Volume 1 #25 (October 21-27, 1998)
Interview with This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb
Local band releases 10" vinyl, starts tour
BY KEN GAILLOT
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. No, it's not the rallying cry of fugitive Eric Rudolph, it's a local punk band with a new record. This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb has appeared previously on four compilation albums, as well as a self-titled 7" demo record. Their new 10" record, Of Chivalry and Romance in a Dumpster, will debut this Friday in a release party at Sluggo's.
The Bomb consists of Sluggo's proprietor Terry Johnson on bass, Ryan Modee on guitar and harmonica, and one or two other people depending on when you ask.
After the release party, the group launches a two-month national tour. The first leg of the tour, with drummer Ted Helmick, takes them through a dozen cities along the East Coast states including a gig at New York's cradle of punk, CBGB's. The tour's second leg with drummer Dave Dondero heads west. Joining them will be Spot, a guy who plays an oversized fiddle called a fiddola.
Boogie Pensacola recently spent an afternoon with Johnson and Modee spelunking beneath Pensacola. Along for the ride was Alaskan refugee Rex Ray, Bomb roadie extraordinaire and author of the 'zine PTBH (pronounced "Ptbh").You've got a new record out?
Johnson: We just finished up a 10" at the Fab Labs here in Pensacola. What is the music industry term for finishing up a record? Got it in the bag?
Modee: Yeah, we've got it in the bag.
What's it like?
Modee: It's our first concept tape.
Johnson: Record. It's a ten-inch.
Modee: Concept record.
So what's the concept?
Johnson: Chivalry and romance.
Modee: Chivalry. Romance. Dumpsters. All those items will be in there over and over again. It's like a Merle Haggard punk rock opera.
Is it an evolution of your sound?
Johnson: It's a revolution of our sound!
Modee: Technically, it is a de-evolution of our sound. We went for a lower quality recording. We did it in Todd Vilardi's hallway.
Johnson: All live. Some of the songs we did upstairs at Sluggo's, live, on a four-track. The thing is the recording we did before that we did at a multimillion dollar studio in Athens, Georgia. And this one we just wanted to do something, you know, real.
I hear that someone in the band has a stage butt. What's the story?
Modee: I didn't think this would come up! There was this really attractive girl who moved away to another city, and then came back, and she had everything done. She had new lips, new boobs, a new butt. First off I was upset at the whole system of everyone has to enhance themselves. But secondly I was just really upset that someone in the club had a nicer butt than me. So one night I got this humongous butt and walked around with it. It started off as a one-night thing, and I decided to start putting it in and shaking it real hard, because it was so obnoxious and ridiculous. You'd be surprised how many people in other cities come up to me, "Is that really your butt?" without looking after the show and noticing it's gone.
Y'all are vegetarian, right?
Modee: I'm a vegan. Terry's a vegetarian. Dave's a vegetarian. Rex eats whatever we make him eat. Sometimes Ted's a vegan, sometimes he's a vegetarian.
What's the difference?
Modee: A vegan is a vegetarian who also doesn't eat any milk products or eggs, or even wear leather, things like that.
Since being on the road is synonymous with greasy diners, how does that affect you while on tour?
Johnson: That's where the whole thing goes full circle, back to our van! That's why we had to buy a kitchen on wheels.
Modee: We cook our own food. We cook great food. It's a treat for us to go on the road because we eat so well.
Johnson: We've got all these hours on the van to cook. It's like, "Are you hungry again?"
What's the story behind the van?
Modee: Our first van was a really ugly fishing van. Where did that thing end up?
Johnson: We were in South Florida, in Vero Beach, and the timing chain blew up.
Modee: So we bought a brand new van.
Johnson: We finished a ten-week tour in that van. And then we traveled in the Chevy Open Road, which is a miracle of modern transportation, an apartment complex on wheels, basically. Then to get a kitchen, we stopped driving the condo, and got the trailer park.
Modee: We've had about five vans.
Johnson: Our current van was designed by Jim Posey. He built that whole addition, the riveted part on the back.
Modee: He put everything in there, the toilet, the bed. He's a genius of a man.
How many miles have you put on your vans?
Johnson: Our first tour we ever went on was fourteen thousand miles!
Modee: Our first tour was like two and a half months long and we circled the whole country. There's like five or six states we haven't been to.
Johnson: I think that honestly if we had to come up with a mileage calculation, it would probably be fifty thousand miles. Fifty thousand miles in two years!
Since you've seen all the punk scenes in the country, and you could live anywhere, why did you pick Pensacola?
Johnson: Any of the naysayers who say that this place sucks, you should just kick them. This is a great scene and a great city. Participation, enthusiasm. All the bands that we talk to, they're like, "People are so nice here." They're talking about people in the scene who come to shows. Bands say, "Can we have a place to stay?" and five people offer places to stay. Bands are treated really well in this city, so they come back. It's awesome considering the size of the city. There are cities like twice the size that can't even keep a club open.
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb will play a release party at Sluggo's downtown this Friday night around 11 p.m.