Feratu of The Limit Club interviews Paul Roman of the Quakes.
N; Having just been on tour with you i have a
Were you happy with the turnouts at the shows? What was the main difference
between the east and west coast tours?
P; Yes,there were good turnouts, of course there is a bigger scene
on the west coast and the bands on the west coast have a completely different
sound and presentation.
N; There were many people shouting out the names of songs, what was the
strangest request you heard on the tour?
P: Some guy was yelling Your castle in Ann Arbor :-)
If enough people are shouting something, I usually take note and we add
it into the set list for future gigs. That was certainly the case with
N; After a couple of tours now under your belt with this line up, what
is your assessment of it?
P; People have been telling me all the time that this is the best
line up Ive had in years and I appreciate the hard work that the guys
have put into playing in The Quakes. I want it to be the best it can be.
(Juan Carlos/drums, Kenny Hill/slap bass)
N; You guys were not partying much after the shows, after being there
and seeing what a grind it is, its not really possible is it?
P;Not at my age:-) As you know, we don't have a driver and Im doing
most of the driving (only so I can control the radio!:-) so if you have
to go 6 hours, you have to be up early. You probably wont get to bed until
2 or 3 anyway then up at 7 or so depending how far of a drive it is.We
always hang out and talk to people after the show for a little while.I
like meeting the people who come to the shows.
N; I noticed that on the tour that you spent
a bit of time in the hotel responding to fans e-mail. Do you answer all
the e-mails and myspace messages you get?
P;Yes absolutely, the fans are important to me. We love to hear
from people. Im a fan myself of different artists and sometime I send
them messages or questions.I despise those artists who don't answer their
mail. I know or at least I imagine that once your popularity gets to be
so big that it might be impossible to respond to everyone but WE are still
at a level(sadly:-) that we can answer them...
About the new CD Negative Charge..
N; You were only doing two songs from the new
album on the last tour, why not more?
P; Im trying to cover the entire history of the band in an hour
and keep the set balanced- we could do a whole set in the key of E but
it would get real dull :-)
There really isn't room for more songs- every time you add something ,you
have to take something out. Its a tough decision to leave out those favorites.
I still do a couple of songs for myself and I don't care if anyone likes
them ...I like them :-)
N; Who is N. Ole Pauli?
P; :-) Only Finnish people will understand who he is.
N; There seems to be a lot of psychobilly bands
that tend to lean more on the punk side,The Living End being a good example.Do
you think The Quakes would benefit form moving in that kind of direction?
P; I would never do that- Im into rockabilly and psychobilly..Im
really NOT into punk. Of course there are things that they call punk that
I like like The Clash,The Ramones and even Fear but I have no desire to
take that route. Its all about billy and slapping bass.
I was more into the new wave thing than the punk scene. Punk
is something they call people in prison who bend over :-)
N; What makes The Quakes different?
P; A conscious decision TO BE different! I think that not having
any lessons or musical training forced us to have our own sound because
we just played what we COULD play. We didn't have the skill in our playing
to cover or sound like the bands we liked.
N; How big of an influence was the Stray Cats
to The Quakes?
P; Huge. I thought the Stray Cats were some new wave band from
England. I had never even heard the word rockabilly! I thought that the
50s look etc. was just their style in the same way that Adam Ant
had his style and Madness had their style and look. All those bands had
a look and good image. I think the simplicity of The Stray Cats was one
of the things that drew me to them. It looked so easy! Two drums a guitar
and an upright bass and that's it. Not big amplifiers and keyboards and
synths. It was at its heart just good old rock and roll.
N; Did you try to copy them?
P; Oh ya but it was pointless...You cant copy that. Setzers playing
was so fluid.The way he mixed styles was great.Having said that, I think
Setzers playing on those early records was ALMOST obtainable.... I could
almost figure out parts of them and they had a different feel to them.Now
he is so advanced I would not know where to begin.In my opinion,his playing
now doesn't have that feel that he used to play in those early days. It
just had a different feel to it.Thats not good or bad it just is
and that is understandable because everything changes.
N; How come you don't have a Twitter account yet?
P; I hate twitter! The more I read what people are writing, Im
wondering if they are taking a second to step back and see how ridiculous
they and their postings are. Its not about ME...its about the music of
The Quakes! No one cares what I had for breakfast or what Im doing 24/7!
