COMBAT WOUNDED VETERAN
C = Chris | DN = Dan | D = Davy | J = Johan
Reversal of Man was playing in Gislaved on the 29th of
May 2000. I decided to make an interview with some members of Combat Wounded
Veteran who also participate in making noise with Reversal of Man. I initially
wanted to do an interview with Combat for the first issue of Colors Make You
Blind, but it was later exchanged with a Reversal of Man interview. In this
second issue of Colors Make You Blind, is a live interview with Combat. Here is
the result of some 25 minutes of intense chatting. Enjoy!
J: The first questions is: What is the current line-up of Combat Wounded
C: The current line-up for
Combat Wounded Veteran is Dan here on guitar, Davy on guitar and Jason on drums
and Dan ”Ponch” (?) on bass and
myself Chris on vocals.
J: Ehhh okay, the layout of yours and Reversal of Man’s records is
almost entirely done by the Amputees.
J: Can you please explain who…
C: Who the Amputees are.
The Amputees are Roland Scagnetti (did I
spell it right?) and Judy Riley. They are two kids that I went to school
with. I went to an art high-school…uhmm…but I’m not very good at it, so
Roland is a friend of…actually he does most of the stuff, Judy just does the
type-setting and all that bullshit, but Roland is a kid that I went to school
with, he’s a good friend of Ponch and I, and…ahhh…his shit is all screwed
up. He’s into wacko dumb garbage and so. There you go.
J: You have a lot of skulls…
Yeah, he’s obsessed
with skulls, he used to be into death-metal and stuff like that. He actually
thinks it’s really corny, but he uses them because everybody else uses them…it’s
sort of more of a joke than…
J: Cause you see skulls like a lot here in Sweden too
C: Like all over…
J: I don’t know if it’s because of you
C: I doubt it’s because
of Combat. *laughter*
C: We’re not that
influential. We’re really bad.
J: And the second question is: What’s the story behind the track
”murder in his eyes”?
C: Murder in his eyes,
that’s…ahhh…it’s folded space distortion or something like that
D: It’s …ahhh…poisoning.
Uhmm, we wanted to do
something different with the record, we just didn’t want to do a bunch of
grindcore songs or a bunch of shitty thrash songs you know what I mean and so…ahhh…Ponch
pretends he can write really well and that…it was just one of those things
which he does all the time and we decided to try to do something different so I
asked him to write a story. There’s no significant symbolism there’s nothing,
it’s just like, i’m gonna kill a baby *laughter*
and we’re gonna write a bunch of noisy crap behind it and that’s really…it
just sort of came together because we had this weird organ thing and our old
drummer just had this weird drum beat and we just sort of put it all together
and then Ponch did that grrrrrhhhh (Chris
does a weird sound) like monotone thing and it just worked out really well.
Actually, that’s the most asked about song ever just because it so ridiculous.
J: Cause it’s cool.
J: Okay, which Combat Wounded Veteran song are you most satisfied
DN: The new
C: The new ones. The new
stuff that we just…I mean I’m sure everybody says that but we wrote five new
songs that with our new drummer and they’re not…they’re a lot different
because it’s…it’s fast but it’s not fast and still noisy and everything
is a little longer, everything went from 40 seconds to like a minute and a half
to two minutes, but it’s not slow, we’re not like Disco Bear or anything all
of the sudden, we’re just trying different things. We’re all into really
diverse forms of music that have nothing to do with grindcore at all, I can
actually tell you that nobody in the band listens to fast music at all anymore.
We did originally but not him or him (pointing
at Dan and Davy) to a certain degree but Ponch and I were big fans of all
that crap but now we just want to do something different with fast music,
because you can only do crossed-out for so long, it’s just boring, you know
what I mean. The five new songs are just ridiculous and we’re just trying to
do something different.
J: Are they coming on a split with
Reversal, yeah, it’s
probably going to be a split-10”. Originally it was a fourway-split, we
don’t know if it’s gonna happen yet. We’d rather be a split between the
two bands on a 10”, just because it sounds better and it makes more sense.
J: Is it going to be released on No Idea Records?
C: No, No Idea is not going
to do it, actually Schematics is going to do it. Yeah, Steve Heritage is gonna
D: Bank account
J: Next question is about Chris so maybe you Dan can answer it.
