Skeptic? is a really tough band which plays tough punkrock. How about to listen to them after have been reading this....May 2015

SKEPTIC? INTERVIEW – FROM BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, USA BARRON - VOCALIST

Please tell me a little bit history of the group?

-We first started playing in 2001 when some of us worked at a bar in Birmingham that catered to metal and punk music, and there weren't really any punk bands around town. We had all pretty much given up on playing in bands, had started careers and families, all that kind of stuff, but being able to play and practice at the same place some of us worked made it easy, so we formed a new band for the fun of it. The bar, which was called The Boiler Room, closed years ago, but by the time it closed, we were playing other places and cities too, so we've just kept doing what we do to this day.


Please tell me a little about every member in the group right now, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone? Earlier bands?
-Ha. Our average age is about 41, so that should give you some idea. Jeff plays guitar and does social work, Weber plays bass and is a magazine editor, Tim plays guitar and is a professional musician, Richie plays drums and is a carpenter, and I sing, for want of a better term. Some of us have families and children, some don't. Weber played in The Payoff and Tim played in Carnival Season and The Shame Idols and The Ether Dogs. I can't remember what bands Jeff and Richie played in. Something bad about everyone? Um, no, though I am told by my band-mates that I can be pushy, so I guess that's something.

 

I can hear both Dead Kennedys and UK82-music? Am I right? Favorites from the past?

-I'm sure that those would both be fair descriptions, as we are all fans of both, but we don't really try to play any specific style, we just do what comes naturally. And this is basically the kind of music we grew up with, so it's going to be our natural tendency. Um, some of my personal favorites would be Subhumans, Christ On Parade, Poison Idea, and (of course!) Dead Kennedys.

 

Skeptic? are you satisfied with the name? How did it came up? You weren’t afraid that someone will mix you together with Skeptix? Which is the best band name you know?

-Are we satisfied with it? After this long with it, we oughta be! It's fine, I've heard worse names, and I've heard better, so good enough. One of our old guitarists had suggested calling us the The Skeptics, and there were about a thousand of those, so we changed to the singular “Skeptic.” Then after we had used that name for a while, we found out that another band in another part of Alabama already had that name, so we added the question mark to set us apart from them. Turned out it didn't matter, as they didn't play much longer anyway, and played a different style of music. I think it irritated them, though. Oh well. Best band name? Probably Dead Kennedys, actually. I'm seeing something of a pattern here...

 

What´s the best thing with playing live?

-Playing sharp in a jumping club with a good sound system and a roomful of people going nuts. That isn't always the case at our shows, but it's great when it is.


And where is the best to play? And the worst place?

-Our favorite place to play is at The Nick in Birmingham, but there are others we enjoy as well, such as Matthew's, Head On The Door, Green Bar, Egan's and The Copper Top. Cave 9 was always fun, but it closed five years or so ago. The worst place? Probably this Moose Lodge in Selma. It was awful. Went once, never went back.


How is to play this sort of music in USA right now?

-We don't play outside the Southeast, so I couldn't say as far as the rest of the country, but the Southeast is okay. There's support there, and everyone pretty much knows everyone else. It's about right for what we do. Not huge, but not nothing either, I suppose.


How would you describe your music in three words?

-Loud, fast, raucous.


What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?

-It's neither. It's more state of mind than anything else. In that instance, it can definitely affect how you think and how you perceive things and how you react to what you observe. From my experience, there are a lot of people who call themselves or their band “punk” that probably shouldn't (at least in my mind), but there are also bands and people who don't call themselves that, but probably could. Whatever. To each their own.


How do you see on downloading, mp3s and that stuff?

-It's here and it's not going anywhere, so it pretty much is what it is. It doesn't bother me, and I know people have downloaded our stuff, so it's fine. We aren't really in it for the money all that much (though it certainly helps), so whatever. We're pretty much okay with it. I guess you could put it this way: big corporate bands – who cares. Small independent bands – if you do it you do it, but the independents need more support than the big bands, so try to give them something, ya know?


How is it to live in USA now? Politically?

-Honestly, it isn't really that much different than it has been, at least as far as I can tell. We lose a few rights, we gain a few others. Obviously we aren't perfect, but I suppose it could be worse. And it certainly could be better.


Is there any good bands from USA now? Is the punk scene big? How is it in your hometown?

-Birmingham is fun for us, but we've played for years and everyone knows us. As far as I know, there isn't much of a scene around, but being that we don't play all ages shows around here very often, I couldn't entirely say. For older people it's good, because the bars are generally supportive, but as far as I can tell, for young people, it just ain't much fun around here. But what do I know, I'm just as old and bitter as all the rest of crew...sigh...


