Interview with BLACK MARIAS
May 2008 @ The East Coast Oi Fest
Interviewed by: Jillian Abbene Richmond VA/Wash DC

1.        Although you guys have been around the scene since 2005, Do I stand correct in that you have cranked out a debut album this year entitled, “Anti-Social Behavior.”   Where can it be purchased in the USA? Who did the cover art work and inside sleeve [of the 2 fingers up?] brilliant!

No, the album was pressed in 2006, and we just ain’t got over to the states before the ECOF. The new album is not pressed yet, but will be ready in Sept 2008, and is going to be called, “We are THE MINORITY”.

2. So within the span of 3 years, what took so long for this debut CD?  Curious…

We are a gigging band, and it’s what we do, it’s what we are. “Anti-Social Behavior,” was recorded, produced, engineered, pressed, and paid for by the band as it is our next album, and as it is - we are the MINORITY! We have only sold and given away 2,500 copies of it and only ever at gigs do we play. We haven’t used any distributors for the first album because we want people to see us, to get off their lazy fucking arses, and come and have a laugh with us. Over the past three years we have supported Stiff Little Fingers, The Cockney Rejects, Sham 69, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, The UK Subs, The Gonads, The Lurkers, The Vibrators, among many, many others. We get to play, and we get in for nothing just to watch the headliners and get a few free beers. With that, we get more and more people liking and seeing what we are doing and following us. We are having a right fucking good time! We go in the studio to record and it is such a boring process. Well, OK, the outcome is worth it, but we would rather just record a live album every time. 

3. Now Thomas (the guitarist), he also plays with the Anoraks?  How did that come about?

Tom used to play with the Anoraks before joining us. Yeah it’s the same guitarist.

4. Who writes the lyrics and what subjects really inspire you?

Mitch and Jim usually write the lyrics collaboratively or separate. Subject wise, it’s just day-to-day stuff - things we talk about when we are pissed and putting the world to rights!

5. Judging from the overall tone of playing music and having fun, there seems to be a twist of humorous undertones (I like that).  Is this something that’s deliberate or just something that comes out on stage or in the writing?

It is something which is both deliberate and accidental at the same time. We are very much into having fun and being ironic about stuff so it probably comes out on stage. Fuck, if we wanted to be serious all the time we can always become an Emo band, but then again…I think we are all past the teen angst phase of our musical journey. Ha, Ha!

6. Why is the song, ‘To Chav and To Chav Not,’ known as the ‘Shakespeare Song?’ 

Ok, it’s just a piss-take of ourselves, really. As English people and other nationalities’ perception, we are as stereotypes of an Englishman, (someone with perfect diction, one speaking one Queen’s English and all that bollocks.) In England, we have a youth subculture which are called ‘Chavs’, and they are like plastic gangsters who talk the talk and dress in designer clothes spending shit-loads of money they haven’t got. They spend the rest of their lives paying off the loans from credit card companies for the latest fashionable cardigan with a crocodile picture on it. There is a saying from the Shakespeare play (I don’t know which one) ‘…to have and have not…,’ and let’s just say it’s a modern take on that play.

Black Marias - having a real good time plying their trade

7. Is this the first time The Black Marias have played in the USA?  What are your thoughts on playing at the East Coast Oi Fest?  

It is the first time we played in the USA and the first time for most of us visiting the USA. The place is fucking amazing to be honest without sounding like an arse kisser, and we had such a fucking laugh and good time. The people, the music, the whole atmosphere at the shows we had played is a time to remember forever. It is one that we want to repeat again as soon as possible. Also, your beer is soooooo fucking cheap!

8. Will there be other tours this year after the East Coast Oi Fest?

No, not this year in the US. In the UK we never stop gigging. However, we can’t wait to come back. The scene in the US is so much more suited to what we do than it is in the UK at the moment. So we need promoters out there reading this to get in touch with us for a tour next year! We wanna tour the entire 2009 year there and we will do it for beer money!

9. I notice a post-punk influence to your music—which I think is great just for the sake of it being post-punk. What bands have influenced your sound?

We all have very different tastes from The Clash to Sham 69, from Cockney Rejects to Dead Kennedy’s, from Bad Brains to The Specials, from Agnostic Front to The 4 Skins, from Madness to Cocksparrer, from The Bouncing Souls to Dillinger 4, and also The Stiff Little Fingers. Fuck it! We listen and love ‘em all. If we are influenced in anyway, it’s just by punk.

10. What is your most memorable gig? Where and what happened?  

The most memorable is always the last one we did. The most surreal was in the East Village, NYC, in the cellar of a transsexual transvestite bar. Funny as fuck when standing outside the venue with a crowd of punks and skins, and a coach stops with tourists who all got the treat of the geezer who ran the place upstairs getting his tits out and pushing them against the window. It must have been the most bizarre site ever to the tourists with all us lot outside too. 

11. For the rest of 2008, what are the plans for The Black Marias? I realize more touring in the UK, but do you think you’ll make it back to the USA in 2009?

We will just carry on gigging and having a laugh around the UK for the rest of this year. Hopefully and maybe next year, we will come back to the USA and play - promoters, give us a fucking call!

12. Is there any time in your life (lives) that you can remember as a turning point that made you realize that punk is not just a phase but a lifestyle?  Please elaborate.

When you first listen and like punk for the music, it’s all about the music. As you get older, you just realize it’s part of what you are. It speaks to your sub-conscience, through its lyrics, through its rawness, through its passion and anger, through its humor…there is so much more to punk than just punk. It’s about the lives of the working class people the world over. How we feel, our day-to-day emotions, and “take” on the world around us. Whether it be immediate or in general—or going down to the pub with your mates and talking about religion, war or vegetarianism when you’re half pissed, punk is what we are. It’s as simple as that. Ok, if it’s a label for the music to pigeonhole us into one category, well then, ‘fuck it.’ We will take it on the chin and stand proud to be a “punk.”