I Interviewed A.C. and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt
by Matt Exile
[A.C. with Fans outside of Fandango]
From Exile Osaka #4 (1996)
BEARS JUNE w/ Punku Boi, Hard Core Dude. 6/23/95
This show was advertised as a “big present” from Bears. A.C. have a very strong following here, and their first tour of Japan had been highly anticipated. Needless to say, it was packed. I met with the band members briefly before the show but they didn’t seem to be in a very good mood.
Punku Boi opened the show and you can read all about him elsewhere in this issue. The second band up was Hard Core Dude and they’re a crowd favorite at Bears and they play a highly energetic style of guess what type of music (duh!). Very similar to bands such as Concrete Octopus, Korean Buddhist God, and Spasmom.
A.C. drummer Tim Morse appeared briefly and announced that since the Japanese Government was kind enough to allow him into the country on an “Entertainer Visa”, he felt obligated to give the audience a more conventional form of entertainment. So he danced onstage for a couple of minutes while the rest of the band was setting up. If members of the Immigration Bureau had been in the audience that night, they would have revoked his visa and deported him immediately.
A.C. put on a very entertaining show that included unbelievable cover versions of “Staying Alive (Oi version)” and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” Tim Morse told me that he had absolutely no idea that the band was so popular in Japan. He said that he went record shopping earlier in the day and was psyched to pick up the copy of G-Scope in which Yoshimi wore an A.C. t-shirt on the cover. He also told me the band was severely pissed because the airline misrouted their bag that contained about 70 t-shirts. I told them that if they wrote the A.C. logo on a plain t-shirt they could sell them as handmade since Caroliner sold a ton of handmade t-shirts when they came over.
Fandango w/ Masonna, Solmania and Corrupted. 6/24/95
I waited outside of Fandango until Kawai from Ultra F*ckers showed up. The members of A.C. came by a half hour later and had picked up about ten t-shirts at a very low price. We went upstairs and I interviewed Seth, John and Tim while they designed t-shirts. I asked Kawai how much they could get for the t-shirts and he thought they would go for at least ¥3000 ($30). But Seth Putnam insisted that they weren’t out to make a profit and the shirts would be priced at ¥500 ($5) each. (All of the shirts were sold out in less than a minute.) Corrupted, an incredibly loud and grinding hardcore band, is led by Hasegawa Chu, who quit both Omoide Hatoba and Concrete Octopus to concentrate on this band exclusively.
My ears were still ringing from the show at Bears so I waited outside with Seth, John and Tim, who were constantly approached for autographs and asked to pose for photographs. A few overzealous fans asked them to sign articles of clothing and the rock god treatment seemed to amuse them.
Tim went inside to see Masonna’s set which he thought was incredible. Solmania put on another intense performance.
When A.C. took the stage it was like something out of a rock and roll movie. I’ve been to tons of shows but I’ve never witnessed anything as out of control as what happened next. As soon as they started playing dozens of fans rushed the stage and went absolutely nuts. Swarms of people embraced Seth Putnam as if he was some long lost older brother. Several parasites latched on to John and Tim and it was somewhat of a challenge to play their instruments under such adulation from the crowd. No one would leave the stage and if everyone wasn’t having such a good time you would have thought that the crowd was about to riot.
Backstage at Fandango…
*I don’t know if this qualifies as a proper interview or not. It’s really just a transcription of what was said backstage as the band was making t-shirts to sell at the show. I thought about transcribing this in the style of a one act play since some of the insults thrown back and forth seem as though they were written by David Mamet or someone (Ha!—No, it’s true, dammit).
Exile Osaka: How do you feel that you’re officially “Big in Japan….”
Seth: Does that mean overweight?
E: …joining the ranks of Deep Purple, Mr. Big, and The Michael Schenker Group?
Tim: I feel very proud. I’m very happy with myself. I feel naked. I feel like Naked Aggression. I feel myself. I feel good. Seth, what do you think?
Tim: It’s cool. Japan is the best place we played ever.
S: It’s the first time we’ve been treated like a real band.
E: What did you do last night, after the show?
T: I drank some sake and got a little tipsy and walked around with our manager and I almost knocked over a bunch of bicycles. Seth did secret things..
