The BombPops were on stage Sunday, July the 15th, 2018
Punk rock from Oceanside, California. Fat Wreck Records.
Q&A with guitarist and singer Jen.
Hi! It's great to talk with you, you're one of the bands I'm most looking forward to see at the Punk Rock Raduno 3!
Hey! Thanks for talking to us! We’re excited to play! I’ve actually been to Punk Rock Raduno in 2016 but I was only there for a few hours. I came down from Venice to buy a guitar from Yeahman’s guitars. A 1989 Gibson Melody Maker in Ferrari Red. Appropriate color for being in Italy!
You started the band in 2007, while in high school, right?
Wow! It’s been so long! Just about 11 years, yeah. We started writing together in 2007 but I don’t think we played any shows until 2008. I was actually 20 and already out of high school, but Poli was 16 and she was still in high school.
How did you meet each other and decided to play together?
We met each other at a rehearsal studio where she took guitar lessons and I had been playing in a band with some friends. Poli was also in a band with the guitar teacher who owned the rehearsal studio and they needed a bass player. I didn’t really play bass, but I did in that band. After a while we just decided to start our own band and write some skate/pop punk songs!
How did you get into punk rock?
I had a neighbor when I was in middle school who came over and showed me The Vandals “Fear of a Punk Planet” and Blink 182 “Dude Ranch”. It was all over from there. Blink 182 and Green Day were all over the radio at that time as well, and I started listening to everything they mentioned as their influences. My mom took me to see Blink 182 and Bad Religion in 7th grade and I knew right then and there that I HAD to play in a band.
What does punk rock mean to you?
Punk rock is about doing what you wanna do and doing it your own way. It’s an attitude as well as genre. It’s also not just black and white. We’re finding out own way and our own voice about what our band means to be punk rock. At this point in time, especially in America, it’s about us as females doing whatever the fuck we wanna do when we’re on stage and in our songs. There are a lot of things society makes women believe they should be. We’re often told that we don’t dress “punk” enough. That we don’t look like we’re in a punk band cause we don’t have tattoos. But we’re also told that we should be better feminists and sing about real women’s issues. The real issue with that is that we are women and we’re doing something we truly enjoy and people still think they can tell us that we’re not doing it the way we should be. That doesn’t make any sense! We’re also told to act more like ladies because we like to make jokes about shaving our pussies or anything else that women “shouldn’t talk about”. So to us, right now, being punk is making music with that driving force that defines the genre but also doing whatever we want to do with our voices and letting women know that no one can tell you how to behave, how to dress or what music you should or should not be playing.
Which are the records that helped shape your music style?
That’s a hard one! The whole band likes a lot of the same music. We were heavily influenced by bands like No Use for A Name, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, NOFX, Pennywise and Descendents but we're also influenced by a lot of other stuff like AFI, Saves the Day, Thrice, New Found Glory, Millencolin and of course Green Day and Blink 182. But I can tell you that one of our collective favorite bands that we all 4 could say is our favorite band is Alkaline Trio. And if you made me pick a favorite album, I would have to choose “Good Mourning”
Why did you take so many years to release your first LP, while putting out some very interesting EP's?
We had several line up changes in the course of being a band. The first 5 years of Poli and I playing together we were trying to find the right rhythm section. We had 5 bass players and 3 drummers. So it was like starting over every time. Then in 2012 we were finally complete with Neil and Josh in the band. Poli also was pregnant with her son at this time, so we took a short break. So really the band as we know it got started in 2013 and recorded our first songs in 2014 as this lineup. Released those in 2015 and then our full length in 2017. And that’s a brief history of The Bombpops!
Jen, you have a special relationship with Italy, since you spent some time here playing with Rumatera. How did it happen? What was it like to move to a foreign country to play punk rock?
I met Rumatera in a bar in Los Angeles when they were searching for an American guitar player to play with them on their 2016 summer tour. I was playing guitar in a band called Payoff at the time. After our set they introduced themselves and we exchanged information. The next day we started talking about Rumatera and their plans for the Italian Dream TV show and the opportunity to play with them for a summer in Italy. It was the experience of a lifetime! I still think about my time living there everyday. I fell in love with Italy in the months that I spent there and now it’s always a place I want to come back to. I had always wanted to live in a foreign country but it’s not that easy to do without having work and a purpose to keep you there. Sometimes I still can’t believe that it happened. I feel very fortunate to have been able to play guitar in an Italian pop punk band and spend almost half of a year in such a beautiful place. Rumatera and their whole crew are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The whole summer felt like a gigantic party and the guys in Rumatera remind me a lot of my band so they really made me feel at home, we have a very similar sense of humor.
