Torben: Hello guys. Please introduce yourselves and give us some general information about SMUT PEDDLERS.
Prospect: Smut Peddlers are 80% male.
Julia: Im Julia. I play drums. I regulate. General info... Smut Peddlers have been around since Spring of 1993. There was one drummer before me, but he sold his drums for drugs before they ever had a real practice. He also was the original drummer for Pennywise and quit that band just before they became millionaires.
Gish Stiffness: I play a bass. I live in Costa Mesa and surf daily with Riki Barnes ("Naughty Monkey") and Mike and Skibs ("the Stitches"). My wife is the Hostage poster girl and I have been in the SMUT PEDDLERS since day one.
John Ransom: Smut Peddlers is a music ensemble consisting of five people.
"Coming Out" is your fifth full length besides about 50 (!) other releases, a lot of them where only on seven inch. Are you guys fans of this whole vinyl thing?
Prospect: vinyl is better because it warps when you leave it in the sun, which means it has a soul. CD's do not.
Julia: Yes. I have most of my record collection from the 80s & 90s still. I still buy vinyl. Cds are disposable, records are more personal.
Gish: I like the "vinyl thing" a lot. It's kind of a secret socity.
John Ransom: No. Vinyl Records, CDs, Cassettes, and Eight-tracks all suck. I sold my record collection for heroin money. it was the last material stuff I held onto. I have started a new collection, but just to listen to the music. It's inconvenient, non-durable, and heavy and bulky. if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we come up with sensible music media, pick one, and stick with it?
A lot of your music was released on your own label, Ransom Records. Why did you team up with TKO Records after all and did this have any influence on your record?
Julia: We wanted to put out a release on TKO because theyre good people and we wanted to step up with bigger distribution, hoping our records would reach more countries.
Gish: It was time to be on a label. I was sick of hearing that no one could find our record. Finding the right label was a big part of it to. Working with Hostage and Deadbeat was awesome and we needed to find someone as cool to do a full length. Mark at TKO has put out a lot of killer records and is a guy I can trust with what feels like a child. I have no idea what the other part of yer question means...
John Ransom: TKO was alleged to have better distribution than Ransom Records. It is a good label with better taste than most. There was no fear or feeling like they are evil or are about to screw us... Just nice folks who want to put out a record. Straightforward, down to earth, no pretentious, pompous arrogant, disrespectful bullshit. It was comfortable.
You¹ve already toured through Europe and Germany in 2002. You really seem to have enjoyed Germany and especially Hamburg ("Hamburg Deerns") and Berlin ("Kreuzberg 36"). Tell us something about it.
Julia: Hamburg was a killer town. The harbor was a good sight. The people were all very friendly and the bars were fun!
Gish: It's awesome. I love California but Europe is like a history class.
John Ransom: Hamburg is like what it would be like if Hollywood got moved to San Pedro....Berlin is like Venice Beach, but without the beach, with a little Washington D.C. thrown in.
I really like the song "Dead End" with its rocking piano. How did you come up
with this song and do you play it live?
Julia: I think Gish wrote the music. We had our engineer, Jerry Adamo, play the piano to give it a rock On roll feel.
Gish: We play it live but no piano. Adamo "the famed engineer" played piano on the recording. One day I hope to have him play live.
John Ransom: The lyrics come from knowing a lot of drug addicts. The piano comes from Jerry Adamo. We play it live, but without piano. I think Jerry was named after Jerry lee Lewis, and they have a similar style on the keyboards.
Which song on "Coming Out" do you like the best and why?
Prospect: Coppers, it is the most fun for me to play live.
Julia: I like Vernon Girl because the guitar solo makes me wanna kill myself, but I like F.T.W. best to play live.
Gish: I can't see it like that, it's all or nothing. I like the record a lot though and look forward to making another one. This is my favorite line up so far and as soon as we get a least one P90 on the guitars, I will have reached.... shit, i don't know but something good.
John Ransom: Rebetron Party-personal meaning...My old addiction-personal, even though it's about Chet Baker, I assume it applies to all junkies. It's sad, but I think it's good and it makes me feel a lot. I don't know the person who wrote it..I also like Renegade, but I like the version on the "Ten Inch" vinyl better, cuz we did it first. ...It's hard to pick, cuz I like 'em all, and my ratings will be different tomorrow. It depends on my mood, or even the weather or the tide or moon phase or how good the current cup of coffee is.
Your music seems to be pretty popular in the skateboarding scene you already had a lot of your songs in those video mags are you into this scene somehow?
Julia: We all like to skateboard, and have done it most of our lives.
Gish: Cause we skateboard and have been in and around the skateboard scene for a long time.
John Ransom: I think we all like skateboarding, so that automatically makes us "into the scene". Personally, I am more into the bowl-pool scene than the kickflip-hip-hop scene. We have played at the basic barbecue and it was great to see Mark Partain and others rip the pool..Sean is a professional Downhill Racer, but he can run that down to you. I am not a good skater, but skating is very fun, cuz it's like surfing.
