October 2017


Lets Talk Punk
Sarah Chavez
Interview By: Lisa/PunkrPrincess

PUNK GLOBE: Where is your current location and how does the music scene there compare to other music scenes you have been involved in?

Sarah Chavez: I moved back to Phoenix, AZ after being gone a number of years and I couldn't be more stoked to be back in my adopted home. It took a lot of doing to get back here. I've always had a pretty high opinion of the music scene here in Phoenix, in particular for punk rock. There's a really amazing amount of insanely talented old school musicians that are still here, and still playing. It's also a pretty tightly knit community. Fortunately Phoenix is also a tour stop, and we get some incredible shows. Most noteworthy lately was The Dictators! I've been really effing crazy for a really long time, and lived in a ton of killer cities (Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Hollywood, Long Beach, Phoenix, New Orleans...). I grew up in the Bay Area and in LA, so I've been involved seriously with punk and the community/scene for over 20 years. I can say that there's nowhere else I would rather be than in Phoenix at this moment, playing the music I am now.

PUNK GLOBE: What bands have you been in? And what bands are you currently with?

Sarah Chavez: I've played in a number of bands over the years, punk, death rock, garage, rock and roll, and blues. When I lived in Phoenix previously I was in The 'Fits, a garage punk band, and then for the last several years I was the singer for .38 Gauge, a punk band out of Chapel Hill, NC that I started with Lenn Rokk (one of my oldest friends; he used to shave my mohawk for me when I was about 15) from East Bay punk band Filth. I recently recorded the single Nowhere Girl with The Pagans (Yes! The Cleveland Ohio '77 punk Pagans!) which was just released as part of the benefit for my friend Mike Hudson who was in a near fatal car accident last month. I'm playing the benefit show March 6th at Loaded in Hollywood with an incredible line up of guest vocalists. It's a real honor to be able to help out. You can download and donate here: https://thepagans.bandcamp.com/releases I'm also in the Los Angeles band Fame Whore with Richard Duguay (HellHounds) and Mike Hudson (The Pagans). My main focus and my first love though, is my band The Brand. I came home to Phoenix and ended up playing with two of my favorite old school punk musician friends; Chuck Holder; of Grant & The Geezers, Hellfire, Oh Hell No!, and Steve Davis of the Glass Heroes, POA, and The Shivers, on guitar and bass respectively. Our studio and touring drummer is Dennis William Walsh of The Crowd, Four Eyed Four, and formerly with The Flyboys and The Flesheaters. I seriously have the most incredible group of guys playing with me. We play raw, old school punk rock.

PUNK GLOBE: Tell us some of the bands you have played shows with. Any faves?

Sarah Chavez: I've been truly lucky to play some kick ass shows, with the Glass Heroes, The Van Buren Wheels, Thee Unfortunates (RIP Vince Bocchini), and the Graveyard Boulevard. Those are the ones that immediately came to mind, really good nights with great friends.

PUNK GLOBE: What bands do you like to listen to?

Sarah Chavez: Oh boy is this ever a big question...I literally listen to music in pretty much all my waking hours. What's on heavy permanent rotation? Definitely The Stooges, The Damned, The Dead Boys, The Dictators, Sex Gang Children, The Cramps, The Sonics, The Rubber City Rebels, The New York Dolls, Glass Heroes, Discharge, The Pagans, The Rolling Stones, Blue Cheer, The Birthday Party...and honestly I listen to a very eclectic mix of genres and artists. Everything from Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, to GWAR, Slayer, Gene Vincent, Howlin' Wolf, and more. I am really fond of the New York/Detroit/Ohio scene from the seventies.

PUNK GLOBE: What do you think can be done to make a better music scene?

Sarah Chavez: Well the most obvious thing that comes to mind is less complaining and more actual showing up for other bands, and supporting independent radio and artists. The DIY movement is in a better position than ever before with music dissemination capabilities! Let's take advantage of that! Buy vinyl, buy merch, go to shows, take your friends.

"The DIY movement is in a better position than ever before with music dissemination capabilities! Let's take advantage of that! Buy vinyl, buy merch, go to shows, take your friends."

PUNK GLOBE: When did you first start playing in bands?

Sarah Chavez: I started playing music when I was really young, and I think my first band was at about 12-13? We were just a bunch of fuck up kids making noise. I guess not much has changed.

PUNK GLOBE: Do you get nervous before a performance?

Sarah Chavez: I wouldn't say nervous, but I do get really charged up. Amped. There are few things in the world I enjoy more than playing live.