S: I went to a [unintelligible] high on booze…
John: Tell him about the body manipulation thing with the chopsticks.
Tim: Oh yeah, we were at this restaurant. We were taking chopsticks and like putting them on our tongues and up our noses, and closing our eyelids with them. We were being stupid.
E: Favorite Japanese food?
S: The pizza buffet at Shakeys.
E: What are your favorite Japanese bands besides Loudness?
S: I don’t really like any Japanese bands…
T: Plug the Ruins…
S: The Ruins are good. I like the second Hanatarash album….
T: The Boredoms are a good live band, but I don’t like their records.
E: Have you heard their new album, Heavy Metal Hippies? They’re all like wearing flowers in their hair. There’s a shot of them standing in a forest. Peace signs and glitter on the cover
T: Get out of here!
[ THE INTERVIEW IS INTERRUPTED BY SOLMANIA’S SOUNDCHECK]
S: We should tour with Aretha Franklin.
T: Geezus, listen to that downstairs!
E: What has been the reaction to A.C. in the USA?
T: Most people don’t understand what we’re doing. They get really confused. They think we go around and kill people. Someone asked Seth one time if we go around and break stuff in the studio. We’re like mellow guys. They don’t get it.
S: What are we talking about?
T: Why people in America don’t understand us. I was referring to that 15 year old kid in Florida who was like, “How do you guys do what you do?” He had a Nine Inch Nails shirt on so you could understand why he felt that way. He thinks Nine Inch Nails are industrial…
[THE INTERVIEW IS INTERRUPTED BY MASONNA’S SOUNDCHECK]
E: What do you think of Japan, so far?
T: Everyone’s treating us with a lot of respect. I had no idea that we were this big here.
S: Everyone’s always raving how cool Japan is and I was always skeptical, like yeah, whatever. But it turned out to be way better than I thought it would be.
T: I’m all done making shirts. I’ve done enough shirts.
S: You want to do a split shirt?
T: Yeah, I’ll do a split shirt with you.
S: No. I want to do it myself.
T: You just said you wanted to do a split shirt!
S: I just wanted to see your reaction. I was lying.
T: All right. We gotta do this interview.
E: This is the interview. This is what’s happening backstage with A.C.. Besides, I’m no Lester Bangs. I’m not going to come up with any brilliant questions.
J: He’s not like Geraldo or anything.
E: I’m getting it all on tape. Just feel free to throw out any comments…
(Tim glances over at a shirt that Greg, their manager is making)
T: Greg is being dumb! ( *All joking aside, the band was grateful to their manager for the fine job he did setting up the tour.)
Greg: You’re getting really blown out of proportion about the shirts…
T: I don’t give a shit! I honestly don’t give a shit..
J: (joking, sarcastic) Dude, it represents our band. So-rry!
G: Then I’ll take it out of the ones for sale. I’m not getting upset with it. It’s my shirt.
S: You’ll pay us ¥500. (The band starts singing “¥500—Give us the money” to the intro to the Addams Family Theme.)
S: (singing to the Addams Family Theme): “The jerk was really stupid…”
E: Well, now you have some song titles for the next album. It can be all about shirts.
S: It’s gonna be called..what’s your name?
S: The next album is going to be called Matt is Gay.
T: No, no….He’s gonna write the introduction to this interview as ‘I interviewed A.C….
E: …And all I got was this lousy t-shirt.
T: Stop throwing stuff! Come on! You know I mean, you know…
S: I saw A.C. and all I got was a lousy microphone stuck in my face. I’ll throw the mike stand into the crowd.
T: (sarcastic) That’ll be a good idea, Seth.
S: I wanna get arrested in Japan.
T: That’ll be good. You should do that. That’ll be real quality entertainment.
S: I’ll go play yahtzee with myself (Burps).
E: What did you do this morning?
T: I got up, watched Sesame Street, went for a walk…
S: Then he had sex with a fork,
T: No, I didn’t, there’s no forks here.
S: Well, then chopsticks.
G: What’s your favorite bands?
S: Negative Approach
J: Of all time? Right now I’m on a Frankie Valli kick.
E: How did you find the reaction of the Japanese fans last night?
