Queers interview with WXJM


The Queers were booked to play WXJM's Fifth Anniversary Concert, but due to
muffler problems as they were coming through Pennsylvania, they arrived too
late to play the event. However, your friends at WXJM, always willing to
please, managed to snag this interview with the boys before they headed off
to their next gig. Questions were asked by Li'l Jon Roth, Matt Thomas, Kath
Williams, and Eric Larsen (henceforth known collectively as "interviewer.")
The Queers are: Joe King (guitar and vocals); B-face (bass and vocals); and
Hugh (drums and vocals). So, without further ado.....
Interviewer: How long have you guys been together?
Joe: We put records out-- I did-- in '83 and '84. The first 7" was in '8 3
and the second was in '84. It was me, Tool (ed. note-- I think that's what
he said), and Wimpy. Then, in the mid-80's or late 80's I met Hugh and
played around in different line-ups of The Queers here and there, but
really five years since we hooked up with B-face and that's the line-up
now. We never toured in the old days, so really this is the line-up. We've
been together five years.
B-face: Next month, it'll be five-and-a-half.
Joe: Right, five-and-a-half. People are like, "The ancient Queers-- they've
been together for thirteen years." We never played straight.
B-face: You mean straight through.
Joe: Oh, yeah.
Hugh: Well, either way. (laughter)
Interviewer: Where can you find all the old recordings?
B-face: It's being re-released on Lookout.
Joe: The early stuff with Wimpy is, and a live broadcast. He came back, we
found old rehearsal tapes from '83 and re-learned the songs. Wimpy
re-learned the vocals and we went in the studio with us three and Wimpy
singing and that's "Look Ma, No Flannel" and "Too Young to Quit." We also
did a live broadcast and he sang stuff. So, it's all gonna be "A Day Late
and a Dollar Short."
Interviewer: I heard a rumor that you guys were signing to another label.
Joe: Really? No, the only label that was after us was Epitaph. They talked
us, that was it. We're staying with Lookout.
Interviewer: They're pretty much the same thing, aren't they?
Joe: In a way, but they operate differently. Epitaph's bigger. We would
have been band #47.2 on Epitaph. On Lookout we're #1 or 2.
Hugh: 1.5 (laughter)
Interviewer: How do you feel about the whole Epitaph thing going on right
now?
Joe: Hey, they made a success out of it. I mean, we don't listen to any of
their bands, but it's still an independent label and he's built it up and
Brett's having fun. [ed.-- Brett Gurewitz is founder of Epitaph records] If
anything, it should be an inspiration to a lot of these young punks. I t's
like, his band [Bad Re ligion] did gre at, he started a labe l, and he made
his millions, literally, because h e's doing something he loved doing. It's
like Larry Lookout wi th making money. He took a chance, he rolled the
dice, and he made money. And why can't you make fucking money? All these
kids should be saying, "Gee, there's Billy Joe and Tre and they're making
money doing what they love." What would you rather listen to: The Offspring
or Paul fucking McCartney? (laughter) And, all of a sudden, Rancid isn't
punk. Fuck that. Rancid goes out and puts their ass on the line. Who are
these fucking kids to judge anything? Rancid is good friends of ours. They
helped us out so many times. I don't go home and listen to Rancid's albums
and they don't go home and listen to The Queers. So what? We're friends.
They did what friends should do. There's all these kids running around
saying, "That ain't punk, this is punk, etc." Who cares? If you can do this
shit and make money, more power to them. You look at Rancid and Green Day
up there-- they're laughing at themselves as much as anyone. "Look at us.
Us three idiots made it." It should be an inspiration, they're doing what
they love . Not many people in this world get to do that. So, Epitaph--
fucking great. Green Day, Rancid, all of them. They took a chance, more
power to them. Punk rock is a lot of different things to a lot of different
people and I don't own it and you don't.....
Interviewer: But Maximum Rock & Roll thinks they do.
Joe: No, they don't. I don't agree with everything Tim [Yohannon, editor of
MR&R] does. Me and B-face know him fairly well-- well enough. He's a good
guy. He's a great fucking guy. But that's friends. We're friends, we don't
get along...
B-face: Yeah, we don't get along. (laughter)
Joe: ...but that's life, you're human. Unless the rules of life have
changed, you're allowed to argue your own opinion. I don't agree with him,
but he doesn't think he's the be-all end-all of punk.
B-face: Yeah, he's way more real than that.
Joe: I like what he was trying to do, but there's no way to enforce that.
You know, keep it totally punk and underground. It's not a black-and-white
issue-- there's a lot of gray area.. Where do you draw the line? Rancid all
of a sudden isn't punk. We're probably on the shit-list because we toured
with the Muffs. We went with them because we like the Muffs' music, and we
took less money to tour with them. We don't care what Tim thinks is punk
and what ain't punk. Let those people argue-- we're too busy having fun. We
choose not to worry about that shit.
Interviewer: I don't know the guy personally, so I guess I probably
shouldn't make comments like that.
Joe: No, that's cool.
Interviewer: Moving on, why did you choose to cover "Hawaii" by the Beach
Boys on your new album?
Joe: Well, 'cause we like the Beach Boys and that's a relatively obscure
song and it's a cool tune. And we wanna go to Hawaii. (sings) "I wanna go
to Hawaii..." Actually we're going to Hawaii.
