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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interview With Robb from Black Seal.

Today for the first interview on this blog I am honored to interview someone I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with on a few occasions. He was the drummer for a great punk band called the Dirty Boxes and is currently in Black Seal. So without further ado here is the words of Robb Erwin drummer extraordinaire.

Robb, first thank you for taking the time to do this interview, let's start with how and when did you get involved with punk rock?

I grew up in a small town in Ohio, so I went through most of high school largely unaware that punk rock even existed. There wasn't a local scene or any direct way to be exposed to that type of music. I remember hearing Minor Threat, The Misfits and lots of eighties hardcore for the first  time when I was about 18. My reaction was, Wow... I always thought music like this should exist but I didn't know it actually did! I was hooked.

Previously you were in The Dirty Boxes, who were your influences and could you give a brief history of the band?

I was at Churchill's in Miami one night talking with Derek Hyde and Tom Seagraves. It was August 2006. The discussion was about how Tom's previous band had recently broken up. They knew I played drums years earlier and suggested we all get together and make some noise. I knew both of those guys were into old-school punk and garage rock so I figured yeah, why not? Tom already had a bunch of songs and Derek was also in The Creepy T's at the time. The only problem was that I hadn't actually played drums for over a decade and I hadn't been onstage for about 15 years. I didn't even own a drum set anymore, so I was very rusty! They demonstrated the patience of saints just waiting for me to get back up to speed musically. The Dirty Boxes played several shows as a three-piece with that lineup, but soon added Devon Nelson on guitar. Derek eventually left to focus on his current band The Instant Whips. Danny Morales took over on bass.      

You guys played a lot of shows throughout South Florida, what would you consider your best show?

The Sunshine State Smackdown roller derby tournament in Fort Lauderdale was fun. It was a big event with women's roller derby teams from around Florida competing. Very energetic atmosphere. While we were performing I could see some of The Gold Coast Derby Girls skating around the track pumping their fists. The crowd was really rowdy too, including people who probably wouldn't otherwise be at a punk show. I know you remember that, Eric, because your old band played there too. I think all the bands that performed that day would agree it was a great time.

And your worst show?

The first time we played at Dada in Delray Beach. The venue itself is extremely cool. It's an old house from the 1920s converted into a restaurant and bar. Bands set up and play in the living room as late night entertainment after the dinner crowd leaves. We were one of the first, if not the first, punk acts they booked and no one was ready for it. We did a lousy job mixing our own sound. Our usual amps-to-eleven approach wasn't appropriate for their living room acoustics and the sound was a horrible wall of mud. It was so bad we couldn't even hear ourselves and kept screwing up. I remember loading out our equipment after the show feeling like I'd just starred in a Benny Hill sketch. The venue's management had been really nice to us, and I kept thinking we'd really pissed them off. Thankfully, they invited us back 8 or 9 months later, and we did a better job with the sound during later shows.

What bands did you like playing with?

Angry Pudding, The Sleeparounds, The Ridicules, The Come-Ons, The Clockouts, Stay Hitt, Shroud Eater, Rock City Angels, The Freakin' Hott, The 1% (!)... There were so many, I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
Were there any you didn't enjoy playing with?

Not really. I always like booking shows with friends' bands and/or bands whose music I'm into personally. But even when that wasn't the case, most of the bands we played with were nice enough.
Any funny tales to tell from past shows with The Dirty Boxes?

Our first show with Danny Morales was at The Monterey Club in Fort Lauderdale. Danny was super nervous and apparently had no problem with letting everyone know that. Before we starting playing he got up onstage and announced to the crowd that he was a nervous wreck and that he'd had diarrhea for the past two days.

What eventually led to the break-up of The Dirty Boxes?

Danny's diarrhea. Just kidding! Logistic hassles, side projects, not having enough money to record, schedule conflicts, internal bullshit, etc. All the usual band breakup stuff. 
Are you still on good terms with the rest of the band?

