The Spastic Rats: New Interview with Kenny Hill
When I was in about the 11th grade in high school, one of the English teachers suggested that I write a piece for the youth-page of my local newspaper. My credentials were that I was a dreamy juvenile poet who had been somewhat radicalized by reading On the Road. I had doodled in class extensively and had undergone multiple musical awakenings. In other words, although I had evidenced some creative output I felt rather suspect as a legitimate source of the news. Comparatively what my peer journalists corresponded on in said youth-page is mostly lost to memory as well as history though I would hazard a guess that there were a lot of articles about the 4-H organization and the county fair (nothing wrong with that!). I felt giddy with responsibility when I proposed an article on a local group of guys that I knew of that played in a punk rock band. I felt that what they were doing was both vital and entertaining and so a legitimate subject for a short piece of writing. Nevertheless when the adults in the chain of permission blandly accepted and encouraged me to just turn it in I felt somewhat surprised and incapacitated by the freedom. I don’t think I had whatever it took to present such a hybrid of hometown gee-whiz and leather rebellion- another way of saying I was a youth accustomed to being paralyzed by ideas, as often as I was enlivened and charged by them. I was about fifteen or sixteen years old at the time.
The members of the band that I talked to were enthusiastic and answered my questions without hesitation. The basic thrust of the article started forming- friends meet and become excited about the freedom promised by a new trend. They begin copying songs (“covering” them), then start writing their own. They brand themselves with a hand-drawn logo and play music for whoever will listen. Paragraph, paragraph, paragraph, picture. Easy enough, and yet I stalled. The editor of course, used to working with kids, had seen it before. She called and asked about my intentions, presciently gauging that actually getting copy out of me was hopeless, and withdrew. Ned, a member of the band, expressed bitterness at my excited but powerless posture- “Are you ever going to do it?” – he demanded. Was it that sneer that dragged me back into this mess more than 25 years later? Now living overseas in a country strange enough to me that I clearly should be posting reports, communicating my findings, engaging in journalism in other words, I find this old assignment sitting on my desk so-to-speak, still not so easy to file.
This wasn’t the first time I had tried to write about punk for a square audience. I had taken on the subject in an earlier paper that I submitted to an English class in prep school. The class had been taught by a renegade teacher who quit mid-course, due quite frankly to her immaturity. Before she exiled herself in an outburst to one of the school heads she had been trying to seduce the class into Ayn Randism and personally counseled me to take up the cause of greatness, in the terms that she saw. After she left I carried on with this campaign (and my assignment) by researching Punk via the only media I could get my hands on- found blurbs in Time magazine and Newsweek on microfilm at the public library. I compared it to the French Revolution via Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables I believe. The replacement teacher, a stayed trustee of the school placed over our class to calm the disruption caused by the confusing absence of our previous leader, indicated that she thought my topic ridiculous and unworthy of the initial approval it had received. My grade I remember as a C, maybe a C+.
I no longer remember the specific parallels I drew between Victor Hugo’s wordy tome and conditions in London in 1977 but perhaps it was the contrast and mixture between the noble and the criminal in Jean ValJean, a.k.a. number 24601 (a man of assumed identities) as well as the backdrop of revolution(although not actually the French Revolution) and barricades in the streets. Although punks didn’t mass in collective actions, they saw themselves as street enemies of the established order and thrilled at civil unrest such as the Notting Hill Carnival Riots of 1976 when Caribbean youth turned on the police and kept them at bay for hours (see “White Riot” the Clash).
The Spastic Rats represented a new iteration of Punk- its arrival in the small towns and suburbs of America. Roughly speaking, the Sex pistols Johnny Apple-seeded through a string of cities in the U.S. in a fabled tour that planted the first wave of such culture. Of course, seminal artists in the U.S., especially in key centers such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles pre-date and perhaps have paternity over many strains that followed. However, examples such as The Stooges (with Iggy Pop), from Ann Arbor, Michigan, demonstrate that research in counter-cultural and innovative primitive music took place in less urban settings as well. This all occurred in an ongoing and reciprocal cultural exchange between the cousin cultures of England and America. There is no doubt however that the excitement generated by the spectacle of the Sex Pistols in America ignited a vast prairie of dry brush. Kids living near cities such as D.C., Austin, Los Angeles and San Francisco became aware of new possibilities, and grafted them on to old traditions of garage-bands that already had bloomed before throughout the preceding decade. After a few more years of such experimenting, these and ever generating new waves of kids began infiltrating the urban nexuses and bringing the germinating pollen detritus of such culture back to their suburban perches. In a crucial, grueling follow-up to this process, the members of Los Angeles’s Black Flag got into a van and visited it seemed nearly every out of the way city and town that they could find, playing to perhaps handfuls of people at a time, but in a process that, like the Sex Pistols, produced an artist or a band out of nearly every spectator-participant.
