Tag Archives: interview

INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL: JAKE BURNS OF STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

Photo courtesy of Stiff Little Fingers

Celebrating 40 years of roots-radical anthems, Stiff Little Fingers are still going strong. In 2014, they released their 10th studio album, No Going Back, through Pledge Music, and toured alongside Bad Religion and The Offspring, with a followup solo tour in 2015. According to vocalist and guitarist Jake Burns, being a career musician isn’t quite what he thought he’d doing in 2017. At a young age, Burns was attracted to bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin—but his tastes changed. “I grew tired of that once I realized the guitar wasn’t just for showing off,” Burns says. “The main reason I picked up a guitar in the first place was thanks to an Irish guitar player called Rory Gallagher, who at the time was spoken about in the same breath as Eric Clapton……”

Check out the full article published by SLUG Magazine!!

40 YEARS ON WITH X’S EXENE CERVENKA

X. Photo: Frank Gargani

2017 is the 40th anniversary of the punk movement. 1977 marked the year that the world bore witness to the emergence of bands like The Germs, Fear, The Bags, The Screamers, The Weirdos and, of course, X. These bands were pivotal in establishing this movement’s music and ideas, founded on a do-it-yourself ethic, individuality and honesty. Ahead of X’s Sept. 8 40th Anniversary Tour stop at The Complex, Exene Cervenka reflects, “I think punk was a really important movement socially because it was about individuality, freedom of choice and expression.”

Check out the full article published by SLUG Magazine!!

Back in the Day: Jeffrey McCloy of Fashionism

(Left to Right) Jeff McCloy , Josh Nickel , Alex Angel and Robin Schroffel.

Fashionism are easily one of the most exciting bands to come out of Vancouver, British Columbia. For a little over 3 years, they have been blasting out infectiously hi-energy power pop meets glam punk songs with catchy lyricism commenting on the changing importance of subcultures, wondering where the rock n’ roll girls have gone and the need for an early morning espresso. This group boasts members from many celebrated bands including Tranzmitors, The Jolts, The Orange Kyte and Newtown Animals—as well as the newly formed Night People. They are Jeffrey McCloy (vox) Josh Nickel (guitar) Robin Schroffel (Bass) and Alex Angel (Drums).  On July 18, Fashionism is set to play a stacked gig with Royal Headache and Needles//Pins at The Colbalt in Vancouver. Before they kick off, I chatted with Fashionism frontman and former Tranzmitors McCloy. We discussed his anglophile inspired lifestyle, subcultural inspiration, Fashionism’s singles, playing in Calgary, Alberta with Suicide Helpline and world domination.

NixBeat: Hi Jeffrey. To kick things off, how did Fashionism form?
McCloy:
Hi Nick… Joshy and I got it started together, it was conceived in between debating the cultural significance of records that nobody has ever heard. We had the name Fashionism before we had a band.

NixBeat: In a previous interview with beatroute.ca that was published on April 26, 2017, Josh stated “Subculture gave an identity and a space to people that were disenfranchised or looking for some sense of belonging. It had strict rules because it had to.” I was wondering if you could expand on the how identifying with a subculture is important and what rules Josh was referring to?
McCloy:
I never saw my relationship to subculture as one limited by rules, however, I will say that I made aesthetic choices with intent. This is what I suspect Joshy is referring to in that you made choices on how you wished to be perceived by others. In a way it’s like a simplistic micro versions of orientalism, you understand what you are by knowing what you are not.

NixBeat: You have a striking Mod style. I was wondering (if you do) why you personally identify with this sub-culture and how does it influence your daily life?
McCloy: 
I am a shameless Anglophile and I am perfectly happy with this. I grew up in Canada in a one generation removed family who were all from England and Ireland. It’s not always good to have me answer these band related type interviews for it is very easy for me to derail into very un- rock ’n’ roll territory— like me collection of Brown Betty tea pots. I will say I am very influenced by a number of British subcultures and mod, especially the 79 revival incarnation was indeed one of them. My personal fashion choices without a question pull from a mix of mod, skinhead and I guess you could call it 80’s football fashion or casual. As for how things influence my daily life? The football fashion shockingly also dictates my weekend schedule to get up at a disgusting hour to watch the morning matches. However, the drink and pub culture that goes along with many British subcultures has very little effect on my daily life. I grew out of 80’s North American skateboard/punk culture, so I train-wrecked when I was really young then dropped everything and haven’t really drank or gotten wasted for over 25 years now… I take that back, I do spend a lot of my social time with friends in the pubs. I just don’t drink. Hmmm…I may want to re-evaluate this plan.

