Bruuuthas and shit-startz!!!! Friends of the degeneration!!!! Are you ready to testify?! I'll bring you a testimon-i-ohh … Well … However: After shamelessly skippin' to contribute to the last issue of our all beloved Garage / KBD / '77-punkrock-bible, the most magnificent and I mean really, REALLY swingin' CORPORATE ROCK KNOCKOUT-fanzine, here I am finally once agaiiin!! And let me tell you one thing: Uff coooz, I had a good reason for my time off, becuuz I just started a little cute 'n' tiny booking agency of my own: It's still small, but it's also really hot'n'swingin' and it's called Bazooka Booking – you can check it out here, for instance:
Well, however, shameless as I am, I just want to use'n'abuse the empty space of that beautiful crko-thh.blogspot here to announce the very first tour of the EROTIC DEVICES!! Yup, most probably you never might have heard of 'em so far, but these guys are definately cool and really know how to combine that straight Whuun-thoo-fee-faaaw kick in yer face RAMONES-punkrawk with the best blends of UK'77-punk and even some skoshes of latin-american '60ies garage like their demented cover-version of LOS SAICOS' “Demolicion” proves … And they are gonna release their first 7” “We vibrate!” on INCOGNITO RECORDS soon, so watch out!!
The EROTIC DEVICES are:
Gerson Device: Singer, guitarist and violent Johnny Ramone look-a-like of Peruvian origin, but livin' in Switzerland.
Tara Ramona: Very much ass-kickin' bass-playing murder-chick from San Francisco.
Michi Mykill: The drummin' monkey, also known for his ivolvement with Berlin's old-school Doitch-punkster's EASTIE ROI!S (http://www.myspace.com/eastierois).
The EROTIC DEVICES' “Blitzkrieg over Europe!”-tour will embrace following dates:
September 30th: GER-Weimar “Clockwork Bar” w/ MARY'S KIDS
October, 1st: GER-Wittenberg “Irish Harp” w/ MÖPED
October, 2nd: GER-Kassel “Das Haus”
October, 4th: CZE-Prague “ Cafe Na Pul Cesty”
October, 5th: GER-Passau, “Tabakfabrik” w/ CHASING FOR GLORY
October, 6th: SWI-Schaffhausen, “Schäferei”
October, 7th: SWI-Basel, “Agora Bar”
October, 8th; SWI-Kreuzlingen, “T.O.M.” w/ THE GABBA HEY'S
October, 12th, GER-Dresden, “Chemiefabrik” w/ LOMBEGO SURFERS
October, 13th, GER-Berlin, “Schokoladen” w/ THE FROGRAMMERS
OCTOBER, 14th, GER-Gadebusch, “K.u.T.” w/ ZACK ZACK
And now here we finally go with the interview:
Please give me a brief history on your band. How did you guys come to know each other, since when are you playing together, etc., blah, blah …
Michi: It was during the week, I was asleep and a friend of mine (Janie, our first bass player) gave me a call, asking if I would like to form a band. And if I met already this guy from Peru called Gerson. He was really excited for doing it and I was pleased that he asked me because I wanted to form a second band since a while. I also was free in that time because I was unemployed. So it fitted perfectly, because I had the time left for doing things like that. We rehearsed as much as I never did with any other band before. We joined the rehearsal room five days the week, because I was not the only one being unemployed in the band, as I found out quickly. We met mostly around 11 a.m. and played until 6 p.m. with very little breaks as far as I can remember. But we had lots of fun. The first show was just after six weeks of rehearsing and we already had ten songs on our set list. But the things changed after a few months and our first bass player didn't spend much attention anymore on the band and we decided to split.
Gers: So Michi and I continued the band as a duo for a while and then he wanted to play the bass and we looked for a drummer, which we never found. Tara was hanging out with us every weekend already, and luckely shortly after she joined the band.
Michi: We gave it a try and it worked out very well and … since then the EROTIC DEVICES have an erotic device.
Tara: I had just moved to Berlin and I was hanging out with powerpoppers. Anyways, our friend Daniel from THE ABOUT:BLANKS was spinning records and I showed up and met Michi. About a year later I met Gerson. I was looking for a band and heard that E.D. was looking for a bassist so I just asked one day when we were out at some bar. The rest is history.
