Dimitri Monroe: “Nobody else stands for anything, anymore.”
Das erste Mal hoerte ich von Dimitri Monroe durch die TRASH BRATS. Das ist nun schon gut acht Jahre her. Der Kontakt beschraenkte sich auf das gegenseitige Tauschen unserer Fanzines. Er lag auf meiner musikalischen Wellenlaenge und er wurde, trotzdem wir den Kontakt irgendwann im Laufe der Jahre verloren hatten, wie auch KEVIN K. oder JEFF DAHL ein enger Verbuendeter der 3RD-Family.
Anfang diesen Jahres mailte ich Jim vom „Rapid Pulse Label“ mit der Bitte, ob er mir nicht mal wieder seinen aktuellen 7“incher Output, zwecks Besprechung im 3RD, schicken wollte. Innerhalb von zwei Wochen hatte ich sein feines PxRx-Single-Paeckchen bei mir und verteilte die lustigen kleinen schwarzen Dinger auf den Rest der Reviewschreiber-Belegschaft. Die Reviews dazu waren uebrigens im letzten Heft nachzulesen. Natuerlich blieb auch so manche Single bei mir, wie etwa die der SAVIORS mit dem Titeltrack „Ruby Gloom“. Ich hoerte mir den Song ein Dutzend Mal an, bevor mir erst bewusst wurde, das ein guter Bekannter hier als Saenger sein Rock’n’Roll-Handwerk mit Bravour meisterte, Dimitri Monroe. Schnell hatte ich wieder den Kontakt per eMail zu ihm hergestellt. So waren die SAVIORS ein guter Aufhaenger, um mit ihm ein sehr intensives Gespraech zu fuehren. Es gesellte sich auch noch ihr Gitarrist Brian Morgan dazu. Sozusagen, ein echtes PxRx-Veteranentreffen.
Is that right, that you are all living in different states and citys? I think, it must be a big obstacle for the band. How did you met each other and become a band?
DIMITRI: I must have been about 17 when I first met Brian Morgan. I think we were introduced at a rowdy metal-head party I was having, by Scruff, the singer of this gothic-industrial, Skinny Puppy/Ministry type band, Aural Sects, who briefly became the drummer in one of our earliest bands called, Drag:1999 Brian was old enough to buy beer, and had been to art school. He had already been in a bunch of late seventies punk bands from Ohio, like Sub-Culture, and had put out a fanzine called "Bored Teenagers". It was thrilling to find him, because there was no one else around who was really into rock'n'roll. It seemed like everybody else was into either Dokken or the Pet Shop Boys. Brian had the best vinyl collection in the world and I used to sit on his floor by the fan and play "Night Of The Living Dolls", "Is Nothing Sacred?", "Dead By Christmas", and "Love It To Death" over and over. We drank alot of Carling's Black Label, and chain-smoked Cambrige Light 100's, and I was always begging him to move back to NYC with me to start our glam rock band. We used to make t-shirts and coloring books and videoes and all kinds of filthy art-work to entertain ourselves, because we lived in a really uptight, small town back in Ohio, and there was nothing to do there. We eventually put together a series of nowhere experimental groups like, Drag:1999, Stiff Disney,Vain Damage, and Neon Jesus that played all these white trash jamborees in the woods, on odd bills with country bands. The first thing I remember ever playing with Brian was a cover of the Pretenders song, "Message Of Love", out at our friends', the Manson Family Orchestra's place. Good Times. We used to make each other laugh alot.
Brian was the older brother I never had. We had a bunch of short-lived groups together over the years. We had a band house at one point in the late eighties, on the outskirts of town, in between a Christian bookstore and a car dealership, so we could make as much noise as we wanted. I still remember the people from that era, as some of the greatest people I've ever known. It felt like a family to me. After awhile, though, we'd attracted the usual extended entorouge of followers and hangers on. Girls travelled from all over the tri-state area to watch us rehearse on the weekends, and it kind of all disintegrated, underneath the weight of all the customary band dramas. It's all fun and games, until somebody loses a bra. The drummer ran off with a goth chick I'd introduced him to. The new drummer hated the singer, who thought he was Jim Morrison. The singer was drunkenly having his ego indulgently caressed by alot of beautiful girls, and all his heathen cronies, and was regretfully, careless in those years with people's hearts. Whenever you have a group of genuine friends, who create something special together, a line immediately forms, of people who want to steal a little piece of it, who wanna divide and conquer, and step into your shoes, and that band was sadly torn apart by short-sightedness, power struggles, girls, and assorted infiltrators. The usual home-porn, hand-cuffs, treachery, weeping, and gnashing of teeth.
