Monday, April 19, 2010
The Independents' Tales From The Crypt
The Independents are anything but your typical horror punk band. Mixing influences from ska to rockabilly to straight up punk, the music of the The Independents covers a lot of musical bases, and with an 18 year career, the fans definitely like what they hear! Recently Evil Presly and Willy B were kind enough to answer some questions for us and give us some insight into what makes this band different from the rest!
Some of our readers may be unfamiliar with the Independents. Can you give our readers a little The Independents 101?
Evil: Sure. Well we formed in early 1992 in Florence, SC. We have 10 cd's out the newest being " Do It Again" .We have been on over 35 Compilations featuring a wide variety of bands from the Descendents, Fish Bone, Bad Religion, and the Dwarves to Tom Jones , The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming lips. We have also recorded songs with Joey Ramone as his backing band. In total we have sold more than 100 thousand records. We have toured all over the world by ourselves and with such bands as The Ramones, Misfits, The Queers and Voodoo Glow Skulls, Rancid, etc. We have songs on different movie sound tracks from 'Hardcore Logo’, ‘Final Rinse', 'Babydoll', '100 Tears', 'Anal Paprika',etc.. lol Check out our Music and Bio on MYSPACE.COM/theindependents or come see us play! lol
Willy B: The Independents have been together for 18 years. It was started by Evil Presly, and myself (Willy B). We’ve been known to play a mixture of punk, ska, rockabilly, oldies style tunes and a great stage show. We have played all over the US, Canada, Europe, and Mexico in all the years we've been together. Our first album was released in 1995, and our latest album is called "Do It Again".
The album that introduced me to you was 2002's Back from the Grave (produced by Joey Ramone and Daniel Rey). How did Joey come to be involved with The Independents and eventually come to manage the group?
Evil: Back from the Grave actually came out in early 2001. C Jay Ramone got us on a few of the Ramones "Acid Eater" tour dates. A few days before our first show with them he turned Joey on to a tape full of our demos etc. Joey loved it and wanted to meet us. We were so excited about playing with the Ramones we went to the venue the night before our first show with them and ended up partying with Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats and helping the Ramones road crew load in really late that night. I'll never forget walking in the venue the next day and Joey and C Jay walking all the way across the venue right up to Willy and me .Nervous is not the word for it. We started talking and just really hit it off. He really loved our music and our work ethics. He stood off the side of the stage and watched us every night we played with them on those shows. The next day he would give me advice or we would just share road stories before sound check. We became best friends and he really was like a father figure to us. He was the best. He was so professional and so different then that cartoonish character you may think or read about. All those guys and the crew were always great to us.
Willy B: Joey Ramone met us through CJ Ramone, who became friends with Evil when the Ramones played in Myrtle Beach, SC. CJ became a big fan and friend of ours, and he eventually got us to open for The Ramones on a Tour of the South (I think it was the Acid Eaters tour). Before the first show, CJ came up to us and said "Joeys been listening to your tape nonstop in the van, he loves it!” We were all high-fiving and freaking out! Eventually Joey also became a close friend and manager. It was a great experience to have him as a friend/manager/mentor. He taught us a lot about the music biz and such too.
Along with your amazing original material, you also do insanely great cover tunes (Your version of God Called in Sick Today is better than the original in my opinion...) What is a song that you wish you could cover that would shock long time fans?
Evil: Thanks. You know we never really practiced that song. We got a really good offer from Cleopatra records to record it last minute. To meet the deadline of like 2 days the guys learned it and sent me a cd of it with lyrics. My father had to have heart surgery and I was in the hospital with him. After he was out of the woods I drove to the studio and we did it like three times and sent it off. I'm really glad you dug it. I wish we had had more time with it. We played it live a few times here and there and I know we could have done a way better job now. As far as other fun covers. We were doing "Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen live for awhile. That was a real shocker for some lol. Nothing better than seeing a bunch of drunk skins, hardcore kids and crusty punks singing that one live with huge smiles on their faces. Just goes to show you how music really should have no boundaries on it. Three songs I really wanted to do and had recorded demos for the last album were "By Your Side" by Sade. , "Dark End of the Street" by Percy Sledge and "Nothing Takes the Place of You" - Toussaint McCall . I'm a sucker for a good ballad. Unfortunately our hard drive crashed and we lost the recordings and didn't have time to redo them. We always try and do at least one cover per record just for shits and giggles. We ended up with the Coaster's "Poison Ivy" on it. There are a ton of songs I would love to cover for the future but I’ll let them be a surprise.
