Circle Jerks Bassist Zander Schloss on Repo Man, Working with Joe Strummer + Much More

Photo found on Circle Jerks' Facebook page

What do the Circle Jerks, Repo Man, Joe Strummer, and the Weirdos all have in common? And why is it Zander Schloss? Scroll on dear reader and learn more about the amazing musical career of this studied punk rock music snob.

And of course, the Circle Jerks have reunited and will be at the 2021 Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas. Go see ‘em and hopefully nobody catches an aneurysm! 

A Hardcore Conversation continues!

You are Zander Schloss, bass player from Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer, and lots more, correct?

Well, Joe Strummer I played guitar with. I’ve only played bass in two bands that are known: the Weirdos and the Circle jerks. So I am a professional bass player but I’m also a professional music director and guitarist. 

You weren’t an original Weirdo, though, right?

I’m an original me, I’m not an original anything other than just being me. I joined the Circle Jerks in I think late 1984 and shortly after joined the Weirdos. I was in high school when the Weirdos were in their prime in Los Angeles. 

You were born in St. Louis, correct? What was that like and when did you move to LA?

That’s correct. Being born in St. Louis, well did you ever read Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer? [Laughs] Catching frogs and crawdads and shooting BB guns, there was that kind of stuff going on in summers around the Mississippi River and all the springs and forests out there but I also lived in an urban setting.

My parents split when I was about 11 and I moved downtown with my mom. Then she moved to California after she met a guy and she moved out to California (with him). I finished my last year of junior high and as the youngest of 4 children I went out to be with my mother in California and started high school in San Diego, which is actually where I am right now, I’m sitting in my mother’s house because I’m down here to celebrate Mother’s Day. 

Oh nice, that’s awesome! So when did you actually move to LA?

I moved to LA shortly after high school. I graduated high school when I was 17 years old because I’m a summer-born kid. August, I’m a Leo, I like long walks on the beach and you know, dinners for two [laughs].

[Laughs] Nice!

But, I lived with my jazz teacher and painted houses for work and had a very strict regimen of practice and transcribing John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. I was an aspiring jazz guitarist at that point with a background from St. Louis of bluegrass and country moving to San Diego and getting into rock, like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix and wanting to become a guitar hero.

Then, in my last year of high school, I started playing in big bands and trios and moved in with my jazz teacher and studied jazz. So I moved to Los Angeles when I was, I think I was 19 years old and wanted to get into the competitive stream of professional music. Ended up joining a band called the Juicy Bananas, which was a funk band down in the Compton/Watts area. 

Were you playing bass in that band?

No, dude, I never ever played bass before the Circle Jerks. I was an aspiring guitarist. This is a thing that a lot of people don’t know because people know what they see or what they’ve heard about you and the biggest bands that you’ve been in, that’s what they know you for but no, I’ve been a studio guitarist, I’ve been a composer for films, most of the emphasis of my musicianship has been on multi instrumental stringed instruments, so bass is just one of the things I’ve done and I’ve only played bass with the Circle Jerks and the Weirdos, everything else was guitar. 

So you’re a pretty serious music guy and obviously you know how to read music and stuff like if you were transcribing that stuff, which is pretty rare, especially for punk rock.

Well dude, this is the thing and it’s funny because I’ve gotten a lot of flack for this when I did get into the punk rock scene, they kind of called me The Professor or something like that because I had come from a studied music background and a very eclectic music background where I was learning traditional types of music like jazz and bluegrass and all kinds of different types of music.

I would never openly designate myself as a punk rocker [laughs]. I happened to join a punk rock band and then it was revealed to me that my shitty attitude, and kind of like my rebellious nature aligned with that type of music. 

How did you first hear about and get into punk rock and hardcore and stuff like that?

I walked out on the street, I was living in an office building on Hollywood Boulevard for a hundred bucks a month, I had a little 10x10’ office. After acting in Repo Man and doing music for Repo Man, I kind of aspired to be an actor and had kind of fallen on hard times because it was real difficult to get roles in films and become a movie star and I came out onto the street and I was counting pennies to buy a burrito down the street and a car pulled up and said, “Hey, the Circle Jerks are looking for a bass player.” I was like, “Why are you talking to me, I’m a guitar player, you know, a trained, studied musician.” and they said, “Well, you look like you could use a gig.”

