On the first day I was in Los Angeles on my last trip to Califas I pretty much got off the plane, headed to where I was staying, then Junior swung by, picked me up and drove me to see a Danny Diablo show. He gave me a CD of his band, Countime. All these years (12 to be exact) later I chatted with him for my forth coming book, Conversations With Punx (which features chats with Roger Miret, John Joseph, Lord Ezec, Lou Koller, Ian MacKaye & many more). Here’s a little sneak peek at our chat.
How did you get into punk and hardcore?
J: Oh fuck! A long time ago man [laughs]. The first band I ever heard was AC/DC a song called ‘Big Balls’. In 7th Grade I saw some punk rockers at school wearing Sex Pistols shirts, they had shirts with Sid Vicious this and that… at first I thought Sid and Nancy were two different bands, I didn’t know what they were. I asked one of them and they said he was the bass player from the Sex Pistols. Back in the day there used to be a place called The Warehouse and that’s where I bought a Sex Pistols tape, Never Mind The Bollocks. I thought it was the craziest thing I’ve ever heard ‘cause my father literally broke the fucking tape when he heard: I am an anti-Christ / I am an anarchist. It was a trip. After that I got into the Misfits. Then a guy showed me Gorilla Biscuits and I thought they were fucking great, the fastest thing I’d ever heard. Hearing, Start Today, on tape blew me out of the water! I don’t know where the transition from punk to hardcore went, to me it’s all the fucking same! Punk rock, oi!, hardcore, I grew up at a time where we didn’t have labels. L.A. hardcore was just bands that were really charged up! They were down to the bone like, Circle Jerks—that was hardcore to us. When I started listening to New York Hardcore I realised there was a whole different coast of music over there. When you actually meet the people from New York you actually understand why they wrote this fucking aggressive music. I think every neighbourhood has a tale, it definitely is reflected in the music.
Tell me about your songs; do you take inspiration from your neighbourhood?
J: All Countime songs are about love, breaking up or ‘she fucked me over’ [laughs]. For me, heartache makes the best fucking music. I listen to a lot of oldies and RnB, those mother fuckers had no problem wearing their pain on their sleeve. Heartaches and hard times makes great art.
Anything else to add?
J: Family is so important. I’m looking my son right now and he’s making a mess… making a mess but it’s in my house, which is the best feeling. I grew up in North East L.A. and today I live in South Central L.A. and the way I look at it, your neighbourhood does not have to define who you are. I’ve met a lot of people in my ‘hood that have done fucking amazing things. You don’t have to be a product of your environment if you don’t want to. I’m not saying sometimes you don’t fall into that hole, because we all can fucking fall but, if you can get yourself out of that hole, why wouldn’t you? I never thought I’d play in a band, and meet all these great people—hardcore has given me so much. Certain bands like Madball just bring out the kid in me. I love singing along with Agnostic Front. Doing what I did back in the day, I never thought I’d live to tell about it.
Read the full interview in my upcoming book, Conversations with Punx. For more COUNTIME go here.