “Beat on the brat”. We were like “This is amazing! These guys are singing about how we feel, you know?” So we loved them from the word go.
We knew them and we would always get backstage. In ’78 we would get backstage. In 1986 Joey gave me his address and I sent him a 4-song cassette with songs from “Grow up”: Goodbye California, Love love love, I’ll be true to you and I don’t wanna get involved with you. I saw him at a show about three months later, I snucked backstage. The Ramones never had hard security to get backstage but my buddy Kevin who knew them better couldn’t get to the show. So I said “I’m Richard Hell from the Voidoid’s cousin and I’m here to see Joey”. And Monte said “Richard Hell doesn’t have a cousin!” and I said “Joey, this is Joe from the Queers” and Joey said “Monte, it’s cool”. Johnny and Dee Dee were back there playing ping pong, I remember that. Joey knew the Queers because of the tape. He came to me and said “Dude, I gotta tell you… Love love love is a great fucking tune. I would love to cover this song. Goodbye California, I love that tune too because it’s got great vocal phrasing”. We talked about those 2 tunes and, like I said to his Mom after he died, I never forgot that. Joey Ramone, my hero, coming up and saying that! I was astounded, I couldn’t believe it. He knew my songs! I was really insecure and I remember thinking “Maybe I can play music!”, you know? I was walking on the air for 2 months.
So, will you play these songs tonight for us?
I don’t know, man. Maybe Love love love. Goodbye California I don’t think the drummer knows it. But boy, did that mean a lot to me! I didn’t even know if my songs were good, I was an insecure little kid. I needed to be validated by someone, because we didn’t have a following. What a nice person, he was always nice to his fans. He was not like the other guys in bands who always talk about girls and drugs. He liked to talk about music and songs. A friend of mine got to know Keith Richards when then Rolling Stones were in New York and it was the same thing. It was amazing how he was still so much into music, after this amazing career. It really helped me to hear this stuff, you know? It’s great, going down this path, seeing kids, traveling and playing. I would probably have more money now if I had kept that restaurant. But now everybody in my life I’ve known through music; very few people from growing up. You guys, Dave and Chris and Lurch… it’s amazing the life it’s given me, even at this little level. This is the point behind my book. You don’t have to be a big rock star like Bruce Springsteen to get life lessons out of it. You can do it right here at this level. And the thing with music is that you never know around the bend of the river. You never know what’s out that door tomorrow. I know there’s another gig but I don’t what’ll happen next week in Barcelona. Maybe with Richie Ramone, maybe with Ben Weasel, maybe with Lisa Marr, my book… I got the next two years booked and it’s like “I can’t wait!” you know? To be excited about your job and your life is great. It’s pretty amazing, especially from a guy like me who I thought all he was supposed to do was do drugs. That was success to me, to be able to do drugs every night or something like that.
I would like to thank you for inviting me to have this interview. I’m really honered I had this opportunity to spend this moment with you. Is there anything else you wanna add?
No! I think we covered it all and then some!
Here we are with a nice interview we did to John from Mom’s Basement Records. As you probably already have seen, during the last months we interviewed all the bands part of “Get Out Of My Club”, so it was due step to let the word to John. Enjoy punk rockers!
Ciao John, How are you?
Hello! I’m doing well, how are you?
Fine as usual, dude! Well, during the past few months we both coordinated a big project that we are going to discuss a bit later, but first introduce yourself to our readers. Who are you?
Well, my name is John and I run a small label here in the USA called Mom’s Basement Records. I have an amazing daughter, a lovely girlfriend and a crusty old dog. For fun I like drinking beer and listening to records.
How did you come up with this idea of running a label and how did you choose the name? Do you run everything alone?
I’ve wanted to run a label for years, once Eccentric Pop Records started up and he started releasing all of these insanely good records i was inspired to try to contribute to the punk rock scene over here. Thankfully, the guy who runs Eccentric Pop is very very cool and he really taught me a lot on how to operate an independent label. I wouldn’t be doing this without all of his help so I owe him big time.
I picked the name Mom’s Basement Records because I spent a lot of my teenage years and some of my adult years down in that basement, all of the good and bad things in life happened down in that basement. Plus the whole “basement schtick” with the punx… it just made sense.
My girlfriend helps me with the label in many ways, she’s very supportive and is a great help.
If you should give a tip to somebody interested in starting a label, what will you suggest?
Don’t do it. I’m kidding, the first thing they should do is save a bunch of money up and find a band or two that they believe in. From there cut a check and start impatiently waiting for the pressing plants to take forever with your projects!
How do you select the bands that you want on your label?
I strictly work with bands that I personally really like and believe in. I don’t care what other labels are doing and I would never “sign” a band that I didn’t believe in. Haha I don’t have much of a business sense do I?
