2014, Features, Interviews — February 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

John Reis (Speedo) of Rocket From The Crypt

by


“… I think the thing we’re kind of talking about right now is we’re just so into having fun, we’re having a good time playing and we’re still getting better as a band, we’re still although musically we fell right back in, but as far as finding an identity as to who we are, we’re kind of different people now as we were back then…”

From Bio: Anyone who’s been anywhere near the music scene for the past two decades or so has heard the lore of a bunch of guys from San Diego called Rocket From the Crypt being the best band in the universe, and anyone who got to see them live knows why.

Adorned in flamboyantly matching attire, led by the most charismatic and energetic frontman since The King himself, armed with a ferociously ska-free horn section and backed up by a legion of devout rocket-tattoo-stamped fans to boot, Rocket From The Crypt quickly became the band that you absolutely did not want playing right before you took the stage. These guys were like the band version of the hot girl that your girlfriend knew about but never wanted you to meet.

We chatted to Speedo of Rocket From The Crypt about the band’s return to Australia after twelve years away for Soundwave as well as his take on Punk and what the future holds…

You’re heading back to Australia on the massive Soundwave bill, what can people expect from Rocket from the Crypt this time around should they come and watch your set?
I don’t know… I’m not trying to build it up like it’s some kind of big surprise or anything, so I don’t know what to expect, I have a really strange perspective, I’m actually on stage when we play so I don’t know what we look like or what it even sounds like to tell you the truth *laughs* so I’m the wrong person to ask.

What about set wise, how do you put it together these days?
The set? Well, it’s one of those things where we make a set list that’s probably about three hours long, about forty songs and then we get to the show and they tell us we’ve got thirty minutes to play, we end up playing three songs and I end up talking bullshit between all of them, so that’s kind of like we have pretty big plans and they get whittled down to the bare minimum, by the time we get to where we’re supposed to play.

I’ve asked a few bands who they’re most excited to see at Soundwave and your name has come up quite a bit, no pressure at all ha ha 
No… that’s the sign of some smart people *laughs* that’s what that is!

So what are you looking forward most to coming back to in Australia?
Oh man, seeing all my friends and I don’t know if we’ll have time to see the sights, and we’re doing some side shows outside of the festival, I’m really looking forward to those. I love Australia, I love being there, so you know, it’s one of those things… Jim’s Greek Tavern *laughs* that’s probably the main thing I’m looking forward to. It’s a good one, it’s a good place.

Twelve years is a long time between tours, what do you remember about your last trip, besides Jim’s Greek Tavern?
I’ve always had such a good time there, I don’t remember specifically what it was like last time we were there, I don’t recalling that exact trip specifically. I’ve been there a couple of times since with different bands… I was there with Hot Snakes last year and like I said, I just really like being there, the people love to celebrate each other’s company, and they love rock and roll music, it sounds like such a cliché, but it’s such a rock and roll culture and a history of rock and roll culture from Australia and a history of punk rock in rock and roll music, some of the best rock and roll bands and punk rock bands that have not only influenced and inspired me, but continue to inspire me to this day are Australian bands, so it’s not exactly like a pilgrimage perse, but it’s nice going there and just tapping in to the spirit of Australia and to see where some of my favourite art comes from and just get a feel for the environment because obviously there’s some sort of profound influence of that environment that manifests into music somehow. I don’t think you can necessarily pin point it and it’s kind of ridiculous to try and crystalize it and say that’s what it is right there, but at the same point there is something pretty profound there that is just a petri dish for wild, savage rock and roll. People really love being outside, and being from San Diego, we love the ocean here  too, we love the waves and there’s just something we can relate to people with too, there are cultural similarities with us people from Southern California and from Australia. Although it’s way different, there’s also something very familiar about it as well, every time I go there I’m like ‘oh yeah, I could live here’ and see myself settling down in Brisbane or something like that.

