Friday, August 14, 2009

Interview: Motherfuckers

The MOTHERFUCKERS have been around for a decade now tearing up the Calgary scene. They toured out in Toronto two years ago and we got to talk to them then. Their EP “I Want to be a Cop so I can Fuck You Up” had just come out. The MOTHERFUCKERS are on hiatus right now. Here is the interview done by Stephe Perry.

Introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band.
Jay: My name’s Jay Misery and I play lead guitar.
Dan: My name is Dan Izzo. I sing badly.
Shawn: Shawn Hunter. I play bass, badly.
Tim: Tim Bastard. I play drums.
How long have the MOTHERFUCKERS been around for?
Dan: In various incarnations about ten years. We are celebrating our ten year anniversary this December.
How did the band come together?
Shawn: Tim and I and Rog, our first bass player, decided we were just going to start a band. We wrote some material, mostly music. I had some lyrics at that time. We had a lot of trouble finding a singer. One person tried out but she found a better band and moved on. I suggested Dan, and Roger at the time was against it. We did nothing for six months and then Roger had the great idea of asking Dan. So we got Dan and then got the rest of the songs together and that Boxing Day played our first show.
Was there an idea behind the band when you first started? Did you want to try and be a certain type of band?
Shawn: I don’t know that anybody tried to be a certain way. This was Tim and my first band. Roger had been in plenty of bands before. He may have had ideas. We just wanted to get together and play some music, write some stuff, play some shows.
Make it fast.
Shawn: Yeah.
Were any of you in any previous bands prior to MOTHERFUCKERS other than Shawn who said you weren’t?
Shawn: Tim and I weren’t.
Tim: We were in some garage bands but nothing serious. This is the first band that we actually went out and played shows with.
What about Jay and Dan?
Jay: Yeah, I have been in a lot of bands actually. Since I was sixteen years old.
Dan: He has been in about half the bands in Calgary.
Jay: Yeah. Probably a half dozen in Calgary alone.
I don’t mind if you mention names because we don’t hear a lot about bands from Calgary.
Jay: I don’t want to mention names.
And Dan, were you in some bands?
Dan: I was not in any serious bands before the MOTEHRFUCKERS. Jay and I, before Jay joined the MOTHERFUCKERS, had a band called the BLOTTO BOYS who didn’t do a whole lot. We played a few shows and released a split 7” with a band called RUM RUNNER. It was a POGUES tribute 7”. If anybody wants one of those I think the RUM RUNNER boys still have about 400 of them. We have a couple.
Did you guys put it out together?
Dan: Yeah, Alan Drinkle from RUM RUNNER had a little label called Pedestrian Records that did one release and that was it.
Are you Handsome Dan?
Dan: I am Handsome Dan of Handsome Dan Records fame.
So you put out the recent MOTHERFUCKERS EP right?
Dan: Yeah. All of the MOTHERFUCKERS releases except for the original MOTHERFUCKERS CD EP “If It Ain’t Puke It Ain’t Punk”. That was on the short lived Two Idiots with a Dumb Idea record label. All the other releases are Handsome Dan releases.
Can you list off a discography of MOTHERFUCKERS releases and could you include the years? When was your first release?
Dan: I think we did “If It Ain’t Puke It Ain’t Punk” in 2001. It was recorded about a year before that and sat around. It was released on a very limited poor quality CD-R. We did in total about 200 of them.
How many songs were on it?
Dan: There were six songs. Then we did the “Classless Society” CD which was 10 tracks. That came out in 2004. That was recorded a little earlier. At that point the band was Jay Misery, who is here with us now playing bass. Shawn Hunter was on guitar.
Jay: There has been five or six people who have played bass in this band.
Shawn: I am on my second tour of the band.
Dan: That original ep we had a very different line up. It was Tim Hunter, myself. Hunter you were playing guitar at that point.
Shawn: And we had Andrew and Scott.
Dan: Andrew McCall on bass and Scott Belton on the other guitar. Then we did “The Mother of All Fuckers” CD which came out last year. That is kind of a mish mash of a bunch of crap.
Like different recordings.
Dan: Yeah.
Tim: Three different recording sessions.
Is it over a long period of time with different line ups?