Its redicoulous...Am I Ashton Kucher or Paris Hilton?
EVERYONE is a star these days- everyone has a myspace a facebook etc and
everyone thinks their life is soooo interesting that they need to share
it with the world...well you know what? Im just NOT that interesting:-)I
guarantee you that my imagination of what my favorite rock stars are like
is way better that if I actually met them. What a let down when they are
not what you imagined them to be.Even more when you realize they are just
regular people. I want my rock stars to be larger than life- unobtainable-
not some one that I can argue with on a message board.
I dont want to follow anyone and I certainly dont want anyone
following me. Follow The Quakes.
N; What do you think is next after Myspace Facebook
P;I don't know..Myspace is so fucked up all the time. It never
works right when you need it to and there are bugs daily. They never test
anything before they roll it out. I think that myspace is coming to an
end soon when someone launches a site LIKE myspace but with out all the
crap that we DON'T want and more of what we do.
N; Are you good at adding friends and keeping it updated?
P; Out of all the friends we have on there, I think I only added
about 300. People find us on their own. I never do the thanks for
the add thing either. I wish I could promote more and do more of
that stuff but Im only one guy and I feel uncomfortable promoting. I think
anyone who is really interested in psychobilly can and will find us eventually.
I don't need to scream from the mountain top.
What was it like the first time you went to Japan and how did that come
P;There was a company in Japan that was bringing over American
blues artist to tour Japan. They had brought Robert Gordon over and had
a big success with him and they wanted to bring more American rockabilly
acts over. They contacted a guy from Planet records in Japan who had just
released the Japanese version of Voice of America. They got in touch with
us through him. We were one of the first psychobilly bands to go over
there and tour and it was great. There was not really a psychobilly scene
as such though at that time.
Do The Quakes have any sponsors or endorsements?
P: :-) ya know its so funny..When I was a teenager, if I looked
on the back of an album and saw that the band was endorsed by company
X, I would have thought that they were a bunch of puppets selling
product and they would be sell outs. Now its all changed and bands see
it as a badge of honor to get free stuff from some sponsor.
I m not being punk rock about it, Im just uncomfortable with
endorsing any products and or being sponsored by someone. There has been
a few offers over the years from different instrument companies etc. Mostly
stuff I would not use anyway. Im in a band- Im not a salesman.
Since we are on that sort of topic, I want to talk about clothes and how
that has changed also. When we were starting out, we loved The Stray Cats
-Polecats, Rockats all those groups. If you saw Setzer wearing a shirt,
you couldn't just go to the mall and buy one! You might go to a thrift
store and find something similar but not that same one. Even though we
were all wearing the same types of things, they were all different. Now
the bands are wearing the stuff they are endorsing and you can go buy
it at the mall and 20 other kids at the show have the same jacket/shirt/pants/chucks...and
that doesn't seem to bother anyone...except me :-)
N;Then where do you get your clothes?
P; Mostly at the thrift store or from different places like Finland
,Russia or Japan where I know If I buy a shirt there, no one else will
have one like that.
I usually alter the stuff a little or add things.Its fun to customize
your own stuff.
You know what I really hate are those repro bowling shirts...you know
the polyester ones with flames and dice for buttons. Nothing says I
have no style like one of those.
N; Any other scene pet peeves?
P;Ya, guys who stand on the bass...Yes it still gets the crowd
to cheer but cmon ...That is also the same guy wearing the flame
bowling shirt and doing Johnny Cash covers:-) flames on instruments....it
was cool when Setzer did it because it was custom (guitar player mag.
cover 1983) but when it comes from the store like that..its tacky.
Another thing that bugs me is how more and more promoters on this scene
are turning concerts into circuses. Its not enough to have the band play,
they have to have a car show in the parking lot and a tattoo show in the
corner and a burlesque show in between bands and soon a roller derby on
the dance floor! I stay away from those shows. Dear promoters ,please
don't ask The Quakes to play at these events w e are only
interested in playing CONCERTS.
I understand that they are doing it to try and bring more people but the
music is becoming secondary to all the lifestyle stuff.