Did you enjoy your time here? Do you miss Italy?
I absolutely loved my time there! I miss it everyday and I try to make sure I get to spend some quality time in Italy every year. I’ll be spending 10 days in Veneto at the end of this tour actually and I’m already looking forward to that!
Thank you for your time! See you at the Raduno!
Thank you! Can’t wait for the Raduno! Ciao!
The BombPops interview
From Punk Rock Raduno 3 fanzine - 2018
Kepi Ghoulie was on stage Friday, July 12th, 2019
Since you re-recorded Re-Animation Festival with the Copyrights and part of Edoné is a former graveyard, let’s start from here: can you remember how a song like Graveyard Girlfriend came out?
Maybe Graveyard Girlfriend was written for Edoné, as a premonition!
Beast with 5 Hands is one of our favorite Kepi’s tunes: where did you get the inspiration to write it?
Beast with 5 Hands just came to me, as do all the classics I guess! A gift from the cosmos!
Most of Groovie Ghoulies' songbook is about monsters and horror stuff: when you were a kid, how did you get involved in sci-fi and creepy comics and movies?
I always loved monsters and mystery and sci-fi and weirdness!!!
And growing up as a teenager, how did you end up playing rock & roll music and being involved in the punk rock scene?
I think the energy of Devo, Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc… got me excited!
What's the very first punk rock show or punk rock album that somehow changed your life?
Tha albums that were game changers were Johnny Cash at San Quentin and Nevermind the Bollocks… My first rock show was the Cars and Thin Lizzy, first punk show the original Dead Kennedys… It was crazy.
Here at Raduno you’re going to see a few old friends from Lookout! Records. What are your first memories about Larry Livermore, Dan Vapid and Pansy Division?
Larry was just getting out of Lookout when we came on board, but we are still friend to this day. I have played many shows with Pansy Division at Gilman, and I think I first met Vapid at a Mopes show. Raduno will be fun!
We saw you playing here in Italy with Dog Party and Chixdiggit as backing band, you played with Accelerators, Miss Chain and the Broken Heels and members of Prima Donna, you’re coming back with the Copyrights… How do you choose your bandmates?
I think my bandmates choose me! I am very fortunate! I also had a great tour with Sons of Buddha and began playing with Lone Wolf this year! I am so lucky! Oh, I toured with Mean Jeans as well!
Is there any musician or band that you’d like to play with, but you haven’t had the chance yet?
I would love to play with NoBunny or the Pooh Sticks, hmmm...
What does punk rock mean to you?
Punk rock to me now means RESPECT for yourself and others, personal and global evolution, and trying to help make a better community for all! Oi!!!
10 artists that define Kepi’s World.
Johnny Cash, Ramones, Bob Dylan, Joe Strummer, New York Dolls, Jonathan Richman, Toots/Maytals, Nick Cave, Tom Petty, Dum Dum Girls.
Thank you, and remember: NO GHOST LAKE!
Kepi Ghoulie interview
From Punk Rock Raduno 4 fanzine - 2019
The Copyrights were on stage Friday, July 12th, 2019
Let's just put it out there: The Copyrights are one of the best pop-punk bands around. The four-piece from Carbondale, Illinois, has been delivering the catchiest albeit razor-sharp pop-punk songs over the years. And though they say they might be feeling older, they most certainly are not losing their touch. They're gonna perform one of the most anticipated sets at Punk Rock Raduno 4 together with Kepi Ghoulie, forming The Kepirights, as well as tease us with a bunch of new tunes on their own set. Here's what songrwiter and drummer Luke McNeill has to say about what's going on with The Copyrights these days. Put on your best smile and get ready to get “stuck in summertime” with The Copyrights at Punk Rock Raduno 4!
Hey Luke, we've been missing you guys around here, we are always happy to have you! Are you excited about this tour?
Of course! Punk Rock Raduno has been on our wishlist for a while, and we're always down to go to Europe.
It’s been a while and we know you've been in the recording studio in the last months... Let’s get it out of the way, tell us something about your upcoming record.
Well, lyrically it definitely isn't a happy album. It's been a tough couple years. Musically, it's also a bit more aggressive, but still (hopefully) catchy and hooky.
