Pink Swords: Austin Punk Raunch Mayhem!

By Jens Hellroute

Tired of trendy fashion victims of NYC with moviestar girlfriends, nu-metal bozos in masks or jolly skate geeks of California who don't smoke cigarettes? Well, if you want raw-as-fuck anti-social punkrawk cut down to the nitty gritty without any MTV-friendly bullshit, it might be a good idea to go south, my friend. Pink Swords belong to the new breed of Texas punkbands and their debut record "One Night High" were one of my fave releases of 2003 (they're about to release their 2nd). The album's 12 blasts of fierce aggression delivered in 20 minutes left me completely flabbergasted and screaming for more! The line-up consists of Dirty Steve Sanchez (rhythm guitar), new bassist Justin The Kid (Bone played bass on "One Night High"), Stinky Ray Von (lead guitar), Pitts Gaffer (vocals) and drummer John V. who replaced Suzi Switchblade after she moved to New York.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: You have just done a tour, how did it go?

JOHN V.: It went well, we had lots of problems, van broke, accidental window smashing, number of tickets, police harrasment, left our merchandise in Indianapolis etc. but the Pink Swords I know persevered and make it to their shows...that is one thing that attracted me to the band. Otherwise the people were enthusiastic and the clubs were accomodating and, well, gave a shit.

STINKY RAY VON: A dream wrapped in a nightmare. 3 or 4 good gigs made up for 3 or 4 shitty ones. Our van fucked up and our window broke. That was 30 minutes into the tour.

PITTS GAFFER : Some good shows... a lot of shit in between. The van broke down, a window broke, we got an expensive rental, a parking ticket, Justin 'The Kid' (new bass player) fell down a flight of stairs, we got busted holding a seed in Oklahoma, a speeding ticket, and other expenses. It was worth it.

WC: Whats the difference between European and American audiences?

SRV: Being an American band in Europe seems to mean something. In the US it doesn't mean shit. You have to prove yourself more, sleep on people's floors and feel appreciated once a week, if you're lucky.

JV: Europeans are very excitable, they love american rock and have good attitudes, whereas americans can be jaded, too many bands, too many scenesters, too much work etc. I think the quality of life is superior, and appreciation is higher, even by the gov't, the people are friendly and direct, no nonsense, but a lot of fun.

PG: Very general; Europeans seem to know more about punk rock than kids in the Midwest US. We encounter more slam dancing pushing up front etc. in US. The girls are easier in US. The drugs are easier in US. The weed is easier in Europe. Larger audiences for punk rock in Europe. Beer is easier in Europe. Liquor is easier in US.

WC: I can hear a lot of late70s/early80s US punk, like The Pagans in your tunes, but also hints of The Dirtys. Who are your heroes?

SRV: I'm from Boston, where there was a lot of hardcore bands but most of them had pretty good songs. Anthem stuff. That's probably where a lot of my riffs come from. John Haggerty of Naked Raygun and Bill Close of the Freeze are two guys who totally rule. I learned a lot of shit first hand from Bill.He's gonna be in Blue Man Group. For classic rock, Jimmy Page can tear it up. You should own that Zeppelin DVD.

JV: The usual suspects; Ramones, Dead Boys, Iggy, Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, but we get inspiration from anywhere. Art, books, grafitti, drugs, women, all the little badasses scampering around the county playing their asses off...someone i can watch and learn somethin' about music, whether it's rap, jazz, pop, county, whatever, I mean Chuck D. is as punk rock as Iggy Pop or anyone else.

PG: G.G Allin, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Johnny Thunders, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, Jeff Dahl, Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Dizzy Gillespie etc.

WC: The album design of "One Night High" is rather unusual, almost psychedelic?

PG: The cover design was done by Rob Jones who had done most of our early poster work on acid. (Yeah, that usually
helps.--Dr. Mality)

SRV: Ask the artist. I can't draw for shit. But I can play an A chord.

JV: Baby, get high enough and things do get psychedelic, one night nigh can fuck you up, take your life away or you can just go with it, dedicate, be part of the underground... that's where the real high is, beyond the law.

