Munster: Please tell us what has been happening in the Queers camp in 2015 so far.
Joe: Eh just doing weekend shows mainly so far this year. Heading out for a longer tour this fall.
Munster: Are you guys working on any new material?
Joe: Yep I’m working on songs now. We’re hoping to record in September for the new album!
Munster: I read an interview were you mentioned you worked some winters on your brothers fishing boat and you once owned a café/restaurant, when not touring do you ave a day job?
Joe: I actually had a job for 2 months that I just quit 2 weeks ago. I hadn’t worked in years and I’ve been wanting to get something to stay busy and have some additional income while I’m not touring so I got a courier job in Atlanta. I never did anything like it-it kind of sucked but felt good to work at the same time. I’m hoping to get a catering/cooking job I could work now and then. I can’t have a steady job cos we tour so much. I miss cooking so I want to do that again. I’ll find something. I miss working on the boat-if I lived in NH I’d be doing it right this moment probably. My wife didn’t care for living in NH tho so we’re stuck in Georgia for now at least.
Munster: When I first heard the Queers it was when I heard Love songs for the Retarded, and I love how there were a lot of great fun punk tracks, but it also had two slower more serious tracks, and other albums had that theme of a bunch of short fun tracks but a slower one or two. Was that a testament to the saying if it aint broken down fix it?
Joe: Eh yeah honestly I never thought much about albums as far as messages or slow vs fast songs. We just recorded the songs we had done and that’s how the album came out. They’re never thought out much.
Munster: With the slower tracks, is that just what came out when you wrote them, or was it trying to be a more serious songwriter?
Joe: Yeah I just write what comes out.I have song titles I save and when I work on new songs just go to the list and work off that. I usually start with the chorus of a song and work backwards. Once I have a catchy chorus I know the song will be good and I finish the rest.
Munster: What process went into recording your last studio album Back to the Basement?
Joe: We deliberately recorded it real raw and primitive. Didn’t use a click track or cut and paste anything together. We wanted to record like we did in the old days. We’d get in the studio,tune up and then play the song and tape it. If it was ok we’d keep it. None of this cutting and pasting shit together and fixing sour notes-we went for the feel of the recording. If we ended it and looked at each other and said that felt good-we kept it. Nowadays songs are void of emotion-if the drummer kept a pretty good beat with the kick drum we’ll keep it and cut and paste the rest of the shit together. It’s just too ‘perfect’ sounding. Every hair is in place and no emotion. So on BTTB we went for the feel and emotion-we sped up here and slowed down a little there-had a few sour notes-but we kept it if we liked that take. Like the instrumental Rollerdog has a few sour notes but we left it just as we recorded it cos it’s a great take. Psychedelic Mindfuck speeds up a lot towards the end but it really fits the song so we kept it like that. Yeah we could have done another take and kept a straighter tempo but it wouldn’t sound anywhere near as good. That’s my fave song on that album-that and Rollerdog. Both are really great songs in my estimation. If we had done that album back when we did Beat Off in the mid 90’s it would be considered a huge Queers’ classic. As it was it kind of flew under the radar by a lot of our fans cos they didn’t understand where we were coming from. It was deliberately raw. Those 2 songs and Everyday Girl are 3 of my best songs I’ve written. I love I Knew GG When He Was a Wimp and I’m Pissed too. Fucked in the Head I want to redo-it should have been longer. It’s a killer song but too short.
Munster: You mentioned in an interview for a Russian art site that you were proud of the fact you were offered big tours, such as NOFX, Bad Religion and Warped and you turned them all down. Where do you draw the line between being true and selling out?
Joe: I draw the line at doing shit I don’t want to do just to make money. I have never done that. I see a ton of bands that have taken all sorts of tours opening up for shitty bands just to ‘further’ their career. It’s sickening. We do really well on our own-I don’t have to go open up for some band I hate just to try to ‘make it in the biz’. Fuck that shit. I’m not saying we’re better than those bands but we’re just as good. I don’t respect some of those other bands you mentioned anyway so I would never whore myself to open up for them.
Munster: I was on a punk panel recently, and the question of the panel was is punk still relevant, so i/ll ask it to you, is it still relevant?
Joe: Oh yeah it’s still going strong. It’s morphed out into other genres-the crappy horror/Misfits thing-the ska thing-the Social D greaser thing-the moronic Irish/drunkard thing-the crappy ex-jock’s-who-grew-up-on-heavy metal-but-are-now-punks thing-eh there are all sorts of different genres. But you have Punk Rock Bowling-Riot Fest-all sorts of these little scenes that are all going great. Denver-SF-Phoenix-Texas-Chicago-Boston/NY/east coast…………they’re all big scenes for punk.
Munster: I recently read the book about Lookout Records which you contributed to, what was that like looking back on that period of the band and your life?
Joe: Eh no biggie. The guy asked me questions and I answered-he emphasized certain things too much I thought and missed a ton but then he wasn’t there so he wouldn’t know anyway. It was nice he did it though I thought. It was a kickass scene back in the day.
