MUDKISS FANZINE

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INTERVIEW WITH REALLY COOL CAT HO - DOOM KOUNTY ELECTRIC CHAIR BY RACHEL

Doom Kounty Electric Chair are a band from L.A who really rock, I mean a lot. If you too are sick of all the shitty douche-bag poser morons (meant to say bands) with fabulous hot topic style hairdos tattoos and shit, you can check this band out for a good and merciful relief. I found out about them by chance one nice day on MySpace and thought:  HURRAH!!!! 

Go! Go my little children to their myspace page:

http://www.myspace.com/aboynamedho, and listen to their shit, you’re likely gonna enjoy it. You can also click on the widget below and listen to them too, and even buy their tunes and be up to date with all their band info as well. Go try! Its fun and well worth it, you’ll see, trust me!! Fun!! Woooohoooooo!

 The interview below is a lil’ talk (hmm maybe not that lil’) with the very nice guy Ho, singer/guitar-bass player/composer/artwork designer of the band. I asked him to give us some general info and history on their kick ass band, which he did, and as it turns out his answers make for a very entertaining and beautiful interview so go ahead and read, read motherfuckers read!!!

Rachel - The first question is obvious but I’d like to know, how, when and where did the band start, and why?

Ho - About 1992, I was still in a band called the Male Order Brides, who were pretty popular in L.A., and it was towards what seemed like the end.  The longer you stay in a band, with the lack of success one anticipated, whatever that means, there’s a tendency to become diluted and convoluted due to the end of what some people call blind faith.  We lost our original vision and fire.

I’d been a vocalist up that point. I wrote on guitar. I started to take my guitar playing a bit more seriously. I didn’t want to be bound to what most guitar players feel is tasteful guitar.  I don’t play tasteful guitar. Not interested.

So I dedicated myself to something I call Full-Tilt Sonic Power Chord Destruction. I taught myself guitar, because all the cats I played with up to that point, treated it like some secret sacrament I didn’t deserve. “Please put the fucking guitar down, Ho!”

Rachel - Introduce yourselves, the three of you, in the manner that you like best.

Ho - Well, there’s Rob Klonel on the drums, he was in the original Brides line-up, big part of the sound. Never seen anyone better ever, one of my oldest friends.

Then, there’s Sonic Steve Norton, who just does whatever’s needed, Bass, Guitar, anything really.  He was really supportive of my guitar playing from the start.  He really encouraged me a lot and got what I was trying to do. Good friend.

Rachel -How did you come up with the name Doom Kountry Electric Chair, what/who inspired it?

Ho - Well, I wanted a name that was doused in Americana, 50’s motorcycle clubs, roller derby, Negro-League baseball, Grand Ole Opry. Almost Southern carnie in presentation, the Black Panther Party always had that cadence and attitude I liked and that looked kool. Also something cynical and ridiculous, maybe like a terrorist organization. Like the Symbionese Liberation Army, who kidnapped Patty Hearst, kinda like musical terrorists though. Thought I came up with a truly original name, then realized sometime later it was a variation of a Wayne County band he had when he came to England during the 76 punk explosion called Wayne County And he Electric Chairs. Kinda close. Dammit! Ahhh Shit! Fuck it, I’ll keep anyways…                                                                                              

Rachel -What did you want to give to the music scene that you thought was (and/or still is) devoid of?

Ho - How about a decent, loud Rock and Roll group?  It was absolutely nothing advanced or original really.  I just didn’t see any rock and roll groups I dug, nobody was doing it properly I reckoned. I knew what I didn’t want to be. Something with a little more depth and force than a bunch of cats trying to be some third rate Nikki Sixx clone (who was a fourth rate Johnny Thunders clone), which has been going on in LA since the early eighties.  Nothing against him, just don’t wanna be him, he seems to have it covered.  I wanted some loud, honest, forceful, real rock n’ roll.

Rachel -You have a very personal sound and style, composed of many different influences but which ones would be the strongest, whether musically or of any other kind?