When that band broke up, I moved to the East Coast with the other guitarist, Little Dave, to form still another Lords Of The New Church/Generation X/Hanoi Rocks influenced band called Murder Stars; while Brian and our bass-player, John Rice, played in a band with KK. Ironically, I used to be pen pals with both of the Keneagy Bros., before they made friends with Brian, back in Ohio. When I moved to Boston in my early twenties, Saviors guitarist, KK contributed to a fanzine I did called, "Anorexic Teenage Sexgods". The Mystery Addicts later wrote a song using that as the title. Somewhere, I still have a stash of old Hollywood glam rock flyers Brent mailed to me like ten or twelve years ago.
BRIAN: Dimitri pretty well told the story there. As far as The Saviors, JDM and I had been sending stuff back and forth thru the mail, he'd send me lyrics, I'd demo them onto my 8-track, send 'em back. We figured we were getting some pretty good stuff happening and figured it deserved to be played and recorded by a real band, so from there it was a matter of talking to old friends that we wanted to work with basically. The 3 different locations thing can be a challenge but really there's no big agenda, no fortune to be had playing this stuff, so we can just do this whenever we feel like it.
How is life in your street where you live?
DIMITRI: When I woke up today, springtime was drifting in through the window screens, and a bunch of shit-faced good ol' boys were whoopin' it up on the front porch of the crackhouse across the street, blasting out some kinda banjo driven yee-ha music in their pickup truck stereo, that sounded like Vassar Clemments, or Flatt & Scruggs, and they were yelling at black dudes, driving by in cars, and lookin' for a fight. People are really into crack and violence in the white trash ghetto here. They're all gung-ho, pro-war, ferociously right-wing, and the racial tension is unbelievable. Rent To Own furniture, malt liquor, pro wrestling, flag waving, and spousal abuse. It's real ugly. Crack destroys people's souls. Makes people into animals. Turns friends into strangers. It's the blindly brutal, gutless, unconcious age of ignorance and fear. Everybody's hopelessly programmed to hate and kill. I am prayerful, though. I still believe in love.
BRIAN: I live in Brooklyn, and when we moved here it was a working class neighborhood, a little backwards, a little rough, nowhere you'd want to hang out at after sundown. And now it's been called the hippest place in the world or some such nonsense; you can't go anywhere without seeing these 20-something trust-fund wannabe artists in their laughable 80's reject clothes that they paid a fortune for, boring bars which are now called "lounges" because they bought a worn out vintage sofa, and over-hyped spoiled rich kid bands who spend too much time masturbating to old PIL, Gang of Four, and no-wave records to ever come up with something of their own, much less something good. And of course all these milk-fed veal children are causing the cost of living to soar unbelievably. It's basically as expensive around here as it is in Manhattan now. Thanks a lot.
Is that right, that you are all over 30 years old punk rockers from the 8oties? What was the scene like back then?
DIMITRI: The dissonant and noise scenes were big, but I never dug any of that Sonic Youth/Amphetamine Reptile stuff. I was always too pop to relate to that stuff, I like melodies, y'know? I was into the commercial new wave side of things-the MTV trash. Flesh For Lulu, Psychedelic Furs, Adam & The Ants, the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Alarm. Me and Brian really bonded over Generation X and the Lords Of The New Church. He always had great taste in music and I remember him introducing me to so much-from Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel to the Wanderers and Clash to vintage Alice Cooper, oh yeah, and he loved the Damned. Brian James used to be his favorite guitar player. I was an eighties baby, so I grew up really loving classic Van Halen, The Replacements, the London Quireboys, the Throbs, Motorcycle Boy, The Ultras, Jeff Dahl Group, Manic Street Preachers, you know-rock'n'roll, man.
