This man needs no introduction. One of the founding members and guitarist of the legendary and infamous band the Evil Skins. Willy took the time to answer some questions about Evil Skins, his life now and future plans. So many rumours and heresay swirl about this band, so let's hear from a member in his own words.
1. Tell us how you first became involved in the skinhead movement?
In 1980, I first met a skinhead and a byrd in London. I admit that it was an explosion within me. One word, I was fascinated. Then, in 1982, I really became a skinhead. I began to start mingling in the tolbiac's band with le Tyran, Bruno, Vincent and the others. At this time, they wanted to make a record disc with titles like Zera and Skinhead de Berlin. Then, I met Sniff and Bat out of my school, they would come to see le Tyran. So I decided to go with them. There was a band in the twentieth borough, in Gambetta. Gambetta skins was different from Tolbiacs skins, they were more of troublemakers and brawling. It's really the "Bete et Mechant" skinheads, with guys like Porky, 140 kgs. Then, we have mooched to Saint Michel Luxembourg.
Sniff and Willy 80s
2. How were the Evil Skins accepted by the rest of the French skinhead scene? You certainly stand alone when it comes to provocative content and imagery.
It was a time where we had really to ensure and to assume your rave , if you want to be a skinhead. The game was that we would be the craziest, everyone was zealous. We jumped on the heads of our enemies. Such violence was present, blood constantly stained our clothes. It was such an urban guerilla atmosphere where the streets had to belong to skinheads. That was the 80's spirit. We had to do all you can do to not loose. The honour to be a skinhead was in us even in our dreams. I was just like this at this time. The truth is that we did not love anything and we didn't care for others. We were not interested in being rock stars, we were simply street skinheads. So no one came to see us and we did'nt have any contact with the larger scene as a whole, just with some skins of Tolbiac, Bonsergent, and "des Halles" who were real street skinheads. Evils Skins is difficult to understand, because at this time we were skinheads whom were not really intelligent. We cultivated rather stupidity and wickedness. As the song says, "We are stupid and nasty skinheads and the worst of all is that we are happy." We were a little bit like people who enjoyed being without brain. We were close to being pit bulls, ready to bite people. That was roughly the level of the band. All this washed it down with beer and that does not help. In short, it was difficult for guys like us at that time to think about change. Everyone was trained in this brainwashing. There was some people who create a fake persona by writing texts, but our texts were our truth. Sniff added nothing nor imagined. Also, our delusions of violence was to the zenith by displaying fascist slogans, but in both our band and crew there were skins that were black, Chinese, Arab, Iranian and there was also a Jew. Some of these skins wore skinhead reggae, trojan, or rude boys badges on their bombers. Others who were within the group liked the Communists Angelic Upstarts. There was a time of contact with real fascists who wanted us recruited, but it is not possible. We were guys from the streets, politics is derided. We just loved to brawl. After you get provoked, you have a natural opposition and enemies that increased your provocation. It was like a race that finally exploded in the look of Evil Skins around 1986. Our group had nothing to do with Skewdriver which are real Nazi politicians. Indeed at the time, I didn’t know they were like that, too radical.
3. I assume shows were very hard to come by for a band like the Evil Skins. How many did the band play?
Yes, we only did three shows, one of which was stormed. This night, there was a battle between us and a lot of other guys. Sniff had even taken a stab in the nose. Then, to prove our force, that we were in the scene, we threw out the group who played and we then requisitioned their musical instruments and began playing. It's the picture which you can see on LP 45 disc of the Evils Skins. On stage we continued to insult every one. Blood was flowing from the nose of Sniff and after half an hour of show, the security guard, with big arms wanted to intervene and cut the sound. Now there was a new battle in the show room. I remember people taking shelter behind the bar with their baseball bats. We were banned everywhere , that's why we never bloomed.
4. We are aware that Sniff was in a wheelchair, could you tell us about the incident that paralyzed him?
I remember, but this I was not with him. Sniff told me, long ago that he just hit a punk and this punk had a rifle with him. He shot at the group, killed a young man and hit Sniff. This was a mortal blow for the band and our crew. More than half stopped being skinhead and others just scattered. After this, we were creating another band on Bastille with members of the Evil Skins.
5. Some have accused Evil Skins of being a fascist band during their existence, what do you make of this?
Yes it's normal because with our provocation, lot of people hated us, and we hit lots of people, so it's inevitable.
6. What were your experiences with other French skinhead bands of the time? France had a diverse scene from more non-political bands like Tolbiac Toads, to acts like Totenkopf and Legion 88.
I think that Totenkopf and Legion 88 weren’t non-political groups. In our time, there was a conflict also between us and them. We considered them like the skins of movies and they reproached us that we were not a true fascist group, a group of wogs who dirtied the image of the real Nazi skins. About Tolbiac Toad’s Bruno, the singer hung with us many years ago, but he didn’t do a lot of things with his group during this time, just some recordings if my memory is good.
7. What was the reaction to Sniff’s Iranian ancestry within the more right wing side of the scene?
In our time people who criticized us, if we saw them, they were taking a big head (headbutt.) So, all of this was far from us. It's true a lot of fascist skins criticized us and this is also evidence that we could never be a purely fascist group with a singer like Sniff.
8. Was Serge Ayoub, or Batskin, a presence during the band’s career?
We knew Serge since 1982, he is a miserable brother. At first, he wasn’t like he is today, a Nazi purely and strongly. He was a skin like the others. At one point, he began to change and it's true that he was messing with politics, but hey we didn't care. At the time of Evil Skins, he sought to make a more politicized skin band and after this we had less and less contact with him, because he said we were crazy. There were a lot of criticism afterwards.
Classic photo of Willy 80's
9. What are the other members of Evil Skins up to these days? Do you have any contact with Regis since his prison sentence?
Sniff, I saw him a year ago and Bertrand six months ago. Luke and Renaud, I have not seen them in 15 years. Everyone has changed a lot, but they have not changed as much as me. Regis made a choice and fell into politics, it's a shame. I have no contact with him for very long time. In fact, Regis only played bass in the early group and it is Bertrand who replaced him. Bertrand actually plays on our two discs.
