Interviewed May 15, 2004
at the Empty Bottle, at the 2004 Chicago Blackout
by Mike Fungus
Boy: Obviously with each album there is a difference, do you think the
line-up changes had anything to do with that? Is that just the natural
progression of the band?
Well, yeah, we always had problems with earlier line-ups actually and
Jeremy has been on two albums with me and everyone else has been different.
In fact this is our new drummer’s second ever show, Bill who was
in the New Bomb Turks. So yeah, this new album was a real conscious effort
to make it really catchy and really fun without the speed. Our old drummer
was playing way too fast and ruined the catchiness of our older songs.
The record was already done, there was nothing I could do so I just said
let it go.
Jeremy: There’s nothing natural about it really, we just like squeeze
whatever record we can out of the people that we have. That’s what
Greg: This line up with our lovely and oh so talented Ruba Tuesday is---these
two right here (Jeremy & Ruba) I wouldn’t want to play with
anyone else, seriously.
FB2: So the track listing on the back of
the new record is wrong?
Greg: Oh Yeah.
Jeremy: (laughs) Is that newsworthy?
FB: I like that the first album was so short
that you added the track at the end about “you whiny babies”,
I thought it was hilarious. And then the whole thing that people complained
that the album was too short, yet they grew up with punk bands that played
thirty second long songs.
Greg: It’s all a joke, if they don’t
want to complain don’t buy it, fuck ‘em.
Jeremy: We jammed the best shit into those thirty seconds.
FB: How do you feel about the state of the scene right now? You
went to Europe because there is not a lot of response to this kind of
music in the states.
Jeremy: Limp, limp, very limp.
Greg: Well tonight it was very eye opening and I’m gonna tell you
something I truly believe that it comes with the Society’s Offenders
album, we took so much effort to really make it catchy that, I think,
it shows and I think people have responded really well to it. In Europe
it was just amazing where we went, amazing, and it was the best time--I’ve
been playing for twelve years, and it was the best time I’ve ever
had in Europe. So I know that it goes with--and you know I’ve been
in some pretty, you know, somewhat punk rock influential bands so, and
this was the best time I’ve ever had. It was the best response,
the crowds, it was like that I mean everywhere we went. I’m not
lying, it has to go off that album.
Jeremy: Overall though I think it’s like the
scene is watered down. I mean first of all rock’s got so many other
music’s to compete with like hip hop and electronic being so popular
and then the rock music that’s out there it’s like the fuckin’
scene is watered down, there’s hundreds of shitty bands you know.
It’s like it’s hard for like the average fan to like wade
through that shit, to stay into it. It’s harder to be into it now,
it takes more effort.
FB: How do you feel about the whole garage rock scene? I mean
it’s still a small thing but it seems like there is an elite group
that if they don’t like a certain album then you shouldn’t
Greg: Fuck all that. The thing is when I first started
playing--it’s like this music is a clique, it’s a clique you
know, there’s only so many people into it and I fell into it at
first in the scene in San Francisco and ever since I started the band
The Rip Offs my goal was like I don’t want to fall into anything,
I want to do exactly what I want to do. I don’t want to be a scenester,
I just want to play and have fun and a lot of people hate me because I
don’t go and see their bands, I don’t have time.
Jeremy: That attitude is detrimental to any scene because you can’t
recognize what’s good for being good, you recognize it because someone
else thinks it’s good.
FB: Do you find
it ironic that bands like Supercharger, The Rip Offs, and The Mummies
are so popular now?
FB: When they were going not that many people
gave a shit about them.
Jeremy: That to me is the highest form of irony,
that’s the definition of irony.
FB: Ten or eleven
years ago you could pick up a seven for two bucks that today you see starting
out at forty dollars on e-Bay.
Jeremy: That’s why we’re here, yeah
at the same time--you’re right, it doesn’t cease to amaze
me. Especially overseas where they’re like ten years late anyway,
where they still like love that shit.