Willy B: We talked about covering "Jack Daniels If you Please" by David Allen Coe, which is an awesome country song. People might enjoy that!
What do you feel is the state of punk rock, and horror oriented rock, in today’s heavily commercialized market?
Willy B: Although there are some great punk and horror bands out there, I think that a lot of the bands nowadays try to look and sound too much like one another. They seem to forget about the quality of the music and focus on the image. I know that image is important, but get the music down first, then work on the look.
Evil: I think punk is getting back to the way it used to be. More underground. When metal, punk and ska became huge. People raped and ruined for a lot of people. Bands would form and write rip off songs of the big hits of the moment and dress like the big bands .There was nothing unique or creative about it. It was bullshit. Same is going on now for a lot of the horror oriented music. Once people find out they can make money at it they just rape it. I prefer the underground scene much more, where the music counts not the look. Fuck MTV for screwing up music for ever.
Like most bands in the horror rock genre, you have an incredible aesthetic presence. How do you decide on the artwork that you use to advertise The Independents?
Willy B: We have some people who have created art for us and they are really good. Sometimes we come up with an idea and a sketch, and the artist will make it look great. Sometimes fans of ours give us art to use. If we like it, we use it!
Evil: We just come up with ideas and images we like. If we can't draw them we find someone who can. We have been very lucky to have worked with such artists as: Flynn Prejean, Darren Merinuk, Danny Miller, Robert Bisi, James Mcleod, etc.
Speaking of all things promotion, any plans to branch out into the world of music based video games?
Evil: Sure. We would love to get out music out as much as possible as long as it fits what we like.
Willy B: That would be awesome. Our song titles would make great creatures in a video game (succubus, two headed monster woman). And people could choose which member they wanna be.
You really break the conventions of the "horror rock" genre in your songs and the subject matter you use. I for one am ecstatic that you are introducing audiences to other forms of exploitation (i.e. Dolemite) besides the standard horror references. What made you decide to use this subject matter besides the more traditional horror sources?
Willy B: As far as DOLEMITE is concerned, we are big fans of Rudy Ray Moore and All of his movies! That's what we like to write about, things we like. We like horror, so that’s what we write about. I don’t think we started with the intention of just being a horror band. It’s just what we liked and it came out.
Evil: Have you ever seen the "Devil Son in Law"? We actually recorded Dolemite for a Groovy Ghoulies tribute record in Europe. We liked the song so much we re-recorded it for our cd. We love horror and sci/fi but if we write a song like Love Sucks or Alive we are going to record it.
As a band with horror genre overtones, I would imagine you have a love of horror films. What would you say is the all time most bizarre horror film you've ever seen that most people would know absolutely nothing about?
Willy B; Speaking of Rudy Ray Moore, I would recommend "the Devil's Son In Law". It’s very entertaining to me. Not so much "horror", but quite bizarre and cheezy.
Also worth mentioning, is another film that’s horror-ible that we like, called DC Cab. It features Mr T. Its worth watching for the sheer cheezieness of it.
Evil: Faust. That film is just so awesome.
What does the future hold for The Independents?
Evil: More recording and touring. Making the most of everyday and being grateful to be able to do what we love.
Any parting words for our readers?
Willy B: There's a lot more to music than the image. Image is important, but the music is more! Also, come see us play when we are in your town. We've got a great new lineup, and you won't be disappointed!
Evil: Be yourself and lead. Don't just follow everyone else like sheep. Life is too short. Enjoy it and make the most of it. Support your local scene or there will be no scene! We are about to start back out on some pretty big long tours so come out have a good time and say hello.
Thanks guys! Everyone should head over to MYSPACE.COM/theindependents to check out this incredible band for themselves!