We always loved all the throwaway pop trash for laughs back then-you know, disposable shit like Transvision Vamp, Age Of Chance, We've Got A Fuzzbox..., Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Dead Or Alive, etc., etc., that we'd pickup out of the dollar bins at Magnolia Thunderpussy or Singing Dog records in Columbus, Ohio. Besides all the cheezy new wave stuff I always loved, I was always really immersed in the whole Flash Metal Scene, you know, Guns N Roses, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction, The Cult, Thee Hypnotics, Coma-Tones, Gunfire Dance, Soho Roses, Balaam & The Angel, Circus Of Power, Dogs D'Amour, Mother Love Bone, Danzig's first album, the Nymphs, Hello Disaster, Pillbox, all that kinda stuff. That's mainly what my old fanzines concentrated on.
BRIAN: Um, actually I'm well over my 30's, and really what I grew up with was the original mid-late 70's punk stuff and things from before that, like Alice Cooper, Stooges, Velvets, Bowie, Dolls, Stones, etc. The 70's punk scene was just incredible, there'll never be anything like that again, no way. I learned to play guitar the day I brought home the first Ramones album, I'd been waiting for it to come out and arrive at the local record store and couldn't get home with it fast enough, I can still remember what all that felt like. Watching the Pistols, so furious, scaring everyone, that was the best. Of course anger and rebellion are now completely co-opted by the mainstream, so like I said, there will never be anything like that again, so I'm very very glad to have lived in that time.
What other projects are in the pipeline? I heard from you Dimitri, that you are working with Ricky Rat togther? Is that true?
DIMITRI: Ricky Rat and I have written songs together for years now. I especially loved one we demoed called "Goin' Radio" that I wish we'd have released as a single, cos it really speaks to the times. We contributed a song as Dimitri Monroe & The Naked Flames, to the I-94 Recordings compilation, "Drunk On Rock Part 2", three or four years ago called, "Nostalgia Kills";(I-94 Recordings PO Box 44763 Detroit, MI 48244 USA ) and we also recorded a full length together with the original Trash Brats drummer Troy, and this bass player Mark, who is Jim Marshall's nephew, who also played in Dark Carnival and the Kevin K. Band, but it never got finished. It was called "Trash Romantic" but we procrastinated on polishing up the album for so long, that another group, the power pop greats, Exploding Hearts (RIP), kinda used a similar title for their record, "Guitar Romantic", I dunno if that material will ever see the light of day, at this point. Ricky owns a recording studio now and plays in a whole bunch of Detroit bands, since the Trash Brats broke up. The Car City Call Girls, Bootsy X & The Lovemasters, and I hear he's doing something now with Brian Smith from my summer favorites, the sensational, Beat Angels. Meanwhile, I hear Brian O'Blivion and Toni Romeo from the Trash Brats have started a new group with somebody from the Feistey Cadavers. I haven't seen any of those guys for a long time.
My other project, the Fallen Singers, are still looking for a lead guitarist, but it's hard to find those real special, blood and glitter-style, lead guitar players, like Brian Morgan or Ricky Rat. Those kinda players don't grow on trees, y'know.. A famous poet recently said my songs sound like, "The Monkees singing about slashing their wrists", that made me laugh a little, cos the Monkees "Headquarters" was my first album. My torch and twang/blue-punk band, Fallen Singers, is bluesier than the Saviors. More countryish, like the Beasts Of Bourbon, or Rolling Stones "Exile On Main Street".
BRIAN: I have a band here in NYC called The Disruptors. Kind of a punk rock name but we're actually more of a rock'n'roll band, some pretty big Stones fixations going on haha! But really, we're just doing what we dig. We've been compared to G'n'R, AC/DC, DGeneration, Pistols, Stones, Aerosmith, Heartbreakers, etc. and I'm not insulted by any of those references, that's all the stuff I love the most, but it's really just us doing what we like. We're doing a little reorganizing with the line-up at the moment but we got a decent buzz locally and should be back out gigging in a month or so. There's a demo of the previous line-up that sounds pretty good, ya can get it from Sleazegrinder.com and it's cheap, go get it kids!
What musicians really motivated you to learn your instrument and start a band? What was the first concert you went to?
DIMITRI: My grandmother got me into Elvis at a really early age, from there, I graduated to the Monkees, Beatles, Stones, and Doors. When I ran away to NYC when I was a teenager to look for my real Dad, I had an older girlfriend who turned me onto Bowie and Iggy. Then I started getting introduced to everything at once, sixties soul, garage punk, psychedelia, punk, new wave, new romantic, goth, seventies glitter, etc. My faves I was introduced to say, circa '85, were the N.Y. Dolls, Deadboys, the Fuzztones, the Fleshtones, Hanoi Rocks, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Lords Of The New Church, Sisters Of Mercy, and my head just exploded with the sights, scents, and sounds of summertime in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was really a magic place to live back then. There were still indie record stores and thrift shops and tiny businesses on every corner, and starving musicians and artists could almost afford to live there.