NixBeat: You have quite the record collection. How has collecting records influenced your musical direction?
McCloy:
I don’t think collecting records has influenced my musical direction. Collecting records has mostly just impacted the wall space in my home and my personal financial stability. However collecting records has been the way by which I came to love and fully embrace music and everything that goes with it and without a doubt this has impacted my musical directions.

NixBeat: What about collecting records is important to you?
McCloy:
I feel connected to things through records. I realize this kind of logic is sort of hippy dippy however I am not sure how else to explain it. The records bridge the gap between time and space. This is why someone in 2017 could hear a record like the Jam All Mod Cons and feel a connection to it the same way someone did when it first came out. The record exists without the limiters of time. Records are important to me because it’s a way for me to be part of the story of that record just from having it and being a fan. Ok, I just read that answer back and it’s totally ridiculous but I can’t be bothered to come up with a new answer.

NixBeat: Have you come across any new finds that you are pretty excited about?
McCloy:
I get good records all the time, however, Joshy always makes me feel inadequate with my rarities because he deals in crazy KBD big money punk rarities. My money goes equally into my sewing studio, home recording studio, my obscene wardrobe and also record collecting. At the last record fair I found the Procession LP which is a cool psyche pop record from the late 60’s, I did get that Aces (post Menace) 45 recently, a really clean copy of the Crunch Let’s do it Again and the Boston Boppers Did you get what you Wanted. The new Jesus and Mary Chain records is getting a bunch of spins lately and I recently got Fear of a Punk Planet by the Vandals on LP which I had been wanting for years.

NixBeat: After spinning Fashionism records at my DJ nights, I can’t help but notice a theme of discontent with throwaway culture. I was wondering if you could tell me about what influenced the track “Subculture Suicide?”
McCloy:
Glad to hear Fashionism tracks are getting spun at dj nights! As for Subculture Suicide it’s just pointing out that we are seeing the social shift where subculture (At least the way they existed over the past 50 years being intricately linked with music and art) are no longer the predominant way by which identity and community are established. This by no means suggests subcultures are dead or only limited to older generations. However, their social significance has changed. If you are coming of age today you have more options to create community especially in the virtual world. So in the first question when you quoted Joshy in saying “Subculture gave an identity and a space to people that were disenfranchised or looking for some sense of belonging” Subculture Suicide does tap into that sentiment but also observes that in some cases we are seeing these subcultures run their course.

NixBeat: Also what are you drawing from with the newest song “Back In The Day?”
McCloy:
I am exactly of the age where you sit between the rise and fall of various social movements. Not quite old enough to have been part of the first wave of musical movements in the late 70’s and early 80’s while also being slightly older than the youth movements that took form in the early to mid 90’s. So if you are between 40 and 50 years old right now, you kind of got to be part of a string of musical movements all in stages of transition and evolution or decline. I find that people of this age group are the truest of fans and champions of the underground because they embraced these movements when they were really un-cool at least in relation to anything in the mainstream. You basically embraced punk and all of it’s offshoots after the major labels had bailed. The subcultures fractionalized and people were just part of the underground and were the weirdos before grunge and pop punk opened it up to the masses. Blah blah.. that didn’t really answer your question. This does though, by the later 2000’s you saw a lot of people from that first wave of punk start coming out of the woodworks and making claims about how things were better back in the day, give me break ok… blah blah blah….No one is denying that this musical movement wasn’t essential in setting the stage for the next 30 years of musical movements. However, we can all just bring it down a notch with all these people who all of sudden started decided they cared about going to shows again. It’s ok we can all do the math, you hooked up with someone got married in the early 80’s had a couple kids did that parent thing then the relationship fell apart after the kids left for collage, now you are single and in your mid 50’s early 60’s so you are going to show again. It’s great that you are older and going to rock’n’roll shows again just don’t bore me with stories of your youth and how important it was. I love hearing about rock ‘n’ roll debauchery and mythology but don’t try and sell someone on it’s importance. It should be said that things are not great just because they happened, they are great because of their relationship to other events or non-events in the context of history. The point is that “Back In The Day”… only means anything because of what followed.

