Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interview With B.A. From Sloppy Seconds

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, B.A. Can you give us a little history on how Sloppy Seconds got together?
 
B.A.: Most people have heard this story, but it's pretty simple.  I threw a house party one weekend when my parents were out of town back in the 80's.  All my friends were just hanging out in the basement getting drunk.  Roadkill had his guitar and a p.a. system, and Steve and Bo'Ba had scrounged up instruments from friends and acquaintances.  I ended up singing by default because I was the only one who could remember the words when I was loaded.  By the end of the first night, we we tearing through these terrible, noisy covers of old garage band and rockabilly songs.  We were just playing awful cover tunes - hence the name Sloppy Seconds.  So we never set out to form a band, necessarily.  We were just four friends who happened to pick up instruments one night.

CM: The bands album "Destroyed" has gone down as a modern day punk classic! Did you guy's think at the time that the album would be as legendary as it became? 
 
B.A.: No.  How could we?  It still kind of floors me to think of the reputation it's earned.  But I think there are a few good reasons for its staying power.  First, it was recorded over the course of almost a year in 1988-89.  We had been gigging since 1985, but we eased really slowly into the recording process.  So our debut album was not just made up of the first fifteen songs we wrote.  We had already shitcanned about thirty songs by that time; others we saved for later albums or singles simply because they didn't quite fit.  So we had laid down ten demos one day, and then left the studio to hang out in the rehearsal room and wrote "Blackmail" and "Runnin' From The C.I.A." right on the spot. "Veronica" and "Come Back Traci" came along even later than that. So by the time we finished recording that album, there was not much in the way of filler.  The other thing is that what we did on that album was combine a lot of elements in a way that nobody really had before.  We had riffs from the Ramones, humorous lyrics like the Dickies, all those cultural references and audio soundbites - and then that fucking amazing album cover that the late Mike Kreffel painted for us.  It was such unique combination at the time, it became a style unto itself - Junk Rock.  I'm just glad people latched onto it.
 
CM: As most fans know, you're song "Come Back Traci" was an ode to underage 80's porn star Traci Lords. Do you know if she ever caught wind of that tune? Or did you or the other band members ever hear from her after that song was released?
 
B.A.: She's aware of it, I know that much.  I've actually given her a copy of the CD myself.  But I don't know - she's one of those people who exploits her past notoriety - hell, why shouldn't she?  But then she takes herself far too seriously and has completely lost her sense of humor.  And, I'm sorry, but I knew she was underage when I was first whacking to her videos.  That's what made her hot - she was an amazing-looking teenage sex kitten.  And I don't care how fucked up on drugs she claims she was, she was totally into it.  Guys, girls, threesomes, orgies - all of it.  She's never made an effort to contact us - maybe she thinks it's beneath her dignity.  And that's okay - I prefer to remember her with her curly brown hair and babyfat.  That's Traci Lords to me.
 
CM: You had the chance to play with former Misfits guitarist Bobby Steele on your cover of "Where Eagles Dare". What was it like working with Bobby? And did you have to get permission from Glenn Danzig to record and release that song?
 
B.A.: Bobby tells lots of entertaining stories.  We'd been playing "Where Eagles Dare" as a live encore for a few years when we connected with him.  Steve was filling in on drums for the Undead, and they were rehearsing at my house for a Midwest tour.  So while he was in town we booked studio time to record the song.  It just seemed like the logical thing to do.  But I don't even know if Danzig's aware of our version.  We never ask anyone's permission when we record their songs.  If the record sells, they'll get a publishing royalty.   
 
 
 
CM: You guy's had a couple of songs that appeared in the 2007 indie horror movie "Sick Girl". How did that come about?
 
B.A.: Eben McGarr, the director of "Sick Girl," is a big fan of the band.  He flew us out to Los Angeles in 2005 to appear at his NecroComicon horror/sci-fi/exploitation convention.  He wanted to know if we were cool with him using some of our songs on the soundtrack.  Of course we were fine with that.  Eben's follow-up film, "House of the Wolf Man" is an amazing nod to the classic Universal horror movies.  Everyone should see it - he captures the look and atmosphere perfectly.  Now Eben is assisting our drummer Steve in developing his own project - but I probably shouldn't say too much about that just yet. 
 
CM: Your last full length album, "Endless Bummer", came out in 2008. Why did it take 10 years between "More Trouble Than They're Worth" and "Bummer" to release a new album? And are there any plans for a new Sloppy Seconds full length in the near future?
 
B.A.: Well, we didn't intend for the release to take that long - obviously.  We started announcing the upcoming release back in 2003.  What followed was a seemingly endless series of commitments and then excuses from about a dozen different labels.  Finally, in 2005, we recorded the tracks, and just figured we'd shop the rough recordings.  And even that didn't solve the problem!  We were saying, look - all you have to do is pay for the mixdown and pressing.  How can you lose?  "Well, our finances right now..."  Just more bullshit excuses.  What finally happened was that Steve called Dave Parasite to ask him his opinion of Go-Kart Records.  Dave had just been given the green light to start up Kid Tested as his own subsidiary imprint of Go-Kart, and asked if we'd be interested in signing with him.  So it was a natural pairing.  Sloppy Seconds and the Parasites both kind of followed the same timeline from the 80's into the new millennium, and we'd always respected each others work even though we'd never met.  It's a great relationship for us at this stage.  I would consider Dave a friend even if we didn't share a business interest.  We're thinking about maybe doing a full-length disc of covers next.  But we might switch plans and work on more originals tunes.  It's hard to say at this point.
 
CM: I had the chance to see you guy's back in '98 opening for Marky Ramone & The Intruders at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. You guy's packed that place in, and most of the people split after your performance. Have you ever considered releasing a full length live album?
 
B.A.: We considered it so much that we did release one in 1996.  It's called "Live: No Time For Tuning"  It's available on Triple X here in the U.S., and on Wolverine Records in Europe.  But that's not to say that we wouldn't put out another live disc.  What we really should do is a live DVD.  I'm of the opinion that you can really only get the full sense of our show if you see it unfolding before your eyes.
 
CM: A couple years back the band re-released "Destroyed" with extra bonus track to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the album. Any plans for deluxe reissues of "Knock Yer Block Off" or "More Trouble..."?
 
B.A.: I know Kid Tested is interested in doing that very thing.  And our later sessions yielded a lot more interesting demos and outtakes, so there would be plenty of bonus material to consider.  It all depends on whether we can come to terms with the labels that currently have the rights to those discs.  God knows I'd like to remix some of the songs...

CM: Is there a website you wanna plug where fans can get up to date news on shows and merch?

B.A.: I mainly update fans through our Facebook page now.  Just look up Sloppy Seconds on Facebook, and you'll find me.  I used to use our MySpace page extensively, but they seriously fucked up their format when they adopted that whole "bandwhore" network last year.  Now it's just all these local losers saying, "Link to my page so I can win a chance to open up for Otep while Lars Ulrich blows a load in my girlfriend's face!"  What a waste.
 
CM: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, B.A. It's been great talking with ya. And I hope we get Sloppy Seconds back to Chicago again soon. Take care.

B.A.: We'll be back in Chicago sooner than later - look for us this fall in all the familiar places!  And thanks for helping us spread the word.

7 comments:

  1. I saw these guys play in the 80's at Durty Nellie's in Palatine, IL. It was cool to read what has happened with them since then. This is an informative and cool interview, Thanks!

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  2. so what ever happened to Dr. Roadkill? why did they part ways?

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  4. "Link to my page so I can win a chance to open up for Otep while Lars Ulrich blows a load in my girlfriend's face!"

    Greatest quote ever.

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