Willy and Sniff 2009
10. The Evil Skins remain one of the most legendary skinhead bands and it seems your popularity has been getting larger in recent years. The band has transcended the usual RAC audience and is accepted by many different viewpoints. Many skins in America hold your records in as high regard as classics from Last Resort, 4-Skins etc. What do you make of this Willy?
I was not aware of this. For me, Evil Skins, it’s in the past.
11. In conclusion, I would like to thank you for the interview and your openness to skins in the current scene. Do you have anything you wish to add, the last words are yours.
Now, I have a punk rock band called Dayal Nitai with a positive message. I need everyone's support to get back on stage. www.myspace.com / dayalnitaihttp://www.myspace.com/dayalnitai Maybe one day I will be invited to the United States? Here is the link for those who have not seen my mini biography before the release of my book: www.myspace.com / skinhead.repenti
"Iron Cross" is probably one of the most well known Skinhead bands to have come out of the States and for good reason too. They were the first! It all started when Sab Grey met Dante Ferrando in 1980 in the nation's capital, Washington D.C. Ferrando was previously in a band with guitarist Mark Haggerty called "Broken Cross." Grey was the one to come up with the name "Iron Cross". Many people perceived the band as racist due to the name and imagery, but Grey, who was born Jewish, has stated on many occasions that they are not racist or fascist. The band's official first line-up consisted of Grey on vocals, Ferrando on drums, Haggerty on guitar, and John Falls on Bass. Unfortunately, Falls would leave the band shortly after the creation, opening the bass player position to 2 more members before settling on Wendell Blow, who was formerly in the Hardcore band "State of Alert (S.O.A)". With Grey being one of the slew of roommates of the Dischord House in Arlington, VA, it was inevitable that the band would be featured on the Dischord Records compilation "Flex Your Head" in 1982. The band's first E.P. was released later in 1982 and was entitled "Skinhead Glory," which included the now legendary song, "Crucified". John Dunn, who was one the original skins of D.C., would replace Blow on bass and be featured at the infamous Angelic Upstarts show(which apparently ended with a blow up between the 2 bands) and on the next E.P. "Hated and Proud". However, Dunn would not stay long enough to see the E.P. released and was replaced by Paul Cleary who had a good resume of former bands around D.C. The band eventually called it quits in 1985 and the members went their separate ways. Ferrando and Haggerty formed the band "Grey Matter" while Grey decided to go live in England. Since the original disbanding, GMM records put out "Live For Now!" which consists of all the released and unreleased material from the band. Sab Grey eventually ended up back in the States and has re-birthed "Iron Cross" with a new line-up, who recently put out a new EP entitle "2 Piece and A Buiscut" and split 7" with England band "Keyside Strike". Grey is also pursuing music in the his band "Sab Grey and The Royal American" as well as performing solo shows with an acoustic guitar. Ferrando now owns the club "The Black Cat" in D.C., Haggerty now lives in the Bay Area, Dunn relocated to Seattle, Blow lives in Austin Texas and Cleary still resides in D.C. Although there have been many Skinhead bands from America to surpass "Iron Cross" musically and lyrically, they were in fact the first. Original Lineups : Sab Grey - Vocals Dante Ferrando - Drums Mark Haggerty - Guitar John Falls - Bass Wendell Blow - Bass John Dunn - Bass Paul Cleary - Bass Current Lineup : Sab Grey - Vocals Scotty Powers(Slumlords) - Drums Dimitri Medevev - Bass Mark Linskey(Hudson Falcons) - Guitar Shadwick Wilde(Straight Laiced) - Guitar.
Skinhead Glory EP - 1982 1.Crucified For Your Sins 2.Psycho Skin 3.Fight'em All 4.Shadows In The Night
Hated and Proud - 1983 1.You're A Rebel 2.Grey Morning 3.Wolf Pack
Live for Now! 1.New Breed 2.Wargames 3.It's A Fight 4.Teenage Violators 5.Live For Now 6.Crucified For Your Sins 7.Psycho Skin 8.Fight 'Em All 9.Shadows In The Night 10.Against The Enemy 11.Criminal Minds 12.Phsyco Skin (Out Take) 13.Death Or Glory 14.Wolfpack 15.Grey Morning 16.You're A Rebel
2 Piece and A Buscuit 1.Pride and Freedom (originally by Straight Laced) 2.I Don;t Love You Anymore 3.Running Riot (originally by Cock Sparrer) 4.Catch Your Grave
Split with Keyside Strike 1.Iron Cross - Pride And Freedom 2.Iron Cross - I Don't Love You Any More 3.Keyside Strike - Chavageddon 4.Keyside Strike - Old School (revisited)
Fighting 84 and Combate 49 are two new R.A.C. bands from The States who decided to debut their talents with a split CD fittingly titled "West Coast to East Coast Rock Against Communism". First out the gate is Combate 49 from somewhere on the East Coast, who give us two songs entitled "Somos Patriotas" and "Enemigos", they also give us a live version of "Somos Patriotas". As for their sound goes, I can clearly hear some Condemned 84, and Combat 84 influences with heavy guitars and a menacing vocal style. One thing I don’t get about this band is that they speak Spanish. I know they are Latino, and I'm not totally one of those "speak English or get out" type of guys, but if you’re going to entitle a song "We're Patriots" you should probably speak the first language of country that you're patriots of. This band is very good though and very much worth a listen. On to Fighting 84 from So-Cal. Starting off with a song called "Red Dawn" one thing is very apparent, they do not like Communists. Next is “On Parade” which displays their disgust with the Political tug-a-war the Right and the Left play in today’s society. Their final song on the split is entitled “Class Rage” which is the common voice of hatred for the upper class bring down the working class. While I think this band will be good later on, they did not impress me very much on this split. The sound and guitar tone has a very Skrewdriver feel to it but the rhythm was little too fast on “Red Dawn” and “On Parade”. The verses seldom finished with good hooks and the lyrics were a little too straight forward for me, no metaphors, no picture painted. Although I had few good words about Fighting 84, I firmly believe they will be a band to look out for in the near future, once they work out their sound.