The slightly lighter and more fun answer to the previous question would be that I love lyrics that tie themselves into other songs. The song was written to have no changes as such and just shift in key as the song progressed, kind of like something by The Fall. We absolutely did not accomplish this, but I do quite like the song.

NixBeat: Finally, what inspired “We Got It Wrong?”
McCloy: The idea behind this song was to have something similar to Cast of Thousands by the Adverts and once again like our attempt at something like the Fall this was not achieved. The lyrics for this song for sure came out of the courses I was taking in school that semester. I was just pointing out that the social constructs which establish how we determine our social norms came from a place of ignorance. My favorite line in the song is “If faith can be turned on and off than it’s already lost”. I went to this lecture once and the delivery almost felt like a Python skit. The lecture was about the spread of Christianity to the new world and was referring specifically to the Spanish and the English showing up and planting flags! There is actually a great Eddy Izzard skit about Imperial expansion from one of his comedy shows in the mid 90’s I think it was called Dressed to Kill… Anyways I love the way he says “Flags” I always imagine that my face looks like his when he says “Flags” in a sort of Frankenfurter kind of way. Sorry I rambled a bit there… The lecture pointed out that if one can have a belief system and then be shown a different one and be able to switch belief systems just like that, the switching of beliefs could go both ways. What I mean by this is that the expansion of Christianity was based in the notion that these pagan(non-Christian) belief systems could just be substituted out and replaced by Christianity. This was actually a pretty big philosophical debate in the west during the time of Imperial expansion. The suggestion that there is just a place in the mind where “faith” resides and you could just swap one for another…well this creates a problem when the Christian world is trying to hold it’s own against the Ottoman’s, the Chinese and India. What if you could just swap out Christianity and stick in something else…Anyways the balance of power shifted after the Industrial revolution but there was a couple hundred years where it was anyone’s game. Just to be clear everything that I babbled about is not covered in that song, but it sort of is.

NixBeat: Fashionism just played Calgary with Suicide Helpline. How did that show go?
McCloy: That band was something else, they were like a collision of 70’s glitter glam and ska, very odd but very fun to watch.

NixBeat: Are there plans to tour the United States soon?
McCloy: I imagine we will make a couple trips up the west coast this year, assuming the political climate between our two countries doesn’t totally erode and the borders shut down. However we do have a trip planned to the other side of Canada and we are doing a Scandinavian tour next spring!

NixBeat: Fashionism has released a number of singles; can listeners expect a full length record soon?
McCloy: There are actually a couple more singles coming out soon and all the records that are out of print will be released as a singles collection. However, we are in the process of getting a full record all sorted.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Fashionism?
McCloy: World domination! The only answer any band should ever give to this question.

 

Fashionism have already released a string of singles and take it from me they are worth spinning. Need proof, check out my reviews of all the Fashionism’s records here.  For about Fashionism, visit them at their Facebook.

SDS Fundraiser: A Night of Punk Rock for the People

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On September 30, the University of Utah Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society will be putting on a fundraiser at Diabolical Records. They are hoping to raise enough money to send 10 of their chapter’s members to the SDS Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The convention will be held on October 9 and 8.The fundraiser has an impressive lineup with locals All Systems Fail, Bancho, Cady Heron, Sympathy Pain, Hylian and touring act neutral shirt providing the entertainment. Also included during the event will be art, tasty treats, and a raffle. To find out more, I sat down with University of Utah’s SDS President Theresa and member Doug to find out what can be expected from this event and from the University of Utah’s SDS chapter.

NixBeat: What is the agenda for the SDS National Conference in October?
Doug and Theresa: The conference consists of plenaries and workshops for both Saturday and Sunday; workshops have a variety of topics, while plenaries set out broad outlines for the coming year for national SDS. For example, our current national campaign, Education for All!, is a broad outline of goals such as support for affirmative action, undocumented access to education, and tuition decreases, and was passed at last year’s conference.

