About Me

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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Interview with Dick Lucas of the Subhumans

Subhumans interview

1. When and how did the band get started? Did you adopt the anti-system, prototypical anarcho punk sound straight out of the gate or was it a forthcoming change?

We were all in various bands that split up in the summer of 1980, and me, Bruce, Grant and Andy got the Subhumans together as a result. We didn't consider the sound we had as adopting anything; our musical influences were from all over the place, not just punk, although mostly early punk [Pistols etc]. The lyrics were sometimes anti-establishment, sometimes not; they became more so as time went on through increasing awareness of all the bullshit going on.

2. What in England inspired your anti-system sentiment? Do these feelings you had then still hold true now?

Mostly it was global things, not so much English ones- police brutality, ignorance, mainstream media shallowness and distortion of the facts, animal rights, the insanity of war, meaningless suffering and death....

3. Why do you think people are so blindly trusting in authority? Is this true in both the culture and the counterculture?

I don’t think people are so trusting of authority at all- those 'in charge' have always been maligned for being useless and making false promises, etc, and are even more so now people are better informed through the internet: what people are is RELIANT on authority, either cos that’s the way it’s always been, or cos the alternative seems too vague or 'too much like hard work'. Those in power are not just politicians, the web includes business leaders, heads of finance and media moguls, who between them control the picture we have of how things work, and the bottom line message is- if you're not working with the system, you're going to find it very hard to work without it. Alternative economics, food or power sources [barter systems, bio-culture, veg oil instead of diesel], as well as the mass of alternative philosophies and ideas, are below most people's awareness radar, and that’s the way the state likes to keep it.

4. How did you come to discover Rodent Popsicle Records in your tenure with Citizen Fish? Which of your projects do you enjoy doing more? Which do you think has been more successful?

Well we hooked up with Bill after we played a few shows with Toxic Narcotic.

I enjoy both bands! Each has something extra and different by comparison; I like the variety. Success? Ha! Well, the Fish have been going longer, although the Subs started earlier[!], have made more records, but sold less of them...both have succeeded by not selling our souls; apart from that, it’s all statistics...

5. Do you think American citizens or British citizens are more thick-headed? Do they differ in their types of ignorance or is the only difference two thousand miles of ocean?

Most people are not willfully ignorant, and no one should make such massive judgments- we're all as dumb or smart as anyone else- what sustains ignorance is the mind-numbing barrage of misinformation, propaganda and what passes for 'entertainment', mostly initiated through the media and largely upheld by people's innate need to be socially and culturally aware [even though the level of awareness may be limited to soap opera plotlines and the repetition of yesterday’s headlines]. Any differences between UK and US levels of susceptibility to the mass dumbing-down of our curiosity may perhaps be spotted in the amount of advertising minutes per hour on TV, or the crass over-usage of laughter tracks on sitcoms [you beat us on those], or the direction of export between countries of celebrity 'talent' contests [we sell more to you these days]- or not! Cos in the English-speaking world of celebrainless-is-more, the boundaries are non-existent.

6. What are your day-to-day influences (music, people, books, etc.) and why are they inspirational to you?

Same as most people I imagine- friends, partner, fresh air, conversation....and cryptic crosswords, keeps my brain ticking over!

7. Having been around for nearly thirty years, how many times (that you can recall) have you been to Detroit? Have you played with any particularly good bands in your Detroit travels?

A lot of times, and a fair few have blended into each other! I was down with a fever after the Subs played Ann Arbor in 84...that was with TSOL, the year after that, it was at the Hungry Brain; it was on tour with the Scream...the power kept going off at 404 Willis for Citizen Fish in 92 with Inside Out...a few at the very friendly Trumbull theatre, one with Avail down in the basement bit of St Andrew's Hall which was fantastically hot n sweaty!...the rarity of bowling after the shows at the Magic Stick...playing there with LOC....

8. Is anarchism a realistically achievable goal for citizens to achieve (in any country)? What helps and hinders this?

[[Waaaay too large a question, sorry! I got another 4 interviews and 104 emails and time before touring is running out!]]

9. Is Britain really as close to resembling 1984 as those in alternative media claim it is? How so?

We in the UK have 1 CCTV camera for every 14 people, on every main street, on every department store wall- for our 'safety' and 'security'- anyone suspected of terrorist behaviour or links can be put under house arrest indefinitely, tried without jury, or summarily deported- 'Neighbourhood Watch' and similar community-bonding ideas promote reporting anyone acting suspiciously, destroying local trust in the process- legal or not, phones and emails can be tapped and read- the 'right to silence' for anyone under arrest has been abolished- roadside cameras and satellites can track your whereabouts at any point....

10. Why do you think punk garners the highest proportion of anti-establishment music, being a sort of cacophonous-sounding genre? Would protest music be better received under the guise of more euphonious music?

Cos people who are pissed off at the world tend to show it in their music? Gentle rhythm and harmonious lilts do not an angry song make! Of course, most of the anger is in the lyrics, and there have been angry words sung to all sorts of music, but punk just sort of fits the mood!

11. Do you think excessive indulgence in intoxicating substances (alcohol, drugs, love, whatever it may be) is still an anti-system action, as it was in the 60s and early 70s? Why or why not?

it depends what results from all the indulgence- far as i heard, the hippy movement largely succumbed to working for or being bought out by 'the Man' - by the mid-70s they were commercializing their originality and calling it fashion, and the 'revolution' fractured into thousands of treasured and/or hazy memories. Taking zillions of drugs is what teenagers always do, so is getting totally mashed, it is a rebellion [against parental advice, mostly], but an 'anti-system action'? Wow they must've been very good drugs!

12. Is there still value to vinyl records and the subculture surrounding them? What makes that so?

Records are BIG and three dimensional and have legible lyrics and space for masses of artwork; they need to be looked after, or they won’t play, which lends them care and respect. They vary in thickness and weight, so have inbuilt levels of quality. They can be played at different speeds!

13. Would you like to add in anything for readers in conclusion?

Go outside and get some fresh air [see you there].

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