The homeless were still pretty much left alone in the parks, runaway kids were allowed to loiter in the warmth of Famous Ray's pizza all night for the price of a slice, and people weren't getting regularly beaten with night-sticks, and loaded into vans and thrown into the tombs by jack-booted cops, just for being poor. Carribean steel-drum bands still played on the side-walks and the dizzying smell of ethnic food wafted outta the restaurants. It was intense, just walkin' 'round, soakin' up all the local colors, cos NYC was a really tollerant, harmonious melting pot, back then. Just Beautiful! Rastas, bikers, folkies, film-makers, gutter punks... Back when The Village was still electric, I really fell in love with rock'n'roll, on the same sidewalks that had spawned all my favorites...First concert? Shaun Cassidy and Doctor Hook in Lexington, Kentucky. First inspirational concert was the Butthole Surfers at Danceteria in NYC in 1985.
BRIAN: I'd wanted to be in a band since I was probably 10 or 11, I wanted to be in the Alice Cooper group, tho I couldn't decide if I wanted to be Alice, or Neil Smith, Dennis Dunaway, or Mike or Glen the guitar players! I messed around with a little guitar for a while, not really getting it. As I said, the first Ramones album kinda showed me that I could do this. But there's a lot of guitarists who've inspired me. Probably too many to list, but off the top of my head I'd say Mick Ronson, Keith of course, Link Wray, Bruce & Buxton from the original Alice Cooper group, James Williamson, Ron Ashton, Thunders, both Mick and Steve Jones, Brian James, Cheetah Chrome, Jimmy Page, Lindsay Buckingham, Ron Wood, Eddie Hazel, Townsend, Hendrix, Chuck Berry obviously, jeez I could go on and on…..My first concert was Kiss in 1976 I believe, great show but they've always been an awful band other than the presentation. If I'm not mistaken the opening act was this bar band called REO Speedwagon, years away from their eventual breakthrough as a cheesy pop band. And, in true 70's arena rock fashion, my memory of the event is somewhat "clouded" due to the contact buzz I got from 10,000 people passing joints back and forth!
What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?
DIMITRI: "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, And Understanding?" Or anything by Jim Carroll, Patti Smith, Paul K., Ian Hunter, Kris Kristofferson, John Easdale, or Leonard Cohen.
BRIAN: I hate lyric questions, y'know there are hundreds of lines that have really affected me, meant a lot to me, but to come up with just one right here, aw hell I don't know man! I will say that in addition to the people Dimitri mentioned, all of whom have taken me places with their words, I think Joe Strummer could really turn a phrase. And speaking of Dimitri, I don't know anyone else out there right now who can cut clear to the bone like he does, he sends me stuff that blows me away, the honesty is sometimes painful, you don't find many people who are able to or are willing to be that real.
Let´s talk a bit about your first single. It was released on "Rapid Pulse Records". How did you get in contact with the labelowner Jim? How many are pressed? Do you know if there was a lot of promotion to radio stations, fanzines or bigger magazines?
DIMITRI: Jim from Rapid Pulse was another guy, along with Phil Overeem from rockholy.com and the Sleazegrinder, who used to write for my old glamour-punk fanzines, "Ready To Snap" and "Anorexic Teenage Sexgods". I think KK still trades records with him. The first 100 came out on swirley blue vinyl. We've gotten alot of great press and Cheetah Chrome offered to produce us.
BRIAN: Yeah, KK does some record buying/trading with Jim and sent him a disc just to see if he would dig it, and he did! It's gotten a fair amount of reviews, and I know of a few radio stations that've played it, college and independent stations. Bigger magazines have no idea vinyl records even exist or even real rocknroll for that matter, so you won't be finding anything in there.
What are your day jobs?
BRIAN: I'm self-employed, an artist, mainly I work in glass as well as graphic design. Nice work but nobody thinks artists should actually get paid for their work so it's tough financially. Cheap bastards! Still, it beats 9 to 5 at a gas station as far as feeling good about having to work goes.