The Spastic Rats bit onto this wave in the early 1980’s as high-school students living, in most cases at least, with their parents, and aspiring both to glory at the battle-of-the-bands in the school auditorium, as well as in fields beyond.
My hometown, Annapolis, was an hours car ride from the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Interstate 95, which runs from Florida to Maine, and which also passes through the major cities called out on James Brown’s classic song, “Night Train”, such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Richmond, has an on and off ramp here, at the gates of this federal enclave. The folk artist songwriter Leadbelly described D.C. as a “Bourgeois Town”, unkind to folks like him. It was and remains a puzzling city that I can hardly begin to unravel. Deserving of praise and scorn, it shares countless features common to all cities. For that reason, as well as the particular features that make D.C. unique, those of us in Annapolis that cared were blessed by our proximity. My peers and I began traveling here when we could to soak in the storied strain of punk, both native and alien, that was cultivated here.
What follows is an account, given long after the fact, of that experience. I have more to say about what it was like to do all this, but let’s take a break and hear from one of the participants that I talked to this past holiday season, in the tail end of 2011.
I recently contacted an old friend, Kenny Hill in order to continue some work I was doing documenting the story of a band from my hometown. Kenny was the drummer for that band, The Spastic Rats and had also started a small record label, “Vermin Scum”, in order to release the music of that band. The label took on a life of its own after another local musician entrepreneur offered to shepherd it forward and Kenny agreed. Kenny also found more fame himself anchoring the rhythm for emo-core pioneers ‘The Hated’. During our conversation we noted the onset of his being invited to join the Hated and also discussed his feelings about the record label and its ‘part II’ history. We focused however on what it felt like to be the first or of the first in a small town to adopt the wave of ‘Hard-core’ as it grew out of the swamp of youth culture as it existed in America in the early ‘80’s.
Kenny invited me to visit him in his new digs, a comfortable trailer he had recently purchased, positioned in a small community just south of Baltimore across the Patapsco river, Kenny was in the process of re-orienting his life after the loss of his beloved mother who he had spent considerable time with as a care-giver. His new home was decorated with framed Scottish poems and illustrated scenes of Scotland, a heritage closely held by Kenny. An antlered deer skull hung over his hearth area, which also contained Christmas stockings.
Kenny caught me up on his most recent past while his small dog, Terra, zealously sought attention and simultaneously guarded us against anyone outside who might press against our interests. This reminded me of the days gone by at Kenny’s mother’s house when Kenny would welcome any and all, despite the fuss put up by his mother’s dachshunds. Kenny brought out his file on the band, showing me old photos and a hand-made layout circa 1986 for a double album with another local band (Disdain) that was never released. Kenny and I had spoken already via e-mail about these days but I thought an in-person interview might paint a more detailed picture of what exactly went on.
As Kenny had clarified in an earlier interview, our hometown, Annapolis, had had numerous weird music scenes before we came up. Bands such as the Monuments and Judy’s Fixation perhaps would be classified as some permutation of Punk or New Wave. Bands like these, however, populated by seasoned bohemians, operated in a terrain far beyond the high school landscape where our story begins. Punk and New Wave, while pre-dating 1977, erupted into mass exposure in Britain in an often told tale of media shenanigans and manufactured and real outrage. The average American suburban youth had had little chance to form an opinion of this style and music until the launch of MTV, and also billboard chart penetration by rock/new-wave cross-over (i.e. skinny) artists such as The Cars in the early ‘80’s. As Kenny will attest, the response was often visceral, and taken as a threat against a bed-rock way of life that was anthemic in its musical form.
Kenny: I hated Punk Rock when I started going to boarding school. I was into Skynrd. You know, AC-DC, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Black Sabbath… I went into a room at school where someone was playing a Sex Pistols record. I remember grabbing the record and throwing it out the window. You know…”Fuck this”… I would see guys like Pete Boynton in Annapolis with pins. Gary Numan, The Cars, Devo. I was laughing at him. I thought it was a stupid style. I hated Disco and I hated Punks. “Play it Right!” But Devo are fucking great now. For that matter I can also listen to and enjoy Disco.
