US - Washington - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 19 - 05/11/98
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It always occurred to me, that, compared to most other San Francisco
bands, your lyrics and music were quite cynical and rough. What kind of
image did you have back then?
Bob: I recognized early after I joined the band that we were not even
TRYING to provide an answer to any social/political issues. In fact, I
like to think we were completely irresponsible. We seemed to appeal to the
most street level apolitical hard-core dope-addled punks that ever existed.
I hope we still do.
Olga: We were raw and simple and we cut to the heart of the matter. We
were serving up COLD cuts in a COLD world. We were severely hard
core...achtung, hasta la vista baby. We were a prototype of today's sounds
and 20 years ahead of ourselves.
Sats: As I look back, I was extreeeeeeemly cynical and that did reflect
in the lyrics and subject matter. But there was also a satirical side and
I firmly felt that every song should have some moral to it, if not a
statement or commentary on some value. As for our image back then ... we were
always the sum of our parts which I know sometimes confused people. The
"scene" was embedded with non-conformity but I always thought it was
somewhat hypocritical when the hard-core punks marched all in lock-step and
had a problem with those that did not fit the uniform. For us it was
always the music.
Blobbo: We always had kind a slick approach to the band. Even though we
What do you mean by "slick"?
Blobbo: We were very concerned about our performance, being well rehearsed,
having stage clothes, good gear, and being good musicians. These were not
very "punk" things to do.
Olga: We were well rehearsed, we had backup guitars in case we broke a
string and we were always in tune. Each song went directly into the next -
the finishes and beginnings were all mapped out. We were a polished act.
Bob: One of the big differences between us and most of the other bands
was that we worked the way rock bands are supposed to, and punk bands are
NOT supposed to. We rehearsed 5 nights a week, played each song twice in a
row, had our own p.a., a lighting tech with a lot of gear, and a good crew
that supported us. We worked HARD and sounded good because of it. I still
teach musicians the things I learned from Sats about how to rehearse. I
totally learned how to rehearse from Sats.
What kind of bands did you hang out with back then? Any favorites?
Bob: I don't have a good memory for many of the local bands. Sure, the
early ones like the Avengers, Crime, and Negative Trend are still tattooed
on my brain, but the ones that came later were much less memorable. I do
remember liking No Alternative, Legionaires Disease Band from Texas, the
Misfits, and Olga turned us on to a NY band called the Fast that was pretty
good. In spite of our hard-core sound we had a lot more in common with the
Ramones and the Dead Boys than we ever did with Dead Kennedys or MDC.
Olga: I started the Offs with Billy Hawk and later got Bob Steeler and
Bob Roberts. We hung out with the Avengers, The Nuns, UXA and Flipper.
Then when I was in Vs. I hung out at the Mabuhay Gardens with Punk Globe,
Naked Lady Wrestlers and Mike Fox. The Lewd hung out with Wasted Youth,
Social Distortion, DOA, we loved the Ramones...we went to all of their
shows, Misfits, 45 Graves, Germs, Spike and Snap and our fan club and its
president, Laura Lourda. And then there was the Heavy Metal influence,
i.e., Motorhead, Priest, Girlschool, Iron Maiden, Accept, Michael
Schenker Group, Scorpions. The U.S. groups we liked were Husker Du,
Megadeth, Metallica, W.O.W. & Iggy ... Free Beer and Crucifix.
They're ALL our favorites, and Metal Church rules of course.
Sats: Back then we were very lucky when it came to hanging out, we had a
clubhouse. The Mabuhay Gardens! Bands played there 7 nights a week and
hung out there when they weren't playing.
Blobbo: We hung with No Alternative, Mentors. My favorites were Crime, The
Avengers, Rubber City Rebels.
Bob: Ahhhh, the Mentors!!!! When I joined the Lewd, I inherited the
'tors as friends and they have remained friends of mine. I saw them just a
few months before El Duce' died, and I think it's fucked that all these
magazines that NEVER mentioned them when they were playing had stories
about him dying. They were truly every 9 year old boys fantasy band.
Sicky Wifebeaters' guitar style is genius.