2003, North Carolina. That's the time and place American Oi! band "Vangaurd" got their start. Arming themselves with a heavy style of traditional American Oi! they set out to show that streetpunk can't compare to the true sound of true skinheads. Patriotism, working class pride, and subculture spirit, are all topics we've heard before, but "Vangaurd" is bringing it to you, pure and unfiltered. Their first release was a spit 12" with fellow North Carolinians "A.T.F.", who they also now share members with, in 2007 on American Defense Records. In 2008 Dim records released Vangaurd's debut full-length album entitled "Hard Road to Travel". Unlike a lot bands that seem to come and go, "Vanguard" is still playing shows. Unfortunately they had to cancel a show in New York this past month due to complications they explained as "Bull Shit". I believe they are getting ready to release or record a new album, which I'm sure will keep us wanting more, of the band we all know as VANGAURD!
2007 - American Defense Records 1.Vanguard - Survival Of The Fittest 2.Vanguard - They Want Me Dead 3.Vanguard - We Won't Believe Your Lies 4.Vanguard - Blowing The Lights Out 5.Vanguard - Underground 6.ATF - Suffer The Children 7.ATF - Hands Of The Few 8.ATF - Anti-U 9.ATF - A Plague In Our Land 10.ATF - The Hidden Hand
2008 - Dim Records 1.What We Bleed 2.Brand New Boots 3.On The Run 4.Glory 5.United 6.Pcl 7.We Are Vanguard 8.Patriotic Action 9.Working Man 10.Fencewalker 11.The Horrorshow 12.Culture War 13.Fuck The Blues 14.Fight To Win
"Unit Lost" started making music back in 1996. They hail from Eskilstuna, Sweden bringing a sound of pure hard rocking punk. Comprised of Jugge on bass and vocals, Kim on guitar, and Timpa on drums, the band has put out 4 albums, 1 split with Swedish band Battle Scarred, and has been featured on many compilations including Chaos in Sweden. They have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such bands as "Pitbull Farm", "The Jinx", and "Klasse Kriminale". Unit Lost has stated they stand with no political side of the Skinhead scene saying "Narrowminded, politicaly correct, fashion punks and other posers dont need to bother. Were talking about 10 years of bad behaviour. No gain, No regrets!!!" Line-up: Jugge - bass/vocals Kim - guitar Timpa - drums
Dèjá-Vu 2000 - 1999 1.City Kids 2.Middleland 3.Justice For Dogs 4.Someday 5.Citizen 6.Primitive Pride 7.Tequila Brave 8.Who The fuck Cares 9.Evil Times 10.Give Me Strength... 11.Troublemaker 12.Alex 13.Dèjá-Vu 2000
Headlines Or Work - 2001 1.Unit Lost 2.Forever Lost 3.Reason To Attack 4.Headlines Or Work 5.Third Class Factory 6.Living In Agony 7.Keep The Spirit 8.In The Name Of Freedom 9.Mythomaniac 10.Here I Go 11.Warriors 12.Gryningen Kommer
Dead Man Walking - 2002 1.Dead Man Walking 2.Rich Kids 3.The Death Is An Angel 4.Modern Nation 5.Our Way To Speak 6.Big Brother 7.Friday Evening
Mainstream Misfits - 2003 1.American Lives 2.You `re Gone 3.Only The Truth 4.We`re All Over 5.Streets Are Burning 6.You`ll Never Walk Alone 7.Charter In Hell 8.Men Of The World 9.Same Shit
Lost In Battle Split EP - 2005 1.Tonight! 2.Pigs On Parade
Here is an interview I did for the German Blog called Manslaughter. Andy conducted this about a month and a half ago and sense things are slowing down for my blog I asked him I could put it up here. So here it is, check it out.
Here's the next shot aimed at you!!! Next interview is ready to be posted here for your enjoyment and information, and, of course, to give the interview partner the more than just justified support. Okay, that's something like the 'bottom line' with every interview I'm doing, but with this one here, yeahr, what shall I say, I'm really excited about it!!! I've done it with RYAN of CRUCIAL CHANGE and the "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" blog, so you see, he's also a 'blog-runner' like me, might call him a 'partner in crime', haha;-), and I'm proud and happy to give him at least some little support, 'cause he's doing afuckin' great job with his blog. And you know what, also "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" was one of the reasons why I decided to run a blog by myself after I've realized that I currently just can't get a new issue of my former "MANSLAUGHTER FANZINE BAD HARZBURG" done. I liked Ryan's blog right from the start, great work, and I thought that something like this would be a great way to keep up the work I've done with my fanzine, just in another form. So you see why this interview is also something a little bit special to me!!! But Iwon't tell ya more about the blog, 'cause that's exactly what Ryan can much, much better and what he will do with the following words, so just enjoy it, if you ask me, a very good interview and a big "THANX A LOT!" for it shall be shouted out loud to Ryan, check his work and band out, great and passionate work!!! He's also given us a big bunch of damn good and very 'deep' answers and 'inside-views', really a fuckin' good job he'd done here, making it a great interview to read!!! So, and now just enjoy it!!! Cheers & Oi!
*** "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" ***
01.) Hey Ryan, first of all a big THANX for doing this interview. How are you doing these days?!?
Thanks dude! Things are going really well! I've been working a lot lately, not on the blog but for actual money, I work in landscape. My wife and I are trying to save money to buy a house sometime in the next year or so. The blog is going great! I've been getting a lot of good feed-back.
02.) Just to get better known to you at this starting point of the interview: Introduce yourself to the readers and me, so that we know with whom we are dealing here and that you are not a what-so-ever 'shady' person, haha;-).
Well, my name is Ryan; I run the blog "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" and play bass in the American Oi! band CRUCIAL CHANGE. Like I aready said, I have a wife, her name is Whitney. I have a one year old dog; he's a 'Pugle' (a Pug and Beagle mix). I'm a fan of all sorts of muic but my favorite is the genre we all know as Oi!
