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Negative Approach interview by Jimmy Johnson and Katie (the Cleaning Lady). Taken from Forced Exposure 4.
Negative Approach are:
Jimmy) So what do you think of the tour so far?
John) Boston pretty much had the wildest kids.
Opie) Yeah, no shit! It was our worst show though, playing wise....
Rob) Mudd Club was pretty good, the sound...
John) Piggyback dancing is like "do the hokey pokey."
Opie) It's funny.
Rob) Boston kids are by far the wildest though.
Katie) How long have you been together?
Rob) Since December.
John) Tomorrow will be a year since me and Rob have been together in a band. That's when Negative Approach first got together.
Rob) This band has been together since December.
Katie) This version of Negative Approach?
Rob) The old NA has been together a year.
Jimmy) Is this working out better than the original version?
John) Oh yeah.
Jimmy) How come?
John) Cause I'm not the only one writing the songs.
Rob) Cause Zuheir's an asshole.
John) Pete just didn't want to do it and Zuheir was just too hard to work with. Opie writes songs and I write songs so...
Jimmy) Did you break up and just reform or...
John) No, everyone goes, we broke up but the thing that happened was, Pete quit so we thought we'd get a new bass player. We got Graham then we said, well, why don't we get rid of Zuheir cause he's an asshole and we got Opie, so I don't even like to think of the old band. People always want us to compare the bands, you know? But as far as getting anything done, this is the band, this is where it all started happening.
Jimmy) How has the Midwest changed in the last year for you, has it kept getting better or...
Rob) Yeah, it's better, everybody knows each other now so its not as rough as it was at the start. Like last year our scene was like yours, now everyone is like really good friends.
Graham) How everybody just crowds up to the stage and does sing-alongs.
Rob) No, there's still a whole bunch of dancing.
John) It's alot more group participation like as far as reacting to the bands. It's more like enthusiasm.
Graham) Listening to the band more.
Jimmy) You mean they don't listen to the band in other cities?
John) It's like the way they dance, I don't think they are listening to the music.
Rob) They seen to concentrate on dancing more than they do the music. They're not really listening to the bands. It's like, judge bands on how fast they are.
Jimmy) So is your favorite place to be the Midwest?
John) This is our first time playing out of town. Like New York, the Mudd Club was our first out at town gig.
Jimmy) So you don't try to travel like within the Midwest?
Rob) There's no gigs we can get really.
Opie) We were supposed to play in Wisconsin.
John) It's kind of hard cause the other guys, Opie and Graham are in school so we can only do this in the summer. We probably are going to go back down to DC in September.
Jimmy) On your own?
John) Yeah, just do it Negative Approach.
Jimmy) Is your record going to be out by then?
John) It should be, I think when we go back everything's going to be in the mail. Like when we left it was like coming back to us in the mail so I think by the time we get back, we should have gotten everything. Then it's a matter of like putting the sleeves together.
Jimmy) What took so long in the first place?
John) Its like we didn't have any money to get it pressed. We usually play at this place called Clutch Cargos and they only pay us 50 bucks a gig so we had to do alot of gigs to get our money.
Rob) And while we were making 50 bucks a gig, we had to pay rent on our practice hall, which is 120 a month so that means we had to do at least two gigs a month to break even.
John) Then the single got remixed like 5 times. By the fifth time we sent it in, that was the final mix, then we got our test pressing back and they sounded like shit. They were all trebly and stuff. It sounded like it was a transistor. There was no bottom sound so we remixed the tape again and sent it in. So right now we're waiting for our test pressings to come back. If those are good it will just be a matter of a couple of weeks.
Jimmy) How often do you play out? Do you play alot?
Rob) In Detroit we probably play twice a month.
John) There was one point when we were probably playing once a week, but usually we play at least twice a month.
Opie) We don't want people to get sick of us.
Katie) Are there gigs every week to go to?
John) No, twice a month, good ones.
Jimmy) What places are there to play besides Clutch Cargos?
Rob) Well Clutch Cargos we just found out is closed down, but it doesn't matter.
Graham) The new place we just opened up is where we practice. It's called the Clubhouse.
