Virus is a fucking good english band where Jaz from the group answered a lot of questions about the group in the end of November 2014.

 

Please tell me a little bit history about yourself? Bands before and so on…

-Jaz - Virus originally formed in the summer of 1983 in Gillingham, Dorset, with a lineup of Des-vocals, Jaz-bass/vocals, Bowzer-guitar and Rich-drums. This line up recorded a demo called Infected in early 1984 but Des left shortly afterwards and was replaced by Dave. The new line recorded the demo You Can't Ignore It Forever in December '84. Des rejoined in spring '85 to make a five-piece line up and the band played a lot of gigs in the south of England supporting the likes of the Subhumans, Organised Chaos, Disorder, The Varukers, Conflict, Liberty, Culture Shock, etc and contributed a track to the Mortarhate compilation album We Won't Be Your Fucking Poor before splitting up in the summer of '86. There were a lot of reasons for the split but that's not worth going into. The band reformed in 1996 with Charlie replacing Rich on drums and Des deciding not to be involved - unfortunately the reunion gig didn't go very well but this was partly due to Bowzer living in France, Jaz living in Reading and a crowd not wanting to hear original punk songs (they just wanted to hear punk covers that the main band were doing).

After Ian Glasper included the band in his book The Day The Country Died, me and Dave decided to get the band back together in 2007. Des, Bowzer and Rich were all invited back but either declined or were unable to do it so we got Des's younger brother Rich on guitar and Mark (a friend of Rich) to play drums. This line-up stayed together until 2013 when Mark left and was replaced by Sam. Although we recently did a single for All The Madmen and our last two albums were released by Active Distribution, we are not signed to any label. We're starting our own label very soon and the first release will be our new double A side 7" single. Sadly Rich has decided to leave the band in the last few days so we are currently looking for a new guitarist.

 

Influences is old bands like Crass, Conflict, Subhumans and anarcho punk? Am I right, any favourites from the past?
-To some degree yes, we were influenced when we first first formed by a lot of anarcho punk bands like Crass, Conflict, Subhumans, Flux of Pink Indians, etc but also by bands like Killing Joke, The Damned, The Ruts,etc

Virus is a real punk name but isnīt there another American band which is called that?

-There was an American punk band called The Virus but we are the original band formed about 10 years before the American band. It does cause some confusion but we were never 'The' and always just Virus - I suppose that's just something we have to live with.
 

Whatīs the best thing with playing live?
-Meeting like-minded people, other bands and going to some different places. Gigs are a great way of spreading ideas and and chatting to people about various political events that might be happening. Also there is the musical enjoyment in playing and people liking our music.

And where is best to play?
-We don't mind playing anywhere - we've played really tiny venues, through to establish music venues (like the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol). We're happy to play gigs anywhere and in the past have played a number of unusual places.

How is it to play this sort of music in England?
-The punk scene is very underground but there are a lot of good bands still - lots of old anarcho bands from the late 70s, early 80s have reformed in the last 5 years or so and there is quite a healthy little scene going on. Bands like ours never play big corporate venues and there is still a lot of DIY gigs going on the rural village halls, small pubs, etc.

How would you describe your music in three words?
-Politcal, musical, noise

What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-Punk is the way you think - an attitude towards everything in life. To mean it doesn't matter what clothes you wear, if you have colored hair or if you have a job or not, it's what and how you think.
Personally, I got into a lot of anarcho stuff in the early 80s, like vegetarianism, animal rights, eco-politics and I still believe in all the same things as I did then.
 

How do you see on downloading, mp3 and that stuff?
-I have no problem with it - if it means people can share music/ideas then it's all good by me.

How is it to live England now (where do you live)? Politically? Or do you donīt give a damn?
-Unfortunately, in England with have a right-wing coalition government that is basically run by the Conservative party. They are very much a party of the rich and have cut the highest rates of tax but made huge welfare cuts, meaning that the poor in this country are worse off than they were before they came into power. Politics in England is very corrupt - it's run by the private school elite and in no way do they represent the average person on the street. Unfortunately, I think it's going to get worse as there is an anti-European, right wing party called UKIP who are very much on the rise - they are blaming immigrants and the EU for all the problems in England and the press are promoting them and they are gaining seats. In about 6 months we have an election here and I suspect that we will end up with a very right wing government that is pro-nuclear, pro-fracking, will privatize the National Health Service, withdraw England from the EU, etc.