They gave me the number and I called [Circle Jerks guitarist] Greg Hetson and I had met them on the set of Repo Man. So I called him and he said learn 3 songs and come and audition at Uncle Studios and I was like, "Fuck you, dude, I’m gonna learn all 3 of your records that you guys made and blow away all the competition."

So that’s what I did. I think I auditioned on a fretless jazz bass because as I said I was coming from this jazz background. They didn’t know it didn’t have frets. So I got the job and I was prepared to go out on the road in a couple weeks basically because of my jazz training. I was like, "Ok, I can figure out these tunes and remember these tunes and I’m ready to go on the road."

 Photo included in the Repo Man deluxe DVD booklet (From the collection of Anthony Allen Begnal)

Who was the person in the car?

It was a photographer from the set of Repo Man and a girl, Jennifer Balgobin, who played Debbi in Repo Man, she was the mohawk chick, the hot mohawk chick. 

Oh, that’s awesome! So how did you end up getting the part of Kevin the Nerd in Repo Man to begin with? 

Well, when I arrived in Los Angeles I went to music school and my whole aspiration at that point was to become a film composer. My stepsister at the time was in UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and I did the music for her film, Rita Steele: Private Heart, and along the way I put up flyers saying, “I’ll score your student film for free," because that’s what I wanted to do and I thought what better way to do it than do music for people’s student films because a lot of those people will be graduating into the mainstream of making films.

I met Alex Cox there, he was a graduate student. Alex Cox of Repo Man, Straight to Hell, Sid & Nancy, Walker fame. That was sort of the catalyst of my career. Alex enjoyed my band the Juicy Bananas and we’re actually the last song on the Repo Man soundtrack, called "Bad Man."

Not a lot of people know that about me but I wrote that song "Bad Man" and that was kind of my first actual record that ever came out. That started my relationship with Alex, contributing music to his films and also acting in a lot of his films.

So one thing lead to another, I met the Circle Jerks on the set of Repo Man and when I was doing guitar for, I didn’t get credit on Sid & Nancy because of union stuff between the United Kingdom and the United States but I did all the guitar on the score of Sid & Nancy and I met Joe Strummer there.

Then Joe and I also acted in the film Straight to Hell along with the Pogues and Elvis Costello and Grace Jones, Dennis Hopper, you know, a big cast of crazy people. That’s when Joe started sort of checking me out and then we ended up working together again on Walker, which was filmed down in Nicaragua during the civil war between the Contras and the Sandinistas. 

From the dollection of Anthony Allen Begnal

Did you meet Oliver North there [laughs]?

Yeah, those were crazy times, I could get into that for a long time but that’s when Joe asked me to play all the Latin instruments on the Walker score. That was the start of our collaboration. 

From the dollection of Anthony Allen Begnal

Did you play on his songs on Sid & Nancy?

No, we were contributing music separately to those films. Both Sid & Nancy and Straight to Hell we were contributing separately and we came together on Walker.

Now, did you get to meet Harry Dean Stanton on the Repo Man set? 

Of course. Yeah, I played music with Harry Dean.

Oh, awesome! I asked because I don’t think you guys had any scenes together so I wasn’t sure…

Oh yeah, he was around. 

So you got to see some of the notorious scenes and kind of nuts behavior he was part of on the set?

Yeah, but everyone was a little bit nuts and Alex’s style of directing didn’t quite jive with Harry Dean’s style of acting at certain times. Harry was more method and he would insist on like, if there was a scene where he was supposed to have a baseball bat and be waving it around that he wanted to have a real baseball bat not a rubber baseball bat. And that was, you know, dangerous as far as insurance was concerned and the other actors so, Harry was crazy, Alex was crazy, and young.

Right. So did you hang out with Emilio Estevez at all? 

Of course, yeah. 

What about his brother [Charlie Sheen], was he around at all?

Yeah. I found myself one time, I was working as a production assistant on the set before I got the job as Kevin, and I know Alex always intended on me being being Kevin but the role actually was given to me and taken away from me on the same day and given to Sean Penn’s brother, Chris Penn, rest in peace.