J: Does Chris scream the actual words that are in the lyrics or does he
C: Okay, this is the deal.
The first 7”, yes, I did all the lyrics. The second 7”, no, absolutely none
of the lyrics are on the record.
D: They were written after…
C: …they were written
after the songs. Okay, the split 7”, no I mean the 6” with Orchid, half of
them, half of those songs. The LP, absolutely, we had all the lyrics ready for
the LP. And the split with Scrotum Grinder, absolutely not, not one ounce am I
saying. Not anything at all.
J: It’s quite hard to follow the lyrics…
C: Absolutely *laughter* The LP, yes, and the first 7” absolutely we did because
we were spending all summer writing those songs.
J: Does all the members of Combat Wounded Veteran share the same
interests in terms of making music and writing lyrics? Do you all discuss the
contents of the lyrics before using them?
C: No we don’t. We just
go, ”Hey look what I wrote”, you know what I mean because a lot of the
lyrics are not political in the sense that like we’re all fucking Skitsystem
or something like that we’re not Doom, we’re not Crudos we’re none of that
crap you know what I mean. I mean crap in a nice way, I like all those bands.
But…uhmm…we don’t cause i’m pretty predictable with lyrics and they all
know i’m going to write about limbs or bleeding orifices or something stupid
like that and Ponch is going to write about something ridiculous. They’re not
political in nature but they’re not not serious, you know what I mean. We
write about something but it’s so stupid and abstracted that everyone knows
really we’re just talking shit, because most of the lyrics are talking shit
about somebody or something. But like, Dan Radde and Davy and Jason all know
that we’re not gonna write racist lyrics or sexist lyrics because that’s the
kind of people we’re in a band with you know what I mean. But like, we don’t
really…I don’t go ”hey guys, this one is about, you know what I mean, Food
Not Bombs” and how much I like it, you know what I mean, like, it’s not
about that at all.
J: The ”I know a girl…” LP was recorded at Morrisound with the
assistance of Steve Heritage…
J: …and why did you choose to record it at Morrisound
and what does Steve and Morrisound offer that no one else does.
because we like the first Morbid Angel LP. *laughter*
Ahhm, really, like the deal is that…it’s…it’s the nicest studio in town,
Steve worked there, he did assistant engineering on a lot of death metal records
and a lot of just bullshit so he worked there. It’s actually…we wouldn’t
have recorded there if he hadn’t worked there because it’s expensive and he
cut us a deal. We did all kinds of finagling and sneaking in after hours to
finish…like really…like really…ahhm…we spent a lot of money on the
record (no joke) but really, we cut a lot of corners and stuff like that, and
that’s really the only reason we recorded there - it’s the nicest studio in
town, and it’s a good facility, everything sounds really good and you have a
lot of things to offer, like just fucking up your record if you want to distort
everything, which we did, and…aah…you know what I mean, and Steve, whatever
he brings to the table, whatever…you know I mean, we picked him because he’s
a buddy of ours.
J: No Idea Records is one of the few bigger recordlabels with a keen
interest in D.I.Y. Did you choose to release your LP on No Idea because of that
reason or was it because of something else?
C: The reason we decided to
go with Var, actually Var actually asked us. We were in a bind with the LP and
it was expensive and we really couldn’t afford it, and Var has been a friend
of ours for years. He’s a good guy, I like talking to him, he’s funny and
his not an idiot, you know what I mean. And at some point, he offered to put out
the LP and we decided to go with him cause we like him so much, cause we
like…you’ll probably hear this from every band ever, but we like going with
people we are friends with, you know what I mean, as Combat does. People we’ve
known for a little while or got a good idea of what they’re like as people, we
decide to go and do the record with them. Uhmm…Var was just a guy that we
really…we know he’s got good distribution and we know he’s a good
businessman and really like…Roland could do whatever the fuck he wanted and
that’s the deal. I mean like he came up with all that stuff and all that
imagery and the thick booklet and the front and Var was like ”whatever”, you
know what I mean. He’s gonna roll with it, it’s no big deal, you know what I
mean. So that’s why we went out with No Idea, and plus we love Hot Water
J: I think that No Idea are cool cause they release whatever they want
J: …and if the record sucks, at least the layout is cool.
