Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maggot Sandwich Interview

Originally published in 1998 in issue 13 of Married Punks

Maggot Sandwich

Maggot Sandwich may be familiar to some of you.  What do you want?  A medal?  For those that don't know, it's a punk band.  No, not like Green Day, The Offspring or Bad Religion.  It's a band that maybe hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, which is why I'm doing this.

I was introduced to the sounds of this band, which has been around for years, when its newest CD, Sleaze Factor, was sent my way to see if I wanted to carry it with Chimp West.  Of course I did!  Hell, Johnny Wadd (the band, not the movie character) is inspired by Maggot Sandwich.  Why wouldn't I carry it?

I should note that the pictures originally sent were exposed to water by some postman somewhere.  They all stuck together, but looked like band shots.  Instead, I have some other photos that were sent later (some from New Olreans during Mardi Gras, and one from a swinger mag).  They don't have much to do with the interview, but you'll look at them anyway because that's what people do when they read an interview.  For the record, this interview took place in Spain, surrounded by the bodies of dead politicans and would-be assassins, who succeeded in their attempts, but paid the ultimate price.  We were shook up, but continued with the interview anyway.  The man answering the questions is Vik Kaos (guitars and vocals).  The other members of the band are: John Stewart on bass and Graeme Straeffer pounding the drums.

Married Punks: You guys have been around for over 15 years.  You all have other jobs and are fathers.  Why continue with this?  Do you ever question if it's worth it?

Vik Kaos:  We love to play.  I never question my instincts.  We get joy and satisfaction from doing what we want and being good at it.  We're setting an example for our kids; that money is not the only motiviation in life.

MP:  In all they years that you've been a band, what is the most memorable moment?  And, more importantly, what was it like playing with the Dead Kennedys (a favorite of mine)?

VK:  Getting to meet people whose music I admire, like the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, and lots of others has been great, but opening for the Dead Kennedys in New Orleans was the most memorable.  It was on a week night, and we all had to work the day before and after the show.  The club was a fancy schmancey disco-like place we had never played before.  The promoter of the show gave us bad directions, so we were late as hell getting there.  As we were loading in our equipment, our pals Shell Shock were playing already.  Mike Hatch and the gang totally rocked. (RIP Mike.)  As we got ready to play, I saw Jello and East Bay sitting in the balcony to our right.  I was nervous as hell.  We totally rocked the house, got a huge pit going; it was like a dream.  When we finished our set, we were greeted on stage by Jello, who helped us move our equipment off the stage and told us we were the "ultimate garage band."  I took it as a compliment.  Unlike most of my heroes that I've met, Jello was a really nice guy.  After they played, Jello told us that we had blown them away (not true).  The promoter of the show paid us double our guarantee--that never happened before or since--and told us we had stole the show.  With our egos fully inflated, we got in our van for the four hour drive home just in time to go to work.  So much for rock stardom.

MP:  You've seen a lot of trends in punk come and go.  What's good about it now?  What's bad?

VK:  I am a musician whose music has been called "punk" since about 1977.  Sometimes the music I play is in style.  Sometimes it's not.  I don't change or pay much attention to trends.  To me, it's about music, not skating or hairstyles or fashion or politically correctness or snow boarding or any of the other goofy shit supposedly connected to the punk scene.  To quote another of my heroes I have opened up for, Government Issue, "The scene is just an empty dream, but who wants to face reality?."

MP:  Where do you see it in ten years?

VK:  In ten years there will still be people who make music without profit motive.  The scene will be the same wonderful empty dream for a new batch of kids and old farts like me.  If I'm still alive, I will still be playing.

MP:  Will it still be viable?

VK:  It won't be financially viable, but it is not now, is it?

MP:  Speak for yourself.  I'm making millions from this rag.  Okay, onto politics.  What are your political views?

VK:  My political views run similar to the Libertarian Party, but I'm not a member.  The government is immoral and corrupt and has no right to be a moral authority.  All laws forcing Christian morality bullshit on non-Christians like myself totally offends me.  All laws about sex, nudity, drugs, prostitution, any moral issue--I do not give the government moral authority over my life.

