Pitchshifter

P.S.I.Entology

PSI Records

www.pitchshifter.com

2003 was a dark year for British metal. After year upon year of mind boggling creativity, relentless rebellion, and plain old rocking ” noise-mongers Pitchshifter decided to bow out, and bring down the curtain on a long and illustrious career. Thankfully, this has proven to be short-lived, and 2004 sees the Nottingham lads bounce back with a UK tour, and a rather splendid DVD offering in “P.S.I.Entology”. As has always been the case with Pitchshifter, when they do something, they don’t do it half assed ” a fact displayed all too clearly with this delightful offering. Whether you’re looking for a blistering live performance, a behind the scenes documentary styled take on the band and their goings on, sneak peaks at the studio and recording process, or just a run through the bands” promotional and music video history ” it’s all here in copious and wonderfully satisfying amounts. As well as a detailed look back over more than a decade of domination, viewers are also treated to an introduction of the respective members” modern day lives and projects, from clips of mouthpiece J.S. Clayden’s Los Angeles based venture

Doheny, to brother Mark’s Blighty based outfit The Blueprint. Combine all these features and more ” including optional band commentary and secret bonus footage that keep you on your toes and the mystery trail alike – and you have one of the most satisfactory feature presentations to date.

Do yourself a favour ” pick up “P.S.I.Entology” and introduce yourself to possibly the most influential British rock group of the past decade. You may just thank me for it.

Ryan Bird

Sonic Youth

Corporate Ghost

The videos 1990-2002

This DVD is really good! I know that I am a big Sonic Youth fan, but still. Every video the New York alternative quartet ever made (plus live performances) is on here, and each one has at least 2 commentaries to accompany it. Whether it’s the memorable live performance of ‘the Diamond Sea” with Thurston’s wild guitar solos, Kim Gordon’s sultry voice and heart touching lyrics in ‘tunic”, or Guy Mariano, Jason Lee and Spike Jonze skating through the streets of LA in “100%”. It’s all good. I don’t think you can deny how creative Sonic Youth are when it comes to music. Each song is different and every composition touches a different mood. No wonder how these guys have got such longetivity and influence in the game. This DVD is like a historical document tracing the group’s artistic states as they put images to their music. Oh, and let’s not forget the extras! Over 3 hours of interviews, commentary, live shows and more. There’s even the entirety of a young fans video message, filmed on the old camcorder back when Sonic Youth had just released “Daydream Nation”, a seminal album that rocked the youth. Great. Anyway, I”m bought on this DVD and super stoked to own a copy. So should you, now go get it!

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

J Mascis – Dinosaur Jr interview

Formed in Massachusetts in the early ’80s from the disparate ends of quasi hardcore band Deep Wound, Dinosaur (the Jr. came later) originally featured J, Murph and Lou Barlow.

Eventually, the bad mojo between J and Lou prompted Barlow’s departure in 1989. Barlow poured the resulting resentment into all of those tasty manic-depressive songs that came with his successive band, Sebadoh. After years being left to most of us as a classic indie band that spurred a generation of indie rock, Dinosaur Jr are reforming after the re-release of the first 3 albums “Bug”, “Dinosaur” and “You’re Living All Over Me” on Sweet Nothing Records here in the UK.

J. Mascis has a reputation of being one of the hardest people in music to interview due to his presence being much like a sloth! In an interview years ago he described himself as the kid in the high school cafeteria who was always making animal sculptures out of his food. Zac phoned him for a chat one Friday afternoon so see if this was all true and this is what went down…by the way, if you read Zac’s questions like he is on speed and J. Mascis” answers like he is whacked out on valium, it will all make sense.

How’s it going J?

Pretty good. (drawled out!)

Where are you at right now?

I’m at home.just getting up.it was kind of a late night so.I guess I have been woken up by an interview. So…

Ah, did I wake you?

No.

Well if you are up and about, I have some questions for you fella.

Alright…(drawls)

Full name please mate?

Joseph E. Mascis Jnr…

Is there a senior then?

Yeah, there was…he’s dead though.

(Oh shit, not a good start. Quickly moving on!)

Where were you born?

Massachusetts.

What was your first job?

I worked at the public works to unblock the sewers and the sidewalks. After a week I got a job at a gas station so I quit.I used to just sit around. (it took him ages to say this!)

What gets you out of bed in the morning apart from people like me interviewing you?

I have been trying to record some solo stuff, I walk my dog, and this and that.

What kind of dog you have? I would at a guess have you down to own a Bloodhound.

Nah.I have a bulldog.

I know they say that some dogs look like their owners, is there an affiliation there J?

Er. I don’t know.(as he says this, he laughs, I feel like I have finally cracked him) my dog can skateboard a little bit too.

Really?! Haha, has this been going on for a while?

Yeah, have you seen the footage of a skateboarding bulldog on the internet?

Yeah, I have seen it, is that your dog?