Jay: We re-released the “If It Ain’t Puke, It Ain’t Punk” CD. We put that on and we had 8 or 9 songs already recorded with our old guitar player. That was basically done and on the shelf. We were just waiting to release it when we had some personal issues. Unfortunately everything got sidetracked by that. Then last year we went back into the studio and did another 4 songs and we put it all together. It was kind of a tribute to our old guitar player.
Okay so it is three different recordings with 18 songs.
Jay: It spans about three or four years of the band.
Dan: The first four tracks was a line up with Roger Neilson on bass who was the original bass player. We brought him back in the band to record those four songs. He also played on the 7” we just released. Once again he is out of the band. It is all very confusing especially for us.
Well you are on the road now and playing so that is good.
Dan: I think we have a reasonably stable line up now.
And where does “I Want to Be a Cop so I Can Fuck you up” come in?
Dan: That just came out. That was released in June. Again that is six tracks we recorded with Roger on bass. We recorded it about a year ago. We went in and did ten tracks. We pick six to do the ep so there is another four unreleased ones.
Shawn: And you will never get to hear any of them.
Dan: They will come out on a secret bootleg at some point. You just won’t know anything about it.
Is there a good studio to record in Calgary? Where do you guys go? Do you go to the same place?
Shawn: The first three CDs we did at Echo Base Studios. Some folks might know Casey Lewis from the EVERYMEN and FAILURE.
Tim: He did our first three albums and then we went in with Dave Alcott. Dave is the drummer for an old band called CHIXDIGGIT.
They were very popular here.
Tim: Dave is a great guy so it was real easy.
He probably knew your sound.
Tim: He has been around. He has seen us for years. He knew what he was getting into.
Jay: I think we were the first punk band he had mixed in three or four years. He does a lot of other stuff.
Tim: Country, Blues whatever. Very talented guy.
I was going to ask you where does the name MOTHERFUCKERS come from and is there a story behind it?
Dan: That was one of these unfortunate incidents. When I first joined the band we tossed around a few names. I think Tim wanted to call it the BUTCHER BOYS. Hunter wanted to call it INSIDE JOKE and the cover of the album was going to be a picture of a prostate. In the end I went around telling everyone the band was called ROWDY ROGER AND THE MOTHERFUCKERS mainly joking around kind of poking fun at Roger our old bass player. Unfortunately I told it to a lot of people and it just kind of stuck so by the time we played our first show we were already billed as ROWDY ROGER AND THE MOTHERFUCKERS.
Jay: Yeah the kid who made the poster just put us on it. Didn’t even ask us. Just assumed it was our name.
Dan: Of course when Roger left the band we didn’t do anything for a year or a year and a half. Then we threw together the new line up we dropped the ROWDY ROGER and kept the MOTHERFUCKERS. It is not the most imaginative of names. There are a few more MOTHERFUCKERS out there.
Yeah but still it is good and it has a good story.
Tim: Every kid loves to have a shirt that says MOTHERFUCKER on it just to piss their parents off.
What about influences? Who do you consider influences on the band?
Jay: That’s Dan’s entire list.
Dan: That’s why I am not allowed to answer any questions.
Jay: We all listen to a wide variety of stuff.
Tim: Yeah. Very eclectic.
I am mostly interested in punk things.
Dan: Anything involving Keith Morris. I only listen to BLACK FLAG and CIRCLE JERKS.
Shawn: We definitely have a heavy MOTORHEAD influence. More speed rock style sort of thing.
I was thinking the early skate crossover scene. Bands like ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT.
Shawn: We have been compared to older bands like SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. We were compared to DRI. We don’t bring songs to the table that sound like something we have just listened to.
Yeah I don’t imagine that but sometimes it is by osmosis. You are just listening to something and it comes through in your sound. If you had to limit your record collection to five punk releases what would they be as a band? Let’s say you are going on tour and you only have room for five releases.
Dan: Dude, we are going to fight. We are not even going to go on tour. We can’t even make it from one city to the next without a fight over music. This trip it has been MOTORHEAD, ALCOHOLIC WHITE TRASH, DAVID ALLEN CO., NWA, ICE CUBE, THIN LIZZY,
What about punk stuff?