MP:  Good answer!  It's odd, people like you and I think that the government does try to push morals (and capitalism, I might add) down our throats, but others think that the government lacks any morals whatsoever, which leads to my next question.  What do you think about a "Right Wing conspiracy" to oust the President?

VK:  The conspiracy to get Clinton is so obvious it's silly.  I don't give a fuck who Clinton or Jimmy Swaggert get blow jobs from.  More moralistic bullshit from the most immoral government on Earth.  I don't really care for Clinton or anyone corrupt enough to secure any nomination from either the Republicans or Democrats.

MP:  You may think it's silly, but I'll nail that bastard yet.  Onward ... this issue features a lot of pornography, both mainstream and fringe.  What are your feelings on the subject of pornography?

VK:  I like pornography.  It's good, healthy entertainment for us consumers.  It's a great outlet for exhibitionists, and an easy way to make a living for an awful lot of people.

MP:  Do you have a favorite movie or star?

VK:  I find the porn star stuff to be boring compared to the homemade stuff.  I like to see people in it for the ograsms, not the money.  I want to see the girls really come, not fake it like the "pros."

MP:  See Colours of Kiva then.  You'll love it.  Have you ever made a porno video?  If so, can I see it?

VK:  I don't have a camcorder, or I would have made my own by now.

MP:  All right, I'm getting serious now.  Describe Sleaze Factor for those that haven't heard it.

VK:  Sleaze Factor is songs I have written over the last couple years.  My ex-wife took my son out of the country and has denied me visitation for years.  The hatred and sorrow I have been feeling is reflected in the material.  The music has a variety of sounds, all styles of rock and roll.  The lyrics are more personal than in the past, but I tried not to make it cry-baby shit.  (God, I hate cry-baby music.)  Like all Maggot Sandwich releases, it rocks hard and was mixed to be played loud.  It's pretty good for a home recording, and the art and graphics are better than any major label crap.

MP:  Your home state, Florida, has always seemed like hypocritical state to me.  On one hand, you have the forces of Dade County bureaucracy and the folks that bused Michael Diana, and on the other hand, Florida has some of the kinkiest people and a ton of S/M and B/D mistresses.  Bondage Tymes comes out of Florida.  Why do you think this is?

VK:  Florida has a well deserved image as a bunch of assholes.  The religious right controls the state along with the tourism industry and a strong elderly lobby.  The hypocrisy comes from the reaction of real people to the religious oppression.  It also explains the large Satanist movement among the youth.  The parents teach the kids all about Satan and all the fun things associated with being anti-Christian, then they can't understand when their kids worship Satan.  They have made the Satan mythology more attractive than the mythological Heaven they desire themselves.  The more oppressed a population, the kinkier they get.  It's kind of amusing to watch.

MP:  How has the Florida punk scene treated Maggot Sandwich?

VK:  We have played more concerts in Florida than any other state.  We have sold more music in Florida than any other state.  Our old releases are valuable to Florida collectors.  Yet we still don't consider ourselves insiders in the Florida scene.  We feel like outsiders.  I go to more shows in New Orleans than any Florida city.  For example, Miami is a 13 hour drive from Pensacola, about as close as Washington, DC.  New Orleans is now about 3.5 hours since the speed limit is now 70 most of the way.  So to most of the Florida scene, we are about as important as bands from Alabama and Mississippi.  And that is fine with us.

MP:  Dispel a popular rumor concerning your band.

VK:  Many of today's politically correct 12 year old 'zine reviewers consider some of our songs to be sexist.  Maybe they are.  My ex-wife used to be in the band.  I caught her cheating on me long ago, inspiring songs like "Office Slut" and "She Does Too."  In our divorce, she ruined me financially.  Since our divorce she has denied me visitation with my son, and now eight years later we have three court battles in two states over custody of my son and related bullshit.  I'm enclosing a Swinger's Galore advertisment that she ran a couple years ago looking for lesbian lovers.  She's a total human pile of shit.  She's a woman and that won't keep me from attacking her in my music.  I don't care what anyone thinks.  If that makes me sexist, than you can suck my motherfucking dick.  I have earned the right to attack her with songs like "CFH" (Cunt From Hell), and I will.

MP:  I understand.  Personally, I think there's a big difference between sexist and truth.  On to lighter subjects.  What is the most memorable prank you've ever pulled?

