Issue #12. The big 12. Twelve is an important number. 12 was the age I really got into music. 12 is the empty beer bottle count that marks the point, for me, that a decision has to be made. Do I eat tacos and shut the fuck up, or do I go to the darkside? To whiskey, or not to whiskey? Probably whiskey… fuck it.
As of Issue #10, Smash The Discos has officially gone world wide! Literally. Ok, not the North Pole, but definitely Santa Clause, Indiana.
People ask, “Why not a paper zine?” Personally, I love paper zines, but the goal here is to expose you to new music. Online is the way for us, so we can throw a video, or 5, in your face. You like what you hear? Get to know the band in the same place. Discover the new. Rediscover the old. It’s what we do!
This Issue we got the legendary Graham Saxby of The Warriors! The we rattle our skulls with some top shelf hardcore straight from Motor City with Poison Tongues. Also, we talk with some new skins on the set, Guns Don’t Run. Then, we head over to Audio Fix and put our ears to Scott Maracle’s (Out Of Order) playlist. Finally, we talk to the most badass comic book artist known to man, Jeff “Zornow Must Be Destroyed” Zornow.
Tune in to hear the best of the best!
Mick Fletcher throws down with a killer blogsite and Just Some Punk Songs radio. Just Some Punk Songs Blogspot.
Stop by and show some love to Chelsea’s Choice. This is a zine done right! Chelsea’s Choice Facebook Page
From being the original singer of The Last Resort to marching on with The Warriors, Graham Saxby has proven himself a mainstay in our subculture. He’s been fortunate enough to see all there was, and has, to be seen in the world of skinhead life, and it shows in his brand of British Street Punk. If you don’t know The Warriors, then you live under a fucking rock… but, we can help.
So, I try to get some background on you, but my research results end up all over the place. Now, I figure I’ll just go right to the source. But, before I get all historical, lets talk about your latest release Lucky Seven. What are some of your personal favorite highlights of that album, and how do you feel it compares to your previous works?
G: Hello Jason. Well, we are well happy with the new album Lucky Seven we are back with our original record label Step 1 Music, and Tony has pulled out all the stops to get the album out as soon as possible. It’s a 14 track 39 minute little belter there’s no filler here, mate. The best songs are probably Riot In Progress, Skinhead Blues, Baseball Bats and Bowler Hats, and This Is Oi!, which are now all in our set. It’s personally my favourite album the best we have ever done. It took us almost two years to record it, but it was well worth it.
[THE LAST RESORT. FIRST SHOW. JULY 1980]
You’ve been at this for some time now, (and by the way, thank you for keeping at it). What life changes throughout the years direct and influence your writing style and lyrical content today?
G: Well, I have been married 3 times. The lady I am married to now, I knew years ago, but we never hooked up. So, we are very happy and been married 16 years. I have had lots of influences to write. Some songs just come to me, others I have to work on. A lot of my lyrics come to me when I am out with our dogs and I have to quickly get home and write them down. I wrote all the lyrics on Lucky Seven except Riot In Progress, which Russ, our old bass player, wrote about 6 or 7 years ago, but we never used it. Nick, our current bass player, had this idea for a slower more brooding tune and the lyrics fitted perfectly. A lot of my lyrics are based on real events, but some like Skinhead Blues was an idea by Chris, our drummer, who said, “Write a Skinhead blues song”, and that came to me whilst out walking the dog also.
Whats your take on the current strength of the Oi/streetpunk today compared to its glory days of yesterday?
G: Well, a lot of the top bands have packed up now, but a new breed have taken over and so its got a new lease of life. We were hoping to move up the Oi league table, but we haven’t achieved it. We are still hoping that this album may help us move up the ladder a bit and finally get out of the shadow of The Last Resort. I don’t mean that as disrespectful, but The Warriors have now recorded 7 studio albums and we should be judged on our own merits. You gotta try and aim high, otherwise your just cheating yourself. What’s the saying? “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” ha ha
[Roy, on left, watching Little Eggy telling everyone to calm down. 1981]
Ok, so what was the reason you left The Last Resort after the first demos?
G: My first wife basically, we weren’t married at the time, but she was going through a period of depression and mental health problems. I left the band because of her. I made a deal that I could still occasionally sing backing vocals and I carried on writing lyrics for them after I left, also. I regret leaving, but Arthur took the band to a new level because he had been a musician then for 15 years while we were still only still learning the basics.
