Interview by Martin Savage (from Savage #4)
How did you get into rock’n’roll and stuff?
Uh, how did I get into rock’nroll… My mom was a hippie and she always had crap like Led Zeppelin and all that around the house and I always hated it. So I went through all of her records and figured out that I didn’t like Led Zeppelin, I didn’t like Jimi Hendrix and I figured out that I did like a Roy Orbison record. I bought a Buddy Holly record when I was probably ten ’cause I saw ”Buddy Holly Story” when I was probably eleven. I got into Richie Valens.
How old are you? Nineteen?
Isn’t it hard to be young and listening to rock’n’roll music in America?
I think it’s great. I like it. Yeah, I like being young. Yeah, yeah, but you have to be 21 to get into clubs. Well, they always just assume that I’m 21.
So, when you did the first Reatards single it was only you doing everything?
It was just me. The band started with this guy named Joe and this guy named Jason and I had written a few songs. They were basically metalheads, they were into Metallica and that kinda stuff. I told ’em basically it wasn’t gonna happen ’cause they wanted to write bad metal songs. I kicked ’em out and recorded everything myself.
Cool. So you just sent the stuff to Eric?
Yeah, the only tape I ever made of it was to give to Eric and it was just a joke. I thought it was terrible. I was beating on two-by-four’s and bucket’s. I mean…
But he went for it.
So you didn’t know him before?
No. I knew he was in the Oblivians but…
With the LP… I got this tape from King Louie and there’s millions of songs on it. How long did it take to record?
Yeah, we recorded 32 songs for it in three hours. We recorded it three different days an hour a day.
How do you record?
On my three track, which is a four track with one track broken. We went to Radio Schack and bought a bunch of eight dollar microphones. Put ’em on and turned everything up ’til it was in the red and went with it.
So what’s it like recording with the Persuaders?
It’s definitely a test of patience. There’s this guy named Tony, he smells like patchouli and he has like a handlebar moustache, and he’s trying to record with us too. He’s wanting to do like this weird stuff, all kinds of 70’s retro stuff with it. Louie wants to turn everything up. I’m looking for something in the middle.
Tell me about the tour you did.
Ah, the tour. The tour was fun, it was great. We started off in Memphis with the Persuaders. There was twelve people there, so that kinda set the pattern for the tour. We played in Columbia, Columbia was great. We walk in, it’s obvious that we’re kids. We walk in to the bar, we sit down. The first thing the lady does is bring two pitchers of beer to the Reatards. We’re like ”Yeah”. She keeps bringing pitchers of beer the whole night. It was amazing. And we played in this place in St. Louis. Any band wants to play in St. Louis, don’t play at the Creepy Crawl. They guaranteed us $150. ’Cause we needed a guarantee, that’s $75 a band you know. They didn’t come through so we broke all their toilets. We broke the toilets, busted out the lightbulbs so they couldn’t see how to keep the toilets from overflowing. And we left. The best show by far was probably Chicago. We played in a Mexican food restaurant. It was pretty killer. Detroit… In Detroit this guy… I don’t know his name, he runs a label named Italy Records. I had to give him the knee in the face while we were playing and this guy from the Epilepltix he jumped on me and started choking me. He started beating me up you know.
Sounds like a good tour.
Yeah, it was fun.
Was it the first time?
Yeah, it was the first time that we’ve toured. The first time we had a car that would make it across the street.
So, who’s in the band now?
This guy named Jason. He’s from Mississippi. He used to play in a band called the Eunuchs. They have an LP out on SackO’Shit Records. He’s definitely the most interesting member in the Reatards I think by far. He’s kind of a crazy guy. And then there’s… We’re looking for a guitar player right now. In Chicago we were doin’ a interview for this magazine and the guitar player called my girlfriend fat. So I wasn’t having it and beat him up. It wasn’t a big deal. We were drinking whiskey, we were drunk and I beat him up so he quit. He quit in Chicago but Louie basically told him if you don’t play the rest of the shows we’re leaving you here in Chicago.
You didn’t have a steady drummer before…
No, we’ve never had a steady band. We had this guy who played drums the longest of anybody. His name is Ryan. He played on the LP. He’s in a band called the Wongs. They’re pretty good. They’re supposed to put their LP out on Rip Off but they say that Greg Lowery is a fuckin’ asshole and they don’t wanna deal with them.
What modern bands do you like?
Ah well, there’s not too many new bands that I like. I like the Persuaders, I like the Epileptix, they’re pretty good. I used to like the Oblivians. They shattered it with the gospel record for me though. But I can still go back and listen to their other records and think they’re pretty genious. But the gospel record, it killed everything about them that I liked. There’s this band in Memphis called Vegas Thunder I like a lot. They have pyrotechinics and sound like Motörhead. They’re pretty good. I can’t think of any bands that interest me lately. I don’t know… It seems like everything that comes out now is either hipster garage bullshit or lo-fi or trash just for the sake of being lo-fi.
Oh yeah, the Bad times, tell me about them…
Eric got a call from this guy named Jim Miller who said he wanted to see if Eric had a new band to open up for Guitar Wolf. And Eric said ”Yeah, yeah, I have a band”. And Eric didn’t have a band so he gave me a call and asked me if I wanted to play in his band and I told him ”Yeah”. He wanted me to play drums, I can’t play drums. He said ”That’s perfect”. And he had Louie to play guitar. So him and Louie sing and play guitar. I get up and play half the songs playing guitar. It’s pretty good. I would say my songs sound like the Reatards meets like Black Flag before Henry Rollins destroyed the band. And I think Eric’s songs are really good. They’re kinda like the Troggs meet the Kinks or something. Louie’s songs are just Louie’s songs. You can’t describe Louie’s songs.
Do you plan on putting out anything with the Bad Times?
We’re supposed to put out a record if we can ever talk Eric into it. We’ve got an album basically recorded. It’s just sitting in my house collecting dust. If anyone wants to put it out, talk to Eric.
Any upcoming Reatards releases?
Yeah, I guess the release that’ll be out the soonest is a comp with the Persuaders, the Blacks, Cheap Dates and Reatards. And then there’s supposed to be a 7” out on the drummers label. And I guess there’s an EP coming out on Jason and Louie’s label. Hopefully another LP in like six months.
Any other plans? Tours?
Actually I think the Persuaders wanna bring us with them to Europe in January. Babysit.
You got anything to add?
I don’t know… Maybe… I just wanna tell people in Europe that the Reatards are born out of goblins coming from the center of the earth having sex with human beings creating a subhuman race. They chopped their tails off, they finally didn’t grow back and they learned how to walk upright.