More Than just Microstars
From CRC Pulse #3
by The Fresh Aesch
Photo: Michael A. Beseda

I was ushered to the lair of Apocalypse Hoboken, which happened to be located right in the belly of the Metro that night. I believe the Mushaganas were also on the bill that night and some other cool bands. I'll never remember and why should I tell you, anyways! This is about Apocalypse Hoboken, damnit!

CRC: To start off, if you don't mind, maybe we could get a run down of the members. Didn't you have some recent lineup changes?

Kurdt: Yeah, we just got a new guitar player, Erik. We stole him away from a band called The Clap. Things are working out really good with that.

CRC: Have you been in the band long?

Scott: Yeah, since the beginning, with Andy and me. Kurdt's been there through most of it, too. About as long as Todd's been with us. Kurdt's on bass, I'm on guitar. Most of our history's on the website. We got together in highschool and have been jammin' together ever since. We had a singer named Ted and a bass player named Rich. Things weren't moving quickly enough for Ted so he quit the band. We had our friend Lyle sing for us and we did a demo tape with him. Josh from the Smoking Popes also plays guitar on that. Josh went on to pursue his Smoking Popes career and Lyle went on into advertising. He already had quite the older, professional life going and playing with us got a little hectic for him. We put and ad out for a singer and Todd answered it. Kurdt came in around that point, too. Bill was in on guitar than. He did the Superincredibleheavydutydudes record, the Daterape Nation double 7-inch, the Easy Instructions album, the Jerk Lessons 10-inch and then after that he left to do his band Junior Loader and he's still with them now. We got Sean from the band Jerkwater. He was on House of The Rising Son of a Bitch, Led Zeppelin III 7-inch and of course Microstars. He's working and in school full time, so Erik is his replacement right now.
Erik: It's funny, I was reading an ad in the Reader; it said: "Cool band looking for a cool musician" and I had an ad out that said: "Have beanbag, will travel," you know, so it just kinda worked out and we hooked up. (We're all laughing)
Scott: And the rest is history, to this point!

CRC: You guys really put an ad out in the Reader?

Scott: Yeah! "Pro attitude and gear. Must have transportation. No crybabies or drug addicts."
Kurdt: "No poseurs either!"
Scott: "In it for the long haul!"

CRC: For the new record, Microstars, you seem to have a different sound going. I've never heard you play slow songs before. Like "Make Them Die Slowly," or the title track.

Kurdt: Yeah, we were experimenting a bit. A little bit different material.
Scott: Yeah, we wanted to branch off from the heavier stuff. What? (to a Metro staffer) (Joanne pulls him away to talk about set-up) (to Kurdt): Now you must sit and answer all the questions. (Maniacal laughter)
Kurdt: We wanted to slow it up a bit to balance it out with heavy, fast stuff. Make out sets a little more diverse.

CRC: Was it Lyle or Ted that did the crazy stuff on stage? I remember seeing you a couple of years back. You guys opened for Blue Meanies. You came out in medical smocks and huffing paint.

Kurdt: That was actually with Todd and the Sean era. Most of the stuff we did with Lyle is way in the past. It's just nothing like us now and has no bearing on the current state of our sound. When Todd came on board, that marks really the true Apocalypse Hoboken. How people know us now and identify us. The other stuff was fun, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't really have any impact. It was pretty insignificant.

CRC: Impact, as in know more for your music more than crazy antics on stage?

Scott: (Long pause) Impact, as in getting records out that people would actually buy. Not happening with the stuff we did with those guys. We did a cassette demo and a 7-inch with Ted, and we did a cassette demo with Lyle. I don't think we even had 500 pressed with either of them.

CRC: Really? I thought you were a little more known than that around that time.

Todd: Yeah, that band's been around since, what? '89, and I joined the band in, I guess, '95. There's a bit of history, but it's inconsequential.

CRC: You just switched to Kung-Fu Records for this new record, right? How's the label?

Todd: No, we did House of The Rising Son of a Bitch with them. This is our second for Kung-Fu. Right now, it's great. We had problems in the beginning because they thought we were a new band. They put out our records as soon as they could and were cool, but there wasn't much promotion behind it. Now, they're much more behind us. It's working out a lot better.

