Close Encounters of the Oi! Kind: The Oi! Scouts / Gabe Zander Interview

I made a mistake.

Unfortunately, I did not make the check if the tape was rolling and consequently some of the interview was never recorded. It was unprofessional and unbecoming and I, Chauncey, take full responsibility for this. I would like to apologize to The Oi! Scouts and to you, the reader.
It’s a shame that it wasn’t recorded. It was revealed that the drummer, Adam, is a big fan of Liberace; The guitarist, Matt told us there’s a real life underground Girl Fight Club; and the bassist, Gabe, has a deep-seeded hatred of Kid Rock. We didn’t get a chance to meet Chris, the singer of the band, as he was visiting old friends.

To set the scene, we met with The Oi! Scouts outside of the Los Globos venue on Sunset as they were scheduled to play that evening.

TW: Gabe, tell us about your love for Kill Bill.

Gabe: I don’t understand how Kill Bill did not destroy the porn industry… …Even if it has nothing to do with The Oi Scouts, I’d rather have Matt tell us about this “Girl Fight Club” that I missed and where I can find it.

Matt: I told you all I know. It’s a girl fight club. Girls were being initiated. I was a little freaked out. I watched enough to know I should not be watching. I went outside and I wept for humanity.

Gabe: As far as the sketchy politics goes; when I was talking about Kid Rock earlier, I wasn’t sure if it would be good for you guys or good for us, but the word faggot kept being on the tip of my tongue. I was like I don’t know if that flies in LA if you’re not talking about gay people. Like with us mostly it does, but you know. It’s like I know everybody looks at things different. It’s like I was thinking of a better word for him but there’s just not one. I mean like the old definition, like I want to light him on fire. Kill Bill’s a hot movie and Kid Rock can go fuck himself and I guess I got a lot to learn about Liberace.

TW: What are your biggest influences?

Matt: I feel that Gabe and I have collectively ripped off Broken Heroes, Blank 77, The Casualties, The Partisans, Blitz Fight Squad, maybe even a little bit of some faster kind of California stuff that we love growing up. Like Operation Ivy or Agent Orange. Feels like our tones, songs and structures, everything was a big pod of all these bands growing up. And we ripped off those bands because we love them so much.

Gabe: and a lot of the bands we grew up around, of course. Like the standards. Blitz, The Exploited, “the old English stuff” I was always really influenced by the really hard Oi!, Condemned 84 things like that. Friggin Anti-Heroes.  The biggest influences, I’d say would be the ones that we grew up seeing in our backyard like the guys who put Jersey on the map. The Casualties, I don’t care how giant they’ve gotten and people are hesitant to mention them. They’re good friends of ours and they deserve every bit of success that they’ve gotten. Of course Squiggy, we couldn’t have done anything back then without their help. Our first spit was with them and everything. They’re not a band anymore, but we’re all still at this time good friends.  We all live in different parts of the country. As far as non-punk influences, you’d have to ask each individual band member. Mine are mainly 80s metal, outlaw country, like Johnny Cash, David Allen CO, Hank Williams III, big influence and a good friend of mine.

[this guy LOVES Liberace]

At this point Matt and Adam left for another interview they had scheduled. It was a busy day for the Oi! Scouts. They were running on a very tight schedule.

Gabe: I guess we’re just interviewing Gabe now. What the fuck? Well I’ll just plug my solo shit. Fuck the Oi! Scouts! On Working Class Records, look for Punk Rock Redneck, look for Gabe Zander still on sale. I’ll be putting out better shit than that at some point. I got way better shit than what’s on that album. It’s got the first ever country song about drinking malt liquor with underage punks in Jersey and I almost got an endorsement from the Steel Brewing Company for it, and the publicist who suggested it to them got fired shortly thereafter. True story. I don’t know if that was the reason, but it sure seemed like a coinkydink. But uhh, I could field Oi! Scouts questions, I suppose.

TW: What is your favorite kind of pizza?

Gabe: [laughing] We Jersey people all look the same to you don’t we? I’m kidding. Bring it in.  Let it go for the record that we’re hugging. Big group hug. All about the love. Anyway, MY favorite kind of pizza… I guess I’ll send a shout out to the good people of AG Pizza of Sussex county New Jersey and their stuffed pizza. Holy fucking shit-balls, it’s a colon killer but holy shit. I’m the only hardcore carnivore left in The Oi! Scouts and that thing’s got everything in it. Ray’s, collectively as a band. One of our big hangouts was Ray’s Pizza in the east village in New York City. It was on the corner of St. Marks and Cooper Square. It was a punk carnival any fuckin’ weekend whether or not there was a show going on. It’s not just a punk thing, they’ve got really fuckin’ good pizza. So if you’re ever in New York; good ol’ Ray’s Pizza you can’t go wrong.

TW: What do you do for a living?