Talking about how fast time goes, how does it feel to be a group of friends that has now become one of the most relevant bands of the genre? How do you balance your life as The Copyrights with the four members living in four different cities and your other projects?
It's tough. Adam has a daughter now, and the rest of us all have full-time jobs in separate cities. That kinda sucks, but it also makes getting together and playing Copyrights shows special, since it's kind of rare for us now.
What were the most influential bands for you during the years?
Pretty standard early on. Screeching Weasel, Ramones, Dillinger Four. But we all listen to a big variety of different stuff, and I've never tried to "sound" like any certain bands or songs when I'm writing.
You never really get too obviously political or patently deal with social issues in your lyrics, and still it’s clear you’re very critical of the world we live in. Do you feel any sort of responsibility as a punk-rock band when it comes to the message you wanna send?
I think the main responsibility is to be honest, and that's not even really a "responsibility", more of a principle. I've never felt that any band has a responsibility to do anything. As a listener, I might disagree with whatever they're saying and choose not to listen anymore or whatever, but there's no responsibility on their part to appease me. I've also always found topical political songs to be instantly dated, but of course there's tons of exceptions with people writing about political themes in a clever and universal way. I've definitely touched on political stuff in my lyrics in the past (and in this next album too), but I usually try to do so subtly rather than right on the head. I feel like it's more effective and durable.
The Copyrights got together with Kepi Ghoulie and only a few months ago Re-Animation Festival was released, while the Observation Wagon split EP is now being co-released by Red Scare and Stardumb. Could you tell us how the idea for The Kepirights came up? What should we expect from the show at Punk Rock Raduno 4 with Kepi, any surprises on the setlist?
We used to go see Kepi in St. Louis as teenagers, and he was always a ball of energy and great live, and he's obviously an amazing songwriter. We became friends from playing in the same circles, and he asked us if we wanted to record an album. My instant choice was Re-Animation Festival because it was always my favorite growing up. So yeah, we recorded that more than five years ago! Anyways, stoked it's finally getting released. As for the setlist, yeah it should be a good mix of all the classic Ghoulies stuff and maybe some surprises.
Any band you're particularly excited to see here at the Raduno?
I love The Creeps, and of course Dan Vapid, but he actually lives nearby now and we get to see him pretty regularly.
As you said, Dan Vapid is also playing PRR4. I'm thinking about the Methadones/ Copyrights 2009 split here: tell us something good about the Methadones. And something bad about the Methadones...
Good: Methadones released at least three of the best pop-punk albums of all time, and they're four great guys that we consider lifelong friends. Bad: they don't play anymore!
What’s the importance of punk-rock labels nowadays, any label you'd wanna mention? And a city or festival every punk-rocker should go to at least once in their lifetime?
Labels are important in the sense that they'll support you financially if you need it, and I still think there's some value in labels being sort of "gatekeepers," meaning that a record or a band is good enough for at least someone to spend some of their own dough to get them heard. Otherwise, there's just so much music and it's so easy for anyone to get their music everywhere with Spotify, Apple Music, etc. As far as labels, Rad Girlfriend, Red Scare, and Stardumb have always been cool to us, and I'm a fan of a lot of stuff from Drunken Sailor and Dirtnap. Obviously, the Fest in Gainesville is the perfect festival for anyone into this kind of music.
Let’s play a little game: if The Copyrights had to play at the perfect festival, what would be the bands you’d wanna share the stage with?
Off the top of my head of active bands: Mind Spiders, Toys That Kill, and The Rubs.
Now tell us... how far into that “Worn out Passport” thing have you gotten?
Good! There's still a ton of places I want to go, but I've been lucky to be able to travel quite a bit. Looking forward to Raduno!
The Copyrights interview
From Punk Rock Raduno 4 fanzine - 2019
New Bomb Turks were on stage Thursday, July 13th, 2017
NBT are one of the wildest rock&roll bands out of the 90s. Almost 25 years after their kickin' ass debut album “Destroy – Oh – Boy!” they're still alive and on fire. Frontman Eric Davidson also wrote a book about the underground punk rock scene between late 80s and early 2000s: it's called “We Never Learn – The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988 – 2001” and it's a must read for all the punk rawk&roll lovers. We can't wait to see New Bomb Turks on Punk Rock Raduno's stage. Here we go with a fast and furious Q&A with Mr. Davidson.
In your book “We Never Learn” you mention Union Carbide Productions and Nation of Ulysses as “Bands I Could’ve Maybe Seen But Never Did”. Which is number 3 on that personal list?
