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CYNICS


THE CYNICS : THE BAND THAT ATE PITTSBURGH!


By Jens Hellroute


Arnold Schwartzenegger, horror tales of broken dicks and Pittsburgh celebrities are some of the diverse topics I went through with this 20 year old garagepunk combo when they came to Copenhagen to show how honest dirty soulful rock'n'roll is supposed to be played. Singer Michael Kastelic and guitarist Gregg Kostelich did most of the talkin'. Also present were bassis Smith Hutchings and tour drummer Nate Arlin (filling in for Thomas Hohn).

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES : I think your latest "Living Is The Best Revenge" album is one of your very best. How was it working with Tim Kerr as a producer? (Kerr has produced bands like Sugar Shack, Now Time Delegation, The Motards, The Makers, Frigg-A-Go-Go etc.)

Michael : Thanks. It was great! We never really worked with a producer before. Tim just has a really good feel for the kind of music we do. He's like a positive cheerleader.

Gregg : A coach. He had a whistle!

Michael : Yeah, his father was a coach actually. He really brought us together, gettin' the tempo right and stuff. It was great.

WC : He has produced some bitchin' bands in his career.

Michael : When Gregg mentioned him as a possible producer I was like, ALRIGHT! Because I love all the bands he has produced. We are VERY satisfied with the result.

WC : How many times have you toured Europe?

Gregg : It's our third tour here, we've been twice in Denmark in '89 and '92. Gimme a straw for my drink,haha. Thank you.

WC : Gregg, you run Get Hip Records. It's an incredible amount of releases, I mean, you've just been goin' on and on since the 80's. You must have some good people workin' with you?

Gregg : Well, there's like only 5 people, a skeletal crew. I've slowed down lately, I used to release 4 albums a month, but now we've just released our last record for the year. I'm enjoying myself, this tour is like a vacation for me. I kinda enjoyed the ol' days of Get Hip when I lived at home with mom, smokin' pot, listen to records, and releasing an album every 2nd month, calling record stores and stuff. I don't really have more money now. That was good easy living, haha.

WC : The media is kinda hyping 'garagerock' now but most of those new bands don't really qualify as garagerock, I think. What's your take on that?

Michael : Overall I think it's a positive thing for bands like us. But I also think it's a very short-lived fad. Any good music is never really popular, if ya wanna hear good music you gotta look for it. I've never heard good music on the radio as long as I've been alive! But it's helping us because people are goin' (in a high pinched voice): 'Wow, you guys did this garagerock thing long before garagerock ever existed!'. Say what? And now this garagerock boom. I'm not really sure any of it is really garagerock.

Gregg : The Stones and The Kinks were really good at it.

WC : You're from Pittsburgh, not many bands hail from that town? The only guy I know from Pittsburgh is zombie director George Romero.

Michael : Andy Warhol!

Gregg : Gene Kelly.

Smith : The Riddler from the Batman series. (The immortal Frank Gorshin!--Doc)

Gregg : James Stewart, Perry Como.

Smith : Dean Martin.

Gregg : Dino, right. He was born 30 miles south of Pittsburgh though. Shirley Jones of the Partridge Family. We're pullin', man, we're pullin', haha. They all moved to L.A. or New York and got famous.

WC : Gregg, you saw The Sonics as a kid, right?

Gregg : The Sonics, yeah! It was because of this Pittsburgh DJ called Mad Mike, he played their record 24 hours straight. He locked himself in a room and played "Psycho" over and over again. So they came here for the first time and played. The singer had stagefright I remember, but they kicked ass in Pittsburgh.

WC : Any funny incidents on this tour?

Gregg : He (points at Michael) had a 'funny' incident in January. Not funny actually, haha.

Michael : WHOA! NOT SO FUNNY! The horrible horrible story of how my penis broke, hahaha. I guess that was our biggest 'incident' by far! Can't think of anything as significant as that, haha. But seriously, I was on the edge of the stage somewhere in Spain and someone started pullin' my leg off the stage. I wanted to jump off the stage but it was pretty high and there was this kid sittin' in a wheelchair and I thought I was gonna be impaled by that. So I tried to keep myself on the stage, and my legs were slidin' and POW! My scrotum hits right on the edge of the stage and sliced my urinal tube. There was suddenly a moist feeling in my pants, and I thought I had pissed myself. And I reach my hand down there and it's blood! I ran backstage, pulled my pants down and it's blood pouring out like a fountain. The room later looked like the St. Valentine Day's Massacre! The first hospital didn't know what to do, and the next hospital was stickin' tubes in me to pee in and shit. I spent like 2 weeks at the hospital, I was really scared but it worked out fine and healed itself. Wanna see?

WC : I'm speechless, but I'm glad you're fine now.

Michael : Cut off my arm, just not that! First thing I said to the doctor was like 'will I be able to masturbate?'.

WC : Okay, back to less scary stuff. You're like one of the few gargerock bands of the 80s who're still around today?

Gregg : Us, Fleshtones, Fuzztones, The Lyres.

WC : The Nomads.

Gregg : Yeah, they're still together aren't they? There's only like half a dozen left.

WC : What keep you goin' cuz it can't be the money?

Gregg : Haha. That's for sure. We just like doin' it.

Michael : What keep us goin'? Watch us play tonite. We just wanna see the faces on people who haven't seen us play before.

WC : Congratulations on Schwarzenegger as governor.

Gregg : Everybody says that to us, haha. It's scary, sorta like George Bush, two stolen elections. Three, if you count JFK and his mob dad.

Michael : It's a horrible sad time in America, but I think it's good for aggressive punk music which blossomed during the Reagan years. The rebellion in people against those who wanna oppress'em.

WC : Clinton was fun, he played the sax and nailed the chicks....

Michael : He was a rock'n'roll president, haha.

Gregg : America is nuts, they spent like 2 billion dollars on Clinton's blowjob for christ's sake.

Michael : By the way, say hi to Smith our bassist who's been in the band for 3 years and young Nate who's filling in for Tom on this tour. He's been with us for like 6 months.

Nate : I've played like 10-12 shows with'em and it's great. These guys have got a lotta energy.

WC : Anything to add?

Michael : It's great to be back in Denmark, hope we can come back soon.

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