And one more...people..especially those in bands who ASK to be on the
guest list- support the scene and buy a ticket! In our case we usually
use the guest list to get in people that are going to help us load in
or photographers or some guy from a record label that has promised us
the world :-) There is a limit. You cant just put 20 people on the list.
N; I just read Deathrow by Alan Wilson and you guys are not
even mentioned in the book!
P; Well I remember that he did send us a letter in 92 and it was
when we had moved addresses.It was sent to our old address and we eventually
got it . He wanted a black and white photo and discography etc. I cant
even tell you if we sent it or not...I think it got lost and we may not
have sent anything Im not sure. I AM sure we wanted to be in ANY magazine
that would have us:-)
N; Have you met him?
P: Oh ya - he was real cool. We did a cover of the Sharks song
Deathrow at one of the Big Rumble festivals in England and
he was there.
One more thing about not being in the book. There are a lot of documentaries
and books about psychobilly that don't have The Quakes in there and or
other bands, but it doesn't mean we weren't there:-) We played our first
European show in Wieze Belgium in Oct.87. We were living in London,we
played at the Klubfoot and loads of European festivals back then.
N; What are you doing outside music these days?
P; You mean besides working? I have my own business restoring 20th
century modern furniture. That takes up a lot of time... I just went camping
with my girlfriend to a real remote spot on the eastern side of Arizona
I like to get out in the woods away from people.
N; Any final thoughts?
P; Kiitos kaikille The Quakes-faneille-te olette syy jatkaa ja
te teette tästä touhusta hauskan!
Roman of The Quakes interviews Nick Feratu of The Limit Club
Paul: How did that West Coast Tour turn out? Did you make or lose money?
I'm kind of surprised you guys came back alive.
Nick: The tour was great! We met a lot of
new people and made a bunch of new fans. We played 20 shows over the course
of the entire month of July. We slept on a lot of floors and drove a lot
Financially we broke even (which I consider a huge success in comparison
to our previous tours). Of course there were a few shows that didn't go
down as planned. We had one venue in Portland where the promoter never
showed up to open the doors of the joint. It was infuriating because there
was a pretty decent sized crowd gathering up outside the venue waiting
to see the show! Other than that though, we did make the guaranteed payment
amount in every town we stopped in. So overall - great sucess!
: You use the term Gothabilly to describe your band. What
do you think about the hundreds of bands that use -billy suffix
(Metalbilly, Punkabilly, Glamabilly, etc)?
Nick : I started calling us Gothabilly
when we first put the band together because I purposely wanted us to fit
in with bands like the Phantom Chords and the Coffinshakers. Now that
I have a more practical view of what being in a band is like, I think
I may have shot myself in the foot. Its obvious to me now that theres
only so high a band can go with the label -billy stuck to
them. Its unfortunate because I have a lot of love for upright bass
bands, but man, its true! I think because there are so many upright bass
bands that casually embrace retarded clichés, the public opinion
of all billy music is that its outdated, honky-tonk crap or ridiculous
car show music.
If I could go back in time, I wouldnt bother with the tagline at
all. Too late now!
: Do you consider Limit Club closer to a Rockabilly band or
a Goth band?
Nick : I think we stray closer to the Goth
side of things now. But I like to think that were versatile and
mix in all kinds of sounds. Were all into Psychobilly, New Wave,
but besides that everyone in the band brings something different to the
table and it creates an interesting mix when were putting songs
together. Juan has a background in Latin Rock and Hardcore, NickDave likes
a lot of Classic Rock and Stoner music and Im into Goth and Psychedelic
: What do you think about the term "Horror Punk"? Can the Limit
Club be considered a "Horror Punk" band?
Nick : Im not a fan of most bands that
are considered Horror Punk, but I think some of our songs
can fit into that slot, with the right stretch of imagination. We play
with Horror Punk bands all the time though and it usually goes over well
with that crowd. Then again, we get thrown on bills with traditional country
bands and heavy metal bands all the time, so I dont put much thought
into it anymore. Haha.
: In your opinion, what's the difference between "Goth" and
Nick : I think Goth is more lyrically abrasive
and experimental than Horror Punk. There are some Goth bands out there
that are REALLY fucking weird like the Virgin Prunes and Sex Gang Children,
whereas most Horror Punk sticks closely to sing-a-long chorus hooks, power
chords and schlocky horror movie themes. The two sub-genres obviously
cross over a lot, so we could sit and debate about it forever. At least
: Are there any currently active bands that you identify with, sound-wise?