We’re fans of The Warriors music here, so we’re glad the way things worked out. I also understand you’re cool with Roi, but has The Last Resort met the expectations that you originally visioned for its future years back when it was still a dream, or is that even a thought you bother with?
G: Me and Roi are mates, and the Resort rehearse across from us, so we often pop over and have a chat. They are a good band and have made some great albums. I am jealous of them. I admit that, but also very proud of them. They have managed themselves very well and got rid of any doubters of their integrity to be a top notch, no nonsense, unpolitical Oi! band. In my opinion, they are playing better now than ever. Back in 1979, when we first talked of getting a band together, we would been happy just to play local to our mates. We never dreamed of playing worldwide like they have done, so fair play to them.
[Herne Bay 1977. Graham in middle]
Another history question: How old were you when you became a skin, and what was going on the time that led to you choosing this life?
G: I was 11. All my older mates were Skinheads. We had a load here in Herne Bay back in the day.
So, now we seek wisdom. What advice would you give to a new band just setting out to make their mark in the scene?
G: When you first start rehearsing, do a few covers to get the feel of it, then gradually add your own songs. Try to be original. Don’t try to copy other bands. The best bands have their own sound. You know its them straight away.
Do you have any memorable show stories you can share with us?
G: Yeah, loads, but what happens on your tour stays on tour ha, ha! I nearly got arrested in France one time for drinking in an area where you aren’t allowed. The Gendarmes came, and in the end they let me go. Another time when we went to Atlanta, it was our honeymoon, and because my wife was born in the USA, the custom guy thought I was coming in to live, or something. Anyway, they let me go eventually, and we done the gig. This was 2001 to promote Chaos Festival.
So, what do you see for the future of The Warriors? Any tour plans or new material in the works?
G: We have just released Lucky Seven on vinyl and CD, so that’s our current new material. It’s on Step 1 Music, or available from us. We got a couple of gigs in England and are headlining on one of the stages at Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool this August. We just met up with our mates, Victory, whilst in Germany, and they are gonna try and set us up a small tour of the States. Yhat’s it for now. We are always open to offers, so if any promoters are reading, get in touch via Facebook or via email email@example.com, or message me.
Thanks for all the years of music, Graham. It’s an honor speaking with you. Any final words you can leave us with?
G: Please keep supporting your local scene, and keep buying our merchandise, because we use that money to pay for recording new albums and making videos. We are pretty much DIY. We haven’t got a manager, or a booking agent. We do it all ourselves. Cheers for making it all worthwhile! Oi! Oi! Oi! P.S. Check us out on YouTube. We have our own channel now, The Warriors Official YouTube Channel (Oi!). Thanks again, Saxby, The Warriors.
Interview by Dan Tope
Guns Don’t Run kicked down the door and stormed their way into the NYC music scene and they are here to stay. These beer drinking soccer hooligans are putting out some great music and are at the top of my list of upcoming bands to watch. Their teaser track, “Unite” from the upcoming album, “First Shot’s On Us” will have you singing along until the albums official release date. If you find yourself in New York City prepare to get rowdy and join Guns Don’t Run for some drinks.
Who is in the band and when did you start? Where are you from?
J: The original lineup was Ralph on lead vocals, Jamie on Drums, Max on Bass, and Austin and Myself (Justin) playing guitar. We all live in, or around, NYC. Jamie has been in a bunch of bands including Saetia and Off Minor. Max used to play in Bottom Of The Barrel, and Ralph and Austin were both in small bands growing up. Jamie, Ralph, and l started the band in early 2013 after a rather heavy drinking session that ended with us at Ottos Shrunkin head saying, “let’s actually do this shit”. We’ve known each other since the early 2000’s from supporting The Arsenal and had been talking about starting a band for years, but the timing was just never right. Austin and Max, NYC Arsenal Supporters, and friends of many years, jumped on board. Unfortunately, for personal reasons, Ralph and Max had to step away from the band. Max now plays in a band called The Buybacks, and Ralph is raising two really cool kids. With those two gone, DJ, who had played in previous bands with Jamie, joined the band on drums so Jamie could jump on lead guitar (he kinda sucked on drums anyway) and I made way for Jamie and slid over to play bass. Our buddy Ron, who incidentally was there at Ottos when we started the band, albeit passed out in a booth, jumped on vocals. Ron is interesting because he has never really been exposed to punk/Oi and we knew him from the pub. We made him a playlist of essentials and told him to come out to a practice. Needless to say, he fucking nailed it. Plus, he brought a case of beer, but mostly he nailed it. What I never realized, was how many people Ron new from the scene. Soccer/Football is a big in NYC, both the EPL and the Red Bull’s, and Ron has been a fixture for years. I don’t know how many people said they had to do a double take seeing him on stage and were like, “Holy shit is that Ron singing? Man, I love that guy!”