VK:  There is a little Florida town called Niceville (it's not too nice) in a really rural Alabama-like area of Northwest Florida.  They ahve a lovely little community college called Okaloosa-Walton Community College.  I can't overemphasize the redneck qualities of this school.  The only punks at the school got put in charge of the entertainment committee to arrange entertainment for the school's Valentine's dance, so they hired Maggot Sandwich as entertainment.  We all dressed up; I borrowed a tux.  When we started playing, most of the crowd ran for the exits.  Some of the braver rednecks tried to drown us out with disco over the school's public address system; it just made us get louder and angrier.  I blew up the borrowed amp I was using (I had blown my own amp the week before opening for the Descendents at the Cameo Theater in Miami).  So the redneck kids got one of their teachers to come up to us, pay us, and ask us to leave.  I had no amp to continue with, so we left with our money and the satisfaction that we had helped a couple kids offend their entire school.

MP:  That's fuckin' great!  What a good way to end this.  Any last words you want to get in?  Speak them now, or forever hold your piece (preferably a .45).

VK:  If you like rock and roll music, especially the kind some people call punk rock, you very well may enjoy the new Maggot Sandwich CD, Sleaze Factor.  I hope you check it out.  We put a lot of time and effort into putting it out ourselves.  We don't need any fucking record label telling us what to say or how to sound, so the CD is the real Maggot Sandwich for better or worse--you decide.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tales From The Workforce Part 7

This was originally published in Married Punks #13 in 1998.  The series would later be made into a manuscript, which I will be publishing soon.

Tales From the Workforce Part 7: Vomiting Ghoul

Halloween brought a tradition to the resort that is practiced all over the country: the haunted hayride.  Here, grandparents and grandchildren, young couples looking for an excuse to cuddle, and kids who think that they are braver than what they truly are sit inside a hay lined wagon and journey down a dark trail.  The passengers wait in eager anticipation for poorly made-up monsters to jump out and scare them.

My friends and I decided to really create something scary.  I got my battle axe, which I had scrounged from my dad's bar, and I made up a batch of fake blook like is used in the movies.  Then, I along with Jack, Fred and Tony found a spot along the trail where we could set up our little spectacle.

The rules of the resort stated that we could not jump on the haywagon, nor could we touch anyone on the haywagon.  No problem; we had a cool plan that required none of that.

By the side of the trail we built a huge bonfire.  When the wagon would reach the bend before the fire, Fred was to come running after it.  He would be screaming for help.  As soon as he would reach the back of the haywagon, he would make as if to board when I would pop out of the woods with my axe, "bite" his shoulder while letting the fake blood run out of my mouth.  After that, I would "hit" him on the head with my dull axe.  That was our plan.

Jack and Tony were to wait until the wagon reached the bonfire, and then Tony would rush the wagon from around the fire; his face painted to resemble a skull.  Jack, shirtless and sporting a similar paint job, would leap out of a tree, roll past the fire and rush the wagon also.  That was the cool, kick-ass, cannibal attack plan.  At least it was until Kyle showed up.

Kyle, drinking a wine cooler, was drunk off his ass.  Upon seeing us, he immediately took off his shirt and demanded to be part of our production.  He was our friend, so we agreed.  We painted his face and told him that he would run out with Tony.  We also went over the rules with him.

The haywagon was nearing us.  Jack went off into the woods to urinate while Kyle emptied his alcohol-filled bladder beside the fire.  Then we took our places...

"Help me!" Fred screamed, running out of the woods and after the haywagon full of screaming passengers.  "He's going to kill me!"

I burst out of the woods, covered in blood and snarling.  It was great!  Fred attempted to grab onto the wagon, and that is when the plan started to fall apart.

I pulled Fred away from the wagon and pretended to bite him as he howled in mock pain; blood running down his shoulder.  The people on the ha ywagon were flipping out!  They didn't know if all of this were real or not.

I brought the axe down ... a little too far, and knocked Fred in his head.  He yelped in real pain this time, which I thought was fake anyway, and I pushed him to the ground.  There was a muted, hollow thunking noise as his skull crashed into a large rock.  He did not yelp this time; he only groaned.