Nick : Yes. Any upright bass band that strays
away from clichés, but still maintain some sort of darker vibe
to their sound. Especially when they have semi-intelligent lyrics. Some
bands in particular would be The Curtains, The Sawyer Family, Koffin Kats,
Rezurex. Zombie Ghost Train and Gutter Demons were two of my favorite
bands that I thought we had a lot in common with and they just broke up.
: What do you think about the "No politics" rule in Psychobilly?
Nick : I think its corny and immature.
Why should there be such arbitrary rules placed upon a fucking sub-genre?
Look people, there are already plenty of genres out there that stray away
from touchy subject matter. Those are genres such as mainstream Pop and
Disco. If you want thoughtless, non-offensive music, go listen to bullshit
like Britney Spears or the Bee Gees!
: Why are your lyrics so anti-religious?
Nick : Everyone needs a conquest! Religion
just happens to be mine. I realize that arguing over shit like religion
is futile, and I'm honestly not out to convert anyone. In reality I have
many religious friends and we have discussions about eachothers
views all the time (discussions - NOT debates or arguments - were
all adults here). It's a topic that interests me and I revert back to
during the songwriting process. I guess my angsty teenage conflict over
religion with my parents probably caused it.
: When you die, what do you want to be done with your remains? Do you
want a tombstone? A crypt? Cremation?
Nick : If I were Morrissey I would say I
want a big old tomb in some random foreign country like Romania. Some
place where people can flock to my grave and leave huge bouquets of flowers
and graffiti their love notes everywhere. But Im not that vain,
so they can just throw my dead body in the ocean. Maybe a cool shark will
eat me. Failing that, cremation will work just fine.
: I know youve gotten offers from labels and distributors. Why isnt
The Limit Club signed?
Nick : Because I dont trust labels.
Im an amateur music historian in my spare time. I read tons of musicians
autobiographies and there seems to be a common thread in many of them.
A lot of really famous people are bitter because they basically gave away
the rights to their music when they were young and naïve. Artists
from all corners of the music biz become slaves to their contracts. Bo
Diddley, Chuck Berry, Howlin Wolf, The Sisters of Mercy, The Damned,
and on and on. Theyve all been fucked over in one way or another
by record labels. Theyre forced to record albums against their will,
or they dont get a fair share of the profit and grow old and bitter
and basically poor, or they have to sit helplessly
as their songs are collected on endless streams of useless compilations
and whored out to TV advertisements.
I look at our band as our career (AKA something Im going to be doing
for a long time) and Im not exactly eager to give over the rights
or decision-making to some company. Im not closed minded to ever
doing business with a label. If the right offer came along, wed
be interested. If that never happens, then thats okay too. Well
just keep distributing CDs through our website and mailing them out ourselves.
Its much more rewarding that way anyway.
: I'll bet no one has ever asked you about your guitar set up?
Nick : I play a 1985 Gibson SG through a
Fender Hot-Rod 4x10 amp. I'm not to big on
hollow-body guitars. I like their light weight, but I really prefer the
crunch of a humbucker and the sustain of a good solid plank of wood. Also
it struck me as trendy to play a Gretsch, so I ran the complete opposite
direction. I really like Gibson Les Pauls, but man they are heavy! I'll
stick with the SG. It was my first guitar and it's always served me well.
I only have three guitar pedals - a Boss Tuner, Boss Octave pedal, and
a Danelectro "Wasabi" Chorus / Overdrive. I use an AKG wireless
setup that allows for more freedom to run around and jump in people's
faces. It was expensive, but being free from the leash made it worthwhile.
I prefer things to be as simple as possible with the live music thing.
The less tools you rely on, the less potential for something breaking
or fucking up at the last minute.
: What do you do outside of the band?
Nick : I take random odd jobs and temporary
assignments to pay the bills. I also DJ at a bar in Phoenix called the
: Anything else you wanna say about the band or the new lineup?
Nick : This is the happiest and most productive
we've ever been in this band. All three of us really work well together
and it shows onstage and in the songs we're writing.
Speaking of that - we're currently putting together songs for our third
album. We go into the studio late September to start laying down the tracks.