What do you know about Sweden?

-Very little actually, though your government seems to function rather well, and people seem relatively happy there. Probably more so than here for most people, I would think.


Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?

-Anti Cimex! Ghost. Skitsystem. Abba!


Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?

-Generally I do, and my only real influence is what I see or what happens to be going through my head at the time I need to write some lyrics, I suppose. Influences can be anything, really. Something I heard, something I saw, something someone else suggested, whatever.


Is there any subject that you never will write anything about?

-Never? Hard to say, but I don't write about sex or Satan. Both are way way overdone...and kind of boring. 


Politics and music, does it goes hand in hand?

-It can, but doesn't have to. For those who feel the need to write politically, music can be an effective medium, but that's really on the writer, and what they are trying to say. On the other hand, I don't think it is a requirement to being a punk band.


Best political band/artist?

-I don't know, Crass, I guess. They were the originals. Probably the MC5 as well.


Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyone's life, I mean people who listen to music?

-I'm sure it can, and I'm sure it does. If so, hopefully it would be a change for the better in some way, but beyond that, I couldn't say. People should only take so much from music. Any more than that, and at some point, you aren't really thinking for yourself. But if the music is about thinking for yourself...well, that is a bit of a conundrum, isn't it?


Your cover on your CD looks really nice, is it important to have a record cover which shows people which type of music you play? Your favorite record cover?

-Thanks, our guitarist Jeff's wife Amanda did that one. Sometimes, when we have a new release, we might have design in mind, and sometimes they just sort of come together at the last minute. I think a cover generally should at least be a clue as to what someone might hear, but it really doesn't matter. If we like a cover, we're going to use it whether it has anything to do with the actual music or not. My favorite cover? Hard to say, but I always liked the cover of “Cause For Alarm” by Agnostic Front.


Is it important to get out physical records of your stuff? Why or why not?

-I like to put out records and CDs because they are like a real, tangible report card of what we have done. Digital is great, but you can't hold it in your hand. And let's face it, vinyl records will always be cool, so there's also that.


Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig?

-One time I jumped up in the air in time with a stop in a song and fell flat on my ass. And I don't know if you'd call it funny, but we played at a mental institution once. That was amazing.


How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts? Which is the biggest band you ever have played together with?

-Our audience can be anyone aged 15 to 60, though usually 25-30. Sometimes they are messy raucous affairs, and sometimes people just stand there and watch. If we miss anyone, it would be the people who first were going to our shows when we were just starting out. In a lot of ways, we kind of feel like we grew up with that crew, and it's always interesting to hear what they have to say about the new stuff...and new people...The biggest band? I don't know, Fishbone, Agnostic Front, Fear, Subhumans, UK Subs, 7 Seconds...One of them, I guess.


Is it boring with interviews? Is it much interviews??

-We don't do too many interviews, so it isn't boring. Always happy to chat with anyone who'd like to say hello.


If you could choose five bands from the past and the history and nowadays and both dead and living bands to have a concert together with your band. Which five have you been chosen?

-Christ On Parade, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Motorhead.


Is music a good way to get out frustration and become a nice person outside the music??

-YES IT IS.


Which is the most odd question you ever have got in an interview?

-From the website Fleabomb ten years ago: You go out drinking, have a bit too much, and black out. The next morning you find yourself facedown on the floor of a strange, empty apartment, naked save for a soiled adult diaper. What's your first move?

That was the question. You didn't ask what the answer was!


Which is the question you want to have but you never get. Please ask it and answer it?

-Will you guys play at my wedding? That'd be fun. Wait, someone might have asked us that once, I can't remember. Whatever, it would still be cool.

 

Future plans for the band?

-Just more of the same, playing as we can and hopefully making a new 12” record sometime in the next year.


For yourself?

-I guess the same as the one above. Ha!


Wisdomword?

-New bands – a show is a show is a show. It doesn't matter if it's 5 people there or 500. Give it all you got and do it while you can, because sooner or later, you'll wish you had done so when you had the chance. But...practice first. For a while. You may be dying to get up on stage, but if you're not prepared, you might find yourself dying ON stage!


Something to add?

-Thanks for the interview. Always nice to have someone show some interest. You can find us online at www.skepticmusic.com . All the links to Facebook and Bandcamp sites, etc. are there, as well as contact info, discography, and all that fun stuff. So come say hey!