Nah, my dog is like that dog, she can do it a little bit but she is not as good. Haha!

Wow, it sounds like your Bulldog is better than me on a deck mate!

Let’s talk Deep Wound, how long did that band last?

A couple of years I guess.

What kind of bands did you play with in the punk scene at that time?

Er…we played with SSD, DOA, MDC…er..Haha!.

Any bands without 3 capital letters in the title or was that not aloud?!

Nah, there were others..Jerry’s Kids, The FU’s and others… (laughs!)

Is it true that your Mum actually knitted you a Deep Wound cardigan?

Yep, she did. In fact my wife wears that now!

Lou Barlow has had some pretty bad sweaters along the way as well huh? Would he beat you in a bad sweater wardrobe comp?

Yeah, most definitely, he is a huge sweater guy!

Who gets the J.Mascis vote for the worst dressed man in Rock and Roll?

It’s hard to say.. (huge silence)…Eric Clapton I guess. He made all the hippies wear suit coats and cut their hair and cured beards!

I heard that you love your hardcore and punk rock, what are your fave bands from back then that you still play at home now?

Yeah I do. Negative Approach, Minor Threat, Bad Brains..in fact I was just talking to some kids yesterday at this show who were into hardcore when they were kids, and I said, “when I was your age I used to go and see Minor Threat play” and they were freaked out. Haha!

I guess Minor Threat were, and still are one of those seminal HC bands from DC that will always carry respect. I hear that you are into English Punk Rock and Oi too, do you still have affection for that style of music?

Yeah, I still listen to bands like Blitz, The 4-Skins, Disorder, Chaotic Dischord, The Business and others.

The Business are still going strong here.

Oh really, the same band on Captain Oi?

Yeah man. What about Upside Down Cross, you played drums in that band right? Would ever consider going backwards to playing punk rock again?

Well, it’s funny you say that because at the moment I’m in a band called Witch. We have only played one show and we are kind of more Sabbath oriented. I play drums and there are 2 kids in the band about 22, and another 2 guys who are like 39 years old. Those kids in fact just listened to Upside Down Cross yesterday and they were like “whoa, you were in this band?” Haha!

Skateboarding and Dinosaur Jr always went hand in hand and still do in the naughties, why is that?

I dunno, I have no idea! We went to LA on the Bug tour and there were all these skaters everywhere. We met Neil Blender and some other guys and I always let them use the music and stuff.

So are you proud to be associated with skateboarding then?

Yeah I guess, sometimes I even get sent t-shirts and skateboards here!

Did you ever skate back in the day?

Yeah, mostly we would skate quarter pipes, 8 foot high ramps and stuff. I mean this was long ago now.

Do you remember what your first board was?

My first skateboard was a Flight. They were like this company that ripped off Alva. I had Mid Tracks and red Kryptonics 65’s…until my Dad gave it away.

Neil Blender did some art for you, do you remember which sleeves?

Yeah….he’s done several record covers for me like Without a Sound, J.Mascis and The Fog, Leaving on a Jet Plane 7″, and the back cover of another one.

Have you seen any recent skateboarding? What are your thoughts on it?

I see various stuff from Alien Workshop as Neil Blender sends me stuff. It’s cool I guess.

What was it like playing in The Stooges?

That was cool. I was playing with Mike Watt and we invited Ron (Asheton) to jam with us and then after that we played a gig at All Tomorrows Parties in LA, then got offered a tour. The Stooges then got back together with Iggy and then I was out.

How did you feel about that?

Haha, well, I was stoked they were back together but I was bummed to be left out!

What happened with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie clobbering a fan in the crowd at the Shepherds Bush Empire?

Some guy spat on him, so he pummeled him with an iron mic stand. Yeah, whilst singing No Fun of all songs…it wasn’t nice.

Any plans to write with Mike Watt right now?

No. No plans.

So is it just Dinosaur JR related stuff that is on your horizon right now then?

Yeah, that’s all that happening now, kinda.

What kind of set will you be playing? Have you started rehearsing for it?

Well, I guess we will practice a couple of times and then play a couple of shows here in the US and then come over to see you guys.

What made you reform after all these years?

I dunno, the first three records were gonna get re-released and we had some offers.

So, you are playing the Download Festival this year here in the UK.

Yeah, I don’t know much about this festival though..

Black Sabbath are playing, Iggy is on, Slayer and others and there is a monster Snickers Bowl with Steve Caballero and loads of other guys who will be killing it.

Cool. I think we will miss some of those bands though as we have to go to Europe after our set.

Looking back, what was the best time throughout your Dinosaur Jr peak?

Maybe the best time was the first tour. We opened for Sonic Youth and that was the best time we had.

Lou Barlow mentioned that he was kicked out of Dinosaur and then worked as an orderly at a VA hospital, do have the same plans for him again?!

Haha!. Maybe, that was a good one!

Have you guys kept a relationship since Dinosaur split?