Rob) Yeah, we just built a stage and it can fit 150 people in it, and it's good if not better sound quality.
John) That's like L-Seven and our rehearsal space so like us both, we run the shows and we take money out of that and just pay off our rent. We did one show there with us and L-Seven and it was pretty good. Alot of kids came out. We did that show just on a word of month thing so we had alot of kids show up. It's practically the new Freezer.
Jimmy) So how many people do you get to a show? I know there were 200 there last night.
Rob) More or less, that's it.
Graham) It's about the same.
Rob) Minor Threat there were 300.
Opie) GI's there were about 300.
John) Misfits had a big audience at the Freezer.
Jimmy) Do you guys like the Misfits alot?
Jimmy) Is that a Midwest prerequisite?
John) What do you mean, is everyone into them?
Opie) No way at all.
Rob) Alot of people don't like them.
Opie) About half the people like them and half the people don't.
Jimmy) What are you going to do after the record comes out? Just continue to play around town?
Rob) We are going to try and play out on weekends, to do different towns.
John) We like to play out of town. We can only play in Detroit for so much.
Graham) On weekends, Christmas, Easter vacation.
John) We have almost all our songs for our next record too so like...
Jimmy) Do you ever think about doing a twelve inch?
John) Y'know what they wanted to do for our record? They wanted us to do a twelve inch with the Meatmen, the Meatmen's new single is going to be Cripple Children Suck. They wanted us to put out a double sided twelve inch. There was something going up, floating in the air, like they wanted the Meatmen's new single to be on one side and ours to be on the other side but we didn't want to do it.
Rob) We just felt that our first release should be our very own release.
John) I didn't want to have another double thing.
Katie) Then it's always a comparison.
Opie) That and we're already on a compilation.
John) We just want to have our own record to say its ours.
Jimmy) What's it like working with Touch and Go and Cory, do you have complete control yourself?
Graham) Yeah, pretty much.
John) Yeah, we recorded in his basement for free so...
Jimmy) What's the sleeve going to be like?
John) It's this great picture from the exorcist.
Opie) The back cover's great!
John) The back cover is like this live shot of us at the Freezer.
Rob) Yeah, the one you used in Forced Exposure.
Jimmy) The same picture?
Opie) The lyric sheet is gonna be cool.
Rob) It's a bunch of Freezer photos.
John) We have all the lyrics and about four pictures on it, it should be pretty cool.
Jimmy) Are you going to stay on Touch & Go?
John) We'll probably stay on Touch & Go.
John) Dischord has offered to like...they're interested, Ian, he wants us to come down and record where they did their single.
Jimmy) So are you on a Finnish Compilation or something? D.A.B.F.?
John) That guy from Finland, did he ever write you, that Otto guy? He was writing us, he wanted us for a cassette thing. We did it in the studio when we did our single so we were going to like send him a cassette of that, but he hasn't written us back, we're probably going to put it on our next single.
Jimmy) So what does D.A.B.F. stand for?
John) It's like an anti-slut song, it means "destroy all band fucks". The whole tune is like an anti-hardcore slut song. Cause we got these chicks in Detroit, like they dres up, it depends on what kind of show...if it's a New Wave show, they dress New Wave, if it's a hardcore show, they put on kilts and boots and they think they're hardcore. They're just out to act those hardcore cocks. It's a song against them.
Jimmy) Do you get the most groupies of the Midwest?
Opie) Oh yeah.
John) All the chicks like Opie.
Opie) Well they like your buns.
Rob) All the chicks like John's buns. It's something about those baggy pants that does it.
John) Chicks say that I fuck them and they tell my girlfriend. Some chick came up to Larissa and said I fucked her in the bathroom of Clutch Cargos. It's not groupies or nothing. There are no groupies in Detroit, there's like very few cool chicks.
Jimmy) So do you like English Oi music?
Rob) It's cool for England.
All) Yeah, exactly.
John) I like it, I like rough vocals cause like my favorite English band is the 4-Skins, I like those really rough vocals like Blitz and Discharge.