Looking at Mom’s Basement Records I can see there are lots of European bands (many Italian!). Before getting to know you better, I thought “This guy is crazy” but during our chats I realized that this” business” (ahahahaha) works. Am I right?
Yeah! I love so many of the euro bands! You guys are doing some lovely work over there. One of the main reasons I started a record label was to help to bring the European punk rock scene into the spotlight a bit more here in the USA. Sure, everyone who likes this kind of music has heard of The Apers and The Manges over here but there are tons of other bands that might get overlooked without promotion or trying to spread the word.
Keeping on the same topic, some European Punk Rockers think USA is the “El Dorado”, while some American Punk Rockers think the European scene is definitely better. Where is the truth? Is it in the middle or is it just because no one can ever be happy with what they already have?
I don’t know if i can say if any scene is any better then the other but I will say that the European scene has the whole Ramones worship thing down to a science and I am a huge fan of that sort of thing!!! Both scenes have tons of great bands.
One of the projects your currently working is the Passport Series, that’s is basically made of 7″ split between an European and US band. Would you like to talk about it?
Yeah! The passport split series is an idea I stole from a bunch of labels that have tried this sort of thing in the past. A USA Vs Europe type thing. (I think of the Stinking Polecats/Fairlanes split or the Zatopeks/Copyrights split when that comes to mind) both were cool splits, but the idea kind of fizzled out. I wanted to try to do things a little differently so I started the passport split series. So far it has been a USA/Europe thing but it doesn’t have to be, it could be a Europe/Canada thing or whatever. It’s the same old idea that’s been done before except I’m gonna stick with it and try to work with other international bands from other countries. Passport vol.3 will be out around the beginning of summer and vol.4 at the beginning of winter this year.
The previous questions were related to introduce your last big project – “Get Out Of My Club” – just released a couple of days ago. Nobody in Europe thought before Mom’s Basement Records did to set up a Tribute to The Manges, probably the most influential European Punk Rock Band. How did you come up with the idea?
I love tribute albums. Those Groovie Ghoulies Tribute Albums and The Apers tribute albums were great. Those are what inspired me to want to do one. I chose The Manges because they are one of my favorite bands and you cannot deny how important they are to the punk rock scene around the world. They’ve been doing it for 20+ years and spawned countless bands over there in Italy. They were way overdue for a tribute album!!!
Right now you are not in a band, but I would like to ask you the same questions I did to all the bands who joined the tribute. What The Manges mean to you? If you were in a band, which song would you choose to cover?
The Manges are one of my favorite punk rock bands of all time, very few bands have struck a chord with me like they have. They are one of the most important bands in this scene. They helped introduce the European scene to tons of people here in the USA.
I do play in a cover band from time to time, we had even started trying to write original stuff but after I got divorced it got harder for me to go to band practice and stuff, every now and then we get forced into playing a show because a band drops off on a show that I booked. It’s a good thing the other 2 dudes are really solid musicians. I just turn the volume down on my bass and try to keep up. Now that I’ve given up all of that unnecessary information, we do play some manges songs and one of them that we play is “get out of my club” so we would had to have chosen that one!
Italian punk rockers have a one track mind: we think and talk all year long about Punk Rock Raduno. There is always a constant high level of hype surrounding this festival… and I know you are coming all the way from the USA for a vacation in Italy but especially to join the Raduno Army. Are you more excited about pizza and pasta or about Punk Rock Raduno? What are your expectations about it?
I am so insanely excited for Italy. I’m excited to sight see and eat a bunch of good food but I’m particularly excited for punk rock raduno. I’m looking forward to meeting all of my international internet friends and seeing some of them that I’ve already met. I expect that with all of the bands that are already announced that it will be one of the best punk rock festivals I’ve ever been to. The Windowsill is playing for fuck’s sake. Do I need to say anymore?
Let’s talk about record collection. Please, list me:
TOP 3 records you own
At least, 1 record you own that you think it sucks so much that you are ashamed to have in your collection. We can’t wait make fun of you!
3 Records you are looking to find
I couldnt possibly pick my top 3 records! If I had to pick then I would just say the first 3 Ramones albums. I don’t know if I’m ashamed of any 1 record because I definitely have a few stinkers but I have records that I’ve gotten as jokes from friends and stuff that are especially awful. “Chipmunk punk” comes to mind. It’s Alvin in the Chipmunk covering “Punk Rock Songs” that hardly qualify as punk rock songs. I’m a die hard collector nerd for certain bands/labels that I like. If I had to pick 3 that I’m looking to find in the worst way possible it would be:
We always ask a Ramones-related questions to everyone we interview,so now it’s your time. What’s your memory about the first time you heard a Ramones song? What did you think back then?
