Gain and Deeker of
1. Hey up lads and firstly introduce us to yourselves and tell us a little bit about the bands history so far?
Deeker: I am Deeker, lead vocalist of Joey Terrifying. I tend to write most of the lyrics and am the one that spends most of the time online trying to sort us shows! Beans plays the mad bass and sings too. Papa Gain is the Shredmeister general and Plooms (Kev) holds the whole thing together with his crazy drumming. I feel most blessed to not only be creating music with some of my closest friends, but that those friends absolutely rip on their instruments. We’ve all been involved in the underground punk scene for a long time now and have played in numerous different bands over the years including Tearjerk, 13 Broken Fingers, Dizzybite, MAFAFI, The Try Hards and many more. Personally speaking, this is the band I’ve been waiting my whole life to be in and most certainly the happiest I’ve ever been in a band.
Joey Terrifying formed in August 2008. We had jammed together and played a show as The Cowpunk All-Stars for a local festival up here, but that set consisted mostly of my solo songs beefed-up and a few covers. It was good times, but obviously not something that we wanted to actively pursue in that form. With that, we decided that we should form a totally fresh band and write a new set of songs. ‘Troubled Times’ was, I think, the first one that we wrote together and then things took off from there. We played our first Joey Terrifying show in November at The 13th Note in Glasgow with Fake Problems, then played in Dundee before playing Book Yer Ane Fest in Perth. After that, we recorded ‘The First Demo’ and have played around 50 shows between November and now. We did our first UK tour in March and took our travelling circus to many places I’d never been before, and in some cases, had never even heard of! We’ve been taking a little break from gigging as Gain is due to become a father for the first time, but we’ll be back gigging in June and will be undertaking our second UK tour of the year in September. If anyone out there can help us with a show or two, please give us a shout!
Deeker: The March tour was the longest period of time I’ve been constantly on the road, so it was a very eye-opening experience. I have been on tour before; both with my other bands and by myself, but these have generally been short and sweet ventures. Touring in Scotland takes like a week at the very most, and even then ye are somewhat scraping the barrel when it comes to places to play, given that Scotland consists of five cities and a lot of wilderness. That’s not to detract from the smaller towns, as they are always great fun to play, but you can play anywhere in Scotland and still make it home a few hours later, so it doesn’t really feel like a tour as such, insofar as you can always make it back to your own bed.
Deeker: Well, we’re booking our tour for September as we speak. As the March tour was our first, we just pretty much took whatever shows we were offered. We were fortunate insofar as people, on the whole, were very accommodating of us and helped us out a lot, and our routing wasn’t too erratic. Word of mouth spreads incredibly quickly these days, so we had a lot of promoters personally recommended to us by friends who have been on tour before us. Our initial planning was pretty good I think. We borrowed a van from our friends in The Hijacks, had a big box of t-shirts and CDs and hearts that were raring to go. If there was one thing that I’d do differently, it would be to try and raise a little more awareness, like having all the gig posters and tour posters pimped out a little further in advance. Beyond that, I really have no complaints whatsoever, as we knew what we were getting ourselves into.
Deeker: The first venue that immediately springs to mind from the tour is The Cavern in Exeter. I don’t get treated that well when I go and see my mother, so to be so well taken care of after such a long drive and a shitty day was greatly, greatly appreciated and a most pleasant surprise. We were fed, watered, paid and accommodated, even though we left after the show to spend another night in a car park en route to Birmingham. The sound in The Cavern is so crystal and spot-on, and the guys from The Cut-Ups took such good care of us. That place has such a palpable sense of punk rock history and we were truly humbled by the whole experience. We also managed to blag a show on our only off-night, thanks to Zoe in Colwyn Bay and Stiv from Acid Drop, who managed to blag us a slot in Leeds. Rob from Mosh’n’Go in Sheffield went above and beyond the call of duty to help us out. Our friends in The Emos sorted us out with Bolton and were impeccable hosts. Locally, my favourite place to play is probably The Balcony Bar in Dundee; it’s like my second home as I’ve played there so many times in so many different guises that I couldn’t put a number on it. Make-That-A-Take holds our monthly pre-club shows there and we have a great relationship with the staff and the management, and they seem to trust us to do a good job of promoting and running the shows. Other cool venues we have played would have to include The 13th Note in Glasgow, the Redhouse in Sheffield, the Prince Madocs in Colwyn Bay and The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Venues are one thing, but it’s definitely the people and the bands that make the shows, not the specifications of the PA or whatever.