Ho - This is a long one. Firstly, the older Black and Latin cats who I grew up around in Navy housing in the late 60’s and early 1970’s in West Long Beach, California. They had huge effect on me as a kid.  They scared the shit out of my family, but I worshipped them and no matter how poor they were, those cats looked bad-ass, regal and worth a million bucks.  The just kinda hung out around the neighbourhood and didn’t seem to be doing anything. Shiny Cuban heels, tight-pegged trousers, straightened greasy hair, tailored coats, drapes, shiny suits, gangster brims and cats getting their stroll on, proud men.  I stole all that shit from those cats. The fucking coolest cats EVER.

I got Ziggy Stardust from my straight-ass, right wing, Navy Dad who brought it home when it came out in 72’ from the Navy Exchange and I listened to nothing else for what seemed to be over a year on a cheap plastic record player and got whatever magazines or records he was on or in.  Cream, Circus, Rock Scene were great because they talked about more underground groups. Less Crosby, Stills and Nash, more MC5…

When the English magazines became available to me I bought those too,  Zig-Zag, NME, Sounds, Melody Maker and some smaller one that escape me at the moment. That was more in my early teens.

Bowie was big for a lot of reasons. He was my first real musical hero in a sense, not only was Bowie cooler than shit for a kid and made superior music, he was an unsurpassed, shameless namedropper. He did it to kind of make himself seem even cooler and in touch with the underground I suppose, or he had really great taste. That’s probably it. He name-checked the Stooges, the MC5, The Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, Queen and then eventually Punk, which led me to the Ramones, Heartbreakers, Pistols, Damned, Gen X, Clash, then Post-Punk with PIL, Bauhaus and Psychedelic Furs and so on. 

I got Raw Power when I was about 10, because Bowie really talked those cats up.  That record, pretty much changed the way I thought about music and guitar and the way records can sound.  It was ugly, yet beautiful, the toughest Rock and Roll record ever made, tougher than punk, metal, Swedish Death Skiffle, anything! Everybody else sounds like pussies.  If I had a Desert Island Disc, Raw Power is it, James Williamson, along with Mick Ronson and Chris Spedding, is the greatest, most-underrated guitarist in Rock and Roll history.

Of all the English bands of that first wave of punk, The Damned had the biggest effect on me early on.  Dave Vanian was the one guy from English punk that I really gravitated to and had an affinity for.  Kinda like those ethnic cats from Navy housing in a way. He was always very tailored and stylish when everyone else was trying to look like they were birthed by a trash dumpster, but he looked like he had fucking class. Oh, and those cats could really play!

The strongest influence visually from America was Bryan Gregory from the Cramps, who was very tailored, in a dishevelled kinda way, long bangs, and that flying V. I still rip him off. Stylistically from music, David Vanian & Bryan Gregory were huge, Bowie, Chris Spedding, Brian Eno, Crime, the Sales Brothers, Elvis, Little Richard. Johnny Thunders was big. Brian Setzer, The Clash during their Rockabilly-Gangster period, especially.  Andy McCoy, Link Wray, Richard James Edwards and Willy Deville.

Guitarists: Pete Townsend, Mick Ronson, Johnny Thunders, Chris Spedding, Billy Zoom, Ron Asheton, Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith, Johnny Ramone, Bryan Gregory, James Williamson, and Ace Frehley come to mind.  I like Dregen and Jack White’s approach quite a bit currently.

Bands: Stooges, Bowie and the Spiders, Damned, Small Faces, Pistols, Clash, Dolls, Generation X, Queen and The Who.

Singers: Bowie, Elvis, Iggy, Vanian, Sam Cooke (believe or not) (believe it), Roy Orbison, Otis Redding, Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Freddie Mercury.

Records:  The Rise and Fall Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aftermath by the Rolling Stones, Raw Power, Who’s Next, & Live at Leeds, Super Shitty To The Max!, Damned Damned Damned,  New Yorks  Dolls S/T, Never Mind The Bollocks, Kiss Alive, Give Em Enough Rope, Izzy Stradlin and The JuJu Hounds, Total 13 and Manic’s Generation Terrorists and Holy Bible, Queen – Sheer Heart Attack...