CRC: More professional?

Todd: Yeah, any label's going to have their problems. Some just have their shit together more than others. Kung-Fu's tight.

CRC: Any bands that you guys like touring with?

Todd: Candy Snatchers. By far one of the coolest bands to go out on tour with. There wasn't always a lot of people at the shows, but they made it a lot of fun and we made pretty good friends with them. They are the greatest Rock N Roll band around right now.

CRC: Any bands that you really respect that you want to go on tour with?

Todd: Um, All, they're really cool.

CRC: How would you describe your music? It seems to be punk rock with a really boogie, bouncy, swingy quality to it. How did you craft that sound?

Todd: Well, we have some different tastes but we all grew up on that 70's rock with the Southern fried sound to it. If that's what you mean by the Boogie?

CRC: I could see the Southern rock thing.

Todd: Yeah, we're all pretty much into that, on top of being so diverse in other tastes. It just comes out that way. We never really aim to sound a certain way.
Scott: We just toss it all up on a wall and see what sticks. What you get on the album is all that.

CRC: What do you think of the present Chicago scene, the bands, the fans?

Todd: I think we're really unattached to the Chicago scene. Some of us are from out of state. Some of us don't go to the shows. With other responsibilities, some being married and what not. They enjoy the music in terms of going out and buying all the re-issues of David Bowie and stuff. I go to the Fireside (Bowl) quite a bit. I want to see the newer bands coming up, see what they're up to. We played with this band, the Arrivals, and they were amazing. We're at where we're going to be in Chicago and there's bands that are surpassing us, in terms of standing out there. Like the Arrivals, they're just eating it all up. That's what's popular right now. We're actually passe! There's maybe a lot of kids out there that used to listen to us that are now into the (Alkaline) Trio and think we're stupid punk rock. You know, we're all friends with the guys in Alkaline Trio, we're just doing different stuff. I don't know, the Chicago scene is really weird. There's a lot of different bands and different types and groups of people that go the shows.

CRC: Sure, well, what do you think about Chicago radio right now?

Todd: Radio sucks in Chicago! It just does. But it sucks everywhere, I think.

CRC: No stations that you liked on the road?

Todd: I don't know. When we went to California there was some station playing some obscure Black Sabbath, that was pretty cool.
Scott: We heard "Bonfire" by Van Halen in Washington. Better stuff than out here.
Todd: I think the Loop is really great right now. They play a lot of good old, Rock N Roll. They play AC/DC constantly. You can't go wrong with that.

CRC: What do you think of the new WILL Rock station, 96.7? Have you heard them? They play a good mix of new and old rock, they're in the south suburbs.

Todd: Wow, no, I'll have to check that out. I used to listen to CD 94.7. I can't get into it anymore. They claim to never repeat a song, but I hear the same old stuff over and over again. Kevin Matthews is just old. He used to be great, but he's horrible now. Boring! I listen to Stern sometimes.

CRC: Do you ever listen to Mancow?

Todd: No, I try not to. (Hee hee) He's a joke. We did the Q101 Local Music Show not too long ago with James Van Osdel. He's a really cool guy. He told us he hates like 95% of what they play there. He has to do stuff he despises. He said Mancow is such a horrible person. He revels in his "celebrity" status and is totally into his ego, a sexist, macho jerk. People ignore him around there (at Q101).

CRC: Are you all huge Prince fans? You did that cover of "Darling Nikki" on the new album.

Todd: (He laughs) I love Prince. Scott dislikes Prince, A LOT.

CRC: Really? Why's that, Scott?

Scott: Well, it just reminds me of highschool and all that bullshit.
Todd: With that song in particular, a friend and I, when we were little we used to set up these mock concerts, like, we'd do Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, and put on our mother's makeup. When Purple Rain came out, my Mom wouldn't let me go see it. My friend's mom went out and bought the soundtrack. We would listen to it constantly and play "Darling Nikki", cause that was like the dirtiest song and my dad couldn't stand it. We would put that on really loud and push our balls up to the speakers because the bass felt really good. We were like 10 years old. That's my memory of "Darling Nikki".

