October 2017


San Francisco's Own:
Erik Core
Interview By: Ginger Coyote

Photo by: Leila Hornick

Photo by: Leila Hornick

Erik Core has been a viable part of the San Francisco/East Bay punk scene for over 20 years. I interviewed him a few years back. So, I decided the time was right to catch up with him.....

Photo By: Senny Mau

Photo By: Senny Mau

PUNK GLOBE: It has been awhile Erik....How have things been going? Tell us about the new band?

Erik Core: Doing good, thank you. Life has been interesting and fun! I’m enjoying the experience. As you know, I did Erik Core solo for over twenty years, playing up and down the West Coast and even providing tour support to The White Trash Debutantes all the way up to Vancouver—which is still one of my fondest tour memories. Right before Gunpowder started up it was originally the Erik Core Band, but then it evolved into Gunpowder. Over the years, I’ve done solo Erik Core shows, but my focus was more on Gunpowder. In recent years, I found myself writing a lot of new music and felt I needed a broader voice for what I was creating and that’s one of the reasons I went back to doing Erik Core; but as a full band. Playing as a three piece has been a lot of fun. We have the whole power trio thing going on and it has the space for everyone to shine.

PUNK GLOBE: Who is in the band and what do they play?

Erik Core: The new band is phenomenal! Al and JPop are amazing musicians and great people to work with. We have Al Stingle on bass guitar. He’s also in Gunpowder with me. On drums we have JPop. They are amazing musicians and I’m honored to play with them.

PUNK GLOBE: How long have you been together?

Erik Core: As a band, we’ve been playing together for a bit over a year. Al and I have played together for about ten years in Gunpowder.

PUNK GLOBE: You recently returned from a European tour tell us about that?

Erik Core: The tour was a great experience. The audiences were incredibly receptive and we got to make some very cool new friends and saw many wonderful old friends. One of the highlights was a show in Germany that a very good friend of mine put on. She held an outdoor show at a pirate’s castle for us. That’s an experience you will not get in the states.

Photo By: Senny Mau

Photo By: Senny Mau

PUNK GLOBE: How many countries in Europe did you travel to?

Erik Core: We traveled to five countries with Erik Core and Gunpowder. The first half was Erik Core and the second half was Gunpowder. We were in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands. Al and I played a few Erik Core songs before most Gunpowder shows.

PUNK GLOBE: Did you feel safe traveling with the Tangerine Terrorist in office?

Erik Core: Actually, I felt safer leaving the country. To be honest no one really wanted to talk about him. We all agree that he is a disaster of global proportions.

PUNK GLOBE: Who set up the tour and long did it take to get solid dates?

Erik Core: We set it for just over two weeks.

PUNK GLOBE: Tell us about your new CD?

Erik Core: We’re very excited about the new album. It’s based on an anti-war poem I wrote. The poem was quite long and at first I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I started to ferret out themes and was able to break it into ten stanzas. After that I turned each of those into songs. It was quite a process. The whole album has a narrative that runs through it. One of the reasons that we did vinyl is that I like the idea of people hearing a side, processing, then flipping it over to go to the next part of the journey.

After I got the songs together I realized it wasn’t a Gunpowder album, but it was actually an Erik Core album. I talked to Al first and he was onboard with it. Then I approached JPop. When the three of us started playing the songs it was the critical step to get us to where we are now.

The recording was done at Tiny Telephone in Oakland on 24 track tape with Beau Sorensen engineering and mixing it. Beau was incredible to work with. He’s a very easy going guy and very focused on the sound and project. We had such a good time with him, so much so that the last day of the recording no one wanted to leave, the studio felt like a second home. Kurdt Vanderhoof, from Metal Church and The Lewd, did the mastering. He was also great to work with.

PUNK GLOBE: How many tracks are on the CD?

Erik Core: The new album has ten tracks.

PUNK GLOBE: Did you use a producer or is it self produced?

Erik Core: I produced the album. I always forget how much work it’s going to be when I get started. It was important to me that we got exactly the album we wanted. This body of work has been very important to me for a long time. As an instructor I look out and see a classroom of students who have grown up at time of perpetual war. As the United States explores its identity as an imperialist it looks as if war is the new normal. Unfortunately, we also live in a time of sanitary war, in other words it’s so far from people’s minds most of the time it’s as if its not even happening. That is very disturbing, to think that war is now a normal state for us, yet we are hardly ever confronted by it.

When I was a kid growing up I used to bug my grandpa a lot to tell me about World War 2; he fought in France against the Nazis. Anyone who knew vets from that era knows that they didn’t talk about the war. One day he finally got sick of me asking and said he would talk about it one time and never again. What he shared with me was horrifying and that conversation has stuck with me to this day.

PUNK GLOBE: Is it on a label or is it self released?

Erik Core: The album is self-released. We’re currently shopping around for a label who would be interested in distribution.

Photo By: Senny Mau

Photo By: Senny Mau

PUNK GLOBE: Any release parties, tours or video's being planned?

Erik Core: We’ve done a release party already, but it was just for our CD. Now I’m planning two more, with the hope that the vinyl is here in time.

We’d like to head down to Southern California and do some shows. There has been talk of doing the Pacific Northwest. Possibly, the Midwest. We want to get back to Europe as soon as possible, hopefully this year. We made some great connections over there and sparked up some great new friendships. Japan is another country everyone would love to play, still trying to make some connections there.

Video is one of the next things to work on for us. I have a rather grandiose idea of turning the whole album into a movie, but that’s a bit further down the road.

PUNK GLOBE: Are you happy with the reviews you have been getting?

Erik Core: We haven’t gotten any press reviews yet. I was planning on waiting for the vinyl, but it’s taking a lot longer than I thought, so I think I should start sending it out. We’ve been getting a great response from people who have heard it. We started with 200 CDs and are already on our third repressing of CDs.

PUNK GLOBE: What is in store for the band for the rest of the year?

Erik Core: Playing out a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area and hopefully more touring overseas.

PUNK GLOBE: Do you have any Internet addresses you would like to share with the readers?

Erik Core:

Our website is: www.erikcore.com

Our Bandcamp page is:

Contact: erikcore@yahoo.com

PUNK GLOBE: Describe yourself in three words?

Erik Core: I can do it in two, Acoustic Punk!

PUNK GLOBE: Any last words for Punk Globe readers?

Erik Core: If you enjoy our music please share it with as many people as possible. If you feel like reaching out to us, please do. It’s great when we get to connect to the people who are listening to our music.

Photo by: Leila Hornick

Photo by: Leila Hornick