How did you get started in the punk rock scene?
I grew up in Germany and started to listen to many political German punk rock bands when I was a teenager. All the bands that I saw told us that you don’t really need much to play punk rock. I am not very good at learning things, so I thought I could be the singer of a band, and that’s when I fronted my first band. I can’t really say the name [of my first band] here – let’s say even Hustler might have a problem printing it. After that I was in a couple other bands until I started The Cockroach Candies. We sounded like The Ramones-meets-Blondie. My English was horrible, but the other guys in the band couldn’t understand it anyway, so I got away with making up words. We got pretty well known in our area, played countrywide and right before I moved to the USA we recorded a single and a CD.
Why did you move here from Germany?
That is a really good question! I wish I could remember. Back in Germany I promoted shows, worked in a youth center, and wrote for a punk rock fanzine. I interviewed many bands back then, and one day this band from Santa Barbara called the Derita Sisters toured our area and I wrote an article about them. I think the lead singer must have slipped me a roofie because when I woke up the next day I had a big hangover, was married and in the USA.
The most played song on your page is “Gillian Anderson.” Could you talk about it a little bit?
It’s the most played song at the moment – we usually change the songs quite often. Some of our fans will write me and tell me which song they like. It’s nice to get some direct feedback. “Gillian Anderson” might have become pretty popular because I have had a lot of X-Files fans recently add us as their friends on MySpace. Most people wouldn’t really know who Gillian Anderson is, but I am sure everybody knows who her TV alter ego is – Agent Scully from the X-Files. I always loved Scully; she is cold, but that just makes her sexy.
I always felt sorry for Mulder when she gave him the cold shoulder. Who cares about aliens when you see her on the telly? Besides, Gillian Anderson used to be punk rocker many years ago.
Here ‘s a sample lyric:
I saw your picture on the TV Guide / Agent Scully from the F.B.I. / I got the series now on DVD / I may go blind in just a couple weeks. / Alright! / Gillian Anderson / Oh Scully baby girl you look so fine. / With painted eyes of blue and lips of wine.
What kind of crowd comes to your shows?
Well the crowd is pretty wide spread. We haven’t played that many shows yet, and sadly there aren’t that many clubs in town to play. Actually there is only one club we’ve played so far in Santa Barbara – Velvet Jones. I wish there were more and better places in town for live music, especially in the punk rock scene; [the shows] could also be better promoted and supported from the local media. Most people that come to our shows are friends, or people we know from other bands. They vary from punk rockers, rock-a-billy people, skate punks, local bar hoppers, drunks, sobers, etc. We welcome everybody to come down to our shows, get in front of the stage and show some love and dance! In the times when people can download their music, the only real, true experience is really to go to a live show and support the music scene. Our bass player, Paddy McNasty, plays in a horror punk band from Los Angeles called Murderland, manages CODE 415, and has a record label called Pirish Records. He usually sets up the local shows and promotes them all over town.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
I usually write the lyrics. They are actually more like poems. When I have something that makes my soul restless I have the urge to write it down. Sometimes in bits and pieces, sometimes it’s a story, and sometimes you won’t know at first what it’s really about. Writing song lyrics for someone is sometimes better than any love letter.
I give my notes to Rock Smash and he sits down, and that’s when the magic really happens. He writes most of the music for the songs. I sing on them and then we give the demo to the rest of the band. During rehearsal, that raw piece of coal gets [turned] into the shape of a diamond. [Laughs.]
How do you want people to react to your music?
I would like people to rip off their clothes, get naked and start pogo dancing around their stereo, of course. A chill down the spine and some goose pimples would be a good start too! Well actually, I’ll be happy when people like the music and maybe relate to some of the songs. [It’s] even better when they come to our shows and have a good time, bring some friends [who will] also go to see other bands in this town and support their local scene. And maybe we could inspire people to go ahead and maybe even start to make music themselves.
See the Locals Only feature on Sylvie’s band Silent Meow by clicking here.