If you look closely you may notice that "rock" is the first syllable in Rocket From The Crypt. I believe there is a reason for this and anyone who has ever witnessed the Rocket From The Crypt live experience, I'm sure, would agree with me. And witness this, many people did, recently at the Starfish Room. Rocket From The Crypt took to the stage and blew away a sold out and very enthusiastic crowd. But before they hit the stage I had a chance to sit down with there bassist Petey X and ask him some questions. Captain Haircut was not present.
State your name, what instrument you play and the strangest place you've ever vomited.
I'm Petey X and I play bass and last month I threw up on an airplane, four times.
No. Hangover. What's this for?
It's for a zine I do called corporatedethburger.
There was quite a long break between the last album and the new one. What's the deal with that?
It wasn't so much of a break. We toured for twenty months for Scream, Dracula, Scream. The tour was really long, we went to Europe three times, and Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, the U.S. four or five times. So that's why there was such a long break. When the tour was over we started writing music and recorded the record in October and finished it. The record label sat on it for four months. We we're pretty much working the whole time.
What was it like being on the road for that long?
It was fun. I enjoyed it very much. I like touring. It gets a little repetitive, but I had a good time doing it. As long as people want to see us play, I'll keep playing.
I read that you guys record a lot of stuff. You guys whip out songs pretty quick and record quite a bit. Is there quite a bit of unreleased material still?
There wasn't up until October. We recorded the record and did sixteen more songs. Then we did a little session two months after the record was done and recorded four more songs. Then we were just in Europe and in England we recorded four more songs. We have a bunch right now, but hopefully they'll all be coming out in the next four months on compilations, a couple 7 inches and European b-sides. We're also going to put out "All Systems Go #2" to follow the first "All Systems Go", which was a singles collection. So we'll put out another one of those hopefully within the next six months.
Will that be on Interscope?
That'll be on our own label, Perfect Sound. The one we released "Hot Charity" on.
Will that be a limited release like "Hot Charity"?
No, you'll be able to find it everywhere. "Hot Charity" is also going to come out on CD soon (it was originally a vinyl only release).
Speaking of stuff you have for sale, I noticed that you have quite a diverse amount of merchandise. Like with belt buckles and rings and stuff. Any plans for breakfast cereal or action figures?
No breakfast cereal, but I'd love to do action figures! I think that that would be a really cool item to do. I'd like to do a lot of different things but it's a matter of actually doing them. We like to make stuff. We like to keep it interesting. A lot of bands just make t-shirts and that gets boring. Rings and belt buckles are a great item. We're going to do patches.
You guys seem to have a lot of side bands going. Speedo's in Drive Like Jehu. Does that interfere with Rocket From The Crypt at all?
No, because Rocket From The Crypt is the number one priority. That other stuff is just due to the fact that we all love to play music. When Rocket's not very busy we like to do that on our off time. We love to play, and practice, and write music, and record stuff either with us or with our friends. If we get the chance, we'll spend it with other people, but Rocket always comes first.
Are you in any side bands at the moment?
I just stopped… well actually they don't break up because it's just when we have time. I was in a band with a guy from No Knife called the Claremont Rats. We just recorded a 7 inch on an eight track but I don't think it's been pressed up yet.
Is that a style similar to Rocket From The Crypt?
No, not at all. If your going to do stuff that sounds like Rocket, then you may as well do Rocket.
What type of musical influences would you say contribute to your music?
A lot of eighties stuff like Atom and the Ants, with the backing vocals and the horn arrangements. Strong backing vocals, poppy yet still really rocking.
Would you say you guys have much of a soul influence, like Stax records stuff?
Definitely. That comes from JC 2000 or Speedo. Everyone puts their two bits into the band. Everyone has different influences and we all share a lot of the same influences. We all love soul music and James Brown. We all love rock and the Clash and stuff like that. But everyone also has their own stuff their into.
I noticed that the way you perform seems to be influenced by people like James Brown.
Do you guys spend a lot of time practicing?
Yeah We just like to put on a show. We don't want to go see bands that just stand there. We want to see and we want to give the best show possible. I think James Brown and people like that really go out and put on a good show.
You change your stage outfits and stuff every show, don't you?
What do you have happening for this one?
You'll see tonight.
You guys have a roadie who dances on stage. Is he like a member of the band?
He's the unofficial seventh member of Rocket From The Crypt. He's not doing that much dancing this time. He hurt his legs playing baseball. He was on a minor league baseball team for a while and he got hit with a wild pitch right on the kneecap and it kind of stiffens up on him so he's not doing too much dancing. But he is still roadieing with us. At least for now, he might get a chance to play ball so he might leave.
You try to have quite a connection with your fans. I heard tonight that you have quite a big guest list. Is that something that is important to you, trying to keep that connection?
