Surf N' Destroy Radio with Rick Hostage:read the full interview with awesome photos from Rick at WWW.FEARLOATHELB.COM
Destroying the World One Eardrum at a Time
Hello Rick, you have quite a history in the Southern California Punk Rock scene. When did you first get involved with the scene and what inspired you to do so? How do you feel about the terms “punk” and “scene,” do they do justice to the individuals involved in creating and supporting independent music?
You know Kevin, that’s not something I’ve really ever thought about but it probably goes like this-I’ve always been a huge music fan forever, all music. I was always a sucker for 60’s-70’s pop and louder stuff like Bad Company, Sweet and the Stones. Mind you this was before the Pistols. Punk was a perfect combo of both. I clearly remember going to see the Plimsouls and 20/20 at some wacky Knott’s Berry Farm back to school thing in like ’79. I had just turned 15. Both of those bands were amazing that night, 20/20 was damn tight playing that Yellow Pills stuff…so this buddy of mine says you think that’s something, you need to come with me to the Whiskey one night. One month later, we saw the Cramps (in their prime) and I was blown away, then a few
months later the Dead Kennedys, I went to Zeds records on 7th Street in LONG BEACH and bought Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown 7 inch…it was over after that.
That was the deal and attraction for me, with punk you could see tons of amazing bands any night of the week, it was exciting to not know what the hell was gonna go down. It was all for the taking and so unlike the waiting around for bands to come to town every few years. The Punk Scene stood for something, it was a way to say, we don’t need your hippie ass major label to make a band and a record, we’re gonna do it on our own. That was the best part, to say to the people who controlled music, you don’t control this.
In the year 2012, is underground aggressive rock n roll still relevant and why? Have you noticed an increase or decrease over the past decade in the music you promote and release?
Here’s my take on that Kevin, as long as it’s underground, it’s relevant. Underground almost always means to me that the only reward is doing it, no money coming anybody’s way. As for Hostage Records, things just kinda dried up in the local OC scene after 2004. When Club Mesa died, the end of new bands started. Things will perk up here and there, but the onslaught of new bands seems to be played out right now. I hope it comes back.
A cool thing that caught might attention was the introduction of your Podcast, “SURF AND DESTROY RADIO”. A free podcast appears to really attract many listeners to the culture and soundtrack of “Hostage Records”. Is there a new audience discovering the music? What kinds of interactions with new fans have you had that really stick out in your mind?
Here’s the deal on Surf and Destroy Radio. Paul Hostage and I wanted to re-start the label, so we figured let’s make this Podcast thing and play all the stuff we like from OC and see if anybody cares or listens. Maybe we’ll find some new bands. So we put it out there and the show got picked up by ITUNES, and then things just took off. The internet is an amazing thing, we’ve got people all over the world that listen to that show pretty faithfully. It’s really humbling because we are terrible at it, but we have a great time.
What is your take on female involvement in the “punk” scene over the last 15 years? Do girls still dig punkers? Would you say its male dominated or not?
Ahhh the lady question, I actually got in a huge fight over this one…here’s the deal, punk bands with female singers are pretty great when done right, what I don’t like and actually can’t stand is chick singers who scream their vocals like they
are yelling at me because I left the toilet seat up or something. The Avengers were great, Neighborhood Brats are great, the Go Go’s at the Starwood in 1980 were great, X is great…Joan Jett..amazing. That’s about all…BUT as far as girls in the punk scene, my crazy best friend, Dave Colvin and I loved to take fine girls non punk girls to shows. We start with the Dickies, then try TSOL or Social D back in like 81-82…that’s usually all they could take. But we tried. There was always fine looking girls at those TSOL and Social D shows, beat the hell outta a bunch of jocks at the DK’s show.
What kinds of crazy stories surround Hostage Records and Surf and Destroy Radio? The public would love to know!
I’ll take the 5th on that. But I do remember trying to get Joan Jett to call the Surf and Destroy Radio and give us an intro for the show. Her snarky publicist that I had to go through said, “Joan will be unable to call you”, but we’d be glad to give you free merchandise for the show. So I played it up, as I always do, like our show was some big deal, and she never bought it. Finally I tell the publicist, I want her (the publicist) to call the show and say, “this is Joan Jett’s publicist and she wants me to tell you that your listening to Surf and Destroy Radio”…she didn’t find the humor in that, althought I thought it was hilarious. The greatest part of Surf and Destroy Radio is listening in and seeing who we tricked into calling the show this session….Greg Ginn, Billy Zoom, Billy Joe, Johnny Knoxville, Joey Shithead, Keith Morris…they’ve all called. As far as Hostage, many things have gone down but I always get a laugh outta bands wanting to know about our tour package, like we’re Epitaph JR. or something Our tour package is a handful of 2 for 1 taco bell coupons, hit the road jack. I think an amazing fact about Hostage is that everybody on the label (50 records!!!) comes from a 20 mile radius except for the Bodies.
In terms of the Long Beach music scene, I feel it’s kind of the bastard child of OC and LA county. What is the OC take on the LA scene in general and is Long Beach included in your experiences with it?
I’m from Long Beach, so I know the pain. But seriously it has it’s advantages. I remember going to Hollywood shows where they hated the OC’s/HB’s, and they’d say “you assholes aren’t from OC are ya”, and we’d be like no way, those guys are dicks, we’re from Long Beach and they’d say oh hey that’s cool, here’s a beer. Then in OC, they say “you ain’t one of those LA new wave homos are ya?”...and we’ d say no way man, those dudes are posers, look at us we’re from Long Beach man, like TSOL, and they’d go, right on, here’s a beer….I always thought and will never be convinced otherwise that OC was a way better scene with WAY better bands that LA…hell when BYO did that big wigga wigga punk show in 1982 in LA at the Hollywood Palladium, all the bands were from OC…the Blades, SD, Adolescents, TSOL…seriously, post 1980 LA produced one great band-Bad Religion. OC produced…well you name it there are tons. The best thing about being from OC and going into LA was bumming them out, we’d swarm in, take over and leave. They couldn’t do anything to stop the invasion, it was too big.
What new releases and projects are you involved with currently? What is your favorite release that you have done?
Right now we are in a retro punk slam dance on Hostage. We figured why put out a bunch of bands trying to rip off the originals, when we can just get the originals to record some great lost stuff…we just finshed the amazing Love Canal and the Crowd, we’re going to do CH3 and Shattered Faith next….All the Hostage records are great in my book, people forget what the Hostage trip is though…we never put this stuff out to say here’s the greatest hand picked bands from OC, we approached the label like the Decline of Western Civilization,- a documentary thru vinyl instead of film. These are the bands in the scene, we put them out and you decide what you dig….Hostage is very different that way, we’ve taken big risks, we’ve lost money and we don’t care, its what had to be done to get the whole picture.
I admire your dedication to preservation of vinyl releases! How hard is it to release a vinyl record in 2012 and what is your biggest pet peeve in terms of bands asking you to “put out their record”?
Actually vinyl is easier to make and release now than when we started, the internet makes it go. Plus vinyl is making a huge comeback, really people want something tangible. That’s what vinyl gives them. The bands on Hostage have been really REALLY great to us. Look at Smogtown, those guys gave us the greatest songs from the late 90’s and just let us run with it, they never re-released them, hey just made more and respected what they had done.
Any last words or topics that you would like to rant or rave about? Thanks Rick and long live Hostage Records and Search and Destroy Radio!
My message is buy vinyl, it’s the most un-corporate music out there.