How was the scene like in SF back then? Judging from the releases it
seems quite fragmented to me, ranging from the artsy stuff and new wave to
punk and rock. Or were the same people just doing lots of different stuff?
Bob: On any given night you could go to a show, or party, or even a
movie and see all the same folks who "were" the punk scene. They were
musicians, photographers, artists, drug dealers, fans and losers. A very
wide range of people, but at the beginning at least, we all went to the
same shows. If you didn't know the person on your left, your friend to the
right knew who they were.
Olga: It was fragmented. Because of the SF Art Institute there were the
art bands. There were performance cults and then there was the Mark
Pauline experience. There was new wavy gravy, punk rock and heavy metal.
These were all talented, different people - nobody was doubling up.
Sats: Your observation is pretty accurate, and even more so in San
Francisco. This city has always been a melting-pot for every form of
expression known and a few that have yet to be identified.
Blobbo: The punk scene was really strong for a couple years but eventually
went New Wave and I got into Heavy Metal.
Can you tell me more about that lewd fan club? I mean, what did they do,
was it a real fan club or was it more for the fun? How many people were in
Olga: It was a real fan club. We had shirts, stickers...fans got a
package with their Lewd ID card with their name on it, discounts to
upcoming shows...all sorts of cool stuff. But Sats would know more - he's
the one who did it all.
Sats: Laura Lorda I'm sure will be known as one of the more unique
personalities on the SF punk/music scene. Before we met I would always
notice her at our shows since she stuck out from the usual crowd. She has
a great Latin accent and more energy than all of us together. She had run
fan clubs for some other more mainstream bands like Greg Kihn and Paul
Collins' Beat. She offered to set up a fan club for us and we would have
been nuts to turn her down. It was more for fun than anything else, she
did a great job with tee-shirts, buttons, newsletters, and stickers, and it
did serve a purpose for the kids out there in mid America. I'm not sure
how many members we finally had.
What made you stop your band engagement, what caused the breakup?
Bob: I never viewed punk rock as a vehicle for change, I saw it as a
musical movement, so the sound of the early punk bands 77-79 was always my
favorite, and as times changed I found myself increasingly unhappy with the
way the "scene" changed. The bands sounded increasingly alike, and I was
not getting what I needed from the music. That includes what I was
writing, it was not Lewd material that was coming to me any more. I had
stopped listening to other punk bands sometime around 1981, and although I
still really enjoyed playing our wild out of control shows, I knew there
was not going to be a second Lewd LP from me.
Sats: I guess everyone had their own reason, and I know the reasons were
varied and complicated. It is never a simple thing when a group of artists
decide not to be united under the same banner any more. For me it took a
piece of my heart, but I knew that from the ashes there would be new doors
opening for all of us.
Olga: Girls...they're always a problem when mixed with male hormones, and
too much cops.
What do you mean, jealousy?
Olga: No, not jealousy. When girls interfere with practice that really
bugs me. No boyfriends or girlfriends should interfere with the band and
practice...work shouldn't interfere either. We all had to schedule our
work, our money making, around practice and when one member would stand the
rest of us up to go make $100 that really sucked. They weren't taking
Did you have a lot of trouble with cops?
Olga: Yes. They would close clubs down that they knew we were going to
play at. The riot squad came in at one of our concerts in LA - they beat up
some of the kids and threatened us in front of 1000 people - then unplugged
us one by one - except the drummer Reece who just kept going, like that
energizer bunny, cause they couldn't unplug him!
In San Jose, where we were playing with Black Flag and a bunch of other
southern and central California bands, again, the RIOT SQUAD surrounded the
building, pulled the fuse to cut all power, stole all the money at the door
then threw tear gas into the building. The punks panicked and started
throwing chairs out of windows to let fresh air in. WE couldn't leave
because we owned all of our equipment and it was too valuable to risk
losing. Sometimes the Fire Department and/or the cops would close
buildings before we even arrived! They'd use some bullshit safety code
reason or other nonsense....we began to think they hated us. (continued ..)
Copyright © 1998 Burkhard Jaerisch