I’d say Iggy is my biggest hero if I had to pick one, a true original, survivor who is a brilliant, fearless artist, with quite a vast body of work, where would we be without him?

Rachel - I for one would be living in a desert island, by myself, so there ya go. What would you say your main achievements have been since you first formed and how would you describe your journey so far?

Ho - I think we’ve made some very good music so far.  We’re an aggressive live band. I think anything beyond that is kinda speculation.  I don’t know if it’s for me to say. We’re certainly not famous. I just plan on continuing to write, create and put it out there, anything beyond that is gravy.

Rachel -Your last full length studio album was released in 2007, when can we expect your fourth album to be out? 

Ho - I hope sometime in 2010. I’ve been pretty busy with producing lately. I’ve been producing songs for a Velvet Underground compilation, which is taking a lot of my time.  I really enjoy the production process. Helping other cats make better recordings and songs. 

I’m really excited about making a Male Order Brides record.  We never made one back in the day (1987-1993) and that was a shame, together five, six years and nothing to show for it. We kinda waited for a major deal and we got close, but it didn’t ultimately happen.  Back in those days the thought of making an independent record was kinda like playing in the minor leagues, taboo, a failure and we didn’t want to do that.  We wanted to be in the big leagues, not very smart really.

Every time I have a gig, someone starts raving and reminiscing about that band.  We quietly had quite an impact in LA. especially since we never made a record.  These cats are going off memory.  We were pretty good, never got blown off the stage by anyone and we played with some big acts.  We were fierce, really, the Male Orders Brides early stuff is really what I wanted to get back to with Doom Kounty Electric Chair. This is gonna be a great record. So a Doom Kounty record is probably getting pushed till 2010 at some point.  It’s coming, just gotta little work to do first.

Rachel  -You did a cover of Motley Crue’s too fast for love for a  tribute compilation album 10 years ago,  as well as Madonna’s “Frozen”, which song/s would you like to do a cover of now and why?

Ho - We did those because we were asked to really.  I don’t own a Madonna record. The only Motley record I bought was the first one.  They kinda lost me when they came with all that Pentagram shit. I think that kind of symbolic shock -value shit is too easy: pentagrams, Swastikas, Iron crosses; that shit is pretty obvious. We picked “Too Fast For Love” because it was one of the songs they did we liked.                                                 

We’ve always kinda taken the comps as challenges. How do you do a Madonna song and get away with your dignity? I think we managed same with Motley, not an obvious choice.  We kind lowered the vocal to Elvis range and made it ours. It turned out pretty decent, we’ve done some strange ones, U2 even?

We covered Jonathan Richmond and The Modern Lovers and The Red Hot Chili Peppers for tributes and the people who hear them, think they’re our songs because we put that “Doomaphonic” touch on them.  I think we’re gonna do a Bee Gees song from their pre-falsetto 1960’s period.  I’ve already got it demoed and it’s pretty rocking.  Really…

Rachel -Also, you made the song “Crime in the city”, for the soundtrack of the 2003 movie “The Utopian Society”, was that a one off, how did that one come up?

Ho - They just dug the song and asked if they could use it.  I didn’t write that song for the movie, I wrote that song with Patrick back in the Male Order Brides.

I’ve actually got some soundtrack work in front of me.  Those songs will be written for those movies.  That’s something new for me, so I’m looking forward to it, a challenge!

Rachel -Of all the bands/artists you have toured/shared a stage with over the years, which ones are the ones you most appreciate and why? And the worse experiences, if any, who were the bands involved? 

Ho - When I was young, early 20’s, we toured with the Cherry Bombz, which was Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicides band after Hanoi, Dave Tregunna and Terry Chimes were in the band as well, so that was great!  Those cats were pros so we all watched very closely, Andy’s just amazing, Nasty as well.

