Back with a Bong
interview with Jimmy Gestapo
interview by Murf
photo by Crash
What was the first Murphy’s Law show and what was the line up?
The first Murphys Law show was New Year’s Eve 1982 into 1983 at a place called the Plug Club. This guy George Obolmowski – he used to manage the Yardbirds – owned, still owns the place. It was this gallery kind of place and it was us, NPC and Reagan Youth. The band was me, Harley Flannigan, Uncle Al and Adam Wootchie playing bass.
Where did you get the name Gestapo?
I didn’t get Gestapo, it was blessed upon me.
By a guy named Johnny Feedback, he was the drummer of the band Kraut. He and I went to high school together and we were way into the punk rock thing before the term hardcore, you know ever came about. There was no scene for us cause we were too young and I’m talking 14, 15. And he all of a sudden was like you know you need a name. Like I got Johnny Feedback, you know like Sid Vicious and all that stuff and he’s like you know you’ve got a terrible name and I wound up with Gestapo.
You had to get a terrible name!
Well, you know it was like vicious you know, but unfortunately being a stupid kid, you know thinking vicious has no political standings. Gestapo definitely insults and freaks out a lot of people, but I don’t acknowledge any of the obvious fascist shit. You know I think that might be the reason that I had a lot of trouble getting anywhere with this music. People definitely judge a book by the cover, but throughout the years and by word of mouth, you know I’m clear.
Who’s the hardest NYHC band?
The hardest one!?! Shit!! The hardest NYHC band, WOW!!!! The hardest band, man an old band or a new band?
Say old band right now.
I’d say an old band, shit. A hard band, man. There were some hard fuckin’ bands. A hard band let me think, let me think. A scary band, The Psychos.
I mean, Agnostic Front, yeah that’s a given. Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, yeah definitely those are hardest bands for sure. And I would say the Bad Brains but I consider them a DC band cause they came from DC. But I mean they had their time when they had the belt. But I would definitely say the hardest band of all time would have to be Agnostic Front. Because they withstood the test of time and they’re still together. You know, it’s definitely Agnostic Front. And as far as new bands are concerned, I would say Skarhead seems pretty much the hardest, scariest band around.
Did you have many crucial barbeques this summer?
I had an fuckin’ awesome one, Fourth of July.
Yeah, what was going down?
My father exposing his beer belly, hanging out with Joey Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba and Jesse Malin. It was a fabulous event with many people of punk rock stature. There was lots of cow cooked. Then I got the view of all the Macy’s fireworks and I lit off some of my own too. Yeah we had a good time, I cooked for 12 hours straight. I didn’t leave the grill, ask anyone.
Alright, man. What’s up with the new record?
The new record is called The Party’s Over, it’s going be on our new label NG Records and it’s ah, it’s a lot of songs. I mean some actual songs and some lyrics and stuff. Not a lot of songs about just beer and pot, although some of that’s in there too. But we’re covering some more topics like the song “Maximum Lie” which is about Maximum Rock N Roll and a lot of the bullshit that they write about. And a lot of the judgmental attitude they have on a lot of people and a lot of the negative things they write about people. Y’know we’re touching a part of some heavier topics and also songs about the state of New York right now. How there’s nowhere for bands to play and our mayor tries to control what we do and what we see and the art and what we listen to and how loud music should be and where it should be played. It’s a real real tough situation.
What happened with Coney Island High?
The whole neighborhood just got on their case a lot#. They ran into a lot of financial difficulties cause they were always constantly tied up going to court, so that’s the way they got them. Now these no place to go like that. CBGB’s doesn’t do, y’know it’s not a place that you go and have a good time. You know that place; Coney Island you could go there and drink till the sun came up, and have a blast, and watch bands and hang out with them. You know there’s no venue for that anymore. Actually the only place around that’s showing any respect is The Continental. We’re playing there New Year’s Eve.
You and Roger (AF) opened your own tattoo parlor/record store. What inspired you to do that?
We’re old and it’s time for us to get a place to hang out besides the street. We have tattoos and we like tattoos.
Are you going to be doing any inking?
I’m going to learn. My partner D. Swartz is the shop boss. He is going to start teaching me. But I definitely would like to learn how to tattoo at least a skull or something. If a kid wants to come in get a tattoo from me I’ll be able to do a skull on him.
What’s the wildest show you ever played?
That’s a tough call. The Beastie Boys tour, this was the pre Buddhist days, 1987 Licensed To Ill tour. We definitely had a license to ill. We had four buses, Murphys Law, Fishbone and the Beastie Boys. We’d roll into town and there would be swarms of kids ready to go nuts. The song was “Fight for Your Right to Party”, so everyone was down to party, it was just nuts. Just total young stupidity. I loved the 80’s, it was the best time. When we did that tour, there was never a pit at an arena. There was never stage diving, then we’d show up and me and Angelo from Fishbone would show up and dive off the stage and cops would arrest us for inciting a riot.
Shout outs to Vinnie Stigma, the Glowskulls, the Dub All Stars. Hey we’ve got a website now, it’s www.hardcorenyc.com. That’s got the tattoo shop on it and some Murphys Law stuff. Kids can email us there. It’s 127 Stanton St. between Essex and Norfolk. Phone number is 212-979-0350. We’ve got a bunch of people working there that are basically involved with the New York hardcore scene.