Yeah, kind of. I just see him once in a while around. I haven’t talked to him much.

Have you heard his new solo album EMOH yet?

Yeah, it’s alright. He played here recently; it was alright..folky stuff you know. I like some songs on the last Sebadoh record, I was kind of overdosed on Lou though, but maybe I should go listen to more of his stuff.

Is The Fog on ice then?

Nah, I have been recording, there will be a record at some point.

Freak Scene has gone down as one of those classic alternative tracks ever. Where were you when you wrote that song and what influenced its lyrics?

Er…I know I was in New York going to college at the time. The track is about the people I knew, a kind of mish-mash of relationships.

I have had numerous arguments over the correct chords for ‘Freak Scene’ (Mike Vallely, ‘Speed Freaks’) Please spill the beans.

You know what, I don’t know the chords but I will play it for you when I come over, how’s that?

Sounds good to me. OK, I have some stupid Quickfire questions here for ya, ready?

Ok, go for it.

So, what’s your fave Dinosaur?

Er. Shit. I guess a Stegosaurus or a T-Rex.

Tea or coffee?

Both I guess, but if I had to go with one…er..nah, both! Fuck it! I can do what I want!

George Bush or Death?

Oh, Death!

Drum solo or guitar solo?

Guitar..how many good drum solo’s have you heard?

True..OK smart arse – Minor Threat or Black Flag?

Oh, that’s tough. I guess I would choose Minor Threat as they really spoke to me at the time. That was when I realised that other kids were into punk. I was already straightedge in this hippy town and rebelling about people doing drugs and I thought all punks were junkies and stuff until I heard Minor Threat. I could then relate to the whole scene because I wasn’t alone anymore.

Spontaneous combustion or suicide?

Spontaneous combustion sounds great! Doing it anywhere would be cool.

Street hockey or Mercury Rev?*

Ooh, I have to go with street hockey!

* = A personal one that relates to J.Mascis kicking Mercury Rev off a tour back in the day as they played Street Hockey in the sound check warm ups. He hated it and kicked them off the tour allegedly!

Fog or Rain?

Fog….

Folk Implosion or Sebadoh?

Sebadoh, but with Eric Gaffney.

Mudhoney or Nirvana?

Er…Nirvana I suppose.

Pain or pleasure?

Pleasure.

Rock, fire or scissors?

Rock!

Okay I got scissors, so you win Joseph!

I’m out of here, enjoy reforming Dinosaur Jr with Murph and Lou for the tour, see you soon.

Thanks Zac

Byeee

The first 3 Dinosaur Jr albums have been re-released on Sweet Nothing Records out now and the band with the original line up will play at the Forum in London on 8th and 9th of June then at the Download Festival on 10th June. Don’t miss them.

American Head Charge

2 years ago the future looked bleak for American Head Charge. A seemingly loveless relationship with their label, personal addictions and a generally bleak future spelled the end for the American sextet. However, with new album ‘the Feeding” showcasing a true return to form, 2005 may just be the year that American Head Charge have been waiting for all along. Prior to the bands” show at London’s Mean Fiddler, bassist Chad Hanks and guitarist Bryan Ottoson caught up with CITC for a few trips down memory lane, as well as a vision of the months ahead.

Your new album has been almost 3 years in coming. How does it feel to finally have it out there for people to hear?

Chad: I think the only word that springs to mind for me is ecstatic. It was a long time in the making. After years of sending demos backwards and forwards and getting no response from Rick (Rubin) it’s amazing to finally have it out.

Bryan: It was 3 years of sheer hell, so it feels good for me, man.

Chris Emery (drums): Horny is the word for me

Bryan: It’s weird to go to the store and see it on the shelf. It makes me go “Oh, yeah, we actually have a new record out!”

What kind of reception has it been receiving thus far?

Bryan: We did a short run of dates here in the UK just before the album came out, and they were all sold out and people actually knew the words to the songs already. It was amazing

Chad: We just went on tour with Otep in the States and as the weeks went on you could see more and more people actually singing the songs back. It was unbelievable for us after everything that’s happened.

What would you say are the main differences between ‘the Feeding” and ‘the War of Art”?

Chad: Well, I think that this was definitely more of a band effort, and it was certainly much more to the point. We didn’t spend hours on end just playing around with a certain guitar sound and trying to pump out 16 songs to fill 68 minutes or whatever.

Bryan: Our producer Greg Fidelman was basically like “Right, come on, let’s go. Grab the guitar, grab the amp and let’s go, come on.” We really needed that I think rather then spending like 9 months holed up in a fancy studio.

Chad: It doesn’t have the Rubin “wall of sound” as we call it. It’s a much more raw and live sounding record.

Bryan: Definitely. There’s guitars out of tune all over that record. Not horribly or anything but it’s slightly off and it worked.

You’re now on Nitrus following the split from American. How has it been to leave a label that seemingly didn’t give a shit about you anymore to suddenly becoming possibly the biggest band on the roster?

