Interviewed May 15, 2004 at the Empty Bottle, at the 2004 Chicago Blackout
by Mike Fungus

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?

Greg: 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 it is.
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 either.

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?

Greg: Very.

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 with her.

FB: How do you feel about playing festivals like this? For us it’s an opportunity to see bands that wouldn’t come through Kansas.

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 well.

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 his money.
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 you know.

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.
Jeremy: Exactly.
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?

Greg: 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 try.
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.


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