It’s been quite a while since I last updated with any regularity, I am working to change this. In my absence from blogging I’ve been writing for various publications, below are excerpts of select freelance work from the past months:
I had my first feature for Rolling Stone published in January. It was an interview with Brisbane band The John Steel Singers for their latest album Tangalooma. After dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone since I was 15-years old it finally happened! It only took sixteen years to get there but it just shows dreams do come true!
I also wrote my last features for Australian Hysteria Magazine. After contributing work to the first couple of issues it was time for us to part ways. I wish them the best of luck and am sure in time they’ll have all the success that they deserve.
My last features for them included: a cover story talking with Mike Ness of Social Distortion; an interview with Fat Mike from NOFX/Me First & the Gimme Gimmes; chats with Greg Attonito frontman for the Bouncing Souls and drummer Bill Stevenson of the Descendents; plus a conversation with Less Than Jake vocalist-guitarist Chris DeMakes.
Greg Attonito – the Bouncing Souls
Who would you say is the most famous person Bouncing Souls has worked with?
Well they didn’t exactly work with us but I’ll tell you this story because it’s pretty fun. Here’s the title of the story, “All of KISS visits the Bouncing Souls.” Here’s how it happened:
We were recording our second release, Maniacal Laughter with Tom Wilson as the producer.
He had just done the Offspring record which was selling millions of copies as we were in the studio recording with Tom. He was getting offers from Aerosmith, KISS and who knows who else because now he was the ‘hot hit’ producer. He was a multi-million selling producer at that moment and what was the next record he chose to do? The Bouncing Souls! So there we are in a studio in L.A. making the record when we find out KISS is next door to us mixing their new MTV Unplugged record.
On a couple of occasions during that week we chatted with Gene and Paul who were pretty friendly but the big moment happened toward the end of the session. We were listening back to Lamar Vannoy when there was a knock on the door of the control room. One of the KISS guys poked his head in and says, ‘Hey, Do you mind if we come listen?’ Come on in! Was our response, of course! So then to our surprise, all four members of KISS march into the little engineering room and proceed to bop their heads along to Lamar Vannoy. After the song ended they all shook hands with Tom, gave us a salute and were on their way. As soon as they were gone there was a collective, ‘Yahoo!’ from everybody including Tom. KISS visited our session! We were extremely stoked 24 year olds.
Mike Ness – Social Distortion
It’s a Thursday afternoon in Clifton Park, New York. Orange County punk rock n rollers, Social Distortion, are a long way from their west coast Southern Californian home. The four-piece are mid-way through a 26-date, US Fall tour, previewing seventh studio album, Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes. Scheduled for release January 2011, the long awaited album has been six years coming. The confidence, optimism, self-achievement and focus that shines manifesting itself on the new record, has been a lifetime coming, for band veteran Mike Ness.
The punk icon has taken time out from a day of soundchecking, local press and ‘junk shopping’ to chat before tonight’s show at the Capitol Region home of music, Northern Lights. The singer-guitarist is gentlemanly and candid as we chat – he’s looking forward to a ‘cat nap’ before show time—a far cry from the Ness of early days, who once described the first five years of the band as ‘a party, a party that nearly killed me.’
“Right now the top priority is finding a balance between touring: professional life – when we have a new record coming out we have to tour and get out and show people what we’re about – and home life,” he explains, “Balancing that out, where I’m not gone for two years and missing out on my home life is important. I’m trying to figure out how to do both—it’s a struggle.”
Fat Mike – NOFX/Me First & the Gimme Gimmes
How has drugs influenced your life?
Well I don’t know? I think they’ve influenced my life in a positive way. Usually people that are negative about drugs are people that have to quit. The people that like doing them feel it’s a positive.
So for you it’s a positive then?
Have you ever been to rehab?
I ask as when I was reading the section of the NOFX website that allows fans to ask you guys questions and you answer them, had a question from a fan relating to undertaking a 12-step recovery program and Erik (Sandin, drummer) commented that he’d been to rehab and it saved his life.
Yeah that’s true but, you know he was a junkie and spending all his money on heroin, stealing and basically living on the street.
Chris DeMarks – Less Than Jake
What was the defining moment for Less Than Jake that made you decide it was time to quit the major label deal?
Here’s the thing, our band never had any disillusions on a major label. We either knew that we were going to sell a hundred thousand copies, which we did because we knew we had fans…we knew the button was going to get pushed. Warner Bros and then before them Capitol Records, were going to dump a bunch of money into us and we would have been on T.V. and on the radio and sold two million records. It was one or the other.
When you don’t sell a bunch of albums you better hope you sell a bunch on the next one because you’re not going to be on a major label very long. It’s a business, we knew that. It was apparent it was our time to go.
Bill Stevenson – the Descendents
I read an old Descendents interview the other day and you commented that in the beginning everyone hated the Descendents, why was that?
We came out of the L.A. punk scene in the late ’70s but the thing is, the punk scene didn’t want to have anything to do with us nor did they with Black Flag. We had to set our own shows up, renting out halls or empty store fronts, basically whatever we could do to put on our own shows because the clubs in Hollywood didn’t want anything to do with us. They were only interested in the Hollywood bands. We weren’t cool compared to Hollywood punk bands. If you were a punk band in Hollywood there was a cool attached to that. In that way we were legitimately nerds and outcasts but hey you know, so what? That was high school, I’m forty-seven! Let’s get on with it!
You had your birthday a few weeks ago, Happy Birthday Bill!
Yes I did, you seem to know a lot about me [laughs]. I’ll tell you something about my birthday. This was a birthday that my nine year old son Miles did not think I was gonna make it too. I had two very serious illnesses that have since been cured completely and I feel like I’m fifteen years old again. I’m totally just feeling awesome and young. About a year ago that was not the case. I basically dodged two bullets. I don’t want to take up the interviews time with it but let me just say that this 47th birthday was very special to me because I’m here!
Congratulations! I’m glad you’re here.
I made it! My nine year old son knows that nothing is going to happen to his dad, at least yet. I’m feeling so good, it’s like the cure just wasn’t a cure. They gave me a complete overhaul and made me twenty years younger. I just feel wonderful.
And, as the post title suggests, I’m also writing for music site Collapse Board. I wrote my first exclusive piece for them after attending US hip hop personality Snoop Dogg’s press conference:
I was super stoked it was in the most read CB entries for the week beginning 11.04.2011! The folks at CB are good people, it’s nice to write alongside people that really care. One of CB’s mantras is: Where music is treated with the respect it deserves. Check them out for some interesting, thoughtful reading.
Looking forward to posting more soon!