He came in and he did the scene and I guess he just hadn’t developed his acting skills yet and Michael Nesmith from the Monkees who was an executive producer and Alex watched the dailies of his scene and umm, he was terrible and Michael was like, "This guy is terrible, what should we do?" And Alex said, “Well, I had originally intended on giving the role to Zander.” Michael Nesmith from the Monkees was the guy who said, “Well, let’s give him a shot.”

I mean, if things hadn’t gone that way I can’t imagine what my life would be like now. 

Emilio Estevez and Zander Schloss in Repo Man (Photo: IMDB)

Right, that one thing changed everything for you, that’s awesome! One thing I’ve always wondered about that movie is, aside from the sci-fi stuff they totally got the hardcore and punk thing right, as opposed to other contemporary portrayals of the scene at the time like Quincy, CHiPS, and Class of 1984, etc. Why do you think that was? Was Alex Cox somehow in touch with that scene or what?

I mean, at that time in Los Angeles, it was so alive and vibrant with punk rock and hardcore, great bands, you know what I mean? We were going out to shows and I was introduced to it through my stepsister, who, like I said, was at UCLA [School of Theater, Film and Television], Abbe Wool, she was a punk rocker and Alex (was also) going out to see bands like the Plugz—who eventually did the score for Repo Man —and FEAR, and a lot of of other groups that were, I guess, at the time they were the big groups around town. 

Even like the Circle jerks and stuff like that. They were kind of tapped into the scene anyway. So, Alex Cox was actually into punk rock. And I think he may still be. He’s very excited about the whole Circle Jerks reunion. 

That’s awesome. Maybe he’ll do a documentary or something.

Maybe. He actually directed a video for, I did a version of a Joe Strummer song called “Straight to Hell”. I did a solo version of that and Alex directed the video recently.

So were already a fan of Circle Jerks when they were in Repo Man or was it like, OK they’re a band here they are…

Well, to be honest, and I know you probably have a fanbase of punk rockers and stuff like that, but to be honest, I really didn’t care that much for punk rock. I was, I may have been considered a bit of a musical snob. I thought, "Hey, people should know how to play their instruments."

I hear ya for sure but like, the guys in Black Flag knew how to play their instruments and the guys in Circle Jerks did too.

Well yeah, and I came to find the merit of what that music was; it’s powerful, it’s weird it’s fast and it is more about energy than a musical experience. Like a transference of energy and if done right it’s like a lightning bolt you know, or a laser beam. You can project this incredibly aggressive and intense energy through the music, which is an important lesson to learn, you know, to be able to direct energy through music. So, it does have its merit. 

The bass players who preceded you in Circle Jerks, like Earl Liberty and Roger Rogerson, they were also good players. Probably not as advanced as you but still really good players.

The thing about the Circle Jerks that I really recognized too, was the importance of the drums in the band. You know, Lucky Lehrer was also very much into jazz and if you listen to the drums, it’s almost like an avant garde, sort of like, sped up, sort of like, Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa. There’s some really, really very classical kind of like old school jazz stuff going on in the drums that’s under the guise of speed and volume. 

I interviewed him too a while back and he mentioned those guys and like flamenco and mariachi music, and of course, Keith Moon…

Well yeah, anybody who has any kind of real musicality is going to study those classical and traditional styles of music. Like Latin and jazz is a big thing you know, and a lot of people won’t admit to being influenced by these things. 

Was [drummer] Chuck Biscuits still in the band when you joined?

No, I joined after Chuck had left the band and Keith Clark was the drummer. 

He’s great too, the Jerks always had great drummers.

Yeah. We have a great drummer now but I just can’t reveal his name.

Oh, it’s not Kevin Fitzgerald anymore?

No. We’ve got a new surprise drummer and I think the band sounds the best it’s sounded in 25 years but I won’t reveal his name at this time.

Ah. Any hints at all?

I cannot speak to this particular subject at this time but if you come to see us at Punk Rock Bowling it shall be revealed and then the secret will be out. 

OK, sounds good! So, your debut recording with the Jerks is of course Wönderful, which came out on Combat Core, a subsidary of Combat Records. How’d you guys get hooked up with a metal label?

Back in the time, the major labels wouldn’t touch the Circle Jerks so it was all about independent labels so it didn’t matter weather it was Combat Core or Frontier or anybody that wanted to release a record by a band that was sort of left of center.

