Patrick Muzingo and Chris Gates of Junkyard
by Deb Rao
During the ’80s, one band that combined punk and metal is Junkyard. Patrick Muzingo and Chris Gates have checked in with Hardrock Haven to discuss their current release Put It On Ten And Pull The Knob and their new live DVD Live In Texas. Be sure to check out Junkyard live at the Rock Gone Wild Festival on Aug. 22.
Hardrock Haven: Junkyard has just released a new CD featuring a collection of demos from recording sessions that were used to obtain your record deal to Geffen in 1987. What inspired the band to release these songs?
MUZINGO: “It was good stuff that we wanted to share. It was supposed to come out on another label last year but things got a little hectic and the label decided not to do it. Since we re all x-Punkers and we used to run our own labels and what not we figured lets put it out ourselves! DIY!”
HRH: How did you come up with the name of the album, Put It On Ten And Pull The Knob?
MUZINGO: “It was a phrase we have been saying for years. It was a name of one of our tours too. Rather then “This one goes to 11″, put it on 10 and pull the knobs off! That way its stuck on 10 always!”
HRH: How did Junkyard choose the four cover songs on Put It On Ten And Pull The Knob?
MUZINGO: “Those were covers we used to do in our set”.
HRH: Junkyard has also released a new live DVD that was recorded in Austin, Texas in 1989. Do you feel this DVD captures the heyday of Junkyard?
MUZINGO: “Hell yeah, that was us in our prime! Young and full of piss and vinegar! We were so happy at that show. Since no one wanted to take us out on the road we, once again, went out by ourselves. I think people might have been afraid of us back then since we were so spontaneous. We never went onstage and said.okay Brian when you run to the left Chris will run to the right, then we all go to our knees. That was all contrived crap that we fought against during our formative punk years.”
GATES: “Yeah, it really does. That’s the reason we released it. It’s a really good document of what our live shows were like back in the day (and now, for that matter…).”
HRH: Over the years Junkyard has gone through some musical changes and remaining intact is yourself, David Roach, and Chris Gates. Do you ever speak to former members Brian Baker and Clay Anthony and who is currently in the present line-up?
MUZINGO: “Yeah!! Brian did 2 shows with us last year (Tulsa and Austin) and will be involved when his schedule with Bad Religion permits it. We were even talking about him joining the band when we went to Spain! Clay is doing great, he is teaching young kids how to live their lives sober. Homeboy looks better then all of us and he is the oldest!”
HRH: Junkyard recently performed in Hollywood in May at Safari Sams. Was it deja vu’ for the members of Junkyard to be performing in Hollywood after all of these years? How did it compare to the heyday of metal?
GATES: “The Sam’s show in May was a ball! We haven’t played Hollywood for a LONG time, and it was great to be back. The audience was a great mix of hardcore ‘Yard fans from all over the world and friends from the LA music scene we haven’t seen in a while. The band played exceptionally well that night and the audience was as nuts as ever… We all may be a bit older now, but once the music starts it’s like nothing has changed at all.”
MUZINGO: “It was everything we thought it would be! Old friends, new friends, our kids in the front row. It was a good send off cause we went off to Spain 2 days later. There is some amazing You Tube video of that show.”
HRH: Junkyard will be performing at Rock Gone Wild Festival on August 22nd. Are there any other touring plans in the works that you would like to share with us?
MUZINGO: “We are planning another European trip in November. Besides that…nothing really. The USA does not lend it self to doing weekenders and since we are really not a “working” band a tour of the USA is not in the cards. The Rock Gone Wild gig will be fun. Make sure to come out early cause we are on at like 1pm? It would have been fun to do Rocklahoma. Maybe in 2010?”
HRH: What is the metal scene like in Texas these days?
GATES: “Check out New Disaster, The Gentlemen’s Social Club, Broken Teeth, Adrenaline Factor, Young Heart Attack and Ignitor”
HRH: Tell us about your recent tour experience in Spain?
MUZINGO: “Spain is insane! They are FANS! not fans but FANNNNS! I have been going there (all of Europe) since 1999 with my old band Speedbuggy. Every tour I went on people asked me why Junkyard isn’t coming over? Spain is the 1st step…. in November we hope to expand into Germany, Italy and France. England is tough because of the work permits but ya never know.”
GATES: “Spain was a ball, what can I say… We’d only played Spain once before at a festival in 2003, so we didn’t really know what to expect. 20 years after our first record came out… It was amazing. Great crowds who knew every word to every song, even though most of them didn’t speak English. … Amazing… can’t wait to go back!”
HRH: Junkyard had a unique sound that combined punk and rock. How would describe Junkyard’s sound and do you feel that the band is sticking to their punk-rock roots in 2009?
GATES: “Junkyard’s sound is a mixture of two things – first is the music we grew up loving like AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Motorhead, etc… Second is the energy and in-your-face performance style that we all learned from being involved in the earliest days of the American DIY scene of the early 80′s.
Coming up out of the DIY American hardcore scene of the early 80′s, we all had similar backgrounds and approaches to both the music and the music business. The way we operate now is EXACTLY the way the Big Boys/Minor Threat/Decry did things in the earliest days of the DIY scene. Everything from artwork to management is done by the band and it’s close associates. Almost every independent act runs this way now, but it caused us some problems in the early days of the band when the music industry didn’t really embrace or allow for a lot of the way we liked to do things.”
HRH: During the ’90s, many bands saw their demise when grunge took over the metal scene. How do you feel about the state of metal in 2009?
GATES: “I think rock has really suffered since the Seattle scene broke. At the time (early ’90s) rock had gotten pretty lame, with bands full of pussies with big hair and no balls beating us all to death with power ballads. It needed a firm kick in the ass, and the Seattle grunge scene was just that. The problem is, all of the bands influenced by those original bands turned 90′s rock into a “look how important my deep feelings are” bunch of crap. A bunch of guys with straight teeth and good skin complaining about their feelings…Come on! Are we doomed to a world that will never produce another David Lee Roth? Does anybody get laid at a 7Mary3 show? I think the lack of fun and the lack of sex in the music is why the audience for guitar-based music has steadily dwindled for the last 10 years. At least rappers seem to be having fun and getting laid.
There are a number of bands trying to re-create the vibe of that trashy east Hollywood scene we came up out of, but it feels a bit like the rockabilly bands trying to recreate 1957.
Sooner or later a bunch of kids someplace will snap and say, “Fuck all this crap, let’s write some big-ass songs, buy some leather pants, kick some ass and get laid” and a new scene will emerge… I can’t wait”.
HRH: Any plans to release a new album of material?
MUZINGO: “It would be nice. We have talked about it but with all of us having careers its pretty difficult. It’s hard enough to get us together once a year for a few shows let alone record and write new stuff. But in typical Junkyard fashion…You just never know!”
HRH: What can the fans expect to hear from Junkyard in 2009?
MUZINGO: “Rock Gone Wild is the only thing on the plate. We are working on getting the Geffen releases (the debut and 6′s, 7′s and 9′s) and videos on iTunes. Hopefully Europe in early November. Lets just hope the economy gets back to normal so people can have a chance to go out, have a good time and see some good ‘ol Junkyard. As we were doing this interview dates were starting to roll in regarding Europe for November of 2009. Tentative dates are between November 3rd – Nov. 16th and will include 4 shows in Spain, a few in Italy, Austria, Germany and possibly France. It will be a short tour. 9 shows total.”