T: It was great. People were crazy. Jumping up and down having a good time. No ventilation in the place. I was gonna die onstage but it didn’t matter, It was great.
T: You’re going to detention young man!
S: I’m gonna smack you in the urethra if you don’t shut up.
T: You can’t even try, I have nipples.
S: I like you.
T: I like you, too.
S: Normally I’m the most lethargic person ever, but for some reason today I’m hyper….Tree sucks! Don’t ever listen to them.
J: They’re probably not even known. There CD’s are not even here.
G: You’ll probably give them exposure by mentioning them.
S: Maybe some loser with a Biohazard shirt will go buy a Tree CD.
T: You know, if you say they’re scum, people will buy it because they’ll think it’s scum rock.
S: I liked the record store I went to yesterday [Time Bomb]. It had cool sections like a Scum/Junk section (John talks about how much he wants to go bowling in Japan)
T: We’re gonna tour with Danzig and we’re gonna have a mud wrestling match with him.
S: The tentative title for our next album is Diary of an Alcoholic. It’s gonna have A.C. and an Ozzy logo. It’s gonna have a picture of Ted Kennedy on the cover.
E: As long as the cover isn’t a painting by John Wayne Gacy. That’s become a dumb hipster cliche…
T: Oh he’s an idiot! There was this girl who was at one of our shows. A fat moron. She was like doing this documentary on John Wayne Gacy, and she’s like ‘He was my father figure.’ She was the dumbest human being…
S: She came up to me and said what do you think of Gacy. And I said he was a loser.
T: I’m glad he’s dead. I hope he dies a hundred more times. Everyone in America is like ‘Woooow, look at this serial killer. He only killed people with cleft pallets. He’s really cool.’ f*ck that shit. Dumb asses.
E: G.G. Allin?
T: He was a rock and roll superstar, I guess. I don’t know, I never paid much attention to him.
S: I thought I lot of the stuff he did was dumb, but I liked a lot of stuff that he did. The best live shows that I saw was G.G. Allin’s.
E: What was the last movie that you saw?
T: On the plane? It was Little Giants.
J: It was the worst movie ever made.
E: It couldn’t be worse than that movie Swing Kids , about those Nazi kids who got into swing music.
T: Oh, that was f*cking stupid! Who the hell thought up that movie!?
E: They’re Nazis but they’re into swing music so that makes them okay.
T: They’re Nazis but they also talk perfect English.
S: I’m starting a new side project called “Kermit the Stormtrooper.” It’s gonna be a cross between Liberace and Sodom.
E: What bands would you like to tour with?
J: If we could tour with any band? We’d wait until a Beatles reunion.
E: A Beatles reunion with ….?
J: Buddy Hackett.
E: Worst album of all time, not including albums by Don Johnson and Bruce Willis.
S: Hey, You got something against The Return of Bruno? Well, f*ck You!
J: I can tell you the worst song of all time, that Pearl Jam cover of “Proud Mary”or whatever they called it. We sit around all day talking about the worst song of all time, and that has to be the worst.
[The band breaks into a rendition of “In a Gada Da Vi Da”.]
S: Don’t you think the Swans should do “California Dreaming?” All…the…leaves…are…brown…and…the…sky…is gray….
(Loud Crashing Sound)
S: I hate Assuck. They’re boring and they suck. I want to write a T.V. show called The Mean Guys. All they do is make fun of people the whole time.
T: George Thorougood rocks!
E: Any major label offers?
T: Yeah right!
J: Every single one of them.
E: Does that mean you’re having a Thai dinner with David Geffen…
T: David Geffen came to suck my f*cking ass! (laughs)
S: I’ll tell you how Madonna is in bed.
T: You couldn’t get Madonna if you tried.
E: There’s a picture of Mr. T on the CD insert…
T: Seth and John met Mr. T and they went up to him to get his autograph. And there were people lined up in front of him going, ‘Let me have your autograph.’ And Mr. T was like, ‘What’s your name?’ The guy said ‘Bob,’ and Mr. T. was like, ‘How do you spell that?
J: We should give thanks to the cool airplane for losing our shirts.
S: Northwest Airlines sucks. F*ck You!
T: Great, now we’re gonna crash on the way back.