How would you describe your sound to someone who has not heard your music, and who are some of your major influences?
J: I’d say maybe if the Cockney Rejects and No Redeeming Social Value joined forces and listened to The Clash. Everyone in the band contributes to writing, so our songs can range. Jamie is definitely an old hardcore kid, so that comes through. I’m more mid tempo Oi! Austin definitely has a more angsty punk vibe, and Ron has a fresh view since he’s not as set in his ways as the rest of us. DJ bangs on drums…. but he’s really good at it though.
How many records do you have? And what is the name of the upcoming album?
J: Our upcoming album is called “This Shots On Us” (Coming soon on CCM). We are pretty excited about it. It’s our first proper recording. We also put out a demo last year.
You seem to be having a pretty successful year. Would you like to tell us about some of the bands accomplishments?
J: This year has been great! I think the biggest thing was getting the lineup settled and everyone up to speed. Once that happened, everything else just started to fall into place. We have played some great shows and recorded some great songs. Also, we are really excited to be working with CCM (Crowd Control Media). Those guys are really putting in a lot of work.
What are some of your favorite bands you have played with to date?
J: Definitely have to mention our brothers in 45 Adapters, Duffy’s Cut, and Legion 76. It was great playing with German legends Volxsturm and one of my personal favorite shows was playing with Curasbun from Chile. Man those guys rock.
What are some of the themes and messages in your music?
J: That the “Arsenal” is the greatest team the world has ever seen. Honestly though, we are more than an “Arsenal” band. It would be impossible to not have Arsenal songs since that is basically what brought everyone in the band together. We try to write songs that people can relate to and try not to take ourselves too seriously. For the most part that has translated to football, booze, brotherhood, and women. If you ask me, the only other thing you need in life may be pizza… hmmm… I think we need a song about pizza.
What is your favorite song? And why?
J: That’s a tough one. On the album, I’d have to say One More Beer. Ron set the lyrics to this song to make fun of me a bit. On a night out I always hate leaving early. I feel like the minute I head home, I’ll miss the best part of the night. You know that [insert crazy event] everyone will be talking about for years to come. My wife, on the other hand, rightly knows that the longer I stay out, the more of a hung over pain in the ass I’ll be the next day. So, typically at some point in the night, I’ll get the “It’s time to come home” call to which I respond, “On my way honey, as soon as I finish this beer”. And as soon as I hang up I promptly order that beer so I can finish it. Sometimes it turns into two or three. I’m pretty sure she caught on a long time ago, but I still say it.
What would you like to tell readers about GDR, and what you stand for?
J: We are just simple guys that like to have a few pints and want to have a good time. And that’s what we stand for. For the most part we leave politics out of it. I think we all agree that politicians of any color don’t have our best interests in mind. We are also not trying to be the toughest band out there; we are too old to be looking for punk cred and are not trying to be English or any of that crap just because we watch soccer. We love making music and hope everyone digs it. If not, have a beer and listen again, we get better with every beer!
Keep an eye on Crowd Control Media for Guns Don’t Run releases!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like talking music, especially telling you what their favorite albums are. That’s why I love Audio Fix. It either reminds you, or enlightens you. This time I asked one of my favorite people in the scene, Scott Maracle of Out Of Order, what’s good in his ‘hood…. and here goes!
Thanks Jason for asking me to give you my top 5 album lists. It’s an honour to be asked. I’m not going to try to give you some bullshit list of obscure bands in a misguided attempt to collect some kinda “scene points”. I’m gonna give you the top 5 albums that have been with me since I was a child, and will be with me when I’m an old man. 5 is so hard to narrow it down to though, so there are a lot of contenders that cold have easily made this list like “The Harder They Come” soundtrack or “All Systems Go” by One Way System. But I narrowed it down to just 5 for the time being..