Who are your personal idols (not only as influences on your band, but also in general...)?
Tara: Generally speaking, anyone who thinks for themselves: Critical thinkers unite!
Musically, I would definitely say a lot of the northern Ireland bands circa late 1970s
like RUDI, STARJETS, PROTEX, THE OUTCASTS, SLF and then of course the RAMONES!
Michi: Since I was 15 I'm a huge CLASH-fan and THE CLASH is, in my opinion, still the best band that ever was around. They had Topper Headon on drums and he was so incredibly great. But there is nobody in my mind, about whom I'd say: They are my idols. There is not much what catches me as much as the punk movement back in the days from 1977. I love to see all the footage and I listen with a lot of passion to all the recordings from that time and this is my inspiration.
Gers: Many bands and individuals from the punk movement of mid-late seventies mainly. Other than that I would add Guy Debord, Gamera, UltraSeven, Gohan, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, Matt Hensley, AstroBoy, La China Paula and THE GUINEA PIGS!
What was your career aspiration, when you were kids? And what are you doing actually nowadays to make your living?
Gers: I never had a carrer aspiration, but I liked computers. I work with computers.
Michi: Honestly speaking, I can't remember what I wanted to be, when I was a kid. Probably I wanted to be an astronaut as almost any other kid in that age. I didn't even know what I wanted to do when I was in 10th grade. Then a friend of mine told me he saw a documentary in television about confectioners, who work the hole day with chocolate and doing cakes, etc. So from that moment, I knew that was my dream job! I became a confectioner, but I found out quickly that between my dreams as being a confectioner and actually really being one is a big difference, as it is always in life, when you compare your fantasies with reality. So after more than four years doing that, I broke up and decided to do something more thankful. Now I go back to school, joining a night course in order to get get my diploma for university admission and to become an educator.
Tara: I didn’t care, I just I wanted to fly. Now I am finishing up grad school and work as a sociologist, but I still think flying would be a killer vocation.
Which was the very first record, you ever owned?
Tara: My first CD was GREEN DAY. I get so much shit for that here in Germany, but they were a local band for me! I bought my first vinyl a while later and it was a local band called DEADFALL. One of the dudes plays in RED DONS now, who are simply fantastic.
Michi: Oh shit, I always ask my self how people can remember that ... But I can tell you which was the first LP and the first 7” I ever bought by myself:. CHELSEA – “s/t”, a record which I still love and GENERATION X – “Day by day b/w Paranoid “ as a live recording.
Gers: I used to copy K7's from my friends, latin-american punk rock mostly. My first CD was MEGADETH, so far, so good so what ... I took it from my cousin, he was a metal headbanger. I took it only for one song, the third one, it was a cover of the SEX PISTOLS “Anarchy in the UK”, the best song on that record. My first LP was THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS - “s/t”.
Which is your most favourite song in general and what's spinnin' on your turntables at this very moment?
Michi: Shiiiit, one horrible question after another … There is so much great music out there, what makes it hard to reduce it to only one. And, of course, it changes from time to time. For me, some of the best songs ever written are: EDDIE & THE HOT RODS “Do anything you wanna do”, MEMBERS “Solitary confinement”, NEWTOWN NEUROTICS “Living with the unemployment” and THE CIRCLES “Opening up”. At the moment I always have in my mind: THE INVADERS “The best thing that I ever did” which is such a great song AND almost every song from one of my hard loved favourite bands ever, THE TEARJERKERS!
Tara: There is a suitable song for every mood. I have resonated with “Have you ever fallen in love?” by THE BUZZCOCKS a lot lately. Currently, I have been listening to this band from Canada called THE COLD WARPS. Their song “Hang up on you,” is awesome. PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS and NOBUNNY have also been on repeat.
Gers: It's impossible to name only one song ... I can tell you, that last week I had THE ZIPS “30 years of punk rock” stuck in my head. Yesterday and the day before it was “Can't wait till the summer comes” from Ronnie Mayor and today I've been listening to the FORGOTTEN REBELS, NIKKI & THE CORVETTES and PROTEX all the time.
You’ve just been playing the “Garage Craze”-festival in Oberhausen recently- how did you like it? To be honest, in my opinion it wasn’t really one of the best shows you are able to put on, was it?!
