Chemical Threat is a really good d-beat/crust band from England which I really liked a lot when I first heard them so I took the chance to interview them Ö.december 2014
-(BEN , guitar) We started in August 2009. Me and bruce used to play in Union-X together, Edd played in SHG (sex hungry grannies), and John played in Thirst in the 90ís. Union-X had just split up. Me and Bruce still enjoyed jamming together and wanted to do another band. We had a guy called Smooth Mike (Union-X) on drums and then John joined on vocals. This line up lasted 2 years, we did 3 or 4 demo releases and our first album ĎThey Donít Careí. Mike quit and Edd joined on drums. It was natural really because Edd ran the place we practiced at, we were mates anyway, plus heís an ace drummer!
(EDD, Drums )I used to run a recording studio/practise space above my family's cafe and that's where I met what is now Chemical Threat.
Pintsize and Bruce were in a band called Union X along with there drummer Smooth Mike and singer Conrad, they were regulars at my rehearsal studio.
To be honest, they were one of my favourite regular bookings at the rehearsal room. For a bunch of scruffy looking punks, they were always kind and polite and always respected the place and my equipment!
Things didn't work out with their singer so he left the band and that's when I introduced them to my brother Jonny Fry(The Rev) who took over singing duties. With a new bloke on vocals and with all new material, a new name was required - Chemical Threat.
A year or so later Smooth Mike decided to leave and so I (Edd) took over drumming duties.
Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone?
-Ben ( pintsize ), Iím 33, I live with my girlfriend, our son, plus our cats. I work self employed doing garden maintainence, painting and decorating. Love DIY punk, also watching / Investigating underground media on you tube to keep up with whatís going on in the world, 80ís films, Spongebob, Trailer Park Boys. Iím not a morning person, Iím miserable to be around when I get out of bed.
Bruce ( Bass ) :
old ,been around the block a few times clocked up a lot of mileage and "out
there" on vinyl,cassette and cd ,no wife or kids (at the moment) no job ,no
Chemical Threat? A wonderful punkbandname? Was there any other names that you was thinking of? Which is the best bandname you know?
-Ben: I canít remember any other decent ones really. Chemical Threat came up, it fit us well and we liked it, so we went with it. Thereís a band from Basingstoke called Shithouse, thatís a great punk band name!
Edd: Before I joined the Threat, I was in a grunge band called Sex Hungry Grannies. We were billed as "Southampton's premier cross-dressing grunge act".
Your influences goes way back in time, am I right? Varukers, Discharge?
-Ben : Yeah for me itís Discharge, Varukers, Totalitar, Crucifix, Doom, Framtid, Black Flag, Agnostic Front, Motorhead
Edd: I remember we once talked about how cool it would be to get to play at a Discharge gig. I'd been in the band for about 18 months and we actually got to, it was awsome! Played with them a couple of times now.
-Ben : Getting to play guitar fucking loud, haha., and when you see people lose it to the music. its a pure adrenaline release.
Bruce: Playing live is the best "buzz" i can't get enough ,it's what being in a band is all about .
Edd: It's always great, the drug like buzz you get from it and the reaction from the crowd. It's just a damn shame it's over so quickly!
And where is best to play?
-Bruce : Iíve played tiny venues and huge ones over the years and if the crowd is on your side there is no difference my only complaint is venues up or down stairs when your exhausted from travelling to the gig and after playing it's a killer unless you have a road crew !!
Ben: Anywhere thatíll take us and let us make noise!
Edd: It seems like anywhere else but our home town. Southampton has gone downhill on the punk front. We'll put on DIY shows and we cant seem to get people to turn up. Any other city it's fine. Sometimes we feel like we're the only punks left in Southampton!
-Ben: Within the DIY punk scene its ok. Some good scenes, bands and people. It can be a problem sometimes for bands to get their transport expenses covered, but that depends on the promoter and how well organised the gig is. I hear stories from other bands that have played in Europe, about how well your treated, with food, a place to stay, beer, fuel money etc. Sadly that isnít always the case in England.
Bruce: you don't get much respect here, i've gigged abroad quite a bit in my dark ,sinister past and you get treated so much better.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Edd: Pissed off punk!
Ben: Raw, Direct, Spiteful.
Bruce: BLOODY AWFUL RACKET!! no it's ,loud, nasty punk.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-Edd: It's more like having an attitude towards someone or something and we like to express it through music.
Ben: To question and follow your instincts. More than a word or lifestyle, itís a way of thinking.
-Ben: I think mp3ís can sound like shit! Downloading is cool to check stuff out. If you really like what a band is doing youíll want to help them out and pick up their release anyway. Having a physical representation of the bands music puts you closer to what a band is artistically trying to put across. It stands the test of time. A touch of a button and an mp3 no longer exists.
How is it to live in England now? Politically?
-Ben: Itís probably similar to a lot of countries at the moment. Itís shit. The cost of living has gotten a lot more expensive, wages rarely go up and its very tough to get a job. Social security is being drastically cut, and now they are gradually privatising the NHS for profit at the expense of patient care. The classic symptoms of a corrupt, broken and failing capitalist system. Politics in England are a complete load of bullshit. Constant media propaganda pushing lies and fear, trying to turn people against each other.. The pointless tennis match of left and right. The political parties are bought and paid for by scumbag corporations / business elite and they donít give a fuck about people.
England used to be
a cool place but now it's awful ( that could be that Iím getting old and old
people complain all the time!)
Is there any good bands from England now? Is the punkscene big?? How is it in Southampton?