PUNK GLOBE: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Sarah Chavez: Ahh, good question. Keep going, man. Charge ahead. No matter how messed up it gets stay connected to your crowd. That's where your band comes in with you-with the right dynamic you just roll with the punches.

PUNK GLOBE: What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

Sarah Chavez: Well, when I was singing with The 'Fits, I remember my guitar player; Rob Fait, came to me outside the show and he goes- "Hey I feel like I'm gonna puke." And I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Well man, go fucking puke over there and then let's play a show." So I guess my advice is to just go for it, and have fun with it.

PUNK GLOBE: Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

Sarah Chavez: Oh yeah, of course! I remember digging through dozens of record stores and just buying stuff because it looked cool, or trading tapes to skate to with my friends, buying them at shows and for a beer or two forever ago. I used to make the best mix tapes. Someone made one for me with crazy stuff on it-an old straight edge band from Santa Cruz called State of Grace, TSOL, 45 Grave, Alien Sex Fiend, The Faction. Good shit. Wish I still had that. But the ones that really made the difference I can't even remember how I found them; The Damned, Sex Gang Children, Christian Death...

PUNK GLOBE: Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

Sarah Chavez: My first instrument was always myself, my voice, and I actually grew up playing classical piano and violin as well. But my first instrument of my own choosing? A 74 or 75 funky gold-silver Stratocaster. I loved that guitar. I actually sold it to a friend of mine and then bought it back from her because I missed it so much. I'm unbelievably fortunate currently; I had a custom TV yellow double cutaway based on Johnny Thunder's Les Paul Jr made recently with 2 p 90's that I just adore, and my incredible friend just sent me a Les Paul flat top in the mail the day before yesterday! Stoked beyond belief...

PUNK GLOBE: Who are your favorite musicians?

Sarah Chavez: This is a really, really tough question. I'll try to be brief but I might not pull that off, I have to give nods to originators like Howlin' Wolf, Ronnie Spector, Carl Perkins, stuff like that, progenitors of punk, you know? Just...attitude for days. Iggy Pop is a big one for me, Dave Vanian from the Damned was pretty much who changed everything for me-I heard the Damned and bleached a streak in my hair. Lux Interior and Poison Ivy from The Cramps, Johnny Thunders, Andi Sex Gang, Joey Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba and Ross The Boss from the Dictators, Stiv Bators...

PUNK GLOBE: What do you practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.? And how often?

Sarah Chavez: I sing constantly. I mean, all the time. I try to play my guitars every day as well, and The Brand practices once (twice if we're lucky) a week, which is also about seeing each other and strengthening as a family of sorts. I play a lot of different stuff when I'm trying to learn, and I am as likely to be belting out Discharge or Billie Holiday at any given moment.

"I play a lot of different stuff when I'm trying to learn, and I am as likely to be belting out Discharge or Billie Holiday at any given moment."

PUNK GLOBE: Whats is your opinion of the record industry today?

Sarah Chavez: Hmm. Well, as I stated earlier, I feel like punk/rockandroll/DIY is in a potentially good position. If you're willing to work hard and really promote and play, you have more chance than artists of our kind to be heard than ever before, without as much meddling by the "industry".

PUNK GLOBE: Whats the first song you ever remember hearing?

Sarah Chavez: I have no idea what the very first would have been, but I remember listening to Black Dog by Zeppelin when I was just a kid, and Last Time by The Stones...

PUNK GLOBE: Have you been on any tours? Any where you would like to tour?

Sarah Chavez: I can't wait to do a US tour, I love this country and I've lived so many places that it's a freaking reunion anywhere we play. I'd love to go back to England. There are definitely places I'd like to tour tho, Japan, Germany, Norway, Malaysia.

PUNK GLOBE: Where can readers find you and your band?

Sarah Chavez: You can look me up on Facebook, just hit up Sarah Chavez, and The Brand at https://www.facebook.com/thebrandaz

PUNK GLOBE: Any shout outs or anything you would like to add?

Sarah Chavez: We're going into the studio sometime this month. Remember you can see me March 6th in Hollywood at Loaded for the Benefit For Mike Hudson of The Pagans too! ALL proceeds go to benefit him directly. I have the best life. I couldn't be more grateful to be home in Phoenix, with the utterly AMAZING people in my life that I share it with. I play rock and roll for a living. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do this. I went through hell and I'm still here.

"I play rock and roll for a living. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do this. I went through hell and I'm still here."

PUNK GLOBE: Thanks Sarah! Keep Rockin!

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