Jimmy) Do you do any other covers besides "Never Surrender"?
John) Yeah, Chaos UK, we did "So What" at a party by Anti Howhere League.
Jimmy) Did you like them when you saw them?
All) Yeah, they were great.
Rob) UK Subs are great too...
Jimmy) Do you like the Exploited?
All) (chorus) No!
John) I think Waddy's a dick.
Jimmy) Are the kids in the Midwest Oi influenced?
Graham) There's a few who are...
Opie) There's a few in every scene...
Rob) There's an Oi crowd, the skaters.
John) It's like before all the Oi shit got popular, it was like all the Dischord shit and Black Flag, LA shit that influenced us and then everyone started picking up on Oi so there's like a few kids that are totally dedicated to it.
Opie) They wear braces....
John) They hate anything that's American which I think is stupid, but they are totally dedicated. They have no future and they fight for no reason.
Graham) They start using the English language like they call places pubs and stuff like that.
Jimmy) So what kind of direction are your new songs?
Rob) We don't really say...
Opie) We always do something different.
John) They just come out.
Opie) We got say, you take "Pressure" and you take "Nothing" and "Nothing" is like a minute and 50 seconds long, really slow and powerful and "Pressure" is like 8 seconds and fast as shit. As soon as we start burning out...
Katie) Do you think you have enough insight to be able to tell when you are burned out?
John) The whole thing is we are not going to write songs unless we like them, we're not going to write a song someone else might like, we're just going to do it for ourselves and if people like it great.
Rob) Cause like when we first started every one hated us, not this band...
John) Yeah, all the skaters really hated us.
Opie) The original Negative Approach.
John) Cause our average songs are like 30 seconds and we are really fast at times so....
Opie) I think we got variety now.
Rob) Yeah, we've got more variety cause you get used to those songs if you go see the band.
Opie) It's not as shocking as it is now.
John) Fuck it, for the time we were fast in the area, but now you got bands that are faster than Discharge like Gang Green and shit so what's next?
Opie) That's like with the whole Midwest there is a whole variety, there's this band, the Allied, they're powerful they're not fast, they don't rely on fast stuff.
John) They're influenced by the English shit and they're great too and you got L-Seven.
Jimmy) What's L-Seven like?
John) L-Seven are not like hardcore, it's like...an article called them "Punkadillia", like they're a punk band but they're not hardcore.
Opie) They're really great musicians, you really can't explain it.
Graham) They're too original to explain it.
John) Really original, but it's really good man, that's the cool thing about the Midwest, I don't think any of the bands sound the same.
Opie) I know.
Jimmy) Does everyone support a band like L-Seven?
John) No, they're kind of like caught in the middle of the whole thing.
Bob) Alot of people are like getting in to it now, at first they didn't cause it wasn't "hardcore".
John) It wasn't like 1-2-3-4, alot of the hardcore kids come and see them now.
Katie) Do you think alot of the new bands are too formula conscious?
John) Yeah, I think alot of this shit that comes out is real predictable.
Opie) That's why I think the Midwest stands out different.
Jimmy) What are your favorite Midwest bands?
John) Midwest is, something's got to be cleared up about that. Midwest is Detroit. Everything is centered around Detroit, I'd just like to call it the Detroit scene. Midwest is like...
Opie) Like the Effigies...I don't know they're in the Midwest. Our favorite bands would be like, Necros, Allied, Meatmen, and L-Seven.
Opie) Oh, there's a whole bunch of new bands. There's a new band called "Fate Unknown", a bunch of skaters.
Rob) Yeah, there's a gig going on at the Clubhouse the 20th and that's gonna be like all new bands.
Opie) Totalchuck, a band from Grand Rapids, MI.
John) That's a Clockwork Orange thing.
Rob) That's like you total chucked.
John) You get beat up or something.
Jimmy) What kind of stuff do you listen to at home?
John) Alice Cooper.
Graham) Alot of DC stuff.
John) I usually pick up most of the No Future stuff that comes out.
Katie) Do you think alot of the new English stuff is over produced?
John) Like how?
Rob) Alot of it is over rated.
