Punk animal Jack Grisham hung out with RAD one afternoon in the middle of July, 1995.
While kicking back in the shade on a little bit of grass, we discussed the heart
of punk. You see, Jack lives there. He is a most animated individual.
More than anyone else in The Joykiller, Jack makes their concert nothing but
the best punk experience today. He draws on the energy of the crowd--sure
it's part of the punk "code of ethics"--but Jack slams it right back in your
face. Read on to see some of the tricks he uses to get the concert going.
But reading will never take the place of an actual Joykiller concert
experience--get out and see them!
- So, has touring been as much fun as you thought it would
- Oh yeah! Every night the security' s been running out
of the club. Man, it's like a record, every night on cue
they just split.
- You like that?
- Yeah, it's funny.
- So how is it being on Epitaph? It's nothing like being
on Posh Boy or Frontier?
- Well, we're in an air conditioned van, you know what I'm
- There's got to be more money involved.
- Oh, yeah, I mean, basically those guys [Epitaph] are
punks with money. I mean it's a joke, they're totally
irreverant towards it. They're like "we got money let's
- Are you glad to finally see this happen with punk bands?
Getting what they deserve?
- Yeah! I'd rather hear them on the radio than Warrant.
- I think Warrant would rather hear punk bands on the
radio, they must know they suck.
- Yeah, those guys [Epitaph] have been really cool to us.
The cool thing about them is, and I get so angry if I
ever hear kids say anything bad about'em, 'cause Brett
and those guys they've toured for years, they went
through shit. Like, going on the road, it's a bitch. And
their basic thing is like, "we [Epitaph] wanna make you
guys as comfortable as possible so you don't kill each
other (laughter)". Because you know you put eight guys
in a van, no air conditioning, one-hundred degrees and
leave 'em in their for a month, and it's fight-o-rama.
Like when we had the T.S.O.L. thing, we had a fight every
show. It'd just blow people out 'cause they'd come to the
show and they'd think "who are these guys!?". They'd come
to the club and we'd be knocking each other out during
soundcheck and shit.
- You must have heard a lot of the crap that Epitaph has
been taking? That they're too corporate...
- It's a joke! It's stupid! It's like Brett will call me
on the telephone and ask me if I want to go to Disneyland
that day, I mean it's like whatever, it's like a joke.
I've been there on the phone and they treat the major
chains like crap, just about. You know what I mean? They
won't let these major distributors distribute their
records, they go to the independent people to do it. And
they pay for ads. Like all the independent record stores
they've been dealing with for years when no one else
would deal with them, like Epitaph is taking care of
those people now, like saying "Hey, we'll pay for your
ad, and do whatever, to help you out". They always tell
the kids "Hey, go to these stores first", which is great!
You know kids don't appreciate that, they're stupid.
- But if they see the video on MTV,the band has sold-out.
- Which always makes me mad, because I remember when I
first started you didn't see shit on MTV.
- They wouldn't even say "punk" on T.V.
- Right, like Reagan with the AIDS trip,they wouldn't say
AIDS for years. And like the same thing with radio
stations. You could sit and call the radio station for
three fucking minutes trying to get the Bzzcocks played
and you'd never hear it! You know Midnight sometimes.
- Like on KXLU or something at 3a.m. when no one cares.
- Right, so all these kids that are pissed off about
- They probably weren't even around for it
- Yeah, I heard this guy was going off about Pennywise in
Portland and I just shut him down. I mean the guy had
only been into it for a year, and all of the sudden he's
sayin' what's what.
- Next question...
- Yeah, I'm getting angry. (laughter)
- Is there any connection between "Code Blue" (from
T.S.O.L. "Dance With Me") and "Love You More Dead" (from
the debut from The Joykiller)?
- No. It just happened, it was funny cause me and my friend
were talking about his fiance. His fiance was going on
a flight somewhere and we were saying it'd be good if the
plane went down. It'd be fucked for a couple of weeks,
but at least everything would be over. It was just kind
of a joke (chuckles)
- Can we quote you on that?
- Yeah, it's not about my wife.
- How do you see the political situation now? How has your
view changed since the T.S.O.L. days.
- I think that the difference is that I'm into the self
politics with the self discipline groove. And before it
was like I was spouting all that crap off. But here I am
doing everything that I was talking about. I mean I'm
more into what I am as a person now, I better take care
of my business.
- Was that a hard change?
- Oh yeah. You mean realizing you're the one that's
fucked-up? It's not very easy...
- Not very pleasant...
- I have a problem with politics in music right now.
- You don't see it as the place for it?
- Yeah, well, a lot of these bands use the fact that they
play music like all of the sudden they have some juice
going on and everyone should listen to their views and
what they have to say, "you gotta do this", "you gotta
do that". It's like that whole P.C. crap. I don't think
for musicians that is our place. We just need to call it
like we see it.
- What is your place?
- Almost like reporters. We just report what's happening.
- What are you reporting?
- Now? You got me! (laughter)
- Where do you see yourself going with the music scene?
Do you want to keep going with your own bands or start
your own label?
- No, I've been doing this for like sixteen years. There
are kids at the shows that weren't even born when I was
putting out my first record.
- Is that weird for you? Do you think about it a lot?
- Yeah, well one of the guys that was with us that was
helping us out, we were in Frisco. We were playing the
Filmore and the last time I played the Filmore he was two
years old. I looked at him and I thought, I told him
"God, the last time I was here you were still shitting
your pants." So, yeah, it's kind of weird but whatever...
I'll be doing this forever.
- Do you see yourself doing something like Guerewitz does?
Starting your own label?