03.) Okay, the reason for this interview is the blog you're running, the great "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" blog. First of all, to start it all really off with, tell us what was your motivation to start it, and when did you start it? So, yeahr, where, when, why, and who?
I think all people have a thought of how they can contribute to their scene, wether it's making music, starting a zine, making T-Shirts, I just went with the easiest idea... a blog. Haha! But for real, Tyler (singer of CRUCIAL CHANGE) and I have been talking about do something like it for at least a year before it actually came to be. I had some time off work and got really bored, so I thought, what better time then now. My vision was to have a huge data-base for all Oi! and Skinhead bands, no matter what side of the fence they were on, or time period. I always wanted to find a site that I could check out bios on SKREWDRIVER and THE ANGELIC UPSTARTS. So I think it was November of last year (2009) when "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" came to life, and the rest is history. I still have a long way to go before it's a huge data-base for the scene, but I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. (I hope so, sounds great, keep it going on! - Manslaughter Andy)
04.) Are you running the blog all alone, or are there some guys more that are helping you in one form or another with your blog?
Tyler (singer of CRUCIAL CHANGE) contributes to it as well, but for the most part it's me. Tyler has done probably some of the best things on it, like the EVIL SKINS bio, the STÖRKRAFT bio, and the COMBAT 84 bio. Those are pretty much his favorite bands so I didn't want to miss anything that he would call me out on. He's an amazing writer though, and not to sound like too much of a jerk off, but probably one of the smartest , well spoken people I've met.
05.) You are also playing in the awesome American Oi! band CRUCIAL CHANGE. I don't want to get into it too deep, 'cause this interview should be solely about yur "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" blog, and I want also to do an exclusive interview with CRUCIAL CHANGE, but one single question: Is there any 'linking chain' between CRUCIAL CHANGE and "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" and how far would you go with using your blog as a base for promotion of the band? Any scruples at one point, and if so: Why and which?
CRUCIAL CHANGE is, for the most part, "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY". Tyler and I are the soul members of CRUCIAL CHANGE and we are the only two people to touch "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY". I do have a section for our band, but I try to just keep it at announcements, like when we are going play and recording, you know stuff like that. I have also posted interviews we have done in the past with other zines or blogs, but I would never interview myself or Tyler, that just seems weird and stupid.
06.) You're featuring on your blog a good and well consumerate mixture out of old and/or 'historical' bands and young and/or 'brandnew' bands. Doing this you're covering a pretty wide distance of 'time and space', from the 1980's to the present day. And yeahr, that's a very good 'line of action'!!! What is more important to you to give to us the readers, knowledge for the young of the past or to help young and new and up and coming bands out to help them to promote themselves? Will you follow this 'line of action' also in the future?
Well, sense 'the huge Oi! data-base' isn't conquered (by a fuckin' long shot), I chose to do bands from the past that I feel got over looked or misunderstood. And the new bands are always something I think is really important. I've heard enough about THE BUSINESS, THE TEMPLARS, and THE 4 SKINS for a life time, but for some reasons that's all I hear other websites and people talk about. Not too many people seem to be caring where the scene is going, they just want to relive the past.
07.) Why do you choose to run a blog and not a 'classical' or 'traditional' webzines with a proper homepage or a printed fanzine? What would you say, what is today more important or would it not be better to not build artificial frontlines between 'digital medias' and 'analog medias' to support the bands and the music? What other blogs would you endorse, and what fanzines of today (if american or not is not important here...) are a must-read when it comes to your opinion?
As of right now I'm hope to turn "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" into something a whole lot bigger than what it is now. I hope to put out a fanzine this time next year, start making T-Shirts, and release albums. (Great! - Manslaughter Andy) The blog is just a stepping stone! As for the 'digital media' question, I have to love and hate both. I love owning actual records and CD's of my favorite bands, but with how young I am, I probably wouldn't have ever had the chance to listen to the bands that I can call my favorites if it wasn't for the internet and downloading. It is what it is! Some fanzines everyone should check out are "SUBCULTURE SPIRIT" my friend my friend Jeff from Canada does with his girlfriend Jenny Woo (She does also amazing acoustic Oi! music, check her out! - Manslaughter Andy), and of course "BREW & HONOUR", Erik Scott is a fucking psycho!
08.) Now coming more intense to the content of your blog: What are the categories that must be imbuesed by bands to get featured on "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY"?
Your band will usually just have to fit in to the Skinhead scene. That's about all. You'll probably have a better chance of getting on the blog if I like your music as well.
09.) You are featuring a lot of different bands, coming from differet parts of the world, first and foremost especially Europe and the States, and that's always a good thing, at least if you ask me. By reading your blog you can get the impression that Oi! and R.A.C. from the central to th southern european states of France, Spain, and Italy is playing a huge important role when it comes to music and your musical socialization, what I think is prety interesting. Can you tell us why, I mean, what is fasinating you so much when it comes to this style of Oi! and R.A.C. music? Yes, I do tend to cover bands that most people wouldn't think a 25 year old from the States would be into. I'm not sure why that is? I think it's because I give bands a chance even though they don't speak my language. I think a lot of American Skinheads have a problem with listening to lyrics that are not in English. Bands like BÖHSE ONKELZ, KOMINTERN SECT., GOL NORD, YOUNGGANG, and ENDSTUFE should all be at the top of any Skinheads list of bands. But since they don't speak English, they don't get shit for respect in America.
10.) Also some swedish bands are featured on your blog. And yeahr, I think a lot of folks will run amok infront of their computer screens when they read MIDGARDS SÖNER and THE HEADHUNTERS, haha;-). Before we get a little bit deeper into this whole discussion (or how-ever you may like to call it...), what are your thoughts on scandinavian Skinhead/Bootboy music and it's specific character it's bringing to the world of steeltoed musick (for example with Vikingrock and stuff like this)? Beside the two mentioned bands, what are your favorites of the past and the present, and what/which scandinavian bands can we expect to be featured in the future on your blog?
