Interview By: Ginger Coyote
I got the chance to interview my old pal Jason Honea who now resides in Berlin a bit about the the past, present and the future... I hope you all enjoy this interview....
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Jason. Where did you grow up?
Jason Honea: I was born on Whidby Island WA, spent a few years in Japan until finally settling in the Santa Clara valley,Northern California.... I grew up in Sunnyvale.
Punk Globe: Tell us about the music that inspired you when you were young?
J.H.: We were a military family and some of that was reflected in the music at home, but not exclusively. My dad dug bagpipes among other things-all of which had a massive influence on me .... not necessarily only in the realm of music either. He was also into Marty Robbins, Roy Clarke, Patsy Cline but that wasn't the stuff that got to me. I loved all that Bacharach inspired film soundtrack stuff, things I heard while watching the Monkees/Glenn Campbell .... other KFRC pop stuff.For some reason all that Toho / Godzilla film soundtrack material had some sorta spell on me as well. Oh !... war movie soundtracks too, BBC jingles...
Punk Globe: Most everyone best remembers you for singing with Social Unrest. Had you been in any bands prior to Social Unrest?
J.H.: Yeah, Grim Reality ! We were a (408) band:Ribzy, The Faction, Los Olvidados, Mistaken Identity to mention just a few
Punk Globe: Social Unrest has had a few lead singers not to mention a couple named Jason. Can you fill us in who was the first singer to the now present with Social Unrest?
J.H.: went like this:
Bobby Weaver(sic)79-81
Creetin K-os 81-83
Jason Honea 84-89
Jason Honea 94-96
Creetin 2005-2010,
these year listings might not be the most accurate,they should just serve as rough indicators... BTW, if you ever come across a copy of my zine, Pink Skulls, you'll find an old SU interview featuring Bobby. This of course goes way back. I'm not sure where I found it.
Punk Globe: Had you been a fan and friend of the band prior to joining them?
J.H.: A fan? yes,completely...but I didn't know them until later. Actually, I first met Mark and Jim when they showed up to one of our shows at Agnew State Hosp.! SU was always my favorite Bay Area band.
Punk Globe: Speaking of flattery or stalking.. How did you react to the news that a person who had grown up in the same area of the East Bay had taken over the identity of one of the members of Social Unrest. Oddly enough he was quite a few years older than the others in the band.
J.H.: I kinda forgot about all that.Well, I thought it was just silly.... I mean, it didn't directly piss me off like it did some of the others. I guess I kinda forget how important some of this music can get to be for some people ...maybe just a case of a male groupie gone haywire ??? Maybe just a kook ?? I don't know, I don't really know him...
Punk Globe: It was during that time that I became close with Mark's ex who was really nice.. Are you in touch with her?
J.H.: I'm a friend of hers on my space I think but I really haven't spoken to her in years ....
Punk Globe: During your time with Social Unrest tell us about any recordings that you did with them?
J.H.: The first thing we recorded with me on vocals was the SU2000 LP which was done at Peter Miller's in SF. In '86 we recorded our Before the Fall LP, also done at Peter Miller's. Then,upon returning from our '87 Euro tour we put down our Now and Forever Lp which came out in 88. Once again recorded at Peter Miller's. In '95 or 96 we did a record for New Red Archives, New Lows,that Billy Joe and Kevin Army recorded. For some reason I have the feeling that there's bits and pieces from over the years that weren't released and are sitting around in the can somewhere but I may be mistaken.... Whatever the case, the band worked really, really hard...I think we got a lot done if you consider our ages and the resources at hand during that time. I guess what's become most apparent to me over the years about this time is that we were really trying to push our limits and test our abilities...and ideas. That said , it also feels lie what we did kinda fell on deaf ears...though Europe was different. I mean, I guess I can kinda understand why maybe certain people didn't like the music SU was doing from this period or really,... just didn't get it. But, we just wanted and needed to do or try something different.To be totally honest,I'm really happy that we just didn't go metal or something (though I guess that was always in the cards to a certain extent)!!! For me at least, that just wouldn't have been an option. Having said that, I don't think I'm speaking only for myself when I say that by '85 I was the only one in the band that was pretty bored with hardcore... Later on in Germany I was finally able to find other forms of guitar music that were still loud but more adventurous.
Punk Globe: Was the band signed to New Red Archives at the time?
J.H.: No. Only our last studio LP as well as the collected works were on NRA. All the other stuff was on Libertine, the band's label. Before the Fall and Now and Forever were eventually licensed to Konkurrenz in Holland as well...
Punk Globe: Tell us about some of the bands that Social Unrest Played with and do you have any shows that stick out in your memory?
J.H.: Tons of shows stick out;I'm not even sure if I can really answer this. A Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers show we did in in Livorno, Italy really sticks out .We did a show in Ljubljana with God from Amsterdam- that's gotta be my all time favorite! A show at the Olympic in'84 with DOA and the Abrasive Wheels . Another one in Edmonton in'86 that seems to really stand out as well-who we played with though I can't really remember.
Punk Globe: What Bay Area Venues did you enjoy playing?
J.H.: I loved the Mab.I really loved that theater in Antioch, the name of which escapes me. I should include that show with my answer to your previous question. SU, DKs, Descendants,Rhythm Pigs,Doggy Style,...and I wanna say MIA. I thought the Varsity in Palo Alto was a great place to play even if the sound did suck.... Club Culture in Santa Cruz was fun too.
