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Radio Dead Ones: ”Bands don´t have a message any more”
After a three year hiatus the German Punks RADIO DEAD ONES released their second album „AAA". We met the likable guys, namely singer Beverly Crime and guitarist Rik, in Stuttgart, Germany and talked about „AAA", Punk music as such and a lot more.
Hi! Your new CD was recently released, so how are the reactions so far?
Quite diverse, because before we were ´just a normal Punk band´ before and now we added a tougher touch. Most people expected the second album to sound like the first one – which is mostly the case with young bands. Therefore reactions are diverse but altogether OK. There wasn´t anybody who found it boring. People either love it or hate it and this is basically the thing we wanted to achieve.
Three years between the first and the new album – why did it take so long?
Because we did everything ourselves. We have always done it that way, we always record everything just by ourselves in our own studio in the rehearsal room. And we have also been touring and handle our day jobs, too. Therefore we can record only between tours, still go to work and only spend our leisure time in the rehearsal room to record songs. This is why it took so long.
The album features another bonus disc – what is the story behind it?
We had so many different songs, because we have been recording for quite some time. Towards the end when finishing the album, we had some songs that did not quite fit to it as they were too soft. We really wanted to have a real heavy album. Still we found the songs quite good and worth to be released. Then SPV offered us this special edition opportunity with a bonus CD, or if we have video/DVD material. We didn´t have that, but those 5 bonus songs. That was a nice way to have them released.
What is the story behind the album title? Access All Areas or triple a**?
Hehe, we didn´t really think about that. We just wanted to have an album title that could be widely interpreted. The basic meaning should be „Awake And Alive" as we had not been present for 3 years, not via interviews or any press. Therefore we wanted to give a statement that we are still alive. But we stuck with „AAA" after all. Maybe also that people ask about it in interviews.
Punk seems to be mainly a fashion thing for some people. So what is Punk, in your opinion?
As you mentioned it, Punk has become a fashion. Bands do not have a message any more. It´s just about playing this kind of music, displaying a lot of tattoos and wearing those clothes. The worst thing is that those bands don´t even play music that is somewhat provocative and represents the basic Punk attitude – music that not everybody likes. Partly some Punk bands play much more Pop than Pop bands. Therefore we wanted to release an album which is much heavier than most other Punk bands and nothing like Pop. For us Punk is still connected with showing people the middle finger and speaking freely about things you don´t like. But just like many other sub cultures, those things get extinct after many more people join the movement but have no idea what it is about.
Nice transition. As we are talking about trends, you don´t just release a physical CD but also offer downloads like iTunes. That could not sit well with some purists.
I just read an AC/DC interview as I am a big fan, and AC/DC are one of the few bands that keep away from iTunes, which is pretty unusual, for the big bands this is their main income source. But they still sell their records in the traditional physical version. But they are such a big band, so they can make demands. As a small band you don´t even have a choice. You either go with the flow or you better stop releasing anything. We were lucky that in our subculture people rather buy a CD, but naturally the number of people who prefer downloads is increasing. When you reject things like that, your concert audience will soon be consisting of 40-50 year olds only who are used to that. The kids with 15-16 who are just getting into it should be reached, too. And you cannot reach them when you just release CDs and Vinyl.
What do you think of the German Punk scene nowadays, is there still any?
Basically no. The problem is that so many bands come and go, in my opinion. Sometimes there´s a band releasing an album, others release 2 albums in 10 years and are simply not constantly present. Therefore there´s nothing like a real scene, I think. There are a few bands, but a scene? Therefore we tried to get away from this pure Punk band thing a bit, as we also played with bands who are not really Punk, e.g. with Shotgun Express from Stuttgart. Their guitarist Johnny Cobra added a solo to our album, and those guys are no Punk at all (they play Hardrock, the ed.). But for us it is important that we play with bands that are popular. And we like that music, too. But it also has to do with the fact that there isn´t a German Punk-scene.
You are coming from the East (just like me) – did that influence your music or your attitude? You definitely listened to some other kind of music.
Certainly. 1989/90 the East started to develop a scene, and when we went to see our first gigs with 15 or 16, the scene was so new that nobody really had a clue. There were fights all the time because people could not really relate to Punk attitude and being wild. And suddenly those Skinheads appeared. Who are they, who are the left-wing, who are the right-wing Skins. Therefore there were fights at every concert, and it was much more about when to leave a concert just to avoid getting into fights. That was so normal until the mid-90s because people did not grow up with this culture. Same for us. Our parents didn´t have the opportunity to buy records. When we hang out with bands from the West, we notice that they grew up with totally different music. Their parents had e.g. a complete Stones collection and stuff. For us it was extremely difficult just to get ONE Stones record. So you had perhaps one AC/DC record, another one of Depeche Mode, Nina Hagen... it was much more mixed. Nobody could claim “I just like Heavy Metal only” because it was impossible to get records of just one genre. Therefore I think we were much more open when we started. Punk was a good choice for making music as you don´t need much. “It´s just noise, but we call it Punk, therefore it´s OK” or something like that. Being from the East was perhaps also good, because Magdeburg isn´t that big. There were concerts but you did not really want to go there, either because of those notorious Skins, or the bands were so bad. So we four were perhaps a bit isolated and then moved to Berlin altogether. Nothing especially Eastern about that, but the fact that we are from the countryside and strongly bonded as kids has definitely helped us a lot.
In comparison with your first album, you became much more experimental, and you commented on that already – but isn´t it the case that you don´t want to restrict yourselves genre-wise?
Yes, or else it becomes boring for us. When you just stick to a certain music the audience is just a certain crowd. And when you talk with the same people about the same topics over and over again, as your music is restricted to a genre, your audience will remain “the same 50 people”, and not more. Punk is not a music that just came into being and attracts more and more people. And for us it would be boring, unless we don´t include some of the music we are listening to into our music – as fare as we are capable of playing it.
Any last words?
We´re playing a lot this year, and whoever reads this – check out our concerts!
Author: Gregor Bewernick, transl. K. Weber, photos: Band Date: 2011-07-25