Do you remember what it felt like the first time you heard your favorite music? I was 14 and had been listening to a lot of metal bands. it was typical stuff like Metallica and Slayer. One day my friend, Christian Barnes, came over to my house and changed my life with two words: punk rock. Ramones, Descendents, Black Flag and a ton of other American and British bands just took over my life.
I’d never been moved so much in my young life. I thought I knew what aggressive music was before, but this was better to me. These guys weren’t singing about religious stuff or gory murder shit. They were singing about everyday life. The music was gnarly and I could relate.
As time passed and my punk collection grew, I saw a real downhill slide. More like a straight nosedive. I saw punk rock get taken advantage of. So much bad music attached itself to the genre while totally having nothing to do with it. In my opinion, there is a punk sound and once you have enough sub-genres, the sound is lost. Back in the ‘80s, crust would’ve been called cross-over and in the ‘90s hardcore turned into shit that was nothing but breakdowns. For a long time I missed bands that sounded like and just were punk rock.
On the Gulf Coast, two dudes and their bands are really capturing the heart and root of it all: Buck Biloxi and the Fucks and Gary Wrong Group. When I first heard these two bands I was excited. I had been missing Gary Wrong’s previous band, Wizard Sleeve. I knew that Gary was into different sounds and always surrounded himself with like-minded musicians. I couldn’t wait to hear what he was up to. Featuring Benny Divine on drums and Casio, Weird Steve Kenny on white-noise-frequency-screeching- drum-machine thing and Mr. Quintron on percussion, Gary Wrong Group slays with spacey, scary, dark songs. I mean, it’s not easy to describe it. Flipper versus Suicide? Do you even know what that means? Me neither.
Buck Biloxi, on the other hand, was an unexpected treasure; I just stumbled upon them at Saturn Bar one night. And it was perfect. Truly raw, late ‘70s killer punk. As of late they’ve really gone places,playing a handful of killer fests and releasing a good chunk of songs with 7”s on both Orgone Toilet and Pelican PowWow records. There are few bands out there that can really nail that no frills sound, total glue-sniffing idiot (and rad) punk rock. DeeDee would be proud.
GARY WRONG GROUP
Tell me about this record, Knights of Misery.
Gary Wrong: It’s our LP out on Total Punk and Jeth Row Records. Jeth Row is my label and this guy Rich runs Total Punk. I stole the name from this old swamp pop guy named Johnnie Allan. My favorite song of his is called “Knights of Misery.” It’s a very tortured song.
And the LP actually is total punk. It’s layered with all these tones and delays. How do you describe it?
It’s nasty… I don’t know, man. It’s just Southern punk with a lot of crazy shit.
Did Mr. Quintron have a lot to do with the sound of the recording?
It was a mixture. I’d record a track, then he’d add to it and vice versa. We did it at my place in Mobile and at his house in New Orleans, the Spellcaster Lodge.
Do you think that the South produces a distinct sound, whether it be metal or punk?
Yeah, of course. I mean, it did a lot more before the internet. Now everybody has access to everything. It kind of cheapens it a bit.
Whenever I go out of town I run into so much stuff that you don’t see a lot of in the South. Like punks with mohawks and everybody looks all ‘77 or a lot of other people mass producing the psych thing.
But it’s all cheap. I think things are just more real down here. But there are a bunch of yahoo fucking losers.
When you guys are writing, do the songs pour right out of you?
It depends. Some of the songs have been around for a long time and been reworked and other times we just do them right off the cuff. But yeah, we can write really quick or I can just make it take forever. Sometimes they gotta grow a little bit.
I know exactly what you mean by that. Did you listen to anything growing up that influenced the Gary Wrong sound?
I listened to a lot of Chrome and Hawkwind and other weird acid folk stuff.
What do you think of all these bands using Kickstarter for recording and touring?
I don’t like it. I can understand if it’s something unattainable. But if you can not do dope or quit smoking and drinking for a month to record a record then fuckin do it. Or if you’re trying to make a movie or something, that shit’s fuckin expensive… I mean, if somebody wants to give me money, that’s cool. But I’m not going panhandling for it on the computer.
You and I both play in the punk/garage rock scene.
Don’t say garage rock. I play in the back room.
I hate saying garage. The garage is for the car, dude.
[laughs] Yeah, it’s back-room rock.
I know that in that scene we’ve both run into bands that are completely image over sound.
Oh yeah man. I’ve seen it.
Does it bother you when some of these guys get any recognition?
People are morons. They’re going to like what people tell them to like.
I don’t want to ask you what’s cool to hear right now. I’d rather ask you what sucks. Who deserves to get punched out there?
Aw man, everybody. I mean, it’s different everywhere you go but it’s also the same. There’s always good and bad; it just depends on where you’re coming from. People are morons.
Do you feel like people expect you to be a certain way since you’re from the Gulf Coast?
Yes. It’s weird. Like when Kajun SS went to Europe, people expected us to be all like Dukes of Hazard. Like where them ol’ Duke boys? They expect stuff but you don’t have to give it to them.
Does this band have any plans for touring in the future?
Not really. Benny is always busy, Quintron is busy.
And you’re a family man.
Yeah, and I run my label.
How is it being a father and a rocker at the same time?
It’s cool! The only limitation really is scheduling out-of-town shows, and while I love to play out-of-town, getting there and back without coming out of pocket is pretty hard; and being away from the family with nothing to show for it is pretty much out of the question… usually. Ha ha.
Does your daughter love rock‘n’roll?