WC: Pink Swords lyrics, it's mostly about good time drinking, fighting 'n' fucking like "Bathroom Stall"?

PG: "Bathroom Stall" is about fucking in the bathroom. Lots of what you see every day going from home to work to the bar and back home again.

SRV: Good times, bad times. The only time we fight is when we're tryin to finish a song. Even if a tune is a minute long, we want it to be the best minute we can squeeze out of it. Parts that don't rock suck.

JV: Pitts once said to me if all you do is sing about fightin', fuckin' and drinkin' then your a stupid band, something like that. I agree, creativity and being real should be high priority, but other things come into play as well, such as temptation, instinct, self-destuction, lust, greed, etc.

WC: Do you think Texas punk acts have a different sound compared to the rest of the country? I mean, you don't hear that much cheerful and friendly skatepunk from the Lone Star state, haha. And what other Texas punkbands besides Bulemics and Riverboat Gamblers should we look out for?

JV: Texas bands don't fuck around, they work hard, live hard, I mean these aren't just kids from the surburbs, a lot of the punks are from small towns, where religion, football, and tradition are important and intolerance is always in your face, so Texas punks are strong and got attitude.

SRV: Since only one of us is from texas, I'm not sure if we know what the Texas punk sound is. I'm guessing its inspired by beer and other stuff. The moodkillers are cool, faster disaster, black novas. I hear painkillers are very good. There is some "warped tour"-style shit here, but it's not terribly original.

PG: Austin is its own little bubble. Nothing like west coast nothing like east coast, it just sits there in the middle of Texas doing its own thing. Some good bands come from Austin because the bands here do not follow the trends. My favorite bands from Austin from the last few years are already broken up like The Chumps, Eastside Suicides and the New Disciples.

WC: Do you think C&W novelist Kinky Friedman ( has a chance of becoming the governor of Texas in 2006?

JV: Hell no, he's too fuckin' cool, our governor is a fag.

SRV: Rick Perry (our present governor) is more fake than Bush. And there was that rumor of a gay fling.

WC: Craziest thing a female fan has done backstage?

PG: Nothing is crazy backstage!! Nudity on stage is encouraged, once I got triple flashed by a hot little group.

SRV: So far, there was a video camera and some bare boobs. We need to make it back to that place.

JV: She doesn't want to remember whatever it was.

WC: Describe the personalities of Pink Swords...

SRV: I won't say shit all day. Talking is a waste of energy. I'd rather play guitar or listen to music or watch tv. Don't ask me what Im thinking-you probably don't want to know. The Led Zeppelin DVD rules.

JV: Well, I think all of us are on the same page, no one is the leader, we work together, the music is the personality, it is stronger than us individually. We are about moving past the obstacles of personality differences.

PG: What personality?

WC: Favorite movie and TV show?

SRV: "American Psycho" and "Suspiria". TV shows; "Family Guy" and "Alf".

JV: "The Exorcist", and "Forensic Files".

PG: I just saw a German movie "Baby Blood", I thought it was great. My favorite TV show on now is "Fear Factor", it sucks.

WC: Which Ramone would you've liked to be, and why?

SRV: Johnny, of course. He rocked with a $50 guitar. That's p-u-n-k. Also, I wanna play through a stack of Marshalls someday.

JV: Hmmm... hard question, Joey, he has such an amazing voice.

PG: I don't know why but I wish Joey was my dad, is that weird?

WC: Pink Swords are finally included in the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame, what's your acceptance speech?

SRV: "We'd like to thank us and all the folks who like us. What took so fucking long?"

PG: Are you fucking kidding me???

JV: Won't happen.

WC: Future plans for world domination?

JV: Rock hard, evolve, challenge the status quo.

PG: Finish and record Pink Swords' 2nd album. Re-write history in our favor.

SRV: We're hooking up with Gearhead Records in February. We're on their 'South By Southwest' showcase in March, which is gonna help. After that, we'll be crashing on a floor near you. We'll also be crashing Europe again sometime on 2005.

Pink Swords's Official Website