Archive for thrash

No, thank you.

Posted in flyers, Mala Suerte with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by backstabbath

No thank you.While many, if not most of you, will be stuffed to the point of being comatose while celebrating this yearly day of thanks (or as I like to call it, the day of acknowledging the  genocide of indigenous people), rather than being thankful and full of turkey and dressing, we’ll be spiteful and full of piss and vinegar as we prepare for a post-Hatesgiving onslaught of sonic rage and thrashing violence. We’ll be joined by our bitter brethren in The Blood Royale in lambasting this bloated and rotting corpse of liberty. Newcomers, Terminal Voltage, which features ex-members of Black Spr11-29-13 alternate flyering, Blunt Force Trauma, and Condemned Unit will be bringing their freshly fashioned ire to the stage with their first-ever live detonation, and local miscreants, Prions, ignite the sparks of indignation.

So after you’ve reveled in the spirit of gluttony and followed that up with the ultimate in capitalist consumerism on Black Friday, come join us later in the evening at Beerland and burn off some of that excess fat and release some of the inner rage you’ve accumulated from fighting over creature comforts and electronic playthings at your local big box store. For this we will be thankful.

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Wasted Life: An interview with D.R.I. vocalist, Kurt Brecht.

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , on January 8, 2012 by backstabbath

(This interview that I conducted in 2000 originally appeared in the July 2006 issue of Whoopsy Magazine. I’ve included it here as well so that more  people have the chance to read it.)

I’m fairly certain that if you are reading this then you are at least somewhat familiar with the Texas-born band, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, or D.R.I. as they are more commonly known, so I won’t go into a long-winded account of the band’s history. I would, however, like to shed a little light on what they’ve meant to me throughout the years and on how their music was instrumental in exposing me to underground music. I must’ve been around fifteen or sixteen years old when I first heard D.R.I. At this point, I was already into bands and artists like Aerosmith, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, and Ted Nugent and I was starting to get into heavier stuff like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth. Growing up in a conservative town like Waco offered me very little opportunities for release, so one of my favorite activities back then was to go down to the local Hastings to shop for cassette tapes.

Back then I didn’t have anyone to expose me to cool new music since I don’t have any siblings and none of my other friends or relatives were into heavier styles of music, so essentially, I was on my own. On one particular trip to Hastings I came across the cassette release of D.R.I.’s Dirty Rotten LP and was instantly drawn to the wonderfully rendered cover of a skeletal soldier bursting through the door of some unknown residence. After looking over the track listing, I was intrigued by such subversive song titles as “I Don’t Need Society, “Money Stinks”, and “Capitalists Suck” and even more intrigued by the fact that they managed to fit 26 songs on one side of a cassette tape! I quickly purchased the tape and headed home, unaware of just how different D.R.I.’s music was compared to just about anything else out there, and of how much of an impact it was to have on my life.

The first thing I noticed when I popped the cassette into my tape deck and the first few notes of music began to blare out of the speakers, was that the production was extremely raw and when the opening mid-paced verse of “I Don’t Need Society” gave way to a virtually unrelenting blitzkrieg of blistering speed, the likes of which I’d never heard before, my first thought was, “What the hell? Are these guys ever going to slow down?”

After the tape ended I was somewhat bewildered, yet still intrigued, so I flipped over it again for another listen. During this second playback, as I read along with the lyrics, everything just clicked inside my head and it all made perfect sense. This was the truest sound of rebellion and rage, and of passion and unbridled aggression I’d ever heard. These guys were writing true songs of protest and were playing them at such an insane velocity, that your average listener would probably deem them utterly incomprehensible…and I loved every second of it.

D.R.I. exposed me to the world of extreme music and I dove into it headfirst and never looked back. They were playing hardcore music long before it was considered fashionable and before it became a “dirty” word. Hardcore, to me, was bands like D.R.I., Bad Brains, and Black Flag, and they have absolutely nothing in common with the fashion conscisous, trendy haircut, crybaby, cookie-cutter bands that comprise the majority of the hardcore and metalcore scenes today. However, before I go into an “old man” tirade about why today’s extreme music scene sucks, I’ll just get on with it. This interview was conducted with D.R.I. vocalist, Kurt Brecht, back in 2000 immediately after one of their shows here at The Back Room.

You guys toured with “The Social Chaos Tour” this past summer which was basically an “old-school” punk fest. I was wondering if you found the crowd to be more of the older punk rock types or was there a pretty good mixture of young and old, punk and non-punk?

Pretty much a mixture.

Overall, how was the response and turnout for the entire tour?

It was pretty good. You know, like any tour when you’re out playing seven nights a week – you’re just here or there on a Monday night and it may not be that good, but on Friday and Saturday nights it’s pretty good.

I was rather surprised by the show here in Austin because D.R.I. was billed as playing somewhere in the middle of the set, yet you guys ended up playing dead last.

