The Jack Saints - Nightmares In A Damaged Brain!

By Jens Hellroute

This Frisco punkrock combo was one of best acts of the first Gutter Island festival in 2000. I bought the “Rock'n'Roll Holocaust” album, a nasty, delirious and vicious slap of fuck-you punkrock which has terrorized my stereo for years. Then I didn't heard anything from band for a looong time,.Actually I thought they split up. But thankfully Scarey Records were kind enough to send me their latest release "Rock And Roll Saved Our Lives...But Now It's Trying To Kill Us", a raging can of whupass punk rawk & roll.

It's damn good to have Nick Nava (vox, bass) and Mike Desert (vox, guitar) back again, and the lineup has a new awesome drummer, Bill Randt, a former member of The New Bomb Turks. Let the tales of terror begin!

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Been like 5-6 years since I saw you at the Gutter Island festival in Denmark, any memories of that weekend, you played in a bunker/artillery room...

NICK NAVA: Yeah, it was a blast! Lots of beer, and crazy people, like the one guy who put his hands to his head and acted
like a bull while his friend played the bullfighter. I also remember seeing Billy Childish and that was cool. Thanks to the Hot Rod Honeys for making the whole thing possible.

Mike: Yeah, send me the address of that bunker again…we may need a place to be safe if our president stays in power much longer...will your government pay for our asylum?

WC: "Rock And Roll Saved Our Lives...But Now It's Trying To Kill Us" seems a bit more melodic and r'n'r-ish (ala Devil Dogs) compared to "Rock'n'Roll Holocaust", or am I wrong?

Mike: Well, it's catchier, I think. The drumming's better (no offence Regal!), and we were going to re-do vocals and remix "Rock n Roll Holocaust" but didn't have time, so it may have sounded a little better than what was released.

Nick: It's more melodic for sure, Bill helped out in the songwriting department and we tried to make a great rock and roll record.

Mike: Bill wrote all the music to "Rock n Roll Woman Child" and some of the's about a girl that loves Alice Cooper so much she starts her own band...I dug that idea... Anyways, Bill knows fancy musical terms and what they actually mean, so he helped with arranging on a lot of the songs,ya know, like "it needs another part", or "put in a bridge there" or whatever...and made some songs have a bit more of a R'n'R structure.

Nick: I like the Devil Dogs, but I could only sing you one or two of their songs, they weren't really an influence. I was thinking more of "ME262" by Blue Oyster Cult...(Great crushing track by one of the best heavy rock bands ever!--Dr. Mality)

WC: How come that is much time between that and your 2nd album?

Mike: I can't sing in the studio worth a shit, finally I just sang with the mic in my hand and it came out waaaay better. Plus we were always fucked up, I think the first day of recording we hadn't slept in a few days... never doing that again!

Nick: We kept going back to the studio and recording too, cause we were writing songs everyday.

Mike: I think we recoded like 26 or so songs in total (20 are on the CD). Losing Regal and getting Bill added a year to the gap. I'd like to put an album out every 2 years. We recorded our 2 minute "Rock Opera" called: "Crystal Castles" that's got like 6 or 7 parts and an organ and shit...obviously it didn't really fit in on our record, but I wanna put it out sometime...We also did a pop song Bill wrote with our friend Kelly singing half the vocals...I did a total J Mascis guitar solo...that one didn't fit either, and her professional sounding singing made ours sound terrible!

Nick: It also took a while to find a record label to release it, I gave up on it, but finally Scarey came along and picked it up.

WC: How did you get in contact with the Italian Scarey Records?

Mike: Through this gal Mary from France, who I met via MySpace. Scarey Records was already a ‘friend' on MySpace so I emailed them, send a cd, and they liked it…Gearhead liked it, but I guess there was some issues since Bill was in our band, and the Turks were on their least that was the story we got. I like Scarey much better even though they're in Italy. It's pretty fitting for us actually. I've got so many damn records and 7"'s that I've pretty much stopped buying records for the time being cause I have nowhere to put em and it's made me pretty much out of the loop as far as good indie labels go.

WC: Who plays banjo on "Last House On The Left"? And is it a tribute to both Wes Craven and "Deliverance" (duelling banjos)?

Mike: I played banjo and mandolin on that. I thought it went along with David Hess's music in the actual movie the one song with the kazoo and shit. I play mandolin part time in a band called The Poontang Wranglers with people from The Phantom Surfers, Crime, the Grabbies and the Bananas. It's like a revolving 13 piece band/comedy act. Lotsa fun.

WC: You got Bill Randt of The New Bomb Turks on drums, how did that come about?

BILL RANDT: I love playing with Mike and Nick. They are R'n'R as it gets. They offer nothing but purity when they play. And we play togethter. There's no reason that we can't blow peoples' minds one night and suck the next. But we'll try to be professionals as best we can. I think we all tend to drift toward our particulars: booze, women, sex, booze, women, steroids, sodomy, and more booze....though I understand that Mike has begun a nice garden and Nick has given up booze for sodomy. That is the SF way.

WC: The title track has sorta Jacqueline Susann's "Valley Of The Dolls" kinda lyrics, innocent‚ youth corrupted by urban decay, as do the notes on the back of the LP?