Gabe: What do I do for a living? I’m mainly a construction worker. I’d like to go on record as saying I hate the fuck out of doing it, cos I’m kind of an environmentalist and there’s enough fuckin’ shit being built left and right that people don’t need, and I could fuckin’ live in a wigwam myself. So it kind of takes a little out of my soul to make sure that the paint on somebody’s crown molding is fuckin’ perfect. But that’s essentially what I’ve done since I was eighteen, and out of high school I started roofing, framing, drywall, foundations, concrete, Shout out to Mike Sims of the Reserves National Concrete Artists- Oi! Oi! Apart from that, to sustain myself not money-wise, I like to do a lot of hunting, fishing, foraging. I don’t like to spend money on food. I like to get things right from their sources as much as I can. I recommend more punks get into that. It’s a form of self-liberation when you don’t need money. You go far enough into the fuckin’ wild, you want anarchy, well it’s right there.

TW: What inspired the Homer Simpson Tattoo?

Gabe: It was the Homer on our first 7in. which was Police Harassment. That was a split with Squiggy. Out of print now, but you can find it on eBay for way too much money that they’re not giving us a cut of. Yeah, well. You know, I’m glad it’s paying for someone’s kids to go to college.  Well, I know they’re not selling them for that much. I’m out here talking like we’re king shit. Well on the cover he’s kicking Chief Wiggum in the ass. On here we just had room for Homer on my arm. So it looks like he’s just dancing. I came up with the idea, my brother designed it, for the album cover and he did my tattoo. He couldn’t be here this weekend; I was gonna get him to drive out with us but he has kids and a farm to worry about so his hands are a little full.

TW: Is this your first time in LA?

Gabe: Yes, Sir! Yes it is! I grew up going to Southern California a little. My grandparents, rest in peace, lived in Redlands just outside San Bernardino County. But I’ve never had a chance to get to LA proper. Gotta say, fuckin’ love it so far… …Anybody remember that old Piscopo bit? Saturday Night Live? That’s why everybody thinks we say “Joy-zee”, which we don’t. Especially in the south, holy shit! That’s the one thing I didn’t like about living there. I lived in Nashville for like eight years. Great town. Awesome punk scene down there. MCP, send a shout out! Music City Punks.

[We all take a moment to ponder the whereabouts of the other band members. The conversation leads to the general subject of interviews and shit.]

Gabe: … I always like these better, than those god damn email fuckin interviews. It’s always a list of questions and a good journalist follows shit up. My dad was a reporter, so I learned a couple tricks of the trade about that shit.

TW: Your dad was a reporter, who was he a reporter for?

Gabe: Local paper. It was a side- job kind of thing. He was an English Professor, and contrary to popular belief college professors aren’t rich. In the summer time to make some extra scratch he wrote for the local paper. He had a cool job, because a lot of the time they had him reviewing music when it came to town. So he got to see Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, All these bands that I grew up fuckin’ lovin’, and I didn’t get to go because fuck me.

TW: Where can we find merch?

Gabe: At our merch table at the moment. If you want to find the Boots for the Beatdown album I believe that’s still in print on Working Class Records (formerly Squigtone Records). For a cheap plug, you’ll also find Punk Rock Redneck by Gabe Zander on there as well as a collection of Squiggy singles with the best title for a compilation record ever “All Seven Inches”. There’s a lot of other good shit on that label. Punk, Oi!, Rockabilly, Outlaw Country, all kinds of crazy shit. As far as our shirts and patches and things, stay tuned. We’ll try to get our shit together on that buy right now they’re just at our merch table. Come out to the shows. And of course you can find people bootlegging them apparently everywhere cos I’ve had people give them to me and I’m like “What the fuck is this shit? You’re sellin’ this shit?” You think I want to be wearing my own band’s shirt? I don’t want to be that guy. I mean, no disrespect to Iron Maiden, but that’s like the one bad thing about them. How they just wear their own god damn fuckin t-shirts all the time. And for any of the Iron Maiden guys reading this, I still love you guys. You’ll have to forgive me. I’m very tired and I tend to trail off when I am.

TW: That’s fine.

*Girl in car butts in* “Where do I park?”

Gabe: No. Fuck. Idea. We lucked out. We ended up getting a spot up front. I want to go on record as saying fuck paying for parking with a fucking iron stick wrapped in barbwire. I can’t believe the meters run on Saturdays in this fucking town!

TW: Any upcoming tour dates?

Gabe: Nothing locked in stone right now. This is a thing we’ve been talking about. We all have a lot going on in our lives apart from playing and we really want to make it out to everyone who’s been asking for us especially New York, Jersey, and Philly. I’m coming out of the closet on that one because every interview I’ve given before this one I said like “Oh, we’re gonna do like the Danzig / Misfits, we’re gonna do two shows out of state and NOT COME BACK TO OUR HOME TURF.” But you know, I’m just ball busting. That’s not true at all. We want to get back to you guys. We got a lot of other personal family – all kinds of friggin shit that we’re fuckin doing and I wouldn’t bore you with the details on that. For one thing, I can only speak for myself on that shit and even that is kind of nobody’s damn business.

Final Thoughts:

“If Punk is a war; I’m a drill instructor.” – Gabe Zander

Recommended song: Nuke The Nazis


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