I don’t know necessarily how that came about, I was so green and had never toured or made records before I got into the Circle Jerks so the record deal just magically appeared and we magically appeared in the studio and magically wrote this record and then went out and toured it, you know what I mean? I really can’t speak to the mechanistics of how things came about. 

From the collection of Gus Buss, aka Jeff Arellano from The Devil's Addict

Gotcha. So, it was produced by Karat Faye who had previously worked with the Village People, Teddy Pendergrass, Devo, etc. Not exactly hardcore bands but what was that like working with him?

I mean, Karat, again, was like a weirdo who kind of wanted to work with us. As far as producers were concerned, it was like, well you just need somebody to run the board and set up the mics and stuff like that. I can’t speak to like, what was the decision to go with Karat but I would imagine that like, he was the guy willing to do the job [laughs].

Where was Wönderful​​​​​​​ recorded?

That was at Crystal Studios in Hollywood. 

What was touring like for that album? Did you get any support from the label?

[Laughs sarcastically] You’re funny! 

[Laughs] Well it was a metal label, so ya never know!

Well, no [laughs]. We didn’t get a whole of tour support from the label. The only time we ever got real tour support from a label is, I’d say when we were signed to Mercury Records in the '90s and made that record. We were signed to Mercury so we had tour support there but I would say the major label probably dumped a little bit of money onto that but they definitely didn’t understand where we were coming from.

I think that Mercury Records probably thought, “Oh well, there’s Green Day and Offspring and Rancid and it’s sort of the new wave of commercial punk rock.” They were expecting us to be like that and we just went in there and made the same kind of record that we would always make. A lot of screaming, a lot of volume and a lot of speed. They didn’t understand it. 

Photo found on

So with Wönderful, how did the songwriting work on that album? I notice you have a lot of songwriting credit on there. 

Like I said, I was an exuberant kid so it’s like they basically said, "OK well, you can write, you an be a creative contributor to the album." I was like, “Yeah, shit, I’ll just write a bunch of songs!” Everything was split 4 ways so it didn’t matter who wrote what but I was just excited and wrote a bunch of songs. 

The Jerks are notorious for having issues writing enough songs throughout history so that’s not too surprising to hear but still, that’s pretty cool of them to split everything four ways with two new guys in the band.

Yeah, I think coming from the first 3 records it was, you know, when people get together initially there’s all that excitement and everybody’s kind of like, firing on all cylinders. I think that’s what happened with Group Sex and probably diminished down to Golden Shower of Hits, so it’s like, “We gotta figure something out," you know? Roger Rogerson’s out of the band and Lucky’s out of the band and I think those guys had a lot of creative contributions to those albums as well. 

So you mentioned how you were in Straight to Hell in 1987 and that’s how you met Joe Strummer. Did you guys collaborate on songwriting or did he just like bring songs in?

Well, oddly enough, our first collaboration, which was on the Straight to Hell soundtrack, “Salsa Y Ketchup," was a co-write between me and Joe Strummer. But mostly with Joe he would make these little 4-track cassette recordings with a Casio and an acoustic guitar and a drum machine. He’d bring them in and then I would arrange them and direct the band and stuff.

So that’s what happened on Walker and that’s what also happened on Earthquake Weather [1989 Joe Strummer album] and "Trash City" [a track from the Permanent Record soundtrack performed by Joe Strummer, The Latino Rockabilly War & Keanu Reeves] and all that other stuff.

So it was kind of an interpretation gig for me of a very simple idea and I’m not saying a bad idea, I’m saying very simply mapped out. Like you know, Joe’s responsible for the writing of those songs but as far as the arrangements and all that kind of stuff, that was all me. 

From the dollection of Anthony Allen Begnal

That’s really cool, I didn’t know you had such a large role in that stuff. Earthquake Weather is a really cool album that kind of got overlooked. Did you guys tour for that record?

