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January 2018




  

Professor And The Madman
New Music For The New Year
From Some Old Pro's
Interview By: Janet E. Hammer




This band is a punk rockers wet dream. I have seen some All Star line ups before but this is one for the books. Sean Elliott and Alfie Agnew of D.I. and Rat Scabies and Paul Gray of the Damned have gotten together to make one hell of album. It's full of different sounds for different songs and each musician brings in their specialty. As a fan of D.I. and the Damned it's hard to explain without gushing. It's got some definite early garage psychedelia, some pop, some rock and some punk rock

none in equal measures. It's got it's own sounds which I spoke to Sean Elliott about, which will be on sale on February 23, 2018.




PUNK GLOBE: Having played with Alfie before, did it make starting a new project easier?

Sean: I noticed that we had complimentary skills from day one. Recording is quick, we’re both pretty easy going (Alfie might say otherwise about me), and we both have similar influences so, yeah, I’d say it’s easier.

PUNK GLOBE: The songs on this record definitely remind me of stuff I listened to when I was much younger. Which performers influenced Professor and the Madman?

Sean: The list is endless. Obviously I’m a huge fan of The Damned and my all-time favorite guitarist is Captain Sensible but there’s a lot more. The Beatles, Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, Roger and David Pink Floyd, The Monkees, The Zombies, The Kinks, Dick Dale (2nd favorite guitarist), Cheap Trick, DEVO and take it all the way up to The Dead Kennedys and TSOL. It’s all over the place.




PUNK GLOBE: You sample a very historical radio speech in the song "Useless," do World events and the terrifying politics of Trump work its way into your songwriting often? Do you think that there should be more bands coming together like they did for "Rock Against Reagan" in the ‘80s?

Sean: First off, the political beliefs in this answer are solely my own. I think they’re all full of shit. I went with the FDR inaugural speech to point out that Bullshit in Politics isn’t exactly a new thing. I didn’t vote for Trump but he doesn’t terrify me. I think the saddest thing is the “Friend vs Friend” atmosphere that this election has caused. If you’re ever down and out it’s your friends that are there, not these dirt bags. “Remember Kids…Friendship first, Politics second.” If you’ve got this backwards, you’ve been tricked! Joining a “Rock Against” anything other than addiction, mental illness, or any sort of poverty would be a colossal waste of time in my view. Why would I raise money for people that already have a bunch of money?

PUNK GLOBE: How does it feel to have played with Rat Scabies at the Christmas show and now to have recorded an album with him and Paul Gray?

Sean: It is a dream come true. My introduction to The Damned was Live at Shepperton. When I first heard it, I couldn’t believe the energy on that album. Mainly, coming from the bass and drums. The bass was like a buzzsaw and the drums sounded like they were overloading the microphones. It made me feel like I was standing right there. By the time I got to “Strawberries,” I had figured out that it was the Gray/Scabies combo that had hooked me in. Then in an instant… it was just gone. I can tell you that when we got the “Nightmare” track back from the UK, it was like smoking the first cigarette after you quit for a month. It was that same sound, just on one of our tracks, so we couldn’t be happier.




PUNK GLOBE: How did the recording of the album both here, and in the U.K. work? Was there any back and forth between you and them when you were doing final production?

Sean: Alfie has a recording studio in his house where we do most of the work. Since we both can play multiple instruments, one of us will play the drums or bass, then do our guitars with a temporary vocal track. We then send the tracks off to Dave Allen’s studio in London and the demo version to Rat to listen to. Rat records his drums and then sends them back to us. We then send the takes with Rat now on drums to Paul. Paul sends them back to us. And we finish the record here in the states with Mark Bolton at Orange County Arts Center Studios. Finally, we send multiple mixes back and forth between Paul, Rat and Dave Allen until everyone is somewhat happy and then we’re done. Simple, right?

PUNK GLOBE: You have played live shows with local musicians. Are you hoping to play live with Paul and Rat? Is it something that might happen once the album is released in March?

Sean: The odds of getting both of them on the same night are probably slim. I’m sure Paul’s schedule will be tight with him doing the UK dates with the Damned, and Rat has a solo record out in January, so the year will be a busy one for both of them and for PATM. Never say never though, stranger things have happened.

PUNK GLOBE: The name of the band comes from the book of the same name written by Simon Winchester (if I'm wrong please feel free to skip this) about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. It speaks to the tremendous undertaking of creating a book that was the first of its kind. Is there a particular reason you chose it? Is it the mystery of the story or the love of words and the message you can relay with them?

Sean: It was actually Alfie’s wife Victoria who came up with it. She had read the book and suggested it. We were trying to come up with a Jekyll and Hyde concept. The D.I. guys used to refer to Alfie and I as “Jekyll and Hyde” on tour. Stemming from a breakfast on tour during which Alfie ordered the “Light and Healthy” breakfast with an orange juice, and I ordered the steak and eggs with a Jack Daniels and Coke. But the Jekyll and Hide thing wouldn’t work for numerous reasons and Since Alfie is a full-blown professor, we decided to go with it.




PUNK GLOBE: Do you feel that bands like yours and OFF amongst others is the natural progression as musicians from the punk rock/hardcore are getting older? Do you believe it's a good way to keep your music moving in a forward motion instead of just complacent?

Sean: I believe if you’re not playing what your soul is producing, then you’re not being real. I have too many responsibilities to be angry at the world so “Fuck the Government” and “Skate and Destroy” aren’t exactly part of my daily routine anymore. I say, write what you write, and if they don’t like it, fuck ‘em! If 1 out of 10 like it, then you’re a success. If 0 out of 10 like it, and you keep doing it, then you’re Punk Rock.

PUNK GLOBE: Are you happy with this band and the fact that it can't be pigeonholed into any one genre of music? Is looking back at music of the past and then making a new sound combining many of them something that you hope to see more of in the music industry?

Sean: I am happy with this band for exactly that reason. As far as bands looking back and making a new sound? I’m pretty sure it’s always been that way for the real musicians. And I’ll clarify “real musician” — there are only two types, the ones that do it for the chicks and the ones that do it to escape the loneliness. If you’re the first one, you’re not a real musician.




PUNK GLOBE: Music has changed along with how we listen to it, but now along with people just buying a song they are buying whole albums on vinyl. Small record labels are making a comeback. Is this return to vinyl a good thing for bands?

Sean: I think with the amount of distractions there are these days, any vinyl comeback will be short lived. When we used to buy albums it was an event. I used to go to the record store and hope there was a new record by my favorite artist or something I didn’t have. These days, with Facebook, etc, we know when and where the album is being released, you can download it right to your phone, listen to it free on numerous sites, or have Amazon deliver it right to your door the next day. It doesn’t serve a purpose any more other than being a fad.

PUNK GLOBE: Thank you for your time and one final question, what can we expect from Professor and the Madman in the future?

Sean: At the moment, we have enough material for two more albums and we’re still writing. We hope to start recording again in February. We might even start it when Rat gets here in January. We'll see but there is definitely more on the way.

Thank you to Sean Elliott, and Randy Haecker of Prime Mover Media we hope everyone involved has a wonderful New Year.




 







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