I have known Ron on Facebook for a very long time about 6 or 7 years we recently started chatting and I have been rockin his band on PunkrPrincess Whatever Show,I have always liked Ron and see him as a hard working underground musician so I thought I would bring him and his music life to Let's Talk Punk. If you are able to catch him at a live show do and say HI for me!
Punk Globe: Hi Ron and thanks for the interview can you tell us when and why you started playing music? What was the first song/instrument you learned to play?
Ron: My pleasure and I sincerely mean that. I’m real and I always tell it like it is. I never hold back.I have to stress that I am not a true musician in any way, shape or form. Ajax Lepinski, Troy and Doug Graves my band-mates are true musical genius in my opinion. I have no training, no talent and was passed over so many times in school for chorus or any music program. Bands that I have started or played in regardless of where they ever went and many nowhere, prior to me even realizing it, where just ways for me to unleash anger, contempt and hatred. It started around the age of 14. I always felt that for lack of a better term, music was a form of expression. The first pre-punk bands I was in were called “The Slime Buckets”, “Monster” and the “Mummified Infants”. If anything it was a form of primal Rock N Roll. Hard hitting pre-punk stuff that was way before its time. Not nice, not pretty and didn’t go too far. That was from 1974 to 1976. In 1976 I first heard Anarchy in the UK. I just loved the anger of the music and lyrics. I was always at clubs and seeing the New York City bands of that time and prior, but the Sex Pistols again had that anger and hatred I longed for, which was lacking in the Ramones and other bands. So for me music, well it was really just a platform to get my views heard no matter what they would or could ever be.
Punk Globe: Who were the first bands/musicians you worked with?
Ron: That would be the Nihilistics. We started playing in 1979. Punk was fizzing out and the term Hardcore or Hardcore Punk didn’t come into existence yet. Troy was a great drummer even at the age of 14 when we formed. Mike King bought a cheap bass and didn’t know how to play but learned and played his own unique style. He was great. Chris was a great guitarist and was honing his talents. Me, I was the drummer prior to Troy but could not play well at all. Everyone had a few bucks for their cheap instruments. I had none. So I became the singer. We basically learned how to play together. It was never about talent. It was always about the Message and Lyrical content, which to even this day many people don’t get? Prior to releasing records, we would just sell, distribute or give away homemade cassette tapes. We self-released our first 7 inch EP. It was a DIY effort. 10,000 copies were pressed over the course of one year. We were then signed to the BrainEater Label and then released our first full length in 1983. We really never broke up. We reformed at times. Ajax Lepinski is my favorite guitarist in the world. Best Rhythm and Lead Guitarist in Punk / Hardcore history. Ajax came in 1985 or 1985. Troy has been back for 20 years’ now. Doug Graves plays Bass. This is the best lineup ever in my opinion and we are rock solid.
Punk Globe: Tell us what you are currently doing?
Ron: Other than playing live, planning various tours, festivals, Benefit shows, and one off shows in major cities, we are re-releasing our full back catalogue since there is such a growing demand for, DVD of shows spanning the years, 2 new albums ready for release, Songs and soundtracks for films and so much more. We have been asked to appear in both films and commercials, but we have to carefully review all offers to make sure we will never compromise our integrity. Getting a bit of flak here and there from my recent interview with Drew Stone the producer of documentary, “The New York Hardcore Chronicles” 10 Questions with Ron Rancid of the Nihilistics. Regardless, I’m a big fan of yours Lisa, and Punk Globe.
Punk Globe: What/who inspires you?
Ron: Singularly and collectively the members of the Nihilistics core beliefs have been entrenched in that of Nihilism and in its purest form. Many over the years have not understood that, but the true Nihilistics listener does. WE refuse to use the term “fan”. To me it degrading to the listener. Who wants to be a so called “fan” of anything. The Nihilistics listener is a true and pure individual which cannot be compromised by this horrible existence with all its trapping and pageantry. Listeners range from those that are at the bottom of the barrel, such as us, to the downtrodden, the working class, the politically and socially aware, real sincere people that lifestyles are that of punk and hardcore or those that share the same fire born hatred for society and humanity. The Nihilistics listener base covers the full spectrum of humanity. So inspiration and the need to carry on until death steps in, is every day renewed in us. Just look around you? Society constantly provides us with the ammunition, the hate, the disdain of this putrid, and banal existence. Again we will never ever give up or give in. But this is just scratching the surface? The Nihilistics have a long history of violent and chaotic shows coupled with years and years of releases. I would advise anyone with any questions to do some research on the Nihilistics. I have been reading various books, articles and even on the internet. Its informative, interesting and so what even entertaining! Now I have read that the Nihilistics are truly the first American Hardcore Band or the First Hardcore Band in general? Who knows and who cares? All I know as a band we are the Alpha & Omega. If you understand the Nihilistics that’s good and if not, even better!
