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Riverboat gamblers.

HIGH-ENERGY ROCK AND ROLL, like almost every genre of punk, has been stretched thinner than a 99-cent store condom. It should be eyed with the same suspicion. "Is it really gonna work? Is this gonna save me from unwanted mistakes?" For every Turbonegro or BellRays, there's a thousand bands screaming "Woo! Motherfucker. Rock and roll saved my soul. Woo!" And I don't see much beyond a band getting an aerobic exercise to what AC/DC might have sounded like. How many dead horses does a show goer have to see beaten these days? The Riverboat Gamblers are great. Here's what they do: hitch rock and roll to a rocket and blast it through a wall. It's fun to watch and hear. The Gamblers have got smokin' songs that lyrically run the whole gamut from the glory of food to suicide. They've got catchy music that doesn't all sound the same and it sounds ... well ... vital, like some real salvation. What tops it off? There's none of that mesh trucker-hat, irony jive. No pretense. Just a straight shot of whiskey mixed with adrenaline, reckless abandon, and constant kicks in the chest. Interview with singer Mike Wiebe.

How many jobs do you currently have?

I have four jobs, but mostly I work at a group home with the retarded guys.

What's the hardest transition you make from going on tour around the world and being a frontman to working your day-today job in Denton, Texas?

My job requires the most patience of anything. I've got six adult children giving me constant streams of useless information; six of 'era coming up to me and telling me, "Hey, we've got more milk!" "Hey, I've got a book about Elvis!" for seven hours straight or whatever: And they're also fighting each other.

Do you think you have a lot more patience for tour and regular band stress, then?

I think it's so much more relaxing. It's so nice to not have to take care of anybody but myself, pretty much. It's really hard to describe the weird mental state that dealing with the group home puts you in. It's kind of like this constant, grinding stress of something ready to go wrong at any second. Even though, yeah, it can be like that on tour. I'd rather deal with tour than that.

Did you guys pay 50 dollars for a piece of acoustic tile at a show?

Yeah, in Chicago. We have a standard: "Take it out of our pay, and then give it to us." That's the main thing you do. If they're charging you for something (the band broke), always take it, even if it is a useless piece of tile, because then you can frame it, Fifty-dollar tiles?

You kicked it out of the ceiling?

Yeah. We didn't even tear that one up. I accidentally knocked it oft the top arm it got ripped up. Whatever.

Do any of you guys skate?

I'd say three of us. Pat and I, especially, skate a lot. We actually went out the other day to some pools to try and take some pictures, but we're pretty bad. I used to watch skate videos and go, "Wow. One day, if I keep working. I'll be able to do it" Now when I watch I'm still inspired, but there's more of a sense of defeat. God, these kids are so good and they're so young. I still like to do it a lot. In some ways it's more fun now. When I was really, really into it I used to go out and push myself and go forward, and now it's strictly for fun.

Which was more memorable--playing with Chris lsaak or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones?

Probably with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Chris Isaak we didn't really see. He was on a bigger stage, way later that day. With the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, it was two other bands, us, and the Bosstones. One band had snaked their way into the bill through the promoter--a frat rock funk band. They were horrible. Horrible They were called Alligator Dave and said stuff like "I like to eat pussy ... show your titties," and stuff like that. They were really bad. We played first. People were still coming in. After our show, Dicky Barrett was really into it; bought a shirt and stuff At the end of the night, when the Bosstones played, Dicky Barrett was on the mic "Give it up for the Riverboat Gamblers." The crowd cheered. "Give it up for Dynamite Boy." The crowd cheered. Then he says, "Did you like Alligator Dave?" and some people cheered. He's like. "I've got to be honest. I really didn't like them. It's not really my thing." At the end of the night, some altercation went down where Alligator Dave was really lad and talking shit to Dicky Dicky's a pretty big, tough dude and he wasn't backing down. He came and told me about it later. Definitely not asking for help, but it me and Dicky Barrett could have gotten into a fight with a frat rock band, that would be something to tell the kids.

What song would you want played at your funeral?

The best song to be played at my funeral, or any cool person's, would be "Make Sure There Aren't Any Squares at My Funeral" by Hickey. Matty Luv. You know, he passed away.

Tell the surprise piss test story again.

I barely ever do drugs or pot or anything like that. This one time, randomly at a party, I thought, "Well, whatever. I'll try this thing." So, of course, the next week I get into an accident at work and I have to take a piss test, I'm freaking out. "God, I just got this job and I've got to take a test. What an I going to do'?" So I knocked on this neighbor's door, who I'm friends with but not great friends with. I just decided not to even beat around the bush. I knocked on the door and go, "Hey man, can I borrow a cup of urine?" He gave me some urine. I filled it into a condom and tied it off Now they have the sensors on the piss cups, the warming strips to tell whether it's the right temperature. I thought, "I've got to keep this warm" So I set it on the front of the dashboard of my car. It was in the summer It was hot. I'm driving to work, watching this urine-filled condom roll up and down my dash and reflecting on what my life has come to. So I got to the parking lot, taped it to the side of my leg, and walked in. I cleverly had a Misfits button on and I went into the bathroom and I took it off and popped the condom and squeezed the urine in there, but I hadn't practiced with condom pressure techniques, spraying through the hole And there's no sink in there because they don't want you--as I was doing--messing with your thing. I got urine all over my hands, the cup, my shirt ... It was freaking me out. I kind of just walked out with a frazzled look and piss everywhere. Oddly enough, I passed with flying colors. Or, my neighbor Ian sassed with flying colors, I guess.
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Author:Taylor, Todd
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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