We played 4 or 5 shows with Backyard Babies in 1999 which was a great honour.

I became aware of Dregen and the Hellacopters in 1996, while making the first Doom Kounty record and we felt like we were only other rock band in the world, besides the Wildhearts.  Lots of people were asking why we were making a rock and roll record.  1996 was about Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, not really rock and roll, so hearing “Super Shitty To The Max” was kinda proof it could be done and done fucking well.

So I got into the Babies when the Knockouts EP came out.  Great attitude and they write great songs, really impressive live band and my favourite by a long ways. It was an honour to play with them. Dregen was great to hang with, good cat.

Rachel -How would you describe your live show and what are your favourite songs to play live? 

Ho - Full-Tilt Sonic Power Chord Destruction! It’s pretty full contact. I’d say we actually go to work and work aggressively. We don’t fuck about. Really pushing the energy; athletic and rocking. Earn that money!  Give them a show!  Better bring a helmet…

I like to play Low, Burn, Crime in the City and probably Homicide as well.

Rachel -Who designs your artwork? 

Ho - I do all it. That’s what I do for my straight gig, better than washing dishes.

Rachel -You live in LA, do you think there are any good upcoming bands right now from that surrounding area we should check out (aside from you)?

Ho - I wish I could say there is.  If there is, I’m not aware of them.  Last good local band I can remember was Buckcherry to be honest.  I like Throw Rag a lot, Chelsea Smiles are real good.  Unfortunately nothing of late that I’m aware of.

The Paybacks from Detroit and Dax Riggs from Louisiana are really talented.

Rachel -For a band that has been together for some time now (I think), what is your current opinion on the music scene and how it has changed over these years? 

Ho - Well, not very promising unfortunately.  I don’t necessarily keep with it much. I listen to a lot of older music most of the time.

Rachel -Where do you hope to see The Doom Kountry Electric Chair in five years time? 

Ho - Still making records and playing some gigs in Europe! Having another interview with you?(Preferably while having a beer somewhere after one of your live shows! Oh you don’t drink. A firm handshake will suffice then.)

Rachel -If you had to choose a favourite track from your two albums and one E.P so far, what would it be and why?

Ho - I’d say ‘Crime In The City’, it’s as close to a perfect song I’ve ever written.

Rachel -Are you looking forward to playing certain towns/cities more than others?

Ho - New York and London are my favourite cities and hopefully well get over there at some point.

Rachel -Where and when can we expect you to be playing live, anytime soon? 

Ho - There are some Male Order Brides gigs coming this fall. Doom Kounty will probably be in the 2010.

Rachel -What’s next for you after that happens? 

Ho - Lots of music, one way or another. My artwork, a decent pair of shoes hopefully and some sleep?

Photo: Jimmy Darkness Hairspray

Rachel -What’s your relationship with Buckcherry/Jimmy of Buckcherry? Do you work with them?

Ho - Well, I’ve known Jimmy for almost 30 years and we’re very old, close friends. Jimmy and my Wife are the only people I completely trust I can think of, very good friend, a confidante.

When Buckcherry reformed Keith asked him to join and I really encouraged him to do it.  It worked out pretty well, 2 million records later. I dig those guys a lot. They’ve been on tour for what seems like 6 years or something.  I’ve done some artwork for those guys from time to time. I see em when they’re in town and at Buckcherry shows mostly.

Rachel -You do production work, for yourself only or other bands/artists? Such as?

Ho - Well that started with this Velvet Underground compilation I was asked to contribute to. I turned in my track, which I played and produced myself and they like it so much, they asked me record and produce some of the other artists who going to be on it. I’ve done Frank Agnew of the Adolestants, Jack Grisham from  T.S.O.L., Mark Pritchard from Nikki Sudden and the Jacobites and Elvez, Tony Sales who played with Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren and David Bowie (Tin Machine), an English singer named Robert Swipe and some local cats you haven’t heard of.

