Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview With The Legendary Chuck Dukowski From The Chuck Dukowski Sextet/Black Flag/WURM

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass Chuck. Black Flag fans will remember you as the man behind the brutal bass assault as well as a SST family member. Can you tell us how you got involved with Black Flag initially?

Chuck Dukowski: I got involved with Keith (Morris) and Greg (Ginn) who had a group called Panic after WURM (Chuck's then band) moved to Hermosa Beach. WURM was working on recording an album and we'd just lost our place in Torrance. WE had looked all over the city for a new place to live and rock. WE were taking a break on the beach in Hermosa when we noticed a faded for rent sign on an old building with broken out second floor windows called the STRAND BATH house.

 We managed to figure out the phone number and rented the largest of three downstairs rooms (About 600 square feet.) that had once been a restaurant. We squatted the whole downstairs but developed our allocated space into a lockable sound insulated rehearsal hang out space. Ed met Keith on the Strand (Hermosian for Boardwalk) and he introduced us to Greg and eventually drummer Bryan (Migdol). We were on the lookout for people who were interested in music especially hard rocking underground music and we all became friends. Keith and Greg started hanging out at our place, THE WURMHOLE, and eventually rented the next one over of the three downstairs rooms.

Keith came over almost every day as we were getting up and Greg would come over in the evening when we had regular parties and played music.

Panic was without a regular bassist so Greg asked me to learn their songs and fill in. I played in their sets at the WURM HOLE and at parties over the summer and fall of '77.

At the end of '77 Greg asked me to record with them. I was stoked. That's the recording that became "Nervous Breakdown" and the Keith material on "Everything Went Black". A few months later WURM broke up and Greg asked me to Join PANIC full time.
In the middle of '78 shortly after ROBO joined we changed our band name to BLACK FLAG.

CM: Black Flag released what are now considered classics between '78 and '81. Did you guy's realize then that what you were doing was gonna have such a long lasting affect on the punk scene?

CD: I felt like we were making important music. Music that was important to me and anyone like me. We were also working on pushing it across. The music had immediacy, accessibility and intensity. I knew it was going to make a dent if we did something about it.

CM: With all the bands and bass players you have influenced over the years, can you tell us who your personal musical influences were?

CD: Black Sabbath is probably the single most important band for me. I also was into: The Stooges, MC5, Captain Beyond, Hendrix, David Bowie, Cream, Allman Brothers, King Crimson, Mott The Hoople, Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss, Montrose, Blue Cher, Budgie, and a bunch more.

CM: You're currently in The Chuck Dukowski Sextet. Can you give us a little history on the band and how you got it started?

CD: In late '98 I wanted to start a new band. I'd played with a drummer I liked a few times and got together with him weekly for a couple of months then I started adding other players to that foundation. Then I asked Lora (Norton) to try doing vocals. It all worked out great and that group became the CD6.

As soon as we had a good groove going I started booking shows. Even before we had songs. We did a year of shows playing an improvised set.

We recorded two songs in our living room, The Hammer Will Fall and My War. Flea heard that and showed up at one of our shows and invited us to record in his home studio. That recording became our first album. Milo (Gonzalez) joined us for that recording "Eat My Life" for one song at age 16. He became our full time guitarist and is featured on the 2nd album "Reverse the Polarity".

CM: Does the Sextet do any out of state gigs? And are there any plans for a tour?

CD: We did one out state show at a festival in Belgium.
We are looking to get more active out of LA but so far have played exclusively and extensively in Southern California (a couple of times a month for years and years) with the exception of the Festival in Belgium.

CM: The bands last album, Reverse The Polarity, was released in 2007. Are there any plans for a new album in the near future?

CD: We are currently mixing a new album.

CM: You're a pretty intense performer. When you're not playing and recording, how does Chuck Dukowski relax?

CD: I play a lot. It's really my main thing. I also like to cruise around Venice on my bike or walking. I enjoy hearing other groups play. Especially the kids groups like, Insects vs Robots, The Shrine, Voodoo Merchant, Grapes and Nuts.
I like to hang out with my family: LORA, ISAAC, MIRA, LOLA, MILO.


CM: Is there a website where we fans can get information on The Chuck Dukowski Sextet? Where we can get show dates, release info and merch?

CD: Right now the best thing is to be friends with me on Facebook. {Don't join the page where I'm wearing a green shirt because it's full.} I post infos there on what we're doing.

CM: I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Chuck. It is TRULY an honor to interview The Duke! Thanks again

CD: Nice and Friendly, Chuck

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