Koffin Kats from Detroit, psychobilly legends played two shows in our neighbourhood and the first one was at Trash And Burn festival in Sveti Martin Na Muri, Croatia. That hot Saturday was ideal for us to have a little chat with them for our zine. Enjoy!
You guys just celebrated your sweet 16, did you have a party?
Vic: We were out on the road on this tour and I just realized oh, hey guys, it’s our 16th birthday, oh cool, and then we played our show.
16 is a big deal in America, isnt´it?
Vic: Oh yeah, for us it’s like oh yeah, we’re 16 now, keep it goin’.
How many European tours did you have?
Vic: This is our 13th.
And you played in Croatia like three or four times ?
Vic: I believe it is our fourth , two times playing Dirty old festival.
You also played in Rijeka, Mud blood and beer festival.
Vic: Oh yeah, Mud blood and beer festival, and now we ‘re here again.
What exactly happened last year when you cancelled Euro tour?
Vic: We weren’t aware that, a passport was good, until the tour was going to end and then we were going to renew it after the tour, but when we were leaving they told us, no you can’t fly with this passport because it’ s going to expire in a few months even though we were in the window of returning before the passport expired, we weren’t aware that you had to have like an extra four months on the passport –so they wouldn’t let us fly over. Otherwise it would be just drum and bass and it wouldn’t be any fun (laughs).
We are fascinated by your bass lines. When you create songs are bass lines main foundation for the songs, or the guitar riffs…
Vic: Some songs are based on the bass lines, I’ll come over with the bass line, it dictates where the guitar goes, but then that can equally happen with the guitar, sometimes it dictates, or even a drum beat if Eric comes up with a random drum beat and then I just think of something off top of my head for a bass line, then the guitar will follow. It ‘s really a combination of all the things. We don’t specifically set up and go like ok guys here comes the bass, let’s build on this, it’s whatever kinda pops in, we’re all playing together.
What about the lyrics? The first three albums were more horror, SF thematics and now they are more personal, do you agree?
Vic: The newer materials are more the combination of everything from what we’ve done in the past. After the first three albums I was getting little tired of writing constant horror stuff, I thought it was getting little boring for us, so I decided to change it up a little bit, now I feel it’s ok to revisit some of that stuff with older perspective and I can start incorporating into the new lyrics more influences from different genres.
One thing that also fascinates is your vocals, one of the most beautiful voices in the scene, kinda like Elvis or Danzig but not clone, yet better. Did you ever take some vocal training coach?
Vic: No, I never even intended to be a singer, but when we started the band we didn’t have anybody that can sing so I just figured that I would do it. And learning how to sing really was by playing so many shows. Our first shows I had no idea what I was doing and had no vocal control but you kinda developed that after playing so many shows. Koffin Kats is now close to at least 2500 shows so I’ve had a little bit experience (laughs).
Do you still hurt yourself with the bass at your shows? You were often bloody on your head while playing alive.
Vic: I don’t get paid enough to do that anymore. (laughs) It was too damaging.
For your head or the bass?
Vic: Both (laughs).
You are one of the most hard working bands, how many days in one year are you touring?
Tommy: It depends on the year, we pick and choose where to go, back in 2012. we played close to 250 shows. Always touring Europe, USA and Canada.
Do you have time to sightseeing when you’re in Europe?
Tommy: Yeah, tomorrow we’ll have a day off in Ljubljana so we will get to walk around and see some things. We’ve seen a lot when we drive by, like you’re in the van and then you see the Eifell tower. Each time you have a chance to get out the van and walk around it’s nice.
Classic question – what’s the difference between American and European tours?
Vic: The license plates are different. (laughs) Anywhere where we travel we find enthusiastic people at the shows, that’s universal. Difference in touring over here vs. The States are that we’re very used to convenience in the States as far as 24 hour shops are open and after the show we can go and find food anywhere and we’ re used to that. Here it’s a little bit different, things close at 7 pm, and the City kinda shuts down. But we don’t have doner kebabs at home (laughs). But the excitement at the shows is universal. There’s not too much difference with that.
Tell us something about your cooperation with 12 Step Rebels. You did the split album From Our Hands To Yours. Do you hang out privately?
Vic: Yeah, they are friends of ours, they are not as active as they used to be, but once in a while we still do shows with them. They live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our guitar player that took over Tommy’s spot when he left the band for a while, his name is Ian, actually played with 12 Step Rebels, that’s what connected us with them. We are hoping to see them again next time we’ re out in New Mexico.
What about The Quakes? You delivered guest vocals on Seven Seas Alone.
Vic: They are also friends of ours and we do shows from time to time with The Quakes. I actually talk to Paul Roman on regular basis, catch up with each others stuff.
Are you also friends with some other bands?
Vic: Yeah, through playing shows, touring and traveling all over we meet with many different bands, we try to get along with pretty much every band. It’s a very cool situation because bands we grew up listening to and who helped form the sound of Koffin Kats like Mad Sin, Nekromantix, The Quakes, Demented Are Go, now we actually play shows with those guys.
You also had a lot of shows with Goddamn Gallows.
Vic: Yeah they started as a band pretty much around the same time as we, we’ve been friends ever since.
Do you do your merch yourselves? Do you have somebody for the design?
Vic: Yeah we can’t draw for shit (laughs) so we always hired up the artwork and the lot of the US printing we actually do ourselves in our shop that we have. And when we tour over here we have somebody else printing it for us.
What about the videos, you don’t do them much. Only Giving Blood and The Way Of The Road.
Vic: We’re working on that, we’re gonna focus on making some more video material.
Tommy: For a while it seemed like videos weren’t the thing anymore and now we see more and more videos, so we realized we have to do them, but it takes time.
Is Tommy back for good?
Vic: Oh yeaaaaah.
Tommy: I’m not going anywhere.
Vic: Until he has a heart attack…on stage (laughs).
Who gave Eric his nickname E-balls?
Vic: Oh, he kinda got it himself because he’s got only one ball.
Eric: Yeah, I don’t know who gave it, you guys did, someone did…
Vic and Tommy: Eric – one ball, – e ball, it’s just one big ball – E ball (laugh).