I’m doing some songs for a couple of Independent films and writing & producing the next Male Order Brides and Doom Kounty discs.

The production side was kinda brought on just by accident. Kinda like becoming a songwriter and guitarist.  Everybody else was too busy getting high and fucking off so I ended up doing it by default and was able to do it pretty well.

Rachel -Do you have any funny/random/sad/shocking tour/life itself stories you would like to share? 

Ho - All of them involve Andy McCoy. (YAY! Bring ‘em in!)

One of funniest things was when my band was on tour with the Cherry Bombz.  I remember asking him, “hey Andy, what kinda music do like to listen too lately?” and he said, “well mostly, I just like to listen to myself”.  Totally serious and I’m fucking laughing till stuff is coming out my nose and he’s completely deadpan, like” what’s so funny?”

Another time on that tour in 86 or so, we’re in San Diego after sound check, and Andy’s out of it on a couch backstage, I mean dead-to-the-world, out of it.  So out of it, it’s kinda scary ya know, “Make sure he’s breathing” out of it. My wife pulls out a vile of speed someone gave her and pops the cap, out of nowhere, Andy popped up like Bela Lugosi from the dead, started inquiring to my old lady, wanting to know what kinda drugs they were and ended up doing some speed and then he didn’t seem quite so dead. Suddenly he’s very alert and coherent.  Go figure…

Oh, and Andy’s the only cat in the world who can drool and make it look stylish.  First gig of a West coast tour in Las Vegas. We opened the show and then the Cherry Bombz come on and Andy’s got on this $3000 silk suit with no shirt, jewellery, scarves, his brim - Coolest guy in the world right?

So a couple of songs into the set and it’s rocking and he starts to drool this long, thick serpent-like string of drool which is hanging a couple feet outta his mouth and won’t break. It’s swirling and slashing around as he’s playing and dancing around and doing his shtick now its 4 feet long. Jimmy and me are tripping.  We can’t believe what we’re seeing ass we look in horror with a trance-like focus. It seemed like it went on forever, but was probably about a minute and we’re mesmerized by this string of drool that wouldn’t break, it’s practically down to the floor curling like a cobra about to strike. Just as the song is ending, it finally breaks against his pants and he still looked cooler than shit with this glistening stream of drool on his silk, pleated pegs.  Unbelievable, totally oblivious, everyone else pales in comparison. God bless Andy McCoy!  (Indeed!!!)

Rachel -Every band ends up getting presents from their fans, have you had any weird and/or wacky presents given to you yet? 

Ho - Besides people telling us they dig what we do?  Not really, but that’s plenty for me, our fans are more like friends.  Occasionally someone wants to buy me a drink and I don’t drink, so a firm handshake suffices.

Rachel -On your MySpace page you state “We gonna bust some of these young, whippersnappers up and teach them the true meaning of respect”.  That alone made me want to listen to your music (and what a great day that was), Hey, can you give us names of those young whippersnappers? I would be pleased to know.

Ho - All those bands with chick haircuts, name a really good new band. I’ll wait …

Rachel -What’s your favourite pastime when you’re not working?

Ho - Working... Music and my artwork are a constant. My family, my wife and my three kids take up the rest of my time, oh and sleep occasionally.

Rachel -You can say now whatever the fuck you wanna say, either to your fans, to the world in general, your Mommy or to your landlord.

Ho - If ya dig us, thanks.  If ya haven’t heard Doom Kounty, check us out, if ya dig Rock and Roll, you’ll probably get it. Come on in, the water’s great. Hehehehehe and Thanx Rachel!

Thank you Ho. You’re the coolest cat I’d say. Remember boy’s n girls, go to their MySpace page and add ‘em, they’re good for your mind, and for your body too!!! www.myspace.com/aboynamedho

As for the douchebag bands, if anyone ever runs into one of those in a bar please stab them with a bottle for me, thanx.

Yours truly.

Interview by Rachel 01/10/09

Photos: Lisa Cruz except for the one in b/w of Jimmy who was taken by Stevie D.