Well yeah, duh… she specifically asks for “the ‘Mones.” On the way to daycare, “Beat on the Brat” and “53rd & 3rd” are her favorites… [I’m] not looking forward to telling her what DeeDee wrote that song about. She really digs MOTO and the Spits, too. On the way home, it’s usually “Daddy, ENO!” Her singing along to “Baby’s On Fire” is hilarious.
Tell me the pros and cons of running a label.
The pros are the satisfaction of putting out music you love for a handful of people who also love it. Cons are the rising prices at the pressing plant and the United States Postal Service.
What are your favorite releases so far?
I love everything I have ever released. In my mind, there isn’t a stinker in the bunch.
You’ve probably started to get pretty good at managing a family, a job, bands, and running a label. Would you go nuts if you weren’t spread so thin? Is all the activity necessary to maintain sanity?
Well according to my wife and several others, I am nuts. I would absolutely love to not be spread so thin but I am sure if something were to give I would immediately fill it will another task.
What would you like to see more of in punk rock?
BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS
Buck Biloxi: Guitar and Vocals * Joe Pestilence: Bass and Vocals * Seth Fountain: Drums
Are guys wasted? Buck looks wasted.
Buck Biloxi: I’m fine. I had a few beers.
Seth Fountain: I brought beers for everybody.
I’m okay. Have you guys ever heard of poppers? What the hell are those things?
BB: Uh, yeah I know about them. they’re sold as things like VCR head cleaner and nail polish remover. Basically it’s amyl nitrate.
That’s nuts! People huff it.
Joe Pestilence: That’s one use, I guess.
That’s gross. I want to say that I’m stoked on this band. Festivals, a handful of quick releases—how did you guys manage such a meteoric rise?
BB: We’re very prolific. SF: Prolific extreme.
JP: We’re very cool. [laughs]
How would you guys describe the sound that made you the stars you are today?
SF: I would say it’s pretty much a stink bomb. But in a good way.
BB: I just think we’re the best punk band ever. [laughs]
BB: We’re better than the Ramones; we’re better than Head. We’re better than the… uh…
JP: the Beatles.
BB: The Beatles aren’t even in our league! [continued laughter] The Beatles can’t even compare to us in terms of being radical or having masterful attitude.
SF: They didn’t have to deal with oogles either.
So true. Oogles are completely the worst level of shit head.
BB: Oogles have evolved to having a hive- mind like the Borg from Star Trek. [loud laughing]
BB: The crusty is still an independent organism. If you kill the queen oogle, the others will surely die.
What kind of bands actually do influence you guys?
SF: It’s just playing straight-forward punk rock. I think it all starts with a riff and when we’re all here it just comes together.
BB: In the press we’re accused of being derivative of bands I’ve never heard of.
SF: Like GG Allin.
You’ve never heard of GG Allin?!
BB: Of course I’ve heard of GG-Jesus- Christ-Allin! Seth is accusing me of having not heard of GG Allin.
Seth is always accusing me of not being punk all the time!
BB: It’s obvious that our songs are derivative copy-cat bullshit. But I’m not naming bands!
JP: Everything is derivative. Everybody has influences! Band B sounds like Band A and everybody goes knocking them for it, so it doesn’t even matter.
I think you guys have your take on a style more than I think you’re ripping off a particular band.
BB: I just want to be a regular punk band. Not some weird art crap or extreme sub- genre.
JP: It’s just basic classic songwriting that sounds good. The hooks are there. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, though we may in the future.
You guys have been booked for a lot of out of town shows but you haven’t toured a lot. anything planned for the road?
BB: Yeah man, we’re going through the Midwest and East Coast with our Memphis friends the Manatees.
You guys need to let me drive for that one.
[whole band at once]: Absolutely!
JP: you have to drive the long shifts.
What kind of stuff would you put on your rider?
BB: I would just want there to be someone to tell me how handsome I look.
You mean like respect waiting for you backstage?
SF: Exactly. Just have a guy there to be really nice to us.
That would make touring pretty easy. Do you guys notice a more image-oriented world outside of the South?
BB: Yeah, like when we were in Portland or anywhere, really. All these guys have these Rod Stewart hairdos. It’s really weird.
SF: Yeah, it’s like glam punk is making a comeback in the worst way.
BB: If I like a band’s songs, the look doesn’t matter. I just want to know where they go to get that haircut. What do they tell the person cutting their hair?
Your music does enough on its own. I love the song titles. “I’m a Genius” and “Shut the Fuck Up” are definitely my favorites.
SF: And we have “I’m a Disaster” and “Shut the Hell Up.”
BB: Yeah, it’s for the kids.
Where do y’all record?
BB: Right here in my house. I do all the engineering.
JP: There is no third party. Everything we do is completely DIY.
That’s awesome. What do you think of bands that use Kickstarter to fund their musical ventures?
BB: I think they’re pussies. Ask your mom for money instead of asking me. It’s fucking stupid.
JP: Just get a third job! If you really believe in what you’re doing, you should just stay up, do poppers, eat vitamins and deal with it!
None of you guys are New Orleans originals. The three of you are from other Gulf Coast cities. Why do you guys choose to live here?
JP: This city is hilarious!
SF: This is my favorite city. It’s not homogenized.
BB: It’s the freedom.
JP: I like invading other cities with a group of New Orleanians.
BB: They don’t want to be as wild as we are and they don’t want us to be wild. I’m telling you right now that Buck Biloxi and the Fucks are bringing Wild Wayne to your town and we’re getting WILD!!!
Buck Biloxi and the Fucks perform as part of Creepy Fest on Sunday, July 14th at the Circle Bar. Gary Wrong Group’s LP, Knights of Misery, is available for download at garywronggroup.bandcamp.com