The kickstarter for the DIY Greenville Community Art Space has reached over $1,000 (in just four days) for the original $300 goal. Thanks so much for all the support and the beyond generous donations we’ve been receiving from around the world!!! You are all helping make Greenville an exceptionally more rad, fun, safe,
positive, and exciting community to be part of! So stoked to start having shows and other community oriented events at the space starting early 2013! If you live in/around Greenville please make sure to attend this event 10-26-12 Greenville DIY community art/show space meeting ♥ ♥ ♥
test press for the Rat Storm//Chaotic Neutral split 7” is in. expect to see this record out soon! this is a split release with Dead Rodent Records and Reality is a Cult.
Alex Lichtenauer (Get Better Records)
Jeff Ott (Fifteen/Crimpshire)
Aside from maintaining a healthy family, what has been keeping you busy since FIFTEEN stopped playing?
I’ve been working at needle exchanges the whole time. I went to nursing school. I’m going to nurse practitioner school now. I’m on the board of the Redwood Justice Fund (ran judi bari’s lawsuit against the FBI). I work at my local health department. I did a lot of substitute teaching when I was looking for nursing work, but now I only sub for the science teacher at the “alternative” high school that has metal bands that practice during lunch and breaks. I have some music and writing in the works.
I notice that you are on facebook quite often, mainly posting new reports and such. Are you in the group of people who like facebook, or do you use it merely because that is where most of the kids in the world are going to communicate with each other and stay on top of things?
I have facebook has enabled me to find every person I have ever known who is still alive. I also find that it is incredibly helpful when one’s job is to find & treat the 16 year old who doesn’t know they have gonorrhea and chlamydia yet, and they gave fake phone numbers and addresses to whatever clinic they went to.
All of the most recent FIFTEEN lyrics are very politically driven, and even talk about being in political bands in “Punk Song”. How do you feel about bands who are politically active themselves, but their music doesn’t have any political message? And how do you feel about bands who are just fun to listen to, with no real message?
I would like to complain about the bands who appear apolitical but actually aren’t, but I can’t. For example, in the hight of the 1980’s the premiere commercial and apolitial band was journey. It turns out they were funding NORML the whole time. David Bowie on the other hand almost seems political in some of his music, but it turns out he is one of the wealthiest people on earth (ie – responsible directly for others poverty). Bands who are just fun are great. I got nothing against music at all. I guess my problem is when bands pimp pretend politics and convince the next generation of teenagers that greenday is what punk is, or is what rebellion is, that one of the stupidest mistakes I have ever seen in my entire life.
If any of your bands were around in today, would you not press vinyl, CDs and cassettes, and just have it all be digital? How do you feel about the internet and how people can get most albums they want for free?
For me there is no ideal. The first time I wrote a song that had human population it was 5 billion, in 2 months we will have 7 billion. There is no right way to sell things on earth. I feel ok knowing that I never sold too much of anything. The second book I wrote sold so much less than the first, that I will probably make the next one a pdf instead. Any music I put out in the future might be on lp/cd/etc. but maybe not. It wouldn’t sell very much so I’m not really concerned. Just switching from oil based cds and lps doesn’t alter the fact that the ipod, pc and electricity used to run them come from coal and oil. That being said if someone is going to put out music on cds or make shirts etc, it is totally inexcusable to not do those things in the least harmful way possible.
Getting music for free? Again I think what our society calls stealing is based on the founders, what they did, what they stole, who they genocided, etc. Is downloading a Metallica song stealing? According to the law it is. When you do it, who loses their land? Who goes hungry as a result? No one. I think that is not stealing and is totally moral. What if it’s my music? On one hand I could care less, on the other hand I get a bazillion emails asking why don’t I keep doing bands – well if a band is a thing that costs money and gives everything away it obviously can’t work that long. So what can you do? I think that the notion that people own things in America is predicated on the papal bull (declaration of the pope) in 15?? Saying if you find land without Christians than you can have it. European people stole 9.5 million acres of land and everything on it, but that is not considered theft, I have been convicted of theft for taking a 7 cent razor blade, and a second time for taking a bottle of shampoo. As I see it, if you’re not rich, you’re not a thief, if you are rich; it is very likely that you are.
Being so politically and socially conscious, how do you feel about the meat/dairy industry, and how does it affect how you live your life? In the end of “Lucky” you talk about how your daughter wouldn’t like it if she knew you were eating meat.
Well my daughter and my granddaughter are both lifelong vegetarians, although I might contend that breast milk isn’t exactly vegetarian. I would say that every industry in the western world is completely corrupt and should be stopped, including the meat and dairy industry. That being said I really don’t agree with the dietary or moral reasoning behind vegetarianism/veganism at all. I am very aware that every problem I have with my species behavior is directly tied back to the point in history where humans began to grow grain: hierarchy, oppressive government, war, slavery, ecosystem destruction, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, all of it. The notion that we should assume a diet that is 100% farmed is absurd and one of the most destructive forces on earth. We will have at least 7 billion people when we no longer have enough oil to keep the worlds already depleted topsoil fertile. We are going to face a day when in a short period of time when the majority of the people on earth will either starve to death or be killed for what they have.