Katie) Like the Infa Riot album.
John) I haven't heard that yet.
Rob) I know the Last Resort album has a real shitty sound.
John) You mean it doesn't have a raw sound? I think Blitz's first single had a great sound to it, a real raw sound.
Graham) Alot of English bands don't have a real powerful mix.
John) Do you mean it came out like the Fear record or something?
Katie) No, I mean like Chron Gen.
John) Oh, I hate those fuckers man...
Jimmy) Were you guys part of the ones that threw garbage at them?
John) That was Barry. That will go down in history as the day Barry beat up Chron Gen single handedly.
Katie) I want the Exploited to come so I can get Waddy with rotton tomatoes.
John) Have you ever read like a Waddy interview? He contradicts himself every sentence.
Jimmy) What motivates you to write a song?
Opie) Our songs are all about people we hate, people with attitudes.
John) It's not a political thing, it's like...
Opie) We don't write nothing about politics.
John) I just sing about shit I hate, something that really makes me mad.
Opie) People's attitudes man, like our new song is about two faced people. It's like "wow, you guys are so cool" and then the next minute they'll be talking behind your back, "oh, they're just a bunch of dicks", y'know? We just write songs about people's attitudes.
Katie) So where do you see this taking you in the next year?
John) People like the record in our area but it's going to be interesting to see how they like it in other places. They might hate it or they might like it. You can't really tell until you get reviewed and shit. People who we sent out tapes to liked it so y'know we'll just take it from there and see what happens.
Jimmy) Do you want to become a national touring band?
John) I just want to be able to go out and play and fucking just break even y'know, enough money to eat.
Graham) As long as we have fun.
Katie) Do you have fun?
Graham) Yeah, it's great to play totally different places in front of totally different crowds.
Rob) Ask us what we think of N.Y.
Katie) What do you think of N.Y.?
Bob) We hate it.
Opie) The Abused from N.Y. are great.
John) Yeah, they're pretty cool, we stayed at the singers house, he played us a tape.
Opie) We haven't seen them but they sounded good, a live tape, they're really tight.
Jimmy) They have good fliers.
Graham) I like N.Y., it's weird.
Rob) It's the only town we've really been to that you really see punks walking around.
Jimmy) Johnny Thunders in the street.
Opie) It's great, it's different, it's cool.
Katie) In Boston you can walk down Newbury Street and see Ric Ocasek combing his hair.
John) Oh, we were looking for the Cars.
Jimmy) What does Negative Approach mean?
John) Anarchy man, we circle our A's (laughter), it was something this kid said, our old drummer. He was just like Robo, it was something stupid he said once. I said it's almost the name, we should almost use it.
Rob) (in accent) "Shit mon, we should take the Negative Approach."
Katie) Why is his name Zuheir?
Rob) That's his name, Zuheir. It's arabian.
John) He's from Iran.
Negative Approach EP - Touch and Go Records
From Forced Exposure 2
Another Great release from T&G, who are quickly establishing themselves as the best label in America. Hopefully you remember NA from the Process EP with their cut, "Lost Cause" which is an all time fave around here...the new EP contains ten songs...real powerful and intense...John (vocals) is one of the wildest and best singers anywhere. Cory of the Necros produced it...the kind of sound is loud and clean, though hardly sterile...John kinda reminds me of Henry, he sounds like he's ready to fuckin explode...I reall can't think of enough good things to say abotu this band--they're fucking awesome...Don't pass by this one... (OUT SOON)
Negative Approach EP - Touch and Go
From Forced Exposure 5
...out at last..this is a remix of the tape I reviewd back in #2...unfortunately they seem to have lost the whole bottom end in the remixing or mastering process...the only improvement I can hear is the bolstered snare, which is much more distinct...otherwise, the bass is almost non-existant, and the result is a thinner sounding, less forceful record...but don't let that lead you too far astray...this is still a great record...ten songs in all, and I can count at least 6 that are pure killers and none that I would truly consider weak...lots of tempo changes and some prime choruses that will insure that your interest never wanes...not quite as perfect as it could have been, but a savage and intense experience nonetheless...
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