Jay: AWT counts. WHO’S GAL, from Victoria. LID. We tend to listen to bands that we have met, playing shows and we pick up their stuff. For a while we were on a big Victoria band kick. We went on two or three trips out there and everytime we met a new band we grabbed their CD and that was what we were listening to for a while. For the mainstream stuff we were listening to a lot of BLACK FLAG. We have all listened to a lot of it in the past.
Dan: We listened to SLAYER doing VERBAL ABUSE covers.
Jay: Dan it’s not punk.
Dan: Dude it’s punk. It’s a VERBAL ABUSE cover.
It’s reaching but it’s good. What about lyrics. What are some of the things you are singing about Dan?
Dan: A lot of the earlier stuff is alcohol influenced and lyrics are generally written by Hunter or me.
What are some of the song titles?
Shawn: “Let’s Talk about Turkey”, “Number 7”, “Pissed in the Pit”, “God Pissed in my Beer”. We used to do a song called “Gin and Tonic”. Yeah a lot of it was booze influenced. It is not high brow stuff by any stretch of the imagination.
It reminds me of GANG GREEN, the whole idea. The alcohol theme.
Shawn: The quote on the back of one of our releases by Kacey Lewis is “Thinking Man’s Drunk Punk”. Occasionally when I write a song I will grab an old cliché line and stick it in there. Just let it run however it runs from there. We have had a couple of songs that run that way, like “Fish Fucking” is ….
Punk rock speaking in tongues.
Shawn: Pretty much. It is a lot of W.C Fields. “Don’t drink water, the fish fuck in it”. And it runs from there.
What is your favourite MOTHERFUCKERS song from a lyrical standpoint and why? There is your probing question.
Shawn: Dan claims to love to being probed.
Dan: I did earlier. Now that I am being probed…..actually one of my favourites is “Pass by me”. A few years ago Hunter said he was working on this song and he said I am writing it from your point of view. I didn’t think anything of it. The chorus is “I can’t believe that your idea of normal seems to mean that I can’t walk around in semen encrusted jeans.” I was like “Oh man that is fucking hilarious.” Two or three days later I was like “Wait a minute. This is the one he said he wrote from my standpoint.” I guess the general idea that of feeling like you are living outside of society where we all work real jobs and there is this feeling of being apart from the average person. “Ordinary People” is one I wrote along the same lines because there is that feeling that we are a little different than your average guy on the street. Our goals, motivations, and general attitudes are quite a bit different.
Shawn: For me probably “Lost” is one of the ones that I am happy with.
Tim: Me too.
What is it about?
Shawn: For a long time we played as a five piece. Us here plus Rich Williams. A couple of years ago Rich killed himself. So I took a couple of lines from the Funeral Director’s eulogy for him and blew it up into a song. His mom really likes it. His family really likes it.
Tim: It was the last song he wrote with the band. It never got recorded and it was just done. The music was there, but we didn’t have the lyrics for it. When he died that is when we decided to put out the “Mother of all Fuckers” because Rich had been involved in the second recording. It was the last thing he did and the last song we wrote. We wanted to put it out as a tribute to him.
Dan: That is basically what got us back into the studio. We hadn’t really done anything for years coming up to that.
Tim: It was the kick in the butt we needed. It got us back to work.
Yeah it sounds like it. A raison d’etre.
Tim: He wouldn’t have wanted to see the band stop just because of that.
For sure. It is a nice tribute. Jay, do you have a song that you like?
Jay: I only just started to understand the lyrics. I have never really known what they sung about at all. I just hear the word “beer” every once and a while. I don’t really listen to lyrics. I have to pay attention to Dan’s vocal pattern. As a guitar player I sometimes have to play off of his vocals. I find it adds a lot of dynamic to the music. I like “Classless Society” a lot. I like “Nervous Wreck”. I used to live like that song. Those are the ones I like the most.
I was going to ask you about the Calgary scene at the moment. I am going to ask you to be punk rock ambassadors at the moment and tell us about some bands that you play with at home.
Tim: They are awesome.
Dan: I really like the ANTI SOCIAL CLUB.
What are the PISS OFFS like?
Tim: Street Punk. They write catchy songs. They put on a great show. They go balls out. They are fun to watch.