There was a problem when we showed up in Austin. We arrived later than most of the other bands and there was kind of an uproar and the (promoters and club staff) were saying that they wanted us to play last. They were afraid that if we did not play last that everybody would leave, which I could not understand because I didn’t think we were that popular in Austin. Just from the vibe going on outside, before we got (to the club); everybody decided it would be better if we played last, so we were thinking, “Why aren’t we the headlining band?”

That’s exactly how I felt because you guys were the only reason I came out and I ended up having to literally wait around all day and night.

That’s what everybody else was saying too but it just didn’t end up happening that way, and what’s kind of fucked up is that the headlining bands got paid a lot more money than we did for the whole tour. Not only in Austin, but in other towns we were asked to play later.

When I first saw the band roster for the tour, I remember thinking that D.R.I. may be a bit too “metallic” or metal-tinged compared to the rest of the bands on the bill, although after witnessing your live set I noticed that it primarily consisted of songs from your first two albums. Was this consistent for the rest of the tour?

Yeah. What we played here in Austin that night was basically the set we had for the whole tour because it wasn’t our headlining set. It was just an opening set, about half an hour long.

You guys played “Suit and Tie Guy”, “Thrashard”, and “Do the Dream” from the Four of a Kind and Thrash Zone albums but I think the rest of the material was mainly from the The Dirty Rotten LP and Dealing With It.

During that tour we had days off and we played our full set. We even got to do some shows with TSOL where we each got to play our headlining sets. That was really cool.

So, what’s the word on a new album? I hear that you are going back to the “hardcore punk” sound of the first two LP’s.

We have no new album. We have no record label. We had our own record label called Rotten Records which our manager ran. We fired him and he’s still running the label so I don’t think we’ll be doing a record with him. We’re searching for a label and we don’t have a lot of offers. Nobody seems interested.

Is there any chance of you putting the album out yourselves, somehow?

No. We don’t have the money for that. It’s very expensive, not only to record the record, but also to promote and produce it.

I checked out the D.R.I. web site a while back and read that the band had written quite a few new songs that were in the vein of your older and faster songs.

Yeah, we have some new songs but we haven’t put a lot of time into (them) because of the fact that we don’t have a record label.

At this point a zealous, wide-eyed, and visibly intoxicated fan wandered over to our table to voice his appreciation for D.R.I.’s music.

“I’ve been listening to you guys since I was thirteen fucking years old, man! Thanks a lot, man.”

To which Kurt graciously replied, “Thank you”.

“How long are you guys gonna do this shit? Until you fall down?”

“Probably, until I fall off the stage,” responded Kurt.

Then the drunken patron went into a tale about the time he met Lemmy of Motorhead and asked him the same question, which unsurprisingly elicited a similar response.

“Sure. What else are you gonna do? I’ve already wasted my life. I mean, I don’t have any other skills,” offered Kurt honestly.

The guy thanked Kurt once again and headed back to the bar, as his cup of beer was dangerously close to being empty. I immediately engaged Kurt in more conversation.

A lot of lyrics for D.R.I. songs seem to have started out as one of your poems, which leads me to wonder about the song writing process. Which comes first, the lyrics or the music? Basically, what is the D.R.I. method for writing songs?

I’ll give lyrics to Spike and he’ll write music to them and sometimes he’ll write music and I’ll put lyrics to that.

You’ve put out a few books on your own publishing company, Dirty Rotten Press. Your last book, Whore Stories, is a collection of stories written from the first person perspective, about various exploits and encounters with different whores and prostitutes. At the beginning there is a disclaimer that states that the book is entirely a work of fiction, yet after reading it I got the impression that there may have been some truth to some of the stories or that they may have been based on actual personal experiences or situations. Care to comment?

There is absolutely no truth in that (book).

No truth at all? You mean to tell me that the entire book is a work of fiction?

Yeah, it’s something I made up in my own sick mind.

Isn’t there a bit of it that may be real?

Well, some of it could be true about other people’s stories that they’ve given me…or something like that. You know what I’m talking about.

What about your first book, Word War I? Is that still available?

Word War I was the first book that I put out. It was photocopied and stapled together. I only made a hundred copies. It was all poems, photographs, and drawings of mine and it ended up in Notes From The Nest. So that’s why I never really reproduced that one.

So there is some of it that hasn’t been reprinted?

Yeah. There is some stuff that people haven’t seen out of there. Some people have been wanting it lately and I told them that I would check it out when I got home from this tour and see what I could do.

I wouldn’t mind getting a copy of that myself.