FB: Do you feel like
the seven inch format is dying out? (Rip Off quit releasing them)
Greg: In one way, you know ‘cause I have the
label so I see it from two ways, but the thing is like you, I don’t
know if you’ve ever done a record or put out one, but anyone can
do ‘em. Anyone can do ‘em but the thing is they have to want
to lose money basically, and so as like doing it as a business it’s
hard to do it and I got tired of just losing money. I mean it takes years
to get rid of a thousand now sometimes, and from where before some of
the Rip Offs stuff went to like ten thousand, you know it’s insane,
different times. It’s OK it’s just that I have to figure out
how much I want to lose, so I just decided screw it, if people are gonna
buy a full length or a single they’re probably gonna buy a full
length first and hope that’s good on that label. But I think seven
inches will always be around because it’s cheap for a band to do
so kids will be able to still do it themselves. So they’ll always
be around, hopefully stores will still stock them, that’s the problem.
FB: Ruba how did you get involved with these guys? (Greg laughs)
Ruba: Greg forced me.
FB: From my calculations you’re the
third guitar player?
Greg: She’s the third girl guitar player,
yeah. Well she’s actually (the third) on record, we’ve had
another one before too, she only lasted a couple of months. She played
with the Deadly Weapons.
Jeremy: Don’t forget about Nancy Normal.
Greg: Oh yeah, we had this other girl--we tried her out…
Jeremy: We had a bunch of girls.
FB: (To Ruba) Were you a fan of Greg’s other bands before you joined
the Zodiac Killers?
Ruba: They were gonna call me Patty Poseur because…
Greg: The funny thing is Ruba really knows nothing about this music, and
I love it.
Jeremy: Not only that but she doesn’t care about it at all.
Greg: We’ve got to tell you this funny story, we played with the
Dwarves in December and Blag Dahlia was like “Hey, introduce her”,
and we knew who he was and Ruba comes up and says, “What’s
your name, Black? Black?” (laughter). I told her tonight if you
see anybody just fuck up their name even if it’s Joe Smith just
fuck it up. We don’t care that she’s not--that she knows anything
about it--that’s not what it’s about, it really isn’t.
Who cares what she knows, we like her as a person, she’s an awesome
guitar player, she’s hot, and we’re having the greatest time
FB: How do you feel about playing festivals like this? For us
it’s an opportunity to see bands that wouldn’t come through
Jeremy: It’s great.
Greg: Yeah, it’s great, it’s fun. It is tiring.
Jeremy: Let’s face it Chicago is the only place worth coming in
the Mid West. Why would anybody go any where else?
FB: Did you have a bad experience at the first Las Vegas Shakedown?
I had heard from other bands that played that they didn’t get paid
Jeremy: Our experience was good.
Greg: Not at the Shakedown per se ‘cause he gave me the money that
I was supposed to get, but he treated a few of my bands really badly--on
the label, The Reds, now The Marked Men, & The Wongs. He gave The
Reds forty bucks, it was ridiculous, so that was the last time I ever
dealt with them, and sadly all my friends who did the other Shakedown
in L.A. got totally burned like Guitar Wolf. Guitar Wolf I know never
got paid to this day, and you know he’s Japanese and he’s
honest and like he just goes, “Oh he’s going to pay me”,
I knew he wasn’t.
FB: We just had a guy tell us the other night that he (the promoter)
sued the city of L.A. and got half a million dollars.
Greg: Who did?
FB: The guy that put on the show.
Greg: Really, unbelievable. Guitar Wolf might get
Jeremy: There’s a lot of bands that will be interested to know that.
FB: When can we expect the Zodiac Killers DVD? Will it have all the same
stuff that was on the CD?
Greg: Uh, no we may have some--I’m trying
to do that right now, I was gonna try to combine---I did another video
on The Have A Blast, I did five songs. I was gonna combine both of them
and try and throw that on DVD.
Jeremy: We do have a lot of footage though that we might try and put some
it on there, it hasn’t been edited or anything though.
Greg: Yeah, we’ll see. It would be fun to do, I’d love to
do that but it’s a bit premature, but we’ll see.