I was just thinking about that the other day. Honestly, I saw all the favorite bands I could have actually been able to see so far. I missed out on catching Kurt Vile and the Violators, which I would have liked to see. Kurt Vile still plays around New York, but from what I hear it's a little jammy, not as cutting as the old band was.
How did you end up writing “We Never Learn”? Was that your own idea or someone told you “It would be awesome reading a book about the 90s r’n’r scene”?
I had an idea to try to write something longer after years of doing music writing in local magazines and websites. And I knew Mike Edison (Raunch Hands, Pleasure Fuckers, and other fine sleazy trash acts), and he worked for Hal Leonard/Backbeat Books. I threw a few book ideas at him, and he said a history of 90s garage punk was probably the best idea for me, as it'd be my first book, and I really lived through all that, and would have good contacts. I guess he thought a fiction book about the ghost of Johnnie Ray haunting Morrissey and eventually becoming an icon of gay punk in some other dimension probably wasn't the best idea for my first book.
How long did it take to write the entire book and was it hard to find a publisher interested in that kind of story?
Well Edison was a great connection, he edited the book, so that part wasn't too hard. I did have to kind of wrap the idea up with it all leading to the "neo-garage trend" of the early 2000s (Whte Stripes, Hives, Strokes…), as those bands actually sold records, and the publisher could kind of use that as a hook. It took about 2 years to finish the book. I interviewed like 60 bands or something.
Could you please explain the meaning of “gunk punk" to people who haven’t read your book yet? And they should asap!
Edison said I'd need a subtitle, so people get an idea of what the book is about. And just naming it “We Never Learn 1990s Punk”, well lots of people still think of mohawks and studs as “punk”, know what I mean? Or the might think it's about Green Day, Offspring, that kind of crap. So I just came up with “The Gunk Punk Undergut” because I like the rhyme of it, and it kind of says it's a dirty, underground kind of punk. Then Edison suggested that I sprinkle the term throughout just to have a kind of connecting idea. I honestly wasn't trying to create some new “genre designation”. Just thought it was a fun, catch-all term.
So, what's your definition of punk rock?
Oh, everyone is tired of that question. But if I have to: The Saints.
Is there any good 90s band that you forgot to write about in “We Never Learn”?
I will still come across hear of bands that I am like, "Holy shit, that's from 1997? How did I never hear that?!" The Lost Sons of Krypton and the Nevermores are just two examples. But not too many. I think I did a pretty good job. You don't want to start going out even further with more bands, because I think I have a pretty wide range of bands in the book already. And pretty soon it would've just been a catalog of all garage bands from that decade. I wanted to present a certain vision from my perspective, and I hope I kind of laid out early in the book that this is from my vantage point and experience. I don't know every single band that ever played rock'n'roll. Ha!
Do you know any Italian punk rock/rock&roll band from the 90s?
Two Bo's Maniacs!! And I like Snookys, though they are not from the '90s. I am sure there are many I am forgetting or haven't heard!!
Which is your favorite record label from that era?
Oh, come on. CRYPT RECORDS! No explanation necessary. But In the Red and Sympathy are big favorites too.
Which are your favorite r’n’r books? Top 3, please.
There are many, but...
Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung - Lester Bangs
Please Kill Me - Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain
Our Band Could Be Your Life - Michael Azzerad
And your favorite fanzines too, please.
Fungus On the Foot, The Offense, Superdope.
Favourite Dwarves' song:
Impossible. But but "Motherfucker" and "Every Night is Saturday Night" spring to mind.
Favourite Supersuckers song:
Again, too many, but "Jackalope Eye" or "I Say Fuck," or "Coattail Rider."
Ohio is famous for a lot of punk bands from the past (from Pagans, Dead Boys, Cramps, Devo to New Bomb Turks...), is there any young band to watch out nowadays?
Well I don't live there anymore, the other Turks would know more. But I just saw this band Dana last night that was alright. Archie & the Bunkers are fun. The Ipps… there are a bunch!
If you should explain/describe New Bomb Turks’ music to someone who never heard of you, what would you tell him/her?
Oh sheez, that's never a good road to go down. Just high-energy gooftastica trash rock'n'roll. Something like that? Not as good as DMZ.
In your opinion, which is NBT's best record?
We always seem to say “Destroy-Oh-Boy” and “Nightmare Scenario”. You can have your own favorite.
Are New Bomb Turks going to record a brand new album?
