The Victims Are Back

By : chris rocks on


 

The Victims are a genuine 1970's punk band, that graced the stages of New York's finest
rock 'n roll establishments. They were a regular feature at Max's Kansas City, as well as CBGB's, Club 57, Irving Plaza, and Copperfield's.
Serving up a brand of original songs, much in the style of the late 60's garage bands and psychedelic guitar bands, the Victims rocked with many of their contemporaries and even supported Sid Vicious, when he played at Max's.
They split from the scene 28 years ago, and went their separate ways, but now, they're back!
With New York City dates already played, and even more booked, they have been going down great!

I caught up with Steve Berman, the Bass Player, and Rick Reilly, lead singer/guitarist to find out about their past and also what the future holds.

 



C : Nice to see you guys rocking the stage once more. How did it all come about?

SB: Well, Rick and I happened to run into each other on the internet in 2004 after not being in contact for about 24 years and the more we talked, the more I realized, that just maybe we should get the band back together again. I always thought that there was some unfinished business that The Victims had to take care of. I guess you could say that I pushed real hard for it to happen...in other words I became a fucking pain in the ass! It wasn't easy at first. Eventually Rick got Barry into the idea and we gave it a try. The drummer on our 1978 Plan 9 EP got religion and our other drummer Mark died, so we had a problem there. I got a guy to fill in for the first rehearsal, but he backed out on that same day. Through some connections, our new (and current) drummer Mike Lincoln literally came to the rescue and completed the reunion of The Victims.

RR: I had no idea if i could even sing anymore, I hadn't performed or even played with other musicians for over twenty years, but I was willing to do a couple rehearsals with the understanding that if we couldn't deliver something at least as good as what it had been at it's best we wouldn't do it.

SB: The first couple of practices were a bit rusty, but things quickly gelled and we played our first show back at The Continental for an Arthur Kane Tribute show that also featured Sonny Vincent, The Corpse grinders, and Lyn Todd among others. We played another show three months later at CBGB's and then nothing happened again until the spring of this year when we decided to try it again...and we're sure glad we did!

 



C : Tell me a little about your days at Max's Kansas City and CBGB...

RR: I pretty much lived at Max's in 77/78.... free happy hour buffet, bartenders that would let us slide a lot on paying for drinks etc, and that's pretty much where I knew I was gonna run into friends... if they weren't at Max's, they'd be at CBGB's. I guess I spent more time at Max's because I had gotten to know Peter Crowley when he booked OutKids at Mother's.
it was really cool knowing that whichever of the 2 places I ended up at on any given night I was gonna see at least one band I really liked.

SB: Me too. I virtually lived at Max's Kansas City and CBGB's. Got in for free at Max's because we played there regularly. Peter Crowley thought a lot of us and it seems we did hang out more there. Started playing the weeknights as support...paying our dues until we started to get gigs opening for Johnny Thunders, Sylvain Sylvain, The Troggs etc. and THEN we graduated to being the headliner on Friday and Saturday nights. Played some cool shows at CBGB's too. Like Rick said, you almost always see at least one band that you would like on any given night.

C : You played support to Sid Vicious 'upstairs at Max's', what was that like?

RR: It was a circus, but it was also really cool from the perspective that his pickup band was like a who's who of punk bands at the time.
We had no idea at the time that it would be a somewhat historic show, it was just another gig to us really.
Sid didn't have the presence of Johnny Thunders or some of the other people on the scene, he was pretty much a train wreck that already happened.


C : 'Behind the Times' has to be, to me anyway, one of the best power-punk records of its time. What other recordings did you make back then, and are there any plans to re-release any of them?

RR: Thanks, that's actually my favourite Victims song. We plan on re-releasing the Plan 9 EP material on our next CD which will primarily consist of new songs and new recordings of songs we had written around the time of the Plan 9 sessions but never got around to recording.

SB: Yeah...Behind The Times is my favourite Victims song too! Great fucking song that you and Barry wrote Rick! We actually had another EP prior to the infamous Plan 9 record. It had 4 songs on it and was put out in 1977...I don't think that one will come out again though...doesn't quite have the balls that the stuff that came out later had. Our 1979 'Real Wild Child' LP has just been released on CD format for the first time.... Gotta get a plug in here....it's available online at CD Baby! It looks like it will also start being distributed by Get Hip Records.