Oh yeah, we toured extensively. I mean, I basically quit the Circle Jerks for a period of time, took a sabbatical and moved to London and exclusively played with Joe. I thought, you know, Joe would say, “Man, you’re wasting your talent, ya know, playing bass with the Circle Jerks.” (Zander does a pretty impressive Joe Strummer impression)

And I don’t think he meant anything about the musical merit of the band but he just had seen me playing guitar, and that’s where I really excel, you know what I mean?  Not to say that I don’t think I’m a good bass player but that kind of music, with the Circle Jerks, things are flying by so fast, you’re just hanging on for dear life. There’s not much room for being creative [laughs]. You know what I mean? That’s when I say, it’s not that musical of a gig, it’s more about stamina and endurance and directing energy. The Weirdos not so much. The Weirdos, even though we had fast songs there was a lot of variation and room to be musical. 

I hear ya. What kind of gigs were you playing with Joe, what was it like touring with him?

Well, the first tour I did with Joe was a thing called “Rock Against the Rich” or “Rock Against Racism” and I think they had previously done something for that cause, the Clash did a concert. But, we got a school bus with a 10-piece reggae band called One Style and did a bunch of benefit concerts to get this party called the Anarchy Party into parliament [laughs].

A bunch of people who were kind of living on welfare and in squats and liked to go around throwing bricks through the windows of mansion windows and like smash up Rolls-Royces and stuff. They were anti conservatives. 

And they were trying to make it an official party that was going to be on ballots and stuff?

Yeah, they wanted to have a seat in parliament. Which, you know, is semi ridiculous but it’s like, and you know, at that point Joe was already rich of course so it was a little ironic. Especially when I went into some of these guys’ squats and stuff and like you know, You have gold fixtures and hot and cold running water and heat in this squat?? It’s like, Dude, I’ve seen some punk rock squats that were just like nothing. 

Right! Like a bunch of beer cans everywhere and literally shit everywhere!

Yeah! But you know, they’d come into town and they’d start trouble with, not us necessarily but these guys that were in the Anarchy Party, I literally watched them beat cops up. 

Well they don’t have guns over there right, so..

No! So you could just tackle ‘em and just beat ‘em up. 

Wow, yeah. So how’d that kind of dwindle or stop and you got back with the Circle Jerks?

Well, we had made Earthquake Weather and of course the record company was disappointed because all they wanted was a Clash reunion. We were still signed to Epic Records and they dumped a shitload of money into this record and I think Joe went out of his way to make something a little bit weird. Like, his vocals were not socio-political, they were more sort of travelogues. I kind of call it his Beat Years of lyrics because they were all kind of like Jack Kerouac, On the Road stream of consciousness sort of stuff.

So, we got dropped off the label and that’s when Joe’s kind of real wilderness years started, where he had kind of gotten disillusioned and  kind of stopped making music until the Mescaleros formed. But we were super-productive during those days doing film scores and touring and recording and just, a lot of action back then so I wouldn’t incorporate those into Joe’s wilderness years. 

So was he in LA a lot or were you guys mostly in England?

We recorded Earthquake Weather in LA at Baby’O Studios right in the middle of Hollywood, so yeah he was in Los Angeles. Walker was recorded in San Francisco at Russian Hill Studios. I was called up there and filled my car with all these Latin instruments that I had acquired through my travels and stuff like that. Subsequently on the Walker soundtrack, I’m playing guitarron, charango, vihuela, classical guitar, slide guitar, all this fuckin’ shit that I had acquired.

How’d you learn how to play that stuff?

Well, you get them and you keep them in their traditional tunings and if you have a musical education you apply basic theory to all of them and can figure out how to make chords and you know, and scales or whatever in any tuning. Then if you study the traditional music and  you play in their traditional tunings you can start to emulate those styles. 

So, how did the Circle Jerks get reactivated?

Well, like I said, after Epic dropped the Joe Strummer Band I went back to Los Angeles and sort of like was trying to find my way back into the local scene. I started a band called Too Free Stooges and went back to playing with Thelonious Monster and the Weirdos and that was actually a very productive time, playing in 3 or 4 different bands.

Then, in the '90s, I was asked to play in a band called Magnificent Bastards headed by Scott Weiland. And I became his guitarist and co-writer but in the '90s the record deals were very, everyone was getting record deals, everyone was getting a lot of money and so the Circle Jerks were re-formed to do a record for Mercury Records.

Scott Weiland, I was on retainer with him and doing soundtracks and stuff like that. Oh and I formed the Low and Sweet Orchestra, which was a 7-piece band I formed with James Fearnley, who was the accordionist for the Pogues. We got signed to Interscope Records, so I was on three major record labels at that time. 

