‘D.R.I.’ [Kurt Brecht (vocals) – Spike Cassidy (guitar) – Felix Griffin (drums) – Josh Pappe (bass; R.I.P.)] toured Europe for the first time in 1987. They left a big impression musically but were quite controversial attitude-wise… E.g. the record they were touring with here, Crossover, was released by Metal Blade recs (distributed by a major).
This interview was conducted by Martine Berx (former singer of ‘Heibel’) at the ‘D.R.I.’ concert in Leuven (87-09-06; with ‘Upset Noise’ & ‘Holy Terror’) for the anarchist zine Censuur (edited by ‘Wille’ Thijssen -R.I.P.- from Hasselt; with help from his nephew Hein Coenen -R.I.P.-, who used to do Zucht). The zine was a good mix of interviews (#2: ‘I Deny’, ‘Heibel’; #3: ‘Cólera’, ‘Indirekt’; #4: ‘M.D.C.’, ‘Kazjurol’, ‘Hate Crew’; #5: ‘Oi Polloi’, ‘Emils’ – a selection), scene-reports, reviews and decent political articles.
What is the line-up of the band?
Kurt sings, Spike plays guitar and Josh bass. Felix plays the drums now.
How long you are now in Europe?
We are here since 4 days now. We stay for a month and go to Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and then come back to England.
Did you like the gig tonight?
Yes! The people here are more like one family and we thought it was really fun! Yesterday was a real shock for me, everyone was so friendly. Today we played a lot better because we’re more relaxed now. Yesterday we couldn’t believe yet that we were here, we’ve always dreamed of coming here!
Can you little indicate the difference between the American scene and the scene that you saw today?
Here in Belgium everyone helps one and other, and sticks together more. A few years ago it was like that in America too but that’s history; now also bands like ‘Crucifix’, ‘Crucifucks’ and ‘Dead Kennedys’ are quitting. There’s more speed-metal and less HC. We would probably have stopped aswell if we hadn’t changed our music. No-one still comes to HC shows.
Have you changed your music just because of the audience or because you like speed-metal more than HardCore?
It’s not really that we always want to play really fast HC; we just want to play a bit slower more. If you listen to the first LPs: We haven’t really changed the tempo but to the people ‘D.R.I.’ was just about ‘hate’ and everyone thought we only could play fast and everyone started to imitate us.
Are there really that many gangs in the U.S.?
Yes, there are a lot of gangs in big cities like LA and San Francisco. It’s so rough there that you can’t trust anyone in the streets. So everyone sticks together in neighbourhoods and stays together to be safe. It’s so easy to die in the streets in America. Europe is a lot softer than the States.
Can you tell us a bit about the way they dress?
Well, the guys of ‘Suicidal Tendencies’ only wear blue bandanas. I don’t know anything about the Crips in L.A. but I believe they’re dressed normally and just hang around. But there are also plenty of skins and they’re real fascists. They walk around carrying white-power symbols and so… Like the guy with his Hitler-shirt who was thrown out of the window today. It’s hard for me to understand how punks can beat up skins. Because in America everyone is afraid of skins and no-one dares to do anything against them! They don’t dare to stand up for themselves or to help each other. I’ve seen 10 skins closing down a show with 500 people. Or bottles are getting thrown. It’s a very different.
Hmm…eh… Can you think of another question? (laughter)
No… I really like Belgium; What city is this?
(Repeats.) It’s great, I’ve never met a friendly skin but today I met one. He wasn’t fascist at all. I really wanted to shake hands with him. I wouldn’t mind at all to live in Europe because the people here are much friendlier and they don’t ridicule one and make other, and the attitude is much better. In America everyone pesters each other, here everyone is much more kind to one and other. There’s also less fighting over stupid things.
How is youth in the U.S.A.? Are they interested in politics or are they doing anything the government tells them to do?
The older audience is much more interested in those things than the younger generation. With the new audience there are many people who used to listen to Ozzy Osbourne and bands like that and have now completely changed and just listen to HC. We try to make those people with our lyrics because there are a lot of pumped-up guys doing stupid things with their lives. We try to say decent things about life with our lyrics, and not shitty ones. We have a song against drugs. Those kind of things; because life is too short and you only live once so you should try to make the best of it.
Do you guys eat meat?
Our singer is a vegetarian. And we all eat meat (sums up kinds of meat). Our singer is a real hardcore vegetarian.
Are these here the original members or have there been line-up changes, and how long are you doing this?
Kurt and Spike are the original members; they had more than 4 bassists. Josh is in the band for about 3,5 years, and when I came along, he became seriously ill. He had problems with his stomach and liver, and had to quit the band. Then we moved to Texas to record Dealing With It. We knew Mickey ‘Offender’ and asked him to play for the band, he was quite skeptical about it but he still rehearsed and recorded with us. We hadn’t seen or heard Josh for a long time and suddenly he called us, and he was very depressed. Then we tried things out with Josh again and it went well. Everything went better because before he was always ill and felt sick.
Where in America do you come from?
Spike, the guitarist, is from New York, Kurt is from Austin, Texas, which is about 130 miles from Houston. Josh is from Los Angeles. We met each other in San Francisco. I had to go there because I’d gotten in trouble with the cops in Texas. I played for ‘M.D.C.’ a while but that didn’t work out. ‘D.R.I.’ just came back from a tour and their drummer left the band because he was getting married. I met them… When I lived in Texas I hated them, I thought they played too fast… But in San Francisco I listened to them again and I thought they were just crazy. When they returned, I really wanted to play with them. The band had almost quit because they hadn’t played for a year. At the first rehearsal I was late and they were already planning to end it.
Which bands do you like or influence ‘D.R.I.’?
I’m influenced by all sorts of music: jazz, country, metal, pop…everything. Before, I only listened to HC but now I love all music. I respect it: they’re all musicians and they are good; I respect that… This is the first interview I do. Normally Spike and Kurt do all interviews. I’m rather timid. But here I feel so good that I talk about stuff much easier. (Ed: The conversation goes on to other topics such as skinheads and fascists.)
Do you have anything more to say to our readers?
Yes, we ‘re definitely gonna come back to Europe; it is awesome here. Such great and friendly people. Stay the same, don’t change… You have something that most people don’t have and also never will have… (Ed.: Lucius of ‘Upset Noise’ comes in.) Luke: Hey guys, keep on loving because that is the most important thing… (Ed.: The converstaion goes onto love and sex in America and Italy now but we won’t go into that.)
Bye guys, it’s getting a bit too chaotic for me here!