THE WORLD'S MOST PROLIFIC PUNK ROCK BAND
BEER, BRÄTS & BROADS
On the Road with the Woodrows
1993 Interview by P.C. JONES
RW: Over 100 albums! That's an amazing accomplishment for a band that has only been around for—jeez, about thirteen years, right?
Erin: Yeah, about thirteen years we've been together. December 1979, I think is when we had our first all-out jam in our garage back in Antigo, Wisconsin. That's 'cause we all got guitars and drums and stuff from Santa.
RW: So your parents were into music then, obviously. Was this sort of like a Joe Jackson-type plan of your parents to get you guys started in some sort of marketable, cutsey, little rock band: The Woodrow Four or something?
Erin: Nah, I really don't think they had anything to do with it.
Ricky: Yeah, they were as surprised as we were Christmas morning. Anyway, as for the work we've had to put into this "amazing accomplishment" you call 100 albums, I think that me and Erin can take credit for most of the songwriting. We're sort of a songwriting team, whereas Toby and Marvy prefer to write alone. As for how we did it, shit, I don't know, but it was a lot of work.
RW: You have your own record label, correct?
Ricky: Yep, Woodrow Hill. It's quite a well-oiled base of operations. We got our own studio. Erin sort of built it. It's great to be able to have your own place that you can go to anytime and record a quick jam. Like if Erin or Marvy come up with a quick 40 or 50 second tune that you know just isn't gonna be "maintained in the brain" as we say, then we can just jet down to the studio—which is in the basement of our house in Antigo—and hammer it out in one, maybe two takes. Shit, in a week you got a double gatefold ready to hit the bins.
RW: There's been rumors following you guys around since day one, about the lifestyles you guys lead on and off the road. What's the truth to these rock and roll horror stories. I mean, the drugs, the drink, the women...
Toby: Don't forget the bräts.
RW: Yeah, and the bräts, what gives?
Ricky: All true. We do some pretty massive partying before, during and in between gigs, but I think it's controlled.
Marvy: Bullshit it's controlled! Give us a pill, we'll pop it! Give us a weed, we'll toke it! Give us a bottle of piss-whiskey and we'll guzzle it! Give us a brät rolled in dog doo and we'll eat the frickin' thing!
RW: Is that really your attitude, Marvy?
Marvy: Hell no. It's Toby's.
RW: Is this true, Toby?
Toby: Basically. I'm quite suicidal and I really, honestly don't give a f**k.
RW: People say that you guys are responsible for starting a musical revolution back in the mid 80s. Some say you guys were the true pioneers of the fusion of punk and metal. How do you guys classify yourselves?
Erin: I would say that we don't feel confined to play any one category of music. If we feel like playing a hardcore punk song off of Tar Eater we'll do it, but don't be surprised to find a kickin' metal guitar solo to make your ass bleed right there in the middle. And if it ends in a reggae beat like somethin' off of Ganja Stomp, well tough shit to the anti-rastas.
Ricky: We do all sorts of songs; original and covers. I mean, if the audience started shouting, "Beethoven," I'd break out my frickin' harpsicord.
Marvy: But I'd still dive off my amp.
Erin: We got the punk rock tag, but we don't feel comfortable playing just one genre of music anymore. We play love songs, hate songs, country songs. We might play a song one show that might glorify a more fascist, pro-Nazi ethic and then turn around the next night and do a song that is very sympathetic to the plight of the Jews. We don't want to be categorized as just a hardcore-metal-punk-reggae-ska band anymore, that's old.
Ricky: That's why a lot of people don't like us, because they don't like anything they can't fit neatly into a category, and we don't fit at all.
RW: I know you guys gotta be in Platteville for a gig tomorrow at the University of Wisconsin, so I'll let you go. If you guys ever gig south of the border let us kids in Chi-Town in on it.
Ricky: Hey, if we're conscious, we'll look you up.
Originally published in RW#1, 1993
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