"The Zydepunks - Cajun/Irish/Jewish Punk"
This is the way they describe themselves as a band. Christian was so kind
and answered a lot of questions from me in march-2007.
-We've been together since about 2004.
The Zydepunks came out of two different projects.
In the first instance, Christian (that's me) met Eve in the French Quarter
on Jackson Square. She was busking on the accordion, I was busking on
fiddle, and we knew some Irish music in common so we started performing
together along with the most bizarre cast of buskers you'll ever see.
At the same time, I've been friends with Joe Lilly for years - you can check
www.zydepunks.com/bio.php for more.
Please tell me a little about every member, age, family, work, interests and
something bad about every one?
-Christian – Accordion, fiddle, vocals. Christian was born in
Ecuador, has a German father, and grew up in Virginia close to Washington
Eve – from Michigan originally, she travelled around Europe for 7
years before coming back to America.
Joe Lilly – Drums, vocals. Joe’s from Easley, South Carolina, and is
a true embodiment of a laid-back Southerner. It takes a lot to get Joe to
rage from his laid-back Southern ways. When he plays drums it’s remarkable
because he doesn’t make a face but his drumming is incredibly loud and
Denise Bonis – Fiddle. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she’s half
Greek and half Cherokee Indian, which confuses Mexicans who think she’s
Latina. Her bloodlines have produced a feisty temperament, but thankfully
she’s usually pretty laid back.
Paul Edmonds – Bass guitar. The only member of the band born and
raised in New Orleans, Paul’s a very versatile musician. He’s a jazz drummer
who plays upright bass with a New Orleans band called the Fens.
What about my review?
-The review sounds good to me! You might mention that the other influences
include Cajun (“Madeleine”) and Klezmer (“Satan/…”, “Romanian…”,
Is there any other bands you´re being compared with?
-Flogging Molly by younger folks, Pogues by older generations who remember
who they are. Gogol Bordello as well, as well as old Bluerunners, a
Louisiana band. Nothing like the new Bluerunners though.
Do you care about reviews?
-Yes and no. When they’re good I respect them. When they’re bad I laugh at
them because I realize most writers don’t have a clue what they’re writing
about and don’t have the time to learn about their subject.
Which is the most peculiar review you ever have got?
-One article that was particularly stupid compared us to Dresden Dolls and
all these “cabaret” style bands that we really have nothing to do with
except that we happen to all use accordion.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Louisiana Folk Punk
How is it to live in your homecountry?
-This is a tricky question. The USA is immense, so really living in New
Orleans is not like living in the rest of the country. We’re talking about
Louisiana more than the USA. Louisiana has so many issues that sometimes
it’s hard to care about what else is going on in the country. Especially
right now, this very moment, when the crime in New Orleans has spired even
more out of control that the government is thinking about putting a curfew
in place. In the first three days of 2007 there were 8 murders that crossed
all class and race boundaries.
What about the government?
-The federal government is a den of thieves. “Parliament of Whores” is what
P.J. O’Rourke called it. The fact that the war in Iraq was used to enrich
Republican party member is sad enough, but the fact that no one will ever go
to jail over this shows how weak the Democratic Party and the overall
governmental system is.
Do you think that music and politics goes hand in hand?
-Only if you want it to.
Best political band?
-Tough call. I think The Clash and Dead Kenneys still stand the test of
time. I like Mike West, an English/Australian songwriter who used to live in
New Orleans and had to move to Kansas because hurricane Katrina destroyed
his house and studio.
Is there any good bands in your homecountry now?
-Yup. But America's huge...
What do you know about Sweden?
-I’ll give you a list –
-I used to live in Glasgow, UK, so I know something about how early the sun
goes down in the winter and how long it stays up in the summer
-I believe Scandinavia has strange rotten fish delicacies
-A lot of Swedes migrated to Minnesota and the plains states in the USA,
-Some history – that Sweden set up the first colony in Delaware. There are
still medieval Swedish houses in that part of the USA.
