The Fartz evolved into Ten minute Warning, Steve went off to raise kids, Blaine went on to join The Accused. Did The Fartz do any reunion shows?
Blaine: Yeah, we did one on July 4th, 1983, six months after splitting up and we actually were in some other bands then.
Steve: It was a Lou Lou's production and we had to figure out who was going to play what songs. There was no question that Paul was to play guitar and some people were not very happy that Duff played instead of Loud, but as we had said earlier, we recorded our best material with Duff. We wanted to have the best representation of The Fartz on stage.
When did you start talking about reforming the band or how did this come about?
Blaine: I was down in San Francisco one weekend and I was going to call Alternative Tentacles to see if they wanted to re-release our stuff. Originally, all of the Alternative Tentacles stuff was to stay in print. I didn't do this and on Monday, when I got back, they called me up and asked to do this. I said, "Of course, re-release it all." I then went through the process of tracking everybody down.
What year was this that you spoke with Alternative Tentacles?
Blaine: The re-releases? That was in 1997.
Steve: Blaine was trying to track everyone down and I was way underground. I happened to see an ad for it and knew Blaine would be in the phone book. I called him up and asked, "What is up with this?" He said, "Well, it is out." We just started talking about doing shows. We got together with Paul and talked about it. We saw where everyone was at and what our interests were.
Blaine: And Karl? I really didn't know Karl, but I had met him a couple of times. I knew Karl lived in West Seattle, I knew he played drums and knew he had played with The Detonators for a while and North American Bison. I called him up.
Steve: He came with his own pedigree and background.
Tell me about the time you played the Pain in the Grass concert in Seattle.
Blaine: To be honest, and with no disrespect to Mr. Paul Solger, it is a different thing to be operating by yourself then when you are operating with four other people. This requires a little bit more effort. The Pain in the Grass thing was only one--one episode with Mr. Paul Solger. Basically he wanted to do Pain in the Grass. I do not dislike Jeff Gilbert. [In a whiny voice] "Do you want me to call Jeff Gilbert to see if we can play Pain in the Grass?" So I track down Jeff Gilbert and I leave a note on his apartment door. He had changed apartments, but the new tenant passed the note on to him. [Whiny voice again] "Jeff, is it okay if we play Pain in the Grass?"
Okay, where's Paul? The fucking guy lives fifteen minutes away and, if he was a normal man, he would walk out of his fucking apartment door and walk down the hill to the Seattle Center.
[Laughter from the others]
Steve: When I called him later that afternoon, his message machine went off and kicks in to that song: "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me." When he answered, he said that he was on his way.
Blaine: He never came. [Doing an imitation of Paul's voice] "I had the chicken pox." He is also involved in other nefarious activities. I call him back when I get home, around 11 o'clock, and his brother answers, and I disrespect him. When I see Paul a couple of days later, he wants me to apologize to his brother for being disrespectful to him.
Karl: It is like the one bad experience you see in the movies as a musician.
You're up on stage and the lead guitarist doesn't show up?
Blaine: We did it anyway.
Karl Fowler: We weren't exactly on stage. We were behind stage looking at our watches and starting to sweat. People were leaving and others were banging on the stage for us.
Steve: For the few people that were left, we had a good time and played quite awhile. We played our five songs to save face and then got the feeling that the crowd wanted more, so we played more. It was okay, it was just made really tough [by Paul's absence]. We spent about a year with Paul in the band and now we're going on three years. This is a year and a half longer than we were originally together. It sucks not having Paul as part of our history and as another link to the scene, but when we made the move to get out, we had to have someone who we knew from the old days and who hung out with us, plus they were still part of the scene. We picked Alex Maggot Brain--bass player from The Accused--to play guitar. We have accomplished a lot in a hurry since he joined the band.
Did Paul stand you more then one time?
Blaine: We did this really shitty all-ages show down in Portland, OR and he was back at the hotel, asleep.
Steve: Passed out. [Laughs]
Karl: Jerry A. of Poison Idea is hanging out bullshitting with us on stage and he looks down at our play list and says, "I know that song. I know that song!"
Blaine: We should have just let him play with us. [Much laughter]
Karl: Jerry A. says, "I'm going to go in and take a piss and if Solger is not here when I get back."
Steve: Just as Jerry was saying this the guy at the PA announces that Paul Solger made it. Paul graces us with his presence. [Much laughter]
Karl: This was kind of the last shot for me. He started playing really slow and looked at me to slow down, but this is not how we play our stuff. I have to set the rhythm and this is not an R 'n' B outfit--it's fast and powerful.
What was the drive behind The Fartz reforming?
Blaine: The stuff was being re-released and we thought it was relevant to play it. Originally, the plan was to do a few reunion shows or do it for a year and see what happens. But, we played with Paul for a year and pretty much wasted that year. We really lost out on many things. We hit the ground walking basically.
Karl: The Pain in the Grass thing was the premiere for us. It sucked!
What makes The Fartz relevant now in the sense of playing hardcore music?
Blaine: We are just playing hard music. I am not out there to make a change. The type of work I do is my social conscience. Right now we are just getting together to play hard aggressive music.
The Fartz have always sounded original and not many new bands can play like you guys.
Blaine: Yeah, it doesn't matter to us if we are not getting anything out of it. We are just doing it. We're not out getting paid, we're not out fucking a bunch of broads and we all have been loaded before. I do not need to go play music till 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning just to have a few drinks. I can do this in the comfort of my own home.
Karl: I would take that as a compliment because the one thing with hardcore is that it tends to sound the same. Steve pretty much writes 90 percent of the lyrics. He doesn't exactly represent how all of us think. Which is all right with me. I have opinions, but we do not have a band forum where we can discuss it. Steve just says, "Here are some lyrics." And we just go with it.
Blaine: At this point we are The Fartz; it's not like "written by Steve, written by Blaine or by Karl or Alex."
How much new material have you written?
Blaine: We have, like, seven new songs. Karl and Steve basically write the music. It is not as if Alex can't do this, it is that he is just too busy to take the time for this.
You don't write the lyrics, Blaine?
Blaine: I don't know--well I do know--but it is just The Fartz status quo. [Laughs] There are other forces at work here.
Karl: Basically, it is just about the music. It is hardcore and the lyrics you can't hear a lot, especially playing live. The only time you can understand them is if you are reading the lyric sheet.
Karl, do you play other instruments along with writing some of the music?
Karl: I play guitar, I have been playing for about six years. I play mainly power chords. I have music in my head that I hear all the time. I used to play saxophone through high school. I just feel I have a good ear for music. It is cool for me to present a song to the guys and ask what they think. I would not write anything that would not be The Fartz kind of sound. Music is an outlet for me.
When will the new material be released?
Blaine: We will record in December and see what happens. I'm sure Alternative Tentacles will put it out.
Karl: We are doing one more 7-inch.
Blaine: We are doing a compilation that is a two record set on the Sound Pollution label and the series we are on is the American hardcore series.
When is the compilation coming out?
Blaine: It is one of those things. We were supposed to have the material to them in June and we still haven't given it to them.
How long do you see yourselves continuing on with the band?
Blaine: We're not going to record until December; we're going to have stuff for a new full length. We'll also add a live version of the "Prisoner" and we have a cover of a Discharge song as well. We have also done another Solger song that we probably have a live version of. It will be fun having Paul on guitar. A little filler for the fans.
Do you have any last things to say?
Blaine: We just play. We're not touring, just playing.
Karl: If someone wants to back us to tour we will.
Blaine: We will fly to certain regions of the U.S. to play. As far as The Fartz driving in a van for 3, 4, 5 weeks? No way.
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