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
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
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
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