DIMITRI: I've long been in a minimum wage food service and telemarketing and temp. service janitorial rut. I also have written for newspapers and rock magazines and am currently in career transition, while working on the third or fourth manuscript of my memoirs, "The Blackout Diaries:If I Don't Remember, It Might Be True", about my shattered youth. Currently, I'm mopping floors, writing books, and trying to get into public radio.
Do you go out a lot to see bands? What your fave venue in town?
BRIAN: I don't go out a lot, there's not too many bands that I really want to see, and I've spent more than enough time sitting in bars. As for fave place, here in NYC I enjoy going to Otto's Shrunken Head, it's small, intimate, has a great vibe, and bands play in the back room on a small stage, you can be right up next to them so it's a more personal kind of thing when you see a gig there. New York has loads of places to see bands, a lot of cool places have closed over the last few years but there's still many things to see on any given night, depending on your taste.
DIMITRI: I never go to shows anymore. I've become a hermit since the social climate in this country shifted after the last election. My favorite venue was the Beelzebub Club in Detroit, but it sadly closed last year.
How would you each of you characterize the others styles in the band?
DIMITRI: Well, the Saviors are all stellar musicians, in my opinion. Zack's one of the most energetic drummers I've ever played with, and Brent and Kevin Keneagy really just deliver the goods, musically, surpassing all my aspirations. I felt like we were on the verge of creating something phenomenal, like "Appetite For Destruction" or "Electric", the last time we were in the recording studio together. I had chills up and down my spine the whole time. Everybody really poured their hearts out, and you can tell the music was flowing from the most sincere parts of themselves. Brian's steadily emerged as a major force to be reckoned with in recent years, one of the most under-rated guitar stars in the trash rock underground. Up there with Ginger, as a songwriter, really. One of my very favorites. I'm really proud of him.
BRIAN: I've played with Kevyn before The Saviors and really enjoy what we do when we get together, he's got a style that compliments me, and vice-versa I think. He's probably a bit over me on technique, I'm more of the "play your attitude" guy, so it works well. Brent can play anything on the bass, he can hear the most intricate thing a couple times and then just nail it, I've no idea how people do that! He's also a fine guitar player too. I'd seen Zach play in different bands for years, all the way back to when he was this 16 year old punk rock brat, but had never actually worked with him, so I was really excited to have him along for this stuff. The guy is loud! I'd hate to be his snare head! And he's pretty quick too. And Dimitri, what can I say? The guy has the rock'n'roll heart, it really is his. It's a shame that he doesn't have dozens of records out 'cos he sure does have the material to offer. My favourite lyricist, and the rough cigarette rasp you hear is what this music is all about. He's the real thing, I hope people can appreciate that.
The most clever word you ever said?
DIMITRI: I'd rather be heart-felt, than clever. "I'm bad at math, but good at myth/ When I was drunk, I used to drift/ From Girl To Girl, From Coast To Coast/ From Grandiose To Comatose/ Now I dunno how I got here/ but I Lost a lot of nerve that year/ A dirty woman broke my will/ My mission has gone unfulfilled/ I never thought I'd sink so low, bIame it all on rocknroll/ Still hangin around, for one last round, with the other deadbeats in this PISS TOWN..."
BRIAN: Words aren't clever, only the people who know how to use them.
In general, what do you see wrong with music today?
DIMITRI: Corporations manufacture heartlesss garbage as a tool of social control, and then, force it upon us, against our will, through the media monopolies. If I had a radio show right now, I'd be playing: All the anti-war songs banned by Fear-Channel, Ian Hunter, Sixty Ft. Dolls, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleroes, The Veins, Black Moses, Diamond Dogs, Spencer P. Jones, TSAR, American Heartbreak, Dave Kusworth & The Tenderhooks, Buck Cherry, Teenage Frames, Babylon Bombs, Cherry 13, Jason Ringenberg, Snatches Of Pink, Silver, Black Halos, Sparkling Bombs, Barely Pink, Jet, Baby Strange, Beat Angels, Star Hags, Vice Principals, Bubble, Demolition 23, The Favors, Jo Dog & Paul Black's Sonic Boom, Marah, Tex Perkins, Tommy Rivers & The Raw Ramps, The Jacobites, Revolvers, Wilco, Paybacks, New Scarecrows, Amanda Jones, Plastic Tears, Romantics, Lust Killers, Paul Westerberg, Chesterfield Kings, Sleepy Jackson, Dramarama, and The Wildhearts. I'm excited about the New Romantics on Fast Lane records and the new Hangmen album coming out on Acetate
BRIAN: The fact that it's basically void of any art, feeling, soul, heart, or any worth whatsoever. I'm speaking of the so-called mainstream of course. There's always people out there who are doing something valid, but sadly they usually go unnoticed, because the music business is mainly a bunch of fat corrupt pigs who only want money money money. So they will go for the safest, most bland thing every time, to appeal to the largest share of the public as possible. That's why you end up with records being made by those things on American Idol, and all the other debris that passes for music and entertainment today. It's nothing new, at this point talking about it seems like a broken record. Some of us understand it and the rest never will. If you get it, act and live accordingly, y'know?