Michi: The “Garage Craze” is a really great event. The people were really nice and let us feel welcome. The food was great, as well as our sleeping place and the unbelievable breakfast the next day … The only thing that sucked that night on “Garage Craze” were we. Dunno why, but unfortunately it was that way. It's wasn’t thaaat bad, but it wasn't that good neither. Well, I wasn't really happy with the concert we played that night.
Tara: I had fun, but that show was sort of embarrassing. We were playing a lot of new songs for the first time live, most of which I learned the day before, plus a new set list. But we still had a lot of fun and some people were bopping their heads - that’s all that matters!
Gers: We played like four songs we just put together the day before... I had fun and I guess the punk rockers who were there as well. The people who work in that festival were great: Frank the promoter, the sound engineers, the cook, the lady at the hotel … I had a good time there!
Apart from that, which was the best and which the lousiest show you’ve ever played and WHY?!
Tara: The best show that we have ever played was with ABRASIVE WHEELS at „Cortina Bob“. Those guys were probably some of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met. They let me use their bass amp, too and the sound that came out of that beast was just magnificent.
Worst show I would have to say was either at „Wild at heart“ with 999, a close second
Michi: The best show we ever played was at “Wild at heart” with 999 and HIFI SPITFIRE. We played only ten songs, really fast and almost without any breaks. The sound was great and everything worked pretty well. Lots of people told us that we were better than 999 that night, which was a pleasure to hear. The worst was in “Schokoladen”, together with ZACK ZACK. I can remember, that I was so unhappy afterwards and I'm sure Gers doesn't want to remember that night neither. But we are happy that the “Schokoladen” will give us a second chance and this time we will kick ass big time! I'm already looking forward to our personal revenge!
Gers: Best shows for me were with 999 and the one we played with THE INSERTS at “Kvu”, those were absolutely great! Yeah, actually the “Schokoladen” one was kind of a nightmare... Unfortunately ... We'll play there again on Thursday the 13th of October. They are having problems with the authorities at the moment, but it's a really cool place and I hope it will last forever!
Gerson lives in Basel, Switzerland and the other two guys in Berlin, which – as I guess – surely makes it pretty difficult to rehearse on a regular basis ... How do you cope with that problem and who writes the most songs in the band, anyway?!
Michi: Of course things have changed, since Gers went back to Switzerland. But we are trying to make the best out of that situation. Tara and I always meet or rehearsing. And once a month Gers is coming over to Berlin for a weekend and then we practise all together as much as possible. So we cope with the situation as good as possible and it actually works better than we all expected in the beginning. I added only two songs yet. But I have a lot of great ideas, just I didn't have the time yet to finish them. Which is good for Gers because it's always a nightmare for him, learning all the long lyrics I use to write.
Tara: Michi and I have a solid rythm section going on. Gerson writes most of the lyrics and Michi and Gers write most of the songs. I came into the band and tweaked a few of the bass lines. Of course, songs evolve and we have done that all together.
Gers: It's crazy, that we managed to keep the thing rolling this way and we are already used to meet at least once per month in Berlin and when we start playing it's like we've just seen each other the day before. In the words of the Tuff Darts: “It's all for the love of rock n' roll”.
By beginning of your tour, you will finally have released your very first four-song 7inch called “We vibrate!” on nonetheless than Germany’s legendary INCOGNITO RECORDS - as far as I know, you must be the very first band ever to release a record there since ... well, I don't know when! How comes and does it make you feel somewhat proud, being INCOGNITO’s “comeback band”?!
Tara: Its fantastic!
Michi: Yes, it's a big pleasure to be on INCOGNITO! They sell all the stuff that we love and for me it always was the best mailorder and I know a lot of people, who are thinking the same. They also used to release a lot of great records years ago. I have no idea but probably the last release on INCOGNITO is already ten years ago. And now they are going to present us as their “comeback band”, so to say! We are all looking forward to the record. It took us a long time and lots of work from the recording until the mixing,the cover design etc. and now we'll soon be holding the result in our hands. I always wanted to release a vinyl and so this is a dream which becomes true now!
Gers: Ow yeaaah! For me being on INCOGNITO it's like being on „Good Vibrations“ in the late 70's. It's Great! Besides, it's the best mailorder out there. If you go to their website you can blindly choose a record and be sure you will get a good one.