I can’t think of the actual first time I heard the ramones, they have been getting played on the radio here since before I can remember, but I do remember the first time that they really hit me. Like all the good punk rock bands that I’ve been listening to since a preteen it was through skateboard videos that I heard “I wanna live” I believe it was the old toy machine video “jump off a building” or the one after it. I remember thinking holy shit I gotta look into this band some more, then I walked up to rainbow records which was about a mile away and bought Ramones Mania on CD. The rest is history or something like that.
I think we covered everything. Anything you wanna ask? It’s your time, now! See you this coming summer in Bergamo, at Punk Rock Raduno!! Gabba Gabba
Yes, I’d like to ask for all of the cool Italian bands that aren’t playing punk rock raduno to play a private show for us in Milan, there will be no pay and I’ll bootleg the entire show without their permission. Is that a possibility and if so then let’s make it happen. Oh and Ratbones has to play a greatest hits set.
Eccoci qui con un’altra bella intervista. Come probabilmente avrete già visto, negli ultimi mesi abbiamo intervistato tutte le band che hanno contribuito alla realizzazione di “Get Out Of My Club“, è stato un passo dovuto quindi dare la parola a John, boss della Mom’s Basement Records e ideatore del tributo. Buon divertimento Punk Rockers!
Ciao John, come stai?
Ciao! bene, tu come stai?
Bene come al solito, amico! Iniziamo dai! Allora, negli ultimi mesi entrambi abbiamo coordinato un grande progetto che discuteremo un po’ più avanti, ma prima presentati ai nostri lettori. Chi sei?
Beh, mi chiamo John e gestisco una piccola etichetta qui negli Stati Uniti che si chiama Mom’s Basement Records. Ho una figlia fantastica, una ragazza adorabile e un vecchio cane marcio. Per divertirmi mi piace bere birra e ascoltare dischi.
Come ti è venuta l’idea di gestire un’etichetta e come hai scelto il nome? Fai tutto da solo?
Erano anni che volevo creare un’etichetta, una volta che è iniziata l’attività della Eccentric Pop Records e ha iniziato a pubblicare tutti questi incredibili dischi ho trovato l’ispirazione per provare a fornire il mio contributo alla mia scena punk rock. Per fortuna, il ragazzo che gestisce l’Eccentric Pop è molto simpatico e mi ha insegnato molto cose su come bisogna gestire un’etichetta indipendente. Non l’avrei fatto senza tutto il suo aiuto, gli devo davvero molto.
Ho scelto il nome Mom’s Basement Records perchè ho passato un sacco di tempo durante l’adolescenza e in parte anche da adulto giù in quella cantina. Inoltre tutto il “discorso basement” con i punx… aveva senso.
La mia ragazza mi aiuta con l’etichetta in molti modi, mi supporta ed è di grande aiuto.
Dovendo dare un consiglio a qualcuno interessato ad iniziare un’etichetta, cosa suggeriresti?
Non farlo! Scherzo, la prima cosa da fare è risparmiare un sacco di soldi e trovare una o due band che ci credono. Dopo prepari un bell’ assegno e inizia ad aspettare con impazienza che l’azienda che si occupa della stampa completi i tuoi lavori sperando che non ci metta l’eternità!
Come scegli le bande che vuoi facciano parte della tua etichetta?
Lavoro solamente con gruppi che personalmente mi piacciono e in cui credo. Non mi interessa cosa fanno le altre etichette e non prenderò mai una band in cui non credo. Haha non ho molto senso degli affari, vero?
Guardando le produzioni di Mom’s Basement Records noto che ci sono molte band europee (molte italiane!). Prima di conoscerti meglio, ho pensato “Questo ragazzo è pazzo” ma durante le nostre chiacchierate alla fine ho capito che questo “business” (ahahahaha) funziona. Ho ragione?
Si! Amo molte band europee! Ragazzi, state facendo un bel lavoro laggiù. Uno dei motivi principali per cui ho fondato un’etichetta discografica è stato quello dicontribuire a portare la scena punk rock europea sotto i riflettori un po’ di più qui negli Stati Uniti. Certo, tutti quelli a cui piace questo tipo di musica hanno sentito parlare degli Apers o dei Manges, ma ci sono moltissime altre band che potrebbero essere trascurate perchè senza promozione o senza passaparola.
Continuando sullo stesso argomento, alcuni punk rockers europei pensano che gli Stati Uniti siano “l’eldorado”, mentre alcuni punk rockers americani pensano che la scena europea sia decisamente migliore. Qual è la verità? È nel mezzo o semplicemente non si è mai felice di quello già si ha?
Non so se posso dire se una scena è meglio dell’altra, ma ti posso dire che in Europa c’è il culto dei Ramones al pari di una religione e io sono un grande fan di questo genere di cose !!! Entrambe le scene hanno comunque tantissime grandi band.
Uno dei tuoi progetti attualmente in corso è Passport Series, fondamentalmente si tratta di uno split 7″ tra una band europea e una statunitense. Vorresti parlarne un po’?