The hay wagon kept going and approached the bonfire.  Jack, totally off cue, dropped from the tree and rolled right into Kyle's urine.  "Why am I wet?" he yelled, standing up and angrily brushing himself off.

Tony, meanwhile, followed the plan and scared people.  Kyle did not.

Kyle jumped on the wagon and leaned down between an old woman and her granddaughter.  He made some ghoul-like noise; his long hair billowing iback and forth as he shook his head like some out of control monster.

The combination of Kyle's head motion and the hay wagon bouncing must have unsettled his alcohol-filled stomach because he let loose with a flow of oddly textured vomit that would have made any frat boy proud.  The grandmother and granddaughter, who received most of the vomit on their heads, thought that it was part of the ride and applauded in delight.  Perhaps they were drunk, too.

Later that night, I was chewed out by my boss, who could not tell the people what really happened, and was barred from letting non-employees participate in next year's hayride.  I quit a little while later after the British owners fucked over my dad.  To quote Danzig, "I hate the fucking British."  Not really, but I did then.

Next time, it's the return of Kyle and the beginning of my stint in the convenience store.

Journalism Law: A Rough Overview Part Three -- Invasion of Privacy

Originally appeared in issue 13 of Married Punks published in 1998.

Journalism Law: A Rough Overview Part Three -- Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy is a tricky matter.  Not every state recognizes it, though many more are starting to, and it has many variations on the theme.  There are torts involved (such as false appropriation, i.e., using someone's image without the person's permission to sell a product [like I did last issue with Sandra Bullock]), and the laws vary state by state.  So how do you protect yourself?

There are no easy answers to that question.  Instead, circumstances must be looked at.  One of the most important: is the person a public or newsworthy figure?  If not, tread carefully.  Printing intimate details of your neighbor's sex life may get you in trouble.  If you happen to have been having sex with Tim Armstrong or Linda Lovelace, then you would probably be protected, unless you were purposely setting out to destroy someone.

There is a difference, however, between destroying someone and uncomvering a story.  If the story uncovered has some newsworthy potential, then you would most likely be protected.  Let's say you hear a rumor through the grapevine that your high school football couach is videotaping the guys in the locker room.  You do a bit of investigative reporting and find out that the coach is doing it.  Naturally, the coach isn't exactly a public figure or even newsworthy, but the story is.  You could print it, and most likely be safe.  Actually, the coach would be better off claiming libel because claiming invasion of privacy implies that the story is true.  The newsworthy aspect is tricky, though.

Suppose you uncover the fact that the coach isn't filming his boys, but smokes a little marijuana instead.  Is this newsworthy?  Most likely not.  If he's a staunch anti-drug advocate however, and requires drug testing for his athletes, then it would be newsworthy.  The invasion of privacy issue is mostly situation based.  There are some clear cut rules, though.

One of the biggest is known as false appropriation.  In other words, don't steal someone's image to sell your product.  This goes on a lot in the punk/'zine community and is rarely challenged by the people whose images are used.  It's rare that this happens, but the mayor of New York was recently involved in a case like this concerning a publication and bus ads.

When it comes to pictures, another thing not to do is to use someone's picture (or image of a certain item) to promote a story that has nothing to do with the picture.  Don't take a picture of the houswife next door and then use it in an article dealing with the fact that three out of four housewives have sex with animals.  This type of invasion of privacy sometimes happens in the broadcast news field.

The best protection against an invasion of privacy suit is to avoid an action if it just feels wrong.  Don't print non-newsworthy items about "regular" people.  Don't eavesdrop and print what you hear if it isn't important.  What it boils down to is: Don't do it to someone if you wouldn't want it done to you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Das Klown Live at Zed Review

Originally published in 1998 in issue #13 of Married Punks.

Das Klown Live at Zed

Das Klown hasn't been in these pages since A.J.'s wedding, and it's about damn time!

This live CD, recorded at Zed Records in Long Beach, CA, shows that Das Klown is as tight live as it is in the studio.  Its brand of heavy hitting, fuck PC, true punk rock is always a breath of fresh air.  The band really struts its stuff on "Big Words," "Hopeless," "Timebomb" and the classic "Blow Yer Self."

Those thinking the production may suffer because it's live are dead wrong.  Das Klown has never sounded sharper!  Long live the Klown!