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Lower Class Brats is a band from Austin, Texas (USA) that has been active since the beginning of 1995. Although they sound like great street punk band flavoured with sing alongs and passionate strong vocals with catchy hooks, the Brats calls theirs sounds like “Rock ‘n roll street noize”, just like the name of one of their EP`s.
The current line up is: Bones (Vocals), Marty Volume (Guitar), Ron Conflict (Bass), Punt (drums)
__ We would like to start asking: Do you guys continue to be safety pinned and sick?
Yes. Although it's been over twenty years since we wrote that song. We still play it live at every gig. Some of us might need "Safety Depends" soon! Ha!
__ What came first: The love for punk rock or for Clockwork Orange?
For me, they came about the same time. I first saw the film in 1981 while staying over at a friend's house on cable television (HBO). That same friend had an older brother (we were eleven and he was sixteen) who was into punk rock. We used to listen to all of his records whenever we could. The first punk record I ever heard was at his house, Black Flag "Jealous Again". Five songs in 6.5 minutes. That was about the average length of a hit song on the radio back then. Completely bizarre art on the cover. Everything was so confusing and intriguing. My life changed forever that year...
__ What got you into the idea of being in a band back on the beggining?
I fell in love with rock n roll at a very young age. In 1975/'76 I discovered KISS. I was six years old. My dad was a musician, so it was in my blood. In 1979, my dream came true and my mom took me to my very first KISS concert. It was all over from then on out. I had to be on stage. I thought to myself, "I could do that!"
__ How did you choose the name? Is the "Brats" somehow connected with the russian word "Brat" for brother?
No, it's not. The name actually came from the liner notes of the original cassette version of The Germs "Germicide" on Roir. It described the band and their fans as "lower class brats." I have always been a huge Germs fan.
__When you discovered the Adicts you had something like a feeling of "Fuck! That's exactly what I had on my mind" ?
No. Not really. They are a really great band and good friends of ours. But The Adicts are The Adicts. There is only one. We never set out to copy anyone. We took what we liked from people, things and music that influenced us and incorporated it into our own. The Clockwork Orange imagery aside, why people compare us to The Adicts is beyond me. We look nothing like them, we sound nothing like them, we dress nothing like them. But they do have good style...
__The Lower Class Brats have something different in their sound. I saw you guys saying in some interviews that you like different kinds of music like hard rock or even rap. Is that correct? How does this effect the band's sound?
Yes! Definitely! Our collective musical tastes would make your head spin! Like I said, we take from a lot of different influences to get our sound. Heavy 70's rock, glam, punk and bits of metal all go into our music. You'll notice that the older you get, the more your musical horizon opens up. I don't really hate any kind of music anymore. There are things that I definitely don't like listening to or records I would never buy. But you have to give it all a chance first before throwing it in the trash. And you never know, you might just find some gold.
__ More than 30 years past since you firstly read A Clockwork Orange book and saw the movie. What was the first thing that impressed you about this piece of art that time? Do you find something new for yourself that inspires you after rewatching the movie or thumbing through the pages of the book over again?
I didn't end up reading the book until I was in my first year of high school in 1983/'84. A few years after I saw the film. Reading the book after seeing the movie really blew me away! Just the flow of the writing, Anthony Burgess was an incredible author. He really painted an awesome picture in your head while you read it. Also, to help you understand, you would have the Nadsat dictionary in the back of those early editions of the American book, but they all were published without the 21st chapter. The American edition ended where the movie ended. It wasn't until 1987 that Rolling Stone Magazine first published the 21st chapter that anyone in the States was able to read the real ending. It made everything make more sense. It's the story of youth anger, music, depression and freedom of choice. Be right mined or wrong minded. No mater what, think for yourself. I think we all see a little part of us in the anti-hero...
__ The band has more than 20 years now and, as many other members had left, Bones and Marty kept together holding the LCB Army. How is to work with someone for such a long time? Do you think your friendship is what keeps the band going?
I'm not going to lie and say that it's been easy. It's been a long, hard road, but it's been a lot of fun and continues to be a lot of fun! And, yes, me and Marty's friendship is the common thread that has held the band together. After the fist members left the band in 2001, Marty and I made a pact. If one of us (Marty or myself) leaves the band for ANY reason, Lower Class Brats is over. He will not go on without me and I won't continue LCB without him.
__ How do you see the street punk/punk rock scene in America nowadays? Is it much smaller than before?
No way. It's different now days as compared to 20 years ago. But scenes fluctuate all the time. I have been around the world and Los Angeles has the biggest punk scene. Hands down.