1. Cocksparrer – “Shocktroops”
Vocally this album is as close to perfection as you can get. The songs all have these beautiful melodic background vocals which accompany a straightforward punk rock and roll album. A standard of the Oi genre. This album is the anthemic bugle call to the subculture. If you wanna sit down and write a catchy song. You must first listen to Chuck Berry and second listen to “Shocktroops” by Cocksparrer.
2. Rancid – “And Out Come The Wolves”
I’m sure this album is on a few top lists. It has to be. Good music is good music. From beginning to end this album is all hits. The melancholy crunch of Armstrong’s spit , lick at the the microphone with the precision of a chain smoking beat poet. There is such a satisfaction I get when listening to this album. Even after all these years it hasn’t been far from my ears.
3. Bruce Springsteen – “The River”
I have to include “the Boss” on this list. I don’t think there is an artist that speaks directly to so many people as Springsteen does. Trying to describe Springsteen and “The River” in particular can be summed up like this. Springsteen is important to me because he writes about how everyone, whether they admit it or not, have to console themselves with reality. There is war waging on in this album between the rebelliousness of our youth and the concessions we make in adulthood. The failings that we must all recognize in ourselves. Not all the dreams of our youth come to fruition, yet we must accept who we are and our allotment in this world. “The River” is powerful and sad at the same time. I believe it strikes deep because resonates in a chord within us all.
4. The Clash -“London Calling”
This is it. This is the album that took punk rock to the stratosphere. This is the album that proves that punk rock doesn’t have to be some art school, 3 chord spazz out. This album proved that it didn’t matter what colour you were, or where you came from. You could be black, white , yellow or purple. Punk rock is for you! Good music is international, cross cultural, complex, and simple, all at the same time. “London Calling” is the echo chamber of a generation and an era.
5. Guns n’ Roses – “Appetite for Destruction”
I will not write a top album list without a nod to G n’f’n R! This album oozes with dirt and grime. I think the reason I ever got into music at all was because of this album 100%. The first notes of the guitar on “Paradise City” were all I needed in order to sign up to rock n roll for life. It’s mean and nasty and wild and full of fire. It still gets my blood pumping the exact same way it did almost 30 years ago!
Visit Scott at Out Of Order Facebook Page.
Detroit takes it’s Hardcore seriously. The scene may come and go in waves, but once you’ve proved yourself and made your mark, you are forever family here. That’s just how it works. With their energetic frontman, and musicians that exceed the expectations of the standard hardcore formula, Poison Tongues continue to pave the way for the future of Detroit City’s brand of Hardcore.
You guys come from an impressive list of former Detroit HC bands, including a personal favorite, Earthmover. How exactly did Poison Tongues come to be?
M: Around 2010, Len and I had a conversation about starting up a Hardcore/Metalcore/Thrash/ band. With me on guitar, formally from the bands The Alliance, and Hyde, and Len on vocals, formally from Earthmover and Cast In Fire. The second guitarist Jim “Schmo”, former guitar of Without Warning grew up hanging with our friends Cold As Life. We got the former Bale drummer, Justin, whose also in band’s Ante Up and Bitter Peace AD. Over all of our friends that have played bass, Jason from Coffin Feeder , former vocalist of Today I Wait, has been in the band for 2 years now.
Bastards from the 2015 release For Freedom’s Sake is a personal favorite of mine. What is your favorite track, recorded to date, to play live?
M: Lions is faster, more thrash style, with a couple killer breakdowns. Very fun to play live. Bastards is a close second. A lot of different styles in that song.
What other HC bands did you cite as influences?
M: Biohazard, Cold As Life, Judge, Sepultura, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Hatebreed, Ring worm, Nails, you know all the good ones. Too many to mention.
Lyrically, which PT song do you hold closest to heart?
M: Five More Minutes is a song about our lost ones, so that’s close to our hearts. Murder City Breakdown is a song about our experience seeing corruption and neglect in our city. Really, all our lyrics deal personal experiences. That’s Hardcore.
What’s your thoughts on how the HC scene compares now to that of the scene in the late 90’s?