What was it like getting back together after so long apart?
It was easy, it was all like we just all fell right back in immediately. One practice and it was like we were already back to, it just felt like we’d never been apart you know?

Was there a time you thought the band would never play together again?
Oh yeah for sure, all up until like a month before we played. *laughs*

So are there plans for new music?
Yeah… maybe… I think the thing we’re kind of talking about right now is we’re just so into having fun, we’re having a good time playing and we’re still getting better as a band, we’re still although musically we fell right back in, but as far as finding an identity as to who we are, we’re kind of different people now as we were back then, not completely different but enough that doing what we do is kind of from the head and the heart and it’s got to feel natural, not cheesy, so we’re just finding ourselves and seeing how that relates to being a group and an identity. Like I said it’s a little different but it’s perspective, you’ve got to put it into perspective, so that’s what we’re focusing on, just playing and just getting back into kick ass rock and roll that are not only fun but have the capability of decapitating people as well and hit people in more than one way. As far as new music goes, we’ll just play it by ear.

Where do you see the punk rock and rock scene these days compared to when the band began?
That’s a difficult question as you have to define punk rock first and that’s a pretty hard thing to define. If you want to go classic and say 76 era punk rock UK, kind of the English punk rock explosion, sort of the Webster’s definition, then you can use that as the case to say it was dead by 1977 or 78 *laughs* that it died all the way back then. If you want to say that it’s more about the kind of like more artistic like a new set of rules in which there isn’t any and thinking that the rebellious, maverick anti totalitarian of the 50’s was very much speaking in a lot of innuendo and being way more literal and things just got a lot more right in your face and say that’s punk rock, I guess that still is fully alive and vibrant today. Sometime people say and they’ll use the term that punk rock is something that’s kind of fucked, whether it’s good or bad, if it’s fucked up ‘oh that’s fuckin’ punk’ you know, but it’s kind of weird, and I don’t think of it as being a negative thing and there’s a difference between something being totally raw and unhinged and just like also being completely like ballsy you know. It’s like if your engine sounds really bad and your car won’t start you wouldn’t say ‘yeah man that’s fuckin’ punk’ *laughs* so I don’t even really know what punk rock me and anymore, because what it means to me, probably doesn’t mean the same thing to anyone else.

Well, Green Day are headlining Soundwave and they are considered punk…
I’ve got to say I wouldn’t consider them punk, but for them they probably do consider themselves punk because they probably don’t think they’re doing anything differently for what they’ve ever done, you know what I’m saying, for them it probably feels completely the same, so like I said it’s a matter of perspective. I am not the Einstein of punk, it’s not for me to deem things punk or unpunk. That’s why our band has always just considered ourselves rock and roll, it’s just vague, a little bit more vague. You could say Jerry Lee Lewis, or you could say Mozart or any people that were kind of flipping the finger at authority and you could say maybe that spirit is what the centre of punk rock is all about you know?

What does 2014 have in store for the band? Any plans yet?
Yeah we’re obviously touring down there and we’re doing some more touring around The States and just going to do festivals, they’re a lot of fun but we’re really feeling the need to get back into sweaty clubs and bars and get smashed in front of a fair few people places and play inside and play loud and that’s where not only we feel more comfortable, but for an audience member that’s kind of the setting where it’s better seeing the band at. So we’re just gonna do that.

Essential information

From: San Diego, California, USA

Band members:  Speedo – Guitar / Vocals, Petey X – Bass, Notorious ND – Guitar, Apollo 9 – Saxophone, JC 2000 – Trumpet, Ruby Mars – Drums

Website:  http://www.rftc.com

 

Catch Rocket From The Crypt at SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL 2014 

SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY – BRISBANE, RNA SHOWGROUNDS
SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY – SYDNEY, OLYMPIC PARK
FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY – MELBOURNE, FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE
SATURDAY 1 MARCH – ADELAIDE, BONYTHON PARK
MONDAY 3 MARCH – PERTH, ARENA JOONDALUP

www.soundwavefestival.com

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