I went to boarding school for four months in 10th grade in a small town in Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia. I got thrown out. It didn’t last half a year. There were kids from New York there playing all that music, Television, the [Talking] Heads, Richard Hell, The Ramones. I was into guitar-oriented rock and then it finally dawned on me that that’s what punk was. About a week after I threw the record out the window, it stuck. I heard something…and it was like, “what is this?” It was the Buzzcocks or The Ramones or something and it was guitar-oriented rock and it clicked on me.
Before I went to school I had been hanging with Matt Pumphrey and sharing in our same musical tastes. When I got back, changed, it turned out that he had changed too. He had discovered Art-Rock and was listening to Genesis and stuff like that. I played him some of my stuff and he played me some of his stuff and we were both like, [twists his lip] “hrmm”, not convinced you know. He was like, ‘this is nonsense’ to my Buzzcocks and Ramones and I was…’okay, this is fine…. A little boring and indulgent, but fine… to his Genesis record.
Me: Was that the Pumphrey of ‘Pumphrey’s field?
Kenny: Yeah, you know the Faction fiasco. The biker’s stole everything. We were lucky to get out alive. His family owned the woods up there on Route 2. There was only Anne’s foot-longs [a hot-dog stand] there on the highway.
Me: And that was their house back in the woods?
Kenny: That was the Pumphrey family home. His Mom got rich off [selling] that.
Me: So that’s Marley Station Mall now.
Kenny: Yeah, his mom did some thing where they wanted to buy the whole thing as farm-land but she said, no, you could build this number of houses here and held out for that rate and finally got it and now she’s rich.
[The ‘show’ or party that was organized at this small non-operating family farm provokes memories in myself and others that were there, such as fellow Rat Ned Westrick who cites it as formative. “That’s when I knew I was on to something.” In the free-wheeling creative style that hardcore kids employed at the time a touring band from California, the Faction (with skateboard legend Steve Caballero) was hosted along with the Rats and another local band, Fit of Rage, (that I was a member of) in a field in some woods that were part of a sequence of suburbs that linked Annapolis and Baltimore. Parts of the stretch retained a country style attitude. At some point during the day a local biker gang smelled a party and showed up, demanding to hear Freebird from Lynrd Skynyrd. Dan (the guitarist of Fit of Rage and later The Hated and Ida) was in fact a guitar prodigy who could produce licks at will. He would tease them with the opening bars of Stairway to Heaven and then with a wink and a cue we would tear into one of our thirty second thrash compositions, at the end of which they would go “no, no, no. This time, play it ‘agin, RIGHT!” The bikers ended up drinking a lot of beer and stealing the generator that was used to power the PA system. ]
Me: Tell me more about the early days of punk and hardcore in Annapolis.
Kenny: It was purer then.
Me: Pure how?
Kenny: There was no crossbreeding back then. You would see someone with pins and hair and go right up to them and be like ‘who are you’ ‘what are you into’ ‘are you into this[band], are you into this’. I met Scott Bickle that way, he was walking down Hillsmere Drive with his girlfriend and they had on leather and like a Sid and Nancy look. I pulled my car over and went right up to them. I met Kabler the same way.
Annapolis sucked. It was a tourist town with a lot of rich people. It had sailboats and rednecks. There were a couple scrubbly redneck gangs. The Pharaohs, the Majestics. They hated punk. A couple people got beat up. It was the ‘city of the dead.’
At that time, Punk was seen as Adam and the Ants [a decidedly British fashion-conscious rhythmic music experiment organized by former Sex-Pistols manager Malcom McClaren]. Teddy Rayhart had been to ‘Frisco and seen Mubahey Gardens[a seminal nightclub that booked early American hardcore icons]. He was aware of shit really happening. From trips to D.C., probably to Commander Salamander [an early New-Wave boutique and meeting point in the Georgetown neighborhood and shopping district of D.C.], I saw a flyer for Black Market Baby and The Ramones. We went to that. Then I saw a flyer for The Dead Kennedys. It said ‘Dead Kennedys and 4 D.C. bands’ and didn’t list the bands. So we went to that show. I was there in paint spattered pants and a t-shirt with greased hair roaming around while the other bands played, waiting for DK. to play. I had DK tunnel vision.
Me: Who were the other bands?
Kenny: It was Double O, Red C, Government Issue, and…mmm… can’t remember the other one .
Me: So it was the lost legendary era of D.C. hardcore.