NixBeat: How did you attract bands like All Systems Fail to play the benefit show?
Doug: To a large extent it was just a natural outgrowth of the really great DIY ethic held up by the bands who are playing. We were able to get in contact with people various ways, through personal connections and the local music scene generally, but the folks who agreed to play didn’t really need any prodding or persuasion. They’re just great people generously donating their time as a great testimony to Salt Lake’s local music scene.

NixBeat: The San Diego Lo-Fi pop group neutral shirt is also on the bill, what’s the story there?
Doug: A friend of mine was a very hard working person organizing a lot of DIY shows in Salt Lake, but they moved off to Sweden. So neutral shirt was looking to put on a show in Salt Lake on the 30th for a while and they got a hold of my friend, who had actually helped us with some advice organizing our show, who forwarded them to us and we threw them on.

NixBeat: What other activities will the SDS fundraiser include?
Theresa: We’ll hold a raffle and have some speeches from SDS members.

NixBeat: Does this show include the participation of other organizations?
Doug: We’re hoping to see some old friends from other groups (in addition to new friends, of course) but, while we work with various groups on campus and throughout our communities. No other activist groups are formally involved in the fundraiser itself.

NixBeat: How much money does SDS need to raise to get its members to the conference?
Theresa: We are hoping to raise about 300 dollars.

NixBeat: Why is SDS having their fundraiser at Diabolical Records?
Doug: Diabolical and its owners, Adam and Alana, are great resources in local music and host shows really often, generally for free. They were definitely the most obvious option among (sort of) established venues in Salt Lake, and they were kind enough to tell us yes when we asked.

NixBeat: Does the local SDS chapter coordinate with other national branches of the organization?
Theresa: Absolutely; national work amongst members from various chapters has been crucial for local work and building the national student movement. We give each other advice, help build new SDS chapters, and plan national events like the national convention through regular conference calls and communication on social media.

NixBeat: SDS stands in solidarity with 17 year-old Abdi Mohamed who was shot by an officer of the SLCPD. What actions is SDS taking to support Mohamed and stand in opposition to police brutality?
Theresa: Many SDS members consistently attend solidarity events for Abdi organized by Utah Against Police Brutality.

NixBeat: What other campaigns is SDS involved in?
Doug and Theresa: SDS’s main focus is the Education for All! campaign. We demand access to state-funded scholarships for undocumented students in Utah, which is currently illegal under state Senate Bill 81. We’re trying to build momentum and support around town and on campus for this goal through rallies, call-ins, and education (flyering, panels, etc) in order to amend—and hopefully, eventually repeal—this bill. Beyond this, we have also worked behind the slogan Dump Trump! and we organized a protest of Trump when he was in town. We try to stay abreast of struggles going on in our communities—usually not in as much of a formal group role, but to lend our support as individuals to organizing around town.

NixBeat: Has the recent controversial rhetoric used by GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump inspired curiosity toward SDS from the wider student population on campus?
Doug: We had a big presence protesting him when he was in town in March which got our name out to some people, and a lot of people can get behind “Dump Trump.” So it’s a slogan we have on some of our pamphlets and such. I would describe it as Donald being a man that people can easily agree to oppose, so we’ve used that a little bit.

NixBeat: What’s next for SDS?
Doug: We’ll continue to focus on our demand for state-funded scholarships for undocumented people, and the amendment of SB81; we’ll post about future events to that end on our Facebook page and spread the word on campus. We’ll continue working on this concrete, material goal and on building the student movement, and anyone interested in helping us is welcome to join. Attendance at future events, meetings and our fundraiser this Friday will be hugely appreciated and go a long way towards progressive change in Utah.