Si! La passport split series è un’idea che ho rubato a un po’ di etichette che hanno tentato di fare questo genere di cose già in passato. Una cosa tipo USA contro Europa. Penso ad esempio allo split Stinking Polecats/Fairlanes o quello Zatopeks/Copyrights (che sono i primi che mi vengono in mente): entrambi sono due split fantastici, ma l’idea è un po’ svanita. Volevo provare a fare le cose in modo un po’ diverso, così ho iniziato la serie passport split. Finora ha riguardato USA/Europa, ma non sarà sempre così, potrebbe essere una cosa Europa/Canada o qualsiasi altra combinazione. È la stessa vecchia idea di prima, tranne che ho intenzione di farla continuare cerccando di lavorare con altre band internazionali di altri paesi. Passport vol.3 uscirà all’inizio dell’estate e il vol.4 all’inizio dell’inverno di quest’anno.
Le domande precedenti servivano per introdurre il tuo ultimo grande progetto – “Get Out Of My Club” – pubblicato appena qualche giorno fa. Nessuno in Europa ha mai pensato prima di Mom’s Basement Records di mettere in piedi un tributo ai Manges, probabilmente il più influente gruppo punk rock europeo. Come ti è venuta in mente questa idea?
Amo i tributi. Il Tributo ai Groovie Ghoulies e quello agli Apers sono molto belli e sono proprio quelli che mi hanno spinto a volerne fare uno. Ho scelto i Manges perchè sono tra le mie band preferite e non si può negare quanto siano importanti per la scena punk rock in tutto il mondo. Lo hanno fatto per oltre 20 anni e grazie a loro sono nati moltissimi gruppi da voi in Italia. Si era proprio in ritardo per un giusto tributo!!!
In questo momento non suoni con nessuno, ma vorrei farti le stesse domande che ho fatto a tutte le band che hanno aderito al tributo. Cosa significano i Manges per te? Se tu fossi in una band, quale canzone avresti scelto da coverizzare?
I Manges sono una delle mie band punk rock preferite di tutti i tempi, pochissime band sono riuscite a prendermi come loro. Sono una delle band più importanti in questa scena. Hanno aiutato a introdurre la scena europea a un sacco di persone qui negli Stati Uniti.
Di tanto in tanto suono in una cover band, abbiamo persino iniziato a scrivere qualche nostro brano ma dopo che ho divorziato è diventato più difficile per me andare a fare le prove e seguire il gruppo, così ogni tanto capita che siamo costretti a fare un concerto quando una band non può suonare a uno degli show che organizzo.
Una cosa buona è che gli altri due che suonano con me sono davvero degli ottimi musicisti. Tengo al minimo il volume del mio basso e cerco di tenere il tempo. Ora che ho finito con le informazioni inutili, ti dico che suoniamo alcune canzoni dei Manges, una è “Get Out Of My Club“, quindi credo avremmo scelto quella!
Noi punk rockers italiani siamo quasi monotematici: praticamente parliamo e fantastichiamo tutto l’anno sul Punk Rock Raduno. C’è sempre un alto livello di eccitazione che circonda questo festival… so che arriverai dagli Stati Uniti per una vacanza in Italia ma soprattutto per unirvi all’armata del Raduno. Sei più gasato per la Pizza e la Pasta o per il Punk Rock Raduno? Quali sono le tue aspettative al riguardo?
Sono veramente impaziente di venire in Italia. Mi gasa l’idea di vedere tante cose e mangiare un sacco di buon cibo, ma in particolare non vedo l’ora che inizi il Punk Rock Raduno. Non vedo l’ora di incontrare tutti i miei amici internazionali di internet e rivedere alcuni di loro che ho già incontrato. Mi aspetto che grazie a tutte le band che hanno già annunciato sarà uno dei migliori festival punk rock a cui abbia mai partecipato. Suoneranno i Windowsill, cazzo. Cosa devo dire più?
Parliamo della tua collezione di dischi. Per favore, elencami:
La TOP 3 dei tuoi dischi
Almeno, un disco che pensi faccia schifo così tanto che ti vergogni di averlo in mezzo alla tua collezione. Non vediamo l’ora di prenderti in giro!
3 dischi che stai cercando
Non potrei mai scegliere i miei primi 3 dischi! Se dovessi scegliere, direi semplicemente i primi 3 album dei Ramones. Non so se possiedo un disco di cui mi vergogno, sicuramente ho qualche schifezza, dischi che ho ricevuto per scherzo da amici e cose che sono particolarmente orribili.
Mi viene in mente “Chipmunk punk“. È Alvin dei Chipmunks che coverizza “canzoni punk rock” che difficilmente possono essere considerate proprio canzoni punk rock.