Ah, who knows. We knock around the idea of a single or something. It's hard with me in NYC, everyone's jobs, families, etc. But who knows...
What do you expect from Punk Rock Raduno. Is there any band playing at the festival that you'd like to catch live?
I expect to have a blast!! I believe Nikki Corvette is playing, hope to see her. Pals with her, love her music, but never got to see her live.
NBT interview - outtake from Punk Rock Raduno 2 fanzine - 2017
Live picture: Stefano Bevilacqua
The Avengers were on stage Saturday, July 13th, 2019
Founded in 1977, legendary San Francisco Avengers were one of the first female-fronted punk bands in the US. Here’s a Q&A with singer and songwriter Penelope Houston.
Since the Avengers just played a show together with the Dils and the Alley Cats, how is sharing the stage with these bands after so many years?
It's always wonderful to see my friends play. Those songs live inside you waiting for a moment to burst forward. When the Dils played I had to stand on the side of the stage and sing alone, just as I did 40 years ago.
Back in the 70s, what was your idea of punk rock?
We were just making music for our friends and trying to cut through the haze of indifference and bloated pomposity of 70s rock.
Can you remember the very first rehearsal with the Avengers?
We did a couple shows in a warehouse that were just covers. Hit Me with a Flower, Pissing in a River, I Wanna Be Your Man, Substitute...
Thinking about the very first punk days, which were your favorite punk bands and why?
Dils, Patti Smith, Pink Section, Mutant’s. Because their songs got stuck in my head for life.
You supported the Sex Pistols in San Francisco: what was your opinion about them before seeing them live and did you see their split coming after that show?
Everyone was very excited to see them but they seemed tired of it all. I can’t say I saw their split coming.
How did you end up recording a bunch of songs with Steve Jones? Back then, did you like those recordings and do you still enjoy those songs?
The Pistols tour manager became the Avengers manager and set up the recording with Steve Jones. I don’t remember what I thought of the recordings at the time... We did end up changing some vocals on it. I always enjoy singing the songs.
Why did the Avengers stop playing after a couple of years only at the end of the 70s? And how did you end up playing with Joel and Luis from Pansy Division twenty years later?
The band broke up in 1979 because our first guitar player Greg had quit the band. We had a new guitar player and it was a little different sounding and then other people in the band decided to do other projects so we stopped. Years later when Lookout! Records was going to release an album I put together called Died for Your Sins we decided to re-record three songs that had never made it onto tape from the late 70s. I’d met Joel Reader when working with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and asked him to play bass on that recording along with Danny Panic from Screeching Weasel. We use Danny for the first record release party and a couple shows after that, but then I switched to Luis who was a friend of Joel‘s. That turned out to be a great fit and we been playing together for over 15 years.
How did you shift from playing punk rock to recording acoustic folk songs?
After the Avengers broke up I did various things, worked in some films with the Screamers and then started writing my own songs and was inspired by Tom Waits, the Violent Femmes and Leonard Cohen.
Your top 3 favorite folk artists?
I like to listen to the Decemberists, Virginia Dare, Chuck Prophet.
How do you feel playing songs like We Are The One and American in Me or Corpus Christi after so many years? From your point of view, do they still sound impressive to the younger audience?
Those songs have a life of their own and are still relevant politically today in the US.
You went through Reagan and two Bush: how is living under Trump government? Is he worse than them?
Trump is worse because he’s a wildcard and you never know what he’s gonna do. He’s not really a conservative, he’s just a rolling dumpster fire. The others were at least predictable.
If you should explain to a XXI century teenager what punk rock means, what would you tell him/her?
I would tell her that it means freedom to be whoever you want and to create your own world with your friends.
When you started playing, would you ever imagine to become a punk icon?
I don’t think I thought in those terms, but I’m proud of what we did and I’m proud of the songs that we wrote and when I’m singing them now I feel them just as intensely.
The Avengers interview
Taken from Punk Rock Raduno 4 fanzine - 2019
You know how sometimes you are introduced to someone at a show, or at school, or at work, and you say, “Nice to meet you” , but don’t really think any more about it? But over time you keep seeing that person, and you find out they know some of the same people you do, or they like some of the same things you do, and maybe it takes months, maybe years later, but you end up becoming great friends?
That’s how it was with me and Italy.
Growing up, I never thought about Italy much. We studied the ancient Romans, but it was like when the Empire ended, so did Italy. Well, the Pope lived there (we were Catholic so we had to know about the Pope), but apparently he had his own little country that was separate from Italy.