B-face: In November.
Joe: No, that's not why we play the song, 'cause we want to go to Hawaii.
We play it 'cause we like the song. Hugh's got a great falsetto on that.
Hugh: No, that's B-face.
Joe: Why? Do you like that tune?
Interviewer: Yeah.
B-face: Have you heard the original?
Interviewer: Actually, no I haven't.
B-face: You should check it out.
Interviewer: I know a lot of your old music had anti-Dead/Garcia lyrics.
Now that he's dead, how do you feel about doing those songs?
Joe: I always hated that fucker. (laughter) No, I mean, we didn't run home
and say, "Yea, great, he's dead."
B-face: A lot of punks did, though.
Joe: A lot of people ask me: "Oh, are you glad he died?" No, we're not
happy he died. It's another guy who did what he wanted to do and made a lot
of people happy.
Hugh: He was ugly. He's still ugly. (laughter)
Interviewer: I'd like to do a "get to know the band" type thing. What's
your favorite alcoholic drink?
Hugh: That's easy, Budweiser.
Joe: Bud. You don't even have to ask. We're gonna have a song on the new
album called "I Only Drink Bud." What's this we're drinking now?
Interviewer: I'd say Beast, but it's going down smooth. It's probably Natty
Light.
Hugh: What's Natty Light?
Interviewer: Natural Light.
Hugh: Oh, I thought it was some kind of exotic beer. (Mimics snobbish
voice) "Natty Light."
Joe: Hey B-face. Brat was givin' me shit. He's like, " Why do you drink
that fuckin' cheap beer."
B-face: What, doesn't he drink Heineken?
Joe: Yeah, Heiny's fuckin' skunk beer. Bud drinkers are dedicated, they
won't leave the fuckin' beer.
B-face: The funny thing is, we get shit from the fuckin' beer snobs for
drinking the cheap beer. Or we get shit from the people who drink Natty
Light or Golden Anniversary for drinking expensive beer.
Hugh: You can't win.
[The conversation wandered at this point, until...]
Interviewer: I was really looking forward to seeing you guys play.
Joe: Yeah, we were really pumped up about playing. I honestly thought we
could make it down in time. We can come back though. This is like the outer
fringes of day-trips for us, the DC/Maryland area.
Interviewer: Where are you from?
Joe: New Hampshire. From here we can jump back on I-95 back up to Boston.
Interviewer: Do you know when you'll be by DC?
Joe: Well, we're gonna be out for the next two months. In the first two
weeks of December we'll be passing through that area.
B-face: (checking his itinerary) Around the twelfth of December. We'll also
be playing in Norfolk around that time.
Interviewer: You'll probably hate me for this next question, but I'm
curious. What's the inspiration behind the band's name?
B-face: Well, when Joe and crew started the band, they just wanted
something that would piss people off. And it worked! We get shit from
straight people who aren't into punk and don't get it. Th ey give us shit
for calling ourselves the Queers. Then, the gay community will give us shit
for using the name and say, "Well, you're not really queer. We use the name
Queer Nation and you can't use it." Again, it's like the deal with drinking
Budweiser - damned if you do, damned if you don't. We're right in the
middle where we piss off everybody.
Interviewer: You can't worry about pleasing people.
B-face: Exactly, if you did that you'd never leave the house. Shit's
happened to us before. People have attacked us on stage a few times. (To
Hugh:) Remember that in Kentucky? Some kid came up on stage. I got jumped
in Providence one time. We never know why. It might be the name of the band
- it might not be. A lot of it is getting mics rammed down our throats from
stagedivers.
Hugh: That's what happened in Kentucky.
Interviewer: Yeah, I like getting into the show and stagediving and all
that, but people just don't fucking know how to do it. They're just out to
fuck people up.
Hugh: Yeah, some people are there just to fuck people up.
B-face: A lot of it is these new college fuckin' jocks coming to shows. I'm
no t a huge Fugazi fan, but I read an interview with Ian McKaye, and he was
right on when he said he doesn't condone people just getting in there
hurting people to hurt them. He said, "If you want to jump around to the
music and enjoy it, fine. But there's a big difference between doing that
and just jumping in there and swinging your fist." I thought he was right
on there.
Hugh: Too bad he can't write a tune to save his fuckin' life. (laughter)
Interviewer: Do you like the crowds at your shows, or would you rather be
like Green Day and have that type of crowd at your shows?
Joe: Well, that's the thing. Sure Green Day made it, but they don't like
every singl e aspect of making it big. They're just regular people like us.
Everybody knows it, but everybody wants to pull the m down a notch, and
that's the price you pay for the glory of your seat. They don't like
fuckin' college jocks beating up their fans. We don't like it either. Like
the last tour I said, "Jesus, B-face I think we're making it." He's like,
"What do you mean?" I said, "Someone's here with a Beastie Boys hat."
B-face: We arrived man, we arrived. (laughter)
Joe: The thing is, we have a good fan base. We have some great devoted fans
because they show up and they know what the Queers are about. Fun. That's
what we're about. There's no big message. When you show up at a Queers show
for forty, forty-five minutes you can forget all the bullshit of the world
and have fun. That's it.