by Jason Honea

After the success of Social Unrest's hard hitting and direst Rat in a Maze ep (1982) Creetin K-os ,the band's highly visual and vocally dynamic singer, left the band to explore other forms of music as well as himself. Social Unrest's first two releases ,now seminal 80s American hardcore artifacts, are punctuated by Creetin's adenoidal vocal delivery and his focus on such themes as extreme personal distress, alienation, and war. Now in 2007 Social Unrest seems to be back ....this time featuring yet another personnel shuffle but ultimately with Creetin back on the mic.

You've been around quite a bit since originally ending your career with SU back in 82/83.
What have you been up to musically and otherwise ? I've heard a bit about ''body art''.

Well I would like to start buy shedding some light on why I left S.U. in the first place. I was at a point in my life were I need to explore what my life was about. The punk scene had in my opinion had become a bit stale. Things felt so constricted to me. It seemed to me that so many talented people had a bad case of tunnel vision. I was tired of hearing that PUNK ROCK had to sound, look and be a certain way. It seemed that no one was taking any chances with their music/art if they might be thought UNCOOL. My understanding was that the reason Punk Rock exist in the first place is because people were tired of being told how they should look, sound, and play, and behave. And therefor did there own thing at whatever cost.

When I left the band, I was living in West Oakland in the band house of my first band Haveablast. A zolar X inspired Space band. Not Punk, but definitely not rock. Just very different. A lot of synths. My roommate and bud Mitch had bought a 4 track recorder. We had tons of equipment in the studio. We recorded day and night. There were no limits to what we were doing. Rock, speed metal,techno, space punk,cow punk... it goes on and on. There were always lost of different players in and out of the house with not a lot of hang ups. So lots of cool and different stuff was thrown down. This is were I wrote and recorded the first and original takes of Cheater(New Lows). My sister lived there for a while. She had a Rock band (Boy) that I played bass with for a stint. Also from the house came NFPH. We played the Mab once. That was fun. I moved to Hawaii for a while to do a top 40 gig with my sis. We toured world wide. Military bases mostly. Mainly a working gig. Hooked up with a guy in Hawaii in the 80's and did THE THIRD PARTY. A full on synth band. Depech meets DK's in a nut shell. Then it just seems that I worked regular jobs and partied for long time. Just playing guitar and bass in my room with friends. Wrote a lot of good songs but could not seem to get any thing off the ground. Got popped for a DUI and meet a guy in DUI class who had a "Grunge" band (Melanie X). Played bass for a few gigs and a recording. Got a call from Danny Norwood out of the blue telling me about his folky/pop band. I said "for get the formalities, do you need a bass player or not" that was Skinny White. During that project, D was saying that Nicky G was wanting to put S.U. stuff out on CDs. (Nicky and Honea in TEN BRIGHT SPIKES at the time). Next thing I know S.U. reformed to do new studio album. C K-os on bass, Honea vocal. That was brilliant. It felt like home to me. However we decided not to continue down that path. So, back to work I went. Fed up with working for someone else. I decided to open my own business. Proud Flesh Body Studio. I successfully ran the business for about 5 years. I really had a knack for this and mad some good bucks. I than closed the business to move to Sacramento. This was to be for one year only and then move to Vancouver B.C. Things did not work out that way and I have been in Sac since board out of my skull. An old friend Dave Burks from Executioner called my out of the blue and we b.s'd for a few months. Than Dave called one day and said I have to get SOCIAL UnREST back together to play the Ruthie's Reunion show. Well that managed to happened. So here here we are playing shows again.

Is music the best way for you to express yourself ?

Music is certainly one of my favorite ways to express myself. However, I think creating in general is more accurate. Creating, for me is self-expression. Whether it be making flyers, albums covers, T-shirts, cloth, etc. For instance, Making room for youth and Rat in a maze (covers) were both my creations(with some assistance from Mark M).Not to say their the best concepts or execution, but doing them certainly gave me self satisfaction. I've always made most of my "PUNK ROCK" clothes and stage clothes. That started when I could not afford to pay $30 to50 for a T-shirt imported from England at Luther Blue or Sha-Boom. Mind you, those were the prices in 77. A few cans of spray paint some tape and what ever else I could find around the house or hardware store had to make due. That's kinda how I learned to sew. I didn't have 50 bucks for a pair of Trash and Vaudeville drain-pipes. I also taught myself to do my own studs and leather with a little help from The Tandy Corp. I was often called trendy, but i never heard OFF THE RACK. Really any thing that involves a process is way of self expression for me. Building Guitars, Beading, cooking, dancing, designing interior living spaces, fixing things, etc. Although it seems that music is the expression that gets the biggest response there is something satisfying in making something from scratch.