FB: Can we expect any other Rip Off bands stuff on DVD? Do have
any footage of The Rip Offs & Supercharger?
Greg: Yeah, I’m doing a Rip Offs one when we played in Japan with
the Registrators, Teengenerate, it’s just like legendary, and it’s
a great show. I was like blown away actually because I haven’t even
watched it in a long time, I was like, “Wow, we were good”.
Jeremy: It was shot from behind, you’re gonna put that out? (laughter)
Greg: It’s good, it’s good.
Jeremy: (still laughing) It sounds good if you want to look at the back
of the band.
FB: I’ve heard a lot about the Spaceshits album that you
recorded that didn’t get released.
Greg: Yeah, I had a problem like mixing their guitar
sounds, it was really hard. They were like saying, “We need it by
this time”, and I couldn’t…
Jeremy: It was a problem converting Canadian guitar to U.S..
Greg: That was it. It was the currency.
FB: I also heard something about Blacksnake, King Kahn said his punk band
was going to do an album on your label. Is that still coming out?
Greg: I had to back out of it because it was just
like at that time when he was giving it to me, it was last year, I said
you know what I really can’t do this. ‘Cause like said I committed
to it and sales are going down and said I really need to pick hard what
I’m doing, and I said I’m sorry. I said point blank, I said
“I’m sorry”. The thing is he can go to Sympathy or whatever
FB: Any bands that you guys are really into that you feel are
worth checking out?
Jeremy: A few bands overseas, those guys the Kidnappers
in Germany are phenomenal. We did several shows with them and they were
great. The Atomsmashers, who’s out on Rip Off, I don’t know
if they’re still around.
Greg: Yeah they are. Yeah, there’s a lot of great bands. You saw
a few of them, The Real Losers, The Lids are gonna be on Rip Off Records.
You saw The Lids, yeah, I got a new Kill-A-Watts album coming out in September/October
(now out sometime in January). I’m also doing a very special CD,
this is the first time I’m publicly saying it but it’s a famous
band from Oklahoma, Los Reactors, I don’t know if you’ve ever
heard ‘em, and so I’m doing the album that came out and I’ve
got video--very rare video footage I’m putting on the CD like I
did the Zodiac Killers. So there’s rare footage that I’ve
got on it, so only on Rip Off Records.
FB: Any thing on the horizon for the Zodiac Killers over the next year?
Greg: Yeah, try to get good. (laughter). We’d
like to go to Japan and we’ve just got to play some more with our
new drummer, this is Bill (Bill walks by).
Jeremy: We want to do another album that’s catchier and better than
the last album.
Greg: Always try to top yourself otherwise I don’t want to do it.
With the first two I think there was room for improvement.
Jeremy: So we might actually take more than one day to record it.
FB2: Any plans to tour the States actually,
is that still not a possibility?
Jeremy: It’s not financially feasible.
FB: What was that you posted, a thousand dollars and air fare
and you’d play a show.
Greg: Yeah, there you go.
Greg: How come you read it and don’t post on it? Come on I need
some posters on there man. I was getting’ ready to close that thing
up on my website. I was, I was going, “Fuck it, nobody’s responding
to this bullshit”.
FB: I like that you guys shot up the posters with the same ammo
used by the Zodiac Killer. Do you think they’ll ever catch the real
Zodiac or is he dead?
He’s dead, he’s dead. The main suspect is dead.
FB2: I saw some show where they thought it was like the Unabomber.
So what would it cost to book the Zodiac Killers?
FB: I just told you, a thousand dollars and air fare.
Ruba: You can’t afford it, don’t even
Jeremy: I love that movie Kansas with Matt Dillion though.
Greg: You know what though Kansas is one of my favorite bands of all time
from the seventies. Basically we just gotta get our air fare back man,
that’s it, that’s usually it.
Ruba: Air fare, free drinks.
Greg: Yeah, and we don’t stay at a fuckin’ freaks house.
Ruba: I like that though, I like staying with freaks.
Greg: That’s pretty much anyone you stay with.
the Rip Off Records website