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Craig: The Hellacopters have come a long way from your first tour. I read you played some squat in the middle of December, the windows were all broken out and you had to sleep on the floor with no sleeping bags. Over the past year you've been wined and dined by a number of American labels hoping to cash in on the stir your sound is causing. How does it feel from going from one end of the spectrum to obtaining some level of comfort? Are you happy with that and where you're at?

Kenny: Well, of course I am. But we never really took it in steps. On this tour we did a house party down in Alabama. There was like 200 people crammed in the backyard. And we've opened up for Kiss in front of 36,000 people. We still...this tour, we did more of a trip than a tour. It was more of "we want to do this, we want to check this out." And the same with Tasmania and Australia. We go there to be on holiday...and play our rock.

Steve: How was it playing in front of 36,000 people?

Kenny: That's the strange part. Before the show everyone was stumbling, chain-smoking, walking around this tiny room going to each other, "Are you nervous?" "No." "No, me neither." Throwing up in the corner. "Nervous?" "No, not me." No one really realized it, but we were just scared shitless.

[ the hellactopers at garage shock - photo by peter markham ]
photo by peter markham

Steve: Why so many singles?

Kenny: We enjoy doing that. We enjoy the aesthetics of them. They used to be cheaper. We meet people in every town we drive into. "So can I put out a seven inch with you guys?" "Sure, we'd love to do it."

Steve: Doesn't Nicke have a label?

Peter: Psychout Records.

Kenny: Yeah, Psychout. Nicke's pretty much in control, but he gets White Jazz to pay for all his stuff, which is pretty good. White Jazz was always like that. The people from the House of Kicks own and drive it, but all the bands on White Jazz apart from the Dictators are from our recommendation.

Craig: So what's down the road? Any future plans laid out?

Kenny: No. We're pretty much booked up for the next eight months or so. After this we'll be going home and doing some festivals in the summer, then we'll be doing some clubs in Stockholm. After that we'll be going back to Japan, then it will probably be time for some gigs in the States or a full on European club tour. We want to take the Quadrajets to Scandinavia for a club tour in October.

Steve: How long of a record deal did you sign with Sub Pop? Just a one-off?

Kenny: Yeah, and they get Payin' the Dues also.

Craig: They get to reissue it here in the States?

Kenny: Yeah.

[ one of many, many hellacopters singles ]

Peter: Why Sub Pop?

Kenny: Basically they were the only label.... Number one: they were the only label to discuss anything besides numbers. We had RCA, Mercury, Capitol and a bunch of major labels who kept saying, "We'll give you this much money, if..." And they kept trying to outmatch the others by giving us zeros. It was all zero. "We'll give you this many zeros. We'll give you that many zeros." And none of them really reached us; none of them had a plan at all on how to go about it. They were all just BUY BUY BUY BUY. And that's just not the language we speak. Sub Pop had a plan, and how they started was pretty significant to us.

When we did our first seven inch we were sort of joking that maybe Estrus would release a single for us some day, or maybe Sympathy [for the Record Industry] or Sub Pop. We were just sort of joking around about all these labels we had records from.

Peter: We did an interview in--a very early one with you--and the question was: Which label would you like to be on? And now you've been on all of them.

[ payin' the dues ]

Kenny: Yeah, yeah!

Peter: Except SST.

Kenny: I'll leave that for my solo project! Do a dub thing with HR [Throat, singer for Bad Brains] or something. Heh heh!

Steve: So what music did you bring along with you for the tour?

Kenny: We have three volumes...heh heh...of boogie pop. 100% Boogie Power. They're tapes of songs we gathered from people, and it turned out pretty much pure southern boogie rock. Heh. I've picked up heaps of Aretha Franklin and some Patsy Cline on the road. Lessee, what else did I pick up? Last tour I picked up basically country stuff, this tour was more soul tapes from the truck stops. Some blues stuff... Howlin' Wolf.

Craig: Truck stop tapes!

Kenny: Yeah, they're so cheap! Some of the best John Lee Hooker or Howlin' Wolf that I ever heard were from these really cheap three dollar tapes I bought at truck stops. In Sweden, if you're going to buy vinyl for some of those songs--if you even find the recordings--you're going to pay at least like seventy bucks for it to begin with. And at truck stops, you can find nuggets there for's beautiful!

[ patsy cline ]

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