Dan: I really like the ANTI SOCIAL CLUB. They have an early 80’s hardcore thing. I think they just broke up though so…..Oh no we are playing with them next week and then they are breaking up. That will be their last show. We are also playing with the BLOODY HELLS. They used to be a band called GOOD AND PISSED. Before that a couple of them were in the BLOTTO BOYS with Jay and I. Before that they were in NO COAST HARDCORE. There is a long line of bands those guys have been in.
Tim: Incestuous bands.
Every scene is like that, including Toronto.
Jay: In Calgary there will be times when things are really happening and then it will drop down. Also the time we end up here is to play shows. We are to old to go hang out in bars every night. We can’t see the scene in it’s glory every night. I am a little out of touch myself. I have definitely noticed the change in styles of music. I guess in the last ten years in Calgary they were showcasing a lot of punk rock bands and then it shifted. There is a lot of indie and college radio material. Lots of bars are promoting that stuff. It seems like when one venue closes another one opens up in a couple of months so there is always a place to play.
Tim: Yeah. There is never a shortage of that. The only problem in Calgary is the all ages scene. That is really sketchy.
Dan: But there is some basement shows coming up again. There is this girl named Lana who does a lot of basement shows. There is a lot of new all ages hardcore bands. I think that scene really is coming back.
Tim: The DEAD DOGS from Winnipeg. They were great.
Dan: She put on a show with ANS from Texas. We were supposed to play that but we ended up not being able to. It was a great show. A lot of kids out for that. I think that the all ages scene is definitely coming back.
Tim: That is good to see because we have lost so many venues over the years for one reason or another. Now it has gotten back to the basements again, which is great for us. I love playing those kind of shows.
Were you guys part of a skate scene at all back in Calgary? You kind of dress that way.
Dan: Yeah, to a certain extent. I haven’t been skating much this year but I get out when I can.
Is there much of a skate scene there? And is there a crossover with punk rock? ‘
Dan: To a certain extent. Not as much as there used to be.
I know that hip hop had taken over in some areas. Punk rock had gotten pushed out and then was embraced again. I know in the last five years or so there has been a resurgence of hardcore back into skating.
Dan: It is definitely not as much of a crossover as there used to be, but there still is.
Jay: They are changing from the Fat Wrechords - California sound that came out of So Cal. They are getting away from that style of punk rock with skating in mind. Going back to the crossover thrash metal so that is kind of cool.
What are the bands plans for the next little while?
Tim: Survive this trip.
How long are you on tour for?
Tim: We are out for another week.
Dan: Well we have two more shows. We are playing London tomorrow and then Thunder Bay on Tuesday.
And how long have you been on tour so far?
Dan: 9 days.
Thunder Bay is a long drive.
Dan: Yeah we are definitely looking forward to that one.
I guess it is a show somewhere in between.
Tim: That is exactly it.
Dan: I think we are going to go back into the studio as quick as we can and record some new material with this line up. The new 7” we put out is a good record, but it doesn’t really reflect the way the line up sounds now. We have a few new songs ready to go and we are going to try and get some more stuff done. Hopefully put out a full length within the next year or so. If all goes well.
Tim: Hopefully come back out here.
Shawn: And we have our anniversary show to plan and pull off.
Do you know when your anniversary is?
Shawn: The first show was Boxing Day 1998.
Tim: We already have the venue arranged and the line up is set.
Yeah it sounds good.
Shawn: Work on the cat herding and make sure it all goes off.
How can people get in touch with the band? What is the best way to reach you?
Dan: We have a myspace page, which is There is another one on there rowdyrogerandthemotherfuckers. Don’t go to that one. We don’t see that one. I think our old bass player does. We also have a website at That is updated pretty often. I go on there whenever I can. We should have some new photos from tour. You can see photos of the random drunk girl that was on stage with us last night.
Any last comments? Final Words? Parting thoughts?
Dan: Last night was awesome.
Tim: Thanks a lot to Toronto.
Dan: Thanks to Matt from High Art for the Low Down. We played there last night at Siesta Nouveaux.
Sounds like a memorable show.
Dan: Yeah it was great. We played to about ten people in Montreal the night before so it was really nice to come out here and play to a bunch of people who are really into it. The other bands we played with were great. It was a lot of fun. For all of us that is the kind of show we prefer to do. Small venue like that to people who are really stoked on it. Great sound in that space too. We had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who came out.

Thanks for getting up so early to do this interview and we hope to see you back in a year’s time.

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