Sono un vero e proprio nerd appassionato di per alcune band/etichette che mi piacciono. Se dovessi scegliere 3 dischi che sto cercando disperatamente ti direi:
Abbbiamo Sempre fatto una domanda riguardo ai Ramones a tutti quelli che intervistiamo, quindi ora è il tuo momento. Cosa ricordi della prima volta che hai sentito una loro canzone? Cosa hai pensato in quel momento?
Non riesco a ricordare la prima volta che effettivamente ho ascoltato i Ramones, li passavano in radio da prima che io possa ricordare, ma ricordo bene la prima volta che mi hanno colpito davvero. Come tutte le band punk rock che ho ascoltato in periodo pre-adolescenziale, è stato attraverso i video di skateboard che ho sentito “I Wanna Live” credo che si trattasse di uno di quei video dove si fa il “salta da un edificio” o qualcosa del genere. Ricordo di aver pensato, “Cazzo, devo approfondire un po’ di più su questa band, poi mi sono diretto da Rainbow Records che erano a circa un miglio di distanza da casa mia e ho comprato Ramonesmania su CD. Il resto è storia o qualcosa del genere.
Penso che abbiamo detto tutto, dai. Qualche richiesta da fare? Adesso è il tuo momento! Ci vediamo questa estate a Bergamo al Punk Rock Raduno!! Gabba Gabba
Sì, vorrei chiedere a tutte le fantastiche band italiane che non suoneranno al Punk Rock Raduno di fare uno show privato per noi a Milano, non ci sarà alcun rimborso e farò le riprese dell’intero spettacolo senza il loro permesso. È una possibilità e se è così, facciamolo accadere, dai. Oh e i Ratbones devono fare un set dei loro greatest hits.
The final feature of this special leads us to interview the last batch of bands, those ones because of the physical limit represented by the vinyl are present in the tribute only as bonus tracks for digital download. This obviously doesn’t mean that they are less important than the other bands and it’s only right to do a feature on them too.
Honey, from Rimini, Italy are in with an acoustic cover of Blame Game made by the singer Luca, who tells us “Since we met the Manges something has changed for us. We were not so much “into their scene” but suddenly we feel part of a great “new family” from day one and we feel very fortunate to have had this awesome opportunity”.
Let’s jump to the United States, precisely in Westfield, Massachusetts and let’s hear what Jay of The Prozacs has to tells us “The Manges felt like a dirty little secret when I first heard them in the year 2000. It was like a 1, 2, 3 bang! Heard the Mandy 7” – which is the song I chose to cover -followed by the debut album “Manges R Good Enough”. The Manges were very influential in my songwriting with the Prozacs, they seemed honest, fun and catchy, in the spirit of Ramones and The Queers… and I was floored seeing they had guest appearances from Joe Queer and Kitty Kowalski…both who are friends and musicians I respect. In 2018, they have cemented all these things… along with a great heart and integrity in the world of Pop Punk/Ramonescore underground”.
Still in the United States, but all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, we chatted with Patrick from Parasite Diet, who have decided to cover Dunkin Donna defined as “pure catchiness wrapped in bubblegum bliss, the way a good “girl song” should be”, the boys also tell us that “The Manges were our introduction to the world of European Pop Punk. The amount of new music this opened us up to will forever put us in The Manges‘ debt”.
We also talked to Cary from Hateful Julie who is from Colorado, he tell us that “we discovered the Manges through bands like Queers, Screeching Weasel and Ramones, of course.We have always admired bands like them that refuse any compromise. We chose Now or Never because it’s on their first full album and it’s a deeper cut. You always go with the older stuff out of respect for the band and how long they’ve been crankin’ out the tunes”.
Now, we head to California, and hear what The Rinds have to say, Matt tells us that “The Manges were one of the first pop punk bands that I got into. I first got to see The Manges in 2007 in San Francisco with The Methadones and The Queers. Great show. It’s awesome that they’re still putting out records after all these years. We chose In The Van because has sing-a-long verses, and a punchy chorus. The “Judy Is A Punk” type songs like this are always a little underrated, I feel”.
Finally for the last band, we head back to Europe, more precisely we go to Hønefoss in Norway to give the floor to Rocky of The Skullingtons who tells us “When the Ramones called it quits back in the nineties, The Manges were there to pick up the torch and keep the fire lit for everyone else to follow. And they’ve kept it going ever since. I don’t think the European pop punk scene would even exists had it not been for the amigos from Las Pezia. Together with Johnny we chose My Rifle because it is our favourite song, We tried it out with the rest of the band and it felt very natural to us, we recorded also a part of it in Norwegian”.
With this final post, we have concluded the presentations of the bonus bands but we still have some small surprises … stay tuned for more Rock n Roll!
Le battute conclusive di questo speciale ci portano ad intervistare l’ultimo lotto di band, ossia quelle che per il limite fisico rappresentato dal vinile sono presenti nel tributo solo come bonus tracks per il download digitale. Questo ovviamente non significa che sono meno importanti delle altre band ed è giusto dare un po’ di spazio anche a loro. Andiamo subito al sodo.