Punk Globe: Did Social Unrest tour alot while you were in the band?
J.H.: We did four pretty big tours while I was in the band. Weekend jaunts to here or there I'd throw in as well.....
Punk Globe: Are you still close to members of Social Unrest?
J.H.: Well,..yeah. I mean I hardly see'em. I communicate with Danny pretty consistently.
Punk Globe: Do you know who is currently in the band now? Mark is no longer drumming right?
J.H.: I forget the name of the guy drumming for them at present. As it stands today, it looks like this:Danny,Ray Vegas on second guitar,Ron Isa on bass and Creetin and then of course the new drummer.
Punk Globe: In what year did you leave the band and took over on vocals with the band?
J.H.: I took over on vocals in the spring/early summer of '84 and then stayed with them til we split in'89. I was also the vocalist and bassist (swapping with Creetin) during that period in the 90s.
Punk Globe: What prompted your move to Germany an what year did you move over there?
J.H.: ah, I've lived in Germany a few times either to study , do music or both. I first went back in'89 after SU split up to initially study but then got so into what was happening in Europe musically that I got a little distracted to say the least. I've been living in Berlin since 2002, teaching and performing.
Punk Globe: Had you started the label you have 3 Acre Floor Records before or after moving to Berlin?
J.H.: That was a bit before Berlin. 3AF was a label I started in '96 to get some of my new music out(the Knit Separates) as well as that of my friends.It was expensive and a little clumsy but well worth it in the end. Actually, I'm wanting to resuscitate it.
Punk Globe: What is it about Germany that makes you stay there?
J.H.: Berlin's got a ton going for it, especially if you're into history or art...let alone music. At this point I think it's the only place in Germany I could live with the exception of Hamburg.Also,there are tons of places to play with little or no stress regarding credentials, demos,etc. which wasn't the case in SF, at least back when I left...and that makes it all the easier just to get on stage and do your thing which, in essence, is what I love to do the most .
Punk Globe: Are you fluent in German? Weren't you also teaching English there?
J.H.: Yeah, I'm pretty fluent. I teach at a little private school just outside of Berlin.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about the projects that you are currently working with now?
J.H.: My erstwhile project is The Shitty Listener. It's a performance art thing involving occasionally a band of sorts or at other times just cassettes and Dictaphones going off with my friends playing flutes or keys or whatever else seems appropriate. For the most part it's accapella and I just sing stories or use my voice as an instrument. It's totally satisfying! I'm not trying to 'tell' anyone anything. It's more or less just a performing inexplicable attempt to demonstrate what I find that works about or within music.Essentially, it's an elaboration on several other ideas and bands I've done over the last ten years. To be honest, it's something I should have started a long time ago.Also, I play bass in Teenage Panzerkorps as well as sing and play other instruments in The Child Readers, The Walking Corpses, St. Maurice. The Greens,Pinks and Whites to name a few. Not all of this is necessarily punk sounding but in approach and attitude it's true to my humble beginnings.
Punk Globe: I know that you have been doing photography but are you also involved with art? Tell us about it?
J.H.: : I draw, paint,illustrate...I just had some stuff in a show recently in Kreuzberg. I really want to concentrate on all this a bit more. Maybe develop it as an alternative to that other line of work I've been busy with.
Punk Globe: You also have a future with journalism.. You have done a few nice interviews for Punk Globe. Did you enjoy that?
J.H.: Yeah, really enjoyed that!! I've also done some other interviews for a mag in Germany called Ox. I did one with Nikki Sudden a few years back. I did an interview with Alan Vega and Martin Rev. I interviewed both Don Bolles and Paul Roessler. I did one with Creetin .The Germs interview of course you know about. I did a piece for Ox about that interview and show. I'm gonna do an interview with Ron Emory AND finally one with Clifford Dinsmore from Blast and Dusted Angel. I had the opportunity to interview Rowland Howard which sadly,now, will never happen....Damn, God rest his guts...There's a ton of other people I'd love to talk to. There's so many that need to be heard, people just as equally as important as Jello,MacKaye or Rollins-those same guys you always hear from....
Punk Globe: Do you run into anyone you knew from the Bay Area over there?
J.H.: From time to time. To be honest, I run into more people from my childhood over there than from the punk days.
Punk Globe: Over this past year I have met a delightful and very talented singer guitarist named Mignon. She played with Peaches? Are you familiar with her?
J.H.: Nope. Doesn't mean that I haven't seen or heard her perform though.
Punk Globe: Do you have any Websites, My Space or Facebook addresses for the readers to get updates and contact you at?
Punk Globe: What does 2010 have in store for Jason Honea?
J.H.: Some big CHANGES. I want to live a little healthier that's for sure. What else,...of course get more music out and perform a bunch. Start drawing and painting a lot more.
Punk Globe: Any last words of wisdom for Punk Globe readers?
J.H.: Yeah, this bit from R. Jeffers: Life is a torch to burn in with pride.
Punk Globe would like to thank Jason for the informative and fun interview...
Photo Credits: The Social Unrest Collage Photo by: Dela Chaffee.
Jason Honea jumping in air Color photo  by: Kochie
Black and White photo of Jason Honea jumping in air by: Anne Uhlrich