I'm a huge fan of Vikingrock. I love MIDGARDS SÖNER, THE HEADHUNTERS, and ULTIMA THULE, I even like Vikingmetal like AMON AMARTH, and ENSIFERUM. Something about this high notes they do, just get me going, makes me feel like I can take on the world. I think Sweden has a lot of good Oi! bands, though, like STEELCAPPED STRENGTH, UNIT LOST, FORBIDDEN RAGE, PLUTON SVEA, all good bands.
11.) With DONARS GROLL and STÖRKRAFT there are also two german bands featured on your blog. And why you choose STÖRKRAFT? (Okay, I know, why not, haha;-)!?!...) Very controversial (or even more like this) here in Germany in the past, and I think also today for a lot of people a strict 'No Go!' at all. I think a lot of people should finally get aware of it that the band changed a lot in the time of their existence, and that right wing views are not equal with being a Nazi or what the hell ever else. What's your opinion to it, and did you know about the discussion that's going 'round this band, and is this well known in the American Oi! and/or U.S. Skinhead world of today?
I think DONARS GROLL just flat out rocks. STÖRKRAFT has to be probably one of the best bands of all time though. I really think they got a bad rap from back in the day. Yes, I know they were right wing and Nazis and shit. But they took that all back even before they went on trial for your guys stupid speech laws. (Yeahr, and they dare to still call it a democracy what we have over here in Germany!!! - Manslaughter Andy) I don't know too many Skins in America who know about the controversy that surrounds STÖRKRAFT, I actually doubt too many even know wo STÖRKRAFT is. I really don't care about what people think about me for putting them up on the blog. (And that for some good reasons!!! - Manslaughter Andy) Like it or not, they were a huge part of the Skinhead scene.
12.) What I was wondering about the first I read your blog was the fact, that you feature not that many bands from Britain at all. How does it come? I ask, because it's maybe not exactly this what you may expect from an Skinhead blog that's called "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY", if you know what I mean?!? By the way, especially over here in Germany the whole old british bands like for example THE 4 SKINS and INDECENT EXPOSURE do get a huge load of support today after their reunions. It's maybe (still) justified, but somehow I can't kill the thought that this is all more bullshit than anything else, 'cause all the energy, the time, the passion, the work, and the money that gets invested in them should better be invested in young promising bands. But okay, that's just my opinion, haha;-). What do you think about this subject?
The name "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" actually comes from a CRUCIAL CHANGE song that has yet to be recorded. The song has nothing to do with the scene; I just thought it sounded like a cool name for a music blog. The big reason for not too many British bands though is I think it's all been done before. Me writing about THE BUSINESS, THE 4 SKINS, or THE COCKNEY REJECTS would be a waste of people's time. I would rather write about bands only a few Skins from the States know about. That way I have something new to offer. Not to mention I think British Oi! is a little bit played out. Germany, and France had the best bands.
13.) Also some bands from South America made it on your blog. In the very last time I got the impression that especially Brazil has (still) a very strong going Oi! scene to offer these days. What do you think of this? Will there be coming more southern american bands on your blog? I hope so, 'cause a lot of this acts are still very 'exotic' over here, or at least to me, haha;-). Ah, yeahr, and how is the connection between the scenes of the U.S.A. and the scenes of South America in general? I ask because it's one continent, so is there somehing like a 'good link' between the different scenes? South America seems to have a pretty good scene. Chile has some very dedicated Skinheads, as well as Brazil. BRASSIC just got back from Brazil which they told me was a great experience. They played some shows with BANDEIRA DE COMBATE, who is an amazing band from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I really like the Brazilian bands THE SKULLS and FIST OF STEEL as well.
14.) A question that goes in a very similar direction: How do we have to imagine the connection between the Oi! movements in the U.S.A. and it's 'counterpart' up there in Canada? Something like the clichè rivalry that shall exist between the U.S.A. and Canada, something that is often somehow puported over here, or good friendly (maybe violent;-)...) fun? And what are your thoughts on the Skinhead, Bootboy, Oi! culture of Canada? I think they got a lot of great bands in the past like for example GASSENHAUER, THE GLORY STOMPERS, SUBWAY THUGS, THE NEW BREED, THE RABBLEROUSERS, and THE PROWLERS., and they still do have very good bands up there, just to name ALTERNATE ACTION, NO ALLIANCE, COUP DE MASSE, and BOOTPRINT. What's your opinion 'bout it? And: Any secret hints? I been to Canada twice to play shows, and let me tell ya, their scene is great. They do their best to sing along even though they don't know the lyrics, and they show respect to everyone that gives respect. None of the gang and the higher Archie shit that has plagued the American scene. I'm a huge fan of COUP DE MASSE, and ALTERNATE ACTION. My BOOTPRINT records are coming in the mail as we speak and I can't wait to play the shit out of those albums. I also liked the band N.F.G. who is not around anymore.
15.) You've written to me that you also like the great THE ANTI-HEROS very much, and there are also some American Oi! bands featured on your blog. I think that there will be also coming more, right? Something in this direction already planned? What are your favorite bands when it comes to the old American Oi! bands from the 1980's and the 1990's, and what bands are just a must-know when it comes to the current breed of American Oi! music? Of course, beide CRUCIAL CHANGE!
America has always had great bands. My favorites are of course THE ANTI-HEROS, and STARS & STRIPES, but I think two of the most unaccredited bands in the American scene are THE KICKER BOYS, and MOONSTOMP. Both bands from Atlanta, both bands rock harder than most the bullshit you hear today. (That's right, and to you, the readers, if you don't know the bands then just check them out. Great bands! There's a compilation of them floating around that contains MONNSTOMPs "THEY NEVER SEE" record and the self-titled record of the THE KICKER BOYS on one disc, released by "Step One Music" going under the 'nick-name' of "28 American Oi! Anthems", so try everything gto get this one. Try it now! - Manslaughter Andy) I'm not a uge fan of American Oi! at the moment. I like the bands BRASSIC, SUCKERED IN, BLEACH BATTALION, and THE AMERISKINS. I think the band FIGHTING 84 has great potential but for now they need to work on their sound. Other than that I would like to take CRUCIAL CHANGE to the top of everyone's list of favorite American Oi! bands.