Gli Honey, da Rimini sono presenti con una cover acustica, eseguita dal cantante Luca, di Blame Game che ci dice “Da quando abbiamo incontrato i Manges qualcosa è cambiato per noi. Non eravamo molto “dentro la scena” ma improvvisamente ci siamo sentiti parte di una grande “nuova famiglia” sin dal primo giorno e ci sentiamo molto fortunati per aver avuto questa enorme opportunità“.
Facciamo un bel salto negli Stati Uniti, e sentiamo cosa ha da dire Jay dei Prozacs direttamente da Westfield, Massachusetts “Ho scoperto i Manges nel 2000 e fu subito amore dopo aver ascoltato il 7″ di Mandy, canzone che ho scelto di coverizzare di cui mi sento molto onorato. I Manges sono stati molto influenti nel mio songwriting con i Prozacs, mi sembravano onesti, divertenti e catchy, nello spirito di Ramones e The Queers… ero gasato dalle loro collaborazioni con Joe Queer e Kitty Kowalski entrambi miei amici e musicisti che rispetto. Nel 2018, hanno cementato tutte queste cose… insieme ad un grande cuore e un’integrità unica nel mondo pop punk/ramonescore”.
Restiamo ancora negli Stati Uniti, ma in direzione Nashwille per chiacchierare con i Parasite Diet, che hanno deciso di coverizzare Dunkin Donna definita come “l’esempio di come una girl-song dovrebbe essere”, i ragazzi ci dicono anche che “I Manges ci hanno introdotto al mondo del Pop Punk Europeo. La quantità di nuova musica che abbiamo ascoltato grazie a loro ci mette in condizione di essere in debito con loro per sempre“.
Gli Hateful Julie dal Colorado invece ci dicono che “abbiamo scoperto i Manges tramite band come Queers, Screeching Weasel e i Ramones, ovviamente. Abbiamo sempre ammirato band come loro che rifiutano ogni tipo di compromesso. Abbiamo scelto Now or Never perchè è nel loro primo album ed è proprio una piccola gemma nascosta. C’è sempre molto sentimento nel primo album di una band e ciò mi affascina molto!“.
Ci dirigiamo verso la California, e sentiamo cosa hanno da dirci i Rinds “I Manges sono stati tra le prime band pop punk che ho ascoltato. Li ho visti per la prima volta nel 2007 a San Francisco con i Methadones e i Queers. Grande show. E’ fantastico che ancora pubblicano dischi dopo tutti questi anni. Abbiamo scelto In The Van per le strofe da sing-a-long e per il ritornello super-incisivo, mi vengono in mente quel tipo di canzoni come “Judy is a Punk” che sono sempre un poco sottovalutate“.
Infine per l’ ultima band, torniamo in Europa, più precisamente andiamo a Hønefoss in Norvegia per cedere la parola a Rocky degli Skullingtons che ci dice “Quando i Ramones si sciolsero i Manges erano lì per prendere in mano la torcia e mantenere il fuoco vivo ed essere seguiti dagli altri, da allora non hanno smesso di farlo. Credo che senza gli amigos di Las Pezia la scena europea neanche sarebbe esistita. Insieme con Johnny abbiamo scelto My Rifle perchè è la nostra canzone preferita, l’abbiamo provata con il resto della band e ci è venuta bene, aggiungendo anche una parte in Norvegese“.
Con questo post finale, abbiamo concluso le presentazioni delle band, abbiamo ancora qualche piccola sorpresa… stay tuned for more Rock n Roll!
Here we are with the announcement for the last band on the Lp!
It was a long and tiring job where I dedicated a lot of the little free time I have, but it was really a pleasure to promote this release with all of my heart!
The surprises are not finished yet and something is still up, so keep your eyes open, campers!
Last – but not least – to be interviewed are the dear Teenage Bubblegums from Forlì, Italy; despite the young age of the 3 members, they are a band that boasts now a ten-year career, with 3 albums and 2 split released, several tours in Europe and even a recent one in the United States.
Over the years the band has managed to be appreciated almost everywhere, creating a respectful fan-base who would certainly be happy about the participation of the band to the tribute album of the Manges .
So I had the chance to chat with Ally, singer and bassist of the band, who tells us “The Manges are one of the reasons we started to play. They never stop travelling around or recording. They made their history and that history is huge. I mean, they are a great symbol of what a real band is. Aside from the Manges, I play in the Veterans with Andrea so we are pretty close to them”.
Just few words, but with a clear meaning: another band born in the footsteps of the guys from La Spezia.
Ally continues telling us “We picked Stalag 17/ Good Morning Campers cause is one of the closer to our sound. We used to prefer a harder sound instead of melodic one and that song represents this”.