- No, I'm so anti-business it's not even funny. I don't
like it when it gets serious. Like if it stays fun, if
you're having a good time, just fucking around, I love
it. But the minute it's work, it's a whole different
story. Cause right now it's not work. You know what I do
all day? I screw around. I screw around and then for
forty minutes I get up on stage and have a blast, and
then screw around some more.
- But it gets tiring doing the touring though?
- No, 'cause we take it like a vacation. You know, we
stop. We rented a little boat and took off down the
Colorado River and played the "naked pirate game".
- The naked pirate game?
- Yeah, you stand there naked with a stick and threaten
- You know, I've been thinking about writing a book about
Denny's across America because we've been going to all
these Denny's restaurants. And it's weird 'cause each
Denny's has it's own personality and outlook about what's
- Don't you think that they're all kind of the same though?
- No! We went to Denny's in Eureka and it was like "Mutiny
Denny's". Everybody was quitting. And I sat at the bar
and listened to all these stories and you'd hear the
manager on the phone going "fuck you, if you don't come
in you're fired". Then we went to this Denny's in Oregon
and it took an hour to get our food, and that's a long
time at Denny's 'cause it's like a fast food restaurant.
- So that's your next project...
- Yeah, Denny's Across America (laughs)
- Well, Henry Rollins is writing books about tours.
- Yeah, well I think Denny's is just a little more
important.You know what's funny, is Rodney from K-ROQ
[L.A. radio legend-GZ] has been eating at Denny's for as
long as I've known him. He eats at Denny's for lunch, and
International House of Pancakes for dinner every day.
Like if you ever need to find him,well, he's gonna be at
Denny's on Sunset at one o'clock.
- So do you still have much contact with Rodney
- Yeah, a little bit.
- So, what do you listen to these days?
- The Dorita Sisters. It's like this band, they make their
own CD's. And I don't even know how much they play. But
they sent me this CD in the mail and it's like one of the
best things I've ever gotten in my fuckin' life. I mean
I was stoked. Like if you can ever find it, you gotta get
it. It's like 38 or 40 songs that they put together. It's
the best stuff in the world.
- So do you see yourself doing anything besides music?
- When was the last time you got to go surfing?
- Yeah that's the only thing that's kind of fucked about
touring. There ain't no surfing. The best part about
surfing is getting held down. A lot of people think it's
riding the wave, but the funnest part is getting held
underwater for a long time and thinking your not coming
up. The funnest thing is being so scared you're shitting
your pants, thinking "I shouldn't be out here and I'm not
gonna make it".
- A near death expeience?
- Yeah, I had a good one one time, where actually that was
it, I was dead.
- You were dead?
- Basically I went to sleep. It was hot. Afterwards you
knew that you had met that certain thing that you knew
you weren't coming back. I had been swimming so long and
it was at night. However I got out there, I was surfing
before dark, and whatever happened. I got caught in some
riptides and some other shit. I had basically been
swimming for two and a half hours. Like just treading
water, fighting currents, trying to get in, swallowing
salt water, throwing it up. I got to the point where I
just got tired, and all of the sudden I felt real sleepy,
and my body just got warm. And I just said "wow, I feel
really good, I'm comfortable and I'm just gonna sleep
- Then what?
- I hit bottom, when I went under I touched bottom and it
gave me a little breath, a wake up call.
- Where was this?
- Huntington [Southern California area-GZ]. It was some
storm, the "Monster From New Zealand". They nickname the
storms if they're really good (laughs)
- So where have you surfed besides California?
- Hawaii (north shore).
- So do you still do some of your old tunes during the
- Yeah, sometimes we do. We play like six or seven of
them. We don't always play them in the set, 'cause we
play our album start to finish. Just back to back with
no stops. So that's like thirty-four minutes straight.
So it gets kind of draining. We've had complaints, like
it wears people out. It doesn't stop, there's no talking.
It's "Let's Go!" and "Thank you".
- Well we're not paying to hear you talk (laughs)
- Yeah, that's what I tell them. What do I have to say,
yeah I'm gonna say "yeah I was in the pool all day, thank
- You know what's hot is we've got the best thing in our
contract. The cool thing about this is before, this is
my favorite thing about punk rock now, there were never
any contracts. You'd just show up. Now in our contract
we have the right to dismiss any security guards, send
'em home.So it's nice 'cause these bouncers, they get all
this tough thing going, like with the kids. They'd be
throwing kids out. The other night this kid was being
thrown out, so Stuart our road manager runs up to this
bouncer "What the fuck are you doing!". The kid goes
"he's throwing me out". Then Stuart says "No he's not,
you're dismissed" [to the bouncer-GZ]
- During the show they were throwing people back, and I
stopped the show and said "Here, let me redefine your
job. Your job is for when the kids jump onto the stage
you protect them from hitting their heads on the
monitors, that's your job" (laughs). They [the
bouncers-GZ] just got scared.They're probably thinking
"Fuck this fat, bald guy in a dress. What's he doing
telling me to stop this." I'm always wearing a skirt so
they just get bummed out on that. They don't like it.
They go home and their wives asked what happened and they
have to say "a guy in a dress beat my ass".
Well, the Joykiller lived up to their album and more so. This is
a band that knows what having a good time is all about.
Their name must reflect on those that would say punk is
dead. After having seen this band's show, I believe now
that the future of punk rock is here (funny how it would
be found in a person that has been in the scene for well
over a decade). So, fuck MTV, fuck the top forty and fuck
all the majors that think they know how to package angst.
I'd much rather go see a guy in a skirt kick ass.
Copyright © 1995, Rational Alternative Digital