Circle Jerks always kind of had weird but awesome producers, so Niko Bolas produced the Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities album and he’s mostly known for working with people like Neil Young, Melissa Etheridge, KISS, Warren Zevon, etc. Did the label pair you guys or how did that happen?

That might’ve been on the part of the label. I mean, honestly, I really don’t think that anybody in the Circle Jerks really gave a shit who produced our records [laughs]. And it kind of shows. Punk rockers are, we, musicians in general are not the smartest when it comes to business and allying ourselves with the best people. That’s more of a pop thing, with lots of management and lawyers and all that kind of stuff.

It was just like, OK we have the choice of these 5 producers. Yeah, let’s go with the weird guy who basically we were intrigued with him because he was going out with Debbie Gibson at the time. 

OK, so that’s obviously how she ended up on the record then…


Did she know about the Circle Jerks at all or was it just like, hey this’ll be fun or funny or whatever?

I mean, dude, to what extent does she know about the Circle jerks? Her boyfriend’s producing our record so I’m pretty sure that’s how she found out about the Circle jerks. I wouldn’t say like, "Oh, Debbie Gibson’s got us on her radar and she’s a big fan of the Circle Jerks."

She wasn’t a closet punk rock Circle Jerks fan then?

I highly doubt it but she did get up and sing with us at CBGB’s and dove out into the crowd and got groped and came back with a big smile on her face. 

How’d that work? Like was she hanging out on stage with you guys or was she hiding back in one of those non dressing rooms back there?

I think it was all staged. These things seem to come together organically but…

Did she have security with her? Maybe people didn’t even know who she was at that point, I don’t think she was super big anymore.

Not that I was aware of. There’s all sorts of things. It gets complicated because it gives her street cred, it gives her an entrance back into maybe a jumpstart for her career so you never know what management is involved or what press or PR is involved. 

Photo: Willie Garcia

You played sitar on that record too, that might be a first or an only for a punk or hardcore album.

Yeah. I’m like the Brian Jones of punk rock, dude. The only difference is I didn’t die from my drug addiction. I’m 16 years sober. 

Right that’s good, you didn’t drown in a pool from “misadventure”!

Yeah. Almost several times but no. 

How’d you guys feel about bands like Green Day and all the others you mentioned being huge at that time, did you think it was funny or weird, that mid-'90s punk commercial acceptance explosion?

Well, you know it’s like a double-edged sword because you’re like, This is not fuckin’ punk rock, but perhaps this will open the door for me to make a little bit of money after all the sweat and the fuckin’ hard work that I’ve done. You think that’s the case but you kind of have to be like a whole different sort of band in order to do that. You know, we were uncompromisingly very hardcore.

But I could sort of see glimmers of Green Day sort of borrowing from other bands and stuff like that. Even Nirvana, I thought, this is great for opening the doors to people being introduced to these sounds that were more underground. But a the same it’s like, when you see people reach their potential like that, I was immediately like, nobody’s gonna want to hear anything real, nobody’s gonna want to hear anything different, they’re just just going to want to hear what’s within that little box. 

You’re totally right. When Nirvana brought actual underground bands on tour with them no one really cared or accepted it. 

And that’s cool, I mean it was a weird thing to watch a movement and a style of music that was for weirdos and fringe people that nobody cared about become so pervasive and become so popular and everything. From film to art to magazines, the whole punk style became super commercialized. 

How was the tour for that record? Was it a normal Circle Jerks tour? Did you guys have a bus?

No, we never got to that point, I think we had an RV. At the time Greg was also playing with Bad Religion so even though we had hit the big time, Bad Religion was a lot more big and Greg quit kind of mid tour due to scheduling conflicts. 

So was Mercury the only label that wanted you guys or was there a bunch of labels?

[Laughs] No, I don’t think there was a bidding war for the Circle Jerks. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, in the '90s through Green Day and Offspring and all that  stuff, major labels were passing out record deals to hardcore and punk rock bands like it was candy at Halloween. Everybody had a major record deal back then. Big personal advances and stuff like that.

Stuff that some of these kids now that were born post-'90s, they’ll never understand what it is to reach that level of rockstardom. And that’s actually small time but there is the potential for making all that money and that’s very intoxicating. 