What was the most violent thing you did as a youngster?
BRIAN: I think it's probably a real good idea for me to skip this question.
DIMITRI: I had a bloody youth. The stories will all come out in my book.
What sorts of interests do you have outside of punk rock?
DIMITRI: My children, and working, to afford them all more oppurtunities and choices than I had as a young man. Whatever happened to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness?
BRIAN: I have an awesome wife who's about to get her PhD and we have a blast together, traveling, just being together, digging on our 4 cats, normal domestic stuff y'know. All sorts of artistic work helps me relax, makes me feel good.
If you could be born at any time in history, when would it be?
DIMITRI: I'm starting to understand that I'm still here, in the now, for a reason.
BRIAN: Well, there are so many experiences and people in my life that I wouldn't trade for anything, so I'd have to say I'm happy with being born when I was.
Please name one record in your collection that you're embarrassed to admit that you like and explain why you like it.
DIMITRI: Dexy's Midnight Runners, Def Leppard, Duran Duran, .38 Special, all kindsof stuff, cos it "takes me to a sweeter time/on the Detox Jukebox, blarin' in my mind".
BRIAN: I'm not really embarrassed about anything, but it probably would seem a bit odd that right next to the AC/DC and Adverts is Abba! Actually there are lots of similar examples to that. I imagine I dig that stuff because it reminds me of when I was a little kid, the days of fun and innocence, right!
What do you know about germany?
DIMITRI: Germans love real rock'nroll!
BRIAN: Yep, they do. Americans would do well to pay attention to that! And the beer is strong too!
Could you remember to make a real good bargain for a very rare record, you were looking for years?
DIMITRI: I'm always interested in obtaining anything by Tex Perkins or Spencer P. Jones, anything affilliated with the Beasts Of Bourbon, and since I can rarely ever afford to buy, or even, hold onto my records anymore, I deeply appreciate it when people burn me copies of stuff I otherwise would never get to enjoy.
BRIAN: I've a lot of music but I'm not much of a rabid collector, so there's really no big stories there. Now I have scored a few good deals on old Gibson guitars over the years, like the sap in the music store who was looking at an outdated price guide without realizing it and quoted me $400 on a 1962 SG Junior, to which I immediately said "sold"!
What could be your destiny?
BRIAN: I never think about that. We all have the same destiny, we're going to die. But, within a lifetime, making other people's lives more enjoyable by whatever means you have to work with seems like a worthy pursuit.
DIMITRI: I've given up on ever being discovered or appreciated in my time. There was a moment when it seemed like I was somehow marked for stardom, but now, I wouldn't even want it. In our old song, "Middleage Wasteland", I sang, "I gotta date with destiny/she's gonna make a mess of me..." It's all in God's hands. I just wanna do my part to keep the fading embers burnin'.
What do you prefer to wear when you on stage?
DIMITRI: Leather, velvet, feathers, sequins, fishnets, chartreuse regalia, and concho straps. Lots and lots of concho straps. My old girlfriend calls it "biker drag"...I always believed that music should look kindof like how it sounds.
BRIAN: I'm with Dimitri there, I like some visuals when I see a band play, after all, I'm going to "see" the band, not just listen. Personally I can usually be found in leather trousers, motorcycle boots, a cool belt is always good, bits of silver jewelry, and either a suitably ruined t-shirt or dress shirt. Shades are also good if they don't get broken before showtime. Nothing too different from what I wear all the time anyway.
The worst headline about you, that you have read in a zine was......
BRIAN: I'm generally not interested in what anybody says about me.