What about that Jackass Movie? Did your popularity grew a lot due to "Let¹s Get Fucked Up", which is on the soundtrack to the movie?
Julia: I don't know... There wasn¹t a huge jump in popularity after the movie or soundtrack came out, but we're all glad the song got heard by so many people.
Gish: Luckly, no.
John Ransom: no, I don't think so.
You are almost for twelve years in the business now. How did it change except from punk music being in the charts these days?
Julia: I don¹t know how much things have changed or if we have just gotten older. I think both changed, but that's what makes the world go around. They are millions of bands, very few good punk clubs... It's been that way all along.
Gish: It's not a "business" for me. it's what I do for fun and my love for Punk Rock. It's also like a family for me. I have known Julia on John this entire time and we have been through a lot together. Sean and Prospect have also become very close friends to me and I would do anything for them.
John Ransom: Punk music is not in the charts in the USA. That has not changed... There are more people now who have baggy pants and need to pull them up and buy a belt and tighten it. Also, judging from clothing and shoes, there are many more athletes now than there were twelve years ago. and we have a better president.
SMUT PEDDLERS toured with almost every punk band of the states. Which band is
the most fun to tour with and why?
Julia: We've never really toured with anyone. We¹ve played shows with several. I always like playing with Smogtown. I liked playing with X in San Francisco a lot.
Gish: Smogtown, The Stitches, Broken Bottles. These are bands are part of the New Beach Alliance. We have been friends for years and it's always good to see them. I have also become close with a band called, Hit By a Semi. Good people.
John Ransom: The Minutemen, because they are so good...also T.S.O.L., the Stitches, the Broken Bottles, and the S.T.D.s, for the same reason. The Pistols and the Clash are always a lot of fun. Oh, and the Heartbreakers. And the Damned...and Black Flag. and Smogtown, the Riffs and the Virus. Howlin' Wolf and John Coltrane, too. and Jack Sheldon's California Quartet and Hank III.
You have also played on some hardcore concerts. Are you into hardcore music?
Prospect: I like to listen to hardcore when I am really mad.
Julia: I was in my teenage years, but not so much anymore. I don¹t like new hardcore. It sounds too much like metal.
Gish: Like who? it's all just punk rock to me.
John Ransom: I don't know what "hardcore" means...Hardcore WHAT? If it means Rap music, no, I generally don't like it. are the purveyors of "hardcore" HARD, or are they the CORE, or are they just more passionate about music than others (the SOFTFRINGE)?... Labels are bad. and misleading. and subject to misuse and abuse, like you saying "punk" music is "in the charts".
It's pretty unusual for a punk band to have a female drummer. How is it for a woman playing in a band like SMUT PEDDLERS?
Julia: It's different, I guess. These guys are like my family... It¹s like traveling with 4 brothers. At clubs, they usually just think Im someones girlfriend, or groupie, then when I start moving the drums around they think Im a roadie... Usually it¹s fine, sometimes it¹s a pain.
Gish: It's awesome. It's not just a women it's Julia and she's a very good person "as long as she's right...HA!"
John Ransom: I don't know, but I imagine it's very "womanly". That's an interesting question. I will look for Julia's reply to find out.
There is also a hip hop combo called SMUT PEDDLERS out there. Have you ever heard about them?
Prospect: I have.
Julia: yeah, yeah, yeah... Old news,... theyre not around, we own the name, blah blah, blah...
Gish: no, never heard of them. Good name though.
John Ransom: no.
You're going to come to Germany in May. What do you expect from this visit?
Prospect: Lederhosen and wiener schnitzel.
Julia: Lots of bread & cheese... great beer... good music, friendly people.
Gish: good times.
John Ransom: Pleasure, fatigue, grunginess, togetherness, stress as I try to get the others to eat at good restaurants (as opposed to FAST restaurants), fear of vegan goulash at socialist youth hostels, and daily visits to the peculiar "SLAB"-styled toilets you have over there, in which the excrement smolders and smokes and stinks out in the chill air, elevated above the waterline on a cold, flat porcelain plateau. Good people, beautiful countryside, historic places I've read about and seen in movies and learned about in school.
Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final comments?
Prospect: Destroy the California Department of Motor Vehicles
Julia: Here we come... Check out our website for tour dates... http://www.smutpeddlers.net/dates.html
Gish: See ya soon.
John Ransom: I think this is the first time I have replied to an interview on the computer, because I am not proficient at it. It was very difficult and is probably too late. I realize you are overseas, though, and I need the practice at typing. Your questions are better than most, by far. If you do any editing, the whole thing will be bullshit, so just print everything as it is, unedited. Thank you for your interest. Tell your friends to be nice to America and our leader. We have good intentions.