16.) Now coming to some serious topics, haha;-): Like I've already said above, you're featuring Oi! as well as R.A.C. bands from across the world. At least here in Germany a lot of jackasses would start bashing on you with 'Nazi!' mace and the 'Fascist!' mallet, just because you also introduce some R.A.C. bands. Is the situation in the U.S.A. someway different? And what do you think about it?
My opinion on R.A.C. is this: If you like it, cool! If you don't like it, cool! I don't go out and try to find the most racist or fascist thing I can wrap my head around, I try to find music that I think rocks. I like DIVISION 250 because they rock, I love SKULLHEAD because they rock, I hate NO REMORSE because I think they suck, musically and politically. Americans are weird when it comes to R.A.C. They only listen to early SKREWDRIVER, and BRUTAL ATTACK. If you like anything else it better be Japanese R.A.C. because they are not white. It's really stupid!
17.) Some problems guys do often have with R.A.C. are because of the racist and anti-Semitic stance that especially today a lot of the bands out of this genre do have, this whole White Power NS faggot crap. I have to admit that I can't stand this crap by myself, but at the same time I also have to admit that R.A.C. is not equaling R.A.C., 'cause like nearly everywhere in life also with R.A.C. there are two sides of the story, and a lot of the bands do differ very much from each other, no matter if it's because of the music or because of the lyrics, and this whole White Power NS crap isn't R.A.C. at all. So maybe a lot of guys should better get a real life and start to take care of some real problems of their own out there and stop the defaming hustle. Especially here in Germany it's these days very hard to stand this whole bullshit and anonymous cheap talk via the internet. And also CONDEMNED 84 are called NS, and THE TEMPLARS are defamed as hidden racists and fascists, OXBLOOD are defamed as Nazi Rock, and much more ridiculous stupid shit lik this. Yes, it's truly unbelievable! What's your standpoint when it comes to R.A.C. and the above mentioned problems? Ah, ha, and with this 'insight view' of the two-fisted investigation of the german AFA scene and their investigation results, do you really wanna tell me that it's the same way in the States, haha;-)!?! But, by the way, kick down this PC faggots wherever you meet and can get them!!!
Well, I have my own politics, as I'm sure you have yours, and so on, and so on. I happen to be anti-racist, but I don't need a song to tell you how you think!!! I listen to bands like SKREWDRIVER, and DIVISION 250, because I like their music. When people go out of their way, they are only hurting themselves. They are tearing the scene apart and telling us to unite at the same time. I could give a fuck less about the scene, I'm a Skinhead for myself! (That's some good and true words! - Manslaughter Andy) I don't care who's racist and who's not. Just because I'm a Skinhead doesn't mean I'm friends with everyone else who's a Skinhead. (Damn right! - Manslaughter Andy) But for fuck sake, THE TEMPLARS!!! Phil's black!!! If someone is going to accuse Phil of being racist they are not only stupid but also blind!!! I personally find THE TEMPLARS to be a bad band, that I haven't willingly listened to sense I was 21, but to call them hidden racists is just beyond me.
18.) Beside this, what are your thoughts on SHARP and RASH? I think it's a pity and really sad that SHARP was first occupied by some stupid long haired Hippies wearing SHARP buttons and patches but having nothing to do with it, and also that nowadays SHARP is often taken away it's pure anti-racist stance by turning it into some toy for the AFA and other worthless jackasses like this. I think it's really sad and taking away the 'true' or 'original' or 'real' meaning behind it, if you ask me. And RASH... pretty much the same crap as on the other side the stupid White Power NS Bonehead lowlife scum!!! At least that's how I see it over here in Germany. How's the situation in the States today, and what's your standpoint to it? I think the whole SHARP and RASH thing is stupid! Why would you want to go out of your way to put a patch on tha says you're anti-racist so that normal people see you and say: "Oh, I guess not all Skinheads are racists!"? If you want to be a Skinhead you should already know what the common person thinks of you. And if you have a problem with what they think, then don't be one!
19.) Okay, beside this all, back to your blog: When will there be finally coming some Skinhead Hardcore featured on it?!? I'm waiting desperatly, haha;-)!!! I'm a big fan of all Hardcore. Old School, NYHC, Posi, and Straight Edge. You should have to wait long.
20.) Coming slowly to the end of this interview, but the last one or two questions are still waiting for ya, so here we go: The european scene is well known to you, so please tell us about your personal favorite bands from the 'old world', past and present, that you can't go on without?!?
I like too many bands to count. But I'll give you a couple from each country that I cannot live without. UK: SKULLHEAD, COMBAT 84, and VIOLENT STORM. Germany: ENDSTUFE, STÖRKRAFT, and BÖHSE ONKELZ. France: EVIL SKINS, KOMINTERN SECT., and BRUTAL COMBAT. Spain: DIVISION 250, and GLORY BOYS. Sweden: MIDGARDS SÖNER, and ULTIMA THULE. Italy: PLASTIC SURGERY. Belgium: KILL BABY, KILL. R.I.P. Dieter Samoy!!!
21.) Last or better final question of this interview: You are not offering downloads on your blog, why not, and what do you think of downloads in general and 'download blogs' in particular? Ah, and please tell us some of your near future plans with your blog! Would be great! I don't put up downloads for two reasons. 1st is I don't know how, I'm not very good with computers, and 2nd is I don't really care to. I wanted more of an information blog. If you want to go download albums check out the "ROCK AND RIOT" blog. The next thing for "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" is T-Shirts. I hope to have them ready within three months. (Ryan, I need one! - Manslaughter Andy) I would also like to start releasing albums and comps in the next year. (That can really get great! - Manslaughter Andy)
22.) Yeahr, that's it, I'm through with all the questions on my writing pad, and I think it was already a pretty long interview for you to get worked through, haha;-)!!! So once again, THANX A LOT mate!!! Keep up the damn good work with your blog and stay true to the cause!!! The last words now remain to you!!! The best Greetings from Germany, keep in touch!!! Cheers & Oi!, Andy!!!
Thank you Andy for the interview, and thank you to all the people who read the blog!!! Stay tuned there is a lot gto come!!!