Kenny: Yeah, I didn’t get the local thing quite yet. I was just focused on Jello [Biafra, the lead singer of the popular San Francisco band Dead Kennedys]. He had on this t-shirt that said “Libyan Hit Squad” because supposedly at that time there was a group of Libyans roaming around the U.S. trying to take out Reagan. Jello always pointed out all the crazy but important stuff that was going on. We had the [Berlin] Wall then, Russia, the Bomb. Jello was a trip, unbelievable.
Me: Where did you get your fashion tips?
Kenny: From the Clash. There was this magazine/book thing at the Record Exchange called New Wave, from England that had all these pictures of the Clash. Paul Simonon [the bassist for The Clash] designed their clothes, throwing paint on them and shit. He grabbed things from different eras and had stuff sewn. In a way the Clash were some Monkees band, fabricated by a cash oriented manager type Svengali like the Pistols and McClaren.
Me: Everyone knows the story about McClaren but how do you figure the Clash?
Kenny: Bernie Rhodes stole Joe from the 101ers and put them together, and said “Write about what you know, Society, living on the dole, living in a squat.”
Me: So how did you meet the other guys?
Kenny: Tristan [Lentz] was playing in this band Jade with Les [Lentz(his brother)] and Butch Powell, playing Judas Priest and Rush. They were playing this party and I had heard that Tristan was into the Sex pistols. I started heckling him to play a few chords of that ’God Save the Queen’ and he did. But it was a few years before we got together.
Me: When did you first play with the Rats and who was the first line-up?
Kenny: The first line-up was Tristan, Gregg Speight, Richard Whelan, and Pat Moynihan on drums. I first played with them in ’83 or ’84.
Me: Were the Rats your first band?
Kenny: I had played some with Jim McPherson around ’81-’82. Jim had this long-haired hippie scene and was into the Stooges. He also played Damned songs and 3 or 4 originals, like “Blow Nun”.
Me: Yeah I think he found out about the Damned because they covered the MC5 song “Looking at You”. I also remember the Slugs originals “Cold, Wet and Dead” about the 14th St Bridge plane wreck as well as “Schizophrenia Blues.”
Kenny: This was even before they had the name Platinum Slugs. We played in my room a few times before the Rats were like ‘let’s ask Kenny to play.’
Our first gig was at John Thompson’s house. Gil Cochran [a local alderman] came by and was like “You’re great!” It was around 5,6 or 7 p.m. Maybe there were 10 people there. We had six songs, all covers. We played them over and over.
Me: Who did you cover?
Kenny: The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Fear, the Germs, one or two Clash songs, like 1977, although Tristan had a hard time with them.
Me: What was the first original?
Kenny: “Armageddon’s coming Down.” I remember writing the lyrics to that.
Me: What inspired that?
Kenny: [Pause] I don’t know. Some bleak PR [punk rock] outlook. [laughs] I also wrote the music to “Swine” and then Ned and Tristan ran with it. It was kind of a rip-off of a Black Flag song I think.
After a while we realized it was easier to write our own songs than try to sound like somebody else. Even at Pumphrey’s field though we were still playing Minor Threat. [Our band F.O.R. also covered a local band that day, performing Government Issue’s “Sheer Terror”.]
It wasn’t until Ned joined the band that we did originals emphatically. He had lots of lyrics and musical ideas.
Me: So what was it like to be a Rat? What did you do?
Kenny: We would meet at school and then go [hooking school] to Shaw’s Market to get liquor and find a place to lay low. [Note: Shaw’s Market was a corner grocery store operated by a Chinese family who for whatever reason allowed liquor sales to some local youth.] At some point in the day we would start practicing or go cause further trouble.
Me: Didn’t you risk getting discovered playing loud music in the middle of the day?
Kenny: We would usually wait until the afternoon to play but occasionally we would play earlier thinking everyone was at work. We did get caught a few times. We would also hang out and loiter downtown. There was that whole Hooligans controversy [a brief editorial campaign in the evening paper depicting a downtown youth element as Sha Na Na type greaser menaces].
Me: Oh Yeah.
Kenny: Like 3 or 4 kids standing around looking slightly different completely upending Izod sensibilities. Necessitating editorials and cartoons. Man there was nothing else going on in that town.
Me: I guess I was part of that downtown hooligan scene. That’s how I met everyone. Any other notable adventures?