-Ben: I think the DIY punk scene is still going strong, lots of DIY gigs and bands, but itís a bit separated into different groups depending on styles and sound. A bit more unity and open mindedness would help a lot. I donít know how big the general punk scene is, but it seems like thereís plenty going on. There are quite a few big commercial punk festivals on each year in England, they are mostly headlined by faded, cash cow reformed older bands. Alongside this are great DIY fests like Bristol Punx Picinic and Means to an End Fest. Southampton had a great DIY scene in the 90ís and early 2000ís, but it was very quiet when we started in 2009. It seems to be picking up now though. A few bands that I know and like but there are certainly loads more. Violent Arrest, Constant State of Terror, Endless Grinning Skulls, Shithouse, The Shorts, Radioactive Bones
What do you know about Sweden?
-Ben :Being honest, not a lot! Itís cold? And you produce killer hardcore punk bands!
Edd: I've never been to Sweden but it's a place I've always wanted to visit. All I know is, it's got cold weather and hot women! I hear you have a massive metal scene there too. Also I know Micky Dee from Motorhead is Swedish!
Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?
-Ben: One of my favourite bands ever, Totalitšr are from Sweden. I also love Anti Cimex, Mob 47, Institution, Wolf Brigade.
Bruce : Met a Swedish band while on a 6 week tour of Germany (1992) called John Whiteleather and the King rats became friends ,they did a rap version of johnny B goode!!
Edd: I've heard some Swedish metal bands but I can't pronounce their names!
Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?
-Ben: Me and Bruce wrote most of them for Vicious and System Error. John wrote more of our earlier stuff. We tend to write about local and worldwide issues that make our blood boil.
-Edd: No I don't think so, although we haven't done a love song yet!
Ben: I doubt weíll ever do a song praising capitalism!
Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand?
-Edd: I wouldn't say it goes hand in hand but as long as politicians carry on doing shitty things like starting wars, raising taxes and generally ripping people off and putting people down, there will always be people songs write songs about it.
Ben: Yes and no. I think it depends on what you want from music. If you just want to rock and be entertained then probably not. If you take notice of bullshit going on in the world and get pissed off about it. Then probably it does.
Bruce : As soon as people started singing/making music some of them were writing protest songs about the tribe leader /king so it's nothing new and bands in some ways are "political" you all have a say and debate band matters.
Best political band/artist?
Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life, I mean people who listens to music?
-Ben: Itís possible yes, because punk taught me to think for myself and always question things. Itís a lesson I can use everyday.
I think you can see at once that youīre playing the music you do, I think that is a good thing that the record sleeve shows us what you play? Was that the meaning or how did you thought about that?
-Ben: The title song Vicious is questioning how people in the various police and army forces around the world can allow themselves to be so brainwashed. These people injure and kill innocent human beings because they are told to and itís their job. How desensitised and fucked up must they be as people? We used an image that is a dark and sinister representation of that. Souless and robotic. Our friend Alan did the defend free speech artwork on the inner sleeve and it in perfectly.
-Ben : The teenage me could recover way quicker from getting wasted!
Bruce : although I was playing in bands in the 70's did'nt get into a punk band til 82 the scene was friendlier no back stabbing ..And it was about bands getting an opportunity to earn money when there were no jobs ..now it seems you have to be rich to play !
Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?
-Ben: One of our first gigs was supporting The Vibrators. Iíd painted our name on the top of my amp on the day of the gig. Me and john were out the front having a smoke while were loading the gear in. My amp was on the pavement. One of the guys from the Vibrators sat on it and started chatting away. After a while he got up, only to find Chemical Threat imprinted in reverse across his arse. White paint stands out good on black punk trousers, haha! He was pretty pissed, and started moaning about how they were new trousers and heíd only brought one pair with him from London! Poor bloke.
It can get a bit spinal tap with us sometimes. At the merch table once, we took the backdrop out to hang behind it. After a while, we all said whatís that fucking smell? It turned out that one of Eddís cats had pissed on it. Big yellow stain, it reeked! So we sprayed it with brut and it really smelled bad. Cat piss and brut deodorant is not a good mix. No one bought much that day funnily enough.
-Ben: Most people we play to are punks. But Iíd like to play to some really straight normal sheeple and blow their fucking ears off with noise! haha
Please rank your five favoriterecords, five favoriteconcerts and five most important things in life?
-Ben: Very tough question!
Constant State of Terror
Sick of it All
Is it boring with interviews? Which is the most stupid question you ever
-Ben: I donít think their boring but then this is our first one!
Do you understand that reviewers always compare bands to other bands? Is that disturbing when you try to something own?
-Ben: I enjoy reading reviews of music. I think its cool to put some comparisons in just so people can get a rough idea whether itís their thing or not. I donít find it disturbing, I guess thatís what reviewers have to do.
Edd: MRR gave us a review comparing us to Rancid... I mean what the fuck?! Rancid?! Really?! I doubt the bitch that reviewed it had even listened to it, I reckon she just looked at the cover picture and judged us by that.
Futureplans for the band?
-Ben: Over winter weíll be writing some new songs for an ep. Thereís certainly plenty of shit going on that we need to shout about. Hopefully a small UK tour next year, if we can get our shit together!
Edd: Who knows? It would be good to get playing outside of the UK. The trouble is having "Chemical Threat" printed all over our gear, we'd probably get stopped by customs and arrested or sent to Guantanomo Bay! There are some fucked up anti-terror laws out there, we could be held in custudy indefinately... plenty on time for us to write a new album!
-Ben: Keep playing hardcore punk
Bruce: No plans.. if i make plans they don't happen so just get 2014 out of the way next year (hopefully better)
-Ben : No Gods, no masters
Something to add?
-Bruce: Big HI to all in Sweden ,and S'PUNK ROCK INNIT?
Ben: Thanks a lot for the interview, really cool questions, and sorry it took so long! Hopefully we might get to play in Sweden someday!