Circle Jerks did do some tours in the early 2000s, I saw you guys at Irving Plaza in I think ’02 or ’03 but you guys have of course been largely inactive until now so what brought about the current reunion and are you guys talking about writing any new music or anything?

I was think it was some influence where after a ten year hiatus where the potential of the band reuniting was pretty much off the table I think some people came in to convince Keith that it was time to reunite. 

I’m sure you’re aware of the Misfits reunions over the past few years…

Well yeah. You think a bunch of 60-year-old guys wanna get up there and jump around and fucking kill themselves for the fuck of it? It’s not because we’re dying to get back into a room together because we love each other’s personalities so much [laughs]. That’s kind of what punk rock has become.

It was like anti social, anti money and anti advertisement and now it’s just become a fucking machine, a money making machine. They’re like commercials for, I don’t know, like one and a half-minute songs for, "Give me some fucking money!"

[Laughs] I have no bones about selling out. Like, what am I gonna do? You want me to live in my grandma’s basement and fuckin’ die of a drug overdose?

Right, I hear ya! I went to two of those Misfits shows and loved it and got into stupid arguments with people online about how they “sold out” or whatever and I’ve always thought that was so stupid that you’re not supposed to get paid in punk rock. Like, everyone else in the world should get paid but not punk rock?

Right, well look at the judge and jury and all the punk rock cops that are living comfortably with two kids and a 2-car garage saying what punk rockers should do and what punk rockers shouldn’t do to maintain their integrity and their street cred.

It’s like, "Fuck you, you’re like basically this domestic fucking domesticated American Dream chaser that’s going out on a weekend pass to see these guys that you think should still be destroying themselves and killing themselves for you."

You wanna go out, you wanna see some death? Well here ya go but now you’re gonna have to pay us to see ourselves fucking like give ourselves a heart attack and a brain aneurysm playing that fast loud music. 

Art by Zander Schloss

That’s awesome! So what else have you been working on lately?

Well, you know, I have a solo career which was the most punk rock thing that I thought that I could do is play the most tender, most beautiful, heart felt, slow, gentle music that I could in sort of retaliation to the whole loud aggressive fast angry music. The music that I play, there’s absolutely no moderation in anything that I do. I never want somebody to say, “Eh, I kinda liked it.” You either love it or you hate it so literally what I’m doing is my own version of punk rock, just the very opposite of punk rock and daring people to call me a pussy.

You can see some of this online, I have “My Dear Blue” from my upcoming album, and "The Road" there’s a lyric video up there for that and I also did that acoustic “Straight to Hell” version with Alex [Cox], all proceeds going to the Joe Strummer Foundation.

I’ve also started a record label called Piece of Pie Records with my friend Tom Carolan who’s a former head of A&R at Atlantic Records and we’re doing a singles for charity label whereby we get artists to contribute or premiere a single with all proceeds going to a charity of the artist’s choice. You can check it out at: And people can follow me on Instagram and stuff to see where i’m going and see what I’m doing. 

Alright man. So, are you stoked for Punk Rock Bowling 2021?

I actually am but you know it’s funny you should say that because it’s like, I used to sort of resent having to get up and having to fuckin’ you know, strain myself in that way but now that I’m kind of like entering my 60s and stuff it’s really good exercise and you know, playing my solo stuff, my gentle solo stuff you might get 15, 20 people in the room clapping politely.

Snapping their fingers between songs, jazz style?

Yeah, but it’s like, I love what I do but it’s gonna take the world a minute to catch up and everybody wants to see me rock out so the thing about it is I’m finding it very intoxicating to get into the room and afterwards feeling like you jumped in a pool because you’re just drenched in sweat and the thought of bigger audiences coming out to see us play and go cuckoo and the volume and the speed and everything is really enticing to me now. 

Awesome! Well, hopefully you don’t go to the casinos and gamble away all your pay out there in Vegas.

I don’t dare gamble, man. I’ve gambled enough with my life. 

Photo courtesy of Piece of Pie Records

I like it, man. Well, anything you wanna add or should we end it here?

No, I think I’m done. 

Alright man, thanks!

Yeah, it was nice meeting you, Anthony. I look forward to reading it. 


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Tagged: a hardcore conversation, circle jerks