Fuck Knights Interview
Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Music, Twin Cities.
Last December Minneapolis’ Fuck Knights released its first album FuKn Live! Vol. 1, a compilation of songs recorded live from a variety of the band’s performances. Now following it up with a second release, Vol. 2 contains 12 tracks recorded throughout the Midwest from January to May of this year. The album will officially drop at the band’s release party at Palmer’s Bar, set right in the middle of the 5th Annual Zombie Pub Crawl on Minneapolis’ West Bank this coming October 10. The CD will be limited to 100 copies and will be available at the show, but to get a taste of the band’s new songs Culture Bully is proud to offer FuKn Live! Vol. 2 in its entirety for free download. Fuck yeah.
Do you find a difference between when the band plays instrumentals and the songs where you sing? What was the inspiration behind standing while drumming and singing rather than taking a traditional approach such as that laid down by such brilliant luminaries as Micky Dolenz and Phil Collins?
Sir Getsalottapuss: “Horseman”’s only the second instrumental we’ve ever done (as well as our first original instrumental—the other’s a Link Wray cover), but the only real difference is that without needing to coordinate singing and drumming, I have an opportunity to be more engaging with the crowd—to make more eye contact and dance around a bit more.
Playing the stripped down kit is out of necessity. I’ve moved around a lot and have learned that in order to be mobile, I gotta have less belongings—especially musical instruments, which take up a lot of space, weigh a lot, and are expensive. It’s a limitation I’ve come to embrace and utilize as a creative direction.
With a song like “Baby Get Lost” there are two separate influences that I pick up: the guitar work and rhythm reminds me of a lot of modern rockabilly acts while the drum breakdowns in the middle hearken back to something in the big band era. Are there certain bands that you end up emulating without even really thinking about it too much? Do you tend to wear your influences on your sleeve?
Sir Getsalottapuss: More than emulating certain bands, we tend to merge elements of certain genres. Specifically, though, I’d admit to Stones, Kinks, Velvet Underground, Stooges, Fall, and Damned being worn fairly prominently on our sleeves.
“Oh-Oh” might be my favorite Fuck Knights song (largely because of this exact performance, to be honest)—this version was recorded when you guys played with Peelander-Z at St. Paul’s Turf Club. When you know another band on the bill is going to come out and pull out all the stops during its set, as with Peelander, does that affect how much energy you have when you play your set?
Sir Getsalottapuss: I’d like to believe that our energy/performance is consistent whether we’re playing in front of 20 people or a crowd of 800, and for the most part, I think that’s true. But yeah, when you’re performing with bands like Peelander-Z, it does make ya think twice about what you’re gonna do up there. When we opened for Monotonix at Uptown Bar last February, I remember planning to absolutely smash up our shit fucking thoroughly Who-style, not just knock it over and roll around with it like we do a lot of the time, but it turned out that we couldn’t really afford it, financially.
The separate parts to “i”/”Primitive” were recorded in separate states; does the band make an attempt to keep things pretty close to the sleeve in terms of playing the same show each night and not losing your shit on stage?
Sir Getsalottapuss: Most of our songs are semi-free, meaning that there are many open pockets available for improvisation which allow us to reinterpret the same songs over and over again. Therefore, we do tend to play the same set many times, especially on the road, but it’s a different experience each time, not only for the listener, but also for us as performers.
As a song “Teenage Wasteland” has one of the most complete sounds on Vol. 2, and certainly one of the most energetic guitar-breakdowns on the record. Is there one song that you guys play that stands out amongst the rest for your? If you had to rank them, where would “Teenage Wasteland” rank?
Sir Getsalottapuss: “Kristina!” and “Oh-Oh”, being the A-sides of those respective singles, are considered by us at this point to be our best feet forward. “Teenage Wasteland” is based upon the idea, “Let’s have a rave-up!”, which isn’t terribly groundbreaking, so for me, it’s more of a “genre-identifying” tune than an artistic achievement. I like the song and think it accomplishes its purpose, which is to state: “We’re a rock and roll band,” but I certainly prefer other songs of ours. Mike Wisti, who records our songs at Albatross Studio in South Minneapolis, says it’s a “meat & potatoes song” which lets people know, “This is not Pavement!” and I actually like that interpretation.
“Materialize Soon” is one of three songs on the record that were recorded at Palmer’s Bar. Not that I would ever attempt to disregard the high quality of service and product served there, but for all intensive purposes: it’s kind of a dive. Do you prefer playing in smaller bars like Palmer’s over something a little fancier like the Kitty Cat Klub? What’s the rattiest bar you’ve ever played while on the road?
Sir Getsalottapuss: The songs we included on this record were all recorded at places we like being at and performing at. Probably most of these places would be considered dives, but we’re not focusing on that… it’s not like we’re making a point of being associated with shitholes—we just feel at home at places where people relate to what we’re putting out—places like Palmer’s or Cal’s, where its okay to get shitty and perhaps not remember the next day what you did there the night before, and no one holds it against you. Plus, man, when you play a smaller place it’s easier to pack! I’d rather play to a 100-person at-capacity room than to 100 people in a 500-person room—the energy is more potent, direct, reciprocal, and worthwhile.
I would have to say the “rattiest” place we’ve ever played was not a bar, but an after-hours house party we played in Covington, KY. People in Kentucky are very proud and provincial about their bourbon, which they supplied to us in copious amounts. I woke up the next afternoon shirtless, underneath my floor tom, using a pedal board as my pillow, with a chipped tooth and a hole in the knee of my jeans which wasn’t previously there.
What the hell is going on here?
Sir Getsalottapuss: We record every live set to a portable cassette tape recorder (from which FL!V2 is compiled), and this particular section is the result of several free buckets of 7oz Little Kings malt liquor during a performance at Belmont in Hamtramck, outside of Detroit, MI. By chance, before the set at Belmont, we met the owners of Trowbridge House of Coffee (THC), a coffee shop/bar/performance space just down the block, who came out to see us and afterward asked us to do an after-hours set at their place in exchange for free food and drinks, and a place to crash, so we took em up on their offer.
“Poor Boy” definitely has a certain “Green Onions”-element to it; given the era that the original comes from would—had you been forced to make the distinction—would you say that Fuck Knights are mods or rockers?
Sir Getsalottapuss: To quote Ringo, “We’re mockers!”
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done on stage?
Sir Getsalottapuss: Licking drums? Rolling around on the stage, shirtless, licking “Murder Path” the teddy bear? Announcing Guystorm as “Gaystorm” because they were late to their DJ set at our record release party at Hexagon? Smashing a shot glass at Beat Kitchen when we made $0, proclaiming, “We’re the best fucking band who’ve ever played this fucking loser shit-dump and we’re fucking getting paid zero fucking dollars?! Fuck these assholes!!”?
(On track #10 “Mod/Kilos”) “Moderation” is about a supposed inability to in control of a supposed inherited set of characteristics. “Kilometres” is about the frustration arising from being far away from a loved one for a long time.
When on the road, what’s your favorite drink?
Sir Getsalottapuss: Whatever the cheapest local beer is. My favorite is Huber in Milwaukee, WI. Also, I like Burger when in Cincinnati, OH/Covington, KY.
What’s your favorite song to end your set with?
Sir Getsalottapuss: We like to save an extended improvisation for the closer. Usually, it’s “Get Outta My Life” by Ottoman Empire, or “Night Time” by Strangleloves. It’s an opportunity to showcase our musicianship and our affinity for psychedelia.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]