The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world








Mark: Hi, Mike, it’s nice to speak to you. Where are you speaking from today?




Mike: I am about an hour and a half, out of New Orleans, out in the country near a lake and in the middle of the woods!!




Mark: It’s an interesting time to be in the US at the moment, echoes of Katrina, with the big storms going through the East Coast.




Mike: Yeah, I believe Hurricane Sandy has been hitting the East Coast this week; it seems to be pretty bad. We just had a hurricane recently called Isaac, which I was out of town for, but was more similar to Katrina for bringing back memories. The electricity went out for a few days, so it wasn’t as bad as Katrina, obviously. But, that’s nature for you, what are you going to do? If you live in California you have earthquakes, and you live in the mid west you have tornadoes!! It was strange to see pictures of New York flooding, I have never seen that. I used to live in Brooklyn back in the nineties, and the worst thing to happen, was that it snowed!




Mark: Yeah, it’s surreal, and of course the other thing is you’ve got the election going on over there.




Mike: Yeah, that’s really pretty annoying, because that is all you hear about! I can’t vote because I’m a felon, I don’t have the right to vote, I could get reinstated, but I don’t know, it’s the lesser of two evils really!!




Mark: The big news as far as we are concerned, is that you guys are coming over to see us in November.




Mike: Oh, I can’t wait man! It’s only a couple of weeks away.




Mark: Are you looking forward to it?




Mike: I am super excited!! I’ve wanted to come to Australia since I was a kid, and especially since the eighties, when I was playing in punk rock bands. A lot of my favourite bands are from Australia, I love the Birthday Party and Radio Birdman, and The Saints are one of my favourite bands ever, there are a lot of great bands from over there.




Mark: That’s great; it’s always good for me when someone mentions The Saints, because they were always my favourite Australian band.




Mike: They were brilliant, and a lot of people only liked the first record, but I liked the later stuff, even though it had saxophones and keyboards, it’s still really good! Some of Chris Bailey’s solo records are good too, and I think their first album came out a little bit before The Ramones album; they were on the same wavelengths on opposite sides of the world, which is pretty cool!!




Mark: That’s right, and they are actually touring this year as well, which is amazing. Not all original members, but it’s just good to see them tour. So, is your tour going to be as chaotic, as past tours?!




Mike: Well, I guess we’ll find out! You never really know what’s going to happen, until it happens! Nothing is planned ahead of time. Although I plan on doing some drinking, I want to get drunk over there, for sure!! Hopefully the fans will too and the shows will be crazy too! I hope there’s a lot of energy and that people will really get in to it, as it is our first time over there. I hope they are chaotic, but not to a point where we are in any kind of trouble or anything. I think that was one of the problems with bringing us over there, was that we’d been trying to get over there for about ten years, and I guess our reputation preceded us. It seems a lot of promoters have been afraid to bring us, but finally these guys are going to hook it up, so we are really excited about it.




Mark: Heathen Skulls have brought some great bands over recently, they are one of those touring companies that are bringing stuff out that we really wanted to see, and no one has covered that market before. Anything planned for your days off? Apart from a few beers!!




Mike: I don’t even know if we really have any days off! We are only doing six shows, and most of them are in major cities. Then we do the festival, The CherryFest. I really want to see as much of Australia, as I possibly can, I’m in to all things Australian, like Chopper Reid!! I have read all his books!! I’m really in to the crime thing and the history of crime, so I want to see some cool spots. We’re the type of band that hangs out with the fans; we’ll be at the bar with them before and after the show, so I’m hoping we can meet some people to take us and show us around and show us some sights. We went to Japan in 2002, and we basically saw the clubs, and you don’t really get to do a lot of stuff, so we have to put in to it, as much stuff as we possibly can.




Mark: I’m sure we’ll look after you. What will you be playing/ do you have any plans as far as material is concerned?




Mike: We have new songs. The album is actually written, and we are trying to decide on a record label, because we trust no record label! But, we will be doing some new stuff, but mostly people want to hear the old stuff, like off “Take as Needed for Pain” and this is stuff that people have never heard live over there, as they have never seen us at all. We’ll play it by ear and see what the fans want; as long as we get to jam I’ll be happy!




Mark: Are you writing a lot at the moment? I know you have the album in the bag, but are you still constantly writing?




Mike: Yeah. We have a bunch of songs written, they’re not entirely all finished, we need to put some lyrics to some of the songs. The guys are still coming up with parts of songs, and we are trying to figure out what to do. We are supposedly, well we do a local show here in New Orleans, next week, and then we head to Australia the day after, and then go straight to New York and do two nights there. Then we come home and go in to the studio, which will be a good time as we will be nice and tight from doing all the shows. We should have decided on all the songs we want to put on the album by then. If it was up to me I’d like to record some extra stuff too, like compilations and things like that, but we’ll see what happens.




Mark: That’s great to hear. A couple of years ago you did a couple of festivals in Europe, and you were talking about recording the new stuff, so it’s great that you are on the verge of doing that. Have you got any side projects on the go at the moment?




Mike: As of right now, no, but, everyone’s been so busy; Phil’s doing a solo project and Hank’s always on tour, so it’s been pushed to the side right now. I’ve been doing these spoken word shows, where I’ll just go and read from my book, I have a book, and I also have an experimental kind of noise band, I do with this guy, which is easy as there’s just two guys and we don’t really have to do a lot, that’s called “The Guilt Of”, but basically I’m just waiting to go on tour. We just came back from Europe, and we did a West Coast tour of California and Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. So, between that and heading over there I’m just sort of chilling out!




Mark: It’s been great talking to you, and I just have a couple of quick questions to close with. If you could have been involved in any piece of music from the past, what would it have been and why?




Mike: God, that’s a hard question!! It’s a toss up between a Black Sabbath record, or “Never Mind the Bollocks”! Or, maybe even a Saints record! There’s a show on over here called Classic Albums, where they spotlight one record and talk about the making of that record, it’s a great show and I even watched the ones of bands I don’t really like, like Tom Petty and Peter Gabriel, it’s a really cool insight, in to what it’s like in the studio. That’s a great question, but so hard to answer!!




Mark: Here’s an easier one, what is the meaning of life?




Mike: Yeah, that’s really easy!! The meaning of life, well, Monty python said that!! I don’t know, have fun, drink lots of vodka and that’s it!!




Mark: That’s a good one! Can’t wait to see you guys over here, we are on the West Coast, and so we miss out, would love to have gone to The CherryFest, but I think that’s sold out.




Mike: Has it really? That’s in Melbourne, right? Should be fun. I want to go to the record stores there, and hoping to hang out with everyone.




Mark: We actually still do have a few record stores left over here so enjoy! All the best with the tour and thanks for speaking to us.





By Mark Diggins