As your absolutely awesome lookin’ band-mascot proves, you seem to have a very high affection towards guinea-pigs – how comes: Just because it’s the national food of Peru, or what?! And as I’ve heard, the artist who drew the guinea pig is one of the inventors of the “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles”?! Whooweee, how cool is that? How did you get in touch with that guy?!
Tara: You mean „Ninja“? I still think its a hamster half the time. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a rat! I guess that Gers finds guinea pigs erotic. Haha.
Michi:This was Gerson's idea, he took care for all of that. It's great, that especially this artist took the time for doing that and what he drew at the end (our mascot) is great. For me it's a pleasure, especially since I used to be a huge “Turtles”-fan, when I was a kid. I loved their cartoon-show on television!
Gers: Comics and cartoons have always been in my head since I was a kid. I thought this comic-look-a-like-guinea-pig-punkrock-superhero that was crawling in my brain could be a our mascot. I first asked a friend but couldn't get the real comic look out of the idea, then I tried my luck and mailed to my favourite comic book artists and was surprised when Rick Veitch replied my email and was keen to help us out. I explained him the guinea-pig-punk-superhero thing and after some emails going back and forth, he sent me the drawing: I was stoked! He was probably a punk back in the days, I should have asked him. However, he actually didn't invent the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” but at least he once did a “Ninja Turtles”-storyline.
As mentioned before, you’ll be on the road playing a dozen of shows from September 30th to October 15th all over Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. What do you expect from it aaaand what may the audience expect from you?!
Michi: Going on tour as well always was kind of a dream for me. I'm looking forward to see all the nice cities and the locations where we are going to play. I hope a lot of people are going to come, because its always nice to have some people in the audience and its always great to meet people in other towns. I do enjoy that and I'm sure we will have a lot of fun on the trip. And the fact that we are going to play almost every night within two weeks is so great and makes me smile! People hopefully know that they will see three different nationalities in one band, playing 77-punk with a lot of power and passion and who took the time to come just to perform in their town. If they know that, they will come and they won't be disappointed.
Tara: I want people to know that punk rock isn’t dead. Sounds cliche, but we are gonna bring you back to 1977! I hope that people are able to learn and hear our influences outside of just a „RAMONES“-band. I’m also looking forward to growing tight as a live band.
Gers: It's going to be a blast! But please don't expect to have a bunch of guys with beard, moustache and trendy tattoos playing long rock riffs and making jokes during long talks: No, no, no, it will be exactly the opposite!
Okay, this one goes out to each one of you guys: What are the most disturbing habits of the other two guys in the band?! Come on, don’t be shy: I won’t tell anybody, I promise ;-)!
Michi: Do you already wanna get us in trouble before we even started the tour or what? Alright, the most disturbing thing is the sweat that I always lose when Gerson is playing the intro of “Demolicion”. If I would have my hands free, I would cross my fingers, so that this time he will play it well, but unfortunately I never have my hands empty in that moment. And honestly speaking as well Tara's girl characterising that we have to stand sometimes.
Gers: Michi used to involuntary throw drumsticks to me while playing, luckely he has stopped doing that. Tara, when she's drunk and she's about to recognize a song, she starts saying “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!!” and banging her head from left to right very quickly. I never know if she's suffering a kind of attack or she's trying to get her brain to give an answer to the song, but I always get confused and scared at the same time … It really disturbs me!
Tara: Michi always eats chocolate between songs, which is fine, except that he eats
sooooo slowly!! Gers always convinces me to do things that I know I shouldn’t do,
like stay at Kreuzberg's infamous „Trinkteufel“-bar until the next day... We all have our fun though, we’re a family.
Ha, alright, the last question might be the most important, since you are calling yourselves EROTIC DEVICES: Which one is actually your “porno name” (= name of your first pet plus your mother’s birth name)?
Michi: This is a question which sounds to me that it definately has priority compared to all the others, so why you didn't ask this first? Alright, it is: “Donatello Haeselar”.
Tara: “Piper Segovia Chiongson”, which sounds pretty lame. For my stripper name, I think I would use “Ashley Scarlett,” my middle name and nickname combined.
Gers: “Pichicutin Delcarpio”
Okay that's it! Now go and see the EROTIC DEVICES live on stage and get their first 7inch, cuz it's great!!!