DIMITRI: From Low Cut Magazine: "Saviors - Ruby Gloom/Recipe for Disaster 7” (Rapid Pulse)
Dolls inspired rock with a healthy dose of punk attitude. I stopped listening to the Ramones after hearing the god awful “Halfway to Sanity” album cuz I feared they’d end up sounding like “Ruby Gloom”. It sounds like a cross between Ramones in the 90s crossed with the Dictators. Not really that hot, but I’m sure hundreds of Swedish and Finnish Hanoi Rocks and 69 Eyes fans will disagree with me…and Peter Pigmeat Markham probably will too! The flipside is a more up-tempo Jeff Dahl style rocker and it’s a bit better. There are many bands out there that do this much better and singer Dimitri Monroe (yet another Monroe for the collection) is pretty bad. Certainly not the answer to Dictators “Who Will Save Rock’n’Roll?”.
Which punkband did really impressed you the last time? And for what reason?
DIMITRI: Lazy Cowgirls, Cherry 13, Hanoi Rocks, Cheetah Chrome, Wayne Kramer. I love the Veins, who used to be Uncle Sam, but I dunno if they'd be considered punk. I'm more into what we call, "Flash Metal", than what's considered punk, nowadays. I can't stand the bouncey little mall-punk bands. For "punk", anything on Rapid Pulse Records is probably a safe bet. The Cock'N' Roll Compilations. Chaz Halo from the Dimestore Haloes sometimes works with our friends Little Dave, Jake Wark, and Jimmy Reject, and I hope Pelado Records releases their last album, at some point. I like alot of Chaz' stuff, but particularly his Candy/Beat Angels/Boys inspired bubble gum side. I've been listening to alot of Thin Lizzy lately. The unreleased Beat Angels stuff.
BRIAN: It's been a long, long time since a punk band has impressed me. Really, what exactly is punk today? To me it kinda makes sense now as an historical thing, the original bands and people from back then who are still doing things are certainly punk, but other than that it all seems out of context. A 15 year old on St. Marks Place with a Mohawk is sort of like one of those people who dress up in velvet and lace and go to a Renaissance Fair. Sorry, wrong century.
What´s the most uncomfortable physical position you´ve been it?
DIMITRI: Being homeless is a really dehumanizing experience. I've been literally on the streets, on and off, since I was a kid. It quickly erodes your sense of self-worth, and ultimately, just breaks your heart. Being outside, having nowhere to go, you just start rapidly decaying, overnight. Unspeakably bad shit happens to you, when you have no insulation. Observing humanity from the gutter changes your perspective forever. The stories will all come out in the bio. Nowadays, I laugh to win. Hang Fire. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.
BRIAN: Old habits die hard.
Who is the creative force behind the band?
DIMITRI: I write the lyrics, and I think everybody contributes something to the music, but Brian's the driving musical force.
BRIAN: That's it really. Lyrically and therefore thematically it's all Dimitri, and I pretty much write and arrange all the music, melodies, and the like, and the final result is gonna depend on the way it's played, the musicians style and personality really factors into that.
What do you prefer CD or vinyl?
DIMITRI: I prefer vinyl, but like I said, for the past few years, I've been so broke and destitute, that I've always ended up having to sell off the last of my worldly possessions, just to put food on the table, so it's better when people make me cd's or cassettes.
BRIAN: CDs are convenient, but as a visual artist, I gotta say the whole digital age in music has really reduced the art/packaging side of things; from the big beautiful LP covers to the small CD booklets with tiny type that's hard to read to downloading right onto an MP3 player, where there's no longer any artwork to enjoy. A shame, and yet another example of how things are getting more and more bland, faceless, corporate, impersonal.
What was the strangest thing happen to you on stage?
BRIAN: I was firebombed! Seriously, some moron lit up a tshirt and tossed it thru the air and right onto the stage, with bits of burning cotton/polyester flying everywhere. I actually have that on video somewhere and it clearly shows that I continued playing longer than anyone else haha!
DIMITRI: One time I'd had too much of everything, I'd been living with a house full of strippers, and I passed-out under the lights, in a suburban sports-bar in the mall.
What kind of response do you get from the people, who come to your shows and from the fanzines that review your record?