Mike: Well, it's all sort of a joke…um...but mostly true... I dunno, we went through some rough times while we were writing songs for the record, but we were also having a fucking blast too…so there's sorta sad, frustrated lyrics with fast, catchy and hopefully fun music. Anyway, I think we're closer to "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" as for lifestyles... Regal [our ex drummer] was totally ‘Z Man'!

WC: What do you think of the SF r‚n‚r scene of today?

Nick: Right now it's a little dead compared to when we first moved up here but there are some great bands like the Flakes and the Jaded Fucks.

Bill: SF has really lost most of its artists. We keep hopin' and thinkin' that it'll turn around, but really, Oakland is the nearest homage to R'n'R in this area. There are cool cats and all near here, but they're really everywhere. And if we're focusing on cool cats, then we're missing all the beautiful, crazy women.

WC: Best band you‚ve played with?

Mike: Most fun: Groovie Ghoulies. Best live band…well, we played a show with Plainfield and Turbonegro (during their Ass Cobra tour) at a really small club in S.F. and both those bands were amazing. I didn't really dig much of Turbonegro after that, but those shows around "Ass Cobra" were really great.

Plainfield almost burned down Gilman Street once. hmmm....also, the Dictators, Cheetah Chrome, the Sillies [great band from 1977 Detroit], Accel 4, Guitar Wolf, Angry Samoans, Candy Snatchers, Jeff Dahl, Scared of Chaka, Rancid Vat, Demonics...lotsa bands...

Nick: I always really like the Vectors, and the Loudmouths were always great. The Hot Rod Honeys and the Onyas were alot of fun to tour with.

Mike: Hopefully this tour we'll play with more local bands in different countries, last time it was usually just us and The Hot Rod Honeys (who we were on tour with from Belgium)

WC: Craziest thing that happened to you on the road?

Nick: A Jack Saints tour is pretty tame most of the time, but a few things stand out in my mind, like the two shows in Arizona, one where our ‘tour mismanager' Roy The Witchdoctor pulled a knife on the guy who tried to stiff us our guarantee, and later in Tucson when we found a bunch of Mu Mu dresses and we walked into a hipster bar and Roy sat right next to the tuffest looking rockabilly geek and asked him how he liked the dress.

Let's see, then there was the time in Amsterdamned where our buddy Fast Mike egged on a drugged up biker to stab him, but luckily nothing happened.

Mike: See, we're pretty tame, it's our FRIENDS you gotta worry about!

Nick: Oh yeah and then there's the Swedish bath story.

Mike: I had a good, crazy experience in Europe too...but I'm a gentleman, so you'll have to use your imagination.

LC: Are you still crazy about wrestling? Ever tried wrestle Jeff Clayton?

Mike: I don't have cable, so I'm out of the loop. I got the last ECW pay per view and it was pretty damn good. Really put the WWE to shame. I was hoping they'd somehow revive that, but it was short lived.(They are trying to revive "ECW" again, but it's a phony version controlled by WWE and sucks donkey balls--Mality) If someone gives me the word that things are picking up I might break down and get cable, but it's like 70 bucks a month here. Wrestle Jeff Clayton?? Are you INSANE? Thee Whiskey Rebel from Rancid Vat gave me a pile driver when we played with them…and considering how much he'd been drinking, I had reason to worry! I'll always love wrestling, but my excitement comes and goes.

WC: Mike, you are into punkrock but you also dig Captain Beyond, Goblin and Can? And there's a Warren Zevon cover on the new LP?

Mike: When we found out Warren Zevon had cancer, we were going to do a tribute 7", then we found out our friends band "Throw Rag" had just recorded "Carmelita" [by WZ] so we were going to do a split 7" tribute, but it never happened, and we liked how it come out so we stuck it on the record. We mostly put those bonus tracks on there, and put all those photos in the inside of our cd's cause it's a good way of archiving them, just for ourselves, so we don't lose them. If people actually enjoy them, then that's cool too. I like all kinds of music. When I worked at a record store when I was 18, I was ordering any underground 70's rock and psychedelic rock I could find in our catalog. When I met Nick in the early 90's, he got me into a bunch of garage rock stuff…but yeah, old punk rock made me what I am today, and it's still what I play most!

Nick: Yeah, we like music all kinds of music, life would be pretty boring if you only listen to punk rock.

Mike: Warren Zevon records got me through a rough break up, lemme tell you! Listen to "Sleep When I'm Dead", "My Shit's Fucked Up", "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", "Carmelita", and "Lawers, Guns and Money" drunk, and tell me you don't love Warren Zevon!

WC: And of course Italian gore flicks. Are you a Fulci, D'amato or Argento man?

Mike: Why pick just one?? And how about Martino, and Deodato? Nick and I love horror movies, and I especially love giallos...I'm a bit of a fanatic about it all, but in a healthy way...ya know, I'm vegan and whatever, don't like fighting, but I like violent and disturbing films, and of course violent wrestling, and disturbing documentries...It's all good. I've been too close to death too many times to enjoy "Faces of Death" and "Traces of Death" like I did as a kid though...

WC: Closing remarks?

Nick: I hope to meet some of you crazy rock and roll types this fall! If you can, please smoke your hash with me!

Bill: Life is too good to fall short. Let the rock roll on...

The Jack Saint's Official Website