Munster: the end of Lookout for the Queers maybe wasn/t the happiest of splits, but you mentioned your still friends with the guys involved with the label, do you still keep in touch with those guys?
Joe: Larry and I email back and forth. I miss seeing him tho he travels a lot and we always seem to miss each other. Chris and I emailed last year. I really miss Chrisser a lot-he was fun to talk to about music. Great guy. Pat I lost touch with but yeah Chris and Larry are 2 solid guys and were really behind the band when we were on Lookout. We had come back to do Pleasant Screams-one last album on Lookout before they went belly up so by the time the label kind of went down the tubes we were pretty much gone anyway. It was a bummer tho. I really wish I could win the lottery and start the label back up with Chris and Larry again.
Munster: You wrote a song called I knew GG when he was a wimp. Did you know GG back in the day?
Joe: Of course-I didn’t just make it up. We were both from NH.
Munster: I see your doing a bunch of shows with Screeching Weasel, that must be a cool feeling, that you and Ben ave been friends for many years and your still shearing a bill together.
Joe: Yeah with MTX too! Always a fun time with Weasel. Great to see Ben playing again. Same with Dr Frank.
Munster: If you started the Queers in 2015 do you think you could reach the level of success in say 20 years from now?
Joe:Hell no. Luckily we were in the right time at the right place. Tho we had great songs too. We weren’t as consistent as other bands but we had our moments. We fit right in at Lookout in the early 90’s though.
Munster: Was reading that Love songs for the Retarded sold 50,000 copies, today bands would kill to sell that amount. Why do you think aside from the internet record sales aint that high anymore?
Joe: Aside from the internet? I think that’s the main reason right there. The ease with which kids can download music hurts. It’s too bad. Man opening an album for the first time is great. That smell and the feel and everything was so important. You’d just devour everything in the liner notes too. Way different than just downloading a song now.
Munster: Is playing all over the place the only way to get exposure and for people to take notice of your band these days?
Joe:Well it’s one of the main ways I’ll say that anyway.
Munster: For me, music has been an escape from the real world, and that’s why I loved the Queer, and other punk bands like the Ramones, Hard Ons, Dickies, Mach Pelican as it was fun all the time, what do you think of punk bands trying to be serious/political?
Joe: Oh I never went for that shit. It’s so arrogant of bands to act like they’re that much smarter than the audience and they have this huge ‘message’ to share. Those bands all preach and talk down to the audience. Punk to me was being equal-the bands and audience were all on the same plane. No one was talking down to anybody else. Going to a punk show is the last place I’m going to find out about who to vote for or what to think. I can do my own thinking thank you. Just cos some moron can tune a guitar and crawl onstage doesn’t give him the right to tell me who to vote for or what to think. Honestly I think the whole political thing is a schtick anyway. Bands don’t have shit to say so they go political. Like they really even care. Instead of being in a metal band or whatever they turn political. Fuck all political bands. They suck.
Munster: Which bands are you currently listening to that we should know about?
Joe: Eh I am listening to mainly Beach Boys Today lately. Also been getting into some really old songs like Billy Murray ‘I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now’ and Gene Austin ‘She’s Funny That Way’. ‘Oceana Roll’ by Billy Morton. Early turn of the century stuff. I used to play trumpet and was in the jazz/dance band so I enjoy listening to these old songs and how they were written. ‘Are You From Dixie’ by Billy Murray. Love that stuff.
Munster: After all these years what keeps being in the Queers fun?
Joe: Oh I’ve made a career out of it so it’s basically what gets me out of bed in the morning. Playing music is exciting. Not every minute is great but you never know what’s around the bend in the river. I already have enough projects to get me into next year and my life has been like that for years. Another album and tour and getting to see pals I have all around the world. It was what I dreamt of when I was younger.
Munster: Any chance you/ll be coming back to Oz anytime soon?
Joe: I’d love to. I have to talk to Blackie and Ray. They suggested coming down on my own and they’d be my band and we could do a few shows that way. Or I was emailing Atsu from Mach Pelican and they suggested the same thing-I fly down and they could be my band. That’s contingent on Mach Pelican even being able to do a tour. I guess they’re not really a band any longer which sucks. They’re a good band. But yeah I’ll have to explore that. I’d definitely be up for a trip down there again. Only went once. It was great.being able to do a tour. I guess they’re not really a band any longer which sucks. They’re a good band. But yeah I’ll have to explore that. I’d definitely be up for a trip down there again. Only went once. It was great.
Munster: Whats up next for your guys?
Joe:Shows this weekend with MTX and Screeching Weasel out west in California. Then we’re doing a few other US shows in August. Then a Nobodys/Queers’ tour in the US. Then we’ll record a new album out in California. I’m definitely going to Europe this winter. Working on a new side project band with some really special musicians but I can’t say anymore cos I don’t want to jinx it. We’ll see.
Munster:And last question I ask everyone, favorite album by the Fall, if you ave one?
Joe: The Fall? Hmm don’t have one I’m sorry to say. Only had one album by them but can’t recall what it was.
Munster: Any final thoughts?
Joe: Yes if anyone has any ideas on how to get The Queers to Australia please let me know. I’d love to come down again for some shows