__ When and how was your first contact with Oi! and skinheads? I know you guys are appreciated by Punks, Skins, Rock n rollers, droogs and so on...
My first introduction to skinheads was very early on when I first got into punk. About half of my friends were skinheads growing up, so I saw no difference between them and the punks. I still don't. Growing up in the 80's listening to Circle Jerks, 4Skins, Dead Kennedys or The Business, it was all the same to me. Still is. In fact, we will be headlining the Midwest Live & Loud 2016 this coming Saturday night. The attendance will probably be mostly skinheads. That's fine with me.
__ The Lower Class Brats had released many albums in this 20 years, can you pick a favorite one? And which one you had the most fun recording?
That's like asking a parent to pick his favorite child! That's not fair. Only if you promise not to tell the rest of our records. The most fun I ever had recording has to be when we recorded our first demo tape (which eventually became the "Who Writes Your Rules... EP"). Everything was so new and exciting. My favorite release is harder. I would have to say our second album, "The Plot Sickens". Only because the band was really starting to come together and getting it's/our own sound.
__ How do you guys plan tours? Do you book it by yourself? How is the process of picking the next country?
For the past 15 years we have gone through Crawlspace Booking here in the States. Booking agency's in other countries vary. But anyone looking to book us anywhere in the world must first contact Crawlspace Booking.
__ Did you ever got in a really terrible situation while touring? I mean, problems with the transport, food, money...
How much time do you have? Any band that has been touring for as long as we have, have their fair share of really depressing road stories. I'll give you one. At the end of our first tour of Europe, we were playing a show in Holland with Chaos U.K. After the gig, we decide to have our driver drop us off at the nearest coffee shop as he went to go park the van and check into the hotel. We ended up back at the hotel late and when we woke up in the morning, all of our equipment was stolen out of the van. The only thing left was our merch. Our driver said that he couldn't fit our van into the secured hotel parking and left it on the street. Having two gigs left and no equipment, we decided to cancel the shows and head home. When we got to the airport in Germany, we found that we only had a collective amount of money for three plane tickets. Marty was almost left behind until we could send him money the next day after the next day from the States. This being before 9/11 and also by having a really nice flight attendant who was checking us in and saw our dilemma and rushed Marty on our plane at the last minute without a ticket very secret style. It was a really bad experience, but it also shows you how kind some people are and want to help.
__ You guys played in different parts of the world and even came down to Latin America playing in Mexico. How was to play there and how was the latino punk scene? Did you feel any difference from the USA?
To tell you the truth, we only played border towns in Mexico. We played Mexicali and Tijuana. So it wasn't like really playing down deep in Mexico.
__ The members have jobs out of the band? Does that disturb the band routine?
Yes. We all work day jobs. No, not really. We tend to plan things around our work schedules.
__ The last release by LCB was "Rock n' Roll Street Noize" that made the fans very happy. Knowing that the band is keeping the quality high after its 20 years anniversary, everybody is excited to know when we will listen to new stuff. Do you have any news for us?
Yes. We have just finished recording 16 new songs for a new album. 12 of them will make it on the LP. It is being mixed down right now and we still have to add piano. We will have a new 7" EP coming out before the LP is released titled "All The Young Dudes Are Pissed" with the B-side "We Never Sleep". The 7" is almost completed and ready to go to press. We have also just released "Primary Reinforcement Plus" which is the very first six 7"s (1995-1999) on one LP. That is a split release between Loud Punk Records and our very own label, Orphan Records Group.
__ Are there any friendbands with whom you often share the stage on different punk shows? Which band was special to share the stage with as a fan for you? And which band that you didnt know before impressed you live?
The one band that we have shared the stage with more than any other has to be The Casualties. The second band would be the Krum Bums. We are lucky and have got to share the stage and tour with a lot of our musical heroes Cock Sparrer, Circle Jerks, The Adicts, Subhumans, Anti-Nowhere League, Agnostic Front, The Business, Negative Approach, Rancid, Vice Squad, Anit-Heros, UK Subs... The list goes on. We have been very fortunate.
__ How is the process of song writting? Everybody in the band brings new songs to try?
It usually works like this: Marty brings in the riffs, Ron and Punt work around it to come up with a structure and the lyrics come last. Although this is not alway the case 100% of the time, but usually.
__ Thank you so much for the interview! Send a message for the punk droogs and for every kid in the world who wants to start a punk rock band.
We hope to come visit soon! If you are just starting a band, stick to your guns. Don't try and play music that you think other people want to hear unless that's the type of music you really want to play. Think for yourself and not other people (don't preach). "If you build it, they will come." Hahaha! Thanks again for the interview!!
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