When you first joined SU what was it you wanted to accomplish ?

Well, Just going back again, When I was in my first band(Haveablast), I was about 12 or 13 years old. We practiced about 3 to 4 times a week. This went on for about 3 years. The other band mates were in their twenties and had lots of different musical experience under their belts. I don't know what they were waiting for. Most likely a contract with lost of $ without getting out there and paying the dues. We played one show at The Mab under the name High Beams. We did do some recordings. So what. I remember going to hang at the Mab one night and seeing this teenage boy sitting /lying on this cool old Cadillac that was parked right in front of the Mab entrance. He was my age, about 15 or 16 at the time. He was totally decked in punk garb, although not looking like the rest of the crowd of the day that hung at the Mab. Probably didn't know the right people to get in the club given his age, he seemed content smoking his cigs and blurting various nasty remarks at tourist and passers by. I was floored by the actions of this individual. That is when it all clicked for me. By this time being in a band that only played once in 3 years, and with band-mates that always told me my playing sucked and the delusional promise of a million dollar contract with all the glory and fame that goes with it. So I quite. Mitch was really in to punk rock. He took me to all kinds of cool shows, parties, after hour parties, and after after parties. The TEMPLE BEAUTIFUL was always one of my favorites places to go. I remember my first time there. So many kids my age all garbed out in their cool threads, drinking beer, etc., being rockers with no adult clamp-down. Teenage rebellion at it's finest. I was having the time of my life. I saw so many kick-ass bands throwing down some really cool shit. A lot of the bands were not always well rehearsed and didn't play their best, but the energy level produced was one to be reckoned with. Other bands were as tight as could be. I realized there was a serious side to Punk rock music, and shitty did not always make for good punk rock. I had seen a lot of cool bands at the Mab prior to all this, but at the time did not really get it or care. Mitch and I use to wright songs all the time. I was not even attempting to get a band together or even join a band at the time, Just hanging out and taking it all in.

It was sort an accident or destiny(take your pick) that I joined with SOCIAL UnREST. I really only knew a couple of the guy in the band from school. I only saw them once and thought they were O.K. I remember telling Doug " Great set, but you should play faster and shorter songs". I did not even know if any of these guys liked me or just thought me a poseur. Bob ran in to me in Sac one summer expressing that he was not happy with S.U. and was going to quit. He thought we should start a band. At the end of the weekend, I decided I did not want to start a band with Bob. I called S.U. to tell them their singer quit and I wanted the job. Not really knowing what to expect, I got YES. The only thing that I wanted to accomplish if anything in joining S.U was to play in a working band that was having fun and to show my old band mates, Sis and Mom's that you don't have to be the best player to get seen and respected. Needles to say they were very proud of us all when we were packing the Mab in less than a year. Trying to change the world came much later. Hah Hah. I don't even think that's accurate for today. I do hope that I can have the impact that Kid on the Cadillac had on me for anybody who has lost there destination or better yet dose not yet know what it is.

Have the motives changed ?

Well,Yes I guess. For my self personally I was in real need of an outlet when Dave called and suggested for S.U. to do the Ruthie's reunion gig. I didn't really know that things were going to sustain. But it looks like they have. We all seem to be having a good time. I really am only speaking from my prospective when I say this. All a little older and wiser and more professional. I am having the time of my life with this particular resurrection because in the past it was "I don't give a fuck what any body thinks" and now I know in my soul that I really mean it. When I prepare for a gig and Play a show, I really fell that I am doing what pleases me first and foremost. If any body gets off, that rocks. If not, Than they just don't get me. And I really don't care. Different strokes, right. Keep in mind I don't think that I have strayed from the classic style of SOCIAL UnREST. I have no intention of trying to change anything about what this band is or stands for. That dose not mean that the style in the way I wright songs and perform them won't change. That progression has already happened naturally. I guess I just really try to put down what's in the now for me.

How important are your lyrics ? Depression and suicide seem like recurrent themes ...