M: Back in the 90’s there were less bands. Hardcore shows used to be sacred. Now a day’s there are so many bands. Kids have way more options. Shows can tend to lack that majestic feeling of being part of something bigger. This makes it a lot harder to get loyal fans. We have played many big shows and small. For us, playing music and having an outlet to express yourself is what it’s all about.
Are there any new songs in the works you can tell us about?
M: We are recording a 10 song album. This third record is what the journey of this band has came too. We are very excited about it. It’s our best stuff yet. All the songs are bangers incorporating a mix of Metal, Hardcore, Thrash, and Rock styles. Finding a tolerance that balances well between it all. We decided that this record will be self titled “Poison Tongues”. Since we have had a pretty steady lineup for the past 2 years. We feel that this new record will really define our style and what future records will sound like. Even though I do a majority of the writing, everyone’s contribution defines the sound and style of the band.
What can we expect in the future from PT?
M: Our new 10 song album will drop soon. It will be heavy as f$&@. We’re creating more merchandise and playing out as much as we can!
Thanks for the interview and thanks for the music.
Flashback 20+ years. Bored as Hell in school. The teacher sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. You glance over and see someone sketching, or doodling, instead of paying attention. Haha. You think, “Damn, I wish I could draw like that!” Fast forward to present day. That kid who was scratching the day away is now a master artist, designing Misfit’s t shirts, Godzilla Comics…. Alice Cooper Pinball Machines.
Moral of the story: Follow your dreams. School sucks!
Meet Jeff Zornow… aka…. ZORNOW MUST BE DESTROYED!
What age did you really developed the passion for art?
Z: I always drew, and could read, and sorta write by the time I was 3, tho trust me, I wasn’t any kind of genius, gifted, or even a very “smart” child. I got bored a lot in school. By the time I was 6, or so, in first grade, my teacher asked if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. (‘cuz I was drawing during class, ‘cuz math is torture). If I could’nt watch cartoons, like The Road Runner in class, I could draw images of my fav cartoons doing whatever I wanted. That was a substitute teacher for the TV while I was in school. So, my teacher quickly caught on to what I was doing; not taking notes, ‘cuz who takes notes at 6-7 years old? She saw I was drawing, and she was initially scolding me. This was the moment that the light bulb sparked on for a moment in my brain, and I realized somebody, in fact a bunch of people, all drew the comics and cartoons I was addicted to as a kid. From that moment onward, I knew I wanted to grow up to be some kind of artist dealing with cartooning, comics, and illustration.
What comic books / artists were you a fan of as a kid?
Z: I first got into collecting Spider-Man books and loved Todd McFarlane back in the 80’s. Also, his Hulk books. I was into Batman back then, especially Norm Breyfogle on Detective Comics. I was also really into Japanese / Chinese comics and would grab almost anything Asian back then as well. In the 80’s, I was also bootlegging as much Anime and Sci-fi stuff from Japan as I could. So that stuff was also a major influence on my art. Namley Ippei Kuri (Americans know him as the character designer for SPEED RACER/ MACH– GO–GO–GO, and BATTLE OF THE PLANETS/ G–FORCE/ GATCHAMAN), Haruhiko Mikimoto, (known for being the character designer of SDF: MACROSS or ROBOTECH: THE MACROSS SAGA). He drew a bunch of rad experimental romance/drama comics in the 80’s – early 90’s, as well as a return to drawing Macross Manga in the 90’s. Toshihiro Hirano (Iczer-1) GO NAGI, the creator of DEVILMAN and MAZINGER–Z, and others.
How did you go about pursuing a career as an artist?
Z: SUGGESTION TO ALL STUDENTS ABOUT TO GRADUATE HIGH-SCHOOL….I TOOK TWO WHOLE YEARS OFF… I WORKED A DAY JOB AND USED MY MONEY TO PARTY MY FRIGGIN ASS OFF FOR 2 YEARS STRAIGHT! THIS WAS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME! I did a ton of LSD and travelled the country. I saw most of it and it’s majestic beauty. Also, saw the fukkin world for what it is. I let myself “Get the party out” of myself, somewhat. At least enough to take on going to one of the greatest, oldest art schools in the country. And in New York Fukkin’ City! (remember, I’m from Detroit) Uber seriously, I really didn’t know how to at all, but I figured Art school was a good place to start, so I decided to go to the School of Visual Arts in NYC as they had an actual pro-Cartooning / Illustration degree with classes taught by actual working comic artists and editors.