Yeahr guys, that's all, that was the interview with Ryan and "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY". Like I've already said, he'd done a great job with his answers, speaking the truth, so that it became a damn good and strong interview, THANKS Ryan and keep in touch!!! And you, the readers, now go and check out the "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" blog, one of the very best blogs on the web!!! And you can check the blog by clicking on the http://thespiritofyesterdayoi.blogspot.com/ link!!! Cheers & Oi!
The National Front, Margret Thatcher, and Skrewdriver, are all big conversation drivers from 1970’s British culture. Another is a band that formed in South Shields, named The Angelic Upstarts. Getting their start in 1977 The Angelic Upstarts were probably one of the most political bands for the time. Lead by vocalist Thomas Mensforth (Mensi),who grew up very poor, the band’s other members were Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass, and Derek "Decca" Wade on the drums. Making a point to call out issues such as racism, police brutality, and class, The Upstarts identified themselves as a band with leftist and socialist views. 1979 saw the debt single from the band entitles “Murder of Liddle Towers” which caught the eye of Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey, who would decide to take the band under his wing. The band's first two albums entitled “Teenage Warning” and “We Gotta Get out of This Place,” drew a clear line of disapproval, of the policies of Margret Thatcher and Police Brutality, while still keeping a working class edge and philosophy. Around this time The Upstart would become nothing short of mortal enemies with followers of The National Front political party, who miss understood the message of the band for support for their cause. While “The Upstarts” were labeled as a skinhead Oi! band they displayed above average songwriting and musical skills. In the years to come the band would experiment with styles such as reggae, folk, and new wave only to prove that they were not just another Oi! or punk band, but a band that could bridge gaps between genres and generations. In the mid 80’s the band would break-up, most likely do to low record sales. However the band has reunited many times sense. In 1992 they stayed together long enough to release the studio album “Bombed Out,” and the reuniting in the 2002 resulted with the album “Sons of Spartacus”. In August of 2006, Mensi announced he would be resigning from performing with “The Upstarts”, but that the band would carry on with Chris Write, from the Newcastle street punk band “Crashed Out”, replacing him on vocals. However that didn’t last long, in the later part of 2007 Menzi rejoined the live line-up. It’s been almost 35 years, sense The Angelic Upstarts have decide to pick up instrument and make music, and you can still see them play live today. No matter what your politic are, you have to admit The Upstarts did something too many bands try to do today, and that’s reaching out and moving people to think outside of the box.
Members: Thomas 'Mensi' Mensforth Dickie Hammond Neil Newton Gaz Stoker Decca Wade
Former Members: Chris Wright Mond Cowie Steve Forsten Sticks Warrington Glyn Warren Paul Thompson Ambrose Nzams Tony Feedback Brian Hayes Derwent Jaconelli Ronnie Rocker Max Splodge Tony van Frater Lainey
Teenage Warning - August 1979 1.Teenage Warning 2.Student Power 3.The Young Ones 4.Never Again 5.We Are The People 6.Liddle Towers 7.I'm An Upstart 8.Small Town Small Mind 9.Youth Leader 10.Do Anything 11.Let's Speed 12.Leave Me Alone
We Gotta Get Out of this Place - April 1980 1.Never 'Ad Nothing 2.Police Oppression 3.Lonely Man Of Spandau 4.Their Destiny Is Coming 5.Shotgun Solution 6.King Coal 7.Out Of Control 8.Ronnie Is A Rocker 9.Listen To The Steps 10.Can't Kill A Legend 11.Capital City 12.We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
2,000,000 Voices - June 1981 1.Two Million Voices 2.Ghost Town 3.You're Nicked 4.England 5.Heath's Lament 6.Guns For The Afghan Rebels 7.I Understand 8.Mensi's Marauders 9.Mr. Politician 10.Kids On The Streets 11.Jimmy 12.We're Gonna Take The World 13.Last Night Another Soldier 14.I Wish
Still from the Heart - 1982 1.Never Say Die 2.Flames Of Brixton 3.Action Man 4.Wasted (Love By None) 5.Here Comes Trouble 6.Theme For Lost Souls 7.I Stand Accused 8.Black Knights Of The 80's 9.Cry Wolf 10.Soldier
Reason Why - 1983 1.Woman In Disguise 2.Never Give Up 3.Waiting, Hating 4.Reason Why 5.Nobody Was Saved 6.Geordies Wife 7.Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner 8.42nd Street 9.The Burglar 10.Solidarity 11.As The Passion 12.A Young Punk 13.Where We Started
Last Tango in Moscow - 1984 1.One More Day 2.Machine Gun Kelly 3.Progress 4.Blackleg Miner 5.Who's Got The Money 6.Last Tango In Moscow 7.I Think It Should Be Free 8.Never Return 9.Rude Boy 10.No News 11.Jarrow Woman 12.Nowhere To Run
Power of the Press - 1986 1.I Stand Accused 2.Nottingham Slag 3.Joe Where Are You Now? 4.Soldier 5.Empty Street 6.Power Of The Press 7.Stab In The Back 8.Here I Come 9.Thin Red Line 10.I'd Kill Her For Sixpence 11.Greenfields Of France
Brighton Bomb - 1987 1.I Stand Accused 2.Nottingham Slug 3.Joe Where Are You Now? 4.Soldier 5.Empty Street 6.Brighton Bomb 7.Power Of The Press 8.Stab In The Back 9.Here I Come 10.Thin Red Line 11.I'd Kill Her For Sixpence 12.Greenfields Of France
Blood on the Terraces - 1987 1.Pride of Our Passion 2.Everyday 3.I Wanna Knighthood 4.Heart Attack in Paris 5.Four Grey Walls 6.I Don't Wanna Fight the Soviet 7.Our Day Will Come 8.Blood on the Terraces 9.Heroin Is Good for You 10.It's Your Life 11.Ruby 12.Never 'Ad Nothing - (live) 13.Leave Me Alone - (live) 14.Teenage Warning - (live) 15.Last Night Another Soldier - (live) 16.Guns for the Afghan Rebels - (live) 17.One More Day - (live) 18.Two Million Voices - (live)
Bombed Out - 1992 1.Red Till Dead 2.Albert's Gotta Gun 3.Victim of Deceit 4.Open Your Eyes 5.Still Fighting 6.The Writing on the Wall 7.A Real Rain 8.Let's Build a Bomb 9.Proud and Loud 10.Stone Faced Killer
Sons Of Spartacus - 2002 1.Safe Heaven 2.Lonely Man Of Spandau II 3.Supergrass 4.Chuck Taylor (Ace Of Hearts) 5.Caught In The Crossfire 6.Action Man 7.Don't Get Old (In Tony's Britain) 8.South Shields Born 'N' Bred 9.Tally Ho Ginger 10.Maxwell Dynasty 11.Stop The City 12.The Great Divide 13.Bandiera Rossa 14.Stand Up 15.Anti-Nazi
Bootprint is a new Oi! band from Monrteal, CA. With two releases on Dim Record, already under their belt, they are set to take the Oi! scene by storm.I recently had the chance to ask front-man Laurentsome questions about the band. 1. First things first, what's your name, age, and what is your role in Bootprint? Hi bro, my name is Laurent, i'm 40 and i'm singer and guitar player.
