This interview was done with a magazine in Brazil in 2007
1.When and what was your inspiration to start The Quakes?
A:I started The Quakes in the fall of 1986 after two unsuccessful trips to London to try to start a rockabilly band. I had other bands before The Quakes in Buffalo New York. I was influenced by The Stray Cats -The Polecats and the Rockats who I saw on MTV.
2.I believe there wasn't an American scene for you back in that time. Is that why you guys went to England?
A:Yes- as I said I had gone there on my own two times to start a band. I knew there was a scene there because that's where the Stray Cats went etc. The first two times I went I was interested in starting a rockabilly band. I wasn't really familiar with psychobilly:-)
3.And how did it feel to be the only American band in the European psychobilly scene?
A:It was great! I thought we were a little different. (by design)
4.How did you get in contact with Nervous Records?
A:We sent them some cassette demos.
5.The album you released was heavy and aggressive, against standards of the time.
Do you think you had created a new way of playing psychobillly? What did you guys listen to?
A:It was two things- it was our shear frustration and angst and there was a bit of a “pissing contest” going on among some of the bands to see who was going to be faster. In hind sight I see how ridiculous this was and I hope some of the younger bands don't fall into the same trap.
6.Why is that Stray Cats reference on the album cover? What did they think about it?
A:We thought that we were like them in the sense that we had to go to England to get noticed. It was a gimmick that worked well for us. Of course even though we were playing psychobilly, we were heavily influenced by the Stray Cats.
They saw the record in 1990 when they came to London on the “Blast Off” tour. They got in touch with Nervous records and I got to go to the show and meet them.
7.In the "You are the scene" lyrics you talk about bands as Demented, Frenzy, Restless...were these the bands you liked the most? Was there a friendship between the bands?
A:Those were some of the big bands at that time. At that time we were just coming up so we were kind of invisible :-) but ya those guys are all cool- we have played many shows with them all over the last 20 years.
8.Did you ever play at Klub Foot? How was the atmosphere in the gigs on Europe back in that time?
A:Yes we did! There are pictures on my web site.
The crowds were huge back in those days and people were really into it. There were lots of fanzines doing interviews and it was very a innocent time for us because we were unknown.
9.On "Voice of America" the sound you went for was very unlike the first album, and after that you never recorded anything as aggressive as the first one. You got many new fans, but there are many people who only enjoy the first album, what's your opinion on that? (I personally find all the records amazing!!!)
A:We had different people in the band and we were progressing as musicians.We never wanted to make the same album 10 times like some other psychobilly bands have. There are people who like only the first Quakes record but there are even more who like the newer stuff. We play a lot of the old songs in our live show. I could easily write songs like the ones on the first Quakes album but that doesn't interest me- I don't feel that way anymore. It was a moment in time for us. Im sure there are lots of people who like only the early Beatles or the early Clash etc. but if I was painter, I think it would be very boring painting the same picture using the same colors all the time...you dig? :-)
10.You recorded some unusual covers, such as Depeche Mode and Echo and The Bunnymen.
Which other bands you like from that same age?
A:Well we grew up in the 80’s so to me its no different than Johnny Burnette covering Tiny Bradshaws “train kept a rollin” That's what they heard on the radio and they gave it a rockabilly sound. That is no different than what we do with those 80’s songs. Rockabilly and psychobilly is a SOUND- I can take any song and make it a rockabilly or psychobilly song, the trick is picking the ones that work and are not forced.
11.The sound of psychobilly has changed a lot since the 90's. Many criticize it by saying that psychobilly is losing its roots. Do you agree with that?Or do you think that these changes are necessary for things not to be always stuck in time?
A:In order to be psychobilly, there has to be some “billy” and Im not hearing that in a lot of the new groups. Some of these guys are more influenced by The Misfits rather than Gene Vincent. All the psychobilly bands from Europe in the 80’s had heavy rockabilly influences.
I understand that things change etc. but you cant have psychobilly without rockabilly:-)
12.What are the bands that have had your attention these last years?
A:The 7 shot screamers- Brigitte Handley- Hellbilly Club--there is a lot of bands that are cool but you have to look. Look below the surface of any scene to find the real cool bands.
13.What about the growing American scene? Why did kids started joining psychobilly culture so suddenly?
Does it have to do with Hellcat Rec. and its bands?
A:Yes its all about Hellcat/Epitaph. They are a big record label and have a lot of power. Before Hellcat, no one here knew what psychobilly was here.
14.Rob Peltier recorded the first Tiger Army album, and Nick 13 keeps always saying that The Quakes are his favorite band. What's your relation with them?
A:If Nick says he likes The Quakes then Im proud of that because I think he's a real good songwriter and TA is very successful. I usually hang out with them when they come to Phoenix.
15.Do you still keep in touch with Rob Peltier?
A:Unfortunately no, I have asked him several times to play but he is not at all interested so I quit asking.
16.Time for some curiosities: Is it true that you played the guitar for Demented Are Go during a tour over the USA?
A:Actually it was in England in 1989. their guitar player had quit the band and they had a tour booked so I played on that tour.
17.I heard a history that the first Quakes drummer would've died in a car accident in London. Is it true?
A:Dave “the Ace” Hoy was hit by a car and killed in Buffalo New York one week before his 18th birthday.
18.And how is the Quakes nowadays? Who are the members, label...?
A:I have my own label Orrexx Records. My band members are changing all the time. Its hard to find guys who have time to tour for little or no money:-)
19.Well, that's it, thank you very much for the interview! Feel free to say anything more!
I would like to thank you- Its people like you who keep the scene going!
Stick to your guns! Paul Roman