SVA also has the oldest Cartooning/ Illustration Dept. in America. It was originally started by Byrne Hogarth, and some others, as simply a Cartooning/ Illustration /Commercial art school. Now they deal with all aspects of Visual art.
But, when I was there, I was soooo inti it. I never wanted to leave. I didn’t make more than probably less than 10 friends that I will still acknowledge to this day. Those fukkers who knew me in SVA know who they are… (a few of them more famous than me…or YOU Jason!) At least one huge rockstar of the early ‘00s came from my class at SVA, and he only really wanted to be a friggin’ comic artist! I’m not gonna say who this rockstar is, but he’s pretty huge. Especially amongst the early emo/punk kids of the 00’s. He used his fame and fortune as said rockstar to create his own comics with the main “indie” or non DC/ MARVEL guys which I would like to point out is how attractive and seductive making comics really is! Its like being a film director, only you don’t have a crew. You are the crew! You are the cinematographer. You are the art director. You are the writer. You are the everything that hundreds of people do in movies. All those people are all in you: The Comic Artist. I’ve found out through 20+ years of stufying this craft, I think you can even convey something audible like A musical soundtrack through how you design your panel borders! That’s something I’ve been working on / experimenting with for 10 years.
Technically, I’ve been a “working” artist (meaning I get paid money to do this crap) for over a decade now. This shit didn’t happen until I had been actually GRADUATED from SVA since ’99. That’s 6 years I still worked on my gawdamn KUNG -FU until I was good enough, and ready enough, to be a paid professional even though I had been getting work of my own, and work I freelanced for other projects, printed since 1993.
Essentially, becoming a comic artist who gets paid for their work takes a lot of time, knowledge, and effort. It’s literally 10X harder than becoming an actor, I always say, though essentially a very similar process.
Fill us in on the works that you’ very done over the years.
Z: Well, just before I left Detroit for NYC and SVA, I was getting art published in the long running magazine G—Fan (a Godzilla fanzine, that was fairly new back in 1995) which led to a Manga anthology from the same publisher that was giant monster themed. I created my own comic for that called DIMENSION FIGHTER. It only lasted 4 issues, but I was able to go into SVA as a published writer/artist.
After I got out of school, I struggled for a bit. Got into to doing art for underground metal and punk bands. Finally, hit a break in ’05 getting my first paid comic gig on Vampirella, a 10 page short story, but it was all I needed to get the comic ball rolling. From there I continued to work with bands, and comics, and then other horror related gigs like DVD/Blu-Ray covers, T-shirts, posters ect.
Some other notable comic titles I’ve worked on are JC’s HALLOWEEN, DAY of the DEAD, DEMONS, WARHAMMER 40k, GRIMMS FAIRY TALES, and some others I cant remember now. A few years back, I got involved with the GODZILLA franchise at IDW working on their comic series which was my ultimate nerd dream come true, as Godzilla is my fav thing in the world.
I was able to introduce many famous DAIKAIJU / GIANT MONSTER characters while working on GODZILLA! One of my fav moments was drawing an issue of GODZILLA that introduced the 1974 version of MECHAGODZILLA. We were born the same year, and he has always been a dav GODZILLA villian / character.
Also, not to brag, but I only recently found out that IDW no longer has the GODZILLA license which means I illustrated and helped write the very last issue of GODZILLA they put out. (GODZILLA: RAGE ACROSS TIME for those who wanna find it!)
With my artist / writer / sculptor / comic colorist bro, Jay Fotos, who I worked on IMAGE COMICS ’68 ZOMBIE (An Apocolypse / Vietnam War comic), I drew like half of that series.
Like my older GODZILLA artist brother, Bob Eggleton, did before us with the GODZILLA COMIC SERIES from DARK HORSE COMICS in the mid 90’S, we ended the last modern GODZILLA COMIC SERIES with GODZILLA dealing with prehistoric times. Then we just destroyed the earth in that issue! HAHAH.
How do you get yourself motivated to take on the endless hours of creating?