Punk Globe: Where is your favorite place to tour or travel to?
Ron: Touring has been limited historically since our goal is to provide as many releases as possible. We in our old age are now entertaining various offers of full scale tours. I have no favorite place to play or tour? I have no favorite place in this pathetic world. I have always leaned to the peace the cold immortal grave as my favorite place.
Punk Globe: If you could play a show any place with anyone(alive) who and where would it be?
Ron: Maybe the Sex Pistols or maybe not? I really don’t care? We have played with so many bands over the years it’s all a blur. I do not possess this mechanism that others may have to like things, enjoy something, love someone, or something, I have no clue or idea as to what fun is? I guess you can say I do “like” doing shows for I always have an axe to grind with people, society, government and more. To me Punk and Hardcore was never about fun or money. We have been around for 40 years. We have seen it all and have done it all. The punk and hardcore scene was never a pretty or unified experience as you may read. It was violent, ugly, dangerous and I am pleased to say we added to it overall. Unity my ass it was and still remains to be filled with hypocrites, and human garbage who want to be the “next Rock Stars”. Many pathetic little people with the most fake and transparent of agendas. Except the Nihilistics listener. They are as pure as the hatred we feel or as pure as the best Heroin New York has to offer. As a band each Nihilistics song rings true to this day and is eternally relevant. All songs we written in the most realistic and truthful fashion. Each song represents a true life experience. Ahhhhh but for the listener one must careful think as to what the meaning truly is? We will not spell it out for you. Try to use the putrid pulsating morass you have called a brain to try to figure it out! When I write my book I will expose all! It’s one thing to see a band play it’s another to know the members of those bands. I know the ultimate Truth! The Nihilistics will always have our say, like it or not or no matter how truthful, hurtful or horrific it may be.
Punk Globe: Besides being an awesome musician what other hobbies do you have?
Ron: I collect human skulls, embalming equipment, casket, coffins, vinyl records and any and all bizarre and offensive oddities. I am a habitual masturbator which I guess can be considered a hobby? Again I don’t have that ability to really like anything. My main interest though is the hatred of humanity. If I need any form of “pleasure” all I do is simply close my eyes. I see things that no man, woman, child or beast should ever see. I am a living abortion. My alleged life is a complete horror. This in part keeps me amused a bit.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us some of your favorite bands to listen to or go to shows to see?
Ron: Older punk and hardcore from 1979 to 1985 and of course the Nihilistics. I rarely go to shows but I have made a personal decision to go just to make people uncomfortable. I think it may be “fun”. I am told that I am a “creepy person” whatever that means. I am hated and despised whether in reality or my own mind? But you know Lisa maybe going to shows and ruining others “good times” can be that hobby as in the aforementioned!
Punk Globe: Do you ever get nervous before performing?
Ron: No. Never did and never will. I may have my guard up a bit in regard to having to kick someone’s hear in? Over the year’s people have taken liberty to spit on use, throw garbage, bottles and such. WE are human and we have our limits. This is why I have my own “special” mike stands to simply crush so idiots skull that takes it too far.
Punk Globe: What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Ron: Grow the fuck up? Nothing to be nervous about? Are you seeking some kind of acceptance? Its punk, its hardcore? Focus on your message! If you have no message you should not even bother.
Punk Globe: How often to you practice your music are you hard on yourself?
Ron: We practice one a week or so. Depends if writing or recording new material. We been playing 40 years. If we fuck up a song, we simply stop and start again. Its punk, its hardcore. No need for Rock Star posturing. Remember our shows are chaotic and there is always audience participation whether good or bad or even indifferent. Things go right, things go wrong. We just don’t really care what an audience may think. Go buy a record or a CD or some shit? A live performance is always different from a recorded session. People come to our shows because of the danger, the possible violence, maybe a riot, people like the Nihilistics but love to hate the Nihilistics and we return it in tenfold. You never know what can happen at a Nihilistics concert.
Punk Globe: What has been your biggest challenge as a musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Ron: We embrace ever challenge whether real or perceived. In the beginning and even to this day no one could understand the Nihilistics. In message or in our sound which it 110% unique and without any influence. One may think or assume that that is a challenge but it is not. If anything from day one WE “challenge the audience and listener.
Punk Globe: Any coming up shows we can go see you play?
Ron: We will be doing various shows and festivals in the states and Europe. We play on average locally once per month. Any and all shows are announced well in advance. Do you really want to see us play?
Punk Globe: Where can the readers find you and your music?
Ron: Anywhere and everywhere. Don’t buy or pay for anything? I’m sure you can find it free on the internet. If you need to buy something, shop local or support a shop or distributor who supports the scene. Fuck this profiteering off of punk and hardcore!
Punk Globe: Any shout-outs you would like to give?
Ron: Yes. All together now! – Fuck The Human Race!
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview and keep rockin!
Ron: Again, till Death steps in and even after that ………………………….