Chad: It’s a lot more hands on. You don’t have to speak to like 12 different people just to have a cheque signed off. There’s like 3 different people you talk to and that’s it, that’s all there is. They’re really working for us.

Bryan: Derek, Ron and Ted ” DRT. That’s what we call “em.

Chad: We left American with like a million dollars to pay off or whatever, and it happens to so many bands. They sign to a major label, get all this money in advance and never pay it off.

Bryan: Dude, don’t talk about that.

Judging from various interviews, it sounds like this band is really all that some of you guys have. Would you say that’s a fair comment to make?

Bryan: It was weird for me because I joined after they recorded the first record, toured for almost a year on the back of it and then they had to fire me because of all this shit with American that was going on.

Chad: It just totally broke me down.

Bryan: I think I speak for everybody when I say that this whole experience pretty much broke everybody, but we built it back up ourselves and kept it all together. It feels like home again.

How difficult was it to cope without the band when everything seemed to be stuck in limbo?

Bryan: Hell.

Chad: Totally. Sheer torture.

Surely even when the band is active it must be nice to have just a little time off every now and then?

Chad: Maybe like the odd week or so here and there, but overall we just wanna be out there on the road to be honest.

Bryan: A couple of days after we finish this tour in the UK we’re flying back to the US to start an 8 week tour with Mudvayne. We’re just hoping to jump from tour to tour as much as possible really.

There have been several line-up changes in the past several years. Are you now at a stage where you feel totally comfortable at last?

Chad: It seems to be the most cohesive so far for me. It’s hard to say though because you have different faces, different personalities, different situations etc. Obviously there’s good and bad sides to every line up change. Right now though I’d say the leaves are green in the land of Head Charge. We’re pretty happy for the first time in a long time right now.

Bryan: Nicely said!

Very profound indeed! That’s deep, man. I”m tearing up.

Chad: Haha!

Prior to the album release you hit the UK for a few very low key shows. How did it feel to come back and start from scratch all over again?

Chad: Flattering. So, so flattering. It’s a pleasant surprise. To be gone for as long as we were and then come back to this and be remembered is an honour. We could’ve so easily been forgotten.

This time you’re playing bigger venues. Is this something you’re happier with? What sort of reaction have you been getting thus far?

Chad: Well the venue last night (Exeter Cavern) was actually the smallest stage we have ever played on, by far.

Bryan: It was like this *makes orange sized circle with hands*

Chad: I kept hitting Bryan in the face with my bass. Accidentally on purpose that is

Bryan: You’re gay.

Chad: Ha! Anyway, the reception thus far has definitely been pretty good, possibly as good as the first time we were here to be honest. Like I said though, we’re just so honoured that people are showing up and we’re selling as many tickets as we are. Hopefully we’re not gonna be disappearing again any time soon.

American Head Charge’s new album ‘the Feeding” is in stores now through Nitrus.

Unfortunately Bryan Ottoson died on April 19th prior to the group’s performance in North Charleston, S.C. According to a spokesperson, the guitarist was found dead in his bunk on the group’s tour bus. The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy. This was one of the last interviews he did before his death…R.I.P

Hatebreed

Jamey Jasta is possibly the busiest rock star around right now. When he’s not on the road with genre titans Hatebreed, he’s almost certainly tied up with one of his numerous ventures and projects; most notably as the face of MTV’s Headbangers Ball. Prior to the final date of the bands” sold out UK tour at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, the tireless mouth piece found a spare minute or two to converse with CITC’s Metal advisor Ryan Bird about just how tough it can get being Jamey Jasta.

This is the first time in a long time that you’ve done such an extensive UK tour. How’ve things been for you so far?

Just about every show has been sold out so far. Only one or two haven’t and even then they’ve been down to the last dozen or so tickets. The fans have been absolutely amazing and really appreciative, so I guess we couldn’t really have asked for a lot more.

It’s good to see that you’ve hit Ireland this time around. A lot of bands overlook it nowadays. How important is it for you to reach fans in countries that usually get the short end of the stick?

We”d been and played in Ireland before and promised them that we”d come back, so I don’t think we really had a choice to be honest. They came out and supported us the first time around, and even though the shows were really small we knew we”d have a great time doing it. It’s really important for us to reach as many of our fans as possible, regardless of location. I get letters all the time from people in Israel, South America, Iceland.

Iceland seems to be developing an awesome scene as of late.

Yeah! I”d love to go there and check it out. I”d love to go to all these places we haven’t been to before. I guess I”ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Your fans are a pretty mixed bunch. You have a lot of hardcore followers, but also a lot of metal kids are into you as well. What do you think makes Hatebreed appeal to both sides?

I think we just have music and lyrics that don’t alienate people. We’ve only ever tried to put across the way that we’re feeling, while at the same time emulating the bands that we ourselves love. On the one hand we’re into hardcore bands like Madball and Agnostic Front, but we also love bands like Slayer, Obituary, Sepultura.