One other thing I knew about Italy was that a lot of immigrants came from there to work in the factories where I lived. Our next door neighbors came from somewhere near Rome, and when they arrived they could hardly speak a word of English.
I thought they were interesting, but also a little scary, because they were always yelling. One minute it would sound like they were going to kill each other, the next it was all hugs and kisses and love. In my family, if we got made at each other, we stayed mad for months or even years.
In those days (the 1950s), working class Americans like us never thought about going to other countries, unless there was a war and the Army sent us there. But by the 1970s airplane flights were cheaper, and I started thinking about maybe crossing the ocean one day.
I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t Italy. Then I stayed up all night drinking with a friend, and that’s exactly where he talked me into going.
It was early summer, 1975, when we landed in Rome, and the first thing we saw was a soldier with a machine gun pointed at us as we stepped off the plane. It was the time of the Brigate Rosse, and soldiers were everywhere. Today that’s pretty common in many places around the world, but at the time it was pretty shocking.
Like a typical American, I didn’t know anything about Italian politics, so I figured Italy must be a very dangerous place. Unless you were a terrorist or a politician, it wasn’t, but even once I realized that, I found other stuff hard to get used to.
Almost nobody spoke English, and I didn’t know any Italian. But having gone to Catholic school, I’d studied Latin, and I figured that would be close enough. I mixed it up with the little bit of French and Spanish I knew, and soon had people looking at me like I’d arrived from another planet.
I also hated that you could only eat at certain hours. In America there were restaurants open almost any time of day or night, but in Italy the fast food chains hadn’t arrived yet. You ate at lunchtime and dinnertime or you didn’t eat at all.
It was almost impossible to find American-style food. These days I almost never touch that kind of stuff, but back then I still figured you needed burgers and fries to survive. One night my friend made the mistake of asking for milk with his dinner and the waiter got all indignant and said, “È per bambini!”
One night we decided it would be a good idea to take LSD and walk around Rome all night like we did in San Francisco or Berkeley. We didn’t know that the streets would be completely deserted except for soldiers, police, and a few communists and MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano) fascists putting up posters and glowering at each other.
We did find one drunk old man shouting at the ruins of the Forum as if he were Cicero addressing the Senate, and I could almost swear he was doing it in Latin, but you never know when you’re as high as we were. The morning sun erupted over the city, and I decided I’d had enough One 24-hour train ride later, I was in London seeing Led Zeppelin.
I came back to Italy the next year, and a couple times more in the 80s and 90s. By then, many Italians were learning English, so I still didn’t try to learn their language. Then in 2006 I moved to a neighborhood in Brooklyn where almost everyone was from Napoli. You could hear Italian everywhere in the cafes, the shops, the streets, but though I lived there 10 years, I still didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to learn.
Finally in 2016 some Roman kids asked me to give a speech at their Green Day festival, and I found it embarrassing that I would have to have somebody translate it for me. So I took a few weeks to learn at least enough Italian to tell them I was sorry I didn’t know their language yet, but that would learn it before I came back again.
And I did. Well, sort of, anyway. I still can’t have big complicated conversations, but I can read newspapers and Facebook posts, and even make a few smart-aleck comments. Today at the Confucius Temple (I’m in Beijing right now) I heard a Chinese guide speaking Italian to some tourists he was showing around. I almost stopped to compliment him on how good his “Yi da li hua” (say it out loud, remembering that “hua” means talk or speech) was.
Knowing a little something about the language and culture makes me feel at home in Italy in a way I never would have thought possible. But big surprise for me lately has been the way so many Italians fell in love with the kind of music we used to put out on Lookout Records.
I didn’t expect this, because the first Italian bands I heard were hardcore and thrash-metal. But I guess it makes sense, because by the end of the 80s, I was getting sick of all that anger and yelling, and made sure Lookout specialized in the kind of music you could sing along with and dance to without feeling the need to kill somebody. Maybe Italians came to feel the same way.
Now it’s the summer of 2019 and I’m coming to Italy again, to see some art, some beauty, and some classic Lookout bands, not to mention a whole bunch of European bands playing in their local style or the Lookout style or maybe a mixture of both. If you talk to me, you will find my Italian is still only so-so, but I’m making un po’ di progresso, and I will keep trying. I look forward to seeing all of you in Bergamo quest’estate!
Column taken from Punk Rock Raduno 4 fanzine - summer 2019