Yeah, I’ll see what I can do. I was selling them for like, three dollars each and they went real fast. Originally, I just put it out so I’d have some money because we were going on tour year after year and we were starving. I was starving to death, basically. I was so skinny and weak and everything. I could barely even survive on tour and I needed something, you know. I saw other people like Henry Rollins selling books and I thought, “I gotta put something out. I gotta put some kind of book out and sell ’em so I can have some money (while) on tour.”

We never actually had any money to split up to live on. Our money was to pay for gas and hotels and our van and repairs and all that kind of shit. So that book, when it came out, was basically for that, but like I said, it sold out real fast and didn’t really help me out that much. After that I just started putting out other books. It’s the same thing basically now. We don’t really get paid much except for whatever we do on the side – like my books.

Do you have any other books in the works?

I do, yeah, but I can’t put them out because I can’t afford to. All the money that I make from my other books…I just spend it.

So, are you currently working any other jobs?

I have a regular job, yeah. Construction…remodeling. My boss is always pissed off when I go on tour. When I come back I don’t really expect to have my job back but usually he’ll (rehire) me after a week or so. He doesn’t like to hire me back right away because he thinks I get too complacent (and that I think) I can come and go as I please, so he’ll say, “Well, I don’t really need you now,” but after about a week he’ll call me and say, “All right”.

Back in ’89 when the Thrash Zone LP came out, and after reading the lyrics to the song “Gun Control“, which is basically a song about the need for stricter gun control laws, I remember being really surprised by the stance taken on that particular issue.

I didn’t write that song! Spike wrote those lyrics. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want those lyrics, but there are a lot of lyrics of mine that he doesn’t like either and he compromises, right. So I compromised with that song, and we rarely played it live, if at all.

So, what are your views on Gun Control?

I’m not into control at all.

Yeah. I always found those lyrics to be somewhat odd, especially coming from a band that seemed to have such strongly anti-authoritarian views, as evidenced on songs like “Counter Attack” and “I Don’t Need Society”.

Yeah, the deal was that Spike lived in Oakland with his wife in kind of a bad part of town, and at night all around his house, machine guns would be going off all the time. (When you’re) living in the city and people are shooting all around your house, you’re on the floor a lot of times at night because you’re afraid that a bullet’s going to come ricocheting through your wall. So, he came out with that song and he believed very strongly in it. I don’t know if he still does, but he did at the time and I had to respect that.

D.R.I. has been around since the early 80s when the hardcore punk movement was going strong, and the band managed to do well during the heyday of thrash and speed metal in the late 8os/early 90s and is still going strong here in 2000. What is your opinion on the current state of the metal/hardcore scene, especially considering the proliferation of so many rap-metal and black metal bands?

I like rap-metal and I like some black metal too. I feel that bands like ours should just get together with other bands and make big tours and go out, kind of like we did with the Social Chaos Tour. Bands like us and D.O.A. and bands like that that are still together and have been around for a long time may not be able to make it just going around on their own. We should just get together and present a good package rather that having somebody pay $15.00 to see us with some local bands that they’ve never heard of, or that they can see every night for free. I think we should just continue to do that sort of thing, but as it is right now, we do shit on our own a lot of times because that’s what the booking agency wants.

There’s something that’s been bugging me for years. There’s a song on Crossover called “I.D.K.Y.” After reading those lyrics over and over I’ve never been able to come up with even the slightest clue as to what that acronym could mean. What that hell does I.D.K.Y. stand for?

I don’t know yet. We were working on the song and Spike kept asking me every day, when we’d show up at practice, “Do you have a name for that song yet?”

I kept telling him, “I don’t know yet; I don’t know yet,” and he said, “Well, let’s just call it I.D.K.Y. (for) I don’t know yet.”

I couldn’t come up with a name and I still never have, so that’s what it ended up being.

What’s the key to D.R.I.’s longevity?

We like to go on tour (and) we like to travel a lot. None of us have ever wanted to be in some other band, otherwise we just would’ve split up and started other bands…and our fans that keep coming back and wanting us, and writing to us, and calling us, and e-mailing us, and saying “Come back on tour (and) come to our town. We love you guys. We like you and we like your songs.”

How can you give it up? You can become addicted to it. Like I said, I have a regular job and everything (but) when I go home and I check my e-mail and I’ve got e-mails from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, and places like that, with all these people asking, “When are you gonna come back to our town? We’re waiting for you to come”.

You know, they push you into it. It’s an ego trip, basically.

As long as you guys keep coming around, I’ll definitely keep coming to check you out. I don’t make it out to as many shows as I once did, but I always make it a point to catch all my favorite bands.

I’m the same way.

I guess that’s about it. Any last words?

I’d like to thank Austin for being there for us. At first we never had good shows in Austin because we were from Houston and people here didn’t like us. After we got Felix in the band, (and because) he was from Austin, we started doing better. Now that nobody thinks we’re from Houston, it doesn’t really matter (anymore).

(All live photos in this post are courtesy of Scott McCauley)