Has such a diverse audience ever caused any incidents or confrontations at shows?

Maybe in certain places there’s been the odd fight or two break out, but I think nowadays everybody for the most part just gets along. We’re a crossover band after all so people have just learnt to respect each other and realise that people from all walks of life are there for the same reason.

Since the horrible tragedy involving Dimebag, is there occasionally a part of you that gets a little edgy or nervous when you meet a psychotic fan or see a particularly violent individual in the pit?

I feel that whole situation was just one horrible, isolated incident. It was just a terrible example of gross injustice.

As well as Hatebreed you have a number of side-projects ” including the band Icepick and of course hosting Headbangers Ball. How difficult can it sometimes get for you to hold down so many things at once?

I”ll be honest, it’s been really hard. I’ve been spread a little thin at times. Hatebreed has some time off after this tour is over so I”ll be able to take a little breather and progress with some other things that I’ve previously had to push to the side somewhat.

Is there ever a time when you’re NOT doing something?

I”m pretty much always doing something to be honest. There’s no rest for the wicked! Someone is always trying to get a hold of me which is why I’ve gotten myself a world phone, and even right now I”m sat in front of a laptop checking emails and stuff like that.

What about when you do find that odd hour here and there? What do you do to unwind?

I just enjoy my house and my home life to be honest. I recently purchased one of those digital video recorders which enables me to watch all my favourite shows that I usually wouldn’t get the chance to see from being so busy on the road and such like. There’s nothing better for me than just having that odd couple of hours to veg out on the couch.

Let’s talk about Headbangers Ball again for a moment. How did that come about?

Basically it started about two years ago when they first decided to bring back the show. About 400 people or so came and tried out and they didn’t really find anyone that they felt had that X factor. So, at this point I met with the producers and told them my vision and what I”d like to do with the show and stuff like that. Everything definitely had to be on my terms. Anyway, they invited me over for a test screening which didn’t actually go too well. However, they gave me a second shot which was basically a homework assignment where I had to go away and interview bands and come back to them etc. I did interviews with Candiria, Ill Nino, and bizarrely; Vanilla Ice of all people. Anyway, they called me up and said that they loved it. Now, 100 episodes later we’ve had everybody from Metallica, Velvet Revolver and Iron Maiden to Lamb of God, Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage come on and talk some shit.

Did you ever have any fears about tempting to host such a prestige show?

The thing is, I come from a scene which is full of these loudmouth complainers that have nothing else to do than put people down, so I wasn’t really too concerned about that. I’ve been putting up with their crap for years now. Luckily I”m not one of those people myself so I basically said “You know what; I”m not one of those people. I”m going to go in there and make a positive change“. It’s great for the smaller bands like Lamb of God and co because since they’ve been thrown at a more mainstream audience they’re selling two or three times as many albums as they were previously.

Aside from the previously mentioned ventures ” what does the remainder of 2005 hold for both Jamey Jasta the person, but also Jamey Jasta the front man?

On the Hatebreed front it’s simply to continue trying to get to as many places to perform as possible. As I said earlier I”m desperate to get over to Iceland some time and rip it up. We hope to have a new record out at the end of the year as well. On a personal level, I”m right about to re-launch JameyJasta.com so people can see what I”m up to 24/7. I”m also hoping to push on with my clothing company and get some stuff out there. We’re just negotiating with some distribution companies and such right now.

So there’s no chance of some kind of salsa or tango orientated project?

Errrrr no!

The Rise of Brutality is available in stores now through Roadrunner Records UK.

Millencolin

Millencolin have been recording and touring for well over a decade now, and their imminent new album “Kingwood” is sure to cement their reputation as Sweden’s most successful punk rock export. Alex Gosman spoke to guitarist Erik Ohlsson and drummer Fredrik Larzon at London’s Brixton Academy, halfway through a UK tour supporting Good Charlotte.

How’s the tour going so far?

Erik: It’s been going well, although it’s a little bit different for us, as this is not our usual crowd at all ” but that’s what makes it fun! We’ve never really done anything like this before, so it’s a good experience, and it’s a great way to get warmed up for our own tour ” which is gonna start almost as soon as we finish these shows.

Do the Good Charlotte fans seem to like you, then?

E: Yeah, the shows have been better than we expected, actually. I bet only about 5% of the people in there have heard us before, and the rest haven’t, but the crowds have been great ” it’s really surprising how good they’ve been!

How did the tour come about? Are you and GC old friends?

E: No, we’ve never met them before, but they wanted to have us on the tour, so they asked our agent ” and we thought it would be a good thing to do just before our new album is released. It’s also a good experience, to try out our stuff on people who haven’t heard us before.

Could you update us on what you’ve all been up to since you finished touring [previous album] “Home From Home”? I know Nikola [vocalist/bassist] did his solo record [“Lock-Sport-Krock”] ” how about the rest of you?