DIMITRI: I think everybody always, always, gets what ever they came for. If you come to be a part of something joyous, and cathartic, if you've come to let your hair down, and indulge in some throbbing flashes of mischief, and laughter, and frivolity with your friends, while you're still alive on Earth...If there's even a tiny part of you that can still remember what real rock'n'roll is all about, and you miss the thrill of freaking freely around the proverbial campfire, then that part of you is gonna get a shot of the love, the excitement, a taste of freedom, raw abandon, the endless possibilities, the deeper magic. People who are looking to be offended, always will be. Everybody always gets what they came for...
BRIAN: Every kind of response, from every kind of person. Nothing surprises me anymore. I've had yuppie lawyers come up to me and say it reminded them of, I dunno, the most obscure '70's punk reference, like Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds or something; then I've had people with tribal tattoos on their head and 5 pounds of metal hanging from their face call me a freak!
Some catchwords at the end: Mike Ness, the Black Halos, thee Trash Brats, Joe Strummer.
DIMITRI: Alot of my close friends resented the Black Halos when they were signed to Sub Pop and saw them as being too "cock rock", and while I shared their envy of the Black Halos success, I kinda see the Black Halos, American Heartbreak, the Favors, and Diamond Dogs as our closest contemporaries. The Trash Brats were really liberating to first behold, playing live, in the mid-west, in like 1987, they gave me alot of courage to pursue my own thing. Joe Strummer's lyrics, values, politics, compassion, everything he represented, mean more to me than I could adequetely convey in a sound-bite. One of my most beloved heroes. God Bless Joe Strummer. I miss the truth tellers we've lost in recent years. I sense their loss, everyday. We need more people like Bill Hicks, Joey Ramone, Stiv Bators, Johnny Cash, and Joe. They've been replaced by gold-toothed gangstas, glorified lap-dancers, and preppie shmucks in sports apparel. That's why I love Hunter S. Thompson and the film-maker Michael Moore. Nobody else stands for anything, anymore. I'm consistently "shocked and awed" by the unmerciful, bloodthirsty, greedhead spirit of the times we live in. Everybody just wants to be on the side that's winning. Anyone reading this who doesn't already own Ian Hunter's "Rant" and Joe Strummer's solo albums, is urged to buy 'em immediately and play 'em for all your friends. You'll be transformed. If songs like "Arms Aloft" and "Coma Girl" can't get your juices pumping, and make you wanna turn the television off for awhile, then I don't know how to help you, but if you want me to, I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight..
BRIAN: Mike Ness…pisses off a lot of people, a lotta attitude there, but he's always stuck to his guns, and he's still at it, and he still rocks. Black Halos…a few catchy songs, live they were a bit of a let down. Not a terrible band but not particularly important either. I can dig 'em. Trash Brats…oughta be in the rock'n'roll hall of fame, who else could spend so many years in the wasteland, never fitting in, and keep doing it, keep trying, shoving it in anyone's face who would get near enough. They carved out a space for themselves in a time and place where it was nearly impossible, but somehow they did it. Total respect, and a killer live band all the way. R.I.P. guys, I miss ya. Joe Strummer…oh man, talk about missing someone, damn. Watching Joe onstage with the Clash was life-altering for me. How do you pay tribute to a man like that? All I can think to say now is that I'm very very very fortunate to have Joe's music and words with me, they will never fade. And when I think about him now, I believe I'll be playing the guitar until the day I die. He gave a gift and to not try to pass it along, keep it going, give it to others, would be a criminal act.
Is there anything else on your mind you'd like to share?
BRIAN: Don't follow the leaders. Thanks for the interview, Ralf. And thanks for keeping the volume up with 3rdGenerationNation, you do a great job and probably don't get enough reward for it, but some of us notice!
DIMITRI: I've got loads of great songs archived, and I just wanna record 'em all, with soulful people who rock, and see them released. It's what I do. I still wanna make a difference. It's our job to try and reach people's hearts, and make the world a groovier, and more peaceful place, for our children to live in. I'm just trying to keep the summer alive and teach the kids about Bo Diddley. I think it's our responsibility to raise the bar, back up to where it's supposed to be, and set an example. I still believe in mercy and forgiveness, and in the mystical and healing, redemptive, SPIRITUAL, powers of authentic rock'n'roll...THE SAVIORS are currently looking for a cool singles label to release "Detox Jukebox" b/w "The Nitemare Years". Thanks Ralf and Third Generation Nation.
INTERVIEW - Ralf Real Shock ( Juni 2004, fuer 3RD Gen. Nation No. 28 )