INTERVIEW BY COREY PARKS
INTRODUCTION BY DAN LEVY
You may have heard Turbonegro on ‘Jackass’ or ‘Viva la Bam’. You may not have heard of them at all. Either way, they don’t care. In fact their songs are written to be offensive, appealing to legions of Turbo youth worldwide. Any way you put it, Turbonegro kicks ass and takes names, and then loses them. Corey and Tom have both traveled the world with their respective bands and they hooked up once again to knock out this interview. Here’s some time with Happy Tom and Corey Parks.“All of our famous fans outshine us with their mere presence. It’s a bummer. We’re like the Toto/Foreigner of punk rock in the sense that a lot of other musicians are heavily into us – not into us anally, though. Most of the people we stole from are/were big fans, plus some people we didn’t steal from, like The Dictators, The Ramones, The Bad Brains, Lemmy, Keith Morris, Alice Cooper, Slayer, Motley Crue, Metallica, The Cockney Rejects, Steve Jones, Iggy, Ian Astbury, blah blah blah, ad nauseum.”
Hey there, Tom. It’s been awhile. The last time that I saw you, we were on your tour bus leaving Dusseldorf. You were sitting in front of a table of gifts from some hot shit professional soccer players who came to the show. It was my first glimpse at real Turbo fans. What kinds of things do they bring you guys?
My bass guitar, the one with all the old stickers, was a gift for my 27th birthday from the St. Pauli Soccer Club. It had been laying around some Hamburg pimp’s house for 15 years. He had confiscated it from some other guy or whore who owed him money.
Most people over here don’t realize how huge you guys are in Europe. I’ve even heard that the Prince of Denmark has followed you guys around. Is that true?
Yeah, the Prince of Denmark got married last year, and through some people we know, we heard that all he wanted for a wedding gift was a signed Turbo sailor hat. So he got that just in time for his bachelor’s party. We didn’t get shit in return though, so fuck him.
Do you have any other famous fans, besides Bam Margera?
Yes. Too many. All of our famous fans outshine us with their mere presence. It’s a bummer. We’re like the Toto/Foreigner of punk rock in the sense that a lot of other musicians are heavily into us – not into us anally, though. Most of the people we stole from are/were big fans, plus some people we didn’t steal from, like The Dictators, The Ramones, The Bad Brains, Lemmy, Keith Morris, Alice Cooper, Slayer, Motley Crue, Metallica, The Cockney Rejects, Steve Jones, Iggy, Ian Astbury, blah blah blah, ad nauseum. There are a bunch of board sports people that are Turbo fans, too. Bam and Jen came to Hank’s wedding last year, which was nice. We turned into being the in-house band for the Jackass guys, which was kinda funny, because MTV blacklisted our videos for some reason. We got in there through the back door via Jackass and Viva La Bam. Ha ha! Suckahs! Shave my balls, Mister MTV. Anyways, a lot of bands have covered our tunes, like Queens Of The Stone Age, black metal legends Mayhem, and even my childhood favorites, GBH. For a while, we got all stuck up and arrogant about this, but then we realized that the reason isn’t because we’re such songwriting geniuses, but more because our songs are probably the easiest to play ever. They’re designed so that you can play them after 18 beers. We forgot about that after a while and got all arrogant again. We forgot about that after 18 beers.
How did the whole ‘biker gang thing’ with the different chapters come about?
Frank Zappa used to have this thing where he would hand out trophies to his groupies, ‘Fucked by Frank Zappa’. Influenced by that back in the mid-’90s, we made a diploma that said ‘Member of Turbojugend’ (Turbo Youth) as a little joke. Then it turned into this Frankenstein’s monster. Now it’s out of control, with more than a 1,000 chapters worldwide. Kiss have an army, we have a navy. There’s so many members now that we’re seriously considering taking over a mid-sized European country (possibly Belgium).
How many Turbonegro tattoos have you seen? What were the best ones?
I’ve seen quite a few. The best one was probably this really fat guy in Amsterdam who had us sign his belly with a magic marker and showed up the next time with the autographs’ trace tattooed on. Some of the tattoos we see are pretty weird. They don’t even mention the band, but will be a sailor and the word ‘Oslo’. There’s all this cryptic stuff like that.
During the legendary split of Turbonegro, Hank was ‘hearing voices’. Now that you’re back together, what’s he hearing now? Cash registers?
Hank is on the methadone program now, doing great. Ka-ching!
It’s obvious why you guys reunited, because you fucking rock, but who made the first move?
When we first broke up, we were relieved. No more hassle, no more mental war, no more bullshit. We thought, and hoped, we would be forgotten within a year. We chose to break up because we were starting to suck. Then the whole legacy grew, with a lot of younger kids getting into it. After four years, we had gotten so many out-of-sight offers to play reunion shows and make more records. We thought, ‘Hey, let’s try. Let’s play a few shows and see what it feels like. If we still suck, let’s pull the plug, but if we rock, let’s keep going.’ It worked out great. We never set out to be a myth; we’re quite content being one of the best rock n’ roll bands ever.
How’s everyone getting along now?
Well, Hank was living way up in Northern Norway on the Lofoten Islands with his whale hunter family, I kid you not, cleaning up. Euroboy and Chris had The Euro Boys going. Rune (Rebellion) was their manager. Pal went off to New Zealand to go to film school. I got a job doing market analysis. Life sucked donkey balls for most of us. It felt incredible to be back.
Front men, right? Biggest egos and lowest self-esteem at the same time. Lucky for me, I’m fucking mine. How about you?
I’m getting into falconeering now, courtesy of Turbojugend Orange County, I’m gonna be a eagle-maniac! Hang on to your eagle. Really. He. When people like Hank and myself can become rock stars, there’s something seriously wrong with the world.