C : You played with Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys following the split of the Victims. What was that all about and did you do any gigs?

SB: At that time The Victims had been rehearsing at a downstairs loft across the street from CBGB's. I believe Cheetah rehearsed there too. When I was no longer a Victim, Cheetah asked me if I wanted to play with him. Me, him, and a drummer I can't remember, rehearsed the first Dead Boys LP for a month or two and then Cheetah changed his mind and went in another direction. We never played a gig...I wish I had at least taped those rehearsals on a cassette player!

 



C : What was the audience reaction like to your re-union gig?

SB: It was pretty fucking awesome considering we hadn't been around for a few decades or so! There were new people who left there Victims fans (which blew us away!) and there were also older fans who came back out to see us.

RR: I was surprised at how positive the reaction from kids who had never seen (or I assume heard of us) was. I figured they would be like..."who the fuck are these old guys and what are they doing here?"

C : You played CBGB back in the 70's. How did the scene compare back then to today? You played there right before it closed, right?

RR: There doesn't seem to really be a scene now, bands are far more transient and the sense of community doesn't seem to really exist anymore. Back in the old days, there was healthy competition, but all the bands hung out with each other, got fucked up together, and were basically friends.

SB: When we played CBGB's in January of 2005, the only reason it was as cool as when we played there in 77-78 was that the people on the bill WERE from back then! The bill included The Tuff Darts, Ruby & The Rednecks, and Wild Bill Thompson from The Senders......the M.C. was Jayne County and the rock 'n' roll principal himself, Peter Crowley, was in the audience! Rick's right, it was a real community back in the 70's. Bands supported each other more. Everyone was always going to one of the clubs to see each other's band play. That was why when we played a show at Max's you had people like The Heartbreakers, The Ramones, David Jo, Lenny Kaye in the audience and we'd be there at their shows. It was just a very cool scene we had back then!

C : You have some more live shows planned?

RR: Yes, we're enjoying performing together as a band and seeing old friends and new people who appear to enjoy what we do so we are in the process of lining up shows in Philly, Boston, Montreal, Detroit, and wherever else we feel there is audience that will respond to us.

SB: Confirmed dates right now are November 30th at Otto's Shrunken Head in NYC and December 14th at The Tritone in Philadelphia. There's others in the works as we speak...Like Rick says...we'll play anywhere that we feel is worth it. This is in the VERY early stages of thought or planning, but we'd like to get over to Europe to play sometime in the not too distant future.

 




C : Where can the readers find out more about the Victims, and when can they come see for themselves?

RR: They can go to our myspace page at www.myspace.com/victimsnyc


Dates, news, info about future releases are all kept as up to date as best we can manage. We love hearing from fans, old friends, and anyone who wants to do stuff for us.
And like Steve said earlier, the 'Real Wild Child' album has been reissued on CD and is available at CDBaby, and is also being distributed by GetHip.

SB: They can also check out my own site at www.myspace.com/stevevictim

 

I do a lot of promotion and networking from there and there are pictures and updates about us too. I love to hear from anyone who's into The Victims!


C : Are you still in touch with the guys/bands from the original scene?


RR: We recently played with The Waldo's, and it was great seeing Walter again, and he's still the great performer he always was. The Hudson Dusters are a really good time and all guys we know from Max's days. Bobby Steele from the Undead is a friend and we're talking about doing some shows with him. Steve is much more the social networking type than I am so I'll let him field this one.

SB: You're right Rick...I am quite the fucking social butterfly! Seriously, My Space has been amazing for doing that kind of stuff. I've had lots of musicians from the past (or survivors of the 70's as I like to call them!) get in touch with me and vice versa. I really enjoy running into someone on the internet, for instance Bobby Steele, who ended up coming to our last show at Otto's in July. As has been mentioned by me earlier, we've now played several shows with people who were there in the late 70's. Not everyone from back in the day has OD'd...we're living proof!


C : Glad to hear it guys, come over to Europe and play the Rebellion Festival next year, and before I go, best of luck with the shows etc...If any of our readers are in NYC at the end of November, check these guys out for yourselves at Otto's Shrunken Head...It's true, The Victims are Back!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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