Merch-wise, I don’t really know! I think the best way to pimp your merch is to not constantly bang on about when you are onstage, but by standing at your table after your set, speaking to people and generally getting involved, even if that means walking around the venue with a handful of CDs in return for donations. Engaging with people and playing your heart out, with honesty, is without doubt the best way of getting people interested in your band, not continually banging on about how ye have t-shirts and records for sale. Not continually banging on about Myspace during your set is a good thing too. I’ve seen far too many bands talking about myspace on stage. Myspace is a great tool, no doubt, but there’s more to underground punk than that, you know? I recently saw a touring band playing in Dundee and after throwing their toys out of the pram due to audience indifference to their sub-Gallows hardcore, they alienated the crowd by being utter dickheads and then tried to sell them their £12 t-shirts. That is not the way to do it in my book. Obviously, it’s great to sell stuff and make some money towards continuing the tour, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. I’d rather someone took something positive emotionally from a show. That said, we did sell quite a lot of merchandise when we were on the road, so I have absolutely no cause for complaint.
Deeker: Anti-punk skunk’n’roll-core! It’s all punk rock to me, but we definitely have elements of ska, reggae, hardcore, rock’n’roll, you know? I’d say the band is a manifestation of all our different influences, thrown in a pot and served up fast, loud and passionately! We all listen to a lot of different stuff in divergent directions, but there are definitely bands where we meet too. Off the top of my head, I’d probably say that our main influences are progressive, forward-thinking bands; Propagandhi, The Specials, The Clash, Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, etc. The most obvious Scottish band that compliments our sound would have to be The Hijacks, a 6-piece ska-punk band from Aberdeen. We’ve been friends with them for a while now and they do an amazing job with Good For Nothing? Records and have been very supportive of what we are doing. I’m a big fan of mixed bills so would also add the likes of The Black Rat Death Squad from Glasgow, Taking Chase from Edinburgh and Fragile from Fife as bands that we like playing with, as it creates a great mix of styles and people and can make for a great atmosphere. As far as people I’d like to play with goes, I’d love to tour with Propagandhi, as it means I’d actually get to see them for once in my life. I was kicked out of the show last time they played in Scotland and they haven’t been back since. The time before that I was bed-ridden with illness, so that’s something that needs to be fixed! Obviously, getting on tour with any touring American band is never going to do you any harm!
Deeker: I guess it’s probably much the same as everywhere else. The fads come and the fads go, but those with a genuine and honest passion for punk rock will always be there. There are folks like Jacko out in Fife who have been putting on punk shows for almost 30 years with no regard whatsoever for whatever is popular, and they’ve put on some of the best shows I’ve ever played. We try and do as much as we can for the local scene in our area on the east coast by putting on shows in both Perth and Dundee, but this can be pretty hit and miss. It’s always a little disheartening when ye put on a touring band that you really care about, do all you can to promote the show and get the word out, put together a great bill of local supports and still end up with only 20 folk coming through the door. As I said before, we have great relationships with the two venues that we generally use (The Balcony Bar, Dundee and Mucky Mulligans, Perth), so that makes things a little easier for us, as they are well aware of our history and the effort we put into putting on our shows. I think each city in Scotland has a handful of really dedicated and passionate collectives that are keeping the flag flying for DIY punk rock in Scotland – This Is Our Battlefield and The Wrecking Pit in Glasgow, Cold Dead Hands and House Of Crust in Edinburgh, Fudge Fanzine and Good For Nothing Records in Aberdeen. The people are there, you just need to dig a little deeper to find the gems, ken?
With regards to Scottish bands, I think everyone has their own particular favourites. Mine would include Mesa Verde, an amazing epic post-rock/screamo band from Glasgow, our friends The Hijacks from Aberdeen who have the most energetic live show, The Black Rat Death Squad, Torturo Nervosa from Perth, Kaddish and Inches From The Mainland in Dundee…the list is quite a long one! The scene is really quite healthy at the moment, it’s just that there’s a lot of shit to wade through too, as is the case in most places I’m sure.
