interview by U.D. Szabo.
DAS KLOWN'S Starring Members:
UD: Is this the current line-up of DAS KLOWN?
Big Daddy Ray--Guitars
Herb Reath Stinks--Drums
AJ: Where in the hell have you been? I kicked those assholes out a
long time ago. The only one that was really a member was Jimbo. We'd just
written some songs and wanted to record a single. Ray just sat in for a
tour of the States and ended up staying longer than intended. Now he's
playing in a band called the Bleeders.
UD: So who is?
AJ: Jimbo T.'s still with me, then we've got Nate on bass, Justin on
drums, and me on vocals.
UD: Is Herb Reath & Stinks actually Herb Reath Stinks or are they
separate people? If so, what does Herb Reath do?
AJ: Her Breath Stinks (get it?) is actually the drummer for some band
called NOFX or something like that. He was just bored and we needed someone
to sit in. All in all, I thought that the record pretty much sucked. Just
kidding, we had a fun time.
UD: Oh sh*t! I feel like a moron now. Her Breath Stinks-yeah, I get
it. Actually, I got that line-up from an ad for the release of DAS KLOWN-BLOW
YER SELF in a Japanese mag, Psychotic Youth, that ShitEd gave me to pass
along to my mother who's of Jap' descent and that's how they had it laid
out. I guess I put 2 + 2 together and got stupid. Anyway, have you encountered
successful distro overseas?
AJ: No, I think the people over there are more concerned with distributing
real things like grizzly bear testicles, rhino horns, and Levi Jeans.
UD: You have your own label so you put out your own stuff, right?
AJ: We are on Know Records right now. Every so often I think about
trying other things, but we are pretty content being where we are. We don't
have anyone telling us what the fuck to do and no one's stopping us from
doing the things we want. Freedom is nice and that's what makes us different
from a lot of the crap that's out there-those people are more concerned
with copying their next door neighbors. You know, the one across the street
with the picket fence and the BMW.
UD: I remember the last time I saw you live (at the Alligator Lounge,
I think, or maybe it was Frog's) you expressed extreme adversity towards
Epitaph Records & Brett Gurewitz.
AJ: Yeah, I talked to the guy a couple of times way back and to me
he seemed like a SELF-RIGHTEOUS, GREEDY BASTARD and I think karma has a
way of dealing with people like that. Hopefully, they won't find him hanging
by his belt in some bathroom in Beverly Hills. That would be a shame considering
I read that he's done more for punk rock than anyone on this planet-what
a Fucking Joke!
UD: What's your connection to ALL DAY? I imagine you're both on the
same label, 'cos I always see you both in the same advertisements. How
is Joel (singer of ALL DAY)? I haven't been in contact with him for a few
AJ: There is no connection. The last I heard, Joel was a Big Rock Star.
He weighs 250 pounds. Ha! Ha!
UD: Oh sh*t! How the hell are you, honey? Do you realize that I've
known you for almost 13 years?
AJ: As for me. . . I'm looking and feeling good...
UD: Do you still wear that trippy red clown nose when you perform?
I honestly dig your "no-sh*t" attitude.
AJ: Yep! There's only one Klown in this town!
UD: How does making a living in set construction for major films coexist
with that of lead vocalist for DAY KLOWN? Does it commandeer a lot of time
that could be used to promote the band?
AJ: My job has nothing to do with DAS KLOWN; it just pays the bills,
but with all the hours I work, it sometimes makes it real hard to to find
the time to promote anything. I barely have the time to take a shit let
alone use the phone! I'm a hard-working mother-fucker!
UD: Is it true that DAS KLOWN will be touring the East Coast soon?
How do you think that will go considering the scene there is so different
AJ: I think it's gonna be great! Recently, we played a few shows with
a band called the SUSPECTS and the chemistry was perfect. That's who we'll
be touring with in March and they seem to think we'll do good there. Hopefully,
they're right. All I know is the East Coast music scene is a lot more hardcore
than this poppy plastic Southern California sing-a-long shit. I think we'll
fit in just fine.
UD: How many recordings has DAY KLOWN released and what are their names?
Send me a freebie. Just kidding. Actually, I'm not.
AJ: We've done four albums and a bunch of singles. The first was called
RAPID FIRE on Triple X, the second was LAUGHING STALK on Little Fat Thief
Records, and the third was HOLY CRAP on Know. We've just released the fourth,
LIVE AT ZED, which is also on Know Records.
UD: Was that Zed Records in Long Beach? How did that come about?
AJ: Yeah. We did a free show at Zed's and a friend of ours recorded
it. I think it came out great and we've been getting a lot of letters from
people that are digging it. We're also in the middle of recording a full-length
that will, hopefully, be out in April. So far, so good! I think we're just
getting better and better.
UD: How long has DAS KLOWN been together?
AJ: Almost 9 years now; sometimes I wonder why we keep doing it! But,
we're still kind of having fun, and there's a lot of people out there that
believe in us. I think it's more than just the music: we speak the truth
and even though in the past we've pissed off the wrong people, some good
has come from it. I think one day people will be tired of all this fake
suckass "so called punk" and are going to want the real thing. Hopefully,
we'll still be alive to give it to 'em!
UD: Who does the songwriting?
AJ: We take turns writing songs and I usually end up arranging them.
We've always tried to make each song sound different from the next. I think
there's nothing worse than buying an album and finding all the songs sound
exactly the same.
UD: You have some SECRET HATE tunes in your song line-up. What's your
relation to SECRET HATE and the songs?
AJ: They were my friends and their music played a big part in my life
when I was younger. A lot of people have never even heard of them and I
just want to turn it on to people so that they wouldn't go forgotten! I'm
just like that.
UD: Did you know SUBLIME covered a SECRET HATE song-The Ballad of Johnny
Butt-on their last album? I swear to Gawd all they did was put the HATE'S
logo by the side of the title; they didn't actually write that it was by
AJ: I heard SUBLIME'S version of the song and thought that it was a
joke considering they not only did a shitty job, but I don't even remember
even seeing any of them geeks back then, anyway "Hi Bud!" Oh well, SECRET
HATE made thirty grand each--not too bad for some "nobodies;" hopefully,
they'll do one of our songs next time.
UD: What happened to Reggie (guitar player for SECRET HATE and personal
friend) is pretty f*cked up. I couldn't believe it when I heard that he
was murdered! How could he have been in that trash bin until all that was
left of him were his teeth?! The stench would have alerted anyone. Sad.
. . he was always laughing.
AJ: The last time I talked to Reggie was the night I kicked him out
of DAS KLOWN-there's a little trivia for you. I've lost a lot of friends
since back then and it's always sad, but I guess that it's a part of life.
UD: Do you want DAS KLOWN to be picked up by a major label or do you
AJ: I try not to think about that stuff. It seems like people always
think the grass is greener on the other side only to find that they either
end up being controlled, sitting on a shelf or have lots of money in their
pockets but are too miserable to enjoy it.
UD: I guess what I really want to know is if you're in it to make music
or to make money. Personally, I'd do it for the money, but you may have
AJ: I just like to make music and think everyone needs an outlet. It's
my way of expressing myself and it's a lot better than kicking someone's
ass or sticking a needle in my arm. I've got nothing against making money,
only in how you go about getting it! I'm not willing to change in order
to fit in with the rest.
UD: Last question: what message, if any, does DAS KLOWN deliver as
a public service?
AJ: Go with your heart and FUCK everyone else!
You can write DAS KLOWN at:
P.O. Box 7344
Long Beach, CA 90807
U.D. & A.J.