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Gavin's Underground

The Fucktards

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2009-11-09 -

This past Friday night the Urban Lounge played host to the third irregularly scheduled Mike Brown Fest. Featuring DJ Chase spinning old school mixes, The Idiobots making their big debut on the music scene, and in-house boarding on the main floor. Not to mention the release of the new issue of Leviathan and the main act of the night that everyone came to harass.

The Fucktards have been, in every incarnation, somewhere between musical saviors and club pariahs for years. Almost subscribing fully to the “we don't care” attitude of early punk, the band will play through their entire set yelling at the audience, tearing apart fellow musicians, insulting each other on stage and near daring those watching to riot. With one of the strangest local followings making them in-demand and their set being recorded for FuelTV last week, its clear their reformation was both wanted and needed. I got to chat with our old buddy Mike Brown again, this time about the band and its chaotic history as well as thoughts on local music. Plus tons of pictures from both bands and more of this past Friday's show.

The Fucktards


Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Mike: We are the Fucktards. F-U-C-K-T-A-R-D!

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Mike: I don't know if you can actually call the Fucktards actual music. I like Billy Joel and Dan our guitarist likes GG Allan a whole bunch, so I guess the band is kind of a combo of the two.

Gavin: How did you all get together to form the Fucktards?


Mike:
We started about ten years ago at a show at Kilby. Joe, Dan, Paul and me were talking. We were all best friends and Joe and Dan were always in bands. Paul said he wanted to play bass in a band with them. I thought it was a terrible idea so I said "Yeah! I'll sing and we'll call it the Fucktards." Totally making fun of them. And a week later they told me to get my ass to Provo for band practice in Joe's room. That's seriously how we started.

Gavin: Was punk music the ideal genre you were going for when you started playing, or was it more something that just felt right with the band?

Mike: Both. I've always been in to punk rock. Punk is the easiest shit to play and seeing how we aren't really that great of musicians, it made sense. Well, Dan is actually a great musician, he's just drunk all the time, which is punk as fuck I guess.

Gavin: Do you embrace or get annoyed with being compared to old punk bands who played shows and aimed to annoy the audience?

Mike: It's funny because I know that we are just ripping off several bands. The Meat Men probably were the first ones to do what we were doing first. Fortunately, our audience is so dumb they don't know who to compare our shit to. Which is fine. When was the last time ANYONE did anything actually new? So I don't think it really matters. But no one has ever come up to me and said, "Yeah, I've seen this shit before. You hack!"

Gavin: I have to ask because I want to know, what happened at the 2003 show that led to the original Kilby banning and subsequent breakup?

Mike: This is funny. We have it on VHS too. But basically Kilby was trying to make their club nicer, and bought a nicer PA and built a bigger stage and moved it into the wood shop where the bathrooms are now, from the little cozy garage. So we decided to dress our drummer Joe up in his own garbage, which included old cooked pasta, and all sorts of gross shit. And when he started drumming garbage went flying everywhere. Then Ryan Jensen was drunk, obviously. He broke a window and we got blamed for it. And I threw out wet tampons and candy at the small but disrespectful crowd. We had more of a “fuck it” attitude back then. We would break all sorts of stuff at Todd's Bar & Grill back in those days. And Todd was always too coked up to know or care. So we just kind of assumed we could pull that kind of shit at other places. Not true. In a strange way we've grown up a bit since then. But yeah, Phil asked us not to play there again. The ironic part about all of it now is that where we practice is literally where that incident took place. Same room and everything. We have yet to play Kilby agian. But seeing how our new bass player Lance owns the whole place, I have a feeling that could change. As far as breaking up goes... it was mostly because Joe our drummer didn't want to do it anymore. We actually broke up like, three or four times before that. And one of the things that made The Fucktards work was how lazy and casual we were about everything. It was like if one of us didn't want to do it then we weren't going to do it or be mad at each other. I mean, we started the band just to get free beer at bars. So no big deal if we stop. That attitude was part of what made it fun in the first place.

Gavin: Before SLUG's 20th Anniversary show, was there talk of bringing the band back or had you considered it done from there? And what led to the reformation?

Mike: I considered it done, dead as doornails. It had been a really long time. Paul, our old bass player had moved to California. Joe didn't want to drum for us anymore. Dan was/is always drunk. And I didn't see myself having time or motivation to try to put it back together. I figured let our little legacy die where it was. Besides, I didn't see the Fucktards working out how I'd want it to with other people. It just didn't feel right or even possible. But then Lance originally brought up the idea of getting the Fucktards back together. I knew Joe wouldn't drum. But out of respect I asked him to anyway, and I would have loved to have him back in the band. Lance said he would play bass. Dan was down seeing how he doesn't have a job and needs something to do anyway. And finding a new drummer was kind of a pain in the ass but it all came together. The anniversary show was a great way to kick things off, and seeing how we had a place to practice now, it's worked out.

