A September 2007 Interview with Kostek from www.psychobilly.boo.pl
a Polish psychobilly site.This is the interview in English.
1.Do you agree with the opinion, that you are the "very first true psychobilly band from USA"? Did you really break fresh ground, or were there bands playing "pure" psychobilly earlier - before the Quakes, but just not well known, and are the Quakes the first popular psycho band?
P:Yes we were absolutely the first USA band playing that style of psychobilly. There were no other bands playing psychobilly at that time. There wasn't even many rockabilly bands. When we were living in London at that time we used to go to the Nervous Records office and listen to demo tapes sent by American bands and there was no psychobilly. The Quakes started in 1986 but we had played some psychobilly in earlier bands also. Having said that being the “first” does not pay my bills:-) so it doesn't mean that much to me but it is a fact.
2.The cover of your debut album was inspired by cover of Stray Cats' debut. But it's hard to say that the music you've played that time was simply duplicating SC's patterns. I understand then, that it was a kind of your tribute to Brian Setzer & Co. Now, if you had a chance to do it once again, what band and cover would you take as an inspiration for your own need? Have you found, during those years, any band that impressed you so much to do similar tribute? Or you would rather expected your album covers (as already classics) would be inspiration to some young bands?
P:We did that because we had to do the same thing as the Stray Cats -move to London to get noticed. We were inspired by them early on.It was a gimmick to try to get noticed and it worked:-) I got to hang out with them in London after they saw our record:-) I don't think I would do that again but at the time it seemed like a good idea.
3.In relation to Stray Cats, that you were inspired by(if I well understand), your music was much more gross and harder. We can hear a lot of punk rock in it.Did you play some punk rock before the Quakes, or you were just born with quiffs on your head? ;)
P:The fact that we became a psychobilly band was kind of an accident. At first we were trying to play like the Stray cats, Polecats, Rockats, Dave Phillips etc. but we could not play our instruments very well and not many people would come to see us. We wore bright peg pants ,bowling shirts , creepers, big hair, make up.
There was a big hardcore punk scene in Buffalo at that time and those kids liked our fast songs. So out of frustration we started playing very fast and aggressive and we were wearing combat boots and bleached jeans. The song “Psychobilly Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” was inspired by “Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies- Slow part- fast part. That is the kind of stuff that those kids were into when we played.We never saw any psychobilly bands until we moved to London but we knew a little about the scene there.
4.This year the re-edition of "Quiff Rock"(with some bonus songs)has appeared in the market. Why did you decided to make this move and why did you choose this album?
P:Yes it is released on my record label-Orrexx Records. I bought back the rights of this album from Tombstone records a few years ago. I didn't want to just re- release that as it was so I added 8 extra songs and made the package different with more liner notes.I would love to get my stuff back from Nervous but Roy is not interested in selling that to me :-)
5.Your last album "Psyops" was released 2 years ago. Between"Psyops" and"Last Of The Human Beings" there was a 4 years break, and after releasing "Quiff Rock" you were quiet for almost 6 years. How longshould we wait for the next album? Maybe you are preparing something or you don't think about it now?
P:After Quiff Rock came out in the mid 90’s, there was not much happening on the psychobilly scene. It was almost dead. There was no scene here in the USA and we were playing a couple European festivals a year and that's all. I moved from Buffalo to Phoenix Arizona, so not much was happening. When Hellcat records started up, then things started happening here in the USA and I was ready to start playing and decided to start my own record label. (Rob Peltier played bass on the first Tiger army album) Most of the time it is a lack of money to record the albums- I have lots of songs written.
6.The Klingonz acted in diapers, Fenech greased himself with blood and Sparky of Demented Are Go! puts 10 kilos of maquillage on his face. Why don't the Quakes do such spectacular things on gigs?
P:I would not use the word “spectacular” :-) I take this music serious! Probably TOO serious, I would never want to be viewed as a joke and that's exactly how such things are seen by people outside of this scene. I think psychobilly is a valid musical style and I want to to get popular based on its sound and not for stage tricks. I remember as a kid how I hated the band KISS because I felt that they were all a gimmick.All the kids would talk about was how they would spit blood and fire....but what about the music? :-)
7.You played in a project called "The Paul Roman 3" in 2004? Did you perform only the Quakes' songs or also other ones? Do you have you any material recorded as the Paul Roman 3? Could you explain the origin of this project?
P:That project was when I was living in Helsinki- I wanted to tour but I did not want to call it “The Quakes” even though we played all Quakes songs.We played a lot of new songs that ended up being on the Psyops album.
No recordings were made with those guys it was just for touring.
8.Your lineup has changed many times during last years. On the beginning of this year you were looking for a drummer. Can you present the actual lineup of the Quakes? Why there was so many changes?
P:There are so many changes because not many guys have time to take a month off work or away from their wife etc. to go on tour and come home with no money:-) The work is hard and the rewards are few. You have to do it because you love it. The line up for this tour is Mike Minnick on drums and Kenny Hill on slap bass.
It has been really hard to keep The Quakes going over the last 5 years. None of the guys in my band live in my town so there is a lot of traveling just to practice. At least this year the guys live in the USA:-) I was using guys in Finland.
9.Before "The Quakes" there was The Quiffs band. Are any records of the Quiffs?
P:No- we made some recordings but they are pretty bad:-) The Quiffs only lasted about 9 months.
10.Could you say how it was with Orrexx Records? Do you want to publish also other bands or it's simply a project only to release the Quakes records?
P:Its a lot of work to run that record label but its worth it because I control everything-the music -the artwork- all of it. I don't plan on releasing any other bands. Its too much work for me and it costs a lot of money to put out a cd.
11.Paul, you father came from Poland. Have you ever been to Poland? Do you know Polish language? Or Poland is totally foreign to you?
P:I have never been to Poland this will be my first time and Im really looking forward to it. My father died when I was 10. He was from around Lodz. During WW2 he was taken and forced to join the German army. He surrendered to Canadian forces at the battle of D-Day and was taken to Scotland and joined the Polish army there. My Aunt was also taken to Germany to work in a factory. After the war my father was afraid to go back there because of the communists. He went back to visit in 1975 but he became a USA citizen before going for fear that they would not let him leave if he went back. I don't know how to speak Polish only a few words but we ate lots of traditional Polish food :-) In Buffalo there was (is) a large Polish community.
12.Do you know some Polish psycho bands, or just any Polish band?
P:I was checking out the band Komety online- I like their song “sleepless nights” it sounds like a slow version of “You're Dead” :-)
13.Would you like to say something to Polish psycho fans before the gigs you'll play here in November?
P:I would like to say that Im really happy to be able to play in Poland. I have heard from some other bands that the fans there are real cool :-) see you soon.
Stick to your guns! Paul Roman