Fredrik: Well, we took a very short break ” but we’ve still been working on Millencolin stuff all along, because we have an office near the Burning Heart Records [their record label] office, so we were working on our website, hanging out, taking care of our families.and even when Nikola was doing his album, we were already trying out some new stuff.

E: I don’t think we really had a break, because even when he was doing his own record, we were still touring as Millencolin. These shows feel more like the last of the “Home From Home” shows to me, as when we get home, the “Kingwood” tour starts. The whole recording process for “Kingwood” took about one and a half years, but we were always out playing shows here and there.

F: Yeah, it was very spread-out.especially since Nikola lives in Gothenburg, and he only comes up to our town around once a month.so when he does, we get together and rehearse like crazy for about a week!

The new album “Kingwood” seems more varied than your previous efforts. Did you plan to broaden your sound, having ditched the ska element around the time of “Pennybridge Pioneers”?

E: Well, yeah, the songs come pretty naturally to us.but this time, it was really good that Nikola did his record, to show his softer, more emotional side ” because it meant that now he had more energy than ever, and it felt so good to play fast again!

F: It also meant that he gave a bit more room to [guitarist] Mathias, more room for Mathias” ideas, and I guess he’s listening to some harder stuff now.

E: Yeah, but it was Nikola who wrote ‘simple Twist Of Hate” ” a really hardcore song, he really wanted to scream it and stuff. It’s great ” there’s more energy in the band than ever before!

I quote your lyrics: “It’s in my nature to be changing ” (“Ray”); “I don’t think contrast is a sin ” (“No Cigar”). Would you say that people are accepting of your need to change, as a band?

E: The fans have been very accepting.it’s kinda crazy with fans, because you can’t really tell when they started listening to us; the fans who started listening to us around our ska era really miss the ska songs, but newer fans, who came around the time of “Pennybridge Pioneers” or “Home From Home” ” they don’t like the ska songs at all, because Millencolin just isn’t that way to them. Nikola is always dealing with those kinds of issues in his mind ” he wants to keep changing, doesn’t want to settle down, so like us, he needs people to respect that we’re changing.

Do you have good memories of playing in the UK? Have our crowds been nice to you?

F: Yeah.apart from one time, an early tour we did back in 1995 with Pennywise.we thought we’d never go back to England, because we hated it from that tour. But two years later, we went back and it was fantastic!

E: Yeah, we played the Reading festival, as part of the European Warped Tour, back in 1997, it was great, and it’s been great ever since! But when we did that first tour, this whole American style of punk rock was nothing in the UK ” and the crowd were all, like, Exploited fans, and they figured we were skaters; they weren’t into us at all.

F: It was the first time we”d experienced an audience standing there and spitting at us!

E: Yeah, exactly, it was the true old-school UK punk crowd, and that was weird.but ever since 1997 it’s been great, especially here in London.the shows we’ve played here and at the Astoria are some of the best shows we’ve ever done.

Over the years, you guys have shared stages with countless bands ” is there anyone out there who you”d really like to tour with, or any local bands from your area that you”d like to mention?

E: We always try and bring the local bands we like on tour with us in Sweden and Europe ” sometimes the States too ” but we’ve never toured with Rancid, and I”d love to tour with those guys. We’ve met them before, but we’ve never toured with them, and I”d love to do that.

What are your plans for the near future, after the Good Charlotte tour finishes?

E: There’s tons of stuff happening: the album is released just after we get home, and we have to sort everything out for our own tour. We’re booked up until around February next year!

F: We”ll be doing Europe in April, the US and Canada in May, and then tons of festivals over the summer, including the Warped Tour in the States. Then there’s another European tour in the fall.

E: Yeah, and then we’ve got Australia, another US thing, more Europe, and then

more Australia. And we’re also hoping to fit in Japan and South America somewhere! We’re aiming to do a couple of UK festivals ” not sure which ones yet – and then we”ll do our own week-long UK tour around September/October time.

“Kingwood” is released on Burning Heart Records on 4th April.

Alex Gosman

The Explosion

The Explosion are one of the hardest working bands you will ever see or hear. They are a dedicated punk rock with their own record label Tarantulas Records in the USA who have released bands such as The Distillers and The Bronx amongst others. With their first full length stint touring the UK to promote their brand new record Black Tape, we thought it was essential to hook up with the band for a quick chat before they played the Hammersmith Palais with drummer Andrew Black and Bass player Damian Genuardi who are both skaters. This is what went down…

Howdy fellas, have some home made cake..

Damian: Hi Zac, hey is there anything in this cake we should know about before we eat this and go on stage?!

Andrew: haha!

Nope, it’s clean as a whistle, packed with Belgium chocolate, cranberries, pecan nuts and brandy!

D: Ah, perfect, lets eat then!

OK, so we are here at the Hammersmith Palais and you guys are about to open up for New Found Glory and Hot Water Music, how long have you guys been on the road now?