Z: Hunger, and / or a need to pay the bills and rent. That should always be number one, but, of course, every single comic Amartist got into this stupid job ‘cuz we always wanted to do this. No one just randomly decides they want to make a living, or life, of drawing comic books on the fly. THIS IS A THING YOU NEEEEED TO DO…
Your Zombie vs Shark design was worn on the tee shirt that Jay Baruchel wore in the movie This Is The End. How did that whole thing come about?
Z: I really had nothing to do with it. It was all thru Fright-Rags (the company that makes the shirt). They kept it a surprise for me tho! That was cool. It’s still one of the most well known/ famous shirts from the company; and a little secret (tho old school fans for YEARS have known this) I accidentally drew the zombie with 2 left hands. Even tho one is severed in the mouth of the shark. The design was created when FR was still pretty new-ish. There weren’t a lot of horror T-shirt companies like there are now, but there were enough. We realized no one had ever done a Zombie vs Shark shirt from the greatest zombie movie of them all, LUCIO FULCI’s: ZOMBIE / ZOMBIE 2, whichever name you prefer. It goes by both. Anyway, the idea came up while Ben (owner/creator of Fright-Rags) and I were still active on the RUE MORGUE message board back in like 06-07, or so. The idea for the shirt came up in a thread about FRIGHT-RAGS. Both Ben and I realized no one had done the shirt yet and that the thread on RM was PUBLIC! So, we literally tried to get the design out within that month before any of the other horror T-shirt companies at the time went for our idea. (as we knew they followed our RM thread). Anyway, I drew and inked the damn image as fast as I could. Then realized IT SUCKED (originally the image was just a shot from like a distance. Just a full bodied shark and a zombie with a hot chick in scuba gear in the BG) I was literally finishing colors on the damn piece, then I dunno, probably got really stoned and then realized “HOLY SHIT, THIS IMAGE SUUUUCKS ASS AND IS BORING AS FUCK… YES IT’S A ZOMBIE vs SHARK.. BUT THIS IS ABOUT AS BORING AN IMAGE OF THE CONCEPT AS I COULD’VE IMAGINED”. So, I e-mailed Ben in the middle of the night and told him I literally had to start the whole design over. So, that’s when I was remembering all my comic book knowledge of always pushing the image further. Always make a drawing as dynamic as possible. Otherwise, why draw it at all?
So, then the drawing became the one you know, with the forced “perspective” of the Shark and Zombie fight coming at you. But, in my haste to get the design done, I accidentially inked 2 left hands in the image. Even tho both Ben and I had our eyes looking at it over and over at every stage from sketch, to pencil drawing, to inks, to colors, neither of us noticed the mistake until we unveiled the final design online to the world! The Very first ZOMBIE vs SHARK t–SHIRT!!! Something the horror fan community had wanted for years!!!…. And about 2 hours later, my dear fiend, another underground metal/punk artist from Chicago, ERIC ROT, messaged me on Myspace (yes, this is the Myspace days) and was like,“ Doood, you drew 2 left hands”, which was almost as bad as drawing 6 fingers on a hand. (but, you’d be surprised how often pro artists make these simple mistakes). Anyway, Eric shows me I Fukked up, but all is not lost ‘cuz we are still weeks away from churning out the actual shirt. So, I send Ben an emergency e-mail with the heading of something like “STOP THE PRESSES. 911 EMERGENCY!!!”
I explained to him the problem/mistake I made in the drawing and said, “You gotta let me fix this, or I will be embarrassed forever for this fundemantal drawing fuck-up”. Ben explained that he LOVED the drawing so much just as it was. Then he said to me ( I’ll never forget this)… “Dude, Fulci wouldn’t have fixed it. He Woulda just said, in Italian, ‘KEEEP ROLLING!’”. As a hardcore Fulci fan,I actually could’nt argue with that. So, we literally kept the mistake in the drawing. Every once and a while, I will get some shit for it, but for the most part, no one cares. They just like the shirt design. I will always love how popular that damn shirt actually is. When I first started doing horror conventions, at first I was “THE DUDE WHO DREW THAT FUKKIN ZOMBIE VS SHARK SHIRT MAN!!! FUCK YESS!”
How did the whole Misfits “London Dungeon” design happen?