Well, I am no scholar by any means. I wish I had had a better education in the vocabulary department. That's the over crowed lower middle class school system for ya. On top of what today is called A.D.D.. Well, there it is. That's all it takes to get an idea for a song, and that is usually how it starts for me. All I have to do is look around. Some times I might just here a word that sounds really fucked-up and descriptive and that can get it rolling. The hard part for me is painting a picture with different words that make seance weather there being read or sung. Music comes first, so, I have to be able to get the message through strong and clear without sacrificing the way it hits the ear. I am by no means a master at this, although I have sat for hours at a time just to work out a couple of lines. I do the same thing when I write music parts as well. It is probably my own neurotic obsession. I think that it's the little things that nobody would notice that make a difference in the end result. One thing that I tend to do is play on word stuff. There is really a lot of that in S.U. stuff if you look(listen) for it. Sometimes I fight and fight for something to click and it just won't and then I'll try it from a different attack and sometimes get a totally different,sometimes better song. Now,depression, Well that's something we can all draw off of,right? If not, Lower your dose of Prozac. I truly believe if there is not a certain amount(if not a lot)of depression in ones life, than your either a LIAR or not paying attention. Suicide? Well that's just a bogus end for Chicken Shits. O.K. to talk about though. It's the ones that don't say a word and bail, well that's a cop out. LIFE IS PAIN. Anybody can scratch a feeling on a scrap of paper,through some paint on a canvas(or concrete), say something in to a microphone, hold a sign in a protest, Lead a Protest. Well, could just be me? Had I never started playing music I might just be dead.

How do you want to feel after a performance ?

Electrified and satisfied. It's also a great feeling to know that you really moved someone, or better yet a whole crowd.

How would you describe a punk band ?

That is really hard for me to do these days as the window is fully open compared to the very early days. All the lines have become blurred. Is a band punk because their not very good and have shitty equipment, but have spirit and energy? Or is a band consisting of spoiled kids with rich parents who provide them the best gear and who play super fast and tight but don't have any real worries a punk band? I don't know.
I might say" 29% simplicity, 20% image, 40% ability, 11% volume, ands 110% attitude. I don't know? I really don't care for the term PUNK ROCK any more. I don't like to categorize music in that way. It's really all just Rock N' Roll when you get right down to it. Some music you like some you don't. Some one who may look and have the same sort of life style as you my hate the bands that you like. And than on the other hand a person that you think you have nothing in common with is raving about music you really like. Go figure.

what do you want someone in the audience to feel during a show ?

I guess inspired. Moved to do something more than just sit there and drink and hope to get laid. Its really a great feeling when somebody comes up to me after a set and makes a comment like "wow I can really relate to that" or " That really makes me think about this" . That's always better than the normal "good set dude"
although that's O.K. too.

How does SUs music differ from that of other punk bands ?

Well, In the very early days I thought we sounded a bit like a cross between the Ramones and Sex Pistols. I will be the first to admit it, Mr. Rotten was a big influence on how I sang Punk Rock. No hiding it. He was a hero/villain. I loved the whole U.K sound. Though oddly enough after I went on tour through England as UK Decays bass player My style had changed. I think I found myself. When I told S.U. I was going to go with them, I think they may have thought I was not gonna come back. Hell, I might have even thought that at the time. I told Danny to take the time and wright some new songs. He/they did. I think at that time the rest of the band had found themselves as well. I came back to some rippin songs(some with a little U.K. Decay influence I thought, and that was O.K. with me). At that point I had to write lots of words and tunes. I had a lot of new life experiences to work off of. I think that was about the time that S.U. really developed their own style and sound. This was just prior to Rat in a Maze. If you compare Making room for Youth to Rat in a Maze the growth is obvious. I thing any band that sticks with it long enough will develop there own sound wile still respecting their influences.

Is your depression / aggression aimed at anyone in particular during your performances ?

No not really. I don't think I have ever been depressed during a performance. In fact It's the cure. Aggression how ever, that might just depend on what ever pissed me off that month, week, or day.

Do you find music political at all ?

Not all, but I would say that's where punk rock has it's anchor dropped. Not all but most. Hell, Even love songs can be political. I guess it also depends if were were talking about 6:00 news political or the politics of life. The music of the 60's was political. Well, let me start over. I'm sure there was some Neanderthal way back banging on a rock bitching about how the cave was cold and wet, the hunt was bad again, and some mother fucker from the next clan clubbed his old lady over the head and drug her off. There's room for peaches and cream too.


Back to Interviews