D: About a week now, it’s cool. Europe is great, no one has cell phones, time goes by so quickly, but we are playing here with a bunch of different bands over 7 weeks and that always makes the time fly ..

A: The drives are so short as well, so we are able to go out to the bars and make friends and get drunk!

Lets talk about you guys. The Explosion has been together a while right?

D: Yeah, since 1998. It was just a thing that we started just for kicks. The singer Matt had never been in a band before, I was in a hardcore band called “In My Eyes” on Revelation Records, and we were kind of a weekend warrior band in Boston, playing shows and stuff and myself and Matt used to go out to parties together like best friends do and he was always saying to me that he wanted to do a band called The Explosion, before we even had a band or band members! Things just happened and we picked up Andrew in 2001.

A: I was in a band called “Best Mistake” and another called “Good Clean Fun” for a while and I actually met Damian through In My Eyes so it was cool, very natural and the band had been going a while and I thought they were cool. They called me up one day and wanted me to join up and go on tour with Sick Of It All, so I was like, fuck it, I”m coming!

You guys are now on Virgin Records, what other labels have you guys released records for?

D: We were primarily on Jade Tree and Revelation wrenched an EP out of us as kind of a legal obligation thing since my former band was on Rev, then we started Tarantulas Records that was our own thing and then when Virgin came along it kind of a surprise to us all, and Jade Tree realised that they could not hold us back and let us go.

A: It was hard as we all lived in different places at the time, spread out between New York, Boston, Washington DC etc.

There was a bit of a buzz from the US record industry on the band at that time right?

D: Yeah, the record industry is so ridiculous over there. Everybody else wants to take you out for dinner and do whatever it takes to sign you, hang out with you etc. We had some amazing meals!

What was the most classic phrase or moment that went down in that period?

D: Haha! One time they took us to the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and we all played Golf, Bowling and stuff, it was funny. We would order tonnes of drinks and booze it up!

A: People would be so overly nice, like, “you want that, oh we will buy it for you”! Funny times!

So what about the hook up with Tarantulas Records, has your deal allowed you to continue what you had set up?

D: Yes, Virgin has no connection with distribution or whatever, it’s cool. Some major labels are so careless about vinyl sales and it’s not a profit making thing you know so we have the opportunity to release vinyl on our label for records that come out on majors, so its nice to be able to make something textual that you can hold, something that is fucking awesome looking, and we can do our own artwork that they didn’t want put on their major label release, so it’s cool.

I hear Damian that you are the arty person in the band responsible for all artistic input for the band?

D: Yeah, I have art background and have always been interested in music sleeve art and graphics, skateboard graphics. I have always thought it’s important to have a package that looks good aesthetically and I think a lot of that has been lost with the introduction of downloading and burning CD’s.those silver CD’s look uninteresting. I like the gatefold art thing on vinyl. It’s like skating. Every company or label has an image, they make their companies unique and people buy into it because they appreciate the art that goes into it. Look at Toy Machine with Ed Templeton or Stereo Skateboards, everyone has their own image and I”m into that. So many record labels need that identity to.

So you guys have come from the skate scene in the US then?

D: Yeah, Matt and I skated from when we were back in high school. We used to skate this place we called “The O“. It was an abandoned office building and we would skate behind it, skate the parking curbs. I had my crew and he had his friends and one day he mooned at me and we were best friends after that! Haha!

A: I grew up in Maryland, about 20 minutes outside of Washington DC, so I would go down to Freedom Plaza and Pepe Martinez was always there, it was cool. You could go to skate spots and then see other kids at punk rock shows in the evening or we would go check out a Hip Hop show or whatever, there was a bond between the two scenes.

D: Yeah, even in Philly at the time in the 90’s you would have skateboarders that would hang out with graffiti kids, who hung out with hardcore kids who would hang out with rock kids..

A: There was a kid called Roger Gastman* back then, who just put out the Mike Giant book and I used to work for him whilst he ran a magazine and way before I worked for him I met him at hardcore shows, and then kids who skated knew him from this huge disco den archive pad. People hook up everywhere through skateboarding.

D: That whole East Coast scene is so hooked up.

So what were your first ever boards you rode?

A: I had a Natas; I think in 1987, with the kitten spilling milk out of the triangle, I loved that board!

D: I had Danny Sergeant H-Street board.

So, where are hanging these days then, in Boston?

D: The band started there, apart from Matt, and he would come stay with us and write for 5 days at a time, so he has been in Brooklyn for a while, and now we are all in New York.

Do you get much time to skate whilst touring?

A: Not in Europe, but we usually have them in the trailer in the States. Early on the Social Distortion tour at night I would go skate just after we would get wrecked i n bars and it would not hurt as much, but these days you have to think about your hands as you can appreciate that without them, we can’t play!

D: Our manager Rama and I went skating in Portland Maine on a tour, and we were skating this jersey barrier doing grinds and he was trying to boardslide it. He went up to slide, his board shot off and he ended up with hotdog fingers! That was 2 or 3 months ago and his fingers are still wasted!