The requested donation for attending the fundraiser at Diabolical Records is $5. According to their event page, all donations will go to the planning of and travel to the National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information on the University of Utah’s SDS chapter, check out their Facbook page: https://www.facebook.com/UofUSDS/?fref=nf

Hello Operator, Here’s a Telegram

Courtesy of Telegram’s Facebook

Following the highly anticipated release of Telegram’s debut album, Operator, the lads took off for a successful tour of the States. There they hit up the Austin, Texas music festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), then proceeded to take on the Big Apple. To get the inside scoop on Telegram’s US invasion, Heatwave sat down with the guys for a chat. After some less-than intense grilling, we got them to tell us about playing in New York City, performing for crowds in Japan, DJing parties in London, a possible new release in the autumn and much more!

Check out the full interview published @ Heatwave Magazine!!

LITA FORD: THE QUEEN OF NOIZE

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Lita Ford had quite the storied rock n’ roll career: starting off in The Runaways, she rose to impressive prominence as a heavy metal musician in the ’80s. After years in obscurity, Ford has made a comeback to tell her story in Living Like A Runaway, published by Dey Street Books on Feb. 23. “It’s a story that had to be told,” says Ford. “A chick in a rock band in the ’80s … ya know … I was the only one that really that did what I did—play guitar and front a bunch of guys.” Living Like A Runaway takes readers through Ford’s life, both personal and professional. In it, Ford shows time and time again that she pulls no punches. It’s an attitude that very much defines her way of doing things, musically or otherwise.

Dig the full interview published @ SLUG Magazine!!

A RADICALLY RELEVANT DECLARATION: CHATTING WITH THE POP GROUP’S MARK STEWART

On Feb.19, the Pop Group rereleased their phenomenal 1980 album, For How Long Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, and the 1979 single, We are Prostitutes on their own Y Label, distributed through Rough Trade. These releases boast some of the best of The Pop Group’s signature expression of antagonistic post-punk that is influenced by funk, jazz and dub. These were originally released during the high periods of unrest that defined U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s controversial reign, when The Pop Group took an active stance in favor of nuclear disarmaments and against administering SUS Aid to Pol Pot’s Cambodia. It was then that the Pop Group recorded and released the radically relevant declaration For How Long Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? an album that fought to deconstruct established institutions and mainstream culture. To get a taste of what The Pop Group professed, some top cuts of these records are “Forces of Oppression,” the Dennis Bovell–produced “We Are All Prostitutes” and the straight-to-the-point “There Are No Spectators.” For founder Mark Stewart, the re-release of these crucial albums are just as relevant today as they were in the past.

Dig the full interview published @ SLUG Magazine!!

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD BOD

Tonight, Diabolical Records will be hosting the official return of the band Dead Bod after a two-year hiatus. At the show, they will also be releasing a self-titled EP containing the only four songs ever recorded by the band.

The sheer brutal and raw energy of the Dead Bod EP is absolutely astounding. These cats capture a moment of punk history defined in L.A. between 1978 and 1983 and bring it back to light for the contemporary listener. It should not a surprise, then, that such a stunning delivery can only come from some of Salt Lake’s finest musicians. This company of outlaws boasts the familiar faces and talents of Dustin Yearby, Terrence Warburton, Shaun Sparks and Natasha Sebring, who each have distinct roots in the Salt Lake music scene.

Dig the full article published @ SLUG Magazine!!

DIABOLICAL RECORDS: ADAM TYE AND ALANA BOSCAN CELEBRATE TWO YEARS

Adam Tye and Alana Boscan began infecting the public with solid and infectious grooves at Diabolical Records’ brick-and-mortar location in December of 2013. Photo: Gilbert Cisneros

On July 5, Diabolical Records celebrates its second-year anniversary. Their existence in Salt Lake City has made a remarkable impact on the music scene—both as a record shop and the hottest new all-ages music venue. Diabolical Records first opened its doors at Granary Row in 2013 and quickly attracted a following, and after Granary Row ceased operating for the winter, Diabolical Records moved to its current location at 238 S. Edison Street. There, Adam Tye and Alana Boscan began infecting the public with solid and infectious grooves.

Read the full article @ SLUG MAG!!

Nix Beat Dj-Mix and Interview

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[The Forum] sat down with Nick Kuzmack an international journalist/social activist/music guru. After cracking a couple beers we let him take us for a tour of his ridiculous record collection. Fair warning, this podcast contains what many have described as only the most radical of celestial rhythms. So click the image above and dig these grooves.