Who are your favorite bands right now/who have you been listening to lately?
For the most part I leave the radio choices up to my daughter, so I listen to a lot of lady gaga, ke$ha, whatever else is on the radio. By myself I guess I mainly listen to old music.
What is your relationship like with your Vanessa’s’ mother?
It’s good now days. It was awful for a long period of time because I abandoned them when we got pregnant in 1985. Now I’m extra nice to her since she became a lawyer. God knows I’m gonna really need a lawyer some day.
Do you think punk still posses a legitimate threat against the established order? Did it ever?
It could if it did, or if it wanted to. Did it ever? Sure. My only complaint lyrically with opiv is the line “what was once rebellion is now clearly just a social sect”. While that was very true of a portion of the scene around Gilman street at the time (1988?89?) throughout the early 1990s I saw a large portion of people involved with punk, every place I went become increasingly politically active. I would have to say that as much as I loved the offspring or greenday ,etc they ruined it by portraying it to younger people as though it were something to be purchased from the worlds largest thieves.
Are you still actively working with Food Not Bombs?
Not currently except in a fund raising capacity. I think about starting one where I live now, but everyone is strung out on speed and they sort of don’t eat.
Can we expect to see any new music or books released?
I have one year left of school at which point I should be able to settle down and have the time to finish two books I’ve started and record a bunch of music.
How do you balance your profession life, and still being in one of the most influential punk bands?
I dont. Ive hardly ever done both at the same time.
How has you being abused affect how you raise your children?
It has made it really clear that discipline cant be corporal at all, that kids aren’t a possession, adults aren’t to be trusted, and its a really good idea to have your kids watch law and order svu as much as possible
What parent techniques,? How do you apply being punk to being a dad, whats your approach? How do you coach them through situations they get themselves involved in?
I think I’m a fairly routine dad, i try to keep grace firmly rooted in the fact that the nation we live in is immoral and empire, i try to make sure sports are fun for her so she doesn’t get discouraged by lack off being the best “whatever” and stop. I guess in some ways nursing school has affected my parenting than punk has. She only 12, so when she’s old enough we’ll try some dam removal together to bond.
Would fifteen ever play an east coast show!?
15 played tons of east coast shows, the band is not back together or anything, but a long time very good friend of the band is trying to deal with the cost of his wife’s cancer, so when asked I said sure.
Do you believe punk has become more or less isolated with the influence of the internet, and how punk has changed since you were first involved in it?
We used to own it, now very few of us do.
At what point in your life did you start believing in God again? Were you ever atheist/agnostic? I started to believe in god when i was, 18 i guess. I took a lot of LSD then and i think mainly i interpreted the awareness of everything being connected as “all the god stuff is true”. I would say that today I am an atheist, although I think all of the uses people have for a higher power can be easily satisfied if you just considers the planet god, not to anthropomorphize it, but just to understand that it is all there is, it is much much larger than us, and it has nearly infinite lessons to teach us. I am certain any idea about a conscious god that intervenes in human affairs is not real. If it was then god would be an asshole, i my experience is that the world we live in is perfect except in as much as we fuck it up. The nature of being here is not suffering, it is being provided for. Every breath, every drink, meal, etc
Is there anything you want to leave this interview saying, something for new people entering the punk subculture?
Learn how to hunt before the oil runs out.
We are releasing a benefit compilation tape/package called, “Trees, Water & People”. It will be a benefit release with 40+ bands. The purpose of this release is to raise awareness on Native American struggles and raise money that will go toward solar heaters and eco-friendly job training, shade plants and more for Native Americans in Pine Ridge, South Dakota (the poorest area in the U.S.) Those living there have no running water and usually sleep in rundown/dirty buildings that are unheated. The quality of life there is absolutely horrible. We want to provide (through the DIY punk community) support and awareness. The package will include a tape, a zine called “Race, Tribal Nation and Gender”.. “a Feminist approach to belonging”, a zine about the history of the native resistance against colonialism, a t-shirt, a patch and possibly a poster as well. We are aiming to have this released in January of 2013. Together we can create solidarity with the punk scene and the indigenous people (the rightful owners of this land).
We can’t guarantee that we have room for everyone on tape. But if you’d like to submit something you can at: firstname.lastname@example.org ♥
Had our first jam sesh. Sounds like Left For Dead, Dead In The Dirt, and Nails. Something like that, maybe. I dunno. It’s loud, it’s fast and it’s heavy. I’m really fucking stoked.