Rich Gulag of
1. The dusty road of dinnage is an uneven bastard, it trips us up, forks many times, fucks a lot more and takes us many different ways - give us a brief rundown about your journey mate from year dot to today - keep it real sir.
Well Dave, I've had a long and varied life, from marriage to drug addiction, to prison. I've been a bad person, maybe sometimes for the right reasons.
I've been a good person.
I try to lead a wholesome life now, be good to others, and basically concentrate on being creative and getting involved in the punk DIY scene. I have an immense amount of passion with all the projects I'm involved with, do my utmost to support others who get off their arse and do something pro-active.
I started in bands around 1991 in a hardcore punk band from Stoke called Scherzo, then moved on to a ska punk band called Sick of Society. That continued for a while until heavy drug use became all-consuming. I had a good ten years completely out of the scene and up my own arse in a vicious circle of taking chemicals and doing various unsavoury things to fund said chemicals.
In 2002 I was clean, drug free, healthy, had a good job, raised a family, tried to do the constructive member of society thing, but that all kind of went tits up when my marriage ended in 2010, it was then I met Katie. I found myself sofa surfing again, and Katie was good enough to put me up on many occasions.
It was one of these occasions we began talking about forming a band, we wrote one song in her kitchen, then did nothing for a week…ashamed by our own apathy we got back to it, and then wrote five songs in five consecutive nights, some of which we still do today.
2. Life and honesty - how do you think they fit together in this world (and music scene) of lies, selfishness and deceit). Also what things in life upturn your boat and what are those that really rock it and give utmost pleasure.
Honesty? A rare thing to see, seems most have an agenda of their own, but there are some good genuine folk out there, people who would share their last tin of beans with you if needs be, and people have their own reasons for dishonesty, not always for ones of a malicious nature…I tend to filter through the crap and read between the lines. In this fucked up world we've all been liars at one point in our lives. I try not to judge on rumours etc but on current actions.
Life? Who knows what the fuck its all about, every time I think I have it sussed, it shows me I know nothing in the grand scheme of things, so I'm gonna keep doing what I'm doing and see where it takes me, if its the wrong path, so be it but I'm having a great time doing it.
The things that give me pleasure in life? Writing and performing songs whether with the band or on my own. Art, I love creativity in all its forms, painting, writing, whatever...I love it, and of course being with my many children.
3. What are your aims as a human being (sorry for the insult - terrible ain't it) and a musician and where do you feel they coalesce into making you what you are?
My aim as a musician is to keep doing it, keep putting stuff out, keep gigging, until people are either sick of me or I run out of ideas. I don't give a shit about money, never had any so don't miss it. My aim as a human is to be good to others, remain proactive and do the best I can for those I care for.
I use my life experiences in lyrics, art music etc. so what I do, and I am as a human being are fundamentally intertwined
I like to use my testicle skin (with the aid of a bicycle pump) as a flotation device on hot summer days in the local body of water and bike sexuality is not in my forte, although the female variety make for easier skirt wearage when testicular skin is greatly inflated!!
5. Pedagree Skum and your solo project - highlight what is currently going on and which do you prefer - working alone or as part as a unit?
Pedagree Skum, is, has and always will be my first love, it is something that is 100% Katie and I, from subject matter, to artwork to music, and the only thing that will make me give it up, is if Katie decides to call it a day.
We have had a brief setback, as our drummer and bass player both decided to leave, so Katie and I continue to uphold our gig commitments by doing acoustic sets under the name Pedagree Strum. We have a new drummer in training and will be back up to strength in no time.
I love doing my solo acoustic stuff, it gives me a chance to do songs more personal to me, and also stuff that I think wouldn't necessarily work for PS. Doing the solo stuff was never about me wanting to go out on my own, but to keep me occupied and pro active whilst the Skum were taking a break due to Katie having a baby.
I actually love doing both, but I've got to say, working with others is always far more interesting as ideas that I sometimes have get taken in directions I would never had considered on my own.
The best song with me tends to be the newest ha, ha. I'm quite proud of some of the new Skum songs, especially ‘Welcome to the UK’. My favourite solo song is probably ‘Beauty’, relatively new, simple in structure and sounds good (to me anyway) but in saying that, I have just written a superb track for the side project I'm doing with Joey Mutant, The Mutant Skum (yet to be released) .so all in all I think I have separate favourites in each project I'm involved in.
I’m not gonna slag off punk, far too many do that as it is. I love punk, not every single band or every single clique, but there are some good folk. I've been put up, fed, looked after by punks who hardly know me, no other scene does that to my knowledge.
Punk attracted me as a young man, as I hated all the idolatry that surrounded musicians etc. and with punk you could sit and have a beer and a good chat with your favourite bands.
There are some dinosaurs hanging around, giving it the old rock star attitude, acting like they are fucking Mick Jagger or something, charging silly money to play but I suppose if you get your ass kissed enough you start to believe its made of gold ha, ha.
I find the DIY scene more my thing, its far more eclectic, diverse and unpretentious. Nothing better than seeing someone, with no musical training, getting up and giving it a go, and actually sounding bloody good.
Actually some of the best gigs I've played have been tiny dingy pub affairs, some of the acoustic punk and poet gigs that Eagle Spits puts on are amazing in terms of atmosphere, variety and generally great people to be around, and probs the worst was a gig in Bangor years back when I was in a band called Sick of Society. It got raided by the police for reasons that have been lost through the rigours of time, and we only just managed to escape with our stuff down the back stairs.
What shrivels my pips, as you so eloquently put, is the elitism that can sometimes surface in our lovely scene.
Ha, ha, I’d like to go into the time I was gang raped by a hoard of amorous slugs...but perhaps another occasion!!
Many things concern me, the greed, the bigotry, the absolute and utter ignorance of some as to what is going on in the world, the selfishness, the gap between the haves and have nots, I could go on and on My hope for the future is that maybe we can all start to get on a bit more, tolerance, compromise etc.
11. Crispbag Kung Fu - a noisy martial art that can be quite flavoursome - the question - would you live inside Bruce lee's eyelid for a year (if he were still alive that is) and what food based weapon do you prefer to fend off attackers?
Bruce’s lid I think would be a dangerous place, I've seen the one inch punch, I have no doubt both lids are capable of equally devastating moves...and my favourite food based weapon? Banana of course...comedy gold when used as a method of escape, can be used as a gentle cosh.and also fits nicely up yer bum for long lonely nights.
12. The fat whale of noise is spouting hard, the water is creating a rainbow - you have the chance to blend these colours into a fantastic message for all - sign off with a statement and don't forget to push your wares my good fellow.
All I’d say is fuck formulas, fuck rock gods, you don't have to be a musical genius to get up and get involved, just the will to do it and something relevant to say. Enjoy the past, but don't let it define the future, embrace the young, fuck all this I was punk before you were born crap, support those who deserve, those who work tirelessly for no reward, spread your music, free if you can afford, support the small gigs as well as the bigger bands you love, …and most importantly lets stop pulling each other apart for pointless pathetic personal agendas, unity is needed.