After having had the opportunity to interview all the 17 bands present in the tribute, it’s clear to everyone that a common sense of respect and admiration has emerged that I believe few bands can boast in Italy. In fact, I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I even say in the worlds punk rock scene.
So, right now in the closing lines, I want to end it the same way as this adventure began: All Hail The Manges!
Eccoci qua con l’ultima presentazione!
E’ stato un lavoro lungo e faticoso a cui ho dedicato davvero molto del poco tempo libero che ho a disposizione, ma è stato davvero un piacere promuovere con tutto me stesso questa uscita. Le sorprese non sono ancora finite e ancora bolle qualcosa in pentola, tenete quindi gli occhi aperti, campers!
Ultimi – ma non per importanza – ad essere intervistati sono i cari Teenage Bubblegums da Forlì; nonostante la giovane età dei 3 membri, sono una band che vanta ormai una carriera decennale, con 3 album e 2 split all’attivo, diversi tour in Europa e anche uno recente negli Stati Uniti.
Nel corso degli anni la band è riuscita a farsi apprezzare un po’ ovunque, creandosi una fanbase di tutto rispetto sicuramente contenta della partecipazione dei ragazzi al tributo dei Manges.
Mi son trovato quindi a scambiare due chiacchiere con Ally, cantante e bassista della band, che ci dice “I Manges sono una delle ragioni per cui abbiamo iniziato a suonare. Non hanno mai smesso di andare in giro o registrare, hanno fatto la storia ed è una storia enorme. Voglio dire, sono un grande simbolo di cosa è una vera band. Inoltre, suono anche nei Veterans con Andrea, posso dire quindi che siamo abbastanza vicini a loro“. Poche parole, ma dal significato chiaro: un’altra band nata sulle orme degli spezzini.
Ally continua dicendoci “Abbiamo scelto Stalag 17/ Good Morning Campers perchè è una delle canzoni più vicine al nostro sound, abbiamo preferito scegliere un brano con il suono più duro che melodico e questa canzone lo rappresenta“.
Dopo aver avuto modo di intervistare tutte le band del tributo, è sotto gli occhi di tutti che è emerso un senso comune di rispetto e di ammirazione che credo poche band possano vantare in Italia. Anzi, credo di non esagerare se dico addirittura nella scena punk rock mondiale.
Mi ritrovo quindi a chiudere nella stesso modo in cui è iniziato questa avventura: All Hail The Manges!
Between the undersigned and Mr. John of Mom’s Basement Records there is a really good friendship, we often talk, usually about punk rock but also of other topics .. anyway, some weeks ago almost by chance we realized that we would both contribute to release a new record: thus representing the first real collaboration between us as labels.
The record I’m talking about is the next split 7″ of the Proton Packs from Tuscany (spam moment: you can pre-order it here): with that being said I’m here to tell you that they too have contributed to the realization of the tribute to the Manges.
Today’s interviewee is Matt, drummer and one of the two principal voices of the band, which tells us about the Manges “It’s easy now to underestimate what it meant to start a punk rock act in 1993. Those were different times… no internet, few bands and even fewer clubs. Staying in touch with far away people in the scene took a lot of passion and elbow grease. It’s amazing that the Manges managed to keep it alive and significant for all these years. The thing we love about them is that they never overkilled it with too many albums or too many shows. They were able to both stand as a reference point for all the other punk rock bands and, at the same time, to retain a shadow of mystery that keeps the fans wanting more. Hooray for the Manges!”
Honestly, I think Matt was able to resume the Manges essence in a few lines, I completely agree with his opinion. But now it’s time to unveil the track they chose “We chose 80’s Soldier because we always cherished the Manges darker songs. In our minds it’s about a troubled Dee Dee going through a rough time with drug addiction and writing some of his greatest and most disturbing songs in the process. Stay clean, kids!”
Tra il sottoscritto e Mr. John di Mom’s Basement Records si è creato proprio una bel rapporto, parliamo spesso tra di noi, quasi sempre di punk rock ma anche d’altro..qualche settimana fa un po’ per caso abbiamo scoperto che entrambi avremmo contribuito alla realizzazione di un disco:la prima vera collaborazione tra di noi come label.
Il disco in questione è il prossimo split dei toscani Proton Packs (momento spam: puoi pre-ordinarlo qui): tutto questo giro per dirvi che anche loro hanno contribuito alla realizzazione del tributo ai Manges.