Deeker: After playing in bands for over ten years, ye get used to playing to crowds of all different sizes, so it doesn’t matter a jot to me whether there are 10 or 100 people there, I’ll still give the show everything I’ve got. If there are only 10 people at the show, those are 10 minds that are there to be blown! Don’t show disrespect to the people who have bothered to come and see you play; they’ve made the effort to come and see an unknown touring band on say, a Tuesday night. They didn’t have to come out, but they did, so you owe it to these people to play the very best set that you can. As I said before, it doesn’t matter if it’s the Balcony or the Barrowlands, shows are shows and you’ve got to give it your all. I’ve seen far too many bands getting pissed off and upset that no-one came to see their band but, as far as I’m concerned, being on tour is a privilege, not a right. To be able to tour around the UK playing your music and sharing your thoughts and ideals with other people in places you have never been to before is something to be savoured, enjoyed and digested, not mocked, scorned or moaned about. If an audience is unreceptive to your music, you have to work harder to try and get these people onside. There will always be people who don’t like your band, anybody who thinks otherwise is an idiot, but it doesn’t mean you just give up and treat a gig that’s not going entirely your way with disdain and contempt. I find that the best shows tend to be the ones where the audience can almost literally taste the sweat coming from the stage. A show doesn’t have to be sold out to be amazing, it’s what you do with what you’ve got that makes the occasion a success or a failure. We’ve played to crowds big and small and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Of course, we’d love it if every show we played was absolutely rammed, but that doesn’t mean that we will treat the shows any differently if they’re not. I’d rather be on the road sharing my music with people in far-flung places than sitting at home doing a job that I hate. Aside from leaving loved ones, there is nothing that would stop me from spending my life on the road. Unfortunately, little things like jobs, relationships, families, paying the rent and hard graft can get in the way of these best-laid plans! That said, there’s nothing I’d change about how we’ve gone about things thus far. Yes, it would be great to be signed and making a living from our music, but the fact that we’re not isn’t going to deter us in any way. Once we’re locked in and the four of us are onstage together, it’s going to go off one way or another. It’s the release that’s important, not how many people come through the door or how many people leave with a shirt.
Deeker: I am conflicted about the ‘scene’. As I said earlier, there are many great people and collectives to be found doing exceedingly good and productive work within the punk scene, but there are also always chancers, part-timers and piss-takers, so it can make the whole thing somewhat frustrating. I absolutely applaud and support everybody who takes an active role within the scene, whether it be putting on shows, putting out records, writing zines and reviews, coming to shows, supporting bands and the like. We have been fortunate that people have been willing to take a chance on us, an unknown band from the middle of nowhere, so I can’t thank those people enough. It’s heartening to know that there are people still willing to give hard-working bands a chance. So long as there is something to get angry/excited about, there will always be shows to be found.
Things that really get my goat are over-inflated and unjustified egos, bands who show up at gigs with no gear and expect that it is going to be cool to use someone else’s, the plethora of faceless and frankly pish-poor bands that inevitably clutter up your myspace inbox and people who do nothing but moan about the state of the scene, yet never try to do anything about it themselves. It’s not difficult to get involved in the scene and try and contribute something positive. On the whole, I try not to worry too much about what other people think of what we’re doing. Obviously, you are aware of it, but as soon as trying to satisfy and constantly cater to other people becomes your main focus, the battle is already lost. We run our little collective and like to think that we do what we can to help out other bands from our area, as well as bringing some cool bands to town that wouldn't normally play in Dundee or Perth. There are other people out there doing the same thing as us, at least spiritually, and to these people I give the utmost respect and gratitude. There are, unfortunately, those out there that are simply taking the piss when it comes to the underground scene - chancers looking for a pay-day by exploiting DIY-friendly venues and image-conscious bands acting like rock stars with ideas above their station. That's before ye get to the liars, bull-shit artists, part-timers and piss-takers.
On the whole though, I think the scene is in rude health!
Gain: Deeker can do this, he is the PR man.
Deeker: Well, we’ve just made some practice room demos and we’re going to be going into the studio to record these songs properly very shortly. We’re going to have our first EP ready for August (it is out now) and will be touring the UK in September. We have a few exciting shows coming up over summer including Book Yer Ane Fest 2 which is happening at Mucky Mulligan’s in Perth on Saturday 6th June. We are also very excited to be playing with New Bruises from Florida on June 8th in Dundee. We’re playing some shows with Gandhi’s Cookbook and Public/Refuse, who are two punk bands from Dubai who will be in the UK in August and we’re really looking forward to playing some shows with them, as we are to playing with World/Inferno Friendship Society in Glasgow on August 11th. Beyond that, who knows where this madness will all end! If anyone can help us out with a show or two, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We shall bring the rukus anywhere!
As for merch, we are totally out of copies of ‘The First Demo’ but it is readily available online = new CD out now too. Ye can get your hands on one of our first run of T-shirts by visiting www.teesontap.com. They really are most stylish! The most obvious places to get in touch with us are through our website at www.joey-terrifying.co.uk, myspace at www.myspace.com/wearejoeyterrifying or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOTNOTE: This interview is published later than expected and was initially meant for the on-line magazine Distorted. However since the aforementioned magazines demise rather than waste the textual matter it has been agreed to publish it here - hope you still enjoyed it - Fungalpunk/OMD