Yes, I am now. I consider all of them friends and I've seen each of them within the past few months. In case you're wondering where are they now...? Danny Morales is in a band called New Coke. Devon Nelson plays in both Guy Harvey and The Nervous Attachments. Derek Hyde is in The Instant Whips. Tom Seagraves is collaborating with a female singer but I don't know if that project has a name yet.

Now you are in Black Seal, could you give us a brief history of the band, and are any former members of The Dirty Boxes in Black Seal?

Black Seal is just two people, Astaroth Crowley and I. He was previously in a punk band called Dangerbang which later evolved into Kill Now?! The Dirty Boxes played several shows with them, so I'd known Astaroth for a couple years before we started Black Seal. He's into a lot of gritty psychedelic bands and he was aware I am too. He wanted to do something heavy in that vein and suggested we get together and work on some songs. I said, hell yeah!

What influences does the band have?

Musically: Earth, Sleep, Slint, Love, The Black Angels, Butthole Surfers, lots of acid blues, 1960's psychedelia and garage rock. We also have lots of non-musical influences too: Eastern religion and philosophy, Collin de Plancy, giallo films and scatological humor to name just a few.

What's the best and worst show Black Seal has played so far?

Black Seal has only been playing live since June, so I'd say the jury's still out on that.

Are there any plans to record or tour in the future?

Yes, we recorded several demo tracks with our friend Evan Mui just before the holidays. We haven't done much mixing yet, but those songs will be out soon. We'd like to find a good record label. We have several South Florida shows coming up, but no tour plans yet.

Is there any advice you have for any bands just startig out, or that kid that wants to start a band?

If your goal is to get rich playing punk rock, be prepared for disappointment. But if your goal is to have fun, you have big chances for success! It's great if you make money playing your music, but for me music has always been about friends and fun first and foremost. So I'd definitely encourage that kid to pursue music, but also have a backup way to earn a living.

Now let's switch topics to what's near anddear to me. Do you collect vinyl and if so what is your most prized record and what is your guilty pleasure record?

I love vinyl! Who doesn't? I bought hundreds of punk records, many in the late '80s and early '90s, that were rare at the time and irreplaceable now. Lots of lounge, jazz, some old country, other stuff too. Almost nobody wanted vinyl back then so you could find all sorts of cheap treasures! Collecting vinyl wasn't the expensive habit it has become today. Unfortunately, I parted with most of my collection around the time of my divorce so I try not to think too much about it. As for guilty pleasures, I don't believe listening to any music you enjoy should make you feel guilty. So go ahead and fess up to everything in your collection!

Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you, any last words?

Thank you, Eric. Keep up the good work with this blog!

If you get the chance check out Black Seal live and support them, you won't be disappointed. Again many thanks to Robb for the interview and providing me with the tracks to put up for download.

The Dirty Boxes Download

Black Seal Download

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Friday the 13th "Nasty"

My favorite Damned Song on one of my favorite tv shows. Enjoy

The Damned Friday The 13th

In honor of Friday the 13th here is The Damned's Friday the 13th EP.
1 Disco Man
2 Limit Club
3 Billy Bad Breaks
4 Citadel (Rolling Stones cover)
This single which was released on November 13, 1981 on NEMS Records features the song Disco Man which is still a live favorite and has appeared on numerous greatest hits and compilation albums. The Line-up for the Damned at this time was:
Dave Vanian - Vocals
Captain Sensible - Guitar
Rat Scabies - Drums
Paul Gray - Bass

All in all a great record so enough with the chatter and enjoy the Horror.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Abrasive Wheels Banner Of Hope

Here is the sixth single from Abrasive Wheels entitled Banner of Hope.
1 Banner Of Hope
2 Law of the Jungle
This single was also released on Clay Records in 1983.
Cheers and Enjoy.

Abrasive Wheels Jailhouse Rock

Next up is the pride of Leeds, Abrasive Wheels with their fifth single, a cover of Jailhouse Rock.
1 Jailhouse Rock
2 Sonic Omen
Released in 83 this was their first single for Clay Records.
Cheers and Enjoy.