Fun Fun Fun Fest.
I saw some shit I definitely wouldn't have checked out elsewhere, and was stoked on Big Freedia's southern bounce twerkfest and M.I.A. The staff was friendly and laid back, meaning it was easy to avoid paying six dollars for a festival beer. FFFF is billed as the festival for Austin locals, not as blown out as Austin City Limits or SXSW, and that seemed to be true. The vert dogs demo'd throughout the day, and the mini-ramp was the site of non-stop action--when there wasn't scheduled demo or jam, pretty much anyone could skate. On Sunday, skaters mauled themselves for a chance at cash in Thrasher's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" jam. Some legendary dudes were in attendance: Craig Johnson, John Gibson Ken Fillion, Todd Prince, Jon Comer, Steve Olson and Tim Kerr. The Project Loop dudes did a benefit to raise cash for a skatepark in Taylor, TX. When the Fest shut down at 10 pm, more bands played in nearby bars, and most skaters sooner or later wound up at the Yellow Jacket Social Club.
I wish I'd had time to skate more stuff (but Lockhart was fun), and I hope to make it back to the next one. Everyone I met in Austin was super cool and hospitable (thanks to Anthony, Bridgid and Shred Dog for coming through that first night, before I found out I had a room at the swank hotel.) I swear every punk in Austin loves Poison Idea, judging from the back patches (which is a good thing), and like everywhere else, most skaters have funny nicknames. Thanks to everyone.
Did you ever think the Subhumans would play a huge outdoor festival in Texas 30-plus years after the start of the band? How did that happen?
Ha! Time flies, eh? I think it's best not to start dreaming about the future and just get on with the day. Of course it's pretty mind-bending to consider it's now been decades since we started.
I get odd thoughts like, "Shit, what else could I have done?" But then I can't think of anything I'd rather have been doing, so yay for Austin and whatever comes next!
Do you know the Canadian Subhumans?
It's interesting to me that both bands seem to share somewhat similar political ideologies--ideas about the environment and activism.
You'd think we'd be best mates with all the synchronicity, but we've never met. It's just the name that links us, really, inasmuch as there's a lot of similarly-minded bands out there. Good job, too!
In the 30-plus years since the Subhumans started, punk has become "punk." There's been corporate co-optation and the mainstreaming of what was once deviance and nonconformity. Anything positive out of these changes?
And before we started, punk was a consumer top-ten-chart phenomenon, so I guess it goes in circles! The only positive is that the youth will, if they dig below the surface, find a massive uncommercialized punk scene that has way more resonance with real life than the escapist faux-rebellious shite the music business throws at us for profit and some stale idea of credibility. Calling it punk is a real insult. It's pop or it's rock dressed in vague ideas of what punk might mean if they bothered to leave their offices to find out.
For yourself, what are some of the elements of continuity you've experienced in the past 30-plus years?
Enjoyment, travelling, self-expression, re-meeting people and still reading things written on paper!
Are you having Fun Fun Fun yet?
I'm always having fun. It's like a disease. A fun-gus. I'm a fun-guy.
Inspired by your publicist's comments, I gotta ask: are you the kind of band that demands a bowl of brown M&Ms?
As long as they're melted and poured on body parts. We're like a black metal band, but you've got to replace the blood with chocolate. We're chocolate metal.
You guys are playing at the same time as Slayer.
It's exciting! It's scary! I really wanted to see them, and I wanted to cover "Reign in Blood," but we'd make it "Reign In Chocolate."
Are you guys representing Canada here in Texas?
We're holding the flag, but there's a German flag under the Canadian flag.
Anything to say to the skateboarders of the world?
Keep on truckin'! I actually painted a whole bunch of skateboards for Lurkville.
Check 'em out!
TIM KERR OF BIG BOYS
FFFF was named after a Big Boys song--what was fun, fun, fun for the Big Boys?
Fun Fun Fun was a song Chris Gates wrote. The first verse is addressing our problems with the clubs not getting this new "hardcore" movement and thinking it was violent. The second verse was addressing posters put up by MDC that asked the question: "What side are you on?" There was a list of bands that they deemed hardcore (their side) and new wave (the posers). We listened to all different kinds of music and refused to be stuck in someone's category. I think that verse is the basis of Fun Fun Fun Fest's booking and spirit.
How did you get involved with the Fest?
Last year was the first time I was involved other than just coming to see friends play. I have been helping Project Loop, a local non profit, showing kids that there is a world with opportunities for self-expression. This year, besides helping Loop with the ramps and getting friends to paint boards for 50/50, I also did a festival poster for Fun Fun Fun.
What have you been up to musically?
Up Around the Sun just put out a record on Monofonus. Take old time clawhammer banjo tunes backed by open D Irish-style guitar, add some harmonica and a little bit of fiddle and that's pretty much us.
And lastly, what have you been up to skating-wise?