Is there any good bands from England now?
-There are many, many great bands, a lot of them are good friends - bands like The Mob, Anthrax, Hagar The Womb, Zounds, 51st State, Liberty, A-Heads, Subhumans and many more.

What do you know about Sweden?

-I had a Swedish girlfriend some years ago so I actually know quite a lot. She came from Umeå and was very into alternative music... happy days!


Have you heard any good bands from Sweden?

-Yes, quite a lot of bands from the more poppy stuff like The Wannadies through to punk stuff like The Nomads, later stuff like The Hives, etc so quite a lot and there's some great stuff.
 

Your lyrics, who does them and what influences you?

-Dave writes most of the lyrics these days, I might write the occasional song but might contribute a line here or there to Dave's lyrics. I sometimes start a song with just a couple of lines and pass it on to Dave with the subject matter and he'll take it from there. Lots of things influence us, especially the current political climate in the UK.

 

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

-I think we'd write about anything that pisses us off.

 

Politic and music, does it goes hand in hand? Which is your most political song?

-All our songs are very political - we haven't really got a song that isn't political.

 

Best political band/artist?

-Historically, Crass were hugely influential to us, as were Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, The Mob, Rudimentary Peni, Icons of Filth, etc.


Do you think that music(lyrics and so on) can change anyones life, I mean people who listens to music?

-Yes, definitely - I became a vegetarian after listening to and reading the lyrics of Flux of Pink Indians song Sick Butchers. Political punk music can be hugely influential - that's why the authorities in all countries try to suppress it.


Your logo looks a lot like Crass , Conflict and so on, what is a deeper meaning with that?

-The logo simply means anarchy/autonomy in our own view hence the mix of a V and an A


Is it important for you to get out physical records? How is Active Rebellion?

-Yes, getting physical records out is hugely important to us. It remains a great way of spreading our music and message. Downloads are ok but not really for me personally as I don't listen to music that way. We did two albums with Active and they were great - we were given full control of the music and artwork, etc. They let us do what we want - couldn't have been better.


Please tell me a funny thing which have happened during your career and under some gig? I can imagine that itīs wild

-We played a gig on the top of Westbury White Horse hill in 1985, the year that the Stonehenge festival was stopped and some people ended up at Westbury. The police were at the bottom of hill deciding what to do, the trainee army recruits were on maneuvers on the top and we were there screaming and shouting punk noise at them. We were always getting stopped by the police and I always had to talk us out of getting arrested which usually meant me telling them we were a psychedelic band or something like that. There have been a lot of things like that and it's been very wild at times but you should really ask our original drummer as he had to drive us to the gigs and can remember things better than I can.


How does your audience look like? Which people do you miss on your concerts? Is it the same type of people as on your old concerts?

-There's a lot of old punks, like us, sort of 45 upwards but there are also a good bunch of younger punks around the scene. Punk gigs are generally good in the UK and the crowd are very like-minded with the bands.

 

Please rank your five favorite records, five favorite concerts and five most important things in life?

-1 - 5 - Any songs recorded by The Damned between 1976 - 1984!


When you play this angry music, do you think people who plays angry music like this are calmer people otherwise because you can get out your anger in the music?

-I'm not sure about that - playing loud, fast, noisy music is what we want to do and the lyrics match the intensity of the music, so perhaps the anger does come out in that.


Please ask the questions you never get but you want to have, ask it and answer it?

-Why do some bands have such terrible egos? That should be the case in punk rock but sadly on occasions it can be.


Future plans for the band?

-More vinyl singles in 2015 - some more gigs further afield too and hopefully a permanent new guitarist.


For yourself?

-I'm not sure at the moment. More growing of my own fruit and vegetables maybe.


Wisdom word?

-Be true to your beliefs.


Something to add?

-Cheers for showing interest in the band. Hope my answers weren't too boring! If people want more info they can email me, Jaz, virus838606@yahoo.co.uk