CRC: Uh, OK, so do you have any funny road stories? Stuff that happened to You? Stuff you did?

Todd: A lot of stupid stuff has happened to us. One good story is when we were playing St. Louis at the Galaxy. We always stay at people's houses that we know or are big fans. That's just kind of part of being in a punk rock band. Any ways, so, we met these kids who had been evicted, a week before the show. To get in we had to break down the door. We started partying and passing around bottles of vodka. There were these guys hanging out in the parking lot that lived in the complex. They came up to the party. One guy starts passing around this grain, or rotgut, or whatever. He takes out a hundred bucks and puts it on the floor and asks me: "Do you want that money?" I said: "Yeah, sure." "Then suck my dick!" I told him: "Fuck You!", so he scoops up the money and pockets it. Ten minutes later, he starts accusing everyone of taking his money. I was really fucked up at this point so I just sat on the floor and watched him. He starts accusing his friend. "You took my money, motherfucker!" The guy like "No way, man. I don't have your money!" He strips off all his clothes, spreads his buttcheeks and says: "Look, look, no money!" As he's dancing around naked. The other guy's really pissed. He leaves and comes back with a shotgun. He starts waving it around and saying "No motherfucker is gonna leave until I get my money!" Everyone's freaking out at this point. These girls are screaming "Let us go to the cash station and we'll get you what you want!" I go up to the guy and I'm like, "Is that thing loaded?" "Of course it's loaded, motherfucker, what do you think?" He cocked the gun and winked at me, then turned around and kept doing his thing. I turn to leave and he says, "Where the fuck do you think you're going?" I said, "I'm going to stand outside and when you're done, I'll come back in." He went on for about a half hour and then said he'd be back in the morning. That's my freaky story.

CRC: That's more than a little freaky.

Todd: Yeah, for a split second there I thought I was going to end my night by getting shot.

CRC: Any advice you could give to kids just breaking into the biz?

Todd: Yeah, just be true to where your feelings are and yourself. It sounds silly, but just stay true to the music. Don't ever start playing, especially punk rock, thinking that you're going to be some huge star, 'cause it'll never happen. It's mainly about making yourself happy and getting with others that you respect and can vibe with, You know. People who love punk rock, just generally love music, You know.

CRC: Sounds advice. What's the best band that nobody's ever heard of?

Todd: Nationally or local? Um, I guess people have heard of them, but I would have to say the Blue Meanies. They started out as a punk band and then they got into the whole ska thing and now they're just a great rock band all around. A really talented group of guys.

CRC: What did you think of the song "Sucker" off their Pigs EP? I thought it was just amazing, balls-to-the-wall Rock! The new direction.

Todd: Oh yeah, it rocked hard! Definitely something! They just signed to MCA. Going for the gusto!

CRC: Really? I hadn't heard. They seemed pretty comfortable with Thick Records. I just never would've guessed.

Todd: Yeah, there's only so much that Thick could do for them. I guess that was just the option they wanted to take, so we'll see what happens. With some luck, we could ride their coat tails. (He chuckles)

CRC: Seriously, You guys have been out there long enough. You have a great fan base, so, that's not so unrealistic. Better than some of this main label shit like Blink 182 or other poser crap.

Todd: Thanks, I agree with You, but I don't think we'll see us played on the radio anytime soon. We're just not what radio considers "punk". Maybe they might shove us in with the Korns and Limp Bizkits, with that style of rock. I totally hope not, but I wonder. Sorry if I'm talking your ear off. These kids made me a bunch of hash brownies.

CRC: Just came up and gave you a plate and said, "Hey, hope you like them!"?

Todd: Yeah, makes me feel all warm inside.

Apocalypse Hoboken went on to chug their beers, jump on stage and put on one of the best, tightest Rock N Roll shows that I've seen in a couple of years. I've come to the conclusion that I talk too much and I encourage that in others. We'll have to work on that in the future. Rock for the People!