Posted June 13, 2003

PUNK ROCK RENAISSANCE DRAWS TO A CLOSE:
THE NEW BOMB TURKS


By Roberto Calabrò

After 10 years of high octane rock'n' roll the greatest '90s punk-rock band are saying Thank You and Goodbye. Before disappearing the New Bomb Turks have decided to release another great album and kick our asses on stage for the last time. They collected 10 groundbreaking, fast songs on "The Night Before The Day The Earth Stood Still" (Gearhead Records), on the back of which they toured Europe and USA in early 2003. I met the band, after an Italian show, in the funny and chaotic atmosphere of their backstage…


Q This is your farewell tour. Why did you decide to leave after ten years of great "fast rock 'n' roll"?

Eric Davidson: Well, there are a lot of things going on in our personal lives: Jim, our guitar player, is coming back to school as a teacher, our drummer has a baby and plays in another band, our bass player Matt and I may go back to school. It's a busy time for everybody.

We wanted to stop playing when we were still a good band. We didn't want to keep playing until we hated it. Everybody in the band likes the new record, so we wanted to go on tour. We may still do few shows in the United States here and there, but no more long tours.

Q Your latest album has been released by Gearhead. Why did you break your relationship with Epitaph?

We had a three record deal with Epitaph and it was all done. We made three records for them, but we’re not that kind of band that sells hundreds of thousand of records. Being on Epitaph was fine, but in the end they didn’t promote us at all. So we said, "If we do one more record we’ll do it with someone who really likes the band and wants to put up the record".

Gearhead is cool. It’s just two people, but they do a good job, trying to get a good press. Maybe the distribution is not as good as Epitaph, but they’re good people and that’s fine.

Q How is this farewell tour going and what about the fans' answer so far?

Sam Brown: It’s good. I mean, it’s not much different from the last time we’ve been in Europe. Good crowds, good food, it’s nice. For me it’s strange thinking that’s our farewell tour: we’ve been on the road for three months, driving every day, getting drunk every night, the normal way, even if it's the last time we tour together.

Q Let’s talk about the new album. In "The Night Before The Day…" you've mixed the punk fury of your beginning with the depth of sound of your latest recordings. What's your opinion about it? Are you satisfied with the final result?

Jim Weber: Yes, we're very happy with it. It took a long time to get together since we were busy with other things. We recorded it at home (Columbus, Ohio) a little bit, time to time and we are very happy for the way it turned out, very excited about it.

Q Which are the best songs for you?


My fave ones are "Pretty Lightning", "Leaving Town" and "Rat Feelings": they've got a good groove. They came out in studio very quickly and I’m very happy about that.


Roberto grills guitarist Jim Webber.

Q And what about the lyrics of this album?

The majority of songs are about Eric's relationships with women that go horribly wrong…

Q Titles such as "Statue Of Liberty" or "The Night Before…" seems to be related to the 9/11 tragedy. Aren't they?

No, not at all. They have nothing to do with that tragic event. All the lyrics are very personal. The title-song in particular refers to the night when Eric's fans went crazy, came out with a knife and tried to stab him. So we had to move out of his house the next day very quick to keep safe.

Q New Bomb Turks have released six album in 10 years. What's your favourite one and what do you remember about the first and important "Destroy-Oh-Boy" ?


My fave one is "Nightmare Scenario", it's the best. Then for me they come in this order: "Destroy-Oh-Boy", this new one, "At Rope’s End", "Information Highway Revisited" and after that "Scared Straight".

"Nightmare Scenario" was cool because it was like a return to our old sound, a kind of super-energy in your face, and the songs are good. I still like "Destroy-Oh-Boy". We were so young when we made it and we had a lot of things to learn. It represents what we were at that time, we played so fast and there were a lot of kids who came to see us when we were in the studio. I mean, it was a learning experience, but it was cool.

Q You've always had an uncompromising attitude, you toured a lot, recorded lot of albums and singles, but you never achieved mass success. Are you satisfied with your career or do you think you could have changed something at a certain point?

Yeah, we're absolutely satisfied and happy about our career. We never thought to become famous or rich with the New Bomb Turks. We've always played the music we liked to play, we never sold out, we always made the records that we wanted to make, we toured a lot, so people respect us now.

Q At the beginning of the '90s you started a kind of punk-rock renaissance. Which are the bands you felt closer to you at that time and what you think about this "new"rock’n’roll explosion. Don't you think is only hype?

It’s mostly hype. What that's considered rock 'n' roll now is more about fashion, clothes, the way you look on stage, than music. English press has always been that way, you know. If you read the reviews on NME.com, they talk about the way you wear on stage more than about your music. It's a trend, it’s fashion, even if there are good bands such as The Hives.

When we started playing there were many bands that I feel as important as we for rock'n' roll: the Didjits, Supersuckers, the Dwarves, Nine Pound Hammer and, obviously, the Devil Dogs.

Q In the end, how would you like to be recalled by your fans?


As a band that never sold out, a great live band, high energy, good songs, great attitude on stage. We loved our music and we did our best!

Live pic from the New Bomb Turks website.


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