Very, we try to be close to our fans. We try to do special things for them. Like the people with Rocket tattoos (they have something called the Tattoo club, where if you have a Rocket From The Crypt tattoo you get into any Rocket show for free). The fans are mostly are friends anyway.
With the Tattoo club, do you find that a lot people show up at the venues you play that have the tattoos?
Oh yeah. I just met a guy outside named Gary (from BNU) who has a Rocket tattoo.
You guys have been opening for some bigger bands, like Soundgarden and the Foo Fighters. Do you notice that playing in venues like that, like arenas, that it makes a difference in the way you perform?
That doesn't change the show we put on. We still put on the same show. It's a matter of people excepting it or not. Of course we like putting on our show in a smaller club in a more intimate setting then an arena. But, we still go out there and put on the same show that we would put on here. Maybe we don't have the same liberties. We might not be able to get away with the same opening and closing thing and stage props because Soundgarden doesn't give us the the opportunity or freedom. They do but it's their show.
Your previous album title, "Scream, Dracula, Scream!" is taken from a Wesley Willis quote. Are you guys Wesley Willis fans?
A little bit, we're friends with him. We took him on tour for a bit.
Has he ever done a song about Rocket From The Crypt?
Yeah, he has a song called "Rocket From The Crypt".
You guys recorded the new album in ten days. Do you usually record that fast?
We took a month and a half on the "Scream, Dracula, Scream!" record. But besides that we usually do record stuff that fast. We like to do it all live as much as possible and we like to pump it out fast.
No overdubs or anything?
I heard you used a producer for the first time on this record.
Kevin Shirley of Aerosmith fame, he did the last Aerosmith record. He's awesome!
What was it like having a producer in there as opposed to to having one?
It was great. The main reason we wanted a producer was because we wanted someone else to worry about all the little things that we normally get stressed out about. We just wanted to go in, play our songs, record them, be happy and let someone else worry about all the Bs. That's basically what he did. He made the recording session very enjoyable, very fun, very easy going.
I was reading somewhere that you guys met the Spice Girls and played with them.
We met them in London. It was a TV show, a Top of the Pops style show, where all the bands that are on the chart come and play one song. They were on the charts at the same time as we were.
You guys chart over in England?
I heard that you guys sell more records in England then you do in the entire states?
Much more. Because all the bands in England suck. They're boring. We go over there and we kick butt and they like it. They're ready for it. They're ready to have fun. They're ready for something different. They have an open mind. Over here people aren't as much. People are still stuck in the "if I don't see it on MTV, I don't like it". So it's really hard, but over there things are a lot easier. We're really well excepted over there.
I heard that you guys spent more time in England then you did at home the last couple of years.
On the last tour I spent much more time in the UK then I did at home.
So you know a lot of people over there?
Tons. We have lots of friends there now. You spend that much time there, you make a lot of friends.
Do you miss San Diego at all?
I miss it a lot. I miss my dog.
It must be a problem having a dog and be away from home that much?
I just have to feed her a lot when I'm at home and get her real fat and then she lives off the fat until I get back.
Or any neighbors that wander into the house.
Small children from the neighborhood. She likes cats.
What's the best place that you guys have played in the last couple years?
The last time we played here, a couple years ago, was one of my favorite shows.
The crowd responded well?
Crowd response. I thought we played really well, we had really cool stage costumes. It was a really memorable evening for me.
What's one of the worst shows you can remember?
Chapel Hill, North Carolina about a month ago. It was just terrible. The crowd sucked. We didn't play very well. Nothing was clicking.
I noticed that Speedo had a mustache going for a while. How do you feel that that contributed to the Rocket From The Crypt experience?
I never even noticed.
How could a moustache be a big part of a band?
Well you know, most of the bands in your style of music, the people don't have mustaches. It's quite a bold step to grow a moustache.
I think it scared a lot of people. But I don't think it did anything for the band.
Any final thoughts you want to add?
Everyone should grow a moustache.
(I kept talking to Petey X after the interview had finished so I decided to turn the tape recorder back on because I thought of more questions).
You guys we're supposed to play the New Music West festival a few weeks ago. But the you canceled last minute. What was the deal behind that?
Paul (Zulu records lackey who needs to get his butt kicked) told us not to play. He said it was gay and that we shouldn't play, so we cancelled.
I can understand why. Most of the bands only got to play for like fifteen minutes at the Plaza of Nations.
Yeah, it pretty much would have been a waste of time.
(Speedo walks by.)
Why did you shave the moustache?
Because I quite my gig as a used car salesman.
I needed to know. I asked him (Petey X), but you know, it's your moustache so he couldn't give me as in depth of an answer as I would have liked.