Gavin: How has it been for you playing with the new members and the reincarnation of the group?

Mike: Its been good! Me and Dan had to show Lance and Brian, who used to play bass in Fuck The Informer the songs, and honestly we had to re-learn everything. It was kind of refreshing to start over. Brian quit/got kicked out recently, on good terms though. And we got a new drummer, Dave, who has been hammering for Punk bands for years. When we used to play with The Corleones, Dave was their drummer. Mike Brown Fest 3 was our first show with him. And he's a good fit. But finding a drummer has been the hardest thing.

Gavin: What's the reaction been like from old fans and new now that you're back to playing gigs?

Mike: It's almost a completely new fan base. Its rare that someone comes to our shows because they saw us play at Todd's ten years ago, you know? There are a few old time punk lifers that remember, but it's rare. So it's awesome to get a fresh response in a way. We are fucking over and taking advantage of a whole new generation of idiot hipsters and elitists. It feels nice.

Gavin: Are there any plans down the road for an album?

Mike: Sort of. Like I said, the nice part about having your bass player own a venue and a record label for that matter is that we have access to those kinds of resources that we never ever had before. That's some luxuries that most bands don't have. So we've been kicking around some ideas for recording. Nothing set in stone as of yet, like who would do it. Other than it would be on Kilby's record label. I think it will happen. But seriously it could be like a year from now.

Gavin: A bit state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Mike: Overall things are good. My biggest complaint is that things seem boring right now. It honestly could be that I'm saturated in the same Urban Lounge indie hipster scene and that I'm too old to know where the cool shit is. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I want the Fucktards to be the gun that goes Columbine on our boring scene right now. There are some really great local bands right now but they just keep doing the same shit. I like the idea of people coming to a Fucktards show and seeing something different every time. All these local Alternative country bands that are so hot right now are really starting to put me to sleep. Every time I see them, its the same crowd, same people, same pussy, etc. I haven't seen a local band blow me away like the Red Bennies did or The Corleones did back in the day. Like I said, I could be looking in the wrong places. But yeah. Shit is stale right now.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Mike: As far as making our scene bigger and better, I don't know what could really be done. I think Utah's population and isolation make it hard for things to really grow. There are bands from here that have “made it” and i think the isolation factor here breads a lot of people to be creative that normally wouldn't be. But there's no competition to motivate people in certain artistic mediums, music being one of them. Like, if the Fucktards were in San Francisco or something where you would have a lot more bands like us, we would be forced to up the ante, and that could be a really good thing. I just see more people whining about the scene than doing something about it. Which I guess is kind of how it always has been and always will be here. But you can't just expect a scene to get better or more how you want it. And there's not a realistic way to measure it in my opinion too. Just do your part and what you want to do and fuck everyone else. Thats my attitude towards building a scene.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Mike: KRCL is killing it right now. Its all I listen to in my car. Except for their shitty reggae show and that blue grass shit they do on Sundays. But the DJ's they have right now are so dedicated to the local scene and what's going on. I think its amazing and Salt Lake is lucky to have it right now. Circus Brown has live local bands in the studio almost every Friday. He even let the Fucktards play, but we had to change our name to the Fun-Tarts. But yeah, anyone who claims to give a shit about the local scene should donate money to them because it's truly fueled by the listeners and not any advertisers. Its a real positive thing we've got going now and needs as much support and attention as it can get.

Gavin: Aside yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Mike: Hmmmm, kind of a tough question for me. Heathen Ass Worship is getting back together and those guys are rad if you haven't seen them. We are playing with them in December for SLUG's Localized. Bazil just started a new two piece thrash metal project called Cornered By Zombies that is amazing. Eagle Twin with Gentry Densly and Tyler Smith, two of the best musicians to ever ever come out of Salt Lake, are fucking great too! I also like the Naked Eyes even though they just broke up or changed the name or something. And for hip hop, check out Mindstate when you get the chance. Entertaining for sure. Oh, and the Idiobots, a Ramones cover band that just doesn't give a fuck. I like them too.

Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year and going into next?

Mike: Not sure, pretty much covered it all. The Fucktards just kind of play things by ear.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Mike: Our next gig is SLUG's Localized in December. I want to play about once a month. May be some new songs may be not. Overall The Fucktards are about one thing: Having Fun. I don't know too many people that don't have a good time at our shows. So fuck it.

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