How is your hand now Damian? No skateboard injury there today huh? Haha!

D: Haha, well, er, no. It happened at Liverpool show. Actually it was the first time I have ever knocked someone out in one punch!

OK you gnarlers, let’s skip that conversation and talk about this new album Black Tape that is out on March 28th, how long did it take to put together?

D: We signed our deal, then we went on tour with AFI, then we did demos for a few months and it took a while to find a producer that we were comfortable with and spent about 2 and a half months in Idaho recording it.

A: Yeah, we were in the middle of nowhere, about 30 minutes away from a gas station to get a beer, it was far out in the middle of nowhere!

What producer did you end up working with?

A: A guy named Jason Carmer who had done The Donnas “Spend the Nightâ?” record. He said us that he wanted to make a good sounding rock record and we spoke to other producers who would tell us something on the lines of “once you follow our 10 step formulas of how to write songs“.haha! Jason had none of that so we found a perfect partner as we really like the way the record has been recorded. The producer and the engineer are used to spending a lot of time on records, something that we were not used to really.

D: Yeah, we have never really spent that much time in a studio, we are not used to doing it that way, as all the other releases were done so quickly, but it’s not as if we spent 2 and a half months like playing every day, we had a lot of downtime. We only ended up with 3 extra songs that did not go on the album. Jason was rad and kind of comes from the same background as us from the DC scene, the Dischord years and was in a band called “Double 0“, “Meatmen” and others….did you ever see that book “Banned in DC“? He was in that loads.

Yeah, that is a great book, I love it. So you guys are big Dischord fans then?

D: Yeah, Rites of Spring, Gray Matter, all those bands man.

So how different are the shows here in the UK compared to back home?

A: The difference is massive, it’s great here, and it’s cool to be here in the UK for more than one day as it’s the first time we have done that, we did not see the country last time we were over.

D: UK kids seem mental. Birmingham was amazing! The kids have probably not heard of us before and they were going nuts! Back home it’s a lot of fun as people are more familiar with the music but the Garage gig in London the other night was awesome, it was packed out and the crowd was going mad, it was a good way to be welcomed to the UK that is for sure!

Have you noticed that kids are more drunk here due to the age restrictions being different?

D: Yeah, but it’s cool though as back home you see more fights, here they are more laid back, maybe cos they are wasted! It’s weird!

Tell me about your video, it has skateboarding in it and someone connected with skate videos is responsible for shooting it, is this right?

D: Yeah, it was Wynn Ko. He is a friend of friends, the way we like to keep it. We we had gone down the route of hooking up with other video directors who had done Good Charlotte videos and other bands and they were coming up with all of these ideas we just were not into. We tried to shoot a video and did a full 10 hour day and it failed, it was bad. Thankfully Virgin listened to us and they let us shoot a video with our friend John LaCriox who shot film for 411VM and is a partner with Shepard Fairey in a popular culture mag called Swindle. He knew Wynn, so they teamed up and we got it going.

A: The vibe was cool, they understood what we wanted, they understand our culture. Our friend Smith is the skater. There is a part in the video where he skates dirt which was great, he works with AFI, and when he is not working he is out skating, getting drunk, doing barrel rolls and shit, he is great.

Are you going out on the Warped tour this summer?

D: Yeah, we are for a month, we are really stoked on it. We did it a couple of years ago, as it will be good to do it again with bands like The Transplants, My Chemical Romance, maybe Strike Anywhere and others.

I hear on the vine of grapes that there could be some Explosion shoes out there in the future..

A: Yeah, just before we left the States, it came up in conversation. Vans are interested which would be rad as the Slayer ones are kick ass! I fell asleep that night just picturing that Explosion shoe!

When you are on the road, what do you guys listen to, what are essential?

A: The i-POD comes in handy..I guess “1981 A Year in 7’s” from Dischord, Slayer – Decade of Aggression, Fugazi – 13 Songs, and Lungfish – Pass & Stowe.

D: My i-tunes is maxed out, I like making compilations for people. Sandinista by The Clash, early Manic Street Preachers like New Art Riot on Damaged Goods cos I think it sounds like Gray Matter! Haha! David Bowie, T-Rex, Buzzcocks, The Jam, and lately I have been listening to some Studio One Reggae stuff to chill out to in the van.

And on that chilled note, it is time to wrap this interview up as you have to be on stage in 10 minutes. Anything you wanna say to finish this?

D: Yeah, big thanks to all the people who have stuck by us in the UK, especially those who were there in 2001 when we were last here. We have been pretty lazy getting back over here! Sorry about that! Haha!

A: Yeah, all of those people who have come to see us on this tour and also a big thanks to you for hooking us up Zac, oh and by the way, the cake was delicious!

You are welcome fellas.

Check out more about The Explosion and their label at

www.theexplosion.netwww.tarantulasrecords.com