Kenny: Yeah there was this fascist gated community in Eastport that we rampaged through one night, stealing liquor, an American flag, and a wet suit from their cabana/club-house. I still have the flag. The police questioned Richard and Gregg but we got away with it. We also spray-painted six- foot tall tags of the Dead Kennedys and Fear on this 100’ sea wall to assault the local sailing community. You could see it all the way from the Naval Academy. You could only see it from the water so it remained there for a long stretch.
Me: What did your Mom think of the band?
Kenny: Mom always encouraged me. She bought my drums and wanted me to play bagpipes. She brought me to lessons for both. I eventually bowed to some unseen peer pressure on the bagpipes and stopped playing. I regret it to this day.
Me: The band played at your house, right?
Me: What about some of the other parents?
Kenny: Mostly they were cool with it I guess. Tristan’s mom however was a complete psycho head case at first. She was like, “This punk-rock shit is villainous- it’s nasty, you need to throw it away!” Then she started taking Valium and switched. She became supportive of Les also [who started doing sound and opened a recording studio in the basement] and she just became cool. You’d go into the kitchen and there would be Pink Floyd playing and you would just listen to it with her. She didn’t like Punk, me, us, and then she became a completely different person. It turned out she was a nice lady.
Ned lived with his Dad in Arnold [a community near Annapolis on the way towards Baltimore]. His Dad was quiet. Ned’s Mom lived with her boyfriend in Takoma Park [a community that is partially in Maryland and partially in D.C.] I think that Gregg lived with Ned for a while.
Gregg, now Byron, never got along with his parents very well. At sixteen or seventeen he was ready to move out and deal with the world. He left here and went to New York. He was all about that he wanted to act. He was waiting tables, doing the audition thing. He went through a couple reincarnations and now he’s kinda cornered the market as it were on… I still don’t understand exactly what it is that he does. [Byron Speight owns and operates IB Creative Inc., a company that specializes in video production, podcast marketing and website design]. He’s pretty successful now but in the band he wasn’t too great a guitarist. It was, you know, turn him down, fade him to the left, like Joe Strummer- a chugging monotony.
Me: I’m sure many guitarists would enjoy being compared to Joe Strummer.
Kenny: It’s like, yeah, you know there’s a rhythm guitar in there but its not doing much.
Me: So you guys never really toured. How many hometown parties do you think you played?
Kenny: Two or three.
Me: I’m sure it was more than that. You definitely played in Baltimore countless times.
Kenny: Yeah, at the Marble Bar and mostly at the Loft. Maybe 5 times. We played at this place in Pittsburgh, the Electric Banana. For some reason that felt successful. That went well. We wanted to play a Spring Nectar so we drove up to the Institute one day.
[The Spring Nectar was an annual party in Annapolis held at a local private residence dubbed The Institute because of the way the space was arranged and run. The host was a well-known eccentric who collected bicycles and ‘60’s era Dodge and Plymouth cars among other things. The Nectar party was always an all-night bonfire that attracted a wide swath of types.]
Me: Was that when the Institute was at Weems Creek?
Kenny: Yeah. Anyway we drove up and there was this old man raking leaves. We couldn’t tell whether it was Sam or not. We said we wanted to play the party and there was some kind of cryptic exchange and then we just had to leave. We couldn’t tell what had happened. Anyway like a week later Sam showed up at the Exchange [The Record Exchange was a used vinyl shop owned by a dentist that Kenny and many other members of the local original music scene clerked at]. He asked to hear a tape or something and just straightened the whole thing out. We also played a College Park Party.
Me: Oh yeah, I remember that place. I think they were friends of Jim’s [Jim McPherson].
Kenny: Anyway we finally got a gig in D.C. at this placed called “The Complex”. It was with Dain Bramage with one Dave Grohl as the drummer [Grohl, who got his start in the D.C. scene in Dain Bramage and Scream, later went on to fame in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters]. We hadn’t been playing and I was out of shape. Ned reprimanded me for playing too slow at the end of the show so I freaked out and kicked the drums off the stage. Danny and Eric were there and asked me to join The Hated. So we practiced for a week and one week later we recorded “What Was Behind”. That was the end of ’86.
Me: So was that the end of the Rats?
Kenny: No, they played on for a year without me. Ned was getting into Venom and Celtic Frost and eventually moved on to do Iron Christ with Tristan and Scott Treude. Richard joined the Army. Byron as I said moved to New York.
Me: Okay. So what does it all mean?