Z: I’ve been doing art for the Misfits here and there for a couple years now. Their manager knows I’m dependable, especially in a rush situation, so originally I did 2 designs meant to be sold at the 2 Riotfest reunion shows; LONDON DUNGEON and DEATH COMES RIPPING. Unfortunately, the designs didn’t get approved in time to get them physically printed up for the show, but they will be both available at the Misfits .com page and at all the Hot Topics in malls across the U.S., so that’s pretty cool! Also, I have more stuff planned with them in the near future!
REMEMMMBERRR THE MISFITS 40th ANNIVERSARY IS THIS YEAR!!!
What are some of the upsides and downsides of being an artist?
Z: Upsides: I get to work in my PJs. I can make my own hours. I can work from home. Occasionally, I will let myself drink while I work. (Not often tho) unlike most artists. I cannot drink and draw real good. Tho, marijuana has ALWAYS helped me creatively, and actually in physically inking my work with ink and a brush. I still def like to smoke weed while I ink. Also, when I’m just doing the layouts and initial storytelling for pages, it’s good to have your mind as open as possible for that shit. It’s all very zen/kung-fu-ish to me. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself, and I always like to do something new and impressive with my art, if I can. If you were to look at it all at once, you would see different styles! My stuff is recognizable. Depending on the project, it may not seem like my “normal” stuff. I take pride in being able to tell any editor, or art-director, “ I CAN LITERALLY DRAW ANYTHING YOU WANT”
Downsides: I work an average of 9-12 hours a day, average 6 work days a week. I can’t always take a day off when I want to. Pay isn’t really always great. Jobs can be hard to come by at times and then you go thru a “dry spell”. You are poor most of the time. There are no health benefits, or any benefits for that matter. You have to pay your taxes at the end of the year because they don’t take taxes out of freelancer pay. You tend to become sorta anti social cuz you don’t get out of the house enough. ALSO, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU ARE GONNA GET RIPPED OFF, which has happened to me several times, even on “BIG” trademark projects like the JC’s HALLOWEEN comics. The mini series I was drawing was doing great, but the company was irresponsible with it’s funds and it ended up that the mini we were working on never got it’s final issue. We all got ripped off (for me, it was over 7.5 thousand US dollars) Almost a year’s worth of work, so take that in for a moment. This is also not an uncommon story.
What other art forms are you in to?
Z: I mean, I LOVE music. I used to play piano as a kid. Played synth and drums as a teen in a psychedelic/space-rock/alternative band in the early 90’s fer a bit. When that rollercoaster ended, I realized I was only really meant for drawing. Also, only really meant for COMIC BOOK DRAWING / TELLING STORIES WITH PICTURES THAT I DRAW, even tho I will always worship animation. I initially wanted to go into that. I quickly realized as a teen I didn’t have the patience for animation. Drawing essentially the same thing over and over. In comics, we can do an animated story that may not physically move, but it will move. It’s easier and faster to create, as opposed to an animated film. Also muuuuch cheaper, and you only need yourselg to make a complete comic book.
Keep up the amazing work! Where can we find you out on the roaf, and do you have any final words for the readers?
Z: I don’t usually do Comi-cons. Shows I always tend to do are the Monster-Mania show in Cherry Hill, NJ in the month of March. G-fest (a Godzilla con in Chicago) which is always in July, and CT Horror Fest, a one day Horror /POP Culture event in Connecticut. When I can make it, the hometown MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES in April in Novi, MI. For some reason, what I specifically draw, and am known for; monsters, zombies, horror, is NOT POPULAR at comic cons. So, I’ve pretty much lost money at every comic con I’ve ever attended. But, HORROR FANS/ KAIJU FANS LOVE ME! And they love being in the company of someone SO FUKKING INSANE!! I think I help them just let their passion out cuz I’m such a romantic, passionate, sentimental freak. Also, I’m normally quite exciteable in person at shows, cuz I’m prob drinking. See, I have extreme social anxiety, but if I drink some beers thru the day, smoke some weeed, THEN I HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO BELIEVE MY OWN HYPE! And I can totally rock a con with fans who want to meet me or get a live sketch, or a signed comic book. I will sign anything for free, cuz nowadays celebs from every industry charge STUPID AMOUNTS OF MONEY for a damn sig or photo. As long as you don’t bring me a box of comics to sign, I’ll sign whatever you want, and hope you enjoy it and remember my work forever.
That concludes issue 12. Next up…. Lucky 13! Thanks, as always, for your continued support
SFFS Oi! Oi!