C: I mean like labels
specific like you know like Slap-A-Ham puts out grindcore and Clean Plate or
whatever, and what I like about Var, and probably everyone’s agreeing, that
we’re on a label with bands that have nothing to do with us…
J: Like Hot Water Music.
C: …like Hot Water Music,
Less than Jake, the Usuals, you know what I mean. Just like some of those bands
are bullshit but some of the are really great and just need to be on a
diversified label and Var will go ”oh, it’s you playing on a acoustic guitar
and you sing out of key and all the songs are about pooping, I’ll put it
out!”, you know what I mean, like that’s cool, whatever, and he can do it
and get away with it and most of the time his records look really nice and
people want to buy them, you know what I mean. They don’t look crappy and
they’re not fucking photocopied bullshit 7”, it’s just fucking nice
J: It’s like Atom & His Package, he’s quite cool.
Yeah, that Atom &
His Package LP came out really nice. Some people will probably disagree with you
about liking Atom but I do.
J: I like his
Yeah, he’s a fucking
J: Some of you guys play in other bands, for instance Reversal of Man,
and when playing in more than one band, isn’t there a tendency to prioritize
one band over the other?
C: Reversal of Man is a
full-time band where everybody is in that town or in a reasonable area.
Uhmm…Combat Wounded Veteran has always been a part time band, always. Always
always. We’ve always had a drummer that lives somewhere else. And then you
come home on break…and like Mark, our old drummer, used to go to school
in New York, and he would come home on break and we can write 11 songs
and record them. You know the LP was written in a month and recorded in like two
days. Uhmm…and like nothing prior to that we usually very rarely have songs
ready, we just sit there and write them and record them which is how pro we are *laughter*
Yeah right! So, there’s no priority. When Combat is in effect, Reversal
takes the back-seat. That’s the deal. I didn’t start playing in Reversal
until we got home from the…we went on tour this summer for like 9 and a half
weeks and we didn’t…we didn’t ahh…I didn’t join the band until then.
Doing vocals and playing in a band, it’s all fucked up regardless scratch all
that. What i’m telling you is that, Reversal full-time until Combat is around
like… Combat is going up to DC in October for a month and record a record
obviously. Reversal is not going to do anything for like a month or so. So
it’s not tough, what’s hard is making the two bands sound…
C: …different. Right.
J: Cause sometimes you see an ad where it can say, ”this is the
side-project of the vocalist in Refused” (or any other band) for instance.
C: Yeah absolutely and
like…I don’t think…you know what I mean, I don’t know. We just like to
prefer toilets. *laughter*
J: How do you make out what you’re playing when rehearsing or making a
C: Like how the
J: How do you recognize what you’re
C: I know it’s like,
Combat is just noisy and ridiculous, throwing shit everywhere, acting like
idiots, but everything is pretty…I mean we’ll make a ten songs set list and
it’s really easy cause we’re playing the way we rehearse them. It’s not
completely incoherent if we have a good drummer
D: We think the songs have
a structure J
DN: We think the songs are
C: They don’t but
J: You don’t hear if you pull a string cause it’s so fucked up
C: If we break a string it
really doesn’t make a difference.
J: Tell me some secrets about
DN: HA HA!
C: Ahhh….I know we got
some. Why do you wanna know?
J: Cause it’s cool. Have you heard the secrets about JR Ewing?
J: One day they got so drunk that they had sex with a
C: Okay…we got something
for you. San Diego, last summer, Ponch who has been my best friend for years
totally fucking buddies for ever, we used to do everything together, he’s a
good friend of mine. He’s screwed. He’s a little fucking wacko. We’re in
San Diego, and he decides he wants to have sex with a donut. No joke, on video,
on top of a rooftop in San Diego, him screwing an eclair…
DN: Then he eats it.
J: Oh shit…
C: He didn’t finish, he
didn’t hit a home-run *laughter* but
he put his thing in it, moved it around and took a bite out of it.
J: And he enjoyed it.
C: What other secrets?
D: They would all be about
Yeah, we’re not gonna
give them all away. That’s the best story so far. Ponch screwing a donut. I
think that’s it. Right?
C: I don’t wanna tell you
any more *laughter*
J: Which event in the history of Combat Wounded Veteran can be described
as the most important one?