Kenny: I don’t know. I felt it at the time. I was really into Jimi and Janis and basically anything that could be construed as protest music. From Sabbath to Country Joe and the Fish. I always thought how cool it would have been to have been a part of the hippie thing, you know, an active movement. I was never political until Punk Rock. It made me think about the environment, war, politics, everything.
With the music that I was into prior to PR you couldn’t go the Capital Center and meet Robert Plant or Jimmy Page. You could go to the 9:30 club, go up to the stage and meet people though. It was music for people and people for music. All music is basically made between four walls and we took those walls and made a community center.
All these zines popped up in every major center in America. We all collected flyers. Granted, the arts were a little different, just cut and paste and go Xerox down at the Minuteman Press. It was so much more grassroots, that shit’s never going to happen again in this era of the computer.
[Punk] was entertaining. It was pseudo-intellectual. It made you think. It made me want to go out and research things.
Me: What about Reagan?
Kenny: God man fucking Ronald Reagan. I was primarily political through Punk Rock. If I had known what was coming. There were so many songs about war. But we got off easy, without many wars for us. Then Bush came on and it was back to cowboy. I got tense, uptight; I was having a hard time sleeping, [thinking] “what this bastard is doing to our country?” But I guess we had to worry about Russia back then.
Me: I read the newspaper every day back then and I couldn’t believe that people took Reagan seriously. He seemed to so obviously be a liar, a murderer, a clown. Not a real person.
Kenny: That was when the Republicans were mastering the craft of placing propaganda. Bush was behind Reagan. Cheney was behind Bush. You know I really hate this bullshit [intoning in Reagan’s voice] “Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That shit was falling apart for years, not because of some American president. What about Solidarity and Glasnost, do you think that had anything to do with it? You’re damn right it did! I mean here we have 200 years based on genocide and slavery, based on killing people.
Me: But why give a shit? What you describe is so far beyond us.
Kenny: Bands like the Dead Kennedys make a mockery of it, so first you laugh, and then you cry, because it is based on the truth. But maybe there was no reason for us to care. We were too young to vote. Foreign policy didn’t really affect us. We didn’t have to worry about food stamps then. We had freedom to burn. We weren’t going to get shot or sent to the Gulag like some people. What I had to worry about was my next good score of records and when and how I’d get laid. We would practice and practice and try to get a gig. But I never did a D.C. punk percussion protest against apartheid for example, so I’m hypocritical. I guess I feel like politics is a scam, they’re going to do what they do. But then you have the classic example of Eisenhower, who was a war-lord, a war-pig himself, warning about the military industrial complex, telling the American people to watch out because they are taking meat pies from your baby’s mouth.
Me: So what about class issues? Relevant, do you think?
Kenny: There were some ratty shit-hole urban punks, but mostly we are talking about middle class kids who had everything and didn’t have need to complain about anything complaining about everything.
Me: So you were middle class?
Kenny: I don’t know. I never really knew what that meant. My Mom did a lot for me. She made it all work. I’ve since found out how difficult it was for her. I wasn’t aware of it. I could have gotten a job and helped. On the other hand I was too shy or depressed out of my mind. I swung between seething with pent-up angst and being afraid of my own shadow.
Punk had a range of classes. There were people from Dundalk who just wanted to fight and are still scumbags. But we had D.C. where things were surprising. I mean the leader of the Skins in D.C. was a black woman. It wasn’t like Cleveland with no lyrical content.
Me: But what about you guys?
Kenny: We were all totally outcast. We couldn’t play downtown [in local bars]. They weren’t going to stand for that shit. It was a struggle to be heard. We were relevant, pertinent, and of the same ilk [as kids in D.C. and nation-wide]. Nowadays everything is a convoluted homogenized cross-over. I mean Paula Deen has spiked Sid Vicious hair. The bars downtown have everything.
But on the other hand the establishment shows up at 3 in the morning at the Occupy site in full riot gear. They got rid of them and for the most part people were lucky when they didn’t get the shit beat out of them.
I mean I went through this thing where Anti-Seen got together again and it caused me stress to get into it and read the lyrics. I mean I’ve never really grown up. I still feel like a kid. I was never lucky in love. I guess I took heartache too hard. I would love to have the ‘white picket fence’ but the people I know who went that way are either miserable or hollow shells. I mean, should I feel irresponsible, silly, stupid? Or just be a cog in a faceless machine. In a sense we have to face that we were just put here to propagate, spread seeds and die. Beyond that, we’re here to have fun. It is what it is. But with these young kids, there’s gotta be someone young and innocent, yet to be jaded by the ineffectualness of taking a stance.