L’intervistato di oggi, è Matt, batterista nonchè una delle due voci principali della band, che a proposito dei Manges ci dice “È facile adesso sottovalutare cosa volesse dire formare un gruppo punk rock nel 1993. Erano davvero altri tempi… niente internet, poche band e ancor meno locali. Per tenersi in contatto con il resto della scena servivano tanta passione e olio di gomito. È incredibile che i Manges siano riusciti a mantenersi vivi e produttivi per tutti questi anni. La cosa che più ci piace del loro approccio è che non hanno mai esagerato buttando fuori troppi dischi o facendo troppi live. Sono riusciti a rimanere un punto di riferimento per gli altri gruppi della scena e, allo stesso tempo, hanno mantenuto un alone di mistero che invoglia i fan a desiderare altre sorprese dalla band. Urrà per i Manges!”
Sinceramente, credo che Matt sia stato in grado di concentrare in poche righe la vera essenza dei Manges, posso solo condividere in pieno la sua opinione al riguardo.
Ma adesso è il momento di svelare anche il pezzo che hanno scelto “Abbiamo scelto 80’s Soldier perché abbiamo sempre adorato i loro pezzi più cupi. Nella nostra mente questo brano parla di un Dee Dee nella sua fase più oscura, afflitto dai problemi di dipendenza ma al contempo capace di scrivere alcune delle sue canzoni più belle e inquietanti di sempre. Stay clean, kids!”
For a very original band that has made the mystery as its own trademark, today we will write a different post: we are pleased to introduce you the Giant Eagles and unveil the cover art of the compilation! But let’s go step by step.
The Giant Eagles are a super (studio) band from Rotterdam, Netherlands formed by Marien Nicotine (ex-Apers, The Windowsill) and Simon Speechless (Ragin ‘Hormones, Lulabelles, ex-Accelerators) in 2005 when they started working on the first songs. Later in 2013 with Ivo Backbreaker (Apers, The Windowsill, Lone Wolf) and Ox Accelerator (Accelerators, Jizz Kids, Lone Wolf) they finally recorded the first record “Giant Egos”: an album that was very well received that had a unanimously positive opinion.
Since then, there’s basically been no news on the band… on the other hand the band members are very busy with their respective main bands and having them in this tribute is definitely a great contribute. We tried to chat with the band, which fleetingly gave mention to the Manges “we think they could be a better band if they changed the name to “Giant Manges”. It does not really sound that bad, does it? At this point, we asked them about the chosen song, and the reason can’t be more clear “we picked Lone Commando because it really ruffles our feathers”. Hermetic and synthetic at the right point, right?
But as previously mentioned, the news doesn’t end here. Waiting to be able to let you listen to the compilation, we use today’s post to unveil the cover art made by Tommaso Eppesteingher, called Tommy, even if he has a german-sound surname, he is from Livorno, Tuscany and he works as a teacher at a drawing and art history class in a high school, as well as working with the very famous Vernacoliere.
I’m not an art critic at all, I admit that I really don’t understand anything about art, I can tell you that the first time I saw the cover I just said “Holy Shit, it’s amazing!”.
Per una band decisamente originale e che ha fatto del mistero il proprio marchio di fabbrica, oggi faremo un post diverso dagli altri: presentiamo i Giant Eagles e sveliamo anche la cover art.
Ma andiamo per gradi. I Giant Eagles sono un super gruppo (da studio) di Rotterdam formato da Marien Nicotine (ex-Apers, The Windowsill) e Simon Speechless (Ragin’ Hormones, Lulabelles, ex-Accelerators) nel 2005 quando hanno iniziato a lavorare alle prime canzoni. Insieme con Ivo Backbreaker (Apers, The Windowsill, Lone Wolf) e Ox Accelerator (Accelerators, Jizz Kids, Lone Wolf) nel 2013 hanno finalmente registrato Giant Egos: un album accolto benissimo anche dai criticoni del punk rock con un giudizio positivo pressocchè unanime.
Da allora, praticamente il silenzio… d’altra parte i componenti della band sono molto impegnati con le rispettive proprie band principali ed averli in questo tributo è sicuramente un valore aggiunto. Abbiamo tentato di scambiare due chiacchiere con la band, che fugacemente danno un suggerimento ai Manges “pensiamo che potrebbero essere una band migliore se cambiassero il nome in Giant Manges“. Effettivamente non suona così male, vero?
A questo punto gli abbiamo chiesto informazioni sul pezzo scelto, e il motivo non può che essere così chiaro “Abbiamo scelto Lone Commando perchè è in grado di farci drizzare le penne“.
Ermetici e sinteci al punto giusto, insomma!! Ma le novità non finiscono qui. In attesa di poter farvi ascoltare la compilation, approfittiamo del post odierno per svelarvi la copertina dell’album opera di Tommaso Eppesteingher in arte Tommy, a dispetto del cognome livornesissimo, lavora come insegnante di disegno e storia dell’arte nei licei, nonchè collabora con il mitico Vernacoliere.
Non sono affatto un critico d’arte, anzi ammetto di non capirci proprio nulla, posso solo dire che la prima volta che ho visto la copertina ho detto “Minchia, che bomba!”.
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