From the Archives: The Workin’ Stiffs Interview 1999

From a zine I started back in 1997, that none of you ever saw, because it never saw the light of day, comes the Workin’ Stiffs interview with bass player Kevin Wickersham.

I always enjoyed the Stiffs rough and tumble delivery; like an amalgam of the Cockney Rejects , with a touch of early GBH and other British bands, they called it a day well before their time. If ever they play a reunion show, I’ll be first in line to see it….

Here is a short interview with Kevin, discussing SF, the state of the scene and other such punk rock topics.

workinstiffsdog

Saturday Night: Who’s in the band and what do they play?

Kevin: The band is: Dave (vocals), Eric (drums), Mike (guitar), and Kevin (bass). I (Kevin) joined the band in late ‘97. I was in the Swingin’ Utters for 9 years before that. The line up has been pretty much the same since the Stiffs started in 1995, except for the bass players. Mundo (now in Killswitch) was the first, and Chris (now in the Richmond Sluts) was the second.

Saturday Night: How did you guys get together?


Kevin: Originally Mike, Eric, and Dave practiced in Eric’s garage that he worked in during the summer of ‘95 while they waited for Mundo to come back from working in Alaska. They had a few songs by the time he got back, and then they wrote a few more with him around. The first Stiffs show was December of 1995. After I
quit the Utters, they were looking for a bass player, and we thought it would be a good fit. My first show with them was a party in my friend’s garage in SF.

Saturday Night: Who’s the main influences? Who are you guys listening to now days?


KEVIN: We like a lot of old punk/Oi! music like the Business, Sham, Cock Sparrer…That kind of stuff. I think my favorite band is the Damned, along with some older hardcore bands like SS Decontrol. I like a lot of new wave stuff, like Gary Numan, before he got all dance-music. Lately, I’ve been listening to Iggy Pop and some old Animals tapes.

Saturday Night: Do you guys attract a good mix of punks and skins? Any troubles between the two factions? I know SF is sometimes finicky…..

KEVIN: Lots of different kinds of people come to see us, including a good mix of punks and skins, as well as just general bar-goers, skaters, and working class folk. It seems mostly to be an older crowd, probably because of the lack of all-ages venues in San Francisco. Come to think of it though, the last show we played
(with the Templars, Lower Class Brats, and the Bodies) was all-ages and there were a lot of people under 21. Gilman Street is the only consistent place for all-ages shows around these immediate parts, and that’s been a real bitch to book shows at lately. We do have a show coming up there soon with the Dropkick Murphy’s, Oxymoron, and the Ducky Boys. For the most part, we don’t get a lot of violence at our shows. The last really violent thing that happened at a Workin’ Stiffs show was when I tried to break up a fight between  somebody and their ex-girlfriend. I ended up falling on a piece of metal that cut me up pretty bad!

Saturday Night: How would you rate the west-coast scene? Is it pretty strong, it seems like
it?

KEVIN: Yeah, the west coast, and in particular for us the Bay Area, really kicks ass. I wish there were a few more all-ages places, but there are some local promoters working on that. There are billions of bands here, with such a wide variety of sounds, that we are really fortunate and spoiled.

Saturday Night: I read an interview with The Reducers where Glen kinda said he noticed that a difference between east-coast and west-coast Oi! bands is the hardcore element, as in east-coast is heavily influenced by it, where the west isn’t so much…not at all a bad thing, but it would seem in the Reducers case as well as your band’s that, you can definitely hear the ’77 Sparrer/Menace influence…do you think that’s the case with the Workin’ Stiffs?

KEVIN: Yeah, I think that we musically lean a little less toward the hardcore thing, and a bit more towards a 1977-style. I’ve also noticed that difference between east and west coast. I guess the hardcore scene is just a bit more firmly rooted in that part of the country. Many of my favorite bands came out of the early ‘80’s Boston and DC hardcore scenes.

Saturday Night:  What’s the output of the band so far? Has the response been pretty good?

KEVIN: I’m including a discography with the interview so you can see exactly what our releases are. So far, for the only record I’ve been in the band for, Liquid Courage, the response has been really, really good! I haven’t checked out all the reviews, but it seems like everytime I go to TKO they are showing me
another good one we got. I’m sure there are some bad ones out there too, which is fine, but I just haven’t seen any yet. Our live shows are getting really good responses too. More and more people are showing up, and we are getting offered more shows than we know what to do with these days!

Saturday Night: What’s in the future? Any tours coming here to the mid-west or the east coast anytime soon?

KEVIN: In the immediate future, like two days from now, we are recording a bunch of songs for an EP/CD we are putting out on TKO pretty soon. We have a ton of Bay Area shows coming up, and we’re going to LA for a couple of shows too. We’d really like to tour soon, but other than west coast stuff I think we’ll have to wait a while. We all have to work and stuff, but we are definitely interested in going to both of those places, so if anyone out there knows of any cool promoters/places to play get in touch with us so we can get it together when it’s time. We are hoping to go to Europe next summer, and are thinking of Japan this fall.

Saturday Night: Most memorable shows/highlights so far?

KEVIN: The best Workin’ Stiffs show I ever played was in Baltimore last August. We were ready to play at some junkie’s warehouse and when the Beltones showed up he went nuts cause he didn’t know they were showing up. So I had to spend the whole night dealing with the guy lecturing me about life and punk and all
kinds of crap that he just wanted to flap his gums about. Eventually I went and got ripped and had a great time. While we were playing the Beltones go-go danced and generally rocked the place. It fucking ruled!

Saturday Night: Thank you’s?

KEVIN: Thanks to you for the interview, and to everyone who listens to our band and comes to our shows! Hopefully we’ll see you soon!

Here’s that discography!


Discography:

7″s

“A Man and His Sledgehammer” 4 song EP(Chapter 11/1996)

“Whippin’Boy” Single first 500 on picture disc (TKO/1997)

Split EP w/ The Bristles(Beer City/1997)

“Insufficient Funds” 4 band comp.(Chapter 11/1997)

Split Single Picture Disc w/Strychnine(East Bay Menace &Wino/1998)

“Battle for the Airwaves” 4 band comp.(Radio/1998)

LP/CD’s

“Dog Tired” debut full length(East Bay Menace/1997)

“Liquid Courage” second full length(TKO/1998)

Compilation Apperances

“Eagles Drift In”(Depth Charge/1996)

“I’ve Got My Friends”(Flat/1996)

“This Is It…Punk Rock That’s Real”(Pelado/1997)

“Skins and Pins”(GMM/1999)

“Bay Area: Checking In With The World”(Cold Front/’98)

Upcoming Releases

6 song 10″/CD EP(TKO/mid ’99)

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