-Vikings – but didn’t they come mostly from Norway and Denmark? Sweden
Christianized fairly late, in the high middle ages
-The wars with Peter the Great
-Lutheran religion predominates, though people are probably pretty
non-religious these days or only religious in name, right?
-Germanic language vaguely related to English, though English has a lot of
Norse words in it due to Viking occupation in the middle ages
-You have a royal family, so that means you have a constitutional monarchy
-In foreign policy Sweden is generally neutral and peaceful
-Sweden has had some pretty high-profile assassinations, Olof Palme and the
lady who’s name escapes me who was murdered some two years ago
-Sven-Goran Eriksson, Henrik Larsson, and a good national soccer/football
-Heavy socialism, lots of taxes
-Sweden used to have lots of famous tennis players – Stefan Edberg, Björn
Borg, Mats Wilander
-Lots of immigrants in the last 20 years from the third world
-Death Metal bands, right? Entombed?
-A lot of pop – Abba, the producers for Britney Spears’ records, “All that
she wants is another baby”, some other pop hits
-capital is Stockholm
-faces the Baltic Sea
Have you heard any good swedish bands?
-Sadly, I know nothing about good Swedish bands. Please let me know who they
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?
-I don't like to think about it or talk about it because it's such a loaded
word that means so many things to so many different people... I like to use
it just in terms of music and nothing else.
Please rank your five favourite records, five favourite concerts and five
most important things in life?
-Neither list is in any particular order
The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
Nyah Fearties – Granpaw Craw
Misfits – Walk Among Us
Bad Religion – No Control
La Rue Ketanou – Y'a des cigales dans la fourmilière
Fugazi and Citizen Fish – Washington D.C.
La Rue Ketanou - Lafayette, Louisiana
Buena Vista Social Club – New Orleans, Louisiana
Lost Bayou Ramblers – New Orleans, Louisiana
Jeff Mills – Oxford, England
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-First – Def Leppard, Pyromania (seriously)
Last – Philip Melancon, Hurrican Romance
Most expensive – no idea
Most embarrasing record in your collection?
-Def Leppard, Pyromania
Do you do any covers on stage? Why or why not?
-Sure. We do some Pogues for Saint Patrick’s Day. We also pick some obscure
covers from Slime, La Rue Ketanou, and Dub Skelper.
Is it many interviews? Is it boring?
Which is the question you never get, please ask it and answer it?
-Hmmm... not my job!
Is it any chance to see you in Sweden soon? Have you ever been here?
-We’d love to go to Europe period but we’re still working on it. I’ve never
been to visit either and hope to one day.
Where is the best place to play?
-For us, New Orleans. Our fans here understand what we’re doing the best and
have grown with the band since we started. It doesn’t take anything to get
these folks dancing.
How is a good gig with you?
-As long as people dance we know people get it.
Which type of people comes to your concerts??
-All kinds, old and young, mostly white folks, sometimes Latinos, rarely
What shall we do about all racists?
-That’s a difficult question. I believe that you can’t change people by
force – if people are racist, then they will only change when they want to
I’ll give you an example. New Orleans is a racially explosive city. It has
had black and white people living together since 1700. They have developed
alongside and have had different cultures and ways for 300 years.
Blacks were slaves in New Orleans until 1865. Then “Jim Crow” laws were
introduced in the early 1900’s that gave different races different legal
rights. For example, it was illegal for a white person to go into a black
person’s house. This lasted until the 1950’s.
It is hard to change history. I live on a street that is mixed with blacks,
whites, and Latinos, but each race generally sticks to their own.
The best band in punkhistory?
-Tough question. Too many to pick from.
The most important punksong?
-Again, too many to pick from. There are so many bands that do totally
Futureplans for the band?
-We’re talking to some labels right now because we need some support to be
able to tour again. We’re working on two new records right now because we
have about 45 songs, including covers and traditional folk songs, and only
one record to show for it.
-It depends – if the band does well than I’ll stick with it.
Something to add?
-Not today… my words ran out towards the end .