2. When and why was the band started? It all started in autumn 2008, i was in a hardcore band since 1988 and played guitar in No Alliance (Montreal Oi! band) but i wanted to play my own music with my own lyrics, my own style. The project was called Necessary Evil, a one man project. I talked with my friend Johnny (also in No Alliance) and we decided to start a real band with no political boundaries, no politically correctness. 3. What do you guys do for a living? I have a weird job, I repair wheelchairs for 10 years.
4. You have had 2 releases through Dim Records. How has it been working with Uhl, from Dim, to release your albums? It was very easy to work with Uhl, this guy is very reliable and very nice. We sent recordings to a lot of places and he answered to us very fast and ready to work with us. 5. A lot of your songs have to do with unity, friendship, and the pride of being from Montreal, CA. What other values do you hold true? Left-wing, right-wing, vegetarian, activist? Some would say we're a right wing band cause we're nationalists, patriots, for capitol punishment, anti-hippies, and a lot more. I'm ok with them but i'm also for animals rights and all that touches protection of nature.
6. Canada has a lot more laxed laws on marijuana than the U.S. What’s your opinion on the drug, do you think it should be legal? I have no real opinion about marijuana, i don't smoke this shit. I'm not even a big drinker, i'm a social drinker. Legal or not, i really don't care. But i'm against hard drug like cocaine or scrap like that. There's no place in the skinhead scene for drugs. We're not punks or hippies, we don't need artificial shit. 7. You are also in the band Coup de Masse. What band do you enjoy playing in more? And how do the two bands differ in style and subject matter? It's hard to say cause Coup De Masse and Bootprint are very different. I like to play in CDM cause it's a french canadian band proud of it's french heritage and it's language. CDM is very melodic and it's very cool to play bass for them. Bootprint is my project, I'm the main composer so it's more personnal. I enjoy both bands cause in both bands i have great friends. Always cool to be with them.
8. How do you think the Skinhead scene in Montreal is? Do you think other countries have a better scene than Canada? Quebec scene is very small, in Montreal there's not a lot of skinhead bands. It's hard to organise concerts cause it's always the same bands. It's easy to answer to your question, oh yeah the other countries have a better scene than Canada, not enough canadian bands. Just to see in Europe with big concerts all the time. With big bands. 9. You recently came out with some songs in you native language of French. Why change from English to French? How many other people in Montreal speak both languages? I would say that almost evrybody in Quebec speak both english and french. I like a lot to sing in english but it's more natural for me to write in french and a lot easier...lol
10. I would have to say my favorite French speaking bands are: Evil Skins, Komintern Sect, and Brutal Combat. What are your favorites? Evilskins, Brutal Combat and Komintern Sect for sure. I'm a big fan of Haïs Et Fiers, great band. Lemovice and Haircut are also great bands. The early years of La Souris Déglinguée was great. The two firsts albums from Les Garçons Bouchers. Two of my bests albums of all time is "Paris Brûle" from Cortège and the Collabos album, highly recommended albums. Tolbiac's Toads, The Herberts, L'Infanterie Sauvage, Skinkorps, Snix, Camera Silens, Reich Orgasm. I also like old french punk bands as Métal Urbain, Parabellum.
11. What are your top 10 favorite bands? Condemned 84, Guttersnipe Army, Battlezone, Public Enemy (England's Glory era), Combat 84, Last Resort, The Violators, Blitz, Indecent Exposure, Skrewdriver. Too hard to say, there's too much bands i like. 12. Are there any bands you think didn’t get enough credit while they were around? The Glory, fuckin' great band. In Montreal, Gassenhauer, one of the first canadian skinhead bands, great songs, very good musicians. Dead too soon. And The Magnificent, very melodic, pure Oi music, "Hit & Run" is a masterpiece. The Partisans, still around but maybe the greatest punk band of all time and another one, The Violators, great songs with big sound, they turned New Wave, but their Oi era was great.
13. What are some new and current bands that you like? Retaliator, Emergency, Bakers Dozen, TMF, Razorblade, Haïs Et Fiers, Perkele, Alternate Action, Razors Edge, Légitime Violence.
14. I always think of the Poutine when I hear of Canada? Is it very popular in Montreal? What’s your favorite food? Yeah it's popular but it's fast food and not very good for the health, lol. My favorite food is italian food. 15. Hockey is another thing that comes to mind. Are you big Hockey fans or do you enjoys other sports? I'm not a hockey fan, i'm a boxing fan.
16. What is next for Bootprint? New album, upcoming shows, traveling? New songs are coming and shows. New album for sure. We were supposed to go in Europe this year but maybe next year.
17. Any last word, thanks, or shout outs? Take care, keep it real and remain proud and patriotic. Cheers to Steve and Ben and big thanks to Alex & Julia in Germany.
You can learn more and follow Bootprint at: http://www.myspace.com/bootprintnfsh