C: The first one would be
getting Mark as our drummer cause we originally had a drummer who couldn’t
play. Getting Mark, our drummer who played on all of the records that are out
right now, was the first significant moment. After that would be the acquisition
of Jason, who’s our new drummer. That’s really it. It’s really based
around the drummer, you know what I mean. When Mark left the band we had John
Wylie from Reversal playing with us, but that was just too similar. What John
plays is very significant to the way he plays, the way he sounds, the way he
hits things . It would’ve been a bad idea for three members of the creative
team in one band to be the creative team in another band and try to make it
sound differently. So we got Jason, he lives in DC, and he’s just a lot
different of a drummer than Mark was, he’s a lot weirder, he’s more math, he
just knows what he’s doing . So those two moments are probably it, everything
else is just fucking shit and giggles. It’s just being idiots and talking shit
J: Okay, what’s your definition of the word Punk?
C: Realistically it could
be a lot. Last night in Copenhagen with squat kids fighting cops while we sleep
in a room and act like tourists…
C: Actually we’re the
punks in that situation, because that’s so stupid. My definition of punk
is…that’s a tough call, somebody else start. Davy’s definition of punk is
like…uhmm. It’s really a tough question just because, this is probably gonna
sound crappy, but we don’t consider ourselves to be punks. We don’t consider
ourselves to be hardcore kids and we don’t consider ourselves to be artsy or
indierockers or anything like that. We’re just a bunch of idiots who like
playing noisy music. Punk is just…it’s what went on last night. If you want
the classic definition of punk, it’s rocks and riots and molotov cocktails and
bad songs and indecipherable music that’s not good and not interesting. It’s
just crap, that could be punk, or punk could be like a NOFX record. It depends
on what you’re into. We’re not really punks and that’s probably gonna
sound pretentious as fuck but we don’t listen to that much punk music like to
the sense like that’s all we listen to, like ”Punks dude, fuck yeeaahhh.
Smash the state, give me a beer”. That’s totally not us at all. And that
actually hasn’t been…forever since Ponch had a mohawk and he cut it off.
That’s the deal and…
J: Uhmmm…It’s quite common to see for instance a Charles Bronson LP
on auction for like $70…
Yeah. At least at Skylab. What are your opinions about auctions of
C: Auctions of punk-rock
records? Well, it’s a tough call.
J: Cause I know Orchid doesn’t like it.
C: Orchid doesn’t like it
and Reversal doesn’t like it. We’ve already put our foot in that area...
D: And also in our
C: …as far as Reversal
D: We haven’t really had
to deal with it yet
C: We haven’t really had
to deal with it yet, but realistically what it comes down to is, everyone in
Combat sort of just doesn’t give a fuck about anything. If somebody’s gonna
fucking sell our…if somebody is selling our record it’s not really that
important to us that they’re getting $150 for it, because we think they’re
dumb *laughter* Because if someone
bought like the Orchid split-6” for $150, screw them, have a good time. But
like, people selling their records off because they’re getting haircuts and
getting real jobs and they want 2.5 children and they wanna be boring, then
that’s their deal. I don’t do it, I wouldn’t do it. Much like I wanna buy
a movie or something and i’m hard up for cash…but… Actually what it comes
down to is that Combat won’t have to deal with that at all because Charles
Bronson and Combat, that’s like apples and oranges. Charles Bronson is a good
band. Combat is the band we like playing in but we’re nowhere near being that
amazing. Charles Bronson is an amazing band and they really deserve all the
popularity and the ridiculousness that goes with the fact that they’re a buzz
band, and Orchid is just the same way, they’re a good band.
J: I’ve read in a zine that you’ve been compared to Charles Bronson
as the eastcoast version of Charles Bronson.
C: That’s interesting.
We’re nowhere near…
D: …that good *laughter*
C: Because those kid’s
songs, if you listen to them, and they take basic punk-structure and
hardcore-structure and they mix it up and they screw it up and keep it almost
pretty interesting from song to song. I can’t really listen to the LP, but
only because you really can’t listen to a grindcore LP. You can really listen
to a 7” and be like ”yeaaahhhh” and you get to an LP and you get to like
12 minutes into the record and you’re just like, ”Can I hear another fast
part?”, ”Can I hear Mark McCoy scream some more?”, probably not but like,
we’ve been compared to all kinds of ridiculous bands, Hellnation, Ulcer. We
sound nothing like those bands, for real. Just because it’s fast, people go
”Oh, of course”. Charles Bronson is the biggest fast band there is other
than Spazz. Immediately people are gonna be like, ”Of course they sound like
Charles Bronson”, ”Oh they’re sarcastic like Charles Bronson”, ”Oh
Chris acts like an idiot on stage like fucking Mark McCoy”. Whatever.
J: Do you think there’s too much money involved in punkrock?
C: No, absolutely not. I
could elaborate but I would A) probably sound like an idiot, but B) money is not
a problem. I don’t think there’s any problem with money and with making
money, it’s how you make the money in punkrock. If you act like an idiot, and
you’re fucking sleezy and you’re snaking the grass like some fucking
characters we know, and you make that money, that’s lame. But if you’re just
on tour and you’re making a lot of money and you’re fucking happy and
you’re sustaining yourself and you’re being able to pay your rent, there’s
no problem with that. Too much money in punkrock, there’s no problem with
that, it’s how you get it and how you deal with it. There’s a bunch of
motherfuckers out there, it’s not us.
J: Why does Combat only consist of boys? Is there a chance of seeing a
girl in Combat in the near future?
C: There could be. This is
the deal, I personally and Ponch definitely would really like to surround
ourselves with a certain type of person. Davy, Dan and Jason are all pretty
like-minded people. We get along with them. I’m really elitist with the people
I surround myself with. I only like certain people around, and that’s just my
deal. There are girls that we’ve met before that we get along with on a good
level, but there’s not many girls that we know that are into fast music, or
into…a lot of girls in Tampa are into Food Not Bombs or they’re just
coat-racks, like ”Oh my boy is moshing, let me hold his backpack”, and
that’s the deal. That could possibly happen, I couldn’t see why it
wouldn’t. Currently the only reason we’re all boys is because that’s just
the way the fucking…the cards we play.
J: Cause every time I visit this place there’s always a lot of girls
C: Yeah, It’s not like
that in Tampa at all. Not many girls are into fast music. I’ve met like three
who are totally like ”Wow, awesome, i’m way into this”. You don’t meet
them very often. And it’s like I said…we’re just a small group of people
and that’s the way I like to keep it. Not me personally, but i’m more the
shit-talker and the veteran anyway.
J: The veteran in Combat Wounded Veteran.
C: Yeah, absolutely
J: OK, there are two questions left. What question did I forget to ask
C: Ahhh…have we lied to
J: Please answer it.
C: Oh…NO. *laughter* That’s pretty much the only one I can think of
J: And here’s the final question: What question are you glad I didn’t
C: Uhmmm…*laughter* What question are you glad you didn’t ask me? No, you
pretty much covered all the embarrassing moments, but we’d tell you about them
to you anyway, because we’re not the kind of band who would be like, ”Oh
geez, we’re gonna hide something”. We’re idiots. Why doesn’t Davy talk?
I’m glad you didn’t ask that. Cause he has an operation on his tongue. He
doesn’t speak, he hasn’t spoken all tour. It’s really weird. I’m pretty
glad you didn’t ask that. You should see some of the interviews Combat has
gotten, or what Reversal gets. It’s cool and i’m glad that kids like our
band and want to ask us a bunch of questions but sometimes questions are
J: Like, ”Are you straightedge?” or ”Are you vegan?”
C: Yeah, ”Are you
straightedge?”, ”What are your influences?” - the sound of toilets
flushing. Why would you ask something like that? I saw when you did the Reversal
interview, just good questions like…easy to answer and not dumb. I don’t
mean to stroke your cock or anything *laughter*
This is actually the first live-interview with Combat.
J: Oh, it is?
C: Absolutely. Last summer
people avoided us like the plague. Nine and a half weeks and we did so much
shit-talking and kids probably just didn’t wanna interview us. It’s actually
the first live interview ever. I mean we’ve done like Internet interviews,
Ponch has too. Yeah, and that’s it, that’s the deal. Is there anything else
you wanna ask me?
C: How tall we are?
What’s my favorite Born Against record?
J: No I think that’s it. Thank you for doing this.
Note: This interview was conducted by Johan Lundberg who does Colors Make You Blind fanzine and he asked me if he could include my Hot Water Music interview in his mag in exchange for the Combat Wounded Veteran interview. And that's what happened. (Stefan)