ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN REIS
BY BRIAN LENTINI
You can tell when someone means it, and that’s what’s missing in punk music right now. No one believes what they’re saying and no one means what they’re playing.
So, you’re off Interscope and just released All Systems Go 2 on Swami, your own label.
Yeah, I don’t know what the future of Rocket is. We just want to get in the studio and record them and get ‘em out. It’s been a long time. People’s perception of the band is that we’re doing nothing. When, in fact, we’ve been practicing all the time and writing tons of songs. Some good, some bad, but only time will tell. You gotta keep playing it for a while, get used to it. But right now it’s exciting. I can’t wait to get out to the East Coast.
The East loves you guys. That 4th of July in Central Park was the best.
That was the best time I ever had outside. Usually I don’t like playing outside. It was cool, good vibe and everyone having fun.
I’m tired of seeing people on stage who look as pissed as me.
(laughs) Yeah, but not everything we do is all about having a good time. But, hey, what it comes down to, touring around the world, playing every night. If you’re not liking what you’re doing then you better stop, because it’s basically burning the candle at both ends. So you better, at least, have fun.
How long did you guys play to no one?
Maybe the first 2 tours. It picked up pretty fast. That was a time when more people went to shows. Yeah, we were a good band and we played good music, that wasn’t really “happening” at the time. But you have to credit that it was a time when independent music was exploding. It’s not like that anymore.
Tell me about the Hot Snakes.
Hot Snakes is a new band that I’m doing with Rick, who I played with in Jehu. Jason, who plays with Delta 72 and the three of us made this record. Live, a friend of mine, Gar, from Tanner, plays bass. We’ve got a record coming out February 5th and I’m really stoked on it.
So you’re on both sides of the recording booth right now, huh?
I’m trying to be. I wanna be as busy as possible. This year I’ve been broker then I’ve ever been in my whole life, but I’ve been busy so it hasn’t really been that big of a deal. When ya don’t got money and you got nothing ta do it makes ya feel like shit.
After the East what’s next for Rocket?
Come home, chill out. Find out what we’re gonna do for our next record. I don’t want another year to go by without a record.
How did you manage to put out Rocket’s music through so many labels?
You wanna put out our records and you wanna work with us. Then you gotta let us be the band we wanna be. Part of that is to be able to put out different stuff with whoever we want.
What do you think of current indie music?
I’ve heard some, I’m not totally alienated from what people are listening to right now, especially when it comes to bands in San Diego. I’m somewhat of an authority.
Seems like you’ve got a good scene going.
People are cool down here and really supportive. Now, there’s not as many people going to shows. But there’s this new group of people starting bands and becoming part of the rock n’ roll community. New blood is definitely a good thing. I have a couple complaints. I don’t think there’s that many good punk bands out there. A lot of it’s completely diluted. They stopped being important because they lost the spirit that made them refreshing and new. It’s important to not duplicate what’s already been done. You just don’t see bands like Black Flag, or The Misfits, or Negative Approach. You can tell when someone means it, and that’s whats missing in punk music right now. It’s going through the motions. No one believes what they’re saying and no one means what they’re playing. Black Flag made me feel that I wasn’t alone, maybe that has to do with how you feel when you’re younger. But I don’t see that going on. I consider Rocket From The Crypt a punk band. When I said that “punk is dead”, that was to piss people off and create more contradiction.
I’ve seen fights about how to categorize bands.
Punk used to be anything goes and now it’s turned into a drum beat and a style of dress. You used to be able to have Suicide, Blondie and The Misfits on the same bill and that was a punk show. If Blondie were starting up now they’d be called alternative. It’s more about spirit and a state of mind than anything else. I was really into rock n’ roll. Now I hate rock n’ roll. There’s so many bad rock n’ roll bands playing right now and everyone wants to be Kiss or Guns N’ Roses. It’s cock rock. It has no punk rock spirit. It